Spotlight and Giveaway: Hot Rebel by Lynn Raye Harris

This week, bestselling author Lynn Raye Harris celebrates the release of her romantic suspense Hot Rebel. Featuring a military hero, kick ass heroine, and a Middle Eastern mission gone bad, this is an action packed romance.   To celebrate the release, Lynn is hosting a $50 gift card giveaway, so please enter below!

Summary

A rebel on the run…

Read more

This Week’s New and Notable YA and MG Releases – September 18

Here are some new and notable YA & MG releases for the week:

Adaptation by Malinda Lo

What’s Left of Me: The Hybrid Chronicles, Book One by Kat Zhang

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Butter by Erin Jade Lange

The Crown of Embers (Girl of Fire and Thorns) by  Rae Carson

Cursed by Jennifer Armentrout

The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox

Glass Heart by Amy Garvey

Homesick  by Kate Klise

Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride

The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Safekeeping by Karen Hesse

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

The Time-Traveling Fashionista at the Palace of Marie Antoinette by Bianca Turetsky

Are any of these on your wish list? Can you recommend any?

Review: I Own the Dawn by M L Buchman

Title: I Own the Dawn

Author:  M L Buchman

Publisher:  Sourcebooks

Available in Digital:

I Own the Dawn: The Night Stalkers

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Name: Archibald Jeffrey Stevenson III
Rank: First Lieutenant, Dap Hawk Copilot
Mission: Strategy and execution of special ops maneuvers

Name: Kee Smith
Rank: Sergeant, Night Stalker Gunner and Sharpshooter
Mission: Whatever it takes to get the job done

You Wouldn’t Think It Could Get Worse, Until It Does…

When a special mission slowly unravels, it is up to Kee and Archie to get their team out of an impossible situation with international implications. With her weaponry knowledge and his strategic thinking, plus the explosive attraction that puts them into exact synchrony, together they might just have a fighting chance.

Review:

I don’t read many military romances, and I’m not sure why.  I loved the urgency and the tension; one mistake could mean injury or death for Kee or one of the members of her special ops team.  Given her impulsiveness and single-minded determination to carry out a mission, that could spell trouble for her crewmates.  Add in the distraction from a forbidden romance on top of that and Kee and Archie could be in for a rocky ride.  Scratch that – they are guaranteed to have a nearly disastrous time!

Kee is a hard woman to like, and she actually likes it that way.  She is not a character that I am used to reading.  Volatile and  prickly, she doesn’t let anyone get close to her.  She guards her past unrelentingly, and while she doesn’t mind a roll in the sheets, there is no way she is going to trust her heart to some guy.  That’s just not happening.  Too complicated, and with her life on the line with every mission, it’s too distracting.  That is, until she is transferred to Emily Beale’s SOAR team, where she meets Archibald Jeffrey Stevenson III, a guy who is everything that she is not. A graduate of West Point,  from a wealthy background, Archie is also an officer and a relationship with him could spell big trouble.  He could get court-martialed, and Kee wouldn’t emerge unscathed should their relationship become public knowledge.   Kee decides that it’s just not worth it, until an unplanned vacation to Italy breaks down her best intentions to stay away from him.

While I was reading I Own the Dawn, I actually felt more comfortable with Archie.  He is a character I immediately liked and could relate to.   Kee, on the other hand, made me uncomfortable.  She comes from the streets, and she is unbelievably tough.  She is also an unapologetic killer.  Trained as a sharpshooter, she rarely misses a target.  I found myself uneasy in her head at times, because she has to be cool under pressure, ready to eliminate her assigned target, which is usually an enemy combatant.  People die when Kee pulls the trigger of her rifle, and sometimes that didn’t sit well with me.  I guess I am not used to heroines in contemporary romances being capable of carrying out deadly missions or murdering gang members.  I know that I am far too wimpy for the life and death confrontations that are part of Kee’s life.  It was difficult for me to embrace Kee’s  profession.  There are definitely gender biases at work, here, too, which I am chagrined to admit.  I don’t know how I would have felt if Archie had been the sharpshooter, or if he had been the hard-ass in this story. 

The relationship between Archie and Kee develops slowly, and I enjoyed the tension that boiled between them.  Kee keeps him at arms length, emotionally, afraid that a long-term commitment with him would never work.  Their backgrounds are too different, she believes, and so she does everything she can to keep from getting her feelings destroyed.  Physical pleasure is one thing, but she just can’t bring herself to trust him with her heart.  Archie, on the other hand, is bewildered by the abrupt change in Kee’s attitude towards him, and after avoiding the situation, he finally lays everything on the line and tells her how he feels.  I have to admit that I was getting frustrated with both of them, and while I expected Kee to be unable to communicate her  feelings for Archie, I was so disappointed that it took him so long to finally confront Kee about the issue of their relationship.  Any longer and I think I would have hurled the book against the nearest wall.  Maybe I was giving Archie too much credit.

There were a few plot points that I didn’t like or find believable, the first being their vacation to Italy just a few weeks after Kee is assigned to Emily’s crew.  It was too convenient, and made the super secret mission they were recalled for even more over the top.  I also found it unlikely that Dilya, the Uzbek orphan that Kee is caring for, would be allowed to continue living at the base or would be allowed to continue on with the crew’s other super secret and super dangerous mission after the young stowaway was discovered onboard the chopper.  They had just been shot at and nearly taken out of the sky.  I found it hard to swallow that Emily would allow a young child to stay onboard when they were heading into even more dangerous territory, not to mention the distraction she presented to the crew.

Even though I Own The Dawn didn’t always work for me, I enjoyed the story and characters enough to want to learn more about them.  The Night is Mine is the first book in the series, and I haven’t read it yet.  It follows Emily and Mark’s story, and I am assuming the next book will be about Connie Davis, a new arrival at the base.  I liked her the little bit she was in the book, and I’m curious to see who she ends up with.  I also found this exposure to military romance exciting, so I’m eager to explore other titles.  If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

Grade:  B-

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: The Oil Tycoon and Her Sexy Sheikh by Ros Clarke

Title: The Oil Tycoon and Her Sexy Sheikh

Author: Ros Clarke

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

His duty, her dreams, undone by their desire…

In the male-dominated oil industry, executive Olivia McInnes plays a careful game – she’s cold, uncompromising, and ambitious as hell. Once she seals the deal to drill in the clear waters of Saqat, she’ll finally prove herself worthy to take the reins of her father’s oil company. Her only obstacle is marine biologist – and Saqat’s royal heir – Sheikh Khaled Ibm Saqat al Mayim, who’s determined to protect both his people and his country from environmental devastation…

It’s not long before Olivia’s icy cool exterior is shattered by the intelligent and wickedly hot sheikh, and business is surpassed by sweet, stolen pleasures. But outside the bedroom, there’s reality to be faced. Soon Khaled must return to his obligations – and his betrothed – in Saqat.

Caught between duty and ambition, can an oil tycoon and a sexy sheikh find room for love… or will this business deal spell disaster for them both?

Review:

I wanted to read The Oil Tycoon and Her Sexy Sheikh because I was curious to see how the conflict between the characters would be portrayed.  Olivia is an executive at a successful oil company, and in order to ensure that she will take her father’s place  when he retires, she needs to land the contract to drill for oil in the waters off of Saqat.  Khaled is next in line to rule the country, but he is also a marine biologist.  He has studied the long term effects of oil spills on marine life, and what he has learned is discouraging.  It takes far longer than originally thought for the aquatic ecosystem to recover from the devastating consequences of a spill, and he is reluctant to allow any corporation to set up shop in his coastal waters.  He doesn’t believe that safety precautions go far enough, and he thinks that the cleanup efforts outlined in the contract are also lacking.  But tempering his reluctance to open up Saqat to oil investors is the need to alleviate the poverty of his  people.  The money from oil production would help bring education and improvements in medical care, and it is very difficult for him to turn that down.  I enjoyed this conflict between these two driven people.  Olivia is gung-ho to prove herself to the naysayers at her father’s company, and Khaled wants what’s best for both his country and his people.  This puts them at odds with each other, and it is a heavy weight on Khaled’s shoulders.  Does he allow these foreigners into the pristine waters, when there is a potential that they will bring ruin to the fragile ecosystem?

While I found the business negotiations interesting, I was not convinced about the romantic conflict between Khaled and Olivia.  They are instantly attracted to each other, but because Khaled is next in line to inherit the throne, he tries to put the brakes on their budding relationship.  It just can’t work out for them, because he has a duty to his people.  Their relationship can’t go anywhere, because he is expected to marry a quiet, respectable Muslim girl from Saqat, and Olivia just doesn’t fit into the mold he has imagined his future wife must fit  into.  I didn’t buy into this conflict because the only person who had a problem with them being a couple was Khaled.  Once Olivia arrived in his country, almost everyone was open and friendly with her.  Everyone seemed to accept her.  There was no opposition to her being in the palace, other than the opposition that Khaled brought into their relationship, so I didn’t feel that there was a sense of tension or suspense about their romance.  I was a little dismayed that it took Khaled so long to question his own concerns, because he is certainly smarter than that, and as a scientist, it should have been in his nature to re-evaluate his conclusions.

Despite that complaint,  I found The Oil Tycoon and Her Sexy Sheikh a quick, satisfying read.  I gobbled this one up, was annoyed by Olivia’s distant, clueless father, and cheered her on as she sought to find a purpose in life beyond the one she had envisioned for herself.  Olivia, like Khaled, put pressure on herself to be something that she thought other people expected of her.  She wanted to succeed in her father’s business so much because she sought his approval, something that she never felt he had given to her.  Until she meet Khaled and traveled to Saqat, she never questioned her life goals.  Once she met him, though, she was forced to admit that maybe the career path she was pursuing wasn’t really the one she wanted.  The final resolution ties up all of the loose ends, and finds happiness and a new purpose for both protagonists and the citizens of Saqat.

Grade: B-/C+

Review copy provided by publisher

Subscribe in a reader