3.5* -- 'IT WAS GOOD, BUT I WANTED MORE' -- Stars.
True to the Highlander is a time-travel Highlander romance with a light romance, some moderate dange 3.5* -- 'IT WAS GOOD, BUT I WANTED MORE' -- Stars.
True to the Highlander is a time-travel Highlander romance with a light romance, some moderate danger and angst, and a touch of magic. Alethia is working at a Renaissance fair when a chance meeting with a fortune teller results in her being sent back in time to 1423. She was only told she needed to help save someone, but otherwise had no idea of her purpose. Fortunately, she is strong and brave but never stupid.
Malcolm and his warriors discover her, and what proceeds starts off pretty hilarious. It doesn't take Malcolm long to realize he has a connection with her, and vows to keep her safe. From there, the rest of the story focuses on her adjusting to her new environment, the people around her, or her trying to get home to modern times. She gets to use her 21st century knowledge, and even entertains everyone with her amazing violin skills. There are also elements of danger around both Malcolm and her, and despite a long lull in the middle it does pick up and we see a climactic battle toward the end.
My Thoughts This is a tough kind of book to review, as I enjoyed it but yet not a lot really stood out for me.
On one hand, it was sweet and well written story. It had many likable characters and a bit of steamy romance (just a bit, by the way). And it even had some fun moments where we see Alethia struggle with the realization she has gone back to the year 1423. Best of all, she was able to take on Malcolm both physically and mentally, which may be the best part of this book. Alethia really was a great heroine type.
But on the other hand, it was lacking as well. The story started strong then went into a long lull. It picked up at the end and even had a nice surprise ending, but not enough. I was bored through much of it.
The romance wasn't all that interesting either, especially for a Highlander romance. Malcolm and Alethia's romance lacked heat and tension, and they really didn't spend much time together. The story focused mostly on Alethia from her POV, and so the romance gets a bit lost by too many side story lines with her learning her new environment and taking on a deaf orphaned kid.
When we did get time with Malcolm, he was aloof more often than an alpha-warrior type. I guess what I am getting at is that I didn't really FEEL much heat or passion between Malcolm and Alethia. We are told what they feel, but I didn't always see it and feel it. The heat was only tepid warm, not a hot read. And that includes both the sexual tension as well as the sex itself. The flirting was mild, their desire more implied than shown, and the 'coming together' scenes short and tasteful.
There were some other niggles, such as how quickly the deaf orphaned 5 year old picked up American Sign Language. (Literally he was fluent within a few weeks). On the plus side, I loved that kid.
Bottom line:If you are looking for a hot Highlander romance with a sexy alpha-male, this isn't it. But if you want something more sweet and character driven, this might work well for you. (Your mileage may vary.)
OFF THE RECORD is book 1 in a new NA romance series about a sexy yet forbidden political romance best left off t 4 'Sex, Secrets & Scandals' Stars
OFF THE RECORD is book 1 in a new NA romance series about a sexy yet forbidden political romance best left off the record. In politics, image is everything. And a romance with a political reporter, especially one who is clearly not in your camp, could wreck the upcoming election. But when lust and desire turns into more, the election is no longer the only thing at risk.
Brady sighed. "This is almost whatever you want it to be. It's not public. It's not in the news. It's not a point the campaign can use against me. It's a woman and a man taking what they can in a world where it's not feasible for us to be together. I'm not promising you much, but I'm only asking for discretion. Everything else you give me is up to you."
Brady Maxwell III is a young, handsome, single 27 y/o US senator and member of a political powerhouse family. He has his sights set on the White House one day, and a career path mapped out in front of him. This year he is campaigning for a seat in Congress, and he has no time for a personal life. But when a sexy college reporter challenges him about his education policies and recent tax breaks for large donors, he is briefly knocked off his game. And intrigued. VERY intrigued.
Liz Dougherty is an ambitious 22 y/o sophomore student at Chapel Hill University in North Carolina, studying to be a reporter. Guided by her friend and editor Hayden, she is on the path to making a name for herself. At a local political rally she gets a chance to ask Senator Maxwell a question she's been dying to ask, which soon begins her series of popular hard-nosed newspaper articles that questions his political choices and if he is the man for the job. So when he buys her a drink and challenges her to get to know the real him, and thereby his real political agenda, she can't resist.
Their affair begins. Brady spots Liz at an exclusive political dinner, and soon seduces her into a hot night of passion that neither can quit thinking about. But to continue their heated affair, Brady needs assurance of her discretion. Under no circumstances can the world find out about them, so she must remain his dirty little secret or not have him at all.
As the campaign continues Liz not only attends the political events, but she must convince everyone around her that Senator Maxwell is a stranger to her. Crossing paths with him at these events get sticky, and as some of their secrets are revealed lies upon lies begin to build. Which begs the question: if someone is willing to lie, how far will they go to keep their secrets?
OFF THE RECORD ended on a high note and I found myself really rooting for Brady and Liz (and anticipating the next book in this series), but the beginning left me a bit puzzled. It started a bit slow, taking its time to get to know the characters backgrounds, so it didn't immediately pull me in.
Then as things heat up between Brady and Liz, the story got more interesting but I had a bit of trouble sensing any romance building between them as it was purely physical and not emotional. They exchange very few words before declaring their deep lust for one another, which struck me as odd. He promises her nothing, demands her silence, and wants only sex. With little thought to the consequences she quickly agrees to the affair on his terms, and continues to write articles that questions his political agenda.
But by midway, the emotional aspect of the relationship changes and I could finally start to see these two together. I didn't always like their choices and felt some of them were obviously contrived to build some angst in the story, but I could now see what drove these two to continue their secret affair and risk so much.
This is when the story got interesting for me, as their rules begin to change. They both want more from each other now, and they struggle to find ways to make it happen. The lies build on each other and threatens to break any trust these two have. Then shit hits the fan, and life suddenly gets real. So how long can they continue like this, now that it is no longer just a sexual affair? Is this enough?
By the time this story ends both obstacles and conflicts abound, the stakes got a lot higher, and it looks like the drama for these two is just beginning. Book 2 should be promising. I am not sure this will be a favorite series for me, but I do look forward to continuing with this story.
Some Side Notes
Was there a cliffhanger? Yes, but not one I am stressing over. This is a series so obviously their story will continue into a few more books, but this one left off in a good place. Not an HEA yet, but much of this story was predictable so I feel pretty sure what will come next.
There is a small (and I mean SMALL) hint of a love-triangle with her editor Hayden, which might be significant in a later book. If you avoid books with love triangles, this one shouldn't bother you. I think it's pretty clear who she chooses.
The story is written in third-person but told from Liz's point-of-view, so with one small exception we never get to know what Brady is thinking or feeling. This was a bummer, as so often I really wanted to know what was going through his head.
ARC provided by Montlake Romance through Netgalley.com...more
BEST KIND OF BROKEN is a NA romance set in Arizona, and starts off with a hilarious bang as we get to know Pixie (our 19 y/o 4+ 'Humor and Heart' Stars
BEST KIND OF BROKEN is a NA romance set in Arizona, and starts off with a hilarious bang as we get to know Pixie (our 19 y/o heroine) and her hot nemesis living down the hall, Levi (our nearly 21 y/o hero). It soon weaves in more angst and drama as it reveals the dark and sad connection between Levi and Pixie, and adds a bit of steam as these two lust from a distance. What we get is sweet and tortured romance between two very likable characters that will make you laugh and smiles along the way.
I will review this with NO SPOILERS, but I will admit it might be a challenge.
The story is told through the alternative first-person POVs of both Levi and Pixie. We learn at the beginning that Levi and Pixie have deep issues between each other, and that they are no longer on speaking terms. What we don't know is why and how it could have ended their once great friendship.
The first 40% of this book is just pure light and humorous fun as we get to know these two and their new found situation. Unbeknownst to both of them, they both land a summer job working at her aunts hotel. He is working maintenance, she is kitchen help, and the situation requires them to share a bathroom and living down the hall from each other. The tension between these two is often hilarious.
Their back-story slowly unfolds around the midway point, and the tone of the book becomes more serious. The humor isn't completely lost, but the stark reality of what these two lived through, and the toll it took on these two, starts to become clear. They clearly still have strong feelings for each other, as well as a deep desire for more than friendship, but there is a lot these two need to work through before they can mend what was broken.
My Thoughts Overall, I really enjoyed this one, but I did come to believe that Pixie and Lexi were their own worse enemies. While the drama they went through was real and understandable, their reaction and behavior that followed was often just a lot of self-inflicted hurt directed to themselves. Once all is revealed, it really had me questioning many of their choices. Not all, but many. How could they have turned their backs on each other? We get some explanations that make sense, but I had trouble believing that these two could let the issue fester so long.
Other then that and a few small niggles (like how many times Levi mentioned Pixie smelling like lavender!), this book was really enjoyable. The humor had me cracking up often, and despite not always agreeing with Levi and Pixie's choices I thought both of them were extremely likable characters and made a great couple. When Pixie pondered the invention of the electric razor, I couldn't stop laughing! We also get some great secondary characters, which really added to my enjoyment.
The steam factor was warm and sexy, but not something you'd find in many adult romances. The real steam comes from the chemistry between Levi and Pixie, which was thick with lust but also with a lot of denial. (Too much denial, if I am being honest.) The story has a believable and heartfelt ending, which was very fitting for these two.
Fans of NA romances will likely love this one, especially Levi as he is such a lost soul deserving of so much.
2* 'I deserve a BIG medal for making it through this one' Stars.
First, let me get this off my chest: The heroine, Freya, was SO. DAMN. ANNOYING!
PERFE 2* 'I deserve a BIG medal for making it through this one' Stars.
First, let me get this off my chest: The heroine, Freya, was SO. DAMN. ANNOYING!
PERFECT FOR YOU is a light and way-too-f'n-silly romantic contemporary where the heroine has a deep aversion to her hot, sexy, rich, nice, generous and damn-near-perfect neighbor Greg, who just so happens to be a lawyer. Because (according to Freya) all lawyers are bottom feeders with the single goal of hurting people. Makes sense right? No? Uh, not to me either. Which hence lies much of the problem with this story. It doesn't add up.
Freya is struggling at work and has lost her creative edge, so she decides she needs to get laid in order to get her 'muse' back. She posts a personal ad, and the weird dates begin.
Freya's little sister is convinced Greg is the right choice for her sister and sets about coaching him. He is a great guy and doesn't play her games, but he does take a few pieces of advice along the way. The sister continues to meddle with Freya's attempts to date by coaching the other guys into screwing up, which just adds to the oddity of this story.
Freya continues to resist Greg's charming advances while she lobs insult after insult at him. Still, she does agree to let him woo her with nice dinners and agrees to have sex with him. Just to get her muse back. But she treats him like a boy-toy, and continues to date other guys even after she begins sleeping with Greg. Her denial over Greg really being a good-guy and not the crazy evil person she wants to believe him to be gets extremely frustrating, and her behavior towards him is so hard to watch without cringing.
Greg, who really is waaay too good for Freya, is the best part of this story and why I gave it two stars. He was a great character but he deserved better.
I listened to this on audio, and I will give props the narrator. She was excellent, just sad it had to be this story. ...more