Jonas is a Rock Star

 Image         For such a tiny story, it sure packed A LOT of punch. I was just digging Jonas all over the place. He was my kind of vamp, a complete and total badass. Personally I would read books about him all day long. This is a prequel to Haven, an UF series centered around vampire royalty and halfbreed Carina Tranquilli. We got a glimpse of her story, but Jonas is the star in this tale. He is absolutely dedicated to her safety and happiness and will move Heaven and Earth to make sure she has the epitome of both. Warning- Jonas doesn’t mind the wet work, although he does use a clean up crew. Please Ms. Breslin, I beg of you, I would just love more of Jonas.

Lesson Learned

   Drunk and without hope, newly turned twenty-    one year old Rena Novo has decided she’s had enough and is about to step in front of a speeding eighteen wheeler. Saved from her folly, Rena is brought into the society of Everlife. A new concept in interactive gaming, where employees live, work and are totally immersed in the Everlife philosophy. Assigned to gaming lounges, “Lifers” move up the status ladder by a point system. They live on site, they eat and play on site, and they choose who they earn sex points with on site. Rena is a shining star in Everlife and is a fervent believer in their philosophy. She will do whatever it takes to protect her new family.Gage Stone is an investigative reporter looking for his missing younger sister. She is his only family and he fears she has been sucked in by Everlife’s questionable organization. Determined to find her, he goes undercover as an Everlife new recruit. His assigned mentor, Rena could be an invaluable resource but she has not only drank the Kool-Aid, she showers in it every morning.

Let me just say that I don’t know what I expected from this book, but it wasn’t what I got . When I first met Rena, my first reaction was “Oh no, another fidiot heroine”. As I read on, I discovered some sterling characteristics though. On the surface, she is fearless, strong, smart and a leader. On the downside, she also seemed to easily swallow whatever tripe her Everlife gurus threw at her. It was no less than mindless worship. I understand she felt that she had found the home, purpose, and family she so desperately needed, however it was very difficult not to wish she had indeed stepped in front of the semi. She ignores her inner voice that says “Hey, get a clue!” But wait, don’t runaway yet, it gets waaaaay better.

Enter my boy, Gage. Yaaaay, a person with working brain cells!! (Spoiler hint) That statement has MAJOR implications. Instantly attracted to Rena, he is frustrated by her refusal to see the cancer in the upper echelons of Everlife. He perseveres however because he is just that awesome. I loved Gage.

Now I know you must be thinking, “Wow, she does not like this book.”. Au contraire, mon ami. I was enthralled by this book, and let me tell you it absolutely shocked me to my toes. It is an enormous testament to Dawn Atkins’ talent as a writer. She not only answered every qualm and question that I had, but she did it in such a compelling way that I had finished the book and become an avid fan before I realized it. I was obsessed with finding out how Rena could prove my initial impression as dead wrong. The story was a wonderful thriller with twist, turns, surprises, heartbreak, and redemption. There is a thread of romance, but the actual story is the thing. The evolution of Rena and Gage as a couple and as individuals turned out to be a wonderful reading experience. Just goes to show that first impressions can be seriously flawed and for that I thank you Ms. Atkins, for the life lesson and the absolutely enjoyable read.

An Old Dog Learns A New Trick

imageMason Christian, consummate businessman and cyborg candidate, is desperate to find assistant #42 so he can complete his real estate venture and get the hell out of Dodge. Broken by past tragedies, Mason has shut down emotionally and is on autopilot, living only for the next business deal.

Billie McLeod is sunshine personified. She doesn’t know what to do with her gorgeous albeit robotic boss. She is floored when she has to sign a contract agreeing to stay for the next 12 weeks. She is even more flabbergasted when Mason refuses to remember her name and refers to her only as 42. She just can’t resist the opportunity to get Mason to slow down and enjoy the community and it’s sense of roots and tradition. She may have set herself up for heartbreak but she just can’t help her need to fix her brooding boss.

In my many, many years in the romance community, every once in a while you stumble upon an author who just has IT. I believe Hayson Manning is such an author. Followers of my reviews know that I gravitate towards dark PNR. For an author to make me anticipate a straight up contemporary romance, well that is just a feat of gigantic magnitude. Winning the Boss’s Heart was like a cold beer on a scorching summer day, smooth, refreshing and gone way too soon. Not only did her characters intrigue and delight this reader but the underlying humor had a smile on my face for most of the book. Mason went from being someone I loved, to someone I wanted to lock in a closet, and then back to a worthy hero. Billie’s overall sweetness and boundless optimism is balanced by her biting sarcasm and unflinching honesty (although she does have a sneaky side). The romance is just hot and just steamy enough to convey the passion that Billie and Mason unleash in each other. Lest you think this story is all cotton candy and rainbows, there are some heart wrenching moments that will bring a tear to the eye of the most hardened of hearts. For me to give a five star review to a contemporary romance is unheard of and should surprise you enough to find out why I am such a big fan. Read this book and fall in love.

A Happy Discovery

imageDue to an unrequited love, Drew is now a soul broker for an evil demoness in the bowels of hell. It is his duty to gain souls by offering to give them the love of the person they long for. When not on the mortal plane, Drew is chained with his other brokers and subjected to the most horrible of tortures.

Mackenzie is hustling down the street with her arms loaded with groceries when she is literally knocked off her feet by a gorgeous stranger. Feeling an instant connection, Mackenzie agrees to have coffee with the man. Acting completely out of character, she has a wonderful night filled with passion with a man she just met. Is it surprising that his has disappeared without a trace the next morning?

I bought this book with no expectations, but thought the blurb presented an interesting situation. I am extremely happy to report that it was money well spent. I instantly fell for Drew (he was a tall blonde, my weakness). He hated his situation but had given up hope of ever gaining his freedom. Of course this pulled at my heart strings since his predicament was the result of love. *sigh* Mackenzie was a suitable heroine. She was strong, with hidden secrets that lead to her being a major reason people should give this book a read. There are a couple of big surprises and some really promising secondary characters. There is also just enough steamy sex to qualify Soul Broker as an erotic romance. It would not have hurt my feelings for this to have been a full length novel and hopefully this will be the beginning of a series. Tina Pollick has elevated herself to an author that I will keep an eye on. Job well done,Tina, job well done.