Category Archives: Mona Leigh

>Review: Creed’s Honor by Linda Lael Miller


Creed's Honor (Hqn)Synopsis: Conner Creed knows exactly who he is: a hardworking rancher carrying on his uncle’s legacy in Lonesome Bend, Colorado. Maybe a small-town cowboy’s life isn’t his dream, but he owes the man who took him in as a kid. Until the identical twin brother he’s been estranged from for years reenters his life.

Conner struggles with identity issues as he gets to know his wilder brother. And then he meets Tricia McCall, a beautiful woman who knows a thing or two about living someone else’s dreams. Together, they just might find their own dreams right here in Lonesome Bend….

I love a good cowboy—I mean cowboy story—and this is a good one. Forget about bygone times in the Old West, this is a contemporary story dealing with present day issues—sibling rivalry, jealousy, loneliness, and love.

Conner Creed is convinced his identical twin brother Brody seduced his fiancé before they disappeared ten years ago. If he wasn’t guilty, why did he leave? During Brody’s absence, Conner works the ranch and lives a lonely, solitary life. Then the quiet, lovely Tricia McCall catches his eye when she shows up to care for her great-grandmother Natty.

Even though Tricia grew up spending her summers in Lonesome Bend, she was never part of the local crowd. Her shyness held her back then just as it does now, and Tricia thinks Conner is handsome, but out of her league. So instead of pushing past her shyness, she dreams of returning to Seattle and the emotionally distant boyfriend she hasn’t seen in the year and a half she’s been in Lonesome Bend. But wily old great-grandmother Natty knows Tricia and Conner are perfect for each other and sets the wheels in motion to throw them together.

Out of the blue, Conner’s scruffy-looking twin returns ready to settle down. This stirs no small amount of resentment in Conner. Not only does Brody steal his former fiancé, now he wants a say in running the ranch where Conner has invested so much of his life. Sparks fly when neither is willing to make the first move toward reconciliation. When Brody cuts his hair, cleans up his act, borrows Conner’s clothes and his truck, Conner knows he’s up to no good. Is Brody planning to repeat the past with Tricia? Or is he up to something more sinister? That’s what Conner has to discover. The angry tension between the brothers is as palpable as the sexual tension between Conner and Tricia.

Like a guilty pleasure, I thoroughly enjoyed losing myself in Creed’s Honor. With each book, Linda Lael Miller has honed her writing skills and perfected her art. Readers know her characters like their own families and feel just as comfortable with them. Whether you’re a cowboy aficionado or complete greenhorn, you’ll enjoy the underlying love stories that weave these lives together.

A Creed in Stone Creek is the lead off book in the Creed trilogy, followed by Creed’s Honor and The Creed Legacy. After falling in love with these sexy cowboys, I now find it necessary to read all three books to indulge my fantasy. *sigh* I loves me some cowboys.

Mona Leigh

  • Author: Linda Lael Miller 
  • Series: Montana Creeds Series 6 
  • Release:May 2011 
  • Source: Provided by author

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    >BadAss week: Mona’s favorite Badass is…


    Ya Gotta Love a Man Who Knows He’s Bad
    (….but doesn’t care)

    ​There are so many wonderful tough guys in fiction that at first I was going crazy trying to pick one to write about. For instance, one of my all-time favorites is Ranger from Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Unlike a lot of you, I’m not a Morelli fan. At. All. But I lurves me some Ranger for many different reasons—not the least of which is the way he always rescues Stephanie, gives her anything she needs or wants, and never asks anything in return. Nor does he take her for granted. Not to mention, he’s gorgeous and dangerous. (sigh)

    Then there’s Eric Northman from Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series. Now, don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about—Gracious Plenty, indeed. Plus, he can wear pink spandex and still be hot and studly. There are also Barrons, Bones, Curran, Dimitri, the entire Black Dagger Brotherhood, all the Dark-Hunters, and a slew of others too numerous to mention, but the one who really captures my heart is none other than…..(drumroll please)……Acheron—or Ash as he’s known to those who love him.

    ​Yes, I’m talking about Ash of the Dark-Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I mean, c’mon, what’s not to love about a six-foot-eight-inch god with swirling silver eyes and long black hair with a bright red streak in the front, who walks like a seductive predator? The opaque black Oakley sunglasses, the long black coat covering that amazing bod, black tees (usually sporting the name of a heavy metal band), black leather pants, and cherry-red Doc Martens boots with skull and crossbone buckles going up each side are enough to fog up my glasses, yet that description alone would make most people cross the street to avoid him.

    ​Of course, his natural god appearance is even scarier. His skin is marbled blue, he has two black horns, black claws and lips, and his eyes are yellow-orange encircled by red. He is the Talimosin, the Destroyer’s Harbinger, the Final Fate, and a single word from him can destroy the gods and the world. Despite having such immense power, he’s gentle and caring. He loves Simi like a daughter (a young Charonte demon who also doubles as his tattoo), and spoils her with a limitless credit card so she can buy whatever sparklies her heart desires. (All together now……aahhh)

    ​Due to the horrendous acts committed against him by humans and gods when he was mortal, he has every reason in the world to wipe out the universe. The atrocities he suffered would have killed a normal child, and yet he chooses to protect mankind. It’s because he was so abused, maimed, and tortured that he wants no one else to suffer the way he did.

    ​Keeping his godhood a secret is of paramount importance, so no one other than Tory (his new wife and newly created god) and a few other gods know what he is, but keeping his human past a secret is even more important. As strong and powerful as he is, the shame of what was done to him guides many of his actions.

    You can see why I have such a tender spot in my heart for Ash. He’s a survivor, leader, husband, and protector. Through a complicated, damnable, twist of fate, he also fathered a daughter with Artemis—the bitch goddess as Simi calls her. Soon he and Tory will welcome their first child, and I know he’ll move heaven and earth to protect them from his ever-growing list of enemies.

    And that, my friends, is the measure of a true badass hero—he can totally destroy the universe, but instead, chooses to protect it. You gotta love a man with that much restraint and compassion.

    I probably shouldn’t say this, but I honestly hope no one makes a movie about him, because in my mind, there’s no way any actor could measure up to his role. And oh, by the way, if you aren’t familiar with him, start with the first book in the series, Fantasy Lover. Now that you know who he is, you’ll be more apt to notice all the wonderful things he does. (….long, protracted sigh….)

    >Review: Of Dukes and Deceptions by Wendy Soliman


    Of Dukes and Deceptions
    When Nicholas Buchanan, the Duke of Dorchester, accepts an invitation to visit a country stud farm, he counters his boredom by striking a wager with his henchman that he’ll bed the poor relation, Alicia Woodley, before the end of his stay. But he reckons without Alicia’s disdain. She’s disgusted by Nick’s cavalier attitude, unimpressed by his grandeur and wants as little as possible to do with him.

    Between her newfound role as family charity case and fending off the attentions of both her clueless cousin and the arrogant Nicholas, Alicia Woodley has quite enough to contend with…but when her life is endangered, quite possibly from those closest to her, surprisingly it is Nicholas who seems determined to ensure her safety. As they conspire to uncover secrets that the family wants hidden at all costs, they discover a passion that surpasses all obstacles.

    Of Dukes and Deceptions sucked me in right away. As many historical romances as I read, one would think I’d have come across this premise at least once, but I’m happy to say it was a new one on me.
    One of the most dastardly laws known to women of the Regency period prohibited them from inheriting property. When Alicia Woodley’s father dies, his estate—and his prosperous stud farm—pass on to an uncle even though Alicia was the driving force behind the farm. Her uncle refuses to allow her any input in the business and his sudden desire for a partner baffles her. Especially since the proposed partner lives a great distance away and it’s rumored he killed his wife.

    When Nicholas learns there is a poor relation (Alicia) living on the farm he is to visit, she immediately becomes fodder for a bet—can Nicholas bed her before his visit is over? As he works to seduce her, he finds himself falling in love, but all the while, her uncle is pushing her to marry his son. There’s a mystery behind this whole arrangement, and since someone is determined to kill Alicia, Nick is quickly running out of time to solve it.

    I loved the fast pace and fresh ideas contained in the story, and found myself reading faster and faster just to see what was going to happen. I always know I’ve found a ‘keeper’ when I cook dinner with a spoon in one hand and my Nook in the other. This time dinner ended up losing, but that’s our little secret and I don’t see any reason to mention it to my husband. After all, every girl needs a night off from cooking once in a while, right? Riiiight.

    *Book furnished by Net Galley

    >Review: Among The Departed by Vicki Delaney


    Among the Departed: A Constable Molly Smith Mystery (Constable Molly Smith Novels)Fifteen years ago a young girl by the name of Moonlight Smith went to her best friend Nicky Nowak’s house for a sleepover. Moonlight joined the family for breakfast the following morning and was then picked up by her mother. Shortly after, Mr. Nowak went for a walk.

    He was never seen again.

    Autumn has arrived on the mountains above Trafalgar, B.C., and the promise of winter is in the air. Constable Molly Smith is cuddled by the fireplace with Adam Tocek of the RCMP when Tocek and his dog Norman are called to a wilderness camping ground to join the search for a little boy who snuck away from his family looking for bears.

    The child is found, dirty, terrified, weeping, but unharmed. Then the inquisitive Norman digs up something else: human bones.

    The ID isn’t positive, but it is enough to have Sergeant John Winters of the Trafalgar City Police pulling old boxes from the basement to reopen the Brian Nowak investigation. He finds a family shattered beyond recognition by the disappearance of their husband and father. Mrs. Nowak is an empty shell of a woman, dressed in pajamas, never leaving the house. Her son Kyle haunts the streets of Trafalgar at night and spends his days creating beautiful, but highly troubling, art. Nicky Nowak lives in Vancouver and has grown up to be gorgeous, charming, elegant. Yet behind that facade lies a woman whose heart has closed so tightly against human relationships she comes to Trafalgar trailing in her wake a terrifying threat to another innocent family.

    As the investigation into the life and disappearance of Brian Nowak grows, old secrets are brought to light and new ones struggle to remain hidden.

    Once again, Vicki Delaney has given us a mystery worth the wait. The fifth book in the Constable Molly Smith series, Among the Departed picks up seventeen months after the events in Negative Image that I reviewed last fall.

    The discovery of human bones sets off an emotional chain reaction that affects the whole community. The bones are identified as Brian Nowak, a man who disappeared fifteen years ago. The angry son, Kyle, the withdrawn widow, Marjorie, and the devastated daughter, Nicky, begin to cause all sorts of new problems for those around them.

    Molly and Nicky are best friends growing up, but the stress of Nowak’s disappearance causes Nicky to run away from home. To support herself, she turns to prostitution and blackmail. Now fifteen years later, she returns for her father’s funeral. Her partner in crime follows her and decides she needs to earn some money while she’s there. She’s not above seducing and blackmailing Molly’s new fiancé, Adam. Or for that matter, anyone else with money.

    During the investigation relationships are tested, renewed, or simply discovered. One relationship in particular was so surprising and controversial I was caught completely off guard when it was revealed.

    I enjoy getting to know Molly’s character. She’s a cop, but without the attitude. She’s more comfortable in her job than in her personal life. At work, she’s subjected to the malice of some of her male counterparts, but somehow, she manages to remain professional and do her job without going ballistic on them. She’s a much better person than I could be in that situation.

    I really need more hours in my day so I can start at the beginning of the series and move forward with the characters. But since I doubt that will happen I’ll have to manage to squeeze in a book here and there until I catch up. Don’t worry, though, if you have to do the same the books work equally well as stand-alone titles.

    *Book furnished by NetGalley

    >Novella Review: Cowboy Take Me Away by Kathleen Eagle


    Cowboy, Take Me Away (Harlequin Special Edition)Her camera didn’t lie.
    When photographer Skyler Quinn first fixed her lens on gorgeous cowboy Trace Wolf Track, she liked what she saw but didn’t give it much thought. Until everywhere she went—the rodeo, the Double D Wild Horse Sanctuary— there he was, and the heat between them built to the boiling point.

    As a widow struggling with debts and loyalties from a former life, Skyler needed to stay focused, especially if she wanted to achieve her dream of becoming a mother. Was Trace a fatal distraction, a mere summer fling? Or did this younger man—so deep, so passionate—hold the key to a future that would make all her dreams come true?

    This novella was an interesting twist on the May / December romance angle. For one thing, Skyler wasn’t exactly a December—she was more of a July. She didn’t set out to catch a younger man, but he had a way of popping up wherever she went, their chemistry worked, and Trace found lots to appreciate in a slightly older woman.

     There were touching moments between them when I found myself smiling and nodding in agreement—especially when he tells her age doesn’t matter. There were also a few rough spots that felt a little uncomfortable. For instance, I liked Skyler, but there were times when her doubts overshadowed the rest of the story, and the intensity of her desire for a family had me watching her biological clock tick away. When she and Trace argued, it lacked the force of a good emotional blow-up. But there’s something to be said for new love and making up, because the love scenes were great.

    Overall, I liked the book and the characters and I would plunk down my money to buy it. After all, not everyone fights in the same way, and what may be simply an argument for me could be a catastrophe in someone else’s eyes. And yes, I liked the ending. That made it all worthwhile.

    *Book furnished by NetGalley

    >Review: Laird of Darkness by Nicole North


    Laird of DarknessHalf-Fae Laird Duncan MacDougall is cursed. His nights are haunted by Otherworld creatures sent to kill him. The only way to stop them is to possess the magic bow currently in the hands of his enemy half brother, Kinnon MacClaren. In desperation, Duncan plans to take MacClaren’s bride-to-be hostage and exchange her for the bow.

    Lady Alana Forbes has never met her intended, but she hopes he is handsome-and a good lover, for Alana is no innocent virgin. On her way to Castle Claren, Alana and her escorts are intercepted, and she is kidnapped by a man with extraordinary abilities-and every attribute she longs for in a mate.

    Duncan didn’t expect the woman he thought of as a mere pawn to be so beautiful, and so arousing. Alana is drawn to him as well-but Duncan still needs the bow, and Alana is betrothed to another. How far will Alana go to save the life of the man she’s come to love?

    Laird of Darkness was an enchanting short story. It had the flavor of a fairy tale blended with a taste of the erotic. Half-fae Laird Duncan MacDougall is a dashing dark villain who’s actually a bit of a hero. His half-brother Laird Kinnon MacClaren is a hero who’s also a bit of a villain.

    After Lady Alana Forbes is kidnapped by Duncan, she’s at once afraid of yet captivated by him. It doesn’t take long before their mutual attraction takes over and draws them together. But that leaves Duncan with a dilemma—does he trade her to Kinnon for the magic bow that will allow him to keep the night monsters away or does he admit his love for her even though he’ll continue to be attacked every night in his sleep?

    Leave it to Lady Alana to work out a solution when the brothers cannot.

    This is a short, entertaining story just right for that tiny wedge of down time that happens along every so often. Nicole manages to add all the right ingredients—love, danger, passion, and betrayal—and keep it bite-sized at just under eighty pages. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it left me feeling ridiculously happy.

    *Book courtesy of NetGalley

    >Review: Black Magic by Cherry Adair


    Ever since the death of her parents, Sara Temple has rejected her magical gifts. Then, in a moment of extreme danger, she unknowingly sends out a telepathic cry for help—to the one man she is convinced she never wants to see again.

    Jackson Slater thought he was done forever with his ex-fiancée, but when he hears her desperate plea, he teleports halfway around the world to aid her in a situation where magic has gone suddenly, brutally wrong.

    But while Sara and Jack remain convinced they are completely mismatched, the Wizard Council feels otherwise. A dark force is killing some of the world’s most influential wizards, and the ex-lovers have just proved their abilities are mysteriously amplified when they work together. But with the fate of the world at stake, will the violent emotions still simmering between them drive them farther apart . . . or bring them back into each other’s arms?

    Though I hate to admit it, Black Magic is the first book I’ve read by Cherry Adair. It was published in July 2010, and I received it at RT in April. While at RT, I attended one of her workshops on romantic suspense and knew right then I would read anything she wrote. She was outrageously funny, brazen, and fresh, and she kept us all laughing with her sly commentary and colorful language.

    The Black Magic cover blurb hooked me and the first page reeled me in. I fell in love with wizard Jackson Slater. Cherry painted him with broad, bold strokes keeping him in the forefront of my mind at all times. His love interest, Sara Temple, was not a whiney, helpless woman waiting for a man to make her world all better. She was, however, a manipulated, brainwashed young woman who’d had everything important stolen from her by someone she considered family.

    The story begins on Jack’s sixteenth birthday—the day the Aequitas Book of Answers proclaimed Jack as its owner. For thousands of years the book passed from father to son, and after the Book’s declaration, Jack Sr., a nasty tempered wizard prone to violence, was forced to relinquish it. He managed to break Jack’s thumb during the transfer of power, but quickly learned Jack didn’t have to tolerate abuse any longer. At sixteen, Jackson Slater, Jr. became more powerful than his brute of a father.

    Skipping ahead several years, we find Jack has become a geologist and is in Australia nursing a broken heart and exploring a ley line—better known to humans as a fault line—for the Wizard Council. His goal is to explore and map all the ley lines of the world. While he’s underground, he hears his former fiancé’s voice inside his head calling his name. Thinking it’s his imagination, he continues to work until the urgency of the voice grabs his attention and he teleports to the house in South America where she lives. Dead wizards and blood everywhere lead him to fear the worst. Luckily, he finds her alive, cornered by a crazed wizard with a meat cleaver. And thus begins a chain of events that could kill them or bind them together forever.

    Cherry keeps the tension ratcheted up as Jack and Sara rediscover their love for one another while trying to figure out what’s killing off the wizarding community. I’m not going to discuss the antagonist here, because I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone and I know I wouldn’t be able to stop with a summation of his evil. So suffice it to say, he’s one bad dude. He’s the kind of man you don’t want to meet in the daylight much less in the dark, and his evil permeates everything around him. I was fascinated and horrified by him, and several times just plain creeped out.

    In the past two years, I’ve read a ton of urban fantasies and paranormal romances and tried to draw a comparison between them and Black Magic. I can’t think of any series or stand-alone quite like this. It’s not a light and fluffy book to kill a few hours, nor is it morose and dark. It is a tightly written, throat closing, stomach-clenching tale laced with emotional baggage—the kind that comes with loving someone who has broken your heart. I loved it. And with one book, Cherry Adair has moved to the top of my TBR list.

    Book courtesy of  Cherry Adair & Simon and Schuster Publishing Co.