Seriously loving this series!! There were some parts in the middle that dragged, but overall it was another wonderful read. Can't wait for the next onSeriously loving this series!! There were some parts in the middle that dragged, but overall it was another wonderful read. Can't wait for the next one! B
When I first read the blurb of this book, I was hooked. While I love my wolf shifters, there aren’t enough cats in the PNR world, so I was stoked to see something new. I loved the spin Tyler put on this book, and am anxiously waiting for more!
When Landon is pulled in the middle of a mission and sent to DC, he isn’t happy about his new assignment. Getting to work with Ivy was nice, but he wasn’t sure he was ready to be a glorified babysitter. But once Landon got to see some of Ivy’s cat skills in person, his interest in his new top-secret job spiked, and not just because of his super sexy partner.
Ivy loves her work, but her luck in partners has been piss-poor. She is hesitant with Landon, but as they spend more and more time together, Ivy realizes that Landon is not only a great guy, but an incredible partner. Their first couple of missions together will test them more than either expected. Not just professionally, but personally as well.
There was so much to love in this book. First was the twist on the standard shapeshifter that Tyler created in her world. Ivy can’t shift into a cat, instead, her DNA shares some of the same attributes of the big cat and as such she has cat-like abilities. Think night vision, enhanced hearing and smell, the ability to heal faster, claws, and the agility to land on her feet. She isn’t a human and a cat sharing the same body, instead she benefits from the boost her cat DNA gives her. I loved that it was such a fun and neat twist, and I loved every second of it!
The other aspect I really enjoyed was the way Tyler did such a great job combining a paranormal romance with a romantic suspense. Much of this book felt like a really great RS book, complete with training scenarios, insane missions, and camaraderie between the characters. I loved the way Ivy and Landon had to not only find a way to work together given Landon’s dislike in his new job and Ivy’s lack of faith in her partners, but they also had to find a way to fit in within the overall organization they work for. The animosity between the humans and elite shifters was off the charts, and finding the perfect balance with each other and the greater team at large were such fun dynamics to read about.
Tyler did a great job introducing secondary characters that I can’t wait to find out more about. I adored all of Landon’s teammates from his special forces unit, and I really hope that they will have the chance to pop up again in future books. I also loved the greater team of shifters that Landon and Ivy worked with. I can’t wait to find out what happens with each and every person, and I hope that Tyler has success with this series so that I can watch them all get their happily ever afters!
There wasn’t much not to love in this book. For me, the beginning was a bit slow, and the end was a tad far-fetched, but I loved it either way. It wasn’t anything that pulled me out of the story, or caused me to slug through with the reading.
All in all, I thought Tyler has an amazing first book in the X-Ops series. I loved Ivy and Landon, and thought their sexual chemistry was so intense and off the charts. The secondary character, the romance, and the suspense were all top-notch! I will be anxious to get my hands on the next book in the series! I give Her Perfect Mate an A-...more
Lou: Julie James became an auto-buy author for me many years ago. Her FBI/US Attorney series is one of my favourite contemporary series, and It Happened One Wedding didn’t disappoint. I admit I had some doubts about the heroine but shame on me for doubting Julie James because all came awesomely right in the end. Sidney, I believe, is probably the most bluntest and sharpest heroine in this series. She was quite abrupt and sometimes standoffish towards Vaughn, and I worried that this would be the only side of her personality. The more we got to know–and understand her–I finally clicked with her character and I really enjoyed the romance. I loved Vaughn because he was so pragmatic about what he wanted in life–and blunt–and I did enjoy the banter he had with Sidney, especially teaching her the ways of single guy players.
MinnChica: Like Lou, I’ve loved Julie James since I picked up her first book years ago. I read every single thing she writes and usually end up squeeing over it for days. My girl crush knows no bounds. :) I couldn’t wait to see who would bring Vaughn to his knees, especially since I’ve adored him since he first became a part of the FBI/US Attorney series. Unlike Lou, I loved Sidney right away. She had spunk and she knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to go for exactly what she thought would make her happy. I loved that about her, and thought she and Vaughn were so great together!
Lou: It took me a while to warm up to Sidney but the way she and Vaughn butted heads was funny. I think the issue I had was that it took over half the novel for them to come to some sort relationship that wasn’t quite so combative. I adored Vaughn’s brother, Simon. The scene in the club was hilarious. Julie James does great bromances in her books, and it was funny seeing Cade and Vaughn’s partner, Huxley, tease Vaughn about his distraction for Sidney. But my heart hurt for Sidney when it’s explained just how callous her ex-fiance was in his cheating. I kinda wanted him to see his up-commence in some way, but Sidney falling in love with a sexy FBI agent and having smoking hot sex with him was probably the best revenge of all.
MinnChica: I adored all the secondary characters in this book, both the ones we’ve met and the ones that were new. I loved the side romance between Simon and Isabelle, and thought it was the perfect way to kind of off-set the sexual tension between Sidney and Vaughn, whose relationship was extremely slow to develop, and started more as a friendship than anything else. But I liked the way James took her time with these two. Sidney had been burned, and Vaughn was so determined to stay in playboy status, that their frenemies to friends to lovers relationship really worked for me. I thought it was perfect!
Lou: There’s something about James’ writing that makes these high-flying career characters of hers so relatable. There was a difference in Sidney and Vaughn’s upbringings. Despite Sidney’s privileged lifestyle, she’s fits easily into the lazier way of life out of the city when they visit Vaughn and Simon’s parents. The “little lie” Isabelle concocted to try and fool Simon’s parents and Vaughn was adorable and funny. It was adorably funny because it was obvious to everyone but them. The sex in this novel is smoking hawt, and there’s a little down and dirty grinding going on! Sidney and Vaughn try and tell themselves that what they have going on can be easily finished and they both know what they are doing. Poor Vaughn, getting his heart and head all in a little twist when Sidney goes on dates. I was like, dude, go and GET her. But Vaughn in his stubborn playboy ways had to learn the hard way. Similar to Sidney. But they both get their HEA and it was very satisfying.
So despite my initial shaky start, It Happened One Wedding became another must read in the FBI/Attorney series. Now the wait for one my year beings for the next novel!
I give It Happened One Wedding a B.
MinnChica: All in all, I think this is probably my new favorite book in the series. I thought Vaughn and Sidney’s relationship was perfect, and I loved every moment of the slow burn. James really took the sexy up a notch with this book, and I appreciated that as well. :) The secondary characters were great, the romance was so much fun, and there was little about this story that I didn’t just absolutely fall in love with. I can’t wait to see what James has in store for the series next, and I’m anxious to read more. I seriously wish she wrote faster!! I give It Happened One Wedding an A...more
I’m a big fan of Zanetti, so although I hadn’t read any of her Maverick Montana series, the friends to benefits trope was enough incentive to have me requesting either way!
Melanie is in desperate need of funds. She has three jobs, and with a big secret to hide, she doesn’t seem to have time to do anything she actually wants to do. But her best friend Colton knows something is up with her, and isn’t willing to accept her brush off to his questions. Melanie isn’t ready to share her secret with anyone, especially Colton. But their friendship takes a turn when Colton lays a sexy kiss on her during the middle of a heated argument.
Colton hates the idea of not being able to take care of Melanie. He wants to take care of her, and when he realizes her secret, Colton realizes that his life plan of waiting for something more serious isn’t going to happen. Although Colton isn’t ready to admit he’s in love with Melanie, the thought of living without her is more than he can bare. But her secret is a big one, and in order for them to make it work, Colton is going to have to step out of his comfort zone and fight for his best friend.
The friends to lovers trope is one of my favorites, and I thought Zanetti did a wonderful job with it. Melanie and Colton have been friends practically their entire lives, so they know each other better than anyone else, save their mutual best friend Hawk. I liked that although their friendship was super important to them, they also didn’t let the idea of being friends dictate their relationship. They transitioned smoothly to friends with benefits, and then struggled with becoming more. Their relationship was important to them, but so was maintaining their individuality. I liked that Melanie didn’t bend to Colton’s every whim, especially when he got a burr up his bum about telling her what to do. She stood up to him, as she did throughout their entire friendship, and demanded that although their relationship was changing, that he still treat her with the same respect and courtesy as he did before.
I adored poor Colton. The guy was so regimented about his life; he had plans for his life plan. I loved that everyone knew that about him, teased him about it, and yet loved him for it. He was such an interesting character. One second he was working the ranch with his bare hands, rescuing cattle from a storm. The next, he was sitting in a private plane with a suit on getting ready to head into a meeting where he was all Alpha-boss-man. He seemed to be able to do it all, and while that bothers me in other cases, I thought it really worked for Colton.
Melanie was great as well. Like I said, she demanded respect from Colton, even after their relationship changed, and wasn’t willing to bend over backward for him just because they got naked together. I loved that about her. While I didn’t connect with her secret well, I could see why it was so important to her, and why she would go to such extremes to see it through.
All in all, I thought this was a great shorter, steamier story. I loved the way Colton and Melanie’s relationship progressed from friends to lovers, and the way they pushed each other to be better together. I will definitely be going back and picking up the other books in this series. I give Rising Assets a B+...more
MinnChica: Oh Becca! You poor, sweet thing. I love the idea of her having to crawl back to her former lover, after almost destroying his entire life, because she is now on the run. I love the idea of having to face the fact that she screwed up big time before, and having to ask the one man she loves for help, and tell him she was wrong. I thought she had some major balls, crawling back to Jarrett, and also accepting his wrath with the right amount of humility and spunk.
Lou: I really liked and admired Becca. She kept a cool head when her life was in danger, and had the guts to go back to the man that she loved—and betrayed—for help and protection. But when it came to close contact with Jarrett and sex, all that logical thinking of hers went out the window. They were both each other’s weakness.
E: Becca had such a rough time of it; betrayed as a child, living a life of constant lies, betrayed once more, and left trusting her life to the man she betrayed. I loved how she was determined to figure out who betrayed her team and would do anything to get revenge. I also thought the way she continually pushed the boundaries Jarrett imposed a very telling sign of her personality. As much as I liked Becca, I also felt sorry for her because she was so steeped in lies and betrayal she had a hard time believing anyone but she was also willing to question if things weren’t quite adding up.
2. Thoughts on Hero
MinnChica: Although Jarrett comes across as a bit of an asshat at first, I really felt for the poor guy. For someone who never let anyone in, he fell hard for Becca. To find out she was just infiltrating his life was a huge blow to his ego. Watching him struggle with finding ways to punish her was both hard and funny. I hated the way he treated her at times, and yet when we were allowed into his mind, and saw how much he struggled with NOT loving her, it was bittersweet.
Lou: I really enjoyed Jarret’s character. Yes, he could be an ass at times but considering his girlfriend betrayed him and sent him to prison, I gave the guy a break. Like Minn mentioned, Jarret struggled with keeping an emotional distance from Becca. It was clear from the start it was an impossible task for him. A lot of Jarret’s murky past was told but I never got a super dangerous or calculating vibe from him. But I liked that he’s now on the straight and narrow, and I loved the friendship he had with Wade and Sebastian. Loved the bromance going on!
E: Jarrett *sigh* poor wounded, secretive, broody, and so much fun. At first I was prepared to feel sympathy for him but then I wondered how Dimon was going to redeem him enough so I could believe him as a hero. Boy did she manage to play with my emotions as I alternated between loving him and wanting him to pull his head out and see what was happening. He was so emotionally torn and had a legitimate reason to distrust Becca but as I started to see what was going on in his head and some significant incidents of his past I became firmly on his side regardless of his occasional idiocy.
3. Favorite Scene
MinnChica: Oh man… there were a lot of really good sexy ones, but I think the one I liked best would probably have to be the big standoff between Becca, one of her co-workers, Jarrett, and his business associate and lawyer. It gave the reader the chance to see just how far Becca would go for Jarrett, just how much the side romance between Wade and Elijah had developed, and another side to Sebastian. It was such a pivotal scene for everyone, and I loved the tension!
Lou: The sex scenes were super hawt. Like, really hawt. I especially loved that we saw m/m action. I adored Wade and I can’t wait for him to have his book. I hope he gets his book, though I’m not 100% sure on Eli. He broke Wade’s heart *sobs*
E: So I have to say that the drawback of adding your thoughts last is sometimes an earlier commentator takes the scene you were going to choose. In this case BOTH MinnChica and Lou grabbed my scenes. I LOVED the standoff because it really showed just how deeply a couple of individuals had begun to care about others. I also thought the m/m secondary relationship was very well done and I have hopes. I really want to see those two work through their issues and watch Eli perform a massive grovel.
MinnChica: Like I said before, Jarrett was a bit of an asshat in the way he treated Becca in the beginning, and I had a hard time liking him at first. He used sex as a way to try and punish her, and sometimes that came across as degrading. However, like I said, when we got to see into his thought process, it was all understandable. It was just a little difficult to get through at first.
Lou: Jarrest was an asshat at times, like Minn mentions, but I think he and Becca were on the same wavelength at times when it came to sex. I suppose my only dislike was that I thought Eli was sometimes whiny, especially towards Becca. I’m guessing he’s Wade’s HEA but I hope he stops whining and controls that childish temper of his because he hurt Wade pretty badly with his carelessness. I love Wade. Wade needs his heart mended!
E: I struggled a little bit believing the unexpected support Becca, Eli, and Jarrett received at the end. I didn’t quite buy the motivation given the behavior of that individual through most of the story. I am being deliberately vague so I don’t go into detail about what I consider a major spoiler. It was enjoyable I just wish I had noticed more of a transition.
5. Misc. Thoughts and Grade
MinnChica: All in all, I thought Dimon had an amazing first book in a sexy new series. I loved all the secondary characters, especially Wade and Sebastian. I can’t wait to see how Wade’s relationship with Elijah develops throughout the series, and what’s in store for Sebastian next. This book was super sexy, and had lots of intrigue. I can’t wait to read the next one! I give Mercy a B+
Lou: Mercy was a sexy romance with hawt smexing that was so engaging on an emotional level also. There is a lot of smexing in this book but for me it really worked because of the dynamic of Jarret’s and Becca’s relationship, which I thought was about power at times. I loved the secondary characters, especially Wade, and I’m looking forward to Sebastian’s book. I also give Mercy a B+
E: I thought Dimon really stepped up both the heat and her character development in this first installment. I found it an enjoyable and captivating read. Like the other reviewers I can’t wait to see what happens with the secondary m/m relationship and the other supporting characters I grew to enjoy. I am looking forward to seeing what Dimon comes up with next. I am also giving Mercy a B+...more
Although I had some mixed feelings about the first book in this series, I was intrigued enough by both Jerry and Karen to give this book a try.
Jerry just signed a deal as the Ace pitcher of the Detroit Rockets, but for some reason, his game starts to suffer. He and his coaches can’t figure out what the problem is, as he hasn’t changed anything with his pitching arm. The only thing in Jerry’s live that has changed is Karen. While he proposes a friends with benefits type situation, little does he realize just how important Karen is to him than more than just a naked buddy.
Karen knows that she could fall in love with Jerry, but she is determined to keep her heart safe behind the wall she built up years ago. She isn’t willing to risk her feelings, so she struggles with her relationship with Jerry, in whatever form it takes. But as things go south in their relationship, Karen realizes that perfection isn’t possible, but they come pretty damn close.
While I thought this book started off strong, it really went downhill for me. It felt like Shaw was trying to add in so many different threads, that I felt like the plot got a bit bogged down with everything that was going on. I really wish she would have focused a bit more on one or two aspects of the plot, instead of throwing multiple different tropes into the book, making it a little convoluted to follow toward the end.
Although I liked Karen’s carefree attitude in the first book, she came across as a bit of a bitch in this one. She was so hurt and let down by her past that she really let that color her view of the present. She would constantly lie to herself, and refuse to see the truth so that she wouldn’t have to face the fact that she and Jerry were in a relationship. While I could understand where she was coming from in the beginning, her reluctance to be an adult really started to get on my nerves as the book continued. Especially since she used her attitude and history as a way to constantly push Jerry away. She needed to do a hell of a lot more groveling than she did.
Thankfully, Jerry was a better character, in my opinion. He was fun and didn’t take life too seriously. Yet when times got tough for him, he tried to deal with it in the best way possible and never tried to just shove his head in the sand and wait for opportunities to pass him by. I liked that about Jerry. Even when he was seriously knocked down, he gave himself some time to throw a pity party, but then he dove back into whatever he needed to do to better himself. In that regard, he was a damn good hero.
The romance, however, fell pretty flat. I don’t know if my feelings toward Karen colored their relationship a bit, but I thought she was extremely immature and childish in the way she treated Jerry. I really wanted her to buck up and act like an adult well before she did, and the one step forward, two giant leaps back romance just didn’t work for me.
All in all, I wasn’t super impressed with the second book in the Men of the Show series. I would have liked to see Karen’s character grow a lot sooner in the book than she did, because she childish ways really started to bother me. While I liked Jerry as a hero, he wasn’t enough to overcome the heroine and the romance that I felt needed more emotional development and less physical. I give The Ace a C...more
I don’t think I’ve ever watched a game of Rugby before, and yet after reading Latham’s debut novel last year, I kinda want to start!
Liam is trying to hide away at a resort in Venezuela, but running into Tess is the perfect distraction for him to think about anything but his own problems. While Liam hides his profession from Tess, he thinks they really hit it off, and looks forward to spending all his free time with her. But when she disappears the next morning, and Liam runs into her as representative of his team’s new sponsor, Liam is shocked and disappointed and unsure how to handle himself.
Tess was publicly shamed when her last job became a court case and she had to testify in front of the entire country. Running away to Venezuela was a chance for some anonymity. Running to Liam is more than she could ever dream, and their night together was incredible. But the real world is calling, and Tess can’t afford to blow off it’s call. When the only job she can get is working for her cousin, Tess is thrown back into Liam’s world and they will have to work together to save both their careers.
One of the things that Latham does so well is showcase a love of rugby to the readers. Like I said, I’ve never watched rugby, never even had a desire to, and yet after reading the first two books in the London Legends series, I absolutely want to watch a game. I want to love it as much as she does and her characters do.
While there was a lot of great stuff in this book, there were a few things that bothered me. The main thing was the way Tess didn’t try very hard to keep her libido in line when it came to Liam. After all the drama she went through with her previous job, and then having her cousin tell her flat out not to get involved with anyone, Tess went ahead with her relationship with Liam. I really wanted her to show a little more restraint, because she came across as a slave to her sex drive.
Another thing that rankled me a bit was the way Liam reacted to Tess not being totally honest at their first meeting. For someone who didn’t tell the whole truth about himself, he seemed to overreact a bit about the way Tess handled their Venezuela meeting. I didn’t see why that came across as such a huge problem for them, especially since Liam wasn’t totally honest either. It was just a little thing that didn’t really make sense to me, and threw off my enjoyment just a bit.
That being said, the rest of the book was fabulous. Tess and Liam had amazing chemistry, and the sexual tension between them was off the charts. I would have liked to see that stretch out a bit more and watch the two of them continue to struggle with maintaining a professional relationship and work through the chemistry that neither could ignore.
While the conflict at the end was full of angst, I did like the way it all played out. It was a good amount of groveling and putting yourself out there for your love, and I liked the way it played out with Tess having to be the one doing most of the groveling.
All in all, I thought Latham’s second book in the London Legends book was good. The sexual tension between Tess and Liam was incredibly written, and I wish it would have been drawn out even more. I’m anxious to see what Latham comes up with next. I give Playing it Close a B-...more
I really like Griffin’s Tracer series, so when I got the chance to get this book, I was all over it.
Andrea is a detective who lives for her job. She loves what she does, but when she is put on administrative leave due to a shooting on the job, she has some spare time to focus on what kind of trouble her younger brother is getting into. Andrea knows her brother is a grown man, but the need to protect him is strong, and she can’t sit back and not do anything when he might be involved with a homegrown terrorist.
Jon has been working undercover for months, hoping to discover the truth behind an ex-military man who has started displaying some terrorist tendencies. Having Andrea creep around his investigation is not what he needs, but her brother might be the key he needs to unlock the secrets that he and his agents haven’t been able to get on their own. Except the feelings Jon has for Andrea are far from professional, and using her brother might be the one thing that Andrea would never be able to get past.
One thing I adore about Griffin’s novels is that the mystery and suspense action are always absolutely AMAZING. I never know what to expect when I crack open one of her books, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love when a suspense book can keep me on my toes, keep me guessing, and constantly keep me off balance while reading. It makes the book so much more special, more interesting, and more engaging to me. Griffin is one of the best in that regard, and her books are always a treat.
While I typically love the romance in Giffin’s book, I felt like Jon and Andrea’s relationship took a backseat to the overall plot. I felt as if the romance didn’t play as big of a factor as it does in previous books in the series, and because of that it really affected my enjoyment of the overall story. I wanted so much to watch as Jon and Andrea struggled over their agency squabbles, after all, everyone knows that Feds and local cops never get along. :) I would have liked to see more of their relationship explored.
I did find myself liking both of the main characters, although Andrea quickly got on my nerves with her inability to deal with life’s hard struggles. She was such a strong character, good cop, and devoted sister. When she gave up on her fight against the police board, and forcing Jon out of her life without an apology or explanation, she came across as weaker than the strong woman she had built herself up to be. I would have liked to see her assert herself more in other aspects of her life, instead of just when she was working a case.
I did like Jon. He was a strong and secure hero who was so desperate to solve his case that he was able to put his ego aside and call on help that he desperately needed. He didn’t need to get in some kind of pissing war with Andrea (at least after he found out her motivation behind looking into his case), and was able to rely on her instincts to help put the pieces of the case together. I liked that about him. However, I didn’t feel like we really got a chance to know Jon outside of his work persona. It would have been nice to have a few personal scenes with him, to see more of the man behind the badge.
Like I said before, so much of the book was spent focusing on the actual case and mystery behind it that I felt as if other aspects of the story were just missing. I wanted more character development from both Andrea and Jon, especially when it came to their lives outside of their work. I wanted to see more of their relationship develop. I struggled with believing in their happily ever after because I didn’t feel like we really got the chance to see them come together, see them rely on one another, or see them even fall in love. I just needed more.
All in all, I thought Griffin had a wonderful mystery and suspense filled book to add to the Tracers series. The plot with the bombing and home grown terrorist group was really well done, and I loved the way it all played out. However, I felt as if the rest of the book suffered because so much time was spent on that aspect. I would have liked to see the other subplots better flushed out. I give Far Gone a C...more
When I heard that Carina Press was going to have an entire week of just sports romance books, well, let’s just say I may have jumped up and down, and then went on a requesting binge.
Tamar has been best friends with Abe her entire life. She always had a bit of a crush on him, but when he rejected her affection in college, she was more than heartbroken. After years apart, Tamar is ready to move on with her life, starting with a great job as a sports journalist with an amazing New York online blog. Tamar will get the chance to report on the sport she loves: football. The only downside, she is going to have to spend time with Abe, and finally get over her crush.
Abe and Tamar grew up together, and when she told him how she felt about him in college, Abe freaked. He turned his back on his best friend, and hadn’t gone a day without thinking of her. Abe has decided that now Tamar is back in his life, he is going to make it a point to make her his, and he will do anything, even risk his career, to stand by her side and support her. But when Tamar breaks a HUGE story, both their jobs and romance is suddenly on the line.
I have been waiting for Abe’s story since the first book came out. I adored everything about him, and couldn’t wait to find out more about his backstory. I loved that Abe got his happily ever after with his childhood best friend. The romance between these two was slow to build, given the way Tamar had her heart broken by Abe before, but it was so SO good. I loved the fact that Tamar so desperately wanted to get over Abe, and that she tried so hard to keep their friendship platonic, and yet at every turn, Abe was trying to woo her and convince her that he wanted more. It was so sweet and wonderful. I adored their romance.
I adored Tamar. She is probably one of my favorite heroines of 2014. Sure, she wasn’t without her own issues, but I adored her. She was shy and sweet and strong in her desire to make it on her own two feet. When she was down, she threw herself a little pity-party, and then got right back up and pushed herself to reach her goals. I thought she was such a wonderful heroine, and I loved her being paired up with Abe. Their connection and history together was so cute, so endearing, and so perfect for who they became as a couple.
I also loved getting to know Abe a little better. The down-to-earth vibe he puts off is too cute, and I love the way he is so laid back about his fans, his stardom, and his family. He has always been grounded in this series, and I just love him all the more for it. His one track mind when it came to pursuing Tamar was too cute, and I liked that he was subtle about it, knowing he had broken her heart once before and not wanting to do it again. The way he stood up for her when things at her job hit the fan made me want to swoon. Oh man, I love me some Abe!!
I thought the sub-plot with Tamar’s work and the story she broke was excellent. It’s a topic that doesn’t get nearly enough discussion in the professional world of sports, and although it’s slowly starting to change, I can only hope that change doesn’t stop. I thought Parr did an excellent job of laying out the facts in a way that didn’t come across as preachy, and I love the way it fit within the story.
All in all, I think this might be my favorite of the series to date. I thought the romance between Abe and Tamar was absolutely perfect, and I loved their slow burn and the way they stuck together through thick and thin. I can only hope that we get to see more and more of these two in future books, because I think they are my new favorite couple! I give Imaginary Lines an A-...more
I adore my hockey books, and while I’ve enjoyed many that I’ve read in the past, Willoughby absolutely blew me away with this one. This may be my new favorite hockey romance, or at least it’s in the top 3!
Tim loves playing professional hockey. It was always his dream, and one incident with a fan almost ruined his career. He let his temper get the best of him, and now he is paying the price by being traded to a new team. Tim is determined to show his new team that he still has what it takes to play in the NHL, but running into the sexy Erin is throwing a wrench in his all hockey-all the time plans.
Erin is a nurse that has hopes of marrying one of the doctors she works with, when Tim comes to her rescue at an event, Erin is thankful and willing to go to the media to help with his image. Erin is attracted to Tim beyond belief, and the more time they spend together, the more her doctor starts to look like second best. But Tim and Erin both want to take different paths in the future. Can they commit knowing one person has to potentially give up a dream?
There was so much in this book that really worked for me. I loved the progression of the romance between Tim and Erin. They didn’t have a whole lot of drama or angst, and they built their relationship up steadily over the course of the entire book. There was no big fight, no big traumatic thing to pull them apart. The obstacles they encountered as a couple were big, but they handled it like mature adults, communicating and talking and working through their hopes and dreams and fears in a very realistic and wonderful way. The romance was probably one of the best I’ve read in awhile.
I thought Erin was a great heroine. She didn’t really know anything about hockey, but I loved the way she was willing to learn as she and Tim became more and more serious. I thought the way she handled her crush on the doctor was cute too. As much as she wanted to hold onto the idea of being with her doctor, she was also very realistic in looking at how wrong he was for her, and how right her relationship with Tim was.
I thought Tim was an amazing hero. Between the struggles he had dealing with his past, and the concerns he has about still being strong in a sport where he is getting to be one of the old guys, Tim came across as a larger-than-life but really down-to-earth guy. He had a great support system in his two best friends, and I hope we get to see more of them in books to come. I loved the way he threw himself into his relationship with Erin 100%, and wasn’t even able to see a future without her. It was super sweet and endearing and oh-so sexy.
All in all, I thought Willoughby’s first In the Zone book was absolutely incredible. The hero and heroine were both well developed characters that drew me in from the very start. The romance was so realistic and believable, and I loved the way these two built up from nothing to the solid relationship they had by the end. I can’t wait to see what Willoughby has in store next. I give On the Surface an A-...more
MinnChica: The sports romance reviews continue!! I’m not a huge tennis fan, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever watched a full tennis match in my entire life. However, the blurb of this book was intriguing, and I was willing to take a chance on a sport I know nothing about, and have no real feelings for, because I liked the set up of the romance between Regan and Ben. And I’m glad I decided to take that chance! I liked this story, and thought it was cute.
E: While I enjoy sports romance I am not as obsessed as MinnChica so I stumbled on this during my random browsing. I have started to enjoy watching tennis and this struck me as if it would be intriguing so I decided to give it a try. I am certainly glad that I did because I loved getting to know Regan and Ben, their skeletons in the closet, and watching them trust again. The journey through their romance was sweet, touching, and entertaining at the same time.
MinnChica: I wasn’t too sure how I would feel about Regan, especially since she comes across as a character who has a very large chip on her shoulder. She was defensive and rude, and I was honestly a little worried about whether or not we would get to see a softer side of her. And we did. It might have taken some time, and Regan had quite a few bumps to get over, but once we got the chance to see her, to see past her insecurities, we got to see a complex and fun heroine.
E: I will admit I was also concerned about Regan especially with her introductory scene, but I loved how Ben refused to let Regan get to him and dictate their professional relationship. I think the little insights into Regan’s mind certainly helped me feel more sympathetic towards her character and see her actions as part of the whole not her entire person. The fact that Ben had gone through a trial by fire at a relatively young age meant he was able to recognize some of Regan’s actions as symptoms of a greater issue but that didn’t mean he was going to let her get away with unwarranted diva-ish behavior especially when it was harming her chances at success. I was really touched each time Regan tried to do something nice for others even when it came out misunderstood because she was really attempting to demonstrate her caring; something I think previously was only shown to her family.
MinnChica: I adored Ben, he was so level headed and even-keeled. He didn’t like any of Regan’s temper tantrums get to him, and he took everything in stride. I loved that about him. I also liked that he didn’t immediately fall into bed with Regan, especially after the attraction between them was clear. He valued his position as her coach, and I loved that he didn’t want to jeopardize that in any way. It lent to the strength of his character.
E: Ben was a lot of fun. Like you I was very glad he had goals, standards, and dreams as well as an ethical code. I enjoyed watching him figure out what made Regan tick and how to motivate her to not only play well but to trust that he was there for her so she could just enter the zone of playing instinctively without over-thinking her actions. He was a very strong character and part of what I admired about him was his ability to admit when he was wrong, apologize, and figure out how to fix it. I also really enjoyed seeing him as an emotionally mature hero without getting the feeling it was caused by an obvious age difference.
MinnChica: All in all, I thought this was a great romance, and the book did a wonderful job of keeping me excited about a sport I don’t have much interest in. Crowley has a really engaging way of writing, and I loved the development of not only each of the characters, but the plot and romance overall. I hope that Crowley will continue to write more sports romance books, as I very much enjoyed this one. I give Love in Straight Sets a B+
E: I really enjoyed reading this romance. I got a taste of the inner workings of a sport but the focus was on the emotional growth of Ben and Regan. I thought the way Crowley didn’t gloss over some of the uglier aspects of the sports world while not allowing it to drag me down while reading was very deftly done. Like MinnChica, I am going to look forward to reading more romances by Crowley. I give Love in Straight Sets a B+...more
E: I have to admit I was getting sick and tired of Billionaire heroes and had almost vowed not to read another one when I found out that Clare was starting a contemporary series with Billionaire heroes. I read the blurb about the series, thought it was nicely different from most I had viewed and decided to give the first one a try. Let’s just say that this is the fourth installment and I haven’t once questioned my decision to give the series a try. I didn’t really know a lot about Griffin before this installment except he wasn’t too happy at the effects of his friends’ growing relationships so seeing some of the reasons behind his general self-centered curmudgeonly ways was very entertaining. I loved his contrast with Maylee’s sunny unpretentious personality and general friendliness.
MinnChica: I will read just about anything that Clare/Myles/Sims writes. I absolutely adore her stories. I love this group of billionaire friends, but like E said, we didn’t know too much about Griffin before his story, so getting to know his backstory and cranky ways was such fun. While I loved the fact that Maylee was such a contrast personality wise, her obsessive use of the word “Lordamercy” did start to rankle on my nerves a bit.
Has: I am still drawn to Billionaire heroes, but I am with E that this trope is getting tired. But I really enjoy Jessica Clare’s series about a secret brotherhood of billionaires because it is sp different to other series or books featuring them. I love the humour and the eclectic cast of characters, which has given this series a colourful and vibrant tone compared to the dark angst and the typical BDSM elements which seems to follow a lot of billionaire heroes.
When I first found out that Maylee who is sweet and naive would be the perfect foil to Griffin’s stuffy and rigid nature and was looking forward to see how it would play out. And it was a romance which was sexy and hilarious. I was cracking up out loud during their first meeting when Griffin is confronted by a slightly high and drunk Maylee. Because of her nervousness with flying she deals with her anxiety by taking an anti-anxiety pill along with some alcohol which was was not a good mix especially for first impressions had major consequences for both of them.
E: That was a great scene. It really brought home just how different they were. I also got to see how Griffin had a hidden soft spot, he just didn’t know what to do with it. His soft spot didn’t show often and when it did it was usually executed in a way that hurt Maylee’s feelings despite his best intentions. Everytime he had to “phone a friend” for help I about died laughing as he was paid back for some of how he treated his friends’ significant others in the past. Although I will agree that I found the behavior of one particular couple rather obnoxious.
At the same time I really enjoyed how Maylee handled everything thrown her way. Professionally she was a great asset to Griffin by teaching him some life lessons, juggling his schedule, and managing to remove a lot of his usual travel irritants. While she certainly didn’t fit in with the “royal” model of an assistant or member of the royal entourage she made friends everywhere. Watching her gain the loyalty and affection of those who were supposed to serve Griffin was a treat.
MinnChica: Despite the overuse of a certain phrase, I adored Maylee. She took like in stride, never let it bring her down, and really did look at everything with a glass-half-full attitude. She tried so hard to keep such a positive outlook, even as Griffin did some really jerky things to try and bring her down. Her determination to see the bright side of everything was so sweet.
For me, Griffin needed to do a little bit more groveling. He was such a jerk to Maylee throughout the majority of the book, that I felt like he needed to suffer a little bit more before he was given his chance for a happily ever after.
Has: I really liked Maylee’s character, she was very sweet and patient towards Griffin when he messed up several times. I loved how the romantic tension between them slowly built up. It was a slow burn and had a wonderful sweet overtone. It was really fitting to their characters and to their romance. But I also felt Maylee was too understanding at times, and wished she would have stood up sooner to Griffin. I felt that the conflict between them was a bit weak because it seemed to drag on with Griffin’s snobbish attitude and concerns for protocol with Maylee’s dress and appearance. However, he hated the Royal family’s constraints over the social rules and etiquette but acted the same towards Maylee’s carefree nature. I just found his epiphany over his behaviour didn’t really work for me. Although I liked the grovelling scene when he tried to make it up for his priggish behaviour it was cute and meaningful as well as earnest and Griffin really redeems himself at the end.
E: You have some great points there. I think my favorite scene involved Maylee proving a point to Griffin. When she let Griffin go ahead and try to manage without her with the end result of Griffin discovering really was just as spoiled as the family members he detested I died laughing. I did wish she told him off at least once but when he had to grovel not just to her in public more than once but to his friends’ significant others as well I felt vindicated.
This struck me as a romance of the extremes; Maylee on the sweet, innocent, friendly side and Griffin on the grumpy self-centered side. I felt Griffin grew more as a character than Maylee did but I enjoyed their overall interaction and contrast. I also loved watching Griffin receive some of what he had been dishing out the entire series to date. I don’t think he is going to catch a break anytime soon. I am looking forward to seeing what Clare comes up with for her remaining Billionaire bachelors.
I give Once Upon a Billionaire a B/B-
MinnChica: All in all, I think Clare continues to write wonderful and sexy contemporary romance books. She did a wonderful job with creating Maylee to be this sweet and somewhat innocent heroine, while contrasting her with Griffin, a jaded and rude hero whose manners were sorely lacking. I can’t wait to see what kind of crap Maylee and the guys give him in future books.
I give Once Upon a Billionaire a B
Has: Yes! I totally agree about a romance of opposites attract which can be fun and zany to see two characters clashing like Maylee and Griffin did. But I definitely agree with you about needing to see Maylee developing a bit more and that Griffin’s character learned more lessons than she did. I wished she was more assertive and confronted him a lot more because I think she was a bit passive.
Once Upon a Billionaire was a sweet and enjoyable romance, with some laugh out loud moments. I loved the slow build-up of tension between Maylee and Griffin, which was sexy and sweet that culminated into a wonderful romance. And even though I was not keen with the main conflict of the book, it was a good instalment in a series which definitely stands amongst usual Billionaire type heroes who tend to be dark and angsty. I love how Jessica Clare injected humour and a vibrant cast of characters in this series because it is memorable and appealing.
I was really looking forward to this book, it had hockey and a porn theme, what more could a girl want? However, this book started really slow for me, and never really seemed to pick up.
Austin is struggling to define his sexuality. Between playing hockey and living with gay couples, Austin is bombarded with extremes from both sides of the spectrum. When he takes home a few gay videos in hopes that it’ll help him figure out what he wants once and for all, he’s surprise at how attracted he is to a dominant, Puck.
Liam likes his work as Puck, but meeting Austin is throwing him off his game. Austin is everything that Liam has wanted, but given the age difference and Austin’s confusion, Liam is determined not to push. But when both Austin and Liam can no longer deny what’s going on between them, will either one be able to step up and take their relationship to the next level.
I really struggled to get into this book. I thought it was slow in the beginning, especially since we didn’t even get the chance to meet Liam until almost a third of the way into the book. Austin’s struggle with defining himself was a key factor in the entire book, but I would have liked to see Liam get involved a little bit sooner than he did.
I thought Austin’s involvement with his college hockey team was one of the best aspects of this story, along with his relationship with his roommates. I liked the way the brash, rude, and misogynistic players contrasted with Austin’s roommates who were all content within their own (sometimes kinky) skin. It added another dimension to Austin’s struggle with figuring out his place in the world, and I liked the way he was able to lean on his roommates, and stand up to his teammates. Those two aspects were probably my favorite of the whole book.
While I really wanted to love the romance between Austin and Liam, I just struggled getting into it. Because Austin struggled to define himself, he came across as a bigot and a jerk more often than not. Once he finally got to the point where he felt okay asking for what he wanted, I lost most of my interest in his as a character. And while I started off really liking Liam, there was one scene where his character made a decision that annoyed me. Like with Austin, once it happened, I was over Liam and his attitude, and at that point didn’t really seem to care one way or the other for either of them.
All in all, while Belleau is a wonderful writer, and her plot always seem so interesting, I found myself having a hard time getting into this book. I wanted to love Austin and Liam and cheer them on as they discovered their place together, but unfortunately I just couldn’t connect with either of them. I give Straight Shooter a C-...more
I’m always on the lookout for stories that deal with service men and women coming home and having to deal with PTSD. It’s a big issue that I don’t think gets enough time in the spotlight, so I like to read authors that are working to tackle it head on. I think Rose did an amazing job in that regard.
Jake has been struggling ever since he got home from the war. He saw things that he can’t get out of his head, and although he’s scraping by, it’s a battle every day. Working at the bar he owns with his brother gives him the chance to interact, without having tons of responsibility. That is until Sophie walks through the door.
Sophie wants a simple life, out of the spotlight of her parents and former career. Working as bar manager is something she loves, and getting to work closely with Jake is more than she expected. He’s surly and sexy and everything she wants, but shouldn’t have. Their relationship is an uphill battle, but one that Sophie is ready to fight for.
I think Rose did an amazing job dealing with the side effects PTSD has on the little things in everyday life. I love the way that Jake struggled, day in and day out. Sometimes he had trouble getting out of bed, other times he would be good until some noise or word sent him spiraling out of control. It felt very realistic, very intense, and Rose didn’t hold back with the trauma that Jake suffers. For readers, beware that some of the scenes may be extremely graphic in detail, and difficult to read.
Although I thought Rose did an incredible job with dealing with Jake’s PTSD, I had a hard time connecting to the romance. While I wholeheartedly believe that Jake and Sophie would have struggled like this if they were real life people, I just couldn’t connect to their story. I didn’t really understand why Sophie wanted to stick it out with Jake, especially since he was a jerk at times. I also didn’t really see why they were so passionate and devoted to each other. I think the PTSD issues were so intense and so real, that the romance really fell to the wayside for me.
That being said, I liked Jake and Sophie as individuals, but again, I felt like their character development took a bit of a backseat to Jake’s emotional state. I did like getting to see the way Jake grew into more of a person and less of a shell-shocked soldier. However, I didn’t feel as if Sophie had as much of an opportunity to grow. I would have liked to see a little more from her on the page, instead of having so much of it happened before the book even started.
All in all, I thought Rose did a wonderful job with shining light on the hard issue of PTSD. However, it did feel as if at times other aspects of the book suffered because that one issue was so intense, so flushed out, and such a heavy aspect of the plotline. I would have liked a bit more exploration into other areas of the book. That being said, what Rose did, she did tremendously. I give Seducing Mr Right a B-...more
MinnChica: The Kit Colbana series is one of my favorite urban fantasy series. I adore Kit, and I love Damon. While we don’t get to see the relationship develop between Kit and Damon in this book, it is a prequel, I loved getting to see the way Kit came to be the woman she was at the beginning of the series. In this book (like the 3rd) we get to see as Kit finds her own ground. She’s been beaten down, and we get to watch as she builds herself back up.
E: I am behind on the Kit Colbana series but I loved reading this novella because I was able to see some of what formed Kit. She was recovering from some traumatic events and along the way discovered some interesting facts about herself. I also loved seeing how her relationship?friendship?its complicated? with a certain green-eyed warrior started.
MinnChica: This novella is a bit different than other prequel novellas in series I’ve read. Mainly because Kit is still becoming the Kit we know and love from the first book. I love the way that Walker has created this huge, elaborate backstory for Kit, and there are so many different nuances to why she is the way she is. I was hoping that we would get the chance to learn a little bit more about Kit’s family, but we don’t. That being said, getting to see the way Kit discovered her passion for helping people was pretty awesome!
E: I loved that aspect. Like you, I do want to know more about her family but I enjoyed this glimpse of Kit becoming the Kit we originally met. It really helps explain some of the choices she makes and how she deals with the results. Once again Daniels used a pretty gruesome series of actions to serve as the catalyst for Kit’s change but we were able to see how Kit made a difference in so many different lives. I also enjoyed her flirtation with Justin and kinda wish I could see more.
MinnChica: While I liked seeing Kit and Justin flirt a little, it will always be Kit and Damon for me. Even seeing Kit with Justin, whether it’s in her past or not, is something I’m not excited about. Yes, everyone has past relationships, but I don’t know that I would like to see Justin and Kit together romantically. Especially since I’ve become so invested in Kit and Damon. That being said, I loved the way Justin was able to flirt and tease Kit out of her funk and into the land of the living.
E: Valid points regarding Kit and Justin. But I loved their interaction :). I also liked how Kit started to use some of what she had been taught and learned how to integrate it with another person’s skills. Reading this novella really highlighted how far Kit had come when I first met her. Now I really need to catch up on this series. I give Bladed Magic a B+
MinnChica: All in all, I loved getting to see Kit in her early days working at Wolf Haven. Watching her start to come into her own skin, be comfortable with who she wants to become was such a treat. I liked getting a little taste of Kit’s world, especially since this series has quickly become one of my favorites. I give Bladed Magic a B...more
This book has a very different tone than the others in the series, and after reading this, I'm interested to see where Harrison is taking the series oThis book has a very different tone than the others in the series, and after reading this, I'm interested to see where Harrison is taking the series overall. B- Full review to come...more
I’m a big fan of Kennedy, and I absolutely adore the Killer Instincts series. It’s a little crazy, a little wild, and so much fun!
Ethan is the youngest guy on his squad, but what he lacks in age he makes up for in experience. When he intercepts an SOS call from the sexy and mysterious Juliet, Ethan forgoes his vacation for the chance at helping Juliet tend her wounds, and possibly get the chance to show her just how much she turns him on.
Juliet loves her job. She is a master thief, skilled assassin, and wonder spy. Her latest mission is completely personal, and although she hates working with anyone else, between her wounds and the target, Juliet is going to need help. While she is hesitant to work with Ethan, he finds a way to knock down all her barriers, while proving to be an asset in the field. But even their combined skills might not be enough to save them both in the end.
I was really looking forward to reading about Juliet, because she was such a mysterious character. She is one of those heroines who refuses to let anyone in, and she guards her heart with everything she’s got. I loved getting to read about her backstory, to find out exactly why she had built up so many walls. It was a pretty traumatic backstory, so the personal nature of her mission really added to the intensity of the suspense throughout the book.
I adored Ethan. While he was a younger hero, he was leaps and bounds above other heroes in regard to maturity level. I loved his take-charge attitude, and how he didn’t rub his experience in Juliet’s face, instead he just rolled with her punches and worked really hard to prove himself at every step of the way. And when he screwed up (because, of course he did!) he made it a point to go out of his way to make sure that he gained her trust back and continued to build on it. He was such a great hero, and I loved him.
One aspect of this series I can’t get enough of is the secondary characters. I am DYING to know what the deal is between Jim and Noelle, especially since they are both in charge of their own teams and are adversaries in the field. Yet, they obviously have a strong attraction, strong connection, and a history that is bound to be painful and misconstrued by both parties. I can’t wait to find out what the deal is, and how they work it out.
I liked the suspense in this book, especially given the personal nature for Juliet. Kennedy does a really great job of balancing out pulse-pounding scenes with relaxed downtimes. It adds for a really fast moving story that hits all the key points. Romance development, story advancement, and everything in between. I thought this was one of the weaker villains Kennedy has written, especially since I didn’t think the man necessarily lived up to the legend he built himself to be. Ethan and Juliet spent so much time planning on how to target him because of his status and stature, that when they actually got around to meeting the man, it was a bit of a disappointment for me.
That being said, the way the suspense plot came to a close blew me away! I loved the way Ethan and Juliet were forced to admit their feelings for each other, and what they had to endure to get out of it all alive. It was so well done, and something I’d never read in any other book.
All in all, the Killer Instincts series continues to be a favorite romantic suspense series for me. I love the over-the-top storylines and characters. I thought Ethan and Juliet were so cute together, especially as their relationship built slowly over the course of the book. I am absolutely DESPERATE for the next book in the series now. Especially after the build up to Jim and Noelle! I give Midnight Pursuits a B...more
I’ve enjoyed Covington’s contemporary books in the past, so when I saw she wrote a paranormal, I figured I’d give it a try. While I’m not a huge fan of vampires, I did like the little twists that Covington added to her story.
Deacon has been a vampire for a long time now, but the one who hasn’t been able to leave his mind is Cici. When she shows up asking for his help, Deacon is powerless to say no to her. As he does some digging, he realizes that Cici has made a powerful enemy, and one that will stop at nothing to rid the world of vampires, starting with Cici and Deacon.
Cici has made a name and business for herself with matching Others and humans through her dating service. But there are many people who don’t want to see humans and Other mixing. Because of her business, Cici has become not only a target but is put under a spell, and she finds her vampire life might soon be over.
One of the things I enjoyed about this story was the little differences that Covington threw in. I love reading books about paranormal creatures who are “out and proud” with the general population, because I think it lends to some really interesting storylines. I loved the idea of vampires working in secret with the military throughout history, as well as the idea of fanatical groups who are trying to eradicate the Other population.
While I enjoyed the romance between Cici and Deacon, I did feel as if there was a little something missing with their romance. I wanted their history to be explored a bit more, especially since they had so much of it. While most of the storyline features the problems of their past that had to do with Cici’s turning and the death of her family, they had also been together on and off for over two hundred years, and yet it seemed as if that time together was a bit glossed over. I would have liked to see those moments explored a bit more, since they had all that time flitting in and out of each other’s lives.
I am a huge shifter girl at heart, so while I loved getting to see Deacon’s best friend and the Other police detective as shifter characters, I was jonesing for more from them. While I get that their storylines weren’t crucial to the overall plot, I would have liked to see some of the Other characters playing a more prominent role in the book overall.
All in all, I thought Covington had a great first paranormal book with this one. The worldbuilding was interesting and a little unique to what is currently available today. I wish that the story would have been a bit longer, because I would have liked to see certain aspects of the world explained a bit further. I do hope that Covington continues to write in and expand this world. I give Sex and the Single Vamp a B...more
Lou: I loved Anne from the moment she first appeared on the page. Anne knows that she allows people to use her sometimes. Things come to a head when her friend, Skye, runs off with all the furniture in the apartment–along with the money she owes Anne. Anne is upset and angry and also dissapointed. She’s going to struggle to pay rent and she might lose the apartment. Her next door neighbours, Lauren and Nate (Nate is Evelyn’s brother. Evelyn is the heroine from Lick, the first Stage Dive novel) make Ann come to a party so she can unwind. But it’s not your average party. It’s your Stage Dive rockstar party, and it’s there that Anne meets Mal, the crazy and lovable (and my book boyfriend) drummer of Stage Dive. Anne can’t help but gaze at Mal with crazy (lust) eyes. For some reason, Mal brings out the assertive side in Anne. She doesn’t let him push her around but her attraction for him is clear as day. I loved her crazy eyes she aims at him, and I loved her narrators voice which reminded me a little of Emma Chase’s Tangled.
Has: I also loved Anne! I thought she was the perfect foil for Mal’s energetic and manic personality. She really balanced his character as well but I agree that she is more assertive, but he also brings out the inner wild side she has kept repressed due to her own family’s issues such as her mother’s depression, and Anne raising her little sister. But it was fun and adorable and their scenes together were hilarious and filled with great chemistry. I definitely agree with you about Kylie Scott’s use of humour, although it was apparent in her previous books. But in Play it really shines. I was laughing out loud throughout the book, especially with Mal’s dialogue and reaction towards Anne who had a fabulous dry wit that interacted with his over-the-top persoanlity. She was the perfect heroine for him!
MinnChica: I adored Anne. I thought it was so cute the way that she was so infatuated with Mal, and how she desperately wanted to come off as normal, but was a total fangirl at times. It really gave her such a sweet and caring personality. I thought that Anne was such a wonderful balance for Mal. She was shy where he was super outgoing. She was grounded while he was a little jaded. They were just all too perfect for eachother, and I really loved that she was able to bring his head out of the clouds and down to earth, that she was able to keep him focused in ways he didn’t seem able to focus before.
Thoughts on the hero
Lou: I adore, Mal. I love, Mal. I think Mal has become one of my favourite romance heroes. The end. Wait. I can’t end my thoughts on Mal like this? Nope, I’m not allowed so I suppose I’ll have to explain why. Mal is humorous, sexy and he’s mad as a hatter. While we don’t get the POV of the heroes in this series, Kylie Scott does a wonderful job is making sure that the readers get to know them. Mal’s personality jumps off the pages. But behind the manic and hyperactive side of him, he’s hiding something tragic and Anne sees through him, which he doesn’t like. Mal may joke to Anne about her being his pretend girlfriend, but he’s certainly not acting in that way. The tension between them is hawt, and their sexy times are actually kept to a minimum. But when they do engage in sexytimes, it was reallllly good. Okay, it was excellent. It was dirty, full of humour and friendship. I loved that Mal and Anne were friends throughout this book. It was that of a growing friendship and romance. I loved it.
Has: I fell in love with Mal who almost outshined the hero in Lick. However, Mal really came into his own in this book and he has become one of the most memorable and lovable heroes in my list of best ever characters. I love that Kylie Scott’s heroes are all different and they stand out because they’re so appealing. But Mal is definitely a character who remains with you for a long while, and in Play, he shows a much more vulnerable side that hints of darkness. In a lot of ways he is the clown of the group but there is underlying layer of tragedy from the events in the book which adds depth and seriousness into his character. I really felt for him when something sad happens to him and it made the story authentic and realistic with his reactions to the events in the book, especially when he hides behind his sense of humour and manic behaviour. It also helped to strengthen and develop the romance between Anne and Mal because while there were moments of humour, the sad components helped to deepen their relationship. I loved that Anne managed to counteract Mal’s exuberant behaviour, as well as play off with it, which she needed just as much as he needed her to ground him. It really made their romance feel refreshing and unique as well as just good fun to read.
MinnChica: Like Has and Lou, I think Mal is wonderful. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, and he has such a fun-loving personality. I loved that we got to see a different side of him in his own book, and that we got to watch him struggle through an extremely difficult time in his life. It gave the reader the chance to see behind the clown to the man deep down. And I loved him even more for it! :)
Favourite scene of the book
Lou: I have so many favourite scenes in this book. But the one that sticks out most to me is the bath scene where Mal returns all angry and they end up rolling around in the tub, making out, close to having sex when his parents interrupt them. I just have to mention the humour again in this book. It just made me smile so much.
Has: That was one my favourite scenes too! I also loved the scene when they broke the bed by faking great orgasmic sex so Anne’s friends next door got a dose of their own medicine which had me chuckling. But I also felt a scene towards the end when something sad happens was moving, and heart-wrenching and it added another layer to the story.
MinnChica: Those were both awesome scenes! I have to say though, I loved the beginning, when Anne and Mal first meet. I love when Mal starts calling her crazy eyes, and how he jokes about them being in love and moving in together. Poor Anne had no idea what was going on, and yet at times she was so starstruck she just smiled and flashed him her crazy eyes. It was too cute and sweet!
Lou: I don’t dislike anything in this novel but if there’s one critique, I have to mention the ending which I found to be very quick. Like I briefly mentioned above, there’s a heartbreaking secret that Mal is keeping hidden from the band and Anne. When the secret is revealed, it’s heartbreaking and I wasn’t expecting to feel all sad and emotional in the book. I wished that more time had been spent on Mal’s response to the tragic secret when it concludes. It seemed glossed over a little.
Has: I totally agree! I also felt the same way, and I wished there was more to expand on that ending and the aftermath as well more on their relationship because they were so fun together. It did feel that there was something missing and I wonder if there will be a followup to this storyline because while I was happy with how the romance developed, I did feel that there was more to the ongoing story and I got a feeling that there will be a follow-up.
MinnChica: I have to agree once again. The end did feel a bit rushed, and I wish that the plot would have been a bit more flushed out at the end. I could have done with a little more development both with Mal and Anne’s relationship, as well as Mal’s personal struggle with what was happening.
Misc. thoughts and final grade
Lou: To me, Kylie Scott can do no wrong. Which is something I rarely say when it comes to my reading. I just adore her writing and her characters. Play was everything I wished for and it’s fast become one of my favourite releases of 2014. It’s a sexy and very funny romance with engaging characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. When the book ended, I felt as if there is more to be seen of Mal and Anne, and I have NO GUILT in aiming puppy dog eyes towards Kylie Scott for a possible novella of Mal and Anne. Me thinks I won’t be the only bookpusher doing this ;).
I give Play a A-
Has: Heh. I have been a fan of Kylie Scott’s since I discovered her zombie apocalypse romances, but her Stage Dive series really kicks up a notch and Mal’s book definitely lived up to its promise of being a wonderful installment in this series. Play is heartwarming and hilarious–and even poignant at times–romance. Mal is a sexy and funny hero with a perfect foil of a heroine who can handle his antics. And I am joining in with Lou with the puppy eyes because I was left wanting more the moment I clicked on the last page on my ereader. Kylie Scott I salute you for writing memorable and funny characters and I think this is a series that gets better and better!
I also give Play an A-
MinnChica: All in all, I’m a new fangirl of Scott, but I have quickly come to adore her. I love the Stage Drive guys and their relationship with one another. I can’t wait to see how the other band members fall for their ladies, and how it will continue to change the dynamic of the group as a whole. I thought Mal and Anne were perfect, both as individuals and a couple, and I can’t wait to read more about them in future books. I give Play a B+...more
I absolutely adore the Kowalski series, so everytime Stacey has a new release, I’m so anxious to get my hands on the newest book.
Hailey loves the little life she’s cut out for herself in Whitford, but she is lonely. With all her friends settling down, she is anxious to find that special someone to come home to everyday, someone to start a family with. She even has an ideal man in mind, but it’s too bad he doesn’t exist, and probably wouldn’t even live in Whitford if he did. Having Matt move in next door is easy on the eyes, but he is the polar opposite of everything Hailey thought she wanted.
The first time Matt met Hailey he was grungy and dirty and she was a total primadonna. It wasn’t the best start to their friendship. But the more time they spend together, the stronger their sexual chemistry becomes. But Matt is of the same mind set as Hailey, they aren’t good together as a couple, they both have an idea of who would be their ideal spouse, and neither one lives up to the expectation. Too bad fate has other plans.
I think that the romance in this book is probably the best that Stacey has ever written! I loved the enemies to friends to lovers and more storyline. It was so fun and perfect for Matt and Hailey. I’ve always enjoyed books where couples go from being very antagonistic with each other to finding some kind of common ground and building their romance from that. I loved the way Matt and Hailey kept telling each other they were wrong as a couple, and yet we as the reader could see just how right they were.
There were a few times I thought that Hailey came across as a bit desperate, but it really did add to the depth of her character. I was sad to see that at times Hailey seemed to feel as if she wasn’t whole without a man, and while that bugs me, I was glad to see that she didn’t come across as completely incapable or pathetic despite her desire to be matched up.
I thought Matt was a wonderful hero. He was so caring and sweet, and although he thought Hailey was all wrong for him, I loved the way he was so drawn to her he couldn’t help himself. One aspect of Matt’s history I wish would have been explored a bit more was his past relationships and why they had such a big impact on him. While it was explained a few times, I would have liked to see how it affected Matt in his everyday life.
I love getting to see all the Kowalski family members happy and living their ever afters. Stacey is one of the best when it comes to creating secondary characters that steal the show and beg for their own books, and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for readers next!
All in all, I thought the 8th book in the Kowalski series was so well done. I loved the romance and think that the relationship between Matt and Hailey is the best I’ve seen in the series to date. I can only hope that Matt and Hailey will pop up again in future Kowalski books, because I absolutely adore them together. I give Taken With You a B+...more
I’ve really enjoyed d’Abo’s books in the past, so when I read this blurb, I was all in.
Sophia is looking to expand her business while working as a designer for a charity that is near and dear to her heart. She wants to prove herself in any way she can, and butting heads with the lead contractor, Flynn, isn’t how she wanted to do so. But as she and Flynn spend more time together on and off camera, the chemistry between them ignites and they are more combustible than either imagined.
While this book was fairly short, I thought it had a good pace to it. One of the things I liked best about this book was that it was very laid-back. There was no overload of emotional angst, there was no blowout due to some big drama caused by a lack of communication. Instead, both Flynn and Sophia treat their relationship like adults, once they actually commit, that is. It did take them awhile to get to the point where they could admit that ripping each other’s clothes off was more than just a fling. :)
While I liked the simplicity of the romance, I did think that the little bit of “big drama” at the end was weak. I know that sometimes a portion of a book can suffer because of the limit in length, and for me, I felt as if the big revelation about a certain person in Sophia’s past was the part that suffered. However, as d’Abo didn’t spend a lot of time going into the details of why that person had such an impact of Sophia’s life, it wasn’t a total disappointment. For me, it was more of a case of I would have just liked to see more of that sub-plot play out on the pages of the book instead of glossed over.
This book was also a bit slow to build. Although it’s clear that Sophia and Flynn have amazing chemistry with one another, much of the first part of the book is spent talking about the ins and outs of the TV show they are on, instead of the progression of their relationship. For me, that made the beginning of the book drag a bit, and it took awhile to get fully invested in Flynn and Sophia’s relationship because of it.
All in all, I thought d’Abo wrote a cute and sexy short story. I really liked the fact that the book didn’t drag out some big emotional and angsty plot point, and that the few conflicts were easily resolved. While there were some things I would have liked to be flushed out more, I enjoyed the story as it was. I give Nailed a C...more
I’m always on the look out for a good BDSM book, and I do love my m/m/f books, so I thought this would be a wonderful combination. While there were a lot of aspects that aren’t commonly seen in romance, the BDSM aspects crossed a few lines for me that ruined my enjoyment of the overall story.
Jay is struggling to recover from a car accident that left him with a lot of medical bills and pain. Despite that, his marriage to Adriana has never been stronger, and the two of them are closer than ever. But Jay realizes that there is an aspect of their sex life that he can’t provide for Adriana: her need to be dominated and the bit of pain that she so desperately craves. Jay gets the idea to hire someone to fulfill those needs. Little does he know that Paul is able to do so much more.
Paul has been working as an escort for some time now, but getting Jay and Adriana as a client is throwing his emotions out of whack. He enjoys both Jay and Adriana. When he proposes they continue their relationship on a personal level, they set out on a journey to see if three people can be in a committed relationship, forever.
For those people who like their BDSM to focus more on the dominance and submission aspect of the lifestyle, this book is definitely not for you. While Paul does come across as dominate, the book deals more with Adriana’s need for pain during sex, and how Paul doles that out for her when Jay cannot. There were some hard lines crossed that totally ruined this book for me. The first and foremost was face slapping. I get that it’s a kink for some people, but I struggle with finding anything sexy about someone slapping someone they supposedly love. I’ve gone to a lot of weird places with some BDSM books, but that is a hard line I just couldn’t get past. Add in the different ways Paul came up with to inflict pain during sex, and I struggled to find the erotic aspect of many of the sex scenes. People who like reading more about the S&M aspects of the lifestyle would probably find this a really engaging read.
Another aspect of the book that just didn’t work for me was the actual relationship between all three parties. While Ames did something that I haven’t seen a lot in my romance books, it just didn’t work for me. There are significant chunks of the book that are spent building the relationship between Paul and Adriana as a couple, and then Paul and Jay as a couple. I felt like the scenes with all three together weren’t as prevalent. While I can see how that would be realistic in real life, it didn’t work for me in my romance book. There were a few times that I felt as if Jay and Adriana’s marriage wasn’t as strong as the beginning of the book, because of the way they included Paul in their relationship.
I struggled connecting with the subplot surrounding Adriana’s work. While I completely understand the pressure she felt having to work in order to help pay for Jay’s medical bills, I really had a hard time following the story with her at work, especially as it imploded toward the end of the story. However, Jay having to find work again despite his previous injury, and Paul’s struggle to stop being an escort were two subplots that I did enjoy.
All in all, I really don’t think this was the book for me. Ames is a wonderful writer, but the content just crossed a lot of lines that I wasn’t willing to go along with. Between the BDSM aspects that made me cringe, and the problems I had with the relationship in general, this was a disappointing read for me. I give The Submission Gift a D-...more
MinnChica: I really liked Desiree. I thought she was totally down to earth and likeable as a heroine. The problems she faced as a star were not glossed over, and I liked the extra dimension it added to the story, even though this book wasn’t as “Hollywood” as I had hoped. There were a few times throughout the story that I thought Des let Logan treat her like crap, so when she finally stood up for herself toward the end, I did a little happy dance for her. I was glad to see that she wasn’t going to continue taking his crap, and that she made him grovel a bit to win her back.
E: I really enjoyed Desiree. She was honest about the pros and minuses of being a star. She also talked about the difficulties of the journey to becoming one and staying visible without sugarcoating or making it seem like she was asking for sympathy. I also really loved how she stood up for her friends regardless of how it impacted her romance with Logan. Like MinnChica I LOVED it when she called Logan on his BS and made him face up to what he had been doing. And yes she insisted on a decent grovel! :D
Marlene: We’re three for three on liking Desiree. I liked the way that she recognized both the pros and the cons of her career and her current success. She values what she has, and recognizes both that she got lucky and that it’s a lot of hard work. Her ability to maintain her long-term supportive friendship with Cole was a big character plus, and I loved the way the author conveyed how close and easy they were. Desiree is strong and good at knowing what she needs/wants and what she doesn’t in her life, so I practically stood up and cheered when she told Logan he had gone too far.
Thoughts on Hero
MinnChica: While I liked Logan in the first book, I struggled a bit with his character in this one. Logan comes across as mean and gruff and he can be a bit of an asshat. There were times that I really wanted Des to walk away from him, because he did treat her like crap quite a few times throughout the story. I get that he was worried about falling into the same horrific relationship that his parents had, but that didn’t excuse his behavior for me. I kinda needed Logan to grovel a bit more at the end, and thought he got off easy with how badly he treated Des.
E: I had issues with Logan. I think he ended up with all of the worst traits of the rancher embittered because he was abandoned by his mother who couldn’t handle living on a ranch. I thought for much of the story he was an unmitigated jealous ass. So when he would surprise me and have a sweet caring moment then ruin it the fall seemed that much steeper. I will say he did start the journey to redemption for me with his grovel for Desiree but I wanted to see his good behavior last a bit longer given the pattern he demonstrated throughout most of the story.
Marlene: I have a love/hate relationship with Logan, or with Desiree’s relationship with Logan. He plays the “come here/go away” game with Desiree throughout most of the book, and when he’s in the “go away” mode, whether that is physically or emotionally, he’s not good for her. (Doesn’t mean she isn’t good for him) He starts out the book so certain he doesn’t want a relationship, so bitter about his mother’s mistakes, that he can’t get it through his head that he’s already IN a relationship. I will say that there were points where I couldn’t figure out why Desiree wanted him long-term.
MinnChica: Picking one favorite scene is always a struggle for me. I think my favorite would probably have to be the 4th of July picnic that Logan hosted at his house. It was the first time that Logan and Des admitted to one another that their relationship was more than just physical, and Logan really put forth an effort to show Desiree how much he cared about her. He was kind and attentive throughout that whole day, and it showed the depth of his feelings, despite his constant worries. For me, that really showed me just how great they could be together, when Logan finally pulled his head out of his ass.
E: I really enjoyed the scenes that involved Martha, Logan’s ranch cook and housekeeper, because she seemed to bring out who Logan and Desiree really were. Out of all of those I think my favorite was when Martha was able to see up close and personal what being in a movie was really like. She was so very excited and loved every second of it. Her joy seemed infectious and both Logan and Desiree were just as happy to see her joy.
Marlene: My favorite scene takes place at the end of Desiree’s “working day at the ranch”, when she figures out that Logan has been deliberately harder on her than anyone expected because he was testing her against the example of his mother, and he expected her to fail. Desiree stood up, told him off, and told him where he could take his test and his attitude.
Dislike about the book:
MinnChica: Other than Logan’s douchey ways, I really did like this story. While I understand this series takes place in the small town of Hope, I was hoping we’d get to see a bit more of the Hollywood way of life in this story. I thought Des’ fame was handled well, but I would have liked to see that aspect of the book explored further. And again, Logan needed to grovel a hell of a lot more than he did.
E: I was disappointed with how Logan character was for most of the book. I also thought the producer was rather one dimensional but I enjoyed how Burton handled the other characters. I liked how most of the story took place outside of Hollywood but I do agree with MinnChica that I think some challenges exist with Desiree’s fame that were only lightly touched on.
Marlene: I never quite saw what made Desiree fall in love with Logan, because he is so bitter through most of the story. (Why she wanted him, yes, why she fell for him, not quite convinced). It felt a bit like she fell in love with the ranch and the homeplace first. It fills her need to put down roots, and Logan is part of that package. I also expected the nasty director to make one more try, his douchery was made out to be bigger than it turned out to be.
Misc. Thoughts & Final Grade
MinnChica: All in all, I thought this was a good second installment to the Hope series. I love the McCormack family, and I liked all the page time spent on the ranch and the laid back way of life they had. I was intrigued by the secondary characters that were introduced, and can’t wait to read about Logan’s friends finding their own HEA. I give Hope Ignites a B
E: This was an entertaining but light read. I found that unlike Burton’s other works the characters did not linger in my head after reading. Even though I did have my issues with Logan I enjoyed the overall interaction. I am curious to see what will happen next in Hope and the surrounding area. I give Hope Ignites a B-
Marlene: I liked the people of Hope, and I particularly enjoyed Desiree and Colt’s friendship. All the scenes with Martha at the ranch were great fun. I just wasn’t wowed by Logan as a romantic hero, but it was terrific every time Desiree took charge. I give Hope Ignites a B-...more
I really like this series, and enjoyed the set up for this book. I hope that McCarthy continues to write books within this series!! B Full review to comI really like this series, and enjoyed the set up for this book. I hope that McCarthy continues to write books within this series!! B Full review to come...more
Lou: I was torn about Evalyn. I enjoyed her character in the beginning; the beginning of the book was pretty awesome. You get the sense that Evalyn is not guilty of her heinous (unknown) crime. The other prisoners look at her with a little fear and you think what on earth has she done. I suppose I became frustrated with Evalyn’s character throughout the book because she sort of became the saviour; but it wasn’t subtly done. It’s as if to show that Evalyn was different, that she had to try and save everyone. Evalyn’s personality could be quite sharp and she’s very quick in banter. When it’s revealed, her crime, I was shocked because I didn’t quite expect it go in that direction, and throughout the book, we learn more through flashbacks.
MinnChica: I had mixed feelings about Evalyn as well. I thought the way she handled her whole situation was admirable, but at the same time I felt as if she gave up a little too easily. We didn’t find out the details of her crime until later in the book, so it leads to a lot of speculation and confusion on the reader’s part. I was very unsure about what exactly her big crime was, and if the other prisoners had the right to be so scared of her. When her crimes were revealed, it made me wonder why she chose to go to the Compass Room instead of fighting it out in court, because I would think people would be sympathetic to her situation.
Has: I liked Evalyn’s character, but I always felt she was responsible in some way–although not guilty of the crime she committed, which is an interesting dichotomy. Usually a character, especially a leading one, has a clearer sense of morals or is set up as the hero/good guy. But I liked her narration, even though it took awhile for me to warm up to her character. I was sympathetic towards her plight because I liked how Sarah Harian explored notions of guilt and innocence, and there are lots of shades of grey about Evalyn’s character. But I also felt the same way about her being in that saviour role but I think the ending made sense and I was also taken by surprised by the starkness especially with her revelations. But I think her strengths were her interactions with some of the other CR candidates which was full of chemistry and I think she was the catalyst to bring out other sides of their characters.
Thoughts on hero
Lou: I wouldn’t say Casey is a hero in the terms we use in romanceland but he’s definitely the love interest in this book. Casey’s character I did like. It was weird growing to enjoy these characters despite the crimes they committed. Casey’s crime wasn’t heinous but there’s no doubt he did commit it. He’s quick to anger and he can be quick to judge. But he also learns from his snap judgments. He and Evalyn’s romance is way too quick, and it didn’t quite gel because of their circumstances. It felt too contrived rather than organic.
MinnChica: I liked Casey as a hero, but as Lou said, he definitely wasn’t the typical hero we normally get in a romance book. While I don’t have any problems reading about characters who have committed crimes in their past, it did feel a little weird to get attached to characters who were all almost-convicted murders. I loved the way we got to see a bigger transformation of Casey on the page, as he really seemed to grow as a character. He was able to put his own personal feelings aside in order to understand other people better.
Has: Yep, I totally agree with you both about Casey. The romance didn’t work as much for me because I felt it wasn’t as developed, and it was too quickly established, especially in the confines of the Compass Room. But as a character I think he was much more relatable than Evalyn for me. I also agree about his character development; he seemed to evolve the most in the book but I think that there’s more in store for him and Evalyn in the next book especially with the fallout in what happened during the end.
Lou: I don’t have a particular scene but I think the first two thirds of the book are the best. The characters are set up and the dynamics of them are quite eerie at first. These are stone cold killers who are being tested for their morality for the chance for atonement. Yet at times they came across as so normal; they bond, they form friendships and romances. But The Compass Room never lets them forget for long and tests them according to what they think is proper. In fact, it was pretty horrific and some of the scenes were graphic that had me a little queasy but it suited the novel because these people had committed acts of violence against their victims.
MinnChica: Hmmm, there were a lot of really good scenes in the book, but I have to admit that much of the beginning and middle of the book reminded me of The Hunger Games, especially as the Compass Room began running it’s simulation. I liked a lot of the scenes where Casey and Evalyn were with the larger group, forming an alliance and finding ways to survive while being tested by the Room. I liked seeing those friendships grow as they were each put to the test.
Has: This book definitely reminded me of The Hunger Games and Divergent but the similarities end with the premise of a group of people battling out simulations in an arena. Because unlike those books, this was more focused on guilt and innocence, and exploring the notion of crime and punishment. I really liked the premise because the world-building behind it felt more focused and cemented. I found the opening scene when they find themselves in the Compass Room to be tense and I loved the psychological and even horror-like overtones which made this feel more grittier and chilling than a lot of books with this type of premise.
Dislike about the book
Lou: I wasn’t keen on Evalyn and Casey’s romance. It seems forced and the sexy times seemed very abrupt. Tension wasn’t created between them and for me, if there’s no tension between a couple then it’s not a great romance. I actually felt that Evalyn had better chemistry with the flashbacks we saw of her former boyfriend, Liam. The worldbuilding was quite weak. How did The Compass Room work? How they were able to create these modules? The time and setting was also vague and I struggled to vision where they actually were.
MinnChica: While the worldbuilding was super unique and interesting, there was a lot that I felt was left out. I still don’t feel as if I have a good grasp on the world these characters live in. I wanted and needed more in order to determine what exactly was going on. While I liked the slow building romance between Evalyn and Casey, I wasn’t a huge fan of the way Evalyn’s ex-boyfriend Liam came back onto the scene at the end of the book, and how that is going to play out in the series overall.
Has: I think the romance was the weakest aspect of the book but I think that will hopefully develop further in the next book as there are few plot threads hanging, especially since I think Liam is going to come back in the picture. I also found the ending a bit abrupt and I wished there was a bit more. It was a bit of a cliffhanger which I am not a fan of. I also agree about wanting more background on how the Compass Rooms work and the futuristic world which Evalyn lives in.
Any other misc. thoughts along with the grade
Lou: The Wicked We Have Done I found to be an engrossing read. The worldbuilding itself is not strong but the strongest point of the book itself was the dynamics of the characters, how you couldn’t help but route for them despite the acts of violence they committed. It wasn’t a perfect read for the reasons I listed above but it kept me enthralled. The ending was quick but I would definitely read the second book in the series to see where the author takes the characters next.
I give it a B-
MinnChica: I found this book to be a really interesting and engaging read. The action kept the book moving along at a wonderful pace, and the whole Compass Room was a really neat concept. To me, this book read more like an urban fantasy than a romance. The story was left at an uncertain point for both the hero, the heroine, and their romance. While I had some problems with the book overall, it was a very engaging read, and I’ll be interested to see where Harian takes the series next.
I give The Wicked We Have Done a B
Has: The Wicked We Have Done is certainly a tightly paced book with thought provoking themes. Although there were some issues with some of the characters and plot, I really enjoyed it. I was surprised by how much I was supporting some of the protagonists who did commit crimes and I loved how the issues of guilt and innocence was explored. Sarah Harian made her characters sympathetic but at the same time I found myself questioning the decisions they made. Overall, this was an impressive debut and I will also check out the next book in this series!
I was not a big fan of the first book, in fact I DNF it because I just couldn't get behind the hero or heroine. However, I am SOOOOOOOO glad that I toI was not a big fan of the first book, in fact I DNF it because I just couldn't get behind the hero or heroine. However, I am SOOOOOOOO glad that I took a chance of the second book. I loved Daniel, loved Regan, loved the romance. I do wish Regan's emotional trauma would have been explored a bit more, but otherwise, amazing!
I adore both Clare and Frederick’s writing, but the first Hitman book absolutely did not work for me. I hated the fact that I ended up DNFing it, because I thought these two writing together would blow my mind. When Clare asked me if I would be interested in trying to second book, I figured I would give them another chance, and I am so glad that I did!
Daniel has given up his successful military career to become a missionary with a hidden agenda — find his missing sister who was kidnapped by human traffickers. Along the way, Daniel finds Regan and isn’t able to leave her in the hell hole he finds her in. Daniel helps Regan escape, but when he goes to drop her off at the American embassy, Regan refuses to leave his side. Daniel is helpless to do anything other than what Regan asks, and soon they set off together to find his sister and get the hell out of dodge.
Regan has been living in hell since she was taken, but trusting Daniel is easier said than done. Although he says he is going to keep her safe, Regan’s impression of men has gone down the drain since she was sold as a sex slave. But Daniel does everything he can to keep Regan safe, and together they might have a chance to find his sister and make it back home in one piece.
Like I said, I enjoyed this book much more than the first Hitman book. Both Daniel and Regan were easier characters to relate to, and I was sucked into their story in a way that didn’t happen with Daisy and Nikolai. I have always had a soft spot for books about human trafficking. I know I’ve said this before, but the strength of the heroines and the determination of the heroes to save these women is something that just resonates with me. Regan didn’t have an easy time as she was traded all over the world, and yet she found a way to remain strong, to keep her sense of self in the forefront of her mind, and not let her circumstances break her. I loved her for that.
I loved the way that Daniel had such a single-minded focus when it came to his sister. He was bound and determined to find her and get her home safe and sound. And yet, Daniel also wasn’t willing to let other women suffer. He went out on a limb to help Regan, and he kept helping her at every turn. Both physically and emotionally he was there for her. He made it a point to be cognizant of what her needs were, and did everything in his power to help her get back to a point where she could be happy and safe once again.
Although I thought Frederick and Clare handled the trauma of the sex slavery well, I was a little taken aback that Regan didn’t struggle with physical intimacy more, especially once she and Daniel took their relationship to the next level. Yes, when he first rescued her she broke down every time he touched her, but their few sexual interludes were sweet and caring, and Regan didn’t have as much emotional backlash as I would have expected from someone in her position. I would have liked to see that explored more in this book, or at least touched upon in future books.
That being said, I thought the romance between these two was so well done. Daniel really did do everything in his power to help Regan get back on her feet, despite the fact that he was desperate for a taste of her. He kept back all his passion and sexual tension for her as he did his best to be a friend and protector to her. It was a slow build that worked for them, and I loved the progression of it all.
I am interested to see how this series will continue, especially since we were introduced to some really interesting secondary characters. Daniel’s sister is definitely an odd-duck, and I’m anxious to see how Clare and Frederick will pull off such a cerebral character. I also really enjoyed reading about Daniel’s former teammate who had carved out a small section of Rio to rule with an iron fist. He is definitely an oddity, and I hope that his character will be explored more in future books.
All in all, I really enjoyed the second Hitman book, and I’m so glad that I took a second chance with this series. I thought both Daniel and Regan were interesting and wonderful characters, and I loved getting to see them work through their issues and find a way to fall for each other. I’m happy to report that Clare and Frederick knocked this one out of the park for me, redeeming my dislike of the first book. I give Last Breath a B+...more
I’m not a big fan of time travel romance, but I was hoping that the rock star aspect would make up for my blase feelings about jumping time. While it helped, it didn’t work as well as I had hoped.
Megan’s been working on her doctoral thesis, and with a trip to England to attend a rock festival, she is hoping to get everything she needs in place for her research. But her life starts to unravel the moment she lands, with her job at risk back home and a surly neighbor she can’t seem to stay away from. But Davy is more than he seems.
Davy loves his music, but hates everything about the business. When a friend shows him the power of time travel, Davy finds himself living in the future, and traveling back only to work on his music. But meeting Megan has Davy turned up in knots, unsure if he is willing to trust his secret with his time travel secret.
While I enjoyed the fact that Seaton kept the time travel between the 70s and today’s time frame, there were times I was confused as to what time the characters were in. In a few scenes, the transition between current and past wasn’t fully explained, and I was a bit lost as to what was going on. It made me go back and re-read quite a few times to see if I could get a better handle on what year the characters were living in at the time.
The romance between Davy and Megan wasn’t what I was expecting either. Davy was surly and gruff and more than a little hesitant to trust anyone. Given the way the media had flamed him in the 70s, and his attention-hungry publicist, trusting Megan wasn’t something he was able to do easily. They danced around each other, and at times it felt like their relationship would take one step forward and then about thirty back. Davy was very wishy-washy when it came to Megan, and there were times I wanted to smack him upside the head for doing one thing and then saying another.
While I enjoyed Megan and her free spirit, there was one aspect of her character that didn’t sit right with me. In the very beginning, she finds out that her ex-boyfriend is accusing her of misconduct at the University and she is under investigation. For someone as devoted as Megan seemed to be to her work, she didn’t seem all that concerned that her professional career was crashing down around her. To me, I needed to see more from her in regard to that. I had a hard time buying that she wasn’t more frantic than she seemed.
While the bare bones of this story were well established, I would have like the book to be a bit longer. It felt like certain plot points weren’t fully explored, and that left me hanging a bit. I wanted everything more flushed out: the time travel aspect, the resolution with Megan’s job and career, the romance between them. I just wanted more!
All in all I thought Seaton did a good job writing a time travel romance that actually appealed to me. However, I did find other aspects of the story lacking, especially in the heroine’s character development and the overall romance. That being said, I would be willing to try Seaton again in the future. I give Hot Rock a C...more