Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

Love like a Rock Star! A Review for ROCK ADDICTION by Nalini Singh

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

When Nalini Singh first announced that she had an entire new – contemporary – series underway, I was a little apprehensive but also very excited for this unexpected bonus series, starting with Fox and Molly’s story in Rock Addiction.


The Blurb:

A bad boy wrapped in a sexy, muscled, grown-up package might be worth a little risk… 

Molly Webster has always followed the rules. After an ugly scandal tore apart her childhood and made her the focus of the media’s harsh spotlight, she vowed to live an ordinary life. No fame. No impropriety. No pain. Then she meets Zachary Fox, a tattooed bad boy rocker with a voice like whiskey and sin, and a touch that could become an addiction.

A one-night stand with the hottest rock star on the planet, that’s all it was meant to be…

Fox promises scorching heat and dangerous pleasure, coaxing Molly to extend their one-night stand into a one-month fling. After that, he’ll be gone forever, his life never again intersecting with her own. Sex and sin and sensual indulgence, all with an expiration date. No ties, no regrets. Too late, Molly realizes it isn’t only her body that’s become addicted to Fox, but her heart…

The Review:

“She wanted to bite his lower lip.”

Can anyone create characters as hot and intriguing as Nalini Singh? I have read books by a few authors that have come close, but no writer seems to have honed the technique as brilliantly as Ms. Singh. The characters in Rock Addiction, including the supporting cast, are fleshed out, complex and intense. While we get to read the Fox and Molly’s back stories in depth – both of which are unique and heart-wrenching – we only get a small glimpse of darkness surrounding the secondary characters.

Molly’s got legitimate reasons for shying away from the limelight. I’m not talking stage fright, but actual reasons that make you feel for her when they are revealed at least. Fox, on the other hand, is a rock star so publicity is part of the game. From right off the bat, these two seem like an unlikely couple, but Fox and Molly – Folly – seem to make it work.

However, I was a little hesitant to read about a rock star hero. (I’m a little prejudice against “famous” heroes because Hollywood has such a bad rap when it comes to romance and relationships among celebrities.) But, by the third chapter of Rock Addiction, I stopped thinking of Fox as a rock star hero, and started thinking of him as a Nalini Singh hero instead – smart, sexy, and uber-alpha…I was expected him to shift into a changeling at any point in the novel or spout wings! Seriously, Ms. Singh’s got the alpha-male formula down pat!

Likewise, Ms. Singh has a very distinctive voice in the romance genre. She controls her writing the way a poet would control the rhythm on his poem.

“You know when you get the whisper of a melody in your head, or the murmur of a song? And you have the gut feeling that if you could just hear the rest of it, just capture the music…you’d have something fucking amazing?”

There was very little about Rock Addiction that I didn’t find entertaining – thought I had moments of frustration with both the hero and heroine. They both jump a little fast from a one-night stand to affair to relationship – I’m talking Romeo and Juliet fast, although granted that Fox and Molly don’t get married and die in the span of five days. Both Fox and Molly know very little about each other, and seem to jump into this relationship and move in together despite the fact that they have obvious issues to work out.

But just when I would have judged Molly a weak character, she stands her ground so ultimately I was more impressed with her than frustrated. Fox, who had his own trauma to overcome, is so utterly devoted to Molly that it’s hard to stay mad at him for long.

But despite their erotic connection, sex wasn’t the first thing that came to his mind when he thought of Molly. It was her smile.

Fox proves that he is a romantic at heart and that this story, despite the scorching sex is really more about love than lust! (It certainly stole my four fifths of my heart!)

Rock Addiction releases on September 9, 2014, and look out for Rock Courtship – Noah and Thea story – soon thereafter!

Rika Ashton

Ebooks available through Amazon or Kobo. (Trade paperback links not available yet.)



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Copper King

Takhini Shifters 1

Vivian Arend


Timeline: February prior to the start of Black Gold: Takhini Wolves 1, this stand alone novella introduces a couple later featured in the Rita-nominated SILVER MINE: Takhini Wolves 3


I’m such a fan of Vivian Arends shifters–her Takhini Wolves are the best!


But one of my very favorite stories by her is Tangled Tinsel, a Christmas short (http://www.amazon.com/Tangled-Tinsel-Vivian-Arend-ebook/dp/B004CJ813I/ref=sr_1_46?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1398823337&sr=1-46&keywords=vivian+arend ) that is full of fun & just a great little read!


I tell you that because this story, Copper King, is very much in the same spirit. Casino owner Grizzly shifter Jim Halcyon is all about having a good time with life—and women are pretty much the top of that pleasure list. Jim’s a love and leave them kind of guy—but leave them smiling!


Ready to embark on a new adventure with his closest friend—a crazy, fun adventure to win the coin Lady Luck—Jim’s bestie decides he needs a woman to help him cheer up. Only the woman he’s targeted for Jim isn’t the one Jim zeros in on—she’s the stunning woman across the room who looks like she’s trying to shrink into her clothes to hide. Yeah, right as she HITS THE JACKPOT!!


Lillie has come to Las Vegas for one last fling—she doesn’t want to draw attention to herself, but she wants to have a blast…and maybe a fling! And when she sees the sexy Jim closing in on her she’s sunk. He’s a hunk of grizzly she just can’t pass up!


Jim and Lillie find themselves having such a great time, and enjoying each other so much…yet they both see the deadline of their fling looming. Jim on his Lady Luck adventure, and Lillie to meet obligations she can’t escape…or can she?


LOVED it! Such a fun read. Short but full of sexiness, and shifter possessiveness & just yummy goodness!! Rich, shifter, possessive, hot…Yup, Vivian Arend hits every high point in this novella!!


I want MORE!! NOW!!


For buy links and an excerpt, click here.

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A Review of Gambling with the Crown by Lynn Raye Harris

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Cover and Blurb:


UK Cover (left) and US Cover (right)

The crown of Kyr holds no appeal for pleasure-seeking sheikh Kadir al-Hassan—his memories of the kingdom are as dark as a desert’s night. But neither will he shirk his duty…. Instead, Kadir returns home with a bride so unsuitable, no one will want him to be king!

Long-suffering assistant Emily Bryant is the most important person in Kadir’s high-octane life, and the most invisible—until she’s promoted to royal bride! Sealing their marriage bargain with a scorching kiss leaves Kadir craving more….

Now Kadir must decide what’s really at stake in his royal game—his desert duty, or Emily!


Gambling with the Crown, the first in the “Heirs to the Throne of Kyr” series, was a quick read, and parts of it had me smiling while other parts of the novel had me shaking my fist in frustration. (But that was mostly Kadir’s fault.)

Kadir is a playboy sheik, who is used to getting what he wants, but I like that he stands up for Emily in the start of the novel. I also like that he’s smart enough not to be fooled by his ex for long. However, I wanted Kadir to me more alpha – yes, I’m spoiled – but he was a little too indecisive for my taste. I really wanted him to get on with it and “claim” Emily already – and no, I’m using that as a euphemism for my pervertedness.

On the other hand, I liked Emily. She was smart, goal-oriented and can tell Kadir off when he’s being too big of an ass, which can be often. And I like that Emily is able to keep her cool when facing some of Kadir’s gazillion exes.

But, undoubtedly, my favourite part of this novel was Rashid. He pretty much stole the show the second he came on scene, or rather page. He gave me more of an alpha-vibe than Kadir and although our hero had a tortured past, Rashid’s life and past seem more complicated and therefore more fascinating:

“To talk to Rashid was to think you were talking to an iceberg. It was only when you saw him that you realized he blazed like the desert.”

I did have one other quibble with the book, there is no “I love you” from the heroine. Okay, I know it’s there, but sometimes it’s nice to hear the words…so, Emily, out with it already. Harris, of course, deliberately stops Emily from saying the words and its part of the character development. But as for myself, I’m really hoping that Emily and Kadir make a cameo is Rashid’s novel, if only so I can hear her say it. (I am very single-minded about these things it seems.)

Overall, despite my quibbles because they are in fact personal in nature and have nothing to do with the author’s ability to write, I’m going to give this novel a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Read and enjoy,

Rika Ashton



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Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review…and I’m going to try really, really hard to keep this post spoiler free.

Cover and Blurb:

SoWAssassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake…

Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to suffocate her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness…



I cannot put into words how much I loved Nalini Singh’s Shield of Winter. I wasn’t a big Vasic fan going into the novel. He seemed like a classic tortured hero with a “dark past” – I much prefer the “I own my darkness” vibe that Kaleb gave off or “alpha” vibe of Lucas. But as I started reading this novel, I realized I might have – okay, definitely – stereotyped Vasic based on his appearances in previous novels. There are so many new facets we learn about Vasic in this novel that, by the end of it, Ms. Singh has created a character that is complex and hard to categorize.

“There was a man standing on the path between the snow-kissed trees. No, not a man. A soldier. Over six feet tall with broad shoulders, his posture was unyielding, his stillness absolute, his eyes a chill gray, and his hair black.”

Vasic isn’t your classic alpha, but he does have some similarities to Lucas and Hawke from Slave to Sensation and Kiss of Snow, respectively. However, while Lucas and Hawke live for their packs, Vasic is more of a lone wolf.

But as the case with most lone wolves, he eventually has to learn to work with someone. In this case, that someone is Ivy Jane – E-Psy (empathic) and heroine of our novel. Vasic is sent to keep Ivy safe, and through at first he’s reluctant, he slowly learns to interact with her. Ivy is a very warm and sweet character – personally, I found it hard to dislike her – so it didn’t really surprise me when Vasic learned to trust her and open up.

But undeniably, the best part of this novel had to be Judd (Caressed by Ice) acting as sex-ed councillor/advisor.

Overall, this was one of my favourite books of the year so far! And if my review has made you curious enough to check it out, or if you were already going to get it despite my rambling, Shield of Winter releases on June 3, 2014.


Rika Ashton


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Oh, WOW!! Dirty, yummy, HAWT – did I say dirty?? – the pages of Beyond Jealousy SEETHE with sexual tension, emotion and almost BREATHE into life. I’ve got all the books in this series, but I started with this, book 4… the author clearly states you are best suited to read these in order when you begin the book, but lemmee just tell you, it didn’t matter to me. This book was FABULOUS!!

There is nothing I love better than a love triangle…and here we got us a love triangle where Rachel is smoldering over two men – two men who smolder for one another! Ace and Cruz both have a past with Rachel (and this is what you’re missing out on if you haven’t read the past books)

and you can fell how much it hurts when they know Rachel is hurting, but each is so twisted and torn up with jealousy of the other that it’s hard for them to look past that and see that all three of them want one another in a desperate way. It’s a beautiful, base thing!

This world Kit Rocha (Kit Rocha is actually two people—Bree & Donna, best friends who are living the dream) has built is sexy, dirty and packed with people who live by their emotions. The pages of this book writhe with passion, sex, jealousy, fear, angst…it’s filled up with all that I love best.

Oh, and when Ace, Cruz and Rachel finally DO cave to their wants and urges? Yeah. I had an ice cold bottle of water next to me while reading,and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to drink it or dump it over my head! YUM, peeps. I LOVED this book! I’m off to begin the series and catch me some sexy times that I missed starting here!


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DISCLAIMER: The reviewer received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.




I haven’t read many Harlequin Presents novels – the closest I’ve come was the older books by Nalini Singh – but I don’t have anything against these novels. So when I received an ARC of What the Greek’s Money Can’t Buy by Maya Blake, I was delighted! (Although, truthfully, anything book related makes me smile…as long as it doesn’t have sparkling vampires.)


Blake’s novel didn’t take me too long to read, since it was less than 200 pages, but it was good. I expected it to be underdeveloped considering the length and the suggested plot, but it was well-written overall. But before I dive into a detailed review, let me give you some context as to what I’m babbling about:



WTGMCBThe forbidden tastes all the sweeter…  


Oil magnate Sakis Pantelides always gets what he wants—after all, he’s drop-dead gorgeous, powerful and wealthy beyond words. But the one thing he can’t have is his stunning assistant, Brianna Moneypenny—because she’s the only woman this cynical Greek can trust. 


But when an international crisis throws them together 24/7, intriguingly buttoned-up Brianna reveals a sensual hunger that rivals his own, and he realizes just what he’s been denying himself for so long. But when his perfect PA’s secret is discovered, will he pay the price for taking what he wants?


The novel’s got an interesting plot, evenly matched characters and an unlikeable villain – though he doesn’t really make an appearance. The “secret” mentioned in the blurb is actually one worth keeping, in my humble opinion, and Brianna deserves a second chance especially considering the circumstances around the “secret” weren’t really her fault.

Yes, I’m trying really, really hard not to mention what the “secret” actually is…but let’s just say that the heroine, Brianna, is inked for a reason.

As for the hero, Sakis, he and Brianna were evenly matched. They both come from not-so-ideal pasts and have built a life for themselves. The hero isn’t uber-alpha – which is a surprise because most Harlequins I’ve read tend to lean toward alpha male heroes, but again I’ll be the first to admit that my experience is limited. But Sakis characteristics, whether alpha or not, were well-balanced by the heroine. She stands her ground throughout the novel and does have good reasons for what she does.

Of course, that isn’t to say that the novel is completely perfect. This is an ARC so things might change in the final draft…but the one thing that bothered me was Brianna’s decision to keep Greg – that’s the villain – a secret from Sakis. (No this is not THE SECRET, in case you’re wondering.) This is a personal pet peeve, so I’m sure it won’t bother everyone, but I don’t really like the whole keeping unnecessary secrets thing – it has a tendency to blow up in one’s face.

Also I would have loved to see more of Greg, but do to the novels word count constraints, the author doesn’t get a chance to play up his character. Too bad, because he seemed like a villain with serious potential. 😦

But other than the personal issue and the villain’s quick “demise,” this novel was a good, quick read. For anyone who likes shorter novels, I recommend this one. It’s got great characters, with interesting backstories, and a neat conflict.

So if you’re counting stars, I’ll give this one a four out of five.  🙂

Rika Ashton

(aka The Guest Reviewer)


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Concealed in Death:

In Death Series, Book 38 [Unabridged]


by J. D. Robb (Author), Susan Ericksen (Narrator)


This is one of my absolute favorite series in Audio; It’s a winning combination of a fabulous author with an amazing narrator. I’d read every book in this series up unitl a few years ago, then I fell a few behind. So I thought what the heck, I’ll try one in Audio and catch back up. I wound up buying EVERY single book in audio just listen to Susan Ericksen breath new life into these characters for me! She’s THAT good! She’s built personality into the voices of each character and you can SEE their faces while you’re listening. LOVE it!


Nora Roberts, aka J.D. Robb, changes the tone of the In Death books often. If you’re a fan, you know exactly what I mean. While each book focuses on a case, some books will make you laugh, some will you leave you shaking your head at humanity, and some will really just make you sad. For me this was one of the Makes Me Sad cases.


Roarke has just purchased an older building that he has plans of restoring. Taking a personal interest he’s there when the demolition begins ~ and the bodies are found sealed into false walls. For he wife Lt. Eve Dallas the bodies of the young girls found are HER’s. She always takes a personal interest in the dead…they now belong to her. This case in particular touches her on a deep level, as these girls were orphans, abused, children who started life under the worst of circumstances in most of the cases; and Eve can so relate. She’d begun her life that, only unlike these girls she’d had the chance to build something else in her life. And she’s determined to find out who stole that chance from these girls…


This one focus’s hard on the relationship between Eve and Roarke, and Eve’s relationship with her bestie Mavis Freestone. It’s been great to see Eve open up and accept people and love into her life throughout the series, and we really get to see the contrast between the now and what once was in this one. While it left a lingering sadness on me for Eve, Roarke and Mavis, I loved every second of this story. Couldn’t quit listening!


I will say that if you’re new to this series this isn’t the place to start.


While I believe you’d totally enjoy the story you’d miss so much of the full series arc that runs through that you couldn’t possibly enjoy it as much as you SHOULD. There are some in this series that are stand alone. This isn’t one!



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Darkness Awakened



by Katie Reus (Author), Jeffrey Kafer (Narrator)


Werewolf Finn Stavros and Vampire Lyra Marius defied the confines of their races and fell in love – 17 years ago. Only Finn, scared for Lyra’s safety, cut the relationship off while he fought and won the Alpha position in his pack. He began searching for her as soon as he became Alpha, and has been searching ever since, with no luck…until she shows up on his pack’s doorstep, desperate for help.


Lyra has a secret she’s afraid to share with Finn, a secret that cost her her position in her Coven, and resulted in her building a life with her daughter in the human world. Now her daughter has been kidnapped, and Finn is the only person she can turn to for help.


Someone is releasing Akkadian demons, and Lyra is fearful they’re trying to use her daughter to fulfill an old prophecy…a prophecy she’s not told the full truth about. But it only takes their eyes meeting for them both to realize feelings are still there, the WANT is still there.


I really liked Lyra – she’s built a life as a single mother for herself and her daughter, and she’s done it with no help from family OR friends. She comes across as a strong, likeable woman whose goal to this point has been raising her daughter. Now the very center of her world is being threatened and she’s willing to ask for help from a man she believes didn’t want her. I liked the way Lyra and Finn interact – while this isn’t a long story, I felt like the past relationship worked perfectly for them to fall for one another so quickly. Not once did Katie Reus lose the perspective of Lyra’s daughter being the focal point of the story.


Finn’s focus has been his pack – and finding Lyra. He’s never been able to find another woman who even tempted him…Vampire or not, she’s the woman for him. And he’s all in to help her find her daughter, no matter the cost. He’s strong, sexy and more than willing to show his pack that Lyra is the woman for him. There’s lots of sexy, smokin’ moments!


This was a great sexy shifter story!

LOVED the narration – I’m not always a fan of a male narrator, but he does a great job with the female voices AND the male voices. And WOW, Katie Reus teases us with a brief glimpse of a sexy Dragon shifter…Grrrr…can’t wait for that one!





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simpletwist_200The blurb

The Hanover brothers are doing their best to live down the legacy of their con artist father…but they still have a knack for getting in trouble where romance is concerned.

As the lawyer of the family, Beckett Hanover ought to be sorting through the many claims filed against their family estate—which the brothers have recently inherited from their grandmother. But something about the housekeeper, Sophie, keeps stealing his focus…

Little does he know, as he flirts, what else she intends to steal. The truth is Sophie took the job with one purpose in mind: to help her aunt. But she never expected to find a man like Beck or get sidetracked by the handsome hottie’s sweet talk and broad shoulders. Between her secret and Beck’s past, the two are headed for one risky romance.

The Hanover brothers are back with all the mystery and drama that surrounds them. Beck has always been the calm brother, the one that looks for logic and refuses to jump to conclusions without all the facts. As he starts to fall for Sophie, there’s no place for logic. The attraction is immediate and the smexy times are smoking.  As more secrets are revealed and the past shoves a wedge between Beck and Sophie, they both must decide if they can trust each other enough to fight for love. Includes a groveling hero 😀

The romance of each Hanover Brothers book is a stand alone but the mystery extends through all the books. I recommend that they be read in order. And I do recommend them! Fun, sexy, with a touch of angst. This small town setting is perfect for these hot heroes and strong heroines.

4.5 stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Format: Digital

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ThroneOfOak_final2-253x388The blurb:

Vampire Dragos Ibanescu, Mayor of Maggie’s Grove, is about to lose his mind. His mate, the dryad queen Mina Chainey, refuses to have anything to do with him after her ordeal at the hands of an evil witch. If he doesn’t mate with her soon, he may lose control of the beast within him—a force far more dangerous than anyone in town knows…

Mina’s nightmares of her time with the witch haunt her. The Queen of the Forest can’t muster the strength needed to fight her terror. Unable to leave the Throne, she vows she will not accept Dragos until she can stand at his side as an equal. But the nightmares are only growing in strength, and soon she realizes that there’s more to her pain than simple fear.

Dark forces are converging on Maggie’s Grove, and a horde of hunters stalk supernaturals from the shadows. Only by uniting in body and mind will Mina and Dragos find the strength to defend their home.

I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for the second book of the Maggie’s Grove series and it was well worth every moment of the wait! Dragos was every thing I was hoping for. Strong, protective, serious when he needs to be but with a dry sense of humor. And as soon as he meets Mina, he’s utterly devoted.  He wants to help Mina heal and shield her from danger but knows without a doubt that she’s strong enough to stand beside him. They were perfect together.

As much as I loved Dragos and Mina, it was Maggie’s Grove and its set of eclectic residents that made this book shine. After the town was so divided in Blood of the Maple, it was awesome to see them come together to protect their own in Throne of Oak. Bell’s humor is definitely present in this one but it is darker than the previous book. Maggie’s Grove is under attack from multiple sides and none of the secondary characters I loved so much in book 1 are safe.

Throne of Oak was one of the best books I’ve read this year. It showcases everything I love about the paranormal romance genre. With fantastic world building, drama, danger, humor, angst, and characters I can’t wait to revisit again and again, I recommend this to any reader that wants a great story.


Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: June 10, 2013
Format: Digital

Barnes & Noble


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