RhiReading News

Dear readers,

Hi Rhireaders! Check out the latest events in the sidebar! Thanks for visiting, be sure and follow me on social media for MORE awesome content.

Did you drop by to request a review or tour stop? I am currently CLOSED for review requests for ALL review requests due to time contraints. I have promotional openings for February through July open though so please reach out. Just please drop me an email with a polite request and if I'm interested I will reply.

♥ -- Rhi


1.28.2014

Review: Ashes by Sarah Gilman

Ashes by Sarah Gilman
Paranormal Romance, Category Romance, Phoenix
Ebook $2.99 (134 pages, COVET)

Accidents happen for a reason...
Journalist Ambrosia Pellerin accepts an assignment involving the legendary phoenix, expecting, if nothing else, a little entertainment. Instead, she winds up pregnant—by a surprisingly human-looking firebird, Reece Bennu.
As the Phoenix prince, Reece is next in line to the throne and expected to marry a purebred royal. A common human such as Ambrosia is not in the cards. He swears, though, he’ll never be an absentee father.
As Ambrosia’s due date grows closer, so do the soon-to-be parents. But will their tentative love survive the prejudice of Reece’s grandmother, who will stop at nothing to tear the two apart?

Author Site: website

Fresh and Fiery Romance (4 stars)

ASHES. Wow. What a cool book. It's not everyday you find a story about phoenixes, let alone one with such a fabulously tropey twist. I've got a bit of a soft spot for stories where there's an unexpected pregnancy that brings the hero and heroine together but ASHES really takes the cake on originality. I've honestly only ever encountered the race in one other book and it was more of a scifi romance so if you're a paranormal romance fan who loves really under-utilized creatures you should check this one out.

Ambrosia and Reece find themselves stuck dealing with one another thanks to the accidental pregnancy and I'll admit I didn't think they'd really have paired off without it. He's very hung up on his obligations as a prince and she's... well, Gilman never gave me enough background on her to feel like I had a bead on her. I had a lot of questions that I wanted answered in regards to why Ambrosia wound up where she was and then let herself be pushed around by Reece. If you like your heroes very take-charge he's your man. As I tend to dislike Alpha heroes for that very reason he really aggravated me. I love that Reece wanted to be responsible for his child but I also felt like there was something almost... well, rapey about it all. Ambrosia had no control over anything and just accepted it all with a lot less conflict than I wish she had.

My troubles with the characters aside, it really was an enjoyable concept with interesting twists. I liked that the mythos was well thought and that there was a conflict outside of the romance that strengthened the story. Readers who like urban fantasy will probably enjoy this one a lot.



Notes: ARC received via publisher.

Check this book out if you liked:

1.27.2014

Review: Love at Stake by Victoria Davies

Love at Stake by Victoria Davies
Category Romance, Paranormal Romance, Vampires, Werewolves
Ebook $2.99 (175 pages, COVET)
Abbey is the lone human working for Fated Match, a company that pairs members of the supernatural community with their eternal mates.
To snag a young vampire socialite as their next client, Abbey journeys to the home of Lucian Redgrave, the oldest vampire on the East Coast. But he's not willing to allow his vampire daughter to use the agency... unless Abbey can first find his perfect match in a month.
As Abbey coaches Lucian through his dates, she can’t deny the chemistry between them. But humans are toys for vampires, and risking her heart isn't a part of the plan.

Author Site: website

Love at first bite. (4 stars)

When Lucian Redgrave's daughter decides it's time to find a mate she wants to sign up with Fated Match. But the oldest vampire in town isn't about to let her waste her time with the service that matches the supernatural community with their eternal mates until he's tried it first. Landing Lucian as a client would be a boon for Fated Match and Abbey is has a lot to prove as the only human employee at the agency. If Abbey wants to Lucian's daughter as a client she's going to have to pull out all the stops and find him his mate in a month... and he refuses to work with anyone but her.

Abbey can coach Lucian on his dates and narrow his potential mates down to percentages based on the agencies computer program but there's more to finding true love than just numbers. Fate is about to shake things up for Abbey but she'll have to give up her preconceived notions about vampires if she wants to find Lucian's perfect match.

Lucian you walking cliche you! Ugh. I'll admit I'm torn on Lucian, part of me loves vampire cliches and part of me loathes them. I'll let you read and decide if he's a keeper. Abbey on the other hand really irked the ever loving crap out of me. I don't want to spoil the story but something she kept doing when Lucian asked really angered me. To me, no job would be worth that kind of treatment. Ever. Putting that element aside this was a sexy and fun romance. What's not to love about two characters from such different worlds having to figure it out, it kind of reminded me of Pretty Woman. A lot actually now that I'm trying to write a review.

I think LOVE AT STAKE is the perfect read for the month of February when the idea of eternal love and a match-making service dependent on computer stats is a fun seasonal thing. Vampire romance fans who like lighter stories will definitely dig it and contemporary romance readers who've never really given the paranormal shelves a taste will probably love the tropes this one has to offer. You could switch a lot of the stuff around here to make it a contemporary non-paranormal read very easily.



Notes: ARC received via publisher.

Check this book out if you liked:

Review: Haunt Me by Heather Long

Haunt Me by Heather Long
Category Romance, Paranormal Romance, Ghosts
Ebook $2.99 (158 pages, COVET)
Recently divorced author MacKenzie Dillon has lost her writing mojo. When she inherits her great aunt’s haunted house in Virginia, she is determined to make a new start. The creepy old house provides inspiration but at what cost?
Successful architect and paranormal skeptic Justin Kent returns to Penny Hollow to fulfill his father’s dying wish of revitalizing their small town. To do that, he needs the allegedly haunted estate at Summerfield. Mac, the new owner, may be gorgeous and spunky, but she refuses to sell.
These two have a dangerous history that spans the ages, but will they discover the truth in time to save their lives?

Author Site: website

You'll be packing your bags for Penny Hollow after HAUNT ME. (4 stars)

Penny Hollow native Justin Kent is an architect stuck with one last project on his list of helping the town revitalization effort. He needs Summerfield, the creepy old house that MacKenzie Dillon just inherited from her great aunt. Mac has other ideas for the place now that she's trying to wrench her writing career from the gutter after her divorce. But there's something sinister lurking in the gorgeous old house and the history it holds ties Justin and Mac together in more ways than anyone could have fathomed, especially someone as skeptical as Justin.

Oh, how I love a good romance with a southern gothic feel and plenty of exciting mystery. I truly wasn't expecting to get it in the category romance genre but HAUNT ME delivers nicely and in just the right length to fill an overcast afternoon. While predictable it's still a fun page turner with lots of sexual tension between Mac and Justin. I really found the pair to have great push and pull that moved forward at a good pace. They're not so wonderful on their own, I found Justin a bit unreal and Mac a bit too vitriolic at first only to wilt into damselishness later.

HAUNT ME is one I would much recommend for those who like a really moody and dark story. The town itself really had me excited, there's so much potential for this book to spread out into a series it's quite frustrating to have it wrap up. I really enjoyed Long's voice and will certainly keep an eye out for anything more she contributes to the genre.



Notes: ARC received via publisher.

Check this book out if you liked:

1.22.2014

Review: The Awakening: Britton

The Awakening: Britton (Awakening #3) by Abby Niles
Category Romance, Paranormal Romance, Shapeshifters
Ebook $2.99 (175 pages, COVET)
"I would lick that man up one side and down the other."
Half-shifter and lead SPAC agent, Val Calhoun, has listened to women gush over the Don Juan of the precinct for the last four years. Yeah, Detective Britton Townsend is hot and has stunning blue eyes, but that foul mouth he saves only for her? What a waste of good looks. And no way does Val want that mouth anywhere near hers.
When the shifter community is threatened, Val is assigned to the case…and fails. So the High Council turns to the rogue shifter they'd sentenced to twenty years as a human--that same obnoxiously sexy Detective Townsend. And sends the two arch-enemies deep into the North Carolina Mountains-—together, and alone.
Being stuck in a tiny honeymoon cabin with Miss Castration and only one bed is definitely not Britton's idea of a good time. But the High Council doesn’t take no for an answer. After his shifter abilities are restored, Brit is once again susceptible to the dreaded, irreversible bonding instinct, the Drall. Thankfully, all he’s ever felt for Val is intense loathing, no reason to worry. Right? All he has to do is solve this case pronto, and he can go back to his footloose Casanova ways. That is, if they don’t kill each other first. Or worse...fall in love.

Author Site: website

Love/hate done shapeshifter style. (4 stars)

If you've been following along with the Awakening series you've probably been eager to get to Brit's story. With a whole lotta charm, he's teased us from the sidelines for two books and now he's finally got his own story. But if you were expecting it to be easy you're in for one heck of a ride.

While I expected that Val and Brit wouldn't immediately fall in love there was no way I expected this story. If you like the romance to be extremely complicated then buckle your safety belt because THE AWAKENING: BRITTON is anything but smooth sailing. I don't even want to give my own summary of events because I feel like everything that comes to mind is a spoiler. Bearing that in mind the constant bickering between Val and Britton went from seeming playful and flirtatious to being downright mean which I really didn't like. Sure, it gets explained in the most unanticipated way possible, but that doesn't mean I had to enjoy it.

The duo are sent on a mission together in a situation that opens up a whole other WTH world building development. It feels pretty contrived but it works enough to get Brit and Val together so I think most readers who like fated-mates plots can overlook it. Sometimes though, I was left going 'seriously!?!' and rolling my eyes. TA:B treads that line between being too thick in world building and too stuck in contemporary romance trope and might be a tough mix for readers who haven't rabidly loved the series so far. If you're in it for steam though, they make one heck of a coupling and the storyline climaxes in the most wretchedly good way possibly. It'll be frustrating but rewarding once they get there.

Though I found it a bit of a rocky read for me personally I would encourage anyone who has enjoyed the series to pick it up. The world takes yet another unexpected twist and those who love shapeshifter races would be wise to give it a nibble. Out of the three this was the one I've enjoyed the most.



Notes: ARC received via publisher.

Check this book out if you liked:

Review: Operation: Saving Daniel by Nina Croft

Operation Saving Daniel by Nina Croft
Paranormal Romance, Category Romance, Werewolves
Ebook $2.99 (200 pages, COVET)

At eighteen, Melissa seduced her best friend Julia's brother only to run away shortly after. While Daniel was her fairytale prince, Lissa didn’t believe in happy ever afters.
Ten years and a near death experience later, Lissa is ready for a husband and family. But a cry for help from Julia puts that dream on hold. Daniel is acting weird and he’s about to marry his long term girlfriend—AKA The Evil One. Someone needs to save him.
Daniel has never stopped loving Lissa. Ten years ago when he gave her a little freedom, he always intended that one day they would be together. Right up until the moment he was bitten by a werewolf. Now, Daniel has to hide what he is. He won’t risk anyone else, especially the woman he loves.
But Lissa is back. Their attraction is stronger than ever and Lissa is nothing if not tenacious.

Author Site: website

One for the para-light reader. (3 stars)

With OPERATION: SAVING DANIEL pretty much what you see is what you get. You can ride right into this story on the wave of contemporary romance and only have to brush up against the paranormal side of it a little bit. If you're new to Covet I think it's a perfect choice to start with if you're more of a contemps reader. The overall plot here is very tropey with the hero essentially being blackmailed into marriage and the heroine being called in as rescuer by his suspicious family.

Alas, as much as I've liked Nina's more scifi romance stuff this one just wasn't my cup of tea. I liked it up to a point but I felt like I had read it before. I realized that some of why it felt familiar is because it draws from the authors' own bio (which is actually a good thing in this case) but I think it was just the overall concept not quite being as paranormal as I'd have liked. Other readers who devour non-category paranormal romances might find it just a little too simple.

While it was a little 'meh' for me I really think this one would appeal to a wide audience of readers. Those who don't frequently dabble into the paranormal shelves should definitely give it a read. It's short and light enough to work for someone who doesn't want meaty world building and too much danger. Daniel and Lissa are quite likable and work really well as a couple so they're very easy to root for. If you like your men educated and suited, Daniel is one classy hero.

Wasn't really for me but I really think I'm in the minority on that. Check out O:SD if you tend to prefer paranormals that don't have involved mythologies to figure out before you get to the romance part.



Notes: ARC received via publisher.

1.17.2014

Review: Fighting For Irish by Gina L. Maxwell

Fighting For Irish (Fighting for Love #3) by Gina L. Maxwell
Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Ebook $3.79 (250 pages, BRAZEN)

Former MMA fighter Aiden "Irish" O'Brien hasn’t stepped into the ring since he accidentally took someone's life in the heat of rage. When his friend calls in a favor that sends him south to check on family, Irish figures he’s got nothing to lose. His life is on the ropes. The least he can do is make sure the sexy redhead is safe.
Kat MacGregor has forty-eight hours to settle the twenty thousand dollar debt her deadbeat ex-boyfriend owes a crime boss. If she doesn’t, she’ll pay for it—with her life. Kat’s halfway out the door when a sexy new guy walks into the bar and insists he’s there to help.
Irish is forced to fight in the underground MMA circuit to win the money she needs. But he’s been lying to Kat. About who he is, about knowing her sister, about why he comes home bruised every night. She’s the best thing that’s ever happened to him, but breaking her trust will cost him the most important fight of his life: the one for her heart.

Author Site: website

Get lucky with Irish. (5 stars)

After giving a lukewarm review to RULES OF ENTANGLEMENT I was really nervous about reading FIGHTING FOR IRISH. I'm happy to say that it may just be even better than SEDUCING CINDERELLA.

Kat MacGregor's future brother-in-law (Jax from ROE) knows how much it means to his bride-to-be (Vanessa from ROE) that her little sister get tracked down. Aiden "Irish" O'Brien owes Jax a favor so he hightails it to where the private investigator tracked her down. But Kat's in over her head, indebted to the Tennessee mob for twenty-grand and only forty-eight hours to pay up. Irish doesn't owe his old friend from his MMA fighting days that kind of favor but he's willing to help the skittish kitten he's more than a little attracted to. Fighting to get her the money is one thing but the tangle of lies that come with it could end their love before it ever really gets a fighting chance.

I hate admitting to how much I loved Irish but he's just so darned... perfect. The man has manners! When he learns Kat's secret the way he handles it... I have no words, I had tears. But it's his imperfections than make him realistic and likable, he's a slob and he has these googly moments he chides himself over. Yep, he's definitely a hero you're gonna love. Irish's nickname "kitten" for Kat definitely fits her personality. She's sweet and vulnerable but really prickly when provoked. Part of me wanted to dislike her for the situation she'd wound up in and yet she charmed me by not being apologetic for her life.

As much as the owes-the-mob plot didn't work for me—okay, I'll admit the stereotypical mob goons amused me a bit—the romance made up for it in spades. But I must note without getting too spoilery that for victims of rape and abuse there were some trigger topics that might be tough to read. That said, Maxwell did something amazing with it and I wish there were more men in the real world who could be part of the healing process of those who've gone through such horrors. Like I said, there were tears on my end as I read Kat's secrets and well, recognized the research that had to have gone on behind the scenes to handle such a story with such aplomb.

I love a romance that has the power to heal and FIGHTING FOR IRISH tells one heck of a healing love story... with plenty of sexy bits for those of you whom I know were dying for me to get to that part. lol Yes, there was a bit of that going on you perverts. ;) Wouldn't be a Brazen book without a generous serving of lust. I definitely have a favorite scene but I doubt it's going to be the popular one, so I'm sure other reviewers can give you more sordid details.

If you're a Brazen fan this is a no-brainer, you're gonna want to read it. New to Maxwell? I actually think you can read FFI without reading the first two books and then go back to them, you'll be a little confused when other series characters are mentioned but otherwise it's a great place to start. I especially recommend this one for readers who are seeking a hero who is capable of brute strength, yet is blessed with the manners and gentleness every heroine deserves.



Other Reviews:
Susanne

Notes: Purchased via Amazon.

Check this book out if you liked:

1.12.2014

Review: In Bed with Mr. Wrong by Katee Robert

In Bed with Mr. Wrong (Out of Uniform #1) by Katee Robert
Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Ebook $2.99 (250 pages, BRAZEN)

The blind date from hell is about to get hotter…
Brianne Nave is never doing her friends a favor again. When they begged her to go on a blind date, she didn’t expect someone so perfectly gorgeous. She’s a mousy librarian—totally not in this man’s league. And judging by his odd reaction when she opens the door, he knows it, too.
Air Force Pararescuer Ryan Flannery avoids his hometown at all costs. He’s not thrilled about the date until he’s shocked silent by the prickly little librarian’s sweet curves and kissable lips…and her smart mouth. But then an argument leads to a kiss that spirals out of control. How can two people have so little chemistry outside the bedroom when they fit together so perfectly in it?
When their friends strand them in a cabin to "work things out," Bri’s not sure whether to kill him or put the industrial-sized box of condoms they find to use. Bottom line—Ryan’s career military and hates the tiny town she loves. He’ll leave, just like everyone else in her life. And if she’s foolish enough to give him her heart, he’ll take it with him.

Author Site: website

This is the BEST enemies-to-lovers romance! (5 stars)

Brianne Nave grew up in the foster system after the death of her parents. Though it wasn't a horror story it certainly lacked a solid sense of belonging, of a place to call home and people she could call family. When she came to Wellingford to take over as librarian she began to make both for herself. But when her closest friends set her up on a blind date with Ryan Flannery, who happens to be in town on leave for a couple of weeks, she figures it'll be a disaster. And it is, spectacularly awful.

Ryan and Bri's misassumptions of one another lead to heated arguing and even more heated sex. If the pair have that much chemistry physically how can they hate each other so much? When their friends strand them at a cabin in the middle of nowhere they're stuck spending a few days with little to entertain themselves and an awful lot of conveniently placed condoms. If they can get over themselves long enough can they see how perfect they are for each other not just in the bedroom (or the woodshed)?

This is the first non-paranormal read I've had in a while that I could not put down and the first book I read in a day in ages. From the first page IN BED WITH MR. WRONG had me smirking and laughing and dropping my jaw. Bri and Ryan are so ridiculously suited to one another that it's almost painful. I could hardly wait to see their walls come tumbling down and their feelings of loathing become love. Enemies-to-lovers is a fun trope but it's not always well done. Robert tackled it flawlessly, making sure we readers could see from the start what the characters could not. That this story centered around excellent sexual chemistry managed to make it really fulfilling as Bri and Ryan's relationship moved from being just physical to something more.

I did have one thing I was kind of meh about and it's usually something I love so I feel like it needs to be noted. The secondary characters—whom I discovered are the next couple in the series—confused me a lot. I couldn't figure out how they'd be friends since childhood based on their age differences (etc.). It's not a deal breaker, I just hope Robert elaborates on their history more in the next book so I can grasp it better. Considering those two were the catalyst for Ryan and Bri's cabin fever it felt like it was stuff I needed to know just a little more about to get their motivation.

Packed with scorching love scenes, laugh-out-loud incidents, and a couple of secret nods to Robert's street team (thanks again for Chapter Twelve Katee!!!) IBWMW is just plain awesome. I loved it and I think anyone who reads a lot of Brazen titles will regret skipping this one. If you love enemies-to-lovers stories, military heroes, small town romances, or stories where the hero and heroine fall in love while stranded this is a RhiReading MUST READ.



Notes: ARC received via author.


Check this book out if you liked:

1.07.2014

Review: Parts & Wreck by Mark Henry

Parts & Wreck (Parts Department #1) by Mark Henry
Paranormal Romance, Demons
Ebook $2.99 (200 pages, ENTANGLED COVET)
Wade Crowson, a brutish and brooding playboy and veteran vivisectionist for the Parts Department, runs into more than he bargained for in new partner, Lucid Montgomery, a quirky beauty with a bizarre secret and a string of psychiatric diagnoses she tries hard to keep hidden. Loving Luce will stamp a demonic target on her back and thrust Wade into a frenzied whirlwind of hilarious misunderstandings and, quite possibly, a stripping gig for emptynesters. Can they withstand the savagery of an exorcism (with or without the split pea soup) and come out alive and …in love?Author Site: website

Get your weird on with PARTS & WRECK (3 stars)

Ya know how sometimes you have this friend who loves a book and she's so vehement that you must read it that you cave and do it only to wonder what the heck she was smoking when she read it? PARTS & WRECK is so that kind of book. There's no pretending it's going to appeal to everyone... not even most someones. It's just that special.

From the get-go I was pretty lost. Luce is one hard fish to pin down and I was immediately confused who the guy, Hitch, following her around was. There's just something about Henry's writing that made me feel like I was in a fever dream being narrated by Hunter S. Thompson that never let up. Wade was a little less hard to figure out but I never quite felt as sympathetic to him as I usually do with romance heroes. If you like your heroes large and well... in charge... you'll probably dig Wade. There's a weird push and pull between them as a couple that I never quite bought as love but was definitely feeling as bed-buddies.

As newly minted partners tracking down demon organs they had a pretty interesting world building concept going but there was just something off-color about it all that never quite washed with me. I have a pretty twisted sense of humor and I like weird but unless you find fetish funny you should probably find a different Covet to read.

While I never quite rose above a 'it's just okay' blandness with PARTS & WRECK, I really love that it gave me a chance to read another guy author's take on romance. I'll be picking up the next Part Department series installment for sure because hey, it ain't every day I get to read how a priest's glass eyeball was replaced by a dirty jawbreaker in a strip club bathroom... at least, I think that was how it went down... I gotta go figure out what I was smoking when I read that. Enjoy! ;)



Other Reviews:
Kristin on Bitten By Books

Notes: ARC received via publisher.

1.06.2014

Review: Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett

Bitter Spirits (Roaring Twenties #1) by Jenn Bennett
Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance, Ghosts
Mass Market Paperback $7.99 (336 pages, BERKLEY)
Ebook $5.99

It’s the roaring twenties, and San Francisco is a hotbed of illegal boozing, raw lust, and black magic. The fog-covered Bay Area can be an intoxicating scene, particularly when you specialize in spirits…
Aida Palmer performs a spirit medium show onstage at Chinatown’s illustrious Gris-Gris speakeasy. However, her ability to summon (and expel) the dead is more than just an act.
Winter Magnusson is a notorious bootlegger who’s more comfortable with guns than ghosts—unfortunately for him, he’s the recent target of a malevolent hex that renders him a magnet for hauntings. After Aida’s supernatural assistance is enlisted to banish the ghosts, her spirit-chilled aura heats up as the charming bootlegger casts a different sort of spell on her...
On the hunt for the curseworker responsible for the hex, Aida and Winter become drunk on passion. And the closer they become, the more they realize they have ghosts of their own to exorcise…

Author Site: website

Speakeasy Spirits & All That Jazz  (4 stars)

I've been waiting for an author to hear my silent prayer for a paranormal romance set in the roaring twenties. I've always been fond of the era with its iconic fashion and there are fewer times in history that seem as fun to drop a paranormal plot in than one already plagued by prohibition. Enter one of the very small handful of authors I pre-order without reading blurbs for, the sharp and sagacious Jenn Bennett.

While the blurb for BITTER SPIRITS does a very wonderful job of presenting the basics of what you'll be reading I realized right away that as a reader of her urban fantasy series first I was mildly disappointed. I'm just so used to her voice without the romance as the central plot that it felt slow to take off. Once it did though, I struggled to put it down. A thorough researcher and quite impressively able to blend unexpected things together, Bennett made the odd mix of Chinese and Swedish characters and cultures truly immersive. I hated to be pulled away to scenes with just Aida and Winter—and mercy do they have chemistry!—simply because I was so invested in the world.

When I was able to let go of the plethora of unique and enjoyable secondary characters long enough I really enjoyed the romance itself. Aida and Winter are a great couple, the sort you root for from the instant they meet. They're both a bit wounded and plagued by things they're not ready to tell one another which keeps them from falling in love too quickly. When they come together intimately it's scorching but not gratuitous, something I very much appreciated considering the era.

By the time I finished BITTER SPIRITS I had run a gamut of emotions, become very fond of some secondary characters I hope get their own romantic tales later in the series, and decided I had to pre-order GRIM SHADOWS. It's not as thick on the paranormal elements as I'd love—what can I say? I'm addicted to monsters—but it's a ferocious romp with ghostly elements I think both paranormal romance readers and historical romance readers should give a taste.



Notes: ARC received via author.

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