Release Day Blitz: Lethal Lies (Blood Brothers #2) by Rebecca Zanetti

Series:
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

Title: LETHAL LIES
Author: Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Blood Brothers, #2
On Sale: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Trade Paperback: $14.99 USD
eBook: $5.99 USD

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“4 1/2 stars! Top pick! This is a true thriller that will keep readers frantically flipping the pages as death and danger come at the protagonists from several directions. Zanetti’s brilliance at storytelling is on full display…When it comes to high-octane thrillers, they don’t get better than Zanetti!” —RT Book Reviews on LETHAL LIES

“Zanetti’s stories are always woven with vivid detail and a breakneck pace. As a reader, there’s really no time to draw a peaceful breath until the story ends. Lethal Lies is another winner.” –Heroes & Heartbreakers on LETHAL LIES

“Zanetti balances the adventure and menace of Zara and Ryker’s lives with a relatable romance. The result is a story that’s sexy and emotional, and filled with a rich look at love in all its forms.” —The Washington Post on DEADLY SILENCE

“Budget your time, readers, because this is one that’s hard to put down.” — Heroes & Heartbreakers on DEADLY SILENCE

A deadly secret can’t stay buried forever . . .

Revenge. It’s the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind bars—even use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can’t do this alone.

Private investigator Heath Jones’s job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it’s personal. He knew the Copper Killer’s latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he’s all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath’s identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath’s every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they’ll use anything and anyone to get to Heath.

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THE BLOOD BROTHERS SERIES

DEADLY SILENCE, #1
LETHAL LIES, #2
TWISTED TRUTHS, #3

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About Rebecca Zanetti

Rebecca Zanetti wrote her first story when she was six – a romance between a princess and neighboring prince. The princess fell out of her castle and the prince rescued her. A happily ever after was had by all.

This theme of romance has been carried through Rebecca’s works until present time. While today’s heroine may have a medical degree, black belt in Karate and her own 401K, she’s still after that happy ending. And today’s prince may have fangs and wear a black hat, but hey, a modern princess likes a guy who bites.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides there with her husband, children and extended family who inspire her every day.

Power Game (GhostWalker #13) by Christine Feehan

Series:
Narrator: Jim Frangione

Title: Power Game by Christine Feehan
Series: GhostWalker #13
Release Date: January 24th 2017 by
Format: Audiobook (12 hrs and 27 mins) Kindle: 464 pages
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Military
Published by: Berkeley Romance
Purchase Links: Amazon US  Barnes & Noble

When members of a United Nations joint security force are taken hostage by radical terrorists in Indonesia, Captain Ezekiel Fortunes is called to lead the rescue team. Part of a classified government experiment, Zeke is a supersoldier with enhanced abilities. He can see better and run faster than the enemy, disappear when necessary and hunt along any terrain. There are those in the world willing to do anything for power like that…

A formidable spy genetically engineered to hide in plain sight, Bellisia rarely meets a man who doesn’t want to control her or kill her. But Zeke is different. His gaze, his touch—they awaken feelings inside her that she never thought possible. He’s the kind of man she could settle down with—if she can keep him alive…

four-half-stars

This is one of the best books in this series. I have really enjoyed this particular Ghostwalker team because they are really a southern family with Grace Fontenot “Nonny” holding this crew together as the grandmother to all.

This story is Ezekiel “Zeke” Fortunes’ story where he is led to his paired partner Bellisia Adams. If you remember, the insane Doctor Peter Whitney paired his Ghostwalker soldiers with the orphan women intending to create super soldier babies. Bellisia escaped Whitney’s compound and ran to team PJ to warn them of Violet Smythe’s plan against them, and there she found what she didn’t even know she always longed for…family.

This author continues to be so creative and interesting. So Bellisia has Octopus DNA, excellent in water and Ezekiel has the sight of an eagle and sense of smell of a polar bear, which made him an excellent hunter. With the pair by the Doctor Whitney, Zeke and Bellisia were immediately drawn to each other physically. But what the doctor never considered was emotional and mental connections between the pairs.

The author laid a great foundation by developing the characters even entwining the secondary characters very thoroughly. The plot followed the chain of events set by the prior books and continued the narrative of Whitney’s devious plan to produce more super soldiers. There was consistent action, hot romance and touching family moments such as the cooking scene with Nonny that made this story charming. If you have enjoyed the prior installments, you will love this one as one of the strongest in the franchise.

Ezi

The Protector (Sons of Texas #2) by Donna Grant

The Protector (Sons of Texas #2) by Donna GrantSeries:
Narrator: Carly Robins
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: The Protector by Donna Grant
Series: Sons of Texas #2
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Format: e-ARC Pages: 305
Audiobook Length: 7 hrs and 45 mins
Published By: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Purchase Links: Amazon USBarnes & Noble • • Books-a-million iBooksIndiebound

When his aunt and uncle are murdered and his father has been kidnapped, bad boy Marine Force Recon captain, Cullen Loughman teams up with the one woman who turns his world upside down.

Everything’s hotter in Texas…

When Marine Force Recon Captain Cullen Loughman learns that his father’s been kidnapped, he will do whatever it takes to find him. In order to achieve his mission, Cullen will need to team up with the best of the best?someone who just happens to be the most stunning woman he’s ever laid eyes on…

This isn’t the first rodeo for ex-Air Force pilot Mia Carter. Still, Cullen’s bad-boy good looks and charm are distracting her from duty. . .and it appears that the feeling is mutual.

As Mia and Cullen make their descent into a dark, dangerous world, their attraction reaches the boiling point. But is their desire worth the risk when a ruthless enemy is waiting in the wings?or will their Lone Star love conquer all in The Protector?

three-half-stars

In book 2, the action picks right up from where book 1 ended and should definite be read AFTER book 1. The Loughman sons are still trying to find their dad Orrin, but the author is revealing more of Orrin’s character. Again, I am baffled as to how everyone loves Orrin, except for the people who should hold him closest to heart. But his three sons are working together to locate him and protect the biological weapon Orrin secreted away.
This installment focus on the youngest brother, Cullen, who is a marine force recon captain. It was revealed in book one that Cullen wasn’t close to Wyatt and Owen because they kept him out of the loop during the tragic event that changed their lives. So as the brothers formulated their plan to find their dad, Cullen was tasked with talking to the pilot who was one of the last people to see Orrin before he was taken.

When Cullen met Mia, the ex-Air Force pilot, he felt an instant pull to her. But his gut also told him that she was hiding something. Cullen set out to figure out what Mia was hiding and if it was connected to his father abduction.
I liked this story as much as I liked book one. The pace was similar and plot was just as intriguing. The readers finally learned what the biological weapon is and the devastation it can possible wreck on the general population. IT IS BAD!!! Thus, the Loughman brothers resolved to make sure the secret organization, the Saints, do not regain possession of the formulated bio-agent by splitting up. I also like the idea that each brother is taking their own journey towards their father and hopefully towards reconciliation.

Cullen appeared to be the less angry brother and Mia was a great match for him. She was smart, brave and resourceful. She could hold her own so Cullen respected her contributions to the mission. He also seemed to settle somethings that have been weighing on his mind regarding his family’s fragmented relationship and his future as a military officer. Cullen and Mia had chemistry and work well together, so the romance was pleasurable. The action continued and the author fleshed out the enemy a little more. I am still looking forward to getting more illumination on the Saint and in extension, the people who betrayed Orrin.

We learned more about Orrin and I enjoyed the action regarding his captivity more than Cullen and Mia’s road to romance. The author also set up a subplot romance between Orrin and the doctor Donna who was treating him while he was held prisoner. This second book also ended in a cliffhanger and I look forward to the next book in the series.

Ezi

About Donna Grant

Donna Grant is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the sizzling Dark King series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae.

She was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna’s Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding.

Despite deadlines and voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two children, three cats, and a dog.

Audiobook Review: The Hero (Sons of Texas #1) by Donna Grant

Audiobook Review: The Hero (Sons of Texas #1) by Donna GrantSeries:
Narrator: Carly Robins
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

Title: The Hero by Donna Grant
Series: Sons of Texas #1
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Format: Kindle edition Pages: 333
Audiobook Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins
Published By: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & Noble  Books-a-million iBooks Indiebound

THE HERO’S HOMECOMING

Owen Loughman is a highly-decorated Navy SEAL who has a thirst for action. But there’s one thing he hasn’t been able to forget – his high school sweetheart, Natalie. After over a decade away, Owen is returned home to the ranch in Texas for a dangerous new mission that puts him face-to-face with Natalie and an outside menace that threatens everything he holds dear. He’ll risk it all to keep Natalie safe – and win her heart. . . .

Natalie Dixon has had a lifetime of heartache since Owen was deployed. Fourteen years and one bad marriage later, she finds herself mixed up with the Loughman’s again. With her life on the line against an enemy she can’t fight alone, it’s Owen’s strong shoulders, smoldering eyes, and sensuous smile that she turns to. When danger closes in, she holds close to the only man she’s ever loved…

three-half-stars

In this interesting series opener, author Donna Grant introduces the Loughman family, a father and three sons, all dedicated military men whom have sworn to serve and protect the United States of America.

However, the patriarch Orrin has been kidnapped and the sons, Wyatt, Owen and Cullen have been tasked by the government to find and rescue him. The plot unfolds revealing a dastardly plan for world domination that boasts enemies with access into the highest levels of multiple governments.
This book had the Russians versus United States rivalry, a secret illuminati-ish group, Texans who own a horse ranch, an estranged family and a second chance at love.

This particular installment focused on the middle son, Owen, as he tries to discover who kidnapped his father as well as coming to terms with the damaged relationship with his first love Natalie Dixon. The pace of this story was pretty quick as the story evolved rapidly. The author kept us in the dark for most of the novel regarding the true identity of the bad guys. Instead, the reader was exposed to why the Loughman family was estranged and why Owen and Natalie broke up fourteen years go.

Honestly, the narrator didn’t add any value to my enjoyment. The story was narrated sufficiently and I felt comfortable with what was going on in the book. I liked the heroine as she had tried her best to move on with her life. She had inner strength and she was clearly intelligent. Owen was clearly a man who excelled at his job as a navy seal. He also appears to be an honorable man, though I was perplexed as to why three decent men treated their father so dreadfully for so long. I hope the author spends time addressing the sub plot because it did lower my esteem of the Loughman sons.
I enjoyed this story because this plot was interesting and I was curious to find out more about the weapon, the enemy and the family. BEWARE though because this book ends in a cliffhanger. I hope the author continues to develop the plot and characters with the same pace in Book 2.

Ezi

View all my reviews

About Donna Grant

Donna Grant is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the sizzling Dark King series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae.

She was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna’s Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding.

Despite deadlines and voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two children, three cats, and a dog.

Off Base by Annabeth Albert

ouI received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Off Base: by Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform #1 
Release Date: January 9, 2017
Pages: 304 • Format: eARC
Published By: Carina Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon• Kobo • Barnes & Noble

After trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike’s flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike’s arrival would spark from Zack’s teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can’t refuse.

Pike Reynolds knows there won’t be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He’s an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he’s had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can’t risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.

Living with Pike crumbles Zack’s restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn’t know how to be the man Pike deserves.

four-stars

This was way more angstier then I like, but it was really good. It brought out plenty of emotions from me, and I’m glad I was able to finish it. It was a point of time in the story where I wanted to punt Zack’s ass through the field goal range. I wanted to shake him, and hurt him for not realizing what he was doing to himself and Pike. It took me a while to put Zack from Connection Error together with this Zack. I mean, he was a douchebag in Connection Error, and a little bit docuhy here, but the man was hurting internally. Gah!!! I really dislike when authors force me to like the A-Holes. I fell for Zack after a while. I adored Pike! I thought he was amazing, and I just wanted to wrap him up and never let him out my sight. *Le Sigh*, here goes my thoughts.

Poor Zack, this man is the epitome of The River D-E-N-I-L-E. He’s in denial about his sexuality and his love for Pike. He is SEAL who is intensely lonely, and really buried deep in the closet. Well not buried, but he’s not owning up or accepting of his sexuality. I really love how Albert makes these guys who I find myself disliking really make it up to me at the end. Zack has this internal angsty thing going on. When work like becomes to much for him, then he ventures out on his own living by himself. Well not entirely, because while he’s immediately against the idea of having Pike; out and proud Pike as a room mate there’s something there for Zack to convince himself to let it happen.

It’s a slow burner for sure with the romance. While Pike is realizing he’s falling for Zack, he knows it isn’t reciprocated at the least by Zack. I really enjoyed Pike’s character. He was super sweet and understanding. I hate what he went through with his first love, but I think it definitely put into perspective of his future romances. For characters like Pike who I feel get shafted in stories it enables my mama bear features and I automatically want them to dump or hurt the one that causes them pain. I’m so happy Pike didn’t listen to me lol. It definitely hurt Pike a multitude of rejections from Zack. The one thing I continuously have to realize is, you can’t force anyone to except their sexuality. It has to be on there own personal time, and I’m uber grateful that Albert writes things this way.

I cannot wait until the next book in the series. Hopefully its’ the LT with the kids, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Harper. Yeah, I got my eye on him. Albert has been winning lately with all her release, and I’m telling you she’s becoming such a favorite of mine. If you haven’t read her #gaymers series then you best get to it. This is a definite read and hopefully you enjoy it as much as I do!

About Annabeth Albert

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Enemy of My Enemy by Tal Bauer

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

talEnemy of My Enemy: by Tal Bauer
Series: The Executive Office #2
Release Date: October 24. 2016
Pages: 287 • Format: eARC
Published By: NineStar Press
Purchase Links:
NineStar PressAmazon

An affair that stunned the world.
Two men, committed to their impossible love.
One general, determined to destroy them both.
President Jack Spiers and former Secret Service Agent Ethan Reichenbach throw caution to the wind, committing themselves publicly as the first out male lovers and partners to occupy the White House. Jack moves Ethan into the Residence, but as Ethan settles into his new role as first gentleman of the United States, not everyone is thrilled with their choices. When it seems like the world turns against them, Jack and Ethan must turn to each other, finding the strength together to press on.
In the chaos, Jack’s relationship with the Russian president, Sergey Puchkov, grows closer, and the two nations find themselves working almost as allies. But President Puchkov has secrets of his own, secrets that could rip everything apart. And Ethan steps back into the action with Lieutenant Adam Cooper, taking charge of a covert kill team tasked with hunting down General Madigan once and for all.
But Madigan is elusive, and his dangerous reach is long. He strikes at Jack and Ethan from the shadowy corners of the globe, unraveling their entire world. As the mad general draws new allies together, he is single-minded in his quest to destroy the only two men who ever beat him.
He will stop at nothing until Jack and Ethan are shattered men, worlds apart, and struggling to get back to one another.
And after that, Madigan’s true revenge begins…

four-half-stars

This might be the novel version of Scandal. I enjoyed this so much more then book one. I’m all for that, but good Lord it seemed Good never could prevail against the evil in this book. That ending!!! ZOMG, I swear if it turns out to be true then I will find you Tal Bauer!!!! Nooooo, please don’t let crazy become the mole. It’s always the most loyal ones right. This book picks up immediately after the first, it’s not a stand alone and you definitely need all background info going into book two. Ethan & Jack!!! You guys gave me straight feelz. I was overloaded with joy with how fair these two have come, but just like Olivia and Fitz your happiness had a timeline!

I don’t even know where to start. So much information was thrown at me, that I am not 100% certain who is Good and who is Evil. It was so many twisty turns in this book, so many Noooo moments, so many tears!!! Gosh, I didn’t expect the tears but they were out in full force today! I really enjoyed the writing and the transition into each different povs. I think getting the main cast pov instead of just Ethan & Jack’s made the story. It was realer to see from everyone’s aspect. Even crazy ass Madigan. He was crazy but I liked his thoroughness.

You notice in my review that I don’t really talk about the plot, well I think it’s best if you read it and feel it while everything is happening. I mean it’s some really big WTF moments in the book, and yeah I closed my left eye and suspended reality for a while, but it’s fiction and I love it. I’m seriously in love with Fiasal and Sasha at the moment. I swear they better get a HEA by the end of the next book. Don’t know about their counterparts but these two need to come out on top

Ethan & Jack’s love was able to stand against everything that was happening to them. At the end of the day it’s still a romance, and I love them together. It was heartbreaking moments, but I love that they were able to be together by any means necessary.

Now, how long until the next book? Do I have enough time to order a case of wine?

About Tal Bauer

Tal Bauer writes LGBT fiction and romance, bringing together a career in law enforcement, trauma medicine, and international humanitarian and disaster relief work to create dynamic, strong characters, intriguing plots, and unique, exotic locations. Tal’s stories weave together pulse-pounding adventure, cunning intrigue, and sweeping romance. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.

Spider Game (GhostWalkers, #12) by Christine Feehan

Series:
three-half-stars
Spider Game Book Cover Spider Game
GhostWalkers #12
Christine Feehan
Romantic Suspense
Jove
January 26th 2016
audibook; e-book
446

The Cajun dive in the middle of the godforsaken swamps wasn’t exactly Trap Dawkins’ idea of fun. But the GhostWalker wasn’t there for a good time. He was looking for her. Cayenne. It’s where she found her victims. Poor suckers. Then again, who wouldn’t want to leave a place like this with a woman like her?

It’s not Cayenne’s fault. Locked up, experimented on and never knowing kindness, she was bred this way—with a heart of pure venom. Trap understands her. He survived his own dark past and he shares her desire for getting even. But now Trap’s greatest danger is Cayenne herself. Because what’s inside her is hard to control—especially when it’s aroused by a lover as reckless as Trap.

TOO MUCH SEX. Seriously, I love this series. I love the matching of wits between the various Ghostwalker teams versus the dastardly Dr. Whitney and we didn’t get enough of that. Also, the subplot of Trap and his uncles wasn’t developed as well. But the whole alpha male thing was emphasized ad nauseum.
Cayenne was rescued from her cage in the last book [book:Viper Game|22043566] and we learned that her dna was spliced with a Black widow DNA. So from last book, we went from snake DNA to now spider DNA. Yikes!


Let me say this: According to National Geographics, black widows are solitary except when mating. So Trap expecting Cayenne, who lived in a cage all her life, to make good decisions in more social settings is ridiculous.
Also, Trap constantly dominating Cayenne seemed weird considering I was expecting her to either eat him or inject him with venom after they were intimate. He seemed like another jailer and an overbearing partner. He did seem to love her but he has a very rough way of showing it due to his own jacked up family situation. He wasn’t as sweet as I would have liked for her.

But I love the whole family dynamic with Wyatt & Co. etc. It added humor, history as well as a sense of collective strength. Dr. Whitney and these extra animal experiments are becoming more and more twisted. I love this series and hope the author gets back to the heart of this series, stopping Dr. Whitney.

Tempting Tristan (Harborside Nights #3) by Melissa Foster @TastyBookTours @Melissa_Foster

Tempting Tristan Book Cover Tempting Tristan
Harborside Nights #3
Melissa Foster
Gay Romance; Contemporary Romance
EverAfter Romance
October 19th 2016
e-arc
306

                               

                                   TRISTAN AND ALEX

Fresh off the heels of yet another bad relationship, Tristan Brewer is taking a break from men to try to figure out where he keeps going wrong. He knows his biggest fault—he leads with his heart, not his head—and that’s never going to change. But after several introspective weeks, he’s beginning to get a handle on things. That is, until badass heartthrob Alex Wells walks into his bar...

Alex has spent eight years in the army, months in a hospital bed, and far too long hiding his sexual identity. He’s guilt-ridden, damaged, pissed off, and up for a Silver Star for the incident that nearly cost him his life—and kept him from his grandmother’s funeral. But all he wants to do is live the life he’s always dreamed of and forget his stint with the institution that allows but doesn’t necessarily accept.

The chemistry between Tristan and Alex ignites from the moment they meet, and the more time they spend together, the hotter the flames burn. But the closer they become, the more Alex's walls go up, and when the two walk onto a military base, Tristan finds out Alex’s physical scars aren’t the ones that run the deepest.

Tristan Brewer was a bartender, working hard to move on from a bad break up when a mystery man came riding in on a bike. Once the biker Alex Wells spoke to Tristan, it was clear that Tristan’s current vow of staying away from men would not last
I like this story but it didn’t move me like I expected. It’s a story about two men struggling to heal from past wounds and find wholeness again. Tristan and Alex had some esteem issues that kept them from letting the other in, but as both guys reminisced about Alex’s grandmother, the walls around their hearts began to crumble. It just happened really fast.
One thing that I loved about Tristan was that he was definite about what he wanted in any relationship going forward. Tristan communicated clearly and had no qualms about being known as the “female” since he was in touch with his emotions. Alex was impressive as a character because he grew the most. Alex didn’t want to hide his sexuality after eight years in the military and it was sad to see how much the denial damaged his spirit.
Tristan and Alex’s journey of self-acceptance and learning to trust others was made easier by their attraction to each other.  I felt that Tristan capitulated quickly when it came to his declaration of abstaining until he got exactly what he wanted in a relationship. Tristan fell into his old patterns of compromising while hoping the new partner Alex will eventually give Tristan the emotional connection he craved.
I loved that Tristan wanted monogamy and someone to share his life with. I disliked the fact that Tristan was teased and called a “lesbian”. There was a good amount of sex in this book and there was a good amount of actual communication between the characters. Overall, I found the book enjoyable and plan on reading the prior books in this series.

Kingpin (An Italian Mafia Romance #1) by W.S. Greer @EJBookPromos

Kingpin (An Italian Mafia Romance #1) by W.S. Greer @EJBookPromosSeries: Italian Mafia Romance #1
on April 30th 2016
Pages: 254
AmazonB&N
Alannah Sullivan met Dominic Collazo when she was only in the fifth grade. She knew him when the other kids called him names and made fun of his over-sized facial features. She knew him when he was a shy introvert with a quick temper. She knew him when he was first introduced to the mob lifestyle by his father, a made man in the St. Louis mafia. Alannah knew Dominic before anybody could see his potential, and she fell in love with him when she was just a teenager... just in time for her family to pack up and move away from the city and the boy she loved.

But, Alannah is back now, and after ten long years, Dominic Collazo is all grown up. No longer the quiet loner, Dominic is larger than life, and every woman’s fantasy. He’s a rich casino owner with the looks of a Greek god, and an alpha male persona to die for. He’s also a captain in the notorious Giordano crime family.

When the two of them meet again in the lobby of Lumiere Place Casino & Hotel, Alannah has no idea that her second chance with Dominic will also be her biggest curse. As drama immediately ensues and bullets start to fly, Alannah has to ask herself if Dominic is worth all the trouble that comes with him.

Would you risk everything to be with the love of your life, even if he’s the mafia’s newest KINGPIN?
four-stars

I liked this book even though it lacked the usual angst that I love in these kinds of Mafioso romance.
Dominic Giovanni Collazo was shunned by his classmates and they tormented him by calling him “ugly Dominic”. When Alannah Sullivan arrived at his school, Dominic felt protective of her especially since the same kids were making fun of her as the new girl. It’s a new school half way into her fifth grade year, but Alannah was no stranger to starting over. After all, she has moved around a bit due to her father’s station in the military.
Dominic and Alannah struck up a friendship and were able to be safe place for each other. I love the time the author spend laying a foundation for young love. At the same time, we got to see the events that shaped Dominic’s life, which allowed us to understand his need for respect and dominance.

Alannah’s father gets transferred again, and the high school students get separated.
It’s been ten years since Dominic and Alannah last saw each other and now the 25 year olds are reunited. They have to learn each other again but the pace of the story moves much faster and it is also darker. It went from high school bullying to outright mob violence. Alannah has grown up with a certain value system as her father was an Air Force officer and Dominic’s new role in the Mob doesn’t quite fit into those beliefs and ethics. So it is a hard adjustment for them as they clearly love each other. The problem is now figuring out whether what they feel for each other is strong enough to withstand Dominic’s lifestyle.

I though the author did a really good job telling this story using a dual POV style. The writing was more suspenseful and less anguish in the second half. But there was definitely passion and emotion but the actual mob part of the story was as central as the romance. The balance of both made this story even more powerful and genuine. I felt like I understood where both characters were coming from. I liked Alannah because she wasn’t weak and pathetic. She just had so much love for the boy and man who had been her everything from age 10. Dominic was also likable because his youth shaped his need for respect and strength. His father was such an instrumental part of his life that it’s clear to see how he arrived to this point in his life. This was a solid beginning to really interesting story. I look forward to seeing where the author takes us on phase two of Alannah and Dominic’s journey.

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review*

The Risen (A Novel of Spartacus) by David Anthony Durham

The Risen (A Novel of Spartacus) by David Anthony DurhamSeries: A Novel of Spartacus
on May 3rd 2016
Pages: 496
AmazonNarrator: Steven Crossley

I chose to read this book because I loved the Starz version of Spartacus and I also appreciated the fact that is history. I have never read David Anthony Durham but his storytelling was engaging and riveting. I imagined myself in the story at times because the writing was so visceral. The only thing missing was the Spartacus Speak (Move to Purpose, Apology, Gratitude, etc.) I had grown to love on the show.
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In this account, Spartacus was humanized much more than the show. We were shown pain & suffering, resistance, strength, vulnerability, shrewdness, anguish, hope and ultimately defeat. There were so many different emotions and components to the man/legend as well as his compatriots. What I loved most about his story is that this is the first time that I have experienced Romans who were conflicted or even sympathetic to “The Risen” or the rebels. In addition, in the cable television show, Spartacus (Blood and Sands through War of the Damned) was more motivated by the loss of his wife, but in this book, Spartacus was mostly moved by the injustice of the captivity.

What a study in leadership comparing Crassus to Spartacus. I was moved by the struggle for liberty and Spartacus inner turmoil with his own fears but needed to exhibit courageous strength for his followers. I still hated Crassus because of his ruthlessness and ambition. I loved Spartacus and his generals, Castus, Crixus, Gannicus, Ullio etc.
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It was so sad but I found myself hoping WHAT IF? I knew The Risen wouldn’t be triumphant but I couldn’t help wanting the impossible.

“Whatever fate awaits you…it’s mine as well as yours…I am free to choose, and I choose to fight with you. I want the best life, or death, for us all. I swear it.”

Everything felt so authentic from the planning to the escape, individual plights within the rebellion. I felt their elation with each battle won as it was a sign to them that they were favored by the gods. I felt their despair with their defeats as it was one step closer to the unavoidable end. There was horrific violence in this book, but it didn’t bother me because it was disturbingly factual. This was an entertaining read for those who love historical fiction. I highly recommend this book to those who love Spartacus and also accounts of the Roman Empire.

*Special Thanks to Tantor Audio for the audiobook received in exchange for an honest review.