See Bride Run by Charlotte Hughes

See Bride Run by Charlotte Hugheson 3/17/16
Pages: 211
AmazonB&NNarrator: Elizabeth Klett
Atlanta’s billionaire heiress Annie Hartford has been under her father’s thumb her entire life. At 29, he is now forcing her to marry a man she doesn’t love in front of 600 guests. With only moments to spare, she hijacks the family limo, which breaks down in small town Pinckney, Georgia. Annie, who has never wanted for anything, suddenly finds herself homeless, penniless, and with only the clothes on her back: a designer wedding gown and diamond tiara.

There she meets small town lawyer and restaurant owner Sam Ballard. Unlucky in love, the last thing Sam needs is a red-hot waitress who seems hell-bent on breaking every dish in his Dixieland Café. Still, he can’t very well fire her; she has already won the hearts of everyone in town.

After a lifetime of riches, can Annie find happiness in a garage apartment, second-hand clothes, and making her way around town on a borrowed bicycle? And how can Sam be certain that Annie won’t run home to daddy when her new life presents one obstacle after another?

3.5 stars rounded to 4

I received this audio by the author in exchange for an honest review.  First of all, I want to thank Ms. Hughes for reaching out and offering this book.  I really enjoyed Elizabeth Klett, the narrator.  This was a sweet romance without any angst.  Annie leaves her future husband stranded at the altar in Atlanta, GA.   Her father is a billionaire and has chosen Annie’s husband for her.  Annie’s father thinks that she is only good for hosting and preparing for large parties and wants a man to run his empire.  However, Annie has decided that she will no longer be ruled by her dad or any man.  She quickly leaves the church without her purse, any money, or clothes.

Annie drives until the Mercedes that she hijacked from her father dies and winds up in Pinckney, GA.  I had to laugh as Annie is wearing a dress that most women would die for but quickly realizes the predicament that she is in when the local sheriff demands that she gets out of the car. With miles of tulle, Annie squeezes out of the car to be met with gaping eyes from the small Ga town.

Annie’s first round with the sheriff/restaurant owner/lawyer does not go well. Sam Ballard wants no part of loving a woman since he also had a bad experience with his future bride.  Reluctant, Sam hires Annie as a waitress in his restaurant.  He can’t very well fire Annie, even though she breaks several dishes.  The town folk have come to love Annie and want to help her to become settled in her new life.

Annie had grown up with not wanting anything, but now she has to learn to survive on her own.  Wearing second hand clothes, moving into a garage apartment, and getting around on a bicycle are just a few of the new changes that Annie must face.  Sam has come to love Annie but is worried that she could easily run back to her daddy and beg for forgiveness.

I really enjoyed listening to this book.   There was a twist and a slight mystery towards the end.  I felt that the end of the book was rushed and could have included more detail on both Sam and Annie’s life.   The twist that occurred could have also been a tad bit longer and could have given the reader more detail on how Annie’s relationship changed with Lillian and with Sam.  I am from Atlanta, GA and could definitely see how a small town would embrace Annie as one of their own.

Dance With the Devil (Dark-Hunters #3) by Sherrilyn Kenyon)

Dance With the Devil (Dark-Hunters #3) by Sherrilyn Kenyon)Series: Dark-Hunters
Pages: 343 Pages
AmazonB&NNarrator: Therese Plummer
Zarek's Point of View:

Dark-Hunter: A soulless guardian who stands between mankind and those who would see mankind destroyed. Yeah, right. The only part of that Code of Honor I got was eternity and solitude.

Insanity: A condition many say I suffer from after being alone for so long. But I don't suffer from my insanity-I enjoy every minute of it.

Trust: I can't trust anyone...not even myself. The only thing I trust in is my ability to do the wrong thing in any situation and to hurt anyone who gets in my way.

Truth: I endured a lifetime as a Roman slave, and 900 years as an exiled Dark-Hunter. Now I'm tired of enduring. I want the truth about what happened the night I was exiled-I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Astrid (Greek, meaning star): An exceptional woman who can see straight to the truth. Brave and strong, she is a point of light in the darkness. She touches me and I tremble. She smiles and my cold heart shatters.

Zarek: They say even the most damned man can be forgiven. I never believed that until the night Astrid opened her door to me and made this feral beast want to be human again. Made me want to love and be loved. But how can an ex-slave whose soul is owned by a Greek goddess ever dream of touching, let alone holding, a fiery star?

This was a fantastic read.  The story of Zarek’s life was heart wrenching and sad.  I thnk that I blew through a box of Kleenex.   Thank goodness I was listening to this on audio and had my phone away from me.  What I don’t understand is that Zarek is considered borderline inhuman due to his childhood past.  However, this reader saw Zarek as a kind hearted soul.  His actions to Astrd brings out the human side of him.   I liked all of the secondary characters including Astrid and was glad to see that they found each other.  Their relationship was steamy but also sweet.  As in the prior books, there is romance and sex, but the sex scenes did not take away from the storyline.

I love Simi and Sasha as secondary characters and would love to see more of them.  Sasha’s comments made me laugh out loud, which drew some stares from my family!  I am looking forward to reading more about Acheron and Artimis’ story.

The storyline is excellent and the book is well written.  Although this is fantasy, the story was made believable.  I stayed up late to finish this book, which is extremely unusual. I suggest that this series be read in order due to the establishment of the secondary characters.  I am looking forward to continuing with this series.

Cursed by Ice (Immortal Brothers #2) by Jacquelyn Frank

Cursed by Ice (Immortal Brothers #2) by Jacquelyn FrankSeries: Immortal Brothers #2
on 2015-03-31
Pages: 288
AmazonNarrator: Roger Wayne
From New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Frank comes the smoothly sensual second book in an exciting new series featuring four immortal warrior brothers who must stake their hearts against their fate.  

As punishment for plotting with his brothers to steal immortality, Garreth is suffering a freezing torment until the end of time. Again and again, his fierce fighter’s physique is frozen into a chiseled ice sculpture, his heart hardening like a diamond in his chest—only to thaw and resume the chilling torture. Until, like his older brother Dethan, he is offered a reprieve from a goddess—in exchange for his allegiance in a celestial civil war.   Garreth lives to fight and fights to live. But while laying siege to an embattled city, he finds another reason to go on—a beautiful warrior woman named Sarielle, who commands a mythic beast through a mysterious and powerful bond. Terrified of her strength, the city rulers have kept her captive, and now she refuses to submit to a new master. As Garreth seeks to unleash her passion and melt the icy resistance of her heart, will he become her ultimate salvation—or lead them both to greater destruction?From the Paperback edition.

Cursed by Ice picks up right where Cursed by Fire ended. Dethan had just found out that he will be getting the aid of his youngest brother Garrett, on the mission to build an army while gathering worshipers for their patron gods. In book 1, Dethan’s punishment was nightly burning by god’s fire, whereas here, Garreth was continuously frozen for his punishment.

Garreth was a more humble and likeable character than his older brother Dethan. Garreth was more sensible and cautious about his actions. Garreth accompanies his older brother to the city of Kith and there, he meets a slave girl named Sarielle. During their mission to conquer the city, Garreth learns that Sarielle has a bond with a wyvern (Dragon-like creature) and her life depended on the safety of the wyvern and vice versa. Sarielle has two sisters that the city elders held hostage, forcing Sarielle to usethe wyvern to protect Kith. While Garreth becomes attracted to Sarielle, he doesn’t lose track of the mission that goddess Weysa set him and Dethan upon.

Garreth and Dethan finally sack the city and Sarielle asserts her independence, which put her on equal footing with Garreth. Thus the road to pursue their attraction was cleared, and they began a battle of wills.

Better than book 1 but this series is not going to be memorable. It’s just not on par with some of the new releases right now. I am on the fence about this series overall. I feel like it could really be good but it’s lacking something. The story telling was much better in the sequel and the main characters had more depth. There was even more involvement from the gods in this book. But the story needs a little more of something to propel it from average status. I will try book 3 in a few months.

*Special thanks to Random house Publishing—Ballantine via Netgalley for the e-arc, which was given in exchange for an honest review

Cursed by Fire (Immortal Brothers, #1) by Jacquelyn Frank

Cursed by Fire (Immortal Brothers, #1) by Jacquelyn FrankSeries: Immortal Brothers #1
on 2015-02-24
Pages: 352
AmazonB&NNarrator: Roger Wayne
From New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Frank comes the scorching hot first book in a thrilling new series featuring four warrior brothers who have the power—and the curse—of immortality.   For centuries, Dethan has been trapped in a fiery inferno for defying the gods and snatching the power of immortality. Condemned to have his battle-hardened body licked by flames only to regenerate and be consumed all over again, Dethan has lost all hope—until the Goddess of Conflict appears. She will release him from torment—if he’ll use his power and strength as a warrior to raise an army and defeat a fierce enemy faction of gods.   Free to live as a man once again, Dethan meets Selinda—heir to the throne of Hexis—and his thoughts quickly turn from the conquest of cities to the conquest of this headstrong beauty. Betrothed to a cruel, calculating powermonger, Selinda needs a champion, and so Dethan enters into another bargain: If she will share her bed—and her body—with him, Dethan will save her city from destructive forces within and without. As the lovers ignite a searing passion, Dethan will risk all—even the wrath of the Goddess of Conflict—for a chance to make Selinda his forever.From the Paperback edition.

I both liked and hated that this story was simple and predictable. It was easy to follow and the villain was evident immediately. While the ending was obvious, I was curious to see how the characters would evolve.

Declan was chained and burned by gods’ fire for daring to drink from a fountain of immortality. After over a century of punishment, the goddess of conflict, Weysa, came to Declan with a deal. She will give him respite during the day, if he will amass worshippers in her name. The gods were fighting amongst each other and their individual powers were waning since they were not being revered as in times past.

Declan’s first stop took him to Hexis where the people huddled in fear of the Redoe, a neighobor army, who extorted them for crops and money. The Grand (king) was a simpleton and offered his daughter Selinda to a cruel man, Grannish if he would save Hexis from the siege. The Grannish treated Selinda abominably and forced her perform humiliating tassk. One of them was to grant a kiss to winners of Sparing contests, which usually featured lowly born peasants. It was at such a contest that Declan first played champion to Selinda, and igniting the spark that would eventually turn into passion.

In Declan, Selinda saw a savior who would rescue her from the Grannish and save her people. In Hexis, Declan saw the answer to his quest to find new worshipers for his goddess. Their alliance ended up freeing them from their enemies as well as satisfying the goddess Weysa.

I have read several books by Jacquelyn Frank and I find her writing to be inconsistent. The Nightwalkers had some excellent books. In fact, Gideon is one of my top 5 all-time favorite PNR/UF books.
This book was too elementary for an author of her caliber. She is obviously very creative and talented because her books are different from the status quo. The idea in this one has promise, but the execution of book 1 was rudimentary. The characters were so one-dimensional. Everything was so obvious, cliché and truthfully, the book was boring. It lacked a true foundation of how the gods at conflict operate and I sincerely hope the paperback has a chart so we can remember the gods. I am going to give it a pass as a book 1 and try book 2 before I decide where to go. I have read books by this author that blew me away so I am not ready to give up on this series yet.

*Special thanks to Random house Publishing—Ballantine via Netgalley for the e-arc, which was given in exchange for an honest review.

Bound (Eternal Guardians, #6) by Elisabeth Naughton

Bound (Eternal Guardians, #6) by Elisabeth NaughtonSeries: Eternal Guardians #6
on 2013
Pages: 269
AmazonB&NNarrator: Elizabeth Wiley
TITUS—To most his gift seems like a blessing, but for him it's a curse the other Eternal Guardians—those who protect the mortal realm from threats of the Underworld—seek to exploit. One he would gladly trade for the chance to be free…Obsessed. Her touch is like a drug. From the moment he met her, Titus knew she was different. Even dangerous. Yet though his guardian brethren are convinced Natasa is working for Hades, Titus can't stop thinking about her. Can't stop fantasizing about her. Can't stop craving the one thing he knows could lead to the downfall of his world.Possessed. Faced with stopping Natasa or joining in her quest, Titus falls to temptation and is thrust into a world of lust, deception, and deadly treachery designed by the gods. Her touch—only hers—frees him from his bonds, but desire may just condemn him. Because before the end he'll have to decide which is more important: duty and honor to those he took an oath to defend, or a woman who could very well be the biggest curse to them all.

I don’t know about this one. While I liked the MCs, my main issue is with the actual world. The lack of true brotherhood or real friendship between the so-called heroes–the Argonauts. I don’t think any of them like each other. They certainly don’t know anything about each other. I don’t get it.

This installment was Titus and Natasa’s journey. We met them towards the end of the last book and I felt their chemistry immediately. They are both likable characters, so I was intrigued as they tried to decipher the other’s secrets.

We got to learn that Titus, from Odysseus’s descendant, was gifted with the power to read thoughts. That gift was enhanced when he used it to trick a witch into his bed. Now when he touches people he can hear their thoughts and feel all their emotions as well. So it is quite the curse now.

Natasa is a descendant of Poseidon and bears a gift within herself from daddy dearest that makes her a prize to the Olympians. So now, she is hunted by both the Titans and the Olympians.

In a secondary plot, Isadora is pregnant but still caught between her husband Demetrius and Nick, who both claim soul bonds with her. I remember Nick being Demetrius brother, but I don’t see why he has a bond if he isn’t a twin. Three was definitely a crowd in this relationship and Nick was getting of my nerves. I think I could enjoy this series more if there was a kinship, friendship or more warmth when the brotherhood dealt each other. There is no team, just a bunch of individuals doing their own thing. Can’t they all just get along?

The Darkest Surrender (Lords of the Underworld #8) by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Surrender  (Lords of the Underworld #8) by Gena ShowalterSeries: Lords of the Underworld #8
on September 27th 2011
Pages: 426 pages
Possessed by the demon of Defeat, Strider cannot lose a challenge without suffering unimaginable pain. For him, nothing stands in the way of victory. Until Kaia, an enchanting Harpy, tempts him to the razor's edge of surrender.Known among her people as The Disappointment, Kaia must bring home the gold in the Harpy Games or die. Strider is a distraction she can't afford because he has an agenda of his own-steal first prize, an ancient godly artifact, before the winner can be named. But as the competition heats up, only one prize will matter-the love neither had thought possible...

I’m not sure why I’ve been forcing myself to continue this series when I clearly stopped enjoying it a while ago. I’m a little hopeful again since this book was better. It wasn’t quite a 4-star but I rounded up.

This is Stryker and Kaia’s book. If you remember at the end of the last book, Kaia told Stryker that she was his consort but he rejected her. See, Stryker’s demon is defeat, so he has to win at all things. First, Stryker had a crush on Haidee and Kaia had slept Paris–whose demon is promiscuity. Who wants to follow an act Paris when it comes to sex? Not Mr. I-MUST-WIN, so Stryker was not trying to hear it, but Kaia pulls out the stops to get her man. She begins by calling in her marker for his assistance in The Harpy Games.

The Harpy Games is a win-win because Kaia can demonstrate how great she was (this gal has got a big ego) and Stryker can look for one of the relics the Lords are looking in their quest to get those artifacts.

This was was entertaining because Stryker obviously wants her but he is fighting it. Their banter is entertaining as they are both wise guys. I chuckled a bit and I admit I savored the inner dialogue Stryker was having with himself. I do like them together. They were good together.

Part of me thinks I liked this book because it was similar to IAD which I have been back reading because the Harpies were like the Valkyries, the Valkyries also also have a tournament, and the sarcasm reminded me of the demon Hs like Cadeon. I still prefer IAD. I now see that I enjoy this series better when I read it whereas I love IAD via audio. I will read Paris book maybe next month because we got snippets in this book, but as an ebook.

Enraptured (Eternal Guardians #4) by Elisabeth Naughton

Enraptured (Eternal Guardians #4) by Elisabeth NaughtonSeries: Eternal Guardians #4
on April 1st, 2012
Pages: 415 pages
AmazonNarrator: Elizabeth Wiley
Orpheus--To most he's an enigma, a devil-may-care rogue who does whatever he pleases whenever he wants. Now this loose cannon is part of the Eternal Guardians--elite warriors assigned to protect the human realm--whether he likes it or not.

Orpheus has just one goal: to rescue his brother from the Underworld. He's not expecting a woman to get in the way. Especially not a Siren as gorgeous as Skyla. He has no idea she's an assassin sent by Zeus to seduce, entrap, and ultimately destroy him.

Yet Skyla herself might have the most to lose. There's a reason Orpheus feels so familiar to her, a reason her body seems to crave him. Perhaps he's not the man everyone thinks... The truth could reveal a deadly secret as old as the Eternal Guardians themselves.

Seriously, this series is so full of holes it could be swiss cheese…but something keeps me going on. I don’t understand but I am being entertained or I wouldn’t be thinking so hard about stuff.

Orpheus has been the unknown since book 1 and I just had to find out his story. In the last book, we saw him use the orb to save his little brother Gryphon, but that wizard stole Gryphon’s body, trapping Gryphon’s soul in the underworld.

Orpheus is so wrecked with guilt that he decides he will go there and rescue his brother. Of course the gods (Zeus, Hera, Hades, even Atlanta) have their own plans for the brothers. Zeus sends on of Hera’s sirens, Skylar, to seduce, kill and get the orb from Orpheus. And what seemed like a game of seduction, turned into something more. In addition, Orpheus and Skylar experience deja vu, like they have danced to this tune before, but surely they couldn’t have. Either way, they are inexplicably drawn to each other, but Skylar is sent to be an assassin. Can she really go through with her mission?

I like this series but these eternal guardians are no different from humans. They seem weak to me. They are unobservant, lacking in the basic preparation by finding out about their enemies and they are verbally caustic to their fated females.

With all that said, I will be starting audiobook 5 in a few minutes because I have to make sure Gryphon is alright. After all, being trapped and tortured by Hades every day for 3 months has to be terrible on his psyche. I want to see who saves him, though I suspect she has been on the run with Orpheus and Skylar this whole time (*Cough Maela).

Tempted (Eternal Guardians #3) by Elisabeth Naughton

Tempted (Eternal Guardians #3) by Elisabeth NaughtonSeries: Eternal Guardians #3
on September 6th, 2011
Pages: 418 pages
AmazonNarrator: Elizabeth Wiley
DEMETRIUS—He’s the hulking, brooding warrior his fellow Guardians avoid. Too dark. Too damaged. And given his heritage, he knows it’s best to keep everyone at arm’s length.

Isadora is missing. The words pound through his head like a frantic drumbeat. For her own protection, Demetrius did all he could to avoid the fragile princess, his soul mate. And now she’s gone—kidnapped. To get her back, he’ll have to go to the black place in his soul he’s always shunned.

As daemons ravage the human realm and his loyalty to the Guardians is put to the ultimate test, Demetrius realizes that Isadora is stronger than anyone thought. And finally letting her into his heart may be the only way to save them both.

This third book featured the “mean” guardian Demetrius, the one who relished every opportunity to torment Princess Isadora for reasons unbeknownst to all. In fact, his disrespect was so appalling in the last book when the King had ordered him to marry Isadora that he said he would rather be put to death.

After Isadora went missing with her hand maiden right before her binding ceremony to Zander, the guardians began looking for her. Demetrius was able to find her and rescue her from his mother, but not really since his mother banished them to the island of Pandora. Demetrius’ mother was hoping to find a way to get her son and Isadora to become involved so they can have a baby. She would use this infant and it’s power to reclaim her rightful place as an Argolean ruler.
I am really intrigued with this series because of it’s potential, not the execution. In fact, this story has more holes than the last one.

My 2.5 Major Issues:
1) Hera’s curse: Theron hated female humans—thus his mate Casey was a human. Zander—well, I don’t exact understand why Callia was his mate as I don’t know what he hated about her. But I know he hated an action that he thought she did. Demetrius hated pathetic, weaklings, thus why he seemed to hate Isadora.
But this novel implied that Demetrius was aware that Isadora was probably his mate for a really long time. So why did he continue to treat her so reprehensibly? He went out of his way to terrorize her, yet he has a shrine in his place. I don’t get it. If he suspected she was his “curse”, isn’t it inevitable that they will fall in love anyway? Also, why did it take so long for their feelings to kick it because Theron and Zander seemed attracted to their mates from the beginning?

2) Background check: I don’t know about being an Argonaut, but my job performs background and reference checks before an offer of employment is extended. How is it that no one knew anything about Demetrius’ lineage before they appointed him one of a handful of eternal guardians to protect humans and Argolean’s from the Daemons? In fact, they didn’t know he was part witch, only that he was of Jason’s line. How is it that Theron didn’t even know where Demetrius lived, when this is the guy whom you trust to save the world with you?

Minor Issue) Their government set up reminds me of the power struggle that ancient Rome had with the dictators always fighting with the Senate for control. The political scheming etc. Why didn’t Lucian face some kind of backlash for remaining quiet about his son’s involvement with Callia’s son and the deal with Atlanta. I need more answers and better answers. I am not getting them so far but I am not frustrated yet. I am still open.

Ultimately, I am giving this book a four because it makes me want to keep going and neglect the other books that I planned to read because I like Gryphon and Orpheus. So despite the issues, I am still invested in the story, that’s why I bumped it up from a 3.5star to 4-stars