Tag Archives: military romance

Honor Reclaimed by Tonya Burrows Gives Military Romance Fans a Wounded Warrior Worth Fighting For

27 May

Honor Reclaimed (HORNET #2 – Seth and Phoebe) by Tonya Burrows (Entangled: Select, May 27, 2014)

My God, Tonya Burrows simply doesn’t know how to write a book that doesn’t blow my socks off.

I adored the first book in the HORNET series, SEAL of Honor, as it carried Burrows’ brand of steamy, emotional romance featuring spunky heroines and super hot military men, but with Honor Reclaimed I’m in awe of just how far the very damaged Seth Harlan has clawed his way into my heart.

Our ragtag group of misfit mercenaries are once again off on another mission and former Marine sniper Seth Harlan is slightly astonished to be included. His severe PTSD has him botching training missions right and left, to the point where he isn’t exactly part of the group, no matter how stern the orders from their commander are to integrate him. That this mission is to find a POW taken while on a black op no military branch will claim, and that said captive is in Afghanistan, dredges up the horrifying nightmare that was Seth’s own torture for over a year.

Despite time having passed, the damage was so extensive – physically and psychologically – that Seth doesn’t even consider himself human anymore. The fact he lost his team as well, and that some particularly torrid branches of the media spun the story as one in which Seth caused their deaths, just made the healing that much harder. He doesn’t speak to his family, doesn’t reach out to his friends and hasn’t been able to talk to the families of his fallen team members. The instinct to look over his shoulder only gets worse when they land in Kandahar, particularly when one woman in a blue chadori starts acting suspicious. Grabbing her for questioning reveals a pretty, copper haired American and what’s worse, she’s a journalist who clearly recognizes Seth.

SEAL of Honor (HORNET #1 – Gabe and Audrey) by Tonya Burrows (Entangled: Select, May 28, 2013)

Phoebe Leighton should recognize Seth since she was the one responsible for ruining his life. Her pictures of him sold to a particularly heinous tabloid were what allowed them to spin that ridiculous tale about him being responsible for his team’s demise. She was so disgusted with herself and her willingness to whore her ethics for her so-called career that she changed her name, divorced her unhappy husband, and resolved to do nothing but good with her life. Taking back her maiden name and using her middle name gave her a kind of rebirth, but it’s nothing like the good she’s been able to do with her photojournalism. When her current assignment on child brides brings her to a women’s shelter and a particularly brave 16 year old running from her husband, Phoebe’s assignment brings her right into Seth’s path.

Realizing she can help him with his mission and maybe also help him heal has her withholding the revelation of her role in his vilification. Yet as the two of them are drawn together and as Seth begins to trust her enough to tell her about his captivity and torture, Phoebe realizes that there is never going to be a time when telling Seth what she did doesn’t seem like the ultimate betrayal.

For his part, Seth can’t believe that Phoebe has the ability to get under his very scarred skin. No matter how many times he pushes her away or is cruel to her, she just calls him on his behavior and makes him live up to her expectations. Her courage and openness shines a light into his inner darkness and Seth finds himself not only beginning to feel happy but also experiencing sexual desire, both previously dormant emotions. However when he discovers her betrayal, it’s up to Seth to decide if he will let that same numbness reclaim him or if he can work through his past and reclaim both his honor and the woman he loves.

Oh, wow. While there is an abundance of sexual tension throughout the book, this volume is understandably less heated than the fan-yourself previous novel, SEAL of Honor, and that is exactly as it should be. I had my doubts in the beginning of the book how Burrows was going to pull off getting Seth into a place where he could actually have anything resembling a relationship, but her skill as a storyteller is so profound that she pulls it off in the most believable way. Phoebe is a woman embracing the present and working to correct her past and even when you are cringing at every missed opportunity to tell Seth who she is (or in her case, was), you understand that she is reacting to the fragility he projects into their burgeoning relationship. I usually have zero patience for a hero who blows hot and cold but Seth received an unending supply based on what he endured. I appreciated that his PTSD was never sugar coated, and the other physical and emotional issues on the team were also boldly confronted.

Not only was this book amazingly heart-wrenching (in the best possible way) but I continue to be impressed that Burrows has given us further insight into the team members who will undoubtedly be starring in the future books of the series. She has brilliantly laid the foundation for their romances and I am salivating over the potential (Quinn! Jean-Luc!!).

Honor Reclaimed is another brilliant addition to Burrows (and Entangled’s) body of work as well as military romance as a genre. Don’t forget to check out the Giveaway Info (for a blanket with the her four covers on it + swag) at this link for a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Happy reading!

Tonya Burrows’ Honor Reclaimed Gets Sexy New Cover

27 May

Honor ReclaimedTonya Burrows is one of those writers who doesn’t know how to write a bad book (thank heavens), so I was interested when Entangled announced that her terrific book, Honor Reclaimed, the second in her HORNET series about a motley group of mercenaries, was undergoing a redesign. The previous cover (designed to tantalize us into pre-ordering book #2 – mission accomplished) had plenty of chiseled ab goodness, so no one was complaining, but this cover is much better, largely due to the intense facial expression of the model.

The first book SEAL of Honor (which was AMAZING) was full of romantic suspense and some sex scenes that almost set my iPad on fire, so I’ve had Honor Reclaimed pre-ordered since November 2nd. Take a gander at my review of SEAL of Honor for an introduction to the series and some of the characters.

Here’s the blurb for Honor Reclaimed, and all military romance and romantic suspense fans will especially want to take note of this book (and series).

Former Marine scout sniper Seth Harlan is new to HORNET and anxious to prove he can still do his job despite an ongoing battle with PTSD. He remembers all too well what it’s like to sit inside an enemy camp, praying for rescue and waiting for death. So when a black ops soldier contacts HORNET to rescue a buddy who was left behind, all sorts of nasty memories strain his newfound stability.

When an interview with a runaway Afghan child bride leads photojournalist Phoebe Leighton to an arms deal involving a suitcase bomb powerful enough to wipe out a mid-sized town, she realizes this is one battle she can’t win on her own. Forming an unlikely alliance with a ragtag team of military and government delinquents, she meets Seth, a sniper carrying as many emotional scars as physical, who impresses her with his steely will and ignites passions within her she thought long dead.

Suddenly this mission is about a lot more than an abandoned soldier. Racing against the clock, Seth, Phoebe, and the rest of HORNET struggle to stop that bomb before it reaches it’s final destination: The United States.

Fabulous, yes? To celebrate the redesign and the publication of Honor Reclaimed, Entangled Select is having a Rafflecopter giveaway so be sure to check that out. Want to learn more about Tonya Burrows (and believe me, you do if you haven’t read anything by her yet!)? Here’s all the places you can find more about this terrific author.

Website: http://www.tonyaburrows.com/

Blog: http://www.tonya-burrows.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tonyaburrows

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonyaburrowsauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Tonya_Burrows

Newsletter: http://tonyaburrows.us6.list-manage2.com/subscribe?u=e03d7c5ec1a8fdc67db99bac3&id=3cafb9c112

Stay tuned for my review of Honor Reclaimed and happy reading!!

December Holiday Read-a-thon: A Proposal for Christmas Showcases Two Authors With Variable Results

4 Dec

A Proposal for Christmas by Linda Lael Miller and Lindsay McKenna (Harlequin, September 24, 2013)

The difficulty of reviewing a holiday romance for every day in December is that you have to read a LOT of holiday romance, and some of them aren’t good. Normally you know that I don’t believe in reviewing books I don’t like but I get a little torn when it comes to anthologies. If one of the stories is amazing, then I want you to know about it, but what if the other isn’t?

This is the dilemma I had with the duo-ology (is that a word?) of Linda Lael Miller and Lindsay McKenna‘s A Proposal for Christmas. I like both of these authors very much, but while each novella felt like a story the author had tucked in a drawer for years, the difference was that Miller’s was both dated and had characters I wanted to dope slap, while McKenna’s story was a heart-warming holiday tale about the healing power of love (and was a little bit dated, but I’m willing to file it under “historical”).

“State Secrets” by Linda Lael Miller

I like Linda Lael Miller’s writing so much that I have no plan to even tell you anything beyond the merest hint of this story, which is actually a full-length novel peripherally involving Christmas. A Secret Service officer is assigned to investigate the third cousin of the president-elect who happens to be a good-looking cookbook author with a brother who is also a former Secret Service agent who is now a drug addict with ties to Al-Qaeda. No, I’m not joking. That IS the plot.

A little research reveals that this story was originally published in 1985 (who wants to guess it was Russians then?) and then reissued in 1999, and maybe that should have been the last time we had to read this puppy. Despite the modern terrorism reference to update the story, no character has a cell phone and a major part of the plot involves an answering machine, yes, of the whirr, click “did you rewind the tape?” variety. I could handle the inconsistency of the dated references juxtaposed against the carefully placed modern insertions, but the characters came off as very unlikeable to me. AND they didn’t give a thought to condoms or birth control and then were incredibly surprised a couple months later. Uh-huh. Did I mention I have have terrible allergies…to stupidity? Hand me an EpiPen, already. Go read Miller’s McKettrick series and wallow in what a terrific writer she can be. This one should have stayed in the drawer.

“Five Days of Christmas” by Lindsay McKenna

Lindsay McKenna – a writer of such renown that she not only served in the Navy during the 1960s but actually is credited with inventing the military romance – provides a fabulous palette cleanser in the form of this novella. McKenna has produced one of the longest running sagas in romance publishing, the Morgan’s Mercenaries series, which is actually divided into multiple subseries and is so complex I require a flowchart to understand it (the Goodreads link here is your best bet for understanding the order). This is clearly what happens though when you’ve written over 100 romance novels!

Rocky Mountains of Montana (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Morgan Trayhern and his wife Laura take seriously the celebration of the holiday in their base of operations, a small town in the Rocky Mountains in Montana. All the employees of the Perseus Black Ops company who find themselves stateside are invited and case in point many of the mercenaries actually have families based in the small town the Trayherns call home. For five days, this family hosts multiple events at their home and the area to get everyone appreciating the holiday spirit.

Originally published in 2001, “Five Days of Christmas” centers on Colt Hamlin, a very tired mercenary with a mild case of PTSD from his multiple missions in Kosovo. He’s been holing up in his condominium and nursing a bottle of Jack Daniels to help with the pain, but it’s not working. When his boss calls to tell him that Colt is needed at the house of the local biology teacher to help with the preparations, a disgruntled grizzly would look more charming in comparison. But one look at the fiery-haired woman who answers the door and Colt realizes that something pretty momentous just happened.

Rare orchids play a special part in the story and are a good metaphor for both Abbie – who looks delicate but is strong – as well as the relationship between her and Colt.

Abbie Clemens is only twenty-seven, but she’s well acquainted with pain. Her husband and best friend died two years and since he was a mercenary for Perseus, the Trayherns have always treated her like one of the family. She also helped them with their troubled son Jason, now at the Naval Academy, but she’s never seen someone in more pain than the incredibly handsome Colt when he turns up on her doorstep. She realizes that not only can she see past his surface to the well of pain lying underneath, but that her presence seems to help Colt, hopefully reminding him of all the good things in life.

This was an exquisite tale of love between two people who are so meant for one another that the awkwardness comes from knowing one another so quickly and so well. Colt feels he’s damaged goods and Abbie believes that she’s plumb and plain with little but an empathetic shoulder to offer the good-looking man who is slowly coming back to life. I adored both these characters and was impressed with the many characters and their families clearly accumulated over the decades she’s been writing this series. Even with not having read these books (and that will change, let me inform you now), I could easily pick up on the past storylines and character dynamics, making this tale (of which the miracle of Christmas features heavily) a true favorite.

Worth Putting Under the Tree?

At around $8.57 for the Kindle edition and over $12 for the hardcover (what is Harlequin thinking?), I would recommend this for Morgan’s Mercenaries fans in ebook form or simply as a requested book from your local public library or used book dealer. I’m so glad I read the McKenna novella that I can certainly recommend the book from that angle, but Miller fans will want to stick with her other excellent work and not demoralize themselves with this particular story.

Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, Week of October 6, 2013

6 Oct

Upcoming Books and New Releases

Historical Romance writer, Katherine Ashe, is giving readers a fantastic Christmas present with the release of her holiday novella, Kisses, She Wrote: A Christmas Romance. When a rakish earl stumbles across the diary of a wallflower princess whose fantasies are anything but demure, sparks are going to burst into flames that will light the Yule fire, for sure. One of the best pieces of this novella? It’s currently only $.99 on Amazon. If you’re too eager to wait until December 3rd, then check out Ashe’s website for a tantalizing snippet. Ashe fans might also want to note that her full-length Regency ghost story (with a romance at its center), Captive Bride, is also reduced down to $.99 as well.

Samanthe Beck’s McCade Brothers series has just become one of my favorites since I read the associated novella in Lovers Unmasked and bought and read the first book in the series, Lover Undercover (awesome!!!), so I was thrilled to see that the next installment of the series, Falling for the Marine, will be out at the end of October. A marine helicopter pilot with a back injury is anxious to get back into the pilot’s seat but when he’s hot neighbor is the masseuse assigned to him she’s not the only one with straying hands. Entangled publishing is great with pricing, so this hot novel by a great author is only $2.99. Mine is already pre-ordered!

Dianne Duvall just released the fourth book in her Immortal Guardians series, Darkness Rises, featuring a beautiful swordswoman who gets the drop on vampire and the two-hundred year old guardian who realizes the vamps she’s killing have influential friends, a fact that puts her and his fellow guardians, in danger. Released on October 1st, this 400+ page paranormal romance is under $6 for its ebook version which suddenly places the series on my “to-read” list!

Fantastic new author Kat Latham (who blew me away with the first book in her rugby-based London Legends series, Knowing the Score) will be offering a connected Christmas novella to her series, Mine Under the Mistletoe, due out on December 5th. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy! No cover art as of yet, but I’ll let you know when it comes out.

I was impressed with the intensity of Shannon McKenna’s One Wrong Move, which made me thrilled to see its sequel, Fatal Strike, was just published in trade paperback and ebook form at the end of September. Containing more of a pronounced paranormal element than its predecessor (which still had one, it was just subtle) this book features a captured woman tortured like a lab rat with injections that bring out psychic powers. She finds herself escaping to a safe place where a handsome, protective man exists who always makes her feel better but she thinks he’s a product of her imagination until he bursts through the door. Bring. It. On.

Giveaways and Contests

While Lauren Dane fans are reveling in the publication of her latest book in the Brown Siblings saga, Drawn Together, this week, they need to not forgot that this prolific author does not rest on her laurels, but always has yet another amazing book coming out. Her Bound By Magick series is about to have the fourth book published in early November, Wild Darkness, but readers should note that Goodreads is actually having a giveaway (ending October 11th) if you wanted to see if you could win a copy.

Author Cassandra Carr has always given us great sports romances, so it’s not a surprise that her recent contest is running under a “Hockey Hotties” moniker! Enter to win a selection from her backlist of great hockey romances by leaving a comment on the webpage.

Sports romance fans need to run not walk over to Give Me Books in order to enter that blog’s Extreme Jock Giveaway. I’m still reeling from the prizes – 44 author signed paperbacks, 97 ebooks, 19 ebook sets, various swag and even a few book retailer gift cards!! Be warned that the Rafflecopter giveaway is naturally extensive with so many authors participating (you’re going to spend a decent amount of time tweeting and clicking those Facebook like buttons for entries) but it’s so worth it.

Entangled Teen has collaborated with Hesperia Loves Books to produced an unbelievable giveaway to support Breast Cancer Awareness and research. Running for the month of October, this giveaway gives participants the chance to win over twenty books, many of them signed, by authors such as Jeaniene Frost and Lori Foster. Tweeting and posting on Facebook about the giveaway gives extra points, but consider the multi-point bonus that comes with donating to the National Breast Cancer research program (the link is right in the rafflecopter giveaway). I did in honor of my Aunt Martha who is currently fighting breast cancer (and who loves romance) and I’m sure you can think of someone who has suffered through this disease. SUCH a great cause!

Paranormal romance readers who like their books a little to the left of steamy hot are already familiar with Joey W. Hill’s Vampire Queen series, but right now on Goodreads, she’s also giving away the first book in her Arcane Shot series, Something About Witches. Featuring a witch who prefers the reliability of a handgun to a spell and the sorcerer she pushed away years before who needs her help, this book (and series) is worth a look. This was the intention of Berkeley Sensation publishing who are gearing up for Hill’s new release on December 3rd, Unrestrained, by giving away books from all her various series. Thanks, Berkeley! Enter by October 11th for a chance to win.

Historical mystery readers who love their puzzles with a touch of romance will want to enter the Goodreads giveaway for Banquet of Lies by Michelle Diener. In Regency London a young woman must pose as the French chef of a nobleman in order to be positioned to ferret out her father’s killer and protect the document he entrusted to her prior to his death. Her employer’s curiosity and obvious romantic interest runs the risk of exposing not only her identity but also attracting exactly the one person she needs to avoid if she is to survive. Enter by October 11th for a chance to win.

If Banquet of Lies has you thinking about French food and Paris, you might want to check out the Travel Channel’s contest to win the “Parisian Trip of a Lifetime!” Six days and five nights for two at a cushy hotel in the City of Lights, including a half-day private tour (I think I’d go just for this), a two-hour Parisian bakery workshop (okay, nix the previous statement, I’d go for this), and $1500 spending money. *sigh*

Karen Hawkins’ second book in her The Duchess Diaries series is also being offered as a Goodreads giveaway and historical romance readers will definitely want to give How to Pursue a Princess a good look, whether they win or not. A young woman is pressured to make a good match and hopes she’s going to fall for the wealthy Earl her godmother thinks is perfect, until the hot and penniless Russian prince walks into the room. Whoops. Enter before October 12th to take this one home.

Signet Publishing deserves some major kudos for the outstanding covers of Marie Claremont’s historical series Mad Passions. This Victorian romance series has just had the second book in the series, Lady in Red, come out on October 1st, but if you haven’t yet picked it up, you may want to try to win a copy by entering the Goodreads giveaway before October 15th. This dark series’ installment features a young noblewoman who manages to escape the asylum in which her father has placed her, to run right into the arms of a duke who might very well be her salvation. That he finds her torment to mirror his own only binds them together as they fight for her future.

Fun Stuff

My deep-seated admiration for Laura Kaye’s writing is hardly a secret, and I’ve put on the Sunday posts how much I’m looking forward to her upcoming book, Hard As It Gets, which is the first in her new Hard Ink series. Thankfully for her fans (and quite frankly, any woman who enjoys eye-candy!), Avon Publishing has produced a fantastic video with her being interviewed about her inspiration for the characters. She’s delightful, the Baltimore backdrop lovely, and the tattooed figures…um…quite inspiring. Take a look!

Macy’s is selling a dress by Tommy Hillfiger featuring a great print that is row upon row of books. In the shirtwaist style, this looks awesome with boots and is a reasonable $79.95. I’m so on this.

For every girl who used her mother’s bangles to mimic Wonder Woman’s cuffs or pretended to be Barbara Gordon turning into Batgirl, there is a great nonfiction book, The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines by Mike Madrid. Right now this informative text is an amazing $1.99 at Amazon, so feed your inner Superwoman and download it in a flash.

Great Deals

I was thrilled to find on M. L. Buchman’s blog a note that some of his fantastic novellas which accompany his The Night Stalkers military romance series were being offered in a “romance bundle” from StoryBundle. Not having heard of that particular store, I went to take a look and was wowed by the mission of the website. Designed to promote indie authors by offering their books together with other books as a “bundle” around a given theme, the site’s founders hope to encourage you to find new authors you might enjoy. Unlike the great $.99 bundles on Amazon I often promote, StoryBundle also 1) lets you set your own price for the bundle (although it suggests an incredibly affordable one) and 2) encourages you to add an extra percentage which they donate toward charities encouraging writing and literacy among children. How awesome is that? Books are downloaded in either .mobi or .epub form so Kindle users or other ebook readers can all handle the files. Take a look at the romance bundle to realize that this is no pure donation – not only Buchman’s books but also independent books from Stephanie Laurens, Jo Beverly, Mary Jo Putney and Kristine Grayson. WOW!

Historical romance writer Courtney Milan’s Turner series novella, Unlocked, is on sale for $.99 right now on Amazon. A little over 100 pages, this story features a wallflower determined to stand up to her former tormentor upon hearing he’s returned to England. That he’s here to apologize for his past behavior doesn’t seem to quench her ire and the nobleman in question finds he wants much more than her forgiveness.

I’ve never read a suspense story that happened to be a Western, but I’m about to change that with the news that B. J. Daniels’ Harlequin Intrigue novel, The New Deputy in Town, is free for download on Amazon right now. When a new lawmen has to solve a bridal shower murder and everyone in the heroine’s family had a motive, things are bound to become complicated quickly.

Lyndsay Sands’ Argeneau Vampires series is understandably famous, so it’s always a good deal when they are discounted. Right now, The Accidental Vampire, the seventh book in the series, is marked down to only $1.99, a terrific deal. Starring a new vampire trying to adjust to coffin life on her own who gets set up by well-meaning friends on a blind date, the heroine is thrilled to discover the experienced vampire Victor Argeneau on the other side of the table. He’s good-looking enough to have his pick of woman with a heartbeat or without, but he definitely wants to help her, particularly after the realization that someone wants to put an end to his sweet fledgling’s new existence.

Having just reviewed Jennifer Ashley’s latest in the Highland Pleasures series, The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie, I’m thrilled to note that the accompanying Christmas novella, A Mackenzie Family Christmas is actually FREE right now on Amazon for its ebook form, so run over and grab it while the price lasts.

I love Cat Johnson’s Westerns but her Red, Hot and Blue series has always demonstrated she knows her way around a man in uniform (and out of it as well, mrrrrooow!). The third book in the series (each named after the hero), Jimmy, is now available for free download at Amazon, so check it out. An undercover Special Forces hero, the red-haired daughter of a senator, and one unbelievably hot one night stand (did I mention terrorists?) all make for an unbeatable combination.

That’s the scoop for this week. Happy Reading! 🙂

%d bloggers like this: