Review: Flash of Fire by M.L. Buchman + Giveaway

Flash of Fire Format: eARC
Source: publisher via Edelweiss
Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: military romance, romantic suspense
Series: Firehawks #7
Pages: 352
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on May 3rd 2016
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

The elite firefighters of Mount Hood Aviation fly into places even the CIA can't penetrate.
FROM WILDFIRE TO GUNFIRE When former Army National Guard helicopter pilot Robin Harrow joins Mount Hood Aviation, she expect to fight fires for only one season. Instead, she finds herself getting deeply entrenched with one of the most elite firefighting teams in the world. And that's before they send her on a mission that's seriously top secret, with a flight partner who's seriously hot.
Mickey Hamilton loves flying, firefighting, and women, in that order. But when Robin Harrow roars across his radar, his priorities go out the window. On a critical mission deep in enemy territory, their past burns away and they must face each other. Their one shot at a future demands that they first survive the present-together.
"A richly detailed and pulse-pounding read...tender romance flawlessly blended with heart-stopping life-or-death scenes." -RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 stars for Full Blaze

My Review:

Whatever was in the water at SOAR seems to also be in the water at Mount Hood Aviation. Everyone who shows up to fly to fire ends up very happily married. And it’s wonderful fun!

Like so many of the books in Buchman’s Firehawks series, the story follows a particular pattern. What makes things interesting is always the characters, both the ones that series readers are familiar with, and the new ones who are introduced or at least focused on in the current entry.

In the case of Flash of Fire, our hero Mickey Hamilton is one of the pilots who has been with MHA for a while, but hasn’t had his own story because he’s been waiting for the right heroine to arrive.

The heroine for Mickey is Robin Harrow. She’s former Army National Guard, and currently serving as a reluctant waitress in the biggest independent truck stop in Arizona. But working at Phoebe’s Truck Stop is a family tradition – her mother did it, and now runs the place. Her grandmother is Phoebe herself. As far as fathers and grandfathers go, they aren’t in the picture. Harrow women don’t have husbands, they have sperm donors.

Someday, Phoebe figures that she will follow the family tradition. But right now, she’s flying lead for Mount Hood Aviation for one glorious season, because Emily Beale is much, much too pregnant to fit in even a helicopter’s cockpit. And Emily sees something in Robin that makes her believe Robin is the right pilot to take her place.

Robin initially sees Mickey as her extra-curricular fun for the summer, for what little downtime MHA seems to get. Mickey discovers that Robin is the only woman he will ever want, and is thunderstruck when she rejects his love, but is still more than willing to share his bedroll, tent, or bunk, as long as there are no strings attached.

Everyone who sees them knows that whatever they have is for the long haul – if Mickey can just muster the patience to let the reluctant Robin figure it out for herself.

And if they can survive not just the dangerous fire season, but also one of MHA’s mysterious Black Ops missions in one of the most dangerous places on Earth.

Escape Rating B+: While the regular firefighting is always interesting, it’s the crazy Black Ops missions that send these books into the stratosphere of nail-biting tension. As much as I enjoyed this story, it took a little longer than usual for the insane part of the fun to really begin.

Once they take off for parts nearly unknown, across the DMZ in North Korea, the action in this book ramps up to a thrill a minute.

pure heat by ml buchmanFor those new to the series who don’t want to start with either Pure Heat, the first Firehawks book, or The Night is Mine, where Emily Beale and Mark Henderson’s story really begins in the Night Stalkers, Flash of Fire is a great place to pick up the series.

Because Robin is a complete outsider to both MHA and the folks who came over or drop in from SOAR, everyone has to get introduced to her, and she has to learn everyone’s place in this high-adrenaline “family of choice”. For new readers, her introduction is their introduction. For those who have followed the series, it’s a nice refresher. At something like 20 books in for the combined series, the cast is getting pretty large. It’s always nice to see how everyone is doing.

In general, Robin makes a very interesting heroine to follow. She’s the best of the best, but she always thinks she still has so much to learn. While everyone around her at MHA is better at one thing or another than she is, Robin is excellent at pulling all those things together and creating coherence. She makes good decisions fast, which is a talent desperately needed when flying to fire, because the fire moves and changes quicker than an eye blink.

At the same time, she’s always living in the moment. She signs on to MHA for a one season contract, not because she doesn’t want more, but because that’s all they need. Emily Beale won’t be pregnant forever, however much it may seem like it by the start of her third trimester. So Robin believes that she and Mickey can only have one season, and that it is stupid to get involved when she knows she has to leave, while MHA is his home.

Not that Robin doesn’t think emotional involvement isn’t inherently just a bit stupid, and not that her family history doesn’t make her believe that it won’t work for her. Her personal history also contributes. Men want to challenge the strong soldier woman, or they want to break her. They don’t fall in love with her, and often don’t even like her very much.

Mickey is something Robin hasn’t encountered before. A man who likes her and is interested in her just the way she is. It’s the one thing she can’t resist, even if it takes her an entire exhausting fire season to finally see the light. That Robin finds not just a man who loves her, but also women who accept her as one of their own, is a marvelous touch. Flash of Fire easily passes the Bechdel Test, as Robin and the women of MHA bond not just over the men in their lives, but the risks they shared as fellow soldiers, and the dangers and rewards of flying to fire.

Like all of the books in both the Night Stalkers and Firehawks series, what makes the story work is that Robin and Mickey are equals in every possible way. Equally strong, equally intelligent, equally excellent at what they do and sometimes equally stubborn. I always love romances where the hero and the heroine are perfectly capable of rescuing each other – and where they both acknowledge it.

~~~~~~ TOURWIDE GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

M.L. Buchman and Sourcebooks are giving away 5 copies of the first book in the Firehawks series, Pure Heat, to lucky entrants on this tour.

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Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop

lucky-leprechaun hop 2016

Welcome to the 2016 incarnation of the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop, hosted by Bookhounds.

I took a look at last year’s Lucky Leprechaun post, and I like this year’s logo much better. Take a look and see what I mean!

I am still not a Leprechaun, and still not Irish. I also have not found my own pot of gold, in spite of another year of looking, so I won’t be giving away a pot of gold as part of this St. Patrick’s Day hop. But I still want to share a little luck with one commenter, so I’m giving away the winner’s choice of a $10 Gift Card from Amazon or B&N, or a $10 Book from the Book Depository. This is an international giveaway, you just need to live someplace that the Book Depository ships to.

Do you feel lucky?

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For more chances to try your luck, be sure to visit the other stops on the hop:

Romance When You Need It

harlequin romance when you need it
This March, Harlequin kicks off the Romance When You Need It
campaign, with the launch of an awesome video.

Whether a reader needs an escape from her hectic day, or has some
unexpected time to herself—she can count on Harlequin for romance when
she needs it, wherever she is!

So take a look at this fun, sassy, laugh out loud video, and then sign up at Harlequin for 17 free romance books that will be just waiting for you whenever you need a romance break!

Leap into Books Giveaway Hop

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Welcome to the Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop, hosted by BookHounds.

This year is a leap year, so we all have an extra day to read. That’s one of the great things about leap year.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of leaping into a long-anticipated book that has finally reached you. That marvelous sensation of diving into the next entry of a loved series is always so delicious. (Personally, I’m on the proverbial tenterhooks waiting for The Blockade, the third book in Jean Johnson’s First Salik War series)

So what book are you just waiting to leap into? Answer in the rafflecopter for your chance at a $10 Gift Card or the $10 book of your choice.

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And for more fabulous chances to leap into even more books, hop on over to the other blogs participating in this year’s Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop.

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Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop

dreaming of books 2015[1]

I’m dreaming of getting to sleep in my own bed…which finally happened last night. (We’ve been gone for a very loooong week)

But I really do dream of books. Sometimes I dream of being in them. Sometimes I dream of being crushed by them. Sometimes I even dream of our house caving in from the weight of all of them. (Our house is on a slab so this is thankfully not possible!)

This month, however, there is a special dream of books. Welcome to the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop, hosted by Bookhounds.

The books I tend to dream about are the ones that won’t leave me alone. Sometimes that’s because I just plain loved them, but often it’s because I mostly loved them but there is just the one thing that is driving me absolutely crazy, like the ending of The V’Dan by Jean Johnson. Or because it’s a world I would really, really like to live in, like the version of our world in Jim C. Hines’ Magic Ex Libris series (start with Libriomancer). Or because the story ends in such a moral dilemma that I can’t get it out of my head, like the ending of Inherit the Stars by Laurie A. Green.

What makes books stick in your mind? Or which books are so stuck in your mind that you can’t stop thinking and dreaming about them?

Leave a comment in the rafflecopter for a chance at a $10 Gift Card or a $10 Book from the Book Depository.

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For more bookish prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on the hop:

 

Hello My Name Is Giveaway Hop

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Welcome to the Hello My Name Is…Giveaway Hop, hosted by Herding Cats and Burning Soup.

We’re ringing in the New Year with lots of giveaways! And by sharing some fun and wacky facts about ourselves. There’s a new giveaway at each stop so be sure to visit them all!

And here we go!

Hello, my name is Marlene and I’m a biblioholic. I love books, which is probably no surprise to anyone who reads this blog. Or possibly to anyone I’ve ever met!

As part of the hop, I’m supposed to share a few things about myself. Not the usual bloggy thing like what genres I like, but unusual and/or funny and/or strange but not too strange things about myself. None of us will have any secrets left by the time this week is over.

star-trek-postage-stamps-2016Fun Fact #1: As I’ve often mentioned, I’m a Star Trek fan. Because I’m a fan, I’ve seen every Star Trek movie, even the awful ones like Insurrection and Nemesis. But what I don’t usually say is that I saw all of the Star Trek movies set in the original universe on the first night. Even the ones I knew would be awful. However, I have no love for the reboot and have discontinued my streak. It just isn’t MY Star Trek anymore.

Fun Fact #2: I sometimes compare themes in books I read to fanfiction. What I don’t mention is that I wrote one piece of fanfiction, and published it at fanfiction.net. And to tie this into one of my other loves, it was fanfiction set in the videogame Final Fantasy X. The story is still up, but I haven’t updated it in a long, long time. And it isn’t under my real name, so good luck figuring out which one it is.

Fun Fact #3: I’m an only child. This isn’t as fun or as interesting as the other two things, but it is certainly having an effect on my life right now. My mother is elderly and because I have no siblings, it all falls on me. My husband is very helpful, but it isn’t the same for me as it is for him. There are also issues with his father, but he has a sister and brother to talk things over with. When I was a kid, I wanted a sibling, at least until I was 12 or so and took a good look at what it would be like to have a brother or sister 12 or more years younger than me, and changed my mind. Now that I’m an adult, I’m back to wishing I had a sibling again.

hobbit by tolkien paperback coverFun Fact #4: I read The Hobbit for the first time when I was in 3rd grade. So I was either 8 or 9. I re-read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings over 25 times in the next 20 years, and still dip into it whenever I’m in the mood. I re-read LOTR so often that my mom thought a great punishment for me was to take my copies away until we’d resolved whatever she was mad about. I just borrowed a copy from the school library and kept it in my locker. Mischief managed!

Fun Fact #5: Driving over bridges, especially high ones, gives me the heebie-jeebies. I used to drive the Chicago Skyway Bridge on a regular basis, and it was a white-knuckle experience every single time.

Now it’s your turn. Answer the question in the rafflecopter for your chance at either a $10 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or a $10 book of your choice from the Book Depository. This giveaway is open internationally, to any country that the Book Depository ships to. Good luck and may the Force be with you. (Did I also mention that I love Star Wars?)

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For a chance at more fabulous bookish prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on the hop:

Naughty or Nice Winter Blog Tour

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Welcome to my stop on this holiday Naughty or Nice Winter Blog Tour. While the tour features six lovely holiday book treats, my special guest today is Nana Malone, the author of Mistletoe Mantra, half of the Wrapped in Red story bundle with Sherelle Green’s White Hot Holiday.

wrapped in red by nana malone and sherelle greenMistletoe Mantra is a terrific little holiday story that puts together some tried-and-oh-so-true romance themes and wraps them up in a red Christmas bow. This is story where, as Nana says in her guest post below, nice guys do not finish last. Not only that, but this particular nice guy has been hiding a big streak of naughty from his best friend for years and year. Because while Nomi Adams has never figured out it, she has always been Lincoln Porter’s “little redheaded girl”. Just like Charlie Brown, Linc has loved Nomi from the day she walked into his life, and he has loved her from the shadows, while she and his sister (and Nomi’s best friend) grew up and got even more beautiful right before his eyes. What Nomi discovers when she returns home after years away, is that Lincoln has had his own moment of transformation, and that the shy little boy she remembers has been replaced by a very hot and incredibly thoughtful man with some big secrets of his own. Including a secret that Nomi has come home to expose.

Guest Post by Nana Malone on Good Guys and Nice Girls

Good girl, beep beep…

Talking about a good, good girl…and guy. Well, maybe that’s not exactly how the song goes. But in a book world full of superalphas, I want to talk about the nice guy for once and his nice girl.

No, this isn’t your mother’s Mary Sue, and nice guys don’t have to finish last.
Okay, I get it. Inked, with a constant 5 o’clock shadow, alpha males are sexy and hot. They say what they think. They’re a little bit dirty. They flout authority. Having one as your book boyfriend keeps you on the edge of your seat and your heart racing. Because you never know when you’ll be on a train and they’ll slip a hand under your skirt…or maybe those are just my book boyfriends. LOL.

And don’t even get me started on the bad girls. You know the ones. They hang with the boys, wear killer stilettos and don’t seem to own a pair of panties.

But let’s face it, ladies. In every romance you’ve ever read, the tatted playboy changes for the heroine. Because of her, he becomes a better person.

I personally love a nice guy. You know, the one who thinks to bring you something when he comes home from a trip. The one who will walk your dog when you’re running a fever. But these guys can be super-sexy, too.

Just because they know how to open a door doesn’t mean in the bedroom, they can’t turn it on. Yes, I’m talking about the closet bad boys. The ones who are just a little bit dirty. The ones we get to muss up.

Who: the good guy.
Why he’s good: because he’ll always be the hero.
Why women miss out on him: because we think he’s boring or too stable.
Why he’s sexy: because he knows what you need before you do, and he knows how to give it to you.
Dirty little secret: he’s good with his words…in bed as well as out…

Can we just talk about the original good guy for a moment? Mmmmm, Mr. Darcy. Sure, he had his issues, but at the core of it, you could bring him home to Mama. LOL. He was respectful, kind and nowhere near being a rogue. But when it counted…whoo, that man was sexy.

Some of my favorites in books include Brody Lawson from Love So Hot, Josh Hudson from Can’t Shake You and even in my own books—Beckett from Sultry in Stilettos, Caleb from Sassy in Stilettos and let’s not forget Lincoln from Wrapped in Red.

Now let’s talk about my good girls. Nothing wrong with being nice. Jennifer Lawrence is nice, but she’s also hilarious. The trick is, no one wants their besties to be too nice, right? Nice girls these days aren’t like the ones from years ago. They might have a designer addiction like Becky Bloomwood from the Shopaholic series and my own Jaya from Sexy in Stilettos and Nomi. She could just be hopeless like poor Bridget from Bridget Jones’s Diary, but even the nice girl can be hot. The trick is, she can’t be Mother Teresa.

It’s all about the flaws. No one wants that bestie who is just perfect at everything and saccharine-sweet to boot. What makes today’s nice girls oh so sexy? They’re funny. They keep sweaters in their ovens, have addictions to shoes, chocolate, lingerie and books. They drink, they swear and gasp! get a little naughty in the bedroom. No more goody-goody nice girls who aren’t any fun.

Who: the good girl.
Why she’s good: because she’s fun and loveable, and everyone wants to be her bestie.
Why men miss out on her: because they think she’s too good and no fun.
Why she’s sexy: because she’s quirky and will try anything once.
Dirty little secret: she loves to role play…

So come on, who’s your favorite book nice guy and nice girl?

All About Nana:
nana maloneUSA Today Bestselling Author, Nana Malone’s love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she borrowed from her cousin on a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana at a precocious thirteen. She’s been in love with kick butt heroines ever since.With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters. Waiting for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, Nana, meantime works out her drama, passion and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.

Nana is the author of three series. The Love Match Series includes sassy contemporary romances: Game, Set, Match and Mismatch. The In Stilettos Series includes ultra-sexy and fun multicultural romantic comedies, Sexy in Stilettos, Sultry in Stilettos and Sassy in Stilettos . The Protectors series includes dark and sexy superhero romances, Betrayed (A Reluctant Protector Prequel), Reluctant Protector and Forsaken Protector.

The books in her series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble best seller lists as well as the iTunes Breakout Books list and most notably the USA Today Bestseller list.

Until that ninja job comes through, you’ll find Nana working hard on additional books for her series as well as other fun, sassy romances for characters that won’t leave her alone. And if she’s not working or hiding in the closet reading, she’s acting out scenes for her husband, daughter and puppy in sunny San Diego.

Contact Nana at: nana@nanamaloneromance.com

~~~~~~ TOURWIDE GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

One grand prize winner will receive:
1 print copy of The Harder You Fall by Gena Showalter, White Wedding Christmas by Andrea Laurence, A Cowboy Under the Mistletoe by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Wrapped in Red by Nana Malone and Sherelle Green
1 eBook copy of A Copper Ridge Christmas by Maisey Yates and Under the Spotlight by Kate Willoughby
100,000 Harlequin MyRewards points
2 Harlequin Classics limited edition notebooks
1 Brenda Jackson Westmoreland limited edition notebook

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FOLLOW THE TOUR:

Best of 2015 Giveaway Hop

best of 2015 giveaway hop

Welcome to the Best of 2015 Giveaway Hop, Hosted by Bookhounds and I Am A Reader.

Usually I just give a Gift Card, but the instructions for this hop are to share our “best of 2015” lists and give away a real book. Or a real ebook. They’re all real to me.

One tiny problem. I have yet to whittle my “Best of 2015” list down to a remotely manageable number. The year isn’t over yet! But seriously, my inability to decide just makes for a longer list of possible “best of 2015” books for the winner to choose from.

The winner of my stop on the hop gets their choice of one of the following books:

Grant Park by Leonard Pitts Jr.
Shakespeare’s Rebel by C.C. Humphreys
Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
An Ancient Peace by Tanya Huff
Freedom of Speech by David K. Shipler
Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart
Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran
The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny
A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd
Fearless by Elliott James
Liesmith/Stormbringer by Alis Franklin
Flask of the Drunken Master by Susan Spann
The Terrans by Jean Johnson
Last First Snow by Max Gladstone
Rock with Wings by Anne Hillerman
The Clockwork Dagger/The Clockwork Crown by Beth Cato
The Talon of the Hawk by Jeffe Kennedy
Dead Wake by Erik Larson
Pleasantville by Attica Locke
Speak Now by Kenji Yoshino
The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson
A Key, an Egg, an Unfortunate Remark by Harry Connolly
Shadow Ritual by Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne
A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott
The Mechanical by Ian Tregellis
Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz

The links above are to my reviews, so you can get an idea of just why I loved these books so much.

The winner chooses their favorite, and I’ll get it sent to them. For those not in the U.S. the only requirement is to be in a place where Book Depository ships.

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Guest Post by Jeanette Grey on the Power of What If? + Giveaway

through the static by jeanette greyMy guest today is one of my favorite authors, which makes this a terrific day for me. And her latest book, and today’s review book, Through the Static, is also a terrific piece of science fiction romance, with just a slice of cyberpunk for spice. If you love SFR as much as I do, Jeanette is also the author of the excellent Unacceptable Risk (reviewed here). And if contemporary romance is more your thing, be sure to check out Jeanette’s contemporary romances, Take What You Want (reviewed here) and Get What You Need, which I need to get a review copy of pronto.

 

The Power of “What if?” according to Jeanette Grey

As the child of a couple of engineers, I was indoctrinated into the world of science fiction young. Star Trek reruns were on constant replay in my house growing up, and I insist to this day—though my parents deny it—that one of my first memories is of being carried into our garage, late at night, after watching Return of the Jedi. (I probably remember actually being carried home from the babysitter’s, where I stayed while my parents went to see Return of the Jedi, but that’s neither here nor there.)

And yet, when science fiction skeptics ask me how I can enjoy that stuff, I like to cite a different childhood favorite of mine as the embodiment of what I love about sci-fi.

220px-Its_A_Wonderful_Life_Movie_PosterNamely, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Bear with me if you will. There may not be any space ships or aliens in this holiday classic, but what aligns it with the larger genre that encompasses sci-fi, known as speculative fiction, is that it begins with a specific kind of premise. It asks, “What if?” What if George Bailey never lived? What would happen?

And in my mind, the most interesting science fiction asks “What if?” questions, too.

Look at The Hunger Games, where Suzanne Collins asks what would happen in a near-future world where people are separated by inequality and ruled by an iron-fisted government that uses fear and the lives of children to control its people.

Look at The Minority Report, which asks what would happen if police could see crimes before they happened, but without the context to be certain about the nature of those crimes. The Matrix, where technology got away from us and enslaved us. The Handmaid’s Tale, in which a crisis of scarcity and fertility leads to the rise of an extremist society that forces women into subservience.

And yes, Star Trek, where civilization has evolved to the point where all beings are seen as equal, and technology has allowed humanity to explore the stars, looking for new life and new civilizations.

All of these stories begin by asking “What if?” And then they create rich worlds in which to explore that question, populated by unique characters.

If you ask me, what’s not to like about that?

In my new book, Through The Static, I ask the question of what would happen if, in some not-so-distant future, we took the technology that is becoming so common in our lives in the form of cell phones and tablets and fitbits, and we integrated it right into our minds? What if we could connect and communicate by thinking?

The answer in the book, unfortunately, is that some people use that power to effectively enslave others. Our hero, Jinx, has had his memory erased and his thoughts tied to those of two other people, together with whom he makes up an elite mercenary unit. But beneath the controls placed on his very thoughts, pieces of his humanity and his former life slip through.

Those fragments of his stolen past are what lead researcher Aurelia to free him from his unit. In the process, though, to combat the damage done to his neural pathways over the years of his service, she has no choice but to link his mind to hers. The result is an intensely powerful mental, emotional and ultimately physical connection that brings them closer than either of them has ever been to another person before. One that leads to them falling not only into bed together, but in love.

Jeanette GreyAbout Jeanette Grey

Jeanette Grey started out with degrees in physics and painting, which she dutifully applied to stunted careers in teaching, technical support, and advertising. When none of that panned out, she started writing. In her spare time, Jeanette enjoys making pottery, playing board games, and spending time with her husband and her pet frog. She lives, loves, and writes in upstate New York.To learn more about Jeanette, visit her website and blog and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

~~~~~~GIVEAWAY~~~~~~

Jeanette’s giving away an ebook copy of Through the Static to one lucky winner (Very lucky, this book is a winner!).  To enter, use the Rafflecopter below:
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Review: The Wanderer’s Children by L.G. O’Connor + Giveaway

wanderers children by lg oconnorFormat read: ebook provided by the author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genre: urban fantasy, paranormal romance
Series: Angelorum Twelve Chronicles #2
Length: 506 pages
Publisher: Collins-Young Publishing
Date Released: December 16, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

The Wanderer’s mission three decades ago: secretly sire children to hide his bloodline, and protect them until their destinies can unite in the final battle between good and evil. That time has come…

Cara Collins, the First of the Holy Twelve, longs for one last peaceful weekend with her bridesmaids as she plans her wedding to Simon Young, her former Trinity Guardian, before duty calls with the Angelorum to gather the Twelve and prepare them for battle. Life, as she knew it, has changed; weird is Cara’s new normal. Her newly acquired Nephilim DNA is wreaking havoc on her and those closest to her as her body transforms into Amazonian proportions and an overabundance of pheromones threatens to land her in hot water with Simon—not to mention a sudden suspicious outbreak of “insta-love” among her friends.

Michael Swift, Cara’s Trinity Messenger, has spent months running from his attraction to Cara’s brazen best friend Sienna, the only woman who has ever skirted his considerable defenses. But if he wants a future with her, he must confront his tormented past head on, or risk losing her and destroying the future of the Angelorum.

As dark forces and outside threats gather, Cara has more to worry about than fitting into her wedding dress and playing Cupid to her friends. A second encounter with rocker Brett King shows Cara once again that there are no coincidences. One of the Wanderer’s children, Brett and his secret siblings are the key to gathering the rest of the Twelve.

When the newly forming team finally comes together, an unexpected revelation shakes them to their core. They must all look deeper into their souls as new secrets come to light to discover what’s really at stake in the final battle between good and evil…if betrayal and Lucifer don’t rip them apart first.

My Review:

trinity stones by lg o'connorI picked The Wanderer’s Children because I read (and reviewed) the first book in this series, Trinity Stones, earlier this year. It is such a complex story that I had to see what happened next.

It is still a complex and convoluted story. In my possibly not so humble opinion, it is also still one single story. It’s not just that the action from The Wanderer’s Children follows directly from the end of Trinity Stones, but the complexity of the worldbuilding and the interrelationships among the characters is getting more intense. Reading The Wanderer’s Children definitely requires reading Trinity Stones first. The story is piling on layers within layers, and it only makes sense if you know how everyone got to the point (or fix) they are currently in.

I think we’ve even met all the characters, or certainly all the important ones, in Trinity Stones. It’s just that in The Wanderer’s Children, some of the focus is shifted from Cara and Simon to other people involved in the upcoming battle between good and evil, especially their friends Michael and newly met Brett King, as well as all of Cara Collins’ best friends.

I did have a momentary fear that we were going to head into romantic triangle territory, but thankfully that didn’t happen. Instead, we have Cara throwing off so many pheromones that everyone in her vicinity pairs up as soon as they meet.

In spite of the insistence on free will on the part of the angels (yes, I said angels) and angelic sympathizers working on keeping evil at bay, we do stray rather close to “fated mate” territory with some of the newly introduced couples. The free will part seems to come into play in the way that the couple may not get their acts together as a result of secrets or baggage that they are carrying.

So there are a bunch of things going on in The Wanderer’s Children. One of the major plot threads is the continuing growth of Cara’s powers. She nearly died at the end of Trinity Stones, and the cure that she was injected with continues to play havoc with her body and mind. Mostly in a good way, but there are definitely some downsides.

The romance in this story is between one member of her angel/guardian trinity and one of her best friends from college. (See, I said you needed to read the first book first)

The course of true love does not run smooth, or it wouldn’t be worth fighting for. Michael has some serious baggage from his childhood, and he doesn’t realize that Sienna has her fair share of demons (not literally) to fight. His reluctance to bring his trauma out into the light contrasts nicely with Sienna’s mostly out there personality. She hides with bravado, he hides by running away. Their mutual exploration and explosion is lovely to see straighten out.

But the more interesting issues revolve around Brett King, the rock star Cara met in Trinity Stones, and her other college best friend Jessa. It’s pretty clear that their romance will come in the next book, but they have a long way to go first. It’s not just that Brett has discovered the world of the angels and his place in it, but also that Jessa has one scary, possessive, evil stepfather.

And then there’s Cara’s other friend, Irene. She has scary bosses in the NSA who send her to spy on her best friend for reasons yet to be revealed.

And Irene has totally misinterpreted everything that has happened with her friend Cara and her fiance Simon (and Michael and Brett and everyone else). Irene has let herself fall into one serious misunderstandammit that might just tip the balance of power the wrong way.

If Jessa’s stepfather doesn’t scare her into tipping it first.

Escape Rating B: The action in this story is incredibly absorbing. Every single person has a big part to play in the battle between heaven and hell, and most of them have no idea that there even IS a battle coming. One of the neat things in this story is the way that Cara takes Brett under her wing to help him adjust to this strange new world that he is suddenly part of.

Michael and Sienna’s relationship is the core romance, and their journey towards each other (after a lot of running away on Michael’s part) is sweet as well as hot. They both have a lot of healing to do, and it needed to take them time to do it.

I will say again that this world has a lot of “moving parts” and there is still considerable ongoing worldbuilding. Reading Trinity Stones is required to make things make sense, and I’m really glad there was a list of “dramatis personae” at the beginning to get me back up to speed.

While the story is careening madly down the hill toward the epic confrontation at some point in the future, I had some issues with Irene’s storyline, and to a lesser extent, Jessa’s. Irene is clearly being misled by her NSA handlers, and it is not clear which side they are on. It is very clear that they are not on Irene’s side. But Irene increases her own heartache by keeping huge (and slightly unbelievable) secrets from her friend Cara, and letting herself be led down a complete path of misdirection, mostly self-inflicted. Irene feels either too smart to fall for this stuff or too stupid to carry out her clandestine mission. YMMV.

Jessa’s freaky-jealous stepfather seemed a bit over-the-top when added to all the issues that Irene brings to the table. And there are two huge cliffhangers that the reader gets dropped off of at the very end that made me want to scream in frustration. As much as Irene and Jessa drove me batty, I want to see what trouble they get Cara into next very, very badly.

~~~~~~GIVEAWAY~~~~~~

L.G. and TLC Book Tours are giving away a copy of The Wanderer’s Children to one lucky U.S. or Canadian winner:

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