Monday, October 3, 2016

Book Review: Sparking the Fire, by Kate Meader

Sparking the Fire is the newest title in Kate Meader's Hot in Chicago series.  We get to enjoy the further adventures in romance of the Dempsey firefighters - foster siblings turned firefighters.

Reading this story, I anticipated the same style of story that I found in the previous titles.  I was happy to read more about each of the previous couples in this book as well.

Wyatt Fox and Molly Cade are a couple with a secret past history.  Each have moved on from the past and found their happiness in their careers.  Wyatt is a firefighter at Engine 6 station, along with his foster siblings in Chicago.  Molly is an actress from LA.

Molly comes to Chicago to film a movie about a female firefighter.  The movie has a story line that is loosely based upon the experiences of Wyatt's foster sister, Alex.  Molly would love to get Alex's stamp of approval on the movie, but Wyatt is not wanting Alex to be involved.  Wyatt, still recovering from an injury, is asked by the department to be the technical consultant for Molly.  Wyatt wants nothing to do with the job at first.  Unable to get out of that duty, he decides to do his best to get through it with minimal damage to his family.

Molly is a woman on a mission.  Having gone through a horrible experience that threatens to ruin her career, she is placing the future of her career on making this movie. She is not only acting in the lead role, but is the producer of the movie as well.  Meeting Wyatt on the set of the movie is a shock to Molly.  As she works with Wyatt, they realize that the old feelings are still there.  Both are reluctant to get into a relationship.  They have each been burned badly by others in their pasts and will have to come to peace with their pasts before they have a chance at being with each other.

This story has lots of surprises.  At times, there are so many things going on at once that I felt like I needed a chart to keep it all straight.  It all works out though in the end.  As with the other titles in the series, there is an HEA.

If you would like to read more reviews about Sparking the Fire, check out the list below of blogs with a review.  Some are also taking part in a giveaway opportunity.

Happy reading and good luck!


Pocket Books
September 27, 2016
ISBN 9781476785936

Praise for Sparking the Fire, Book 3:
“The tale of hot firefighters and the women—and one man—who love them has come to an end. Meader ends this series with role playing, fierce family loyalty and multiple orgasms. The male protagonist goes through a transformation that showcases his vulnerability, insecurities, possessiveness and protectiveness. The many instances of a family sticking together through it all are more than enough to tug on the heart strings, but the steamy sex and sentimental pillow talk make this book a must-read.”
RT Book Reviews Four Star Review, Scorcher

“Can a firefighter and a movie star really make it work? Meader (Rekindle the Flame, 2015) immerses you in Wyatt’s tight-knit family of foster siblings that she’s built throughout the Hot in Chicago series, and readers will feel like part of the family in no time. Her descriptions of Chicago will leave fans wanting to travel to the Windy City and fall in love with their own firefighters.”

About Sparking the Fire, Book 3:
Heating up reading lists this Fall will be Kate Meader’s highly anticipated Sparking the Fire, the “sexy and sassy” (#1 New York Timesbestselling author Jude Deveraux) steamy third novel in the Hot in Chicago series, where former lovers unexpectedly reunite for a sizzling affair that will have the director yelling, “Quiet on the set!”

Wyatt Fox, resident daredevil at Engine Company 6, needs a low key job to keep him busy while he recovers from his latest rescue stunt. Consulting on a local movie shoot should add just enough spark to his day. But then in struts Molly Cade: the woman who worked his heart over good, and then left him in the Windy City dust.

Actor Molly Cade, America’s fallen sweetheart, finally has her shot at a Hollywood comeback with a dramatic new role as a tough-as-nails firefighter that promises to propel her back into the big time. And she’s not going to let anything stand in her way—even a certain brooding, blue-eyed firefighter she’s never quite been able to forget…Their story is straight out of a script: irrepressible, spunky heroine meets taciturn, smoldering hero. But these two refuse to be typecast, and when the embers of an old love are stoked, someone is bound to get burned…

About the Author:
Kate Meader was raised on romance. An Irish girl, she started with Catherine Cookson and Jilly Cooper novels, and spiced it up with some Mills & Boon. Now based in Chicago, she writes romances of her own, where sexy contemporary alpha heroes and strong heroines match each other quip for quip. When not immersed in tales of brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, Kate lives on the web at

Fire Giveaway:
We are excited to do a Fire Giveaway to celebrate the third in Kate Meader’s Hot in Chicago series, Sparking the Fire. This giveaway will include Flirting with Fire (Book 1) and Playing with Fire (Book 2). You can visit all sites on the blog tour to enter the Fire Giveaways – but keep in mind you can only win once! U.S. only.

Blog Tour:
September 14:
RT Book Reviews - Excerpt

September 20:

September 23:

September 26:
Harlequin Junkie - Interview
Under the Covers - Interview

September 27:

September 28:

September 29:

September 30:

October 3:

October 4:

October 5:

October 6:
The Librarian – Blog Talk Radio Author’s on the Air - Interview Only - Listen Live at 7:30 pm ET!

October 7:

Sparking the Fire buy links:
IBOOKSTORE (ebook)  
KINDLE (ebook)   
NOOK (ebook)   
GOOGLE PLAY (ebook)   

HOT TIP: Kate is also offering a $25 Amazon gift card during the Sparking the Fire release tour. It will run Monday September 26 to Friday October 7. Enter here.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Review: Princess and the Beast, by Chance Carter

Princess and the Beast is the newest title from Chance Carter's Bad Boys series. This book is about Deacon, a man who grew up on the rough side of Boston. He had a horrific childhood, including being raised in an abusive home. Life was never easy for Deacon (aka Beast) and he learned quickly that he would have to fight to survive. Deacon is fighter and good at it. In this story, he works as a bouncer at a club in Miami.

Savannah was raised in Boston, but unlike Deacon, she was raised in a wealth home. All isn't as it seemed though. While she had never known hunger or having to do without the necessities of life, she was raised in a home lacking love. The behavior of her father made her wary of wealth. She had watched, firsthand, how her own mother slipped away and die after being in a hopeless, loveless marriage.

On the surface, Deacon and Savannah are light years apart. He is a large man sporting tattoos and an appearance that would make the most sensible of men cause to use extreme caution. Savannah is a gentle, shy woman who is still trying to make her own life away from the influence of her father. Yet, when you look closer at them, they are both struggling with their pasts. They each have gone through a form of abuse as a child that has helped to shape them into the person they each have become.

Deacon works at a night club as a bouncer. When he sees Savannah arrive with her friend/room mate, Olivia, Deacon ushers the girls in. He is taken with Savannah, though sees her as a bit of a shy mouse. Savannah surprises both Deacon and herself when she finds the boldness to flirt with Deacon. Their relationship is super-nova hot and they have a wild 24 hours together before all hell breaks loose. Trouble comes when a man at the club, who has sadistic tastes when it comes to how he treats women, takes notice of Savannah and wants to take her as his own. Now, Deacon must fight to save Savannah and her friend, Olivia, from being the next victims of this man's cruelty.

I loved the story as well as the pace that it was told. I never felt that it was taking too long in one area or another. The story was very well written and held my attention from the first page. I hated having to set it down and couldn't wait to pick it back up again when my work was finished.

Intermittently through the story, we also are treated with a side story involving Grady. Grady is a member of the Brotherhood, whom we were introduced to in Chance Carter's earlier titles of this series. The Brotherhood are a group of men who have formed a “family” that is intensely loyal to each other and will use whatever means are necessary to right the wrongs that come at their family. Each of the Brothers are total bad ass. Yet, for how scary they may be to others, they are extremely protective and loving to their women.

Grady get involved with a woman at a bar who is trouble on legs. He makes a mistake getting involved with her, but later, he tries to do all he can to help her overcome her demons. His story is very touching and I cried as I read how his story ends. I hope that there will be another book in the future with Grady getting his “happy ever after.”

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Dark Carousel, by Christine Feehan

New York Times bestselling author, Christine Feehan, has done it again. Her newest installment in her highly acclaimed Carpathian series, Dark Carousel, was released in August, 2016.

Dark Carousel is the story of Tariq Asenguard and Charlotte Vintage.  Tariq is an ancient Carpathian immortal who has given up on finding his lifemate, the light to his darkness.  When Charlotte walks into his club, his life is forever changed.

Tariq shares with Charlotte an interest in old carousel horses.  Charlotte restores the horses and uses this to help her as she follows her quest to find the killer of her brother and mentor.

Tariq is unaware of the danger that Charlotte puts herself into as she plans to be the bait to bring out the killer. 

Will Tariq be able to protect and save his lifemate or will fate cause him to lose her after only just finding her?

Dark Carousel is the 30th book in the series.  It brings with it all the action and romance that we have come to expect from this series. 

Dark Carousel has hit the bestsellers list and in August was given the Book Cover of the Month award.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Author Spotlight: Maya Banks

Sometimes, it is nice to see a glimpse of the person behind the stories that we enjoy. All books have a note about the authors, but being the curious person that I am, I like to see beyond that introduction. It is amazing to get to know more about these creative souls that bring so much enjoyment and enrichment into our lives through their books.

In some ways, it was hard to decide who to start this feature of my blog with. There are so many wonderful authors out there who have written books that I thoroughly enjoy reading. I honestly didn't know who I would choose to write about first. Yet, in the midst of my thoughts, one name continually came to the forefront......Maya Banks.

My introduction to Maya's books was Colter's Woman, the first story in the Colter series. I had read books before that involved menage' relationships, but this one has always stood out for me. Yes, the story did contain the sex scenes, but they were secondary in my opinion. Like all of Maya's books, the relationships are always the central focus. She doesn't write sex scenes that are not a meaningful part of a relationship. Of all of her books that I have read, I have never rolled my eyes and thought, “Oh look. Those horny rabbits are at it again.”  IN her books, the sex and intimacy is written in a way that just flows naturally in the relationship of the couple.  The story made me feel like I knew the family. You just wanted to read more and I sought out the other books in the series. Even after Maya ended the series, though I totally understand her reasons, I will always long for another one to be written. I found that Maya endeared herself to me more because of her reasons to end the Colter series. She addressed the reason on her Facebook page. The main Colter family members from the original story, Adam, Ethan, Ryan, and Holly, that had endeared themselves to readers were getting older. Maya didn't want to have to write a story down the road that involved the death of any of them due to age or other reasons. In honesty, I wouldn't have wanted to read a story involving one of them dying and the rest dealing with the aftermath of grief. I loved that she ended it in a celebration of grandchildren and the joy and promises of the future for the entire Colter family. Throughout all the trials and tribulations the family went through in the series, the core remained that family is everything! A family, pulling together and joining forces, can overcome anything that life throws their way.

As the Colter series was ending, I found Maya's KGI series. Again, the series is based around a family that support each other. Like Holly Colter, Marlene Kelly, is a mother who is strong and very nurturing. She also shares the traits of gathering “chicks”, young adults who are in need of the love and support of a family, which are “adopted” into the family fold. Once Momma Kelly decides someone is one of her chicks, they are forever considered a member of the family. The KGI series is based upon the Kelly sons, who have formed their own Black Ops type organization. They take on jobs that others cannot do as well as side jobs for the government that the government doesn't want to deal with themselves. Many of the jobs involving the rescue of kidnap victims or hostage situations that span the globe. There is a definite military theme, but at the heart of the stories is a family that is so tightly connected that you just wish you were one of the many “chicks” that Momma Kelly includes.

Maya has written countless series and books over the years. She has stories for nearly any romance genre that you could name. She is truly gifted in her ability to create characters that engage you. You fall in love with the family members, even as you want to knock sense into some of the alpha males for the things that they say or do. Her female characters are strong, even in their fragility. While the women have a gentle side, when necessary they can be just as much of a badass as their men. The men are strong in their belief that they should be the protectors and providers of their women. They treat their women with honor and respect. They are proud of the careers and accomplishments of the women. They also take pride in the strength of the women. I have never found a simpering weak woman in Maya's stories. Even in stories where the woman is in a dangerous situation, she is never portrayed as being unable to help save herself. Each couple goes through a rough patch that would break many. They come out of it stronger than ever. Through series, such as the Colter's and the KGI books, Maya shows us what a family should be. They have their ups and downs, but when it comes down to it, family is everything. They support one another. They defend each other. No matter what storm life throws at them, the family weathers it together and comes out strong due to their tight family bonds.

Maya is active on social media. Her posts gives such a glimpse into her personality that I find refreshing. I've learned that she has issues with laptops. I've laughed as she tells of an experience with junebugs. I have cheered for her family as she talks of the accomplishments of her kids. I have witnessed first hand the generous spirit that she has and the total humility she expresses towards her readers and fans. Maya is the real deal. I see Maya as a real life Momma Kelly. She has the sweet spirit to nurture those close to her and the steel backbone to defend them when necessary.

If I were to write a bucket list of people that I would feel absolutely humbled to meet one day, Maya would be at the top of the list.  As a budding writer, I have to say that Maya is one of three authors that I admire over all others.  She writes a quality of story that I can only hope to someday reach.  She, along with Julie Ann Walker and Christine Feehan, set a high bar for me to work towards.

Thank you Maya for all the great stories that you share with us all. Through them, you teach us all what family is all about. Looking forward to many more titles to come in the future.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Steve and Me by Terri Irwin

Last night I finished reading Steve and Me for the second time.  I was always a huge admirer of the Irwins and their message of conservation.  Reading the book was bittersweet.  I loved reading stories shared  by Terri about their life together. They packed more into their short time together than most will experience in a lifetime.  The love for each other and their family shines brightly through the book.  Steve had a deep love for Terri and the kids that could only be matched by his love for  wildlife.

I was deeply touched by her words about how animal cruelty broke Steve"a heart.  He literally felt it soul deep.  The passion for conservation that he shared on camera was real.  It wasn't hype for a camera.  He was truly driven to bring his message home to those who watched the documentaries and the shows filmed for Animal Planet. 

Steve was compassionate and took his role as a Wildlife Warrior seriously.  He was driven to have an impact on making the world a better place.  He knew that the way to touch the heart's of others was to present the wildlife in a way that made it personal.  He often said that if you can give others the experience to know more about the so-called unlovable animals, such as his beloved crocodiles, the people would start caring about the animal's plight.

In the final chapters, I read about his heartbreak over the death of his Mom, Lyn Irwin, and the change it made in him.  Through the pain of his grief, he found a deepened determination to do more to bring the conservation message to the forefront.  Terri shared the story of how she learned of his untimely death and how she had to tell their kids.  Her inner strength in the midst of her very world being turned upside down was humbling to read in those pages.  Steve had always been her rock and now she would have to step into that role for their children.

Throughout the book, I laughed and I cried.  As she described those painful days days following Steve's death, I felt the grief again that I had experienced when I first heard the news. 

Seeing Terri, Bindi, and Robert today, you see a strong, living family unit that would have made Steve proud.  As they continue the work Steve had started, along with Terri, his legacy lives strong.

Terri has my utmost respect for what she has accomplished as a single Mom.  Though she openly admits that she still grieves for her beloved husband, she has not allowed the grief to overshadow her life.  The love and devotion of her and the kids towards each other and for furthering the conservation message is a testament not only to Terri's strength but Steve's legacy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Review: Devil and the Deep, by Julie Ann Walker

Devil and the Deep is the newest installment in Julie Ann Walker's Deep Six series.  It is currently on pre-order status for it's July 5, 2016, release date.

On Ms. Walker's website, she offers the following description for Devil and the Deep.

Maddy Powers’s life revolves around cocktail parties, political fundraisers, and charity events – but she can’t forget the daring former SEAL who appropriated her father’s yacht a few months ago … or the scorching kiss they shared before he disappeared into the deep blue sea.

Bran Pallidino carries a dark secret behind his lady-killer eyes – one that keeps him from pursuing a serious relationship with Maddy. But when she’s taken hostage during a trip to the Dry Tortugas, the men of Deep Six Salvage drop their treasure hunt for a sunken galleon and embark on a dangerous mission to save Maddy.

As they fight her merciless kidnappers, they discover this isn’t a simple hostage situation, but something far more sinister. Passion boils between Bran and Maddy, but what good is putting their hearts on the line if they don’t survive the dawn?

This book delivers.  It is action packed and keeps you on the edge of your seat.  The story is engaging and it was hard to put it down, once I started reading.  I loved the way the story gripped me from page one.  Unlike many books out there, Ms. Walker wrote the heroine to be a strong, independent woman who knows how to take charge when necessary.  Even in the face of danger, she is no shrinking violet dependent on her man to come rescue her.  She faces her fears head on and with the fortitude that could rival that of the SEAL team.  I loved this strength.  It is a very welcome departure from the dainty, weak, women that often are portrayed in books of this genre.  Though Maddy has been dealt a raw deal in her life, she doesn't fall apart and become helpless.  

Bran is a warrior through and through.  He is as rock steady as they come when in the heat of battle.  He has crack in his armour though - Maddy Powers.  While he wants her, the secrets of his past press on him.   His character is another fine example of why I love books by Julie Ann Walker.  Her heroes are very strong and able to fight the battles they face without blinking an eye.  Yet, she gives up glimpses of the man behind the warrior.  We see their inner struggles presented in a way that doesn't take away from their strength.  In fact, their very weakness is a huge part of why they are so strong.

If you are looking to add to your summer reading list, this book is a must-have.  Though a part of a series, Ms. Walker writes her books in a way that they can be stand-alone.  You never feel lost if you read the books out of order.