Mini Review of Personal Assistance

Personal Assistance by Louise Rose-Innes

Personal Assistance Cover

A thrilling suspense from Entangled’s Ignite imprint…

Her life is in the hands of a man she can’t trust…

Trapped in a country in the midst of a rebellion, Hannah Evans is on the run for her life. Her only hope of escape is to join forces with disgraced Special Forces operative Tom Wilde, who is overseeing the extraction of all British nationals from the embassy. It’s a form of punishment for his last failed mission, from which neither his body, nor his mind, has fully recovered. When he meets Hannah, he sees an opportunity to redeem himself. The information she holds is important enough to end the civil war—all he needs to do is get her out of the war-ridden country alive and back to Britain.

The sexual attraction between them is too intense to ignore, but Hannah knows the career-soldier has a hidden agenda. Can she trust him to lead her to safety, or will he sacrifice her in his bid for redemption?

 Publication Date: August 18, 2014

Genre: Romantic Suspense

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Mini Review of The Devil’s Fire

When I posted yesterday’s review of Not Quite Dead, which deals with woman who is being haunted by the ghost of Pirate Anne Bonny, I started thinking of other books historical fiction I’ve read in the past about pirates and remembered Matt Tomerlin’s Devil’s Fire. I read it about two years ago, but it was memorable because it’s a direct contrast to the pirate romances I usually find and read. Here’s a pithy review that may be helpful in your consideration of the book:

The Devil’s Fire: A Pirate Adventure Novel by Matt Tomerlin

Publication Date: August 2011

Genre: Historical Fiction 

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From debut author Matt Tomerlin comes a brutal tale of revenge during the Golden Age of Piracy.

Katherine Lindsay, the pampered young wife of a wealthy ship captain, has left her leisurely life in London to accompany her husband to America. So far, their journey has been uneventful, even boring. But when ruthless pirates suddenly storm the ship to plunder her husband’s riches, Katherine is one of the treasures they steal, sparking a bloody chain of events that will alter the course of piracy in the Caribbean forever. Pirate lovers will find no shortage of treachery, cutlass duels, ship-to-ship battles, buried treasure and much, much more.

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A Conversational Review of Not Quite Dead (A Lowcountry Ghost Story # 1)

Cover_Not Quite DeadA broken engagement sends Graciela Harper crawling back to Heron Creek with her tail between her legs, but finds the sleepy little town too changed to set her life right. Not even her budding drinking problem can obscure her Gramps’s failing health, or erase the mental picture of her first love happily married to her childhood best friend. To top it all off, she’s having a heck of time convincing the town’s dashing young mayor of her unfit-for-dating status.

When the ghost of 18th century lady pirate Anne Bonny starts insisting on a near daily audience, Graciela has to confront something else she never expected—being certifiably nuts at twenty-five years old.

Her brand new “I don’t give a crap” attitude makes it easy to dismiss the mysterious threats that seem to be tied to her search for more information on the long dead pirate, but when her family becomes a target, Gracie knows she needs to find out why the ghost insists on being a constant, reeking companion.

If Graciela can put aside her prejudice against people without a pulse, she may discover that Anne Bonny’s problems are intricately linked with her own. The past harbors answers could help the cantankerous spirit find closure, but she is, after all, already dead. If Graciela doesn’t move fast, she might find herself doing the haunting, instead of the other way around.

 Not Quite Dead (A Lowcountry Ghost Story # 1)  by Lyla Payne

 

Read an excerpt from the book and learn more about the author from my earlier spotlight post:  Book Tour & Giveaway for Not Quite Dead

*****

A Conversation with Myself about Not Quite Dead

When I write a review of a book, I try to think about what readers would really want to know, and then I incorporate my reactions into a more formal, organized essay-like response.  However, today, I’ve decided to stray from this format, and do a Q&A -style review where I’ve compiled a list of questions I would most likely ask someone who has read the book, so I could determine whether or not I would choose to read it. Since in this case, I have read Not Quite Dead, I will be the one providing the answers, and hopefully, by the end of the conversation, you will have greater insight into what to expect from today’s book selection.

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Mini Review & Giveaway for Kit & Ivy: A Red Team Wedding Novella (Red Team # 3a)

Kit & Ivy's Wedding Novella

Ex-spec ops solider Kit Bolanger tried hard to forget Ivy Banks, the only woman he ever loved. When his work brought him back to his hometown, and he learned she was still single, he pursued her with a relentless focus. Now, in just a few weeks, they’re set to lock things down permanently on their big day. 

With the wedding looming, Ivy’s working tirelessly to create the perfect menu and orchestrate their dream wedding. However, Kit has one last secret to reveal–and it might just be a deal breaker. Will Ivy see the truth behind Kit’s actions? Or will she call the whole thing off, this time for good? 

 
Ages: 18 & up (story contains sex and profanity)

Kit & Ivy: A Red Team Wedding Novella (Red Team #3a) by Elaine Levine

Publication Date: March 2014 / length: approx. 100 pgs.

Genre: Romantic Suspense Series

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Mini Review of M-Day (M-Day #1)

ccede-mday_frontjpegBefore the day… before M-day… people used to read books and watch movies about zombies. They used to dress up as zombies; pretend to kill zombies… Basically, zombies had become a part of popular culture in a very unexpected way. 

The highly anticipated zombie apocalypse never came. 

What did come was much worse than any city over run with shambling corpses after brains and flesh. A virus… a virus that only affected men. Nobody knew what caused it, or where it had come from, not that it really mattered. It’s here and there’s no going back. 

Maxine was one of the lucky ones–she got out alive. She and her friends banded together to survive the new desolate conditions left behind by the virus. When a supply gathering mission goes awry, Max and company are left with no better choice than to trust a group of uninfected military men. No longer on the run from her infected husband, Max discovers there could be worse dangers for her on the horizon… Like losing her heart to her mysterious savior everyone calls Zee.

 

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When I post spotlights of books, I choose the ones I am interested in reading and want to share my finds with other readers. M-Day is one of those books I posted about and finally had the opportunity to read, but it was not at all what I expected. Maybe I should have read the reviews beforehand, but  I didn’t want to be influenced by other readers’ opinions of the book.

I know it’s a cliché to say I really wanted to like this book, but it’s true. I was attracted to this novel because it has an unusual twist on the typical zombie-infested post-apocalyptic fiction I’ve read. Like other books in the zombie genre, there is an outbreak of a virus, but only men become infected. Similarly, these men become mindless and animalistic in their nature, losing their ability to think and reason. They also become faster and stronger than normal. However, this is where the similarities end. The men don’t desire to feast upon the women’s flesh. Instead, they hunt and enslave them for their own deranged sexual purposes. Although the premise of the book is creative in its approach to an apocalyptic disaster, the eroticism and obsession with sex become so dominant that the rest of the plot is diluted and shallow.

From the book’s description it’s obvious this will be a war between the sexes, and I expected there would be violence and some sexual situations. However, what I read was more of an erotic dark “romance” with a weak post-apocalyptic storyline, and this is the major reason I was disappointed by the book. The world-building needs to be fleshed out with more details about survival in this dark and gritty setting. Instead, the sexual depravity of the infected men eclipses other aspects of this post-apocalyptic environment.

The book has a strong beginning that introduces us to three women, Max, Evo, and Izzy, who have banded together to survive and evade the horrors of being captured by the infected men (I-Men) in search of women to possess. Running low on fuel, Max decides to sneak into one of the I-Men camps to find gasoline. There, she meets and is rescued by Zee who leads the women to a temporary sanctuary guarded by the military. From this point on, the story went downhill for me. The emphasis moves to Zee and Max’s instant desire for each other and their sexual relationship ensues. The love scenes are frequent and explicit. Max and Zee seem to fall into a haze of lust and forget about preparing for the ugly reality that awaits them.

When Max is kidnapped by her infected husband, readers are given a vivid description into what life is like for the women who are captured and enslaved to satisfy the I-Men’s insatiable sexual cravings. The brutality these women suffer is revolting and was too much for me. I was also disappointed by the excessive use of profanity that weakened the dialogue, yet one could argue that it fits right in with the deterioration of this society.

All in all, this book just did not work for me. If you are looking for a dark erotic read set in a post-apocalyptic world then M-Day might interest you.

Source: Purchased ebook

Rating

pretty sunshine

 

Related Post

Release of M-Day

Mini Review of Reaper’s Touch

ReapersTouchFinalAbby is a Ranger, part of an elite group who defend the border against Reapers—humans infected with a parasite that turns them into mindless cannibals. Rangers are immune to Reaper infection, and as one of the only female Rangers, Abby is expected to settle down and breed more Rangers—a fate she’s keen to avoid. When she’s ambushed on the plains, she’s ready to go out with guns blazing—until a mysterious, handsome cowboy rides to her rescue.

Jake has his own motives for helping Abby, beyond aiding a damsel in distress. He’s a Reaper, and while he’s learned to wrest control of his mind from the parasite, the effects won’t last without a permanent cure. And he needs Abby to get it.

Abby and Jake are natural enemies and unlikely partners. But when their search reveals a conspiracy between Reapers and the rich industrialists who own the mountain cities, they must work together to find the cure—or lose the border, and each other, forever.

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Mini Review of Black and Blue (Otherworld Assassin #2) by Gena Showalter

blackandblue4The sizzling second book in New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter’s Otherworld Assassin paranormal romance series.

He is every woman’s fantasy…

Corbin Blue is a man of many talents. One of the most powerful otherworlders ever born, he is wealthy, a professional football star, and a legend in the bedroom. But only a select few know he is also a black ops agent…and there is no better killer. When he and his crew are attacked and separated, he’s forced to turn to his boss’s daughter for help—a woman with even more secrets than Blue.

She becomes his only obsession…

Evangaline Black has always been wary, guarded. No man has ever breeched her walls. Until Blue. He has never been denied something he wants, and now, he’s decided he wants her. As he sweeps her into his double life of seduction, intrigue, and danger, he helps her see beyond the darkness of her own past. But as an enemy closes in, Blue will have to let Evie go to keep her safe—even though he’d rather die than live without her…

Related Post: Promotional Event for Black and Blue

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Mini Review of Cold Day in Hell (Lost and Found, Inc. #2)

Cold Day in Hell Book CoverEx-Army Ranger Tyrell Castillo’s first mission for Lost and Found, Inc. goes awry when his contact is kidnapped, and he’s left scrambling for weapons and explosives. He’ll have to blow up a drug cartel’s compound, rescue the woman, and keep her safe while they cross the sweltering hot Colombian jungle.

Driven by the need for revenge, Ana Maria Vega Cisneros doesn’t want to be rescued. She wants revenge. She’ll risk her life to ensure the drug lord who killed her family suffers the same fate.

The cartel leaves a trail of blood on their hunt for Ty and Ana. When Ty receives the order to kill the drug lord with extreme prejudice, he and Ana will face the enemy head on. Can Ty protect the woman who’s hell bent on vengeance? The woman he’s grown to love?

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18276789-cold-day-in-hell?from_search=true

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Mini Review for Breaking Point (I-Team # 5)

Breaking Point by Pamela Clare

Breaking Point CoverWhile investigating border violence in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, Denver journalist Natalie Benoit is caught in a bloody ambush and taken captive. Alone in the hands of ruthless killers, she will need every ounce of courage she possesses to survive. 

Betrayed by another operative, Deputy U.S. Marshal Zach McBride has endured a week of torture and interrogation at the hands of a bloodthirsty Mexican drug cartel. Ready to give his life if he must, he remains unbroken—until he hears the cries of an American woman. 

Although Natalie is only a voice in the darkness of their shared prison, her plight brings renewed strength to Zach’s battered body. With her help, he overpowers their captors, and they flee through the desert toward the border, the attraction between them flaring hotter than the Sonoran sun. 

But past loss and tragedy leave both of them reluctant to follow their hearts, even when the passion between them reaches its breaking point. Faced with feelings neither expected, they fight to stay ahead of the danger that hunts them as forces more powerful than they can imagine conspire to destroy them both…

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9314304-breaking-point?from_search=true

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Mini Review: Angels by My Side

Angels by My Side: Stories and Glimpses of These Heavenly Helpers by Betty Malz

Angels by My SideGod knows your needs–and He has His angels ready to help you!

Have you ever had a close call? Do you sometimes sense that you are not alone? Do you wonder if you have ever met an angel “unaware”?

When Betty Malz was a young mom, she suffered a ruptured appendix and, after many fatal complications, was declared dead. Twenty-eight minutes later, she returned to life–bringing with her a vibrant and encouraging message about these heavenly helpers called angels.

Over the years that followed, Betty spoke and wrote about her amazing experience–including the armies of angels she saw awaiting God’s commands to help His people. And it seemed that everywhere she turned, she met others eager to tell her about their encounters with angelic beings.

This book is the culmination of that journey. Here you will discover biblical answers to questions such as:
• When do angels help us?
• What do protecting, rescuing and messenger angels actually do?
• How do we know if an angel is God’s servant or one of Satan’s hosts trying to deceive us?
• Can angels intervene when we face temptation?
• How do we pray for divine assistance?

This book will help you understand God’s purpose for these heavenly helpers in every area of your life. Be encouraged to trust in His loving care–for He truly has angels by your side.

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Aside

Mini Reviews 

Since I have so many books waiting to be reviewed, I have decided to write shorter reviews for books that are not part of scheduled blog tours.  While the full book reviews supplemented by  multi-media that I normally write  are more comprehensive, they also take a long time to compile, sometimes up to 8 hours.  So I’m adding mini reviews as another way that I can highlight more books and briefly share my thoughts with you.

Selling Scarlett (Love Inc. #1) by Ella James

Book CoverBook Description

Elizabeth DeVille doesn’t belong at a party like this—one where the gowns cost more than her Camry and cigars run higher than her grad school utility bills. Dragged out of seclusion by her best friend Suri, Elizabeth is merely playing dress-up, rubbing elbows with a crowd that banished her troubled family years ago.

Hunter West is tired. Tired of parties, tired of pretending, and tired of trying to right a wrong that haunts him every day. Bourbon heir and professional poker player by day, by night Hunter is gambling with his life in a high-stakes game of crime and blackmail. 

When Elizabeth stumbles into Hunter’s den of vices, she’s a light in the darkness, a flame in the void. And, just like everything he touches, Hunter mars her in a record time. To rectify the damage done, Elizabeth needs money she doesn’t have, and she’s come up with a foolproof way to get it.

Follow Elizabeth—code-named Scarlett—to the lush Nevada brothel where she’ll auction her virginity and risk the only thing that’s not for sale: her heart. The highest bidder is a familiar face, with wicked hands and the devil’s mouth. And a secret so dark that it could cost her life.

***RECOMMENDED FOR READERS 17+ DUE TO SEXUALITY AND MATURE LANGUAGE

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I didn’t plan to read this book, but I’m glad I did. I didn’t think I would like the plot, but I was wrong.  Stories centering on the unfettered world of the uber rich don’t usually appeal to me, and I wasn’t compelled to read about a professional gambler’s life of excess and a woman’s unconventional approach to get her V-card stamped.

I was interested in the plot of the second book in the series, Taming Cross, and thought I could read it as a standalone based on the book’s description on Amazon. A few pages into the book, I realized that I needed to backtrack and read the first book, Selling Scarlett, so I could fully understand Cross and the fallen man he has become. Technically, the book can stand alone, but I recommend starting the series at the beginning so that you can fully appreciate the complexity of the plot and the changes that Cross undergoes in his journey toward redemption.

Scarlett is a young woman who is kind and loyal to her friends. However, I had a hard time wrapping my mind around her idea to visit a brothel and sell her virginity so that she can use the money to help her friend, Cross. That just seems a bit extreme to me. Why can’t she just hold fundraisers?  I think it’s unfortunate that people are in such a hurry to get rid of their virginity, and see it as a “problem” that is holding them back in their personal lives. She has the choice to wait and share herself with someone she loves; instead, she’s going to engage in an intimate act with a stranger she knows nothing about. I think it’s a regrettable action especially since she doesn’t even take the time to find out all of the details. She just wants to know when and where the auction is and how much money she can expect to get.

It also took me a while to warm up to Hunter and Elizabeth as a couple.  I didn’t feel the chemistry between them. It was just established that they were attracted to each other. They don’t even know each other well enough to be considered acquaintances, but for a long time Elizabeth has had a huge crush on Hunter. Meanwhile, Hunter is being blackmailed by a porn star, Priscilla, and in order to protect his secrets, he engages in Priscilla’s masochistic sexual fantasies.  Does he have to do this? I don’t think so. Hunter is tormented on so many levels that I can’t help but wonder if he doesn’t think Priscilla is all he deserves. The antagonists in the book are shallow, one dimensional characters who are easy to despise, and their behavior, at times, stretches believability to its limits.

Overall, though, Selling Scarlett was an emotionally-gripping read with a richly developed protagonist and heroine who become entangled in an intricate plot involving deception, betrayal, and sexual objectification James does an excellent job in drawing out the sexual tension between Hunter and Elizabeth as the stakes keep rising and the secrets get darker.

Rating: 

OkayRead2

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Published: April 13, 2013

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Source:  ebook purchase from Amazon (Currently priced for $.99 )

Related Links

Legalized prostitution is one issue brought to the forefront in Selling Scarlett.  Scarlett spends time at the Love Inc. brothel as she prepares to auction off her virginity to the highest bidder. During her stay, she befriends some of the full-time escorts who love on the grounds.  The owner of the establishment touts the benefits of working there–employees get to set their own prices, choose their clients, purchase stock in the company, and received health care benefits.  Scarlett observes, “The place has a job-satisfaction rating comparable to Google.”  It is hard for me to accept that someone can thrive in this line of work and not suffer some form of psychological damage. Here are articles for further consideration:

“Legal Prostitution in Nevada”

Las Vegas Review-Journal:  “Outlaw Industry, Ex-Prostitutes Say.”  

Chicago Tribune News: “Nevada’s Brothels Get Tough Look”

I welcome your comments and feedback about the book or the controversy over legalized prostitution.

Mini Review of Selling Scarlett (Love Inc. #1)