Thursday, November 11, 2010

Review: Alpha Wolf by Linda O. Johnston

When Dr. Melanie Harding comes to rural Maryland to open a veterinarian clinic, she has no intention of buying into the area's absurd werewolf legends. Until she rescues an ordinary dog shot with a silver bullet, and meets his sexy owner, Major Drew Connell.

A founding member of the Alpha Force on a nearby military base, Drew has developed an elixir that helps werewolves control their shape-shifting abilities. Drew has always tried to keep his distance from the civilian population, but Melanie's sweet and gentle nature soon wears down his defenses. With the attacks on people and animals in the area mounting, can their fiery attraction withstand their toughest challenge?

Alpha Wolf (#56) is the first book in Linda O. Johnston's Alpha Force series published by Harlequin/Silhouette Nocturne.  I picked this one up because I enjoy paranormal romances with werewolves (my favorite otherworldly creature), and I thought the book's premise was intriguing - a secret military group comprised of shape-shifters is trained to be "a last resort in national security situations were special undercover skills were needed."  It made me wonder how a group of shifters could pull off a hush hush undercover mission without being detected.  Wouldn't demons or vampires be a better choice?  They seem more stealthlike than werewolves.  Unfortunately we never get to see the team in action.  I got the impression this book was more of a set up for things to come.

The story begins as Beverly Hills veterinarian Dr. Melanie Harding moves to the small, rural town of Mary Glen, Maryland, and takes over the practice of the town's previous vet who was shot and killed - with a silver bullet.  Not long after her arrival, she saves a dog outside of her animal hospital who almost met the same fate.  When the dog's owner Major Drew Connell comes to claim him, Melanie becomes entangled in the craziness of  Mary Glen's werewolf legends that are somehow tied to the secret operations happening at the nearby Ft. Lukman.  Locals become enraged that the town's new vet saves what they believe is a werewolf, and Melanie becomes the target of an anti-werewolf group.  Though she is sure the rumors are false, Drew knows paranormals do exist as he and his teammates are shifters.  In order to protect Melanie and the secret operations at Ft. Lukman, Drew must risk exposing his true nature in hopes she can be trusted with his secret.

While I did like the premise (I love the idea of shifter military men!), the overall story and characters didn't hold my interest like I'd hoped.  Drew and Melanie fell a bit flat, and chemistry between them was lacking in a story that was meant to be a paranormal romance.  Drew spent most of the story pushing Melanie away because of trust issues from his past, and then suddenly everything is fine and they're discussing marriage and kids/puppies?  Not likely.  The story was enjoyable with a few exciting moments though no big surprises.  There were a few times I was scratching my head over how unsecure and understaffed their military base was!  I think the author did a good job of building the world of the Alpha Force and introducing us to characters we'll meet in future books.

Rating: 2.75/5
Genre: Shifter/Werewolf Paranormal Romance
Copy Reviewed: Purchased by me

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stronger Than Sin Blog Tour: Interview and Giveaway with Caridad Pineiro

It's been six months since Liliana Carrera helped her brother rescue Caterina Shaw from Wardwell Laboratories, a group of fringe scientists experimenting on human beings. Now, Liliana--with funding from the FBI--has set up a new facility to continue testing the inhibitor complex, a cure for the patients of Wardwell. What's even better is the FBI has managed to recover another of the patients, Jesse Bradford.

When Jesse arrives at Liliana's facility, he has been drugged and displays violent erratic behavior. As Liliana helps him detox, Jesse demonstrates strange powers--superhuman strength and the ability to heal quickly.

Despite their growing attraction, Jesse is secretive and Liliana remains fearful of him. Eventually he admits that Wardwell scientists threatening his sister's life in order to maintain control over him and his powers. As they try to locate her, they begin to suspect that the scientists may have corrupted the FBI. Unless they can discover Wardwell's master plan soon, Jesse's sister, the other patients, and an unknown number of innocent people, will pay the price.


Please help me welcome Caridad Pineiro to the blog today!  Caridad is the author of 25 published novels, including the award-winning THE CALLING Vampire series and the contemporary CHICAS novels.  Last year she debuted her paranormal romantic suspense series that began with Sins of the Flesh.  Her latest release Stronger Than Sin is the second book of the series.

1. Stronger Than Sin and your previous release Sins of the Flesh involve scientists preforming experimental gene therapy on patients that makes them superhuman. Where did you get your inspiration for these books?

I was a science major in college and took some courses in genetics. I loved the subject and even after college, I kept up on what was happening, especially since genetic engineering was becoming such a hot topic in the news. I saw that there was a lot of concern about genetically modified organisms and their introduction into the human food chain via genetically altered plants and animals. It made me wonder what would happen if someone decided to create the ultimate genetically modified organism – a human with special powers. Once I started thinking about that and refreshing my knowledge of what was currently happening with genetics, the idea for the stories developed.

2. What kind of research was involved for writing Stronger Than Sin?

For STRONGER THAN SIN I watched a lot of football (okay, so I do watch football anyway!). I also went online and back to my text books to decide on what kind of bone diseases would cause bones to break and how such diseases were normally treated. I viewed a couple of documentaries on people with these diseases to see how they were being affected and treated. Then I took that to the next level to develop the story of how Jesse Bradford is injured and becomes involved with the scientists who promised him a miracle sure so he could return to the only thing he had left in life: football.

3. What are your plans for future books in the SINS series?

I’m happy to say there will be at least two more books in the SINS series. It’s actually expanding into the SIN HUNTER series since we’re going to see a race of energy-gatherers descend on the Jersey Shore in search of a missing son who is the key to maintaining their race. There will be familiar places and faces, including Liliana and Mick’s younger sister Bobbie Carrera. The SIN HUNTER series will be darker though and the Hunters will possess powers that others covet and want to create via either genetic engineering or breeding. Did I mention there was another sect of the Hunters called the Shadows who are the equivalent of energy vampires and are in a civil war with the other Hunters? The new mythology and stories are even more action-packed and sexier and I think readers will really enjoy where the series is headed with the addition of the Hunters and Shadows. THE LOST is the next book and will be available in August 2011. THE CLAIMED will be available in early 2012.

Five Fun Facts from Caridad:

1. Although New Jersey is home to two professional football teams, neither one bears the Jersey name. So for her home state and Jesse Bradford, the hero in Stronger Than Sin, Caridad created a new team: The New Jersey Marauders.

2. If Caridad had to pick one character who was most like her, she’d pick Dr. Liliana Carrera because on the surface Liliana seems professional and logical, but deep down she is very passionate and likes to draw outside the lines.

3. The hero’s superhuman strength, speed and bone formation are paranormal elements based on real life science which was a natural for a former science major like Caridad.

4. To make the ethnicities of the hero and heroine accurate for what is seen along the Jersey Shore, Caridad chose to make Jesse Bradford of Irish descent while Liliana is Mexican.

5. To do research on the Jersey Shore, Caridad spent many a weekend traveling around the various towns in which Stronger Than Sin is set. You can check out the photos of the locations here and here.

Thank you, Caridad!

Giveaway Details

Thanks to Hachette Books, I have 5 copies of Stronger Than Sin to give away! Here's how to enter:  Please leave a comment about the interview or a question for Caridad along with a way to contact you.

Contest open to residents of the US and Canada. No P.O. Boxes, please. Winners will be subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if they win the same title in two or more contests, they will receive only one copy of the title (or one set in the case of grouped giveaways) in the mail. Contest is open until Friday, 11/12/2010, at 11:59 pm Central Time. Winners will receive their books directly from Hachette. Good luck!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weighing In: Week One

Starting Weight: 159 lbs.
Current Weight: 159 lbs.
Loss/Gain: 0 lbs.

Hmmm.  So I'm not off to a good start, am I?  In my defense, I had a cold and did not feel up to exercising.  I was able to take a couple of walks, but that's it.  (Note to self: when your sick little boy comes up and wants a kiss on the lips, just give him a hug instead, no matter how cute he is.)  Plus, I'll admit that I had more than my fair share of the Halloween candy.  That stuff is evil!!

What will I do differently this week?  I signed up for Weight Watchers.  Again.  I've had great success with their program before, but the catch is you actually have to do it, and stick with it.  Boo.  I'm going to exercise more.  I walked to the grocery store this morning instead of driving.  I need to get out the pilates DVDs too.  Hopefully I will have better news next week!

Be sure to stop by my blog tomorrow.  I have an interview and giveaway with Caridad Pineiro!  She'll be talking about her new paranormal romance Sins series.  Thanks to Hachette Books, I will have FIVE copies of her latest book, Stronger Than Sin, to give away!  Have a great day!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Montana Glory Winners

...just a quick post to announce the winners of the Montana Glory giveaway.  Who will soon be receiving a sexy cowboy (book) in her mailbox?  Using, the winners are:

Sweet Vernal Zephyr
Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug}

Congratulations!  The winners have been notified by e-mail and have two days to respond.  Thank you to everyone who entered!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Reviewed at The Forbidden Bookshelf: PANIC SNAP by Laura Reese

At age seventeen, Carly Tyler was found severely beaten and left for dead in a field outside of Davis, California. She emerged from a coma with no memories of her past, including who tried to kill her. Carly’s facial injuries were so extreme that doctors had to rebuild her face, and as a result she looked like a completely different person. When no family or friends come forward to claim her, she is forced to move on with her life always wondering who she really is and what happened to her.

Almost fifteen years later, Carly is thumbing through a wine magazine and spots a photo of James McGuane, the owner of Byblos Winery in Napa Valley. His picture is the first thing to ever tug on her memory. Though she has no idea who he is or how they are connected, Carly believes James and the McGuane family may have clues to her past. A year later, Charlotte McGuane, James’s mother, hires her to be the family’s personal chef. Because her appearance was dramatically altered by plastic surgery, Carly is hopeful she will not be recognized...

Click HERE to read more!

The Forbidden