I was really looking forward to this book, not only because I love a little kink in my romance, but also due to the second chance love story. It’s one of my favorite tropes in romance.
Sasha is from a well-to-do family, but her desire to become a successful business woman in her own right is something she strives for every day. She doesn’t want to live in her family’s shadow, so her landscaping business is her baby. When a client screws her over, she is left in a tough financial bind, and must take a job that brings up more of her past than she is ready to deal with.
Jack and Sasha were high school sweethearts, and when they were caught exploring bondage, the consequences were more than either could bear. Now that Jack has his life together, he wants Sasha back. Hiring her to work on his patio garden is the first step in getting close to her. Convincing her they still have a spark will take more than Jack ever expected, especially since Sasha is living with a lot of guilt regarding their past. But their sexual chemistry is strong, and together, they just might be able to build a relationship that neither will be able to walk away from.
There were a lot of really great aspects to this story, but one little thing continued to rub me the wrong way: Sasha’s guilt and regret and shame over being caught with Jack as kids. While I can understand why she felt that way, it seemed as if she never wanted to deal with her feelings, never wanted to find an underlying reason for why she was turned on by bondage. Even after her roommate sat down and explained the BDSM lifestyle to her, she continued to stick her head in the sand and deny what was right in front of her. It got to be a little annoying, especially since her personality was to dig in and research every job, every opportunity. She was thorough and inventive with her business, and yet, in her personal life, she was okay with living under a rock. For me, that attitude just didn’t jive.
That being said, there were a lot of amazing aspects to this book as well. I loved the way Jack was able to come to grips with his teenaged decisions, and move on to become stronger, more confident, and successful. While most of this development happened off the page, we got to see it in the way Jack handled Sasha, in his memories, and in his overall attitude toward life. I really liked Jack, despite a few bonehead decisions he made.
The way that Sasha and Jack told her parents about their relationship was beautiful. I loved the fact that Sasha’s parents weren’t one hundred percent okay with it, and yet were open to learning more. It was a very realistic way of dealing with a potentially volatile situation, and I thought Jamieson handled it wonderfully.
The romance had it’s ups and downs. While there were a lot of things I really liked, it was slow to develop. It took me quite a few chapters to really get into the story, and I wasn’t pulled into Sasha and Jack’s romance like I expected. I loved the way Jack was so patient with Sasha, and also pushed at her when he knew she needed the nudge. Although I felt like the beginning could have used a bit of a jump start, I liked the way these two eventually came together.
The secondary characters in this book were interesting as well. I’ll be interested to see what other kinks Jamieson explores in this series. I hope that the next book will be about Sasha’s roommate, Kevin, because I can’t think of any story I’ve read and enjoyed with a cross-dressing hero.
All in all, this was a very interesting book. Jamieson has taken a kink that isn’t seen much in romance and made it into something beautiful and special. Although there was only a few key bondage scenes, they were very well done and amazingly written. I’m anxious to see what Jamieson has in store for readers next. I give Sweet Obsession a C+...more
MinnChica: Oh man, I have such a love of sports romances, and Burton continues to write wonderful and engaging and sexy stories that feature some of my favorite kinds of sports and heroes. This time we get back to the hockey rink with Drew and Carolina, who just happens to be Drew’s best friend’s little sister. I do really enjoy the brother’s best friend trope, however I don’t think Burton touched on that as much as I would have liked her to. That being said, there was something so simplistic and sweet about the romance between Drew and Carolina that I really enjoyed.
E: Ever since a certain tense weekend involving Drew, Carolina, Preston and Evelyn in One Sweet Ride I have been anxiously looking forward to Drew and Carolina’s story. I really liked the switch Burton made with this story to include a painful past, best friend’s younger sister, and a heroine who wasn’t trying to convince the hero to do something or cooperate. Unlike MinnChica, I really liked the minimal focus on the brother’s best friend trope because I thought it demonstrated more of a trust and adult reaction to an adult relationship. I did have a few niggles with this story but overall I enjoyed watching Drew and Carolina find their way.
MinnChica: One thing that surprised me with this story was the diminished heat level compared to the other books in the series. Those Riley brothers and cousins were horndogs, and we got to see them in action between the sheets. A lot. With Drew and Carolina, there was a lot of sexual tension, but there naked moments were significantly fewer than the previous books. While I liked that, because it gave Burton time to showcase the relationship that Drew and Carolina were building, I also missed some of the more spicy scenes I’ve become accustomed to with this series.
E: While I agree this story certainly did not have the same level of heat, I preferred it because Drew had to work extremely hard to regain Carolina’s trust on any level. The tension was incredible and when they finally indulged the scene was wonderful. I found the end of that particular scene slightly ironic and thought Drew’s realization gave him another idea of exactly how much of a jerk he had been in college. What bothered me in the lead up was how pushy Drew was about spending time with Carolina. I understood there was no way for him to make amends without being around her, sometimes I just wondered about his persistence. I know Carolina was brought up to be a socially polite hostess but it appeared as if she allowed Drew to push her around at times while she was working towards her deadline. That being said, I loved how she was able to take inspiration for her line from some of the activities they did together which also gave her brain a much needed respite. I thought the inclusion of road game troubles for Drew’s team brought a level of three dimensionality as the backdrop to their relationship.
MinnChica: I agree that at times Drew was pushy and used Carolina’s weaknesses against her. Also, some of the other external conflicts, namely Drew’s road game problems, and Carolina’s stress of getting her line launched did add an extra layer to the story that worked well within the romance. One thing that Burton continues to do so well is write incredible secondary characters. I am so excited to read more about Trevor and Haven. I love the small role that Haven’s parents have played in this series of books, so getting to see Haven’s story wrap up is going to be so wonderful!
E: While I enjoyed the roadgame tension it lead to an event that I felt let me down somewhat. Drew pulled a rather inconsiderate move out of fear and superstition. Carolina’s reaction given their past history was very understandable. However, I felt she went from her reaction to forgiveness a tad too easily. I didn’t see how Drew for all of his talk earlier made up for his actions and their potential impact on Carolina’s dream. However, he did realize the error of his ways and addressed it. I agree with MinnChica that the next story should be very interesting.
MinnChica: All in all I liked getting the chance to see Drew and Carolina work past their awkward college interlude and move forward with a mature and adult relationship. While I liked both Drew and Carolina as individuals, there were parts of their romance that just didn’t work for me. However, I am anxious to see what Burton has in store for the next book in this series, as I think Trevor and Haven have a lot of history. I give Melting the Ice a B-
E: Like MinnChica I did enjoy this story overall. I liked seeing a grown up Drew acknowledge his lack of consideration when younger and how he tried to rebuild trust with Carolina. I also loved seeing Carolina work towards her dream. As I said earlier I did have a few niggles with this story but I thought the twists to Burton’s pattern so far were refreshing. I continue to anticipate future installments. I give Melting the Ice a B/B-...more
E: I liked the blurb when I was browsing for review books but noticed that MinnChica already had it scheduled for review. I mentioned I was looking forward to reading what she had to say and she convinced me to go ahead and do a joint review with her. I wasn’t sure what I thought I was going to read but what I got was very visceral, elemental, and brutal in more ways than one. Bri had a horrible home life and after one especially brutal night she fled. After some time living on the street she ended up working as a bar waitress and seemed to enjoy life with the constant hum of danger.
MinnChica: When I first read this blurb I was instantly intrigued. However, I never expected the book to be as dark and brutal and ugly as it was. Wyllys touched on some very heavy topics, and she didn’t pull any of her punches. This book was raw and at times difficult to read, and yet it was such a beautiful story. I found myself staying up till almost 2:30 in the morning finishing this book, because I absolutely couldn’t put it down. I really feel as if everyone needs to read this book! :)
E: I can’t say this is a story I will ever re-read nor did I necessarily enjoy the characters and their choices BUT it gripped me and I was unable to stop reading. I think part of the attraction was how Bri and Luke never tried to smooth over anything. What they thought or felt was blatantly evident without any filters. Yes, each had secrets they kept from the other about their past but they were almost brutally honest about the present. It was also interesting to see the connections between the supporting characters appear, shift, and sometimes get in the way. Those connections demonstrated just how out of the loop Bri was with the other people around her and made me wonder what her best friend really knew.
MinnChica: For me, the big attraction between Luke and Bri was the fact that they didn’t try to change each other. Let’s be brutally honest for a minute, both Bri and Luke were seriously effed up people. They both had some serious, major issues. Bri drowned herself in booze and bad decisions, Luke was a fighter first and foremost, and he had no problems using his fists to solve problems. But despite the fact that they are both broken, they don’t try to change one another. Luke doesn’t force Bri to clean up her act and get her shit together. Instead, he accepts who she is and just wants to be a part of her life. Bri doesn’t force Luke to quit and go to some kind of legitimate business, instead she grits her teeth and bears the fact that fighting is a part of who he is. Like I said before, both Bri and Luke are ugly, but their romance is beautiful in and of itself.
E: That is so very true. They accepted and loved each other in all of their messed up glory. Luke wasn’t going to change his life because it spilled over and impacted Bri. He would make sure to get revenge but he wasn’t changing his life. Nor was he after her to change, except maybe not wave the equivalent of a red cape in front of a charging bull. Bri on the same hand didn’t expect Luke to quit his livelihood. It might bring her back to some of the darker places of her childhood but it was an elemental part of Luke. In a way it was refreshing to see a romance that centered around accepting who/what the characters were attracted to and that didn’t mean they were condemned to relive the past but could make the choice to be different while staying in the same environment.
MinnChica: Another thing I really liked about this book was how different all the supportive characters were. Bri’s best friend was so worried about her reckless ways that he went above and beyond best friend duties to try and keep her safe. Almost to the point that I found myself like his character less and less as the story went on. This is supposed to be the first book in a series called The Lane. I’m anxious and excited to see who will be next. I’m not sure if Wyllys is going to keep following Bri and Luke, or if we’ll get the chance to see some of the other eccentric Lane characters get their chance at finding love, in whatever forms works best for them.
E: It will be very interesting to see what characters come to the forefront as this series continues. I think Bri’s best friend knew a lot more about Luke’s world then he ever wanted to admit. It will be interesting to see if he redeems himself or is forever pushed out of the picture. While this story was brutal and vicious as MinnChica said earlier, the romance was there. I think the best thing is at the end I had the feeling that love isn’t limited to the “perfect ones,” f’ed up characters are just as eligible to love and be loved.
I give Wild Ones a B
MinnChica: All in all I thought this was a beautiful and wonderful book. Don’t get me wrong, it was ugly and violent and brutal a times, especially as Bri and Luke navigate the waters of their relationship. But despite that, it was such a truthful and real love story between two people who thought they were never capable of love. I’m not usually a fan of darker romances, I tend to prefer my romances with rainbows and unicorns, but this was story was just as wonderful as the happy romances. I’m so anxious to see what Wyllys comes up with next. I give Wild Ones an A...more
I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect with this anthology, but I have to admit that I absolutely LOVED the fact that all the stories took place in the same town, and that the characters overlapped. It was such a neat little thing that you don’t normally see in anthologies. That being said, I am going to rate each story on its own.
Heart of the Storm by Shannon Stacey
Brody left Tucker’s Point in the middle of the night, leaving behind his family and fiance. Coming back isn’t what he wants to do, but spending time with his newborn nephew is an opportunity he can’t pass up. But the worst winter storm of the year has him trapped with his family, old neighbors, and of course the woman he left behind: Delaney. Just seeing her brings back all the love he once felt for her, and leaving Tucker’s Point without her is no longer an option.
I adored this story. I’m a huge sucker for second chance love stories, and this one was just too damned cute. I thought poor Delaney was such a strong character, and I loved that she wasn’t so willing to accept Brody with open arms right away. She was very worried, and rightfully so, to just jump back into a relationship, but the history between them was almost too much to overcome.
Although Delaney was hesitant to start back up again, I do wish that they wouldn’t have jumped back into such a serious romantic entanglement so quickly. But I could also see why being stuck in such close confinements would force them to make a rash decision so quickly. I wish that we would get the chance to see more of them after the storm, to see if they could weather through the rest of life together. I give Heart of the Storm a B
Seeing Red by Jennifer Greene
Whitney is back in Tucker’s Point for one quick thing: to search her grandparents home for a mysterious box. Getting stuck in the storm is an unfortunate event, but one she is somewhat prepared for. Luckily for her, her grandparent’s house is in Red’s disaster zone, so getting checked on by her high school crush is enough to keep her toasty warm.
I’ve read Greene in the past, but this story was enough to convince me I need to read more and more from her. I loved the opportunity that Whitney and Red had to reconnect, especially since they both were secretly crushing on one another in high school. I thought their romance was sweet and cute, and absolutely heartwarming. Add in the sub-plot with the missing little girl and her rescue, and this was such a sweet and adorable contribution to the anthology.
After reading this, I’m definitely going to go back and check Greene’s backlist of stories. I thought both Whitney and Red were too cute together, and I really enjoyed their sweet and sexy romance. I give Seeing Red a B+
Land’s End by Barbara Dunlop
When Tessa broke off her engagement with Colton it was because she wasn’t happy with the way she felt herself changing. But six months later, she still misses him like crazy. When he shows up at her family estate, hoping to turn it into a swanky resort, Tessa can’t deny the attraction is still there. But getting engaged to Colton again is both exciting and horrifying at the same time.
I enjoyed this second chance love story, but was a little frustrated with the heroine. Tessa can’t seem to communicate with Colton, and instead runs from her life. She doesn’t know how to tell him that she doesn’t want to be this perfect ideal woman, so instead she pretends and then runs when it gets too hard. Because of it, I was concerned that Colton never got to know the real woman.
I did enjoy their romance though. I think Dunlop did a good job of showcasing Tessa in all her crazy ways, so that Colton got a chance to get to see who Tessa really was. I loved that they kept collecting people from the storm, and were acting as caretakers for anyone who needed shelter.
I thought this was a super cute and sweet story, and I felt like Tessa and Colton’s relationship was totally believable. While I’m not sure that their relationship will always be easy, it was fun to see them try and get to the bottom of who they each were, and what they wanted. I’d love the chance to see more of these characters in the future. I give Land’s End a B
All in all I thought this was a wonderful little anthology with a great premise. I loved the fact that they all tied in together, and that the characters made guest appearances in one another’s stories. I hope to see more anthologies like this, that tie in together, in the future. What a fun idea! I give Snow Day a B+...more
I was so excited to read a book about a ballerina and an MMA fighter, because they seem like such an unlikely pair. I have to admit, the romance between these two was so different than I expected, but also so wonderful.
Logan had the most amazing life. It wasn’t until she went on reality TV with her fiance, and he dropped her that everything came crashing down around her. Her crushed her ankle, career, reputation, and heart. She needs quick cash, and her job as a ring girl pays more than anything else she could find. It wasn’t until she finds herself in the arms of Keane that her world gets turned upside down once again.
Keane is struggling with all the horrors of coming back stateside, as well as the death of one of his best friends. MMA fighting is his way of releasing stress and tension. Logan is a complication that Keane doesn’t need, but he can’t seem to stay away from her. Her job is dependant on his fighting, and Logan will do just about anything to make sure he fights. But Keane isn’t ready to let go of his hurt and anger, and because Logan is making him feel again, Keane isn’t ready to accept what is right before him.
I’ve read a few MMA books in the past, but I have to say that this was probably the most violent of all the books I’ve read when it comes to the fighting scenes. There were a few moments when I was a little turned off from the story, because fighting is something that holds ZERO interest for me. While Keane wasn’t violent outside of the ring, or toward anyone who wasn’t an opponent, there were still a few uncomfortable moments for me.
I loved the way Logan refused to let Keane continue to be miserable. After she realized the extent of the issues he had after coming home, she was determined to help him get the help he needed. There was one scene in particular, when Keane wakes up from a dead sleep and rolls Logan off the bed and pins her to the floor that really stood out for me. There was so much depth to Keane’s pain, and Logan’s acceptance that she really needed professional help for him. It was tender and heartbreaking all at the same time.
The romance between Keane and Logan had a kind of one step forward, one step back feel. Every time it seemed like Logan was making headway past all of Keane’s shields, something else would set them back a few steps. Romances like this typically drive me batty, however I found a lot of honesty between these two. It wasn’t as if they were pushing each other away for silly reasons, or communication issues. Instead, there were some real big issues that both Keane and Logan had to accept before they could finally be together. I liked that Mannon showed that, and made both us as readers, and the characters, wait for their HEA.
One aspect that I really struggled with was Logan’s ex-boyfriend and the entire situation surrounding him. While I get that the contention between him and Logan was one of her driving factors, it still felt a little ridiculous. However, the majority of the other secondary characters were all super enjoyable. Logan’s fellow ring girl, Keane’s military buddy, and the cranky old coach, Sal, were all so well done and such fun to read. I hope that Mannon takes the time to give them all stories of their own. :)
All in all I really enjoyed this debut book from Mannon. Despite a few brutal fight scenes, and some heavy issues, it was a fabulous read. Both the characters were compassionate and loveably flawed. The romance was rough at times, but also so honest in its complications. I’m absolutely looking forward to more from Mannon in the future. I give Knock Out a B+...more
When Sorenson asked for a review I was pretty excited to read her contribution. I’ve enjoyed her suspense books in the past and was looking forward to seeing what she could do with a short story. It wasn’t until I finished reading both stories that I found out the Brockmann story was re-released from an older Silhouette book. There were probably about twenty times I thought about quitting mid-way through her contribution, but stuck with it. Had I known it was a previously released title, I have to say I probably would have put that story to rest and skipped directly to Sorenson’s story.
Scenes of Passion was a second chance love story about Maggie and her childhood buddy Matt. Matt had always had a crush on Maggie, but between his on again off again relationship with her best friend, it never went anywhere. Now that Matt is back and needs Maggie’s help, they are free to explore the attraction between them.
I really felt like this book was older than it’s original 2003 release date. It felt almost “retro” in it’s contemporary category. I’m not a huge fan of category books from the 90s and early 2000s, so my problems with this novella were plentiful. Maggie let everyone and their mother (hell, her own mother) walk all over her. She was a doormat and although she loathed it about herself, she never got the gumption to make a change. She was content just floating through life hating everything. It was so annoying. Then, once she got the stomach to stand up for herself, it seemed like she constantly second guessed herself. I needed more from her.
Matt was a little better, but I had a hard time with their romance because of Maggie’s obnoxious ways. Why he continued to put up with her, especially after she flipped out on him, was something I couldn’t understand.
I really didn’t enjoy the first story at all, but was glad that the Sorenson novella made up for it. In Scenes of Peril, Paige is stranded at her cabin home during a horrible storm when she takes in a reckless driver. Colin can’t remember anything that happened the day he was rescued by Paige, but after just a few short days together, the attraction is more than either can stand. But a stalker has been waiting to make the move on Colin, and won’t let Paige get in her way.
I thought Sorenson did a great job with throwing a little bit of the classic suspense she is known for, while balancing the romance. I thought Paige and Colin had a very QUICK but sweet courtship. I always struggle with characters who get their HEA after just a day or two, but these two worked for me. Probably because they were committed to each other, but also to taking it slow. I needed that for their characters, and was so glad to see the way it all worked out for them.
I liked the twist of Colin having memory loss because of the car accident, because I think it added a lot to not only the suspense subplot, but also because it gave them the chance to really focus on nothing but each other and getting better. Along with the storm, it added another layer to the little cocoon they had going on in Paige’s cabin.
All in all I really liked one story, and really disliked the other. Brockmann fans might enjoy this previously released novella, however fans of Sorenson may want to just give this one a skip. If I had to rate Scenes of Passion as a solo book, I would give it a D-. However, Sorenson gave us a wonderfully short story about two people caught up in the pain of their pasts that want to move forward and find something and someone special. I adored their romance and would give Scenes of Peril a B+. Overall, I give the Passion and Peril duology a C....more
I adore Barth’s writing, but add in my hometown of Minneapolis, and there was no way I could turn down this request!
Becca loves working with the small Lyndale Park Players’ theater group as their producer. But losing their director to a last minute drug rehab is stressing her out more than usual. Having to work with her high school friend Jack, who disappeared after graduation, isn’t any easier. But having Jack as director is great for the theater group, and Becca’s hormones.
Jack always had a thing for Becca, but missed out on his chance with her when their mutual best friend Ty made the first move. Jack never wanted to return to Minnesota, but now he’s back and spending time with Becca is showing him just how much he missed his friend, and maybe even the city. But when Ty shows back up out of the blue, things between Jack and Becca are strained once again, and maybe this time for good.
I loved the way that the city of Minneapolis played as secondary character to the story. I have such a love for the metropolitan I grew up in, so getting to see all the little aspects of Minnesota pop up, the midwestern phrases that I miss hearing, was such a fun and special treat for me. Non midwesterns might not get some of the little tidbits, but will absolutely still enjoy the book.
Poor Jack hated everything about growing up in the twin cities, and because of it he vowed never to come back. I have to say, I love the way he processed coming home. There were just as many moments that he loved as he hated, and Barth did a wonderful job of showing Jack’s character getting the chance to look back on his hometown through the eyes of a grown up, a successful one at that. I did think Jack was a little childish in the way he handled meeting Becca for the first time, especially since he never got any kind of resolution on his lingering feelings for Becca.
I adored Becca. I loved that her character was so willing to put her hopes and dreams on hold, but still carve out a life for herself that she could be happy in. She reminds me so much of many midwestern women I know, and I loved her all the more because of it. I was so excited to see that she was going to get the chance to finally live out her dreams, especially after she went through so much to put her life on hold for her ill grandmother.
The romance between Jack and Becca was great, even though Jack was pretty surly at times. I loved the way Becca was able to reflect on their previous friendship to find ways to break through Jack’s walls, to both strengthen their friendship and their romance. It was sweet and sexy and so fun to read! The only thing I wasn’t a big fan of was the way that Jack allowed Ty to come in and ruin everything he had built for himself, especially since Jack was so unwilling to get the whole story.
All in all I thought Barth wrote a fabulous Christmas themed romance. I loved the story about the Christmas play, and watching Jack go all Scrooge over it! :) Both the hero and heroine were wonderful characters, and the romance was so fun. I give Tinsel My Heart a B+...more
Publisher: HQN Publish Date: 7/27/10 How I got this book: NetGalley
Phillips starts yet another series with promise called The Bachelor Blogs! The firstPublisher: HQN Publish Date: 7/27/10 How I got this book: NetGalley
Phillips starts yet another series with promise called The Bachelor Blogs! The first book, Kiss Me If You Can highlights Coop, the newest Bachelor to grace the blog. Coop gains semi fame status when he catches a jewelry store robber in the act. The store owner’s daughter is so grateful, she gives him the choice of any merchandise in the store. Coop, hating the theatrics, chooses something he things is gaudy and ugly and bolts as quickly as possible. The women of New York are thrilled at the prospect of the newest bachelor, and Coop soon finds himself the center of attention everywhere he goes.
Lexie is a woman on the go, always traveling around the world. When she sees the news story about Coop and gets a closer look at the ring, she is floored to realize that it looks to be a match to a necklace her beloved grandmother wears. She sets her sights on Coop, hoping to be able to get a chance to see the ring, and potentially buy it off him if it is a match.
After a strange phone call from the jewelry store owner about wanting the ring back, Coop and Lexie begin looking into the history of the ring, and discover that it was part of a stolen set. The two team up to discover what they can about the set. Once some of the signs point to Lexie’s grandfather possibly being involved, she starts becoming more and more suspicious.
The closer Lexie and Coop come to the truth, they closer they come together as a couple. The two must find a way to overcome their differences, and the truth behind the jewelry.
I really enjoyed Kiss Me If You Can, it is probably one of my new Phillips favorites. I love the premise of the bachelor blogs series, and can only imagine that there is probably an actual blog out there like this! (If not, I’m sure there will be soon!)
I loved the differences between Lexie and Coop’s desires out of life, and their willingness to change for each other. Although Lexie always lives with that fly by the seat of her pants attitude, once she realizes that she is in love, she takes the time to notice how great life can be when you settle somewhere with someone. Likewise Coop, who is desperate to fulfill the white picket fence fantasy, comes to admit that maybe traveling around the world with someone who means the world to you, can be just as exciting.
Charlotte and Sylvia kept me cracking up throughout the entire book! They truly are just like Lucy and Ethel from I Love Lucy! The hilarious stunts and antics kept the story interesting, and left me in stitches once the real culprit was revealed. As far as side characters go, even Coop’s family was great, reminding me a lot of my own.
I’m super excited for the next installment of the Bachelor Blogs, featuring Coop’s next door neighbor, best friend, and local police office Sara, and her ex-partner Rafe. We met this pair briefly at the end of this book, and can’t wait to see how this one turns out! I absolutely loved Sara, and can’t wait to see her have to drop some of her barriers and let the super sexy Rafe in!
All in all, I give Kiss Me If You Can 3.5 out of 5 stars! ...more
Raising Kane is the 9th book in the Rough Riders series. James has become one of my favorite smut authors with this series. While the first book, LongRaising Kane is the 9th book in the Rough Riders series. James has become one of my favorite smut authors with this series. While the first book, Long Hard Ride had me blushing at every turn of the page, this series has really grown and evolved into so much more than just smut.
Kane, one half of the McKay identical twins, has been acting as a Big Buddy to Hayden for almost two years. He has also had a huge crush on Hayden’s mom Ginger for just as long. When Ginger slips and falls, needed help at home, Kane jumps at the chance to be around and take care of her. Little does Kane know, Ginger has also been crushing on him as well.
For almost a week, Kane lives with Hayden, Ginger, and her disabled father. The steam between these two is sizzling within hours of Ginger arriving at home. While Kane is anxious to jump into bed with her, he is more concerned for her health. However, it doesn’t take much for Ginger to convince him otherwise.
While Ginger asks Kane to keep their relationship a secret, Kane is frustrated he can’t claim her in front of his friends and family. Especially since his playboy past is constantly being thrown in his face. Thankfully, after a few misunderstandings, the two finally find a way to move on from their pasts, and continue on their future together.
Now, I’ve been counting down the day’s for Kane’s book (and stayed up till almost 2am finishing it) since his twin brother Kade found his happily ever after in book 4. I loved the fact that Kane has really grown up from his partying ways, and truly wants to prove to Ginger that he is ready to take her as his wife, be a father to her son, help take care of her father, and start a family of their own.
Ginger is a control freak lawyer, and I enjoyed watching her struggle to accept Kan as a partner in life, and a boss in the bedroom. I know so many who could really relate to that struggle with accepting someone once you’ve done everything on your own. The dynamics between Kane and Ginger are explosive, but the build up to their relationship is based on a great and long friendship, which I think is so special.
Some of the McKay and West cousins play a more supporting role than the other McKay brothers we’ve already met and love. I am now counting down the days until November, when James releases book 10, Cowgirls Don’t Cry, the story of Jessie and Brandt.
All in all, I give Raising Kane 4.5 out of 5 helpful sexy cowboys!...more
MinnChica: Oh, this story killed me in the best possible way!! I’m not always a big fan of amnesia stories, but I thought Gail put such an amazing touch on the characters, their situation, and the overall book. I can’t even count the number of times I burst into tears, both happy and sad. With this one story, Gail has cemented a place in my contemporary authors to buy list!
E: I started getting worried about this story when I saw numerous accounts of reviewers read this with a box of tissues. I attempted to start reading this story on my morning commute and quickly decided that since I was without my box of tissues I needed to wait until I was home and away from the public eye. I was very glad I made that decision because this story gripped my heart and really never let go.
MinnChica: There was so much awesomeness in this story, I can’t even tell you. The emotions that Lucy had to go through, knowing that her husband remembered almost everything in his old life except for their marriage was so heartwrenching. Yet, the strength she showed by still trying to support him in any and every possible way was so amazing. When we got to the end and realized that Sully had started to gain some of his memories back killed me. I was a big old puddle of tears by that point, and I loved every second of it. I just wish Gail would have had more time to explore them re-building their marriage. I give Starting from Scratch an A
E: Gail did a great job with this story by emphasizing that it isn’t only the the military member who has to adjust to their new normal but also the family members. I thought the way Gail had Sully receive his epiphany about the connection with Lucy was extremely touching. I just wish there was more shown about the journey of Lucy learning to trust Sully as they worked to build a new relationship together. As a result while this story packed a punch I found myself slightly let-down by the conclusion. I give Starting from Scratch a B+
Hero’s Homecoming by Rebecca Crowley
MinnChica: After having to follow Gail’s amazing story, Crowley had a lot to live up to. While I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first story in the anthology, it was still a beautiful telling of a soldier dealing with the fallout of wartime injuries. I just wish that Crowley would have given us a little more in the end, especially pertaining to Chris’ injuries and prognosis.
E: I enjoyed the change of pace with this particular story. While it didn’t pack the same heartwrenching punch as the first story I loved how Crowley focused on Chris’ emotional growth. He really needed to start seeing beyond himself and how his attempts at self-sufficiency were actually causing more harm than good. At the same time I could also see how difficult it was for a man accustomed to being the strong one to suddenly transition into needing help from those who had depended on his strength. Unlike MinnChica I felt that this was a complete self-contained story and I did not find myself wanting the rest of the story spelled out.
MinnChica: I wanted to give poor Beth a huge hug from almost start to finish. The pain that she went through, realizing why Chris cut ties with her was hard for me to read. Especially when he continued to push her away for reasons she was clearly okay to deal with in their relationship. I did enjoy watching Chris realize the extent of the pain he was causing Beth, and how he tried to deal with not only showing her he cared, but also dealing with his injuries to the best of his abilities. I really did want more though, while we absolutely got our HEA at the end, I wanted that extra special, rainbows-on-top HEA of knowing that Chris would recover completely and they could ride off into the sunset. I give Hero’s Homecoming a B.
E: I thought it was great when Beth didn’t let Chris get away with his actions towards her nor did she attempt to baby him. She expected that he would tell her what assistance he needed instead of just presuming. To me that attitude probably helped Chris sense what he could have. Crowley did a fabulous job of making Chris understand exactly what he symbolized and how much his small town cared about who they considered one of their own. Seeing that car extended to Beth was very touching. I think that scene was one of my favorites because it all came together, his hopes, fears, and the possibilities. I give Hero’s Homecoming an A-...more
Publisher: HQN Publish Date: 7/1/10 How I got this book: eARC from NetGalley
Hatfield creates a fantastic paranormal Romeo and Juliette with her new relePublisher: HQN Publish Date: 7/1/10 How I got this book: eARC from NetGalley
Hatfield creates a fantastic paranormal Romeo and Juliette with her new release Shadow of the Vampire. Alexia is the Princess of the Vampire horde, just days away from her ascension to Queen. The war between the Vampires and Dragons has been going on for as long as she can remember, and have recently hit its pinnacle. Just a few short weeks prior, the Dragon King and Queen were captured, tortured, and murdered at the hands of the Vampire Lotharus.
Declan, the only son and daughter of the recently murdered Dragon rulers, is now their Lord and leader. When the dragons find out that the Vampires have recently discovered a crystal that is said to have immense power, he sets off into enemy territory to retrieve the crystal from enemy hands. However, Declan is captured, and held prisoner by Lotharus.
As Declan is tortured, Alexia is coming to realize that everything is not as she once believed it to be. With the problems in the Vampire ranks, undermining of her authority by a vicious foe, and the constant attacks by the Dragons; Alexia and Declan will turn to each other and discover a passion neither has ever known before.
This paranormal Romeo and Juliette was fantastically done, and had just the right amount of passion, action, crazy twists and turns, and a wonderfully done happily ever after. I loved the way that Alexia was able to slowly realize that not everything is as it seems, and was able to uncover the lies of her past, and fight for what she truly believed was the right path for herself and her people. Declan is the perfect shifter Lord and leader. He is sexy, totally selfless, and a great ruler. I was impressed by the way that Declan was forced to deal with some hard issues while dealing with his clan, and that he was strong and assertive when dealing with his people. The interplay between Declan and Alexia is both sweet and sexy.
The villain Lotharus is truly evil, and as we find out more and more about what he is up to, he develops into the absolutely perfect EVIL villain in my eyes. He is manipulative, undermining, and totally amoral. The twists and turns kept me guessing as to what was really going on, who was behind what, who could be trusted, and who would stab their friend or lover in the back.
All in all, I give Shadow of the Vampire 4.5 out of 5 magic crystals!...more
Publisher: Harlequin Publish Date: Out Now! How I got this book: NetGalley
I’m a big fan of romantic suspense, and Sorenson has become one of my auto-buy authors, so when I saw her newest up on NetGalley, I didn’t even bother reading the blurb before squeeing like a fangirl and requesting it.
Isabel is on the run in Mexico, dodging the cartel at every turn. She is hesitant around other people, so when the sexy Brandon comes sniffing around, she is reluctant to trust him. But he quickly gets under her skin and in her good graces and Isabel finds herself turning to him when things start to hit the fan.
Brandon has a secret, one he is desperate to keep from Isabel, especially since he needs to gain her trust. When he finds her in a pickle, he will do just about anything to keep her safe. As they travel through Mexico together, the two become more and more attracted to one another. These feelings are new to Brandon, and for the first time ever he might be willing to risk everything for a woman. But when Isabel learns his secrets, will she even want to accept what he has to offer?
What’s more dramatic than a woman on the run, and the undercover US Marshal set to bring her in? I loved the story, and the setting especially. I love the Mexican culture and the way that Sorenson was able to bring so much life to the setting. I’ve always loved when a book’s location can play such an integral part in the overall story, and I felt like Sorenson did an excellent job with that.
I really enjoyed the characters as well. I thought that Isabel was such a strong and incredible heroine. Although she had her moments of kicking ass, it was also obvious that she didn’t want to do it, that she hated the violence that her life became, and I appreciated that. So many times in romantic suspense books, the heroine comes across as this incredible fighter and able to accomplish more than is realistic. That was not the case here, and I enjoyed that. Although there were times I wanted her to stop running and face everything she went through in life. When Isabel did finally get to that point, I was cheering for her, but wishing she had done so sooner.
From the moment Brandon stepped onto the page I was a fan. He was sexy and fun and one hundred percent dedicated to not only his job, but also the truth. I loved that he didn’t take everything he heard and knew about Isabel as fact, and instead was constantly trying to get her side of the story, her version of what happened. I also loved just how conflicted he was about her and his job. It was obvious he was attracted to her, and I was glad to see a hero put that aside for a change. He thought about his job first, instead of thinking with his little head. His inner struggle with what to do about the whole situation was one of the things I loved most.
The romance between these two was smokin’ hot, and the sexual tension was thick throughout. Both Brandon and Isabel struggled with trusting each other, with jumping into a physical relationship and I’ve always loved that. Although the adrenaline was pumping, I felt like their romance was real and true. I loved their ending as well, it was perfect without being cliche.
All in all, I loved this one. The story moved quickly with tons of action, and I was engaged from start to finish. The characters were fun to read and the romance was great. This is yet another Sorenson book to put on the keeper shelves. I give Tempted by his Target an A-...more
I really enjoyed the first book in the Poconos Pack series, so I was super excited to read more about the wolves in the mountains. While I really enjoyed this book, I forgot how short these stories really are, and I felt like there was so much more that could have been told.
Steve isn’t a fan of the cold, but he’s looking forward to visiting his best friend Ben. Laying eyes on one of Ben’s friends, Graciela, is an added bonus. Finding out they are all werewolves and Chela is his mate is almost more than Steve can handle.
Chela is determined to make Steve hers, but coaxing him to accept the fact that she’s a werewolf isn’t easy. Hopefully with some hilarious dog jokes, and lots of naked time, Chela will be able to show Steve how normal life as a werewolf is, so that she can finally claim her mate.
There was so much that was missing for me in this book. I don’t know if it was just the really short page count or what, but I really felt like there was so much missing in the execution of this novella. There was the potential to be so much more, especially given how freaked Steve was when he witnessed his lover, best friend, and other childhood friends naked in a clearing all changing into wolves. However, it felt so rushed in that a few funny dog pictures and some naked time was enough to bring Steve around completely to the wolfy way of life. I guess it just felt a little ridiculous how quickly things moved for them, but I guess that’s what you get when there are only so many pages in the story.
I sincerely hope that this is fixed for the final copy, however the beginning of chapter two was completely out of line in context with the rest of the story. They had just met at the end of chapter one, and suddenly they are all cuddly and sexy and in “their” cabin and it just didn’t add up. I went back and re-read chapters one and two three times before I finally figured out that, timeline wise, shit wasn’t adding up. It completely threw me out of the flow of the story, and confused me horribly. **Update – I was told this was a mate dream. However, there was no distinguishing this being an ACTUAL dream, which is still pretty confusing to me. :(
One of the things that I enjoyed though was the fact that we got to see all of the Poconos shifters we’ve come to know and love. I adored getting to see more of Ben and Dave, Rick and Belle. I think it’s wonderful that Bell does such a great job of keeping up with her previous characters. I’m excited to see how things work out with Charlie becoming part of the pack as well, since I adore her character.
All in all I was a little disappointed with this book. Not only was it over way too quickly, but it also felt so incredibly rushed in both the romance and plot department. I would have liked to see things pulled out, dragged on, explored further instead of the magic mates fixing everything within mere pages. However, getting the chance to see some of my old favorites is always a treat. I give Mr. Red Riding Hoode a C-...more
I’m such a sucker for the Fool’s Gold series, so these are on my auto-request, auto-buy, auto-everything list.
Angel hasn’t had an easy go of it. He lost his family while serving in the military, and although he’s got his life on track and friends who love him, he isn’t willing to open himself up to love anytime soon. His work at the bodyguard training school is enough to keep him mostly happy, but spending time with Taryn is healing him in ways he never expected.
Taryn loves her job as owner of a PR agency. She works with her best friends and former pro-football boys. But when Angel walks into her life, she finds her world thrown upside down. Taryn doesn’t want to love Fool’s Gold, but the people are so nice that they are breaking down all her walls, and Angel is at the forefront, banging away at her heart without even knowing. But neither Taryn or Angel are ready to fully let go of the past and trust another person, so how will they make a real go at their future?
This book combined my favorite things, sports heroines, and a romance that isn’t overly angsty or complicated, but so passionate at the same time. The chemistry between Taryn and Angel is so well done, and I felt like they were constantly burning up the pages. Their romance was spicy and sweet at the same time, and I liked the fact that they danced around each other for awhile before falling into bed together. Their chemistry was off the charts, and the sexual tension between them was so intense.
I have to say, as much as I love my sports heroes, those guys took a back seat to Angel. I loved him. He was so tortured about his past, and yet he was kind and sweet and caring and sensitive. I loved that he wanted to give back to the community, and really gave his everything to being a troop leader, even once he found out they were little girls. Seeing him interact with the young girls was so cute, so adorable. I loved every second of it. The way he was so scared of them, and yet so determined to be everything they needed. It made him the kind of hero that made me weak in the knees.
I also fell in love with Taryn pretty easily. Although she is skeptical about living in Fool’s Gold, and isn’t so keen on small town life, she is such a warm and loving person. I loved that she didn’t apologize for being a bit of a fashionista and clothes horse, and didn’t let being in a small town change her LA style. I loved that she was so ready to help out with the little girls, and that she was just as scared as Angel to take them on. :)
Although Taryn and Angel really stole this whole book, Taryn’s co-workers made a big impression. I can’t wait to read their HEAs and am anxiously waiting to see what kind of trouble they get into next. I loved that when push came to shove, they banded around Taryn and defended her with every breath in their bodies. I can’t wait till they each get their own book!
All in all, I think this might be my favorite Fool’s Gold book to date. I loved Taryn and Angel so much, and thought they were absolutely perfect together. They had such a wonderful connection, and their romance was such a treat to read. I loved them not only as individual characters, but as a couple too. I can’t wait to read this rest of this summer’s books. I think they are all going to be amazing! I give When We Met an A-...more
I didn't like this one nearly as much as the first two. Which is really disappointing because I was looking forward to these characters. Full review tI didn't like this one nearly as much as the first two. Which is really disappointing because I was looking forward to these characters. Full review to come...more
I love sports heroes, and Quinn has been an author I really enjoyed in the past, so getting the read the first in the Deuces Wild series was a no brainer. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me as well as some of Quinn’s previous books.
Summer has always wanted to try and make a career out of signing. Getting the chance to perform in and around New York City is a dream come true. Having her best friend’s older brother, and her secret crush, around for the wild ride isn’t what she expected. But Chase has decided that Summer needs someone to watch over her, and he has declared himself her protector. Only, Summer would rather have him worshipping her body than protecting it.
Chase is lost. His elbow is screwed up and his baseball career is most likely over. He’s coasting through life not really sure what he wants to do. It’s not until he sees Summer again that he knows for sure that he wants to be near her. But keeping his hands off her in a sexual manner and keeping her safe is harder than he expected. When her career finally takes flight, Chase will have to decide if he’s ready to follow her on her dreams, reach for his own, or find a way for them to have it all.
This book took awhile to start, for me at least. I really struggled with connecting with both Chase and Summer both as individuals and a couple. I had a really hard time rooting for either of them as well as their relationship. For me, Chase was harder to relate to because he came across as so spoiled and depressed. His baseball career was in the pits, with his messed up elbow. But, instead of doing something about it he whined and complained and wallowed in his own self-pity. Then, once he decided that he was going to name himself as Summer’s protector he had a hard time committing to her as well. He waffled as to what he wanted, what he was going to do, and how he was going to handle himself. He made it very difficult for me to like him.
After getting to know Summer a little better, I did enjoy her character. Apparently there was a somewhat traumatic event in her past, and although Quinn didn’t hit on this event nearly enough for my liking, it did explain a little bit about Summer’s character. I liked that Summer was so fearless in going after what she wanted. She wanted a singing career, and she did what she had to in order to get it: traveling by herself and playing in some seedy places. I did think that her good girl persona wasn’t explored very well either. She was described as a church going good girl, and yet I never felt like it really impacted her character one way or the other.
Their romance was not the typical best friend older brother that I’m used to reading. Chase didn’t really have to seem any qualms about dating his younger sister’s friend, other than a slight protest to the age difference and the fact that he was in such a bad place. I wanted a little more drama in regards to changing the dynamic of their friendship, because at times it felt like they weren’t as good of friends as they sometime said.
All in all I was disappointed in the first book in the Deuces Wild series. The bodyguard agency that Chase was building didn’t really hold my interest, and I had a hard time connecting with the hero and heroine and their romance. While Quinn’s writing is normally superb, this book just didn’t work for me. I give Protecting His Assets a C-...more
Karl Vance is a mafia hit man, recruited by the Ricardi family to assist with taking over Boston by whacking off the Lucatti family one by one. He isKarl Vance is a mafia hit man, recruited by the Ricardi family to assist with taking over Boston by whacking off the Lucatti family one by one. He is ordered to work under Maria, the Ricardi family princess and money launderer. Little do Maria and her father know, but Karl is also a vampire, in Boston with the hopes of finding his nemesis, Alejandro Delgado.
As Karl and Maria work together to start taking out the Lucatti family one by one, clues begin to unravel to Maria about Karl’s life, and she soon finds herself immersed in a world that thrives in the night. With Karl and Alejandro fighting on two different sides of the mafia world, Maria finds herself stuck in the middle.
Once Alejandro makes Maria his vampire slave, he forces her to do things she never thought or imagined possible. Karl will do everything in his power to help her, and together they just might prevail.
Keith Melton goes all out in this thrilling urban fantasy mafia crime drama featuring a sexy vampire, a mafia princess, a mysterious and powerful daytime guardian, and a crazy holy army.
Usually I am all for authors who take the stereotypical vampire myths and put all sorts of spins on them, making it new and fresh. But Melton really came through for me with his old school vamp ways. I love that Karl is such a badass, even while under so many constraints. Sure he only goes out after sundown, kills in order to live, and has to rely on a woman to watch over his coffin during the day, but he totally rocks it!
I had a little bit of a hard time relating to and liking Maria. Sure I can totally understand her desires to climb the family ladder, and her frustration with the gender stereotypes in the mafia way of life. However, the first part of the book she was so concerned with proving herself as being able to live in that world, that she seemed almost too hard to me. She was so wrapped up in wanting to kill someone to prove to her father she would make a good Mafioso, and that really turned me off to her. But, Melton was able to redeem her a little by having her struggle with the brutality of becoming a vampire and having to kill, even when she needed it to survive.
The conflict between Karl and Alejandro was great, and their few encounters totally rocked. I loved that the two of them represented good and evil, battling it out for supremacy. The fight scenes were hard hitting throughout, and although I’m not a huge fan of the mobster way of life, the mafia undertones totally rocked. For all those mob lifestyle fans out there, this book is a Don’t Miss!
All in all, I give Blood Vice 3.5 out of 5 broken kneecaps!...more
I really enjoyed this Hollywood romance between a camera operator, and an A list hero. I thought their romance was so well done, the sexy times were sI really enjoyed this Hollywood romance between a camera operator, and an A list hero. I thought their romance was so well done, the sexy times were steamy, and I hope we get to see more within this world of Hollywood elite. B+ Full review to come...more
MinnChica: This sports series is by far my favorite from Burton, and in the top three of sports romance series. I love the way Burton showcases not only the love of sports, from both the male and female perspective, but I also love the way she goes into the brotherhood of the players, the family dynamics outside of the team, and the struggles that come with being a professional athlete. Getting a sneak peek back into Gavin and Liz’s life is so amazing. Add in a Riley family Christmas celebration and wedding, and Burton has knocked this one out of the park!
E: It was great getting a peek into the life of the Rileys around Christmas. I do have to say that if you haven’t read the other books in this series you will miss a lot of the references. And you really should read them because they are good! I enjoyed seeing how she included friendly rivalries, arguments, love, and the essence of each previously met character. I had the feeling that I was watching an actual family not just a scripted set of scenes. As a result I loved this novella and didn’t find myself wishing it was a novel.
MinnChica: I agree completely. Usually when I read a novella, I find myself desperate for more! However, with this story, it was the perfect amount of story to whet my appetite. I thought it was hilarious that Liz was so fixated on getting pregnant that she was willing to go at it anywhere and everywhere she and Gavin could get some alone time. :) These two were extremely sexual in their own full length novel, however I loved the fact that even Gavin was amused by how much Liz wanted to attempt making a baby. I do have to say though, for someone who was trying so hard to get pregnant, for someone who was constantly thinking about it, she was pretty oblivious to the signs. :)
E: I agree. I guessed much earlier in the story but Liz was rather distracted at the time. I thought Liz’s mission to become pregnant so reminiscent of her personality throughout the entire series. I thought it was great to see that marriage and her hopes of pregnancy had not altered her in that regard. Speaking of Gavin he certainly was a willing participant and I loved his lines towards the end regarding Liz and their frequent activity. It was such a great relief to see that he wasn’t tired or exasperated by her drive. I also loved the closeness and inclusion between all the ladies. Really spoke to how close they became throughout the series.
MinnChica: All in all I thought this was such a great treat to the Play-by-Play series. I adored the chance to see all the heroines together, and the bond of sisterhood that connects them. Likewise it was fun to watch the heroes band together during all the family festivities. This is a book that should probably NOT be read as a stand-alone, but when the series is as great as it is, you might as well just buy all the books if you haven’t. :) I give Holiday Games an A-
E: I thought this was a lovely way to start off reading holiday stories because of its very completeness. It brought me right back into their world and reminded me of why I enjoy this series so much. I love how Burton is able to blend family with sports and keep the feeling realistic complete with inner-family rivalries. Now I really want to reread the series so if you haven’t started yet this is a perfect excuse.I give Holiday Games an A-...more
Let me first start by saying that I love and adore all things sports romance. And getting the chance to see some other sports that aren’t typically represented in the genre was such fun. However, when reading a novella, I find that I have a very, VERY, hard time believing in couples that say “I love you” after only a few days. Each and every one of these stories had that, and even more so, they all had a destined-mate feel to the story. That ruined the fun reading experience for me, and by the end of the 2nd or 3rd story, really negatively impacted my reading mojo.
Worth More Than Gold by Ana Blaze
While all the other stories in this anthology focus a lot on the mystical torch that is said to bring good luck to all the competitors, this story didn’t. I liked that it was more about Amy being Erik’s good-luck charm, and I liked how that worked out for their relationship. It was fun to read about a heroine who had some strong athletic talent, but gave it up because she knew her Olympic chances were slim to none.
I really liked that Amy was able to develop a deeper relationship with her younger sister, and those moments between them were some of my favorites. However, for me the romance started off with a bang (literally), and then somewhat fizzled out. Don’t get me wrong, the sexy times between these two were off the charts, but I never really understood what it was that pulled Amy and Erik to each other. Their chemistry was obvious to each other, but as a reader, I never really understood it. Also, given the fact that Amy was willing to pick up her life and move to another state because of a man she had known for just a few days was a little too out there for me.
All in all I thought this was a super cute story, and had some really beautiful parts to it. However, this was the last story in the anthology itself, so I was extremely put off by the insta-love and quick development of the relationship. I give Worth More Than Gold a C
Trouble with Gold by Melinda Dozier
This was the first story in the anthology, and was a strong start to the anthology. I liked that Nadia was a volunteer for the Olympics, I thought it gave the story a different feel than most sports romance books I’ve read. I liked Ty, especially since he was so fun and carefree. Yet when it came to courting Nadia, he also went above and beyond to try and prove his devotion to her it. It was sweet, but again, the insta-love was a hard pill to swallow.
I also liked the fact that Nadia had to deal with some negative fallout from her family regarding her sudden relationship with Ty. I thought it was a great sub-plot to add in, and I wish that it would have been explored further within the story. I give Trouble with Gold a B-
The Girl behind the Gold by Aria Kane
I really liked the blurb of this story, and while some aspects of it were perfect, there were some that drove me crazy. I loved that Lia was so stern and serious, and that she was a little hurt by the fact that her public persona came across as bitchy instead of shy and professional about her sport. I could feel her desire to do anything and everything to get some sponsorships in order to secure her family’s future.
I liked Brandon as well, except for his little secret keeping from Lia. However, I thought he also put forth a pretty grand gesture in showing her just how sorry he was, and how much he wanted to patch things up between them. I really felt for them and their relationship, and was glad to see that there was no declaration of love, just a promise to try and work it out. That alone made this story my favorite of the anthology. I give The Girl Behind the Gold a B
Ice Gold by Kara Leigh Miller
I loved the premise of this story, however the execution was a little weak. I thought Brenna’s reasons for hating athletes could have been developed more, and came across as a flimsy excuse. However, it was nice to see the “golden boy” be put in his place time and time again because Brenna refused to take his crap.
That being said, it also seemed like Brenna was quick to change her mind about athletes and Cole and jumped into bed with him quicker than should be normal. On top of that, these two seemed to fall in love the quickest out of all the couples, and I had a really hard time believing in it. I give Ice Gold a C
All in all this anthology has some great parts (mainly getting to see more about the different winter sports) and some bad ones (hello insta-love gone overboard). While I thought all the stories had really strong and fun summaries, I also think there wasn’t enough execution for the stories to really work for me. Add in a few timeline errors between all four short stories, and this anthology didn’t live up to the expectation I had for it. I give Love and Other Games a C-...more
I love wedding books, and the Aisle Bound series has characters that grip me hard, so when I saw that Daphne and Gib were going to get their chance at a HEA, I couldn’t wait to pick up this book.
Daphne has been best friends with Gibson for longer than she can remember. She’s also crushed on him for just as long. But Gib’s a player and Daphne never wanted to jeopardize their friendship. One night when the power goes out, Daphne takes a chance and gives Gib the kiss she’s always wanted to. Now their dynamic is changing, and the two of them have to figure out how to change with it.
But as they struggle to deal with becoming lovers instead of just friends, the world around them throws a curveball at Gibson. His job is on the line and he has to relocate out of the country. As they struggle to find the balance between friends and lovers, they will need to lean on each other more than ever, in order to weather the newest storm.
Friends-to-lovers stories are some of my favorites, and I thought Barth did an amazing job with Daphne and Gib. I loved the fact that Daphne tried to keep her kissing Gib a secret, despite the fact that Gib went on and on about his “Cinderella.” I thought it showed just how cautious Daphne was about losing her best friend. One of the most important aspects for me in a friends-to-lovers book is the fear of the changing dynamic. The fear that if they move to lovers, their friendship might someday be in jeopardy. I thought that Barth showcased that fear in both Daphne and Gib so well, and I loved the way they dealt with it, together.
Getting more of Gib’s backstory was wonderful, especially once we learn what drove him away from his noble family and into the hospitality business. I felt so bad for him, hearing about his family. Then, having his brother show up out of the blue really sealed the deal for me as to how shitty they really were. The revelation as to what his brother tried to do to get Gibson to be his own personal pawn was so totally out there, and made me angry on Gib’s behalf. I loved seeing the total dysfunction of his family up close and personal.
Given the dynamic of Gib’s family, it was so special to see just how much of a family Gib had created with his friends. Getting to see Ivy and Ben, Sam and Mira, and Daphne all stand up for Gib, and rally behind him, was perfect. I love books that showcase how much a group of close friends can become like a family, and Barth has done this perfectly. I adore all the characters in this story, and Barth’s ability to write fun and sexy heroes and heroines is one of the many reasons she has become a must-buy author to me.
The one thing that I was a little disappointed with in this book was the ending. Don’t get me wrong, the twist at the very end was something I never saw coming. However, I felt as if Gibson needed to do a little bit more groveling before Daphne forgave him so easily. I thought she did the perfect amount of groveling as well, since she also had a moment or two of overreaction. Despite that, I thought this book was so well done!
All in all I really enjoyed this book. Daphne and Gibson were so perfect for each other, and watching them grow their friendship to so much more was absolutely fabulous. I adored getting to see the other secondary characters we’ve fallen in love with since the opening of this series, and hope we get to see more! I give Friends to Lovers a B+...more
I decided to take a chance on this new-to-me BDSM author, in hopes that I would find another Cherise Sinclair like author to glom onto. While I liked the book, the overall tone was a lot lighter than I was expecting.
Daisy joined a gym with her two besties in hopes of getting her health back on track. The last thing she expected was to salivate over one of the gym’s owners, Dack. Daisy isn’t exactly ready to date, but there is something about Dack that makes her want to show past her insecurities and take a chance, especially when she overhears about his kinky sexual tendencies.
Dack enjoys the single lifestyle, especially since he can get his pick of subs at his BDSM club, with no strings attached. When the sexy Daisy approaches him about his private sex club, Dack jumps at the chance to take her into his world. But Dack doesn’t know much about Daisy’s past, and one of his kinks will cause Daisy to run hard and fast. But these two have such a strong connection, that Daisy’s past and Dack’s inability to commit might finally no longer matter.
One thing I really liked about this book was Daisy’s struggle with her health. As the reader, we are aware of Daisy’s breast cancer and her insecurity about having a mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. So, not only does she struggle with the thought of being intimate with someone, but when Dack issues an order for her to take off her top in the middle of the club, Daisy freaks. The fallout of her running and having to deal with all her insecurities was so well done, it was probably the best part of the book.
I felt like the BDSM aspects were a little toned down compared to some of the other club type books I’ve read in the past. Club 3 seemed a little more like your average run-of-the-mill sex clubs, catering to all types of kinks, instead of a more BDSM lifestyle club. While it was still sexy and fun to watch the BDSM aspects play out, it also felt a little more restrained that what I’m used to reading.
I am anxious to see what comes of the other books in this series, because Cade does a good job of introducing at least two other couples into this series. While it did feel a little too convenient; three best friends happen to all have the same kink they’ve never talked about, and lust after three best friends who all run a kinky sexy club? I do like the idea of getting to see Daisy’s BFFs and Dack’s partners get their happily ever afters.
All in all this wasn’t what I was expecting, but I found myself really enjoying this book. Daisy’s struggles with her cancer, along with Dack’s struggles to help her finally accept it once and for all were the strongest aspects of the book, for me. I hope that Cade can keep up the emotion aspect with the other books in this series. I give She’s All In a B-...more
I loved this new series by Ione. I loved the vampires (even though I'm kinda over vamps), and the characters were all incredible. I'm so excited to reI loved this new series by Ione. I loved the vampires (even though I'm kinda over vamps), and the characters were all incredible. I'm so excited to read the next one, and then the next one, and hopefully another after that, and then more and more and more!
MinnChica: Ever since I picked up my first Ione book, I’ve been hooked. I’ll admit I was a little leery about the new vampire series (because I’m just a little burnt out on vampires), but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this book. I picked it up after I put the baby to bed, and found myself shutting down my eReader at 1 in the morning. The characters were so engaging, the world was so unique, and the romance was tumultuous, to say the least! I can’t wait for more in this series!
E: I have been addicted to reading about vampires since elementary school or junior high. I was attracted to the danger, the menace, the air of the forbidden, the subtle or overt sensuality, extra senses coming into play during “critical moments”, paranormal powers, and I could keep going but lately vampires appear watered down, missing their umph. I still have my favorite authors whose vampires still inspire the combination of fear and attraction but I have become increasingly wary of trying new ones out of disappointment. I have read her Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series and really enjoyed the spin she placed on demons, shifters, angels and the like so when I found out that she was starting a new series and that it involved vampires I had to give it a try. I am so glad that I did because Ione brought back everything that was missing and then some! I was so engrossed in the story that anyone who wanted my attention had to physically touch me because I didn’t hear or see anything that was going on around me. I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2.
Has: When I heard that Larissa Ione has started a new PNR series featuring vampires, I was very intrigued. I think she’s one of the best authors who writes in the genre and like E I was feeling a bit tired on Vampires. But I loved the rich and gritty tone of the Demonica series, I knew BOUND BY NIGHT would hopefully live to my expectations and it certainly did! The setting and premise behind the vampire mythos that Larissa Ione created was different and fresh and I loved how she set up a world where vampires were enslaved due to their abilities by humans. I felt this brought a fresh take to the mythos and I really liked how that was developed throughout the book, especially how it tied in with Native American mythology.
MinnChica: I absolutely adored Riker. He was strong and sexy and yet totally vulnerable at the same time. Dealing with the guilt surrounding his mate’s death was so wonderful to see, especially as Nicole had to deal with some of the same issues. I loved the way they started as enemies, that they were hesitant around each other, and gradually started a friendship, a partnership, and then so much more. The romance was absolutely brilliant, and the characters fabulous. Plus, Ione knocked it out of the park with the secondary characters. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!
E: Riker was a lot of fun. His thoughts, memories, guilt, and how he punished himself for years was very intriguing. I also liked how Nicole had her thoughts, memories, guilt, and fear of him personally not to mention as a species to deal with. Their interactions together were never quiet and peaceful yet each had a reluctance to permanently damage the other. I loved the scenes when Nicole decided to step up and either take what she wanted or to make a stand once and for all. One of my favorites was the “Thank you” scene. Like MinnChica I enjoyed the secondary characters as well. Not only am I looking forward to the next book but I really want Myne’s story. He was such an ass in the beginning but by the end of the book I was cheering for him.
Has: Oh man that scene *fans self* it was definitely up there in my favourite scenes in the book! I also really liked Riker, he stood out for me as a hero and I liked he didn’t have the hole element in the alphahole. Even though he was on opposing sides with Nicole, who was human and the company that she owned was responsible for the enslavement and torture of the vampire race – Riker never became unlikeable or overbearing when he interacted with her. And I liked how loyal and protective towards his clan but still hung-up over the death of his mate. It was a nice twist on the tables with Nicole who chases him and I really liked the scenes when she unapologetic seduces him and is open with her sexuality. That was so refreshing!
Nicole also really surprised me because I thought she would be more passive in dealing with the aftermath of her abduction. But I loved how defiant and smart she became especially when she learned of the truth of her family’s involvement with the company and its secret experimentation towards the vampires. She never fell into the TSTL pitfalls or being too whiny with the fate she ends up with. She focuses on the things she could change especially when she learns how badly the vampires are faring due to humans and helps them with her scientific background.
One of my favourite scenes in the book, is when she took charge in the lab where they were torturing the captured vampires and surprised Riker who let her lead. It cemented the romance for me because even though it was early days in their relationship, but I liked how Riker admired Nicole which helped to overcome his suspicious feelings about her and her past. Although I do think they fell in love a bit too quickly, their sexual and emotional chemistry was sizzling and vivid! And their love scenes – and I have to salute Larissa Ione over the Thank You scene was very very memorable!
MinnChica: All in all I thought this was such a wonderful and fabulous new series by Ione. I loved the world, the different take on vampires, and the cast of characters are so vibrant, that I can’t wait to read more. While I love all the Demonica books, I think this new series may have surpassed it in my mind. The world building is so fun and unique and I’m anxious to see how the clan resolves all their ongoing issues. The romance was so well done, each and every character was one I fell in love with even more, and I think I’ve found a new series that I’m going to be chomping at the bit to get! I give Bound by Night an A
E: I really enjoyed reading Bound by Night. Ione’s vampires had their share of suitable evilness, menacing ability, and sexuality yet they also had a caring side. I also enjoyed how the humans were portrayed from the vampire perspective. Both sides had some preconceived notions about the other which were in turn reinforced by behavior on both sides. As mentioned earlier I enjoyed the interaction between not just Nicole and Riker but also between the secondary characters. Ione has created a very fascinating world and characters that I am excited to continue exploring. I give Bound by Night an A.
Has: The supporting characters were also vibrant and colourful, such Myne and Hunter, as well as the eerie and scary leader of the ShadowSpawn clan who gave me the chills. The world that Larissa Ione was gritty and dark, and I loved the idea of the enslaved vampires and the conflict it brings when they try to break free from their enslavement. But the rich characters and mythology especially on the origins of the vampires made this a fantastic start to the series. I was left wanting more especially towards the end which promises to be a fun followup with Hunter, the leader of the vampire clan as the main lead.
Bound by Night for me was a great start for a brand new series. I felt that Larissa Ione’s take on vampires in this book, was different and added a new twist to the genre. But it had her trademarks of fast paced action, memorable characters, sexy chemistry and rich world-building. This is a new winner of a series for me!
I have glommed onto Cross ever since Mandi introduced me to her a couple years ago. With the Bagram series, I wasn’t sure how I would like the fraternization, but so far I’ve enjoyed each story. However, with this book, I think Cross has surpassed everything else she’s written.
Maya likes her job as a Security Forces Lieutenant, despite the fact that she can’t act on her strong feelings toward Jackson. Part of what holds her back is her past, filled with dark and bitter memories that she can’t shake. Going into the military was her saving grace, and she wants to do the best possible job she can in order to have a chance at working for the FBI when she gets out.
Jackson wants Maya for himself, but his job as a PJ and their rank has him keeping somewhat of a distance until Maya changes all that one night. After their night together, Jackson can’t get her out of his head. When they are both taken hostage along with a senior US official, they will be held by a madman, and forced to endure things they never thought possible. But together, they will fight to survive.
I always say that the most suspenseful scene I’ve ever read in a book was in No Turning Back, she may have topped it with THIS WHOLE BOOK! While there was some downtime in the beginning and end, it felt like it was constant go-go-go, sit on the edge of your seat, white knuckle reading. From the moment the medical camp came under fire to the moment they were rushed to the evacuation chopper, Maya and Jackson went through hell.
I’m always amazed at how twisted Cross can be when it comes to her books. She is one of the few romantic suspense authors who can write entire scenes from the point of view of the villain, and be so realistic. I believe wholeheartedly that her bad guys believe they are fighting a just war, no matter how ridiculous it sounds to the rest of us. She does an incredible job getting in the heads of psychopaths, and bringing them to live. One moment during their captivity, wheh Maya and Jackson are forced to “play a game,” was so intense and twisted and creepy. It was incredible to read.
One of the aspects of the romance that I really liked in this was that because so much of the trust and foundation of Maya and Jackson’s relationship took place while they were held captive, they took the time at the end of the book to part ways and process. So many times in romantic suspense books we see the hero and heroine go through unimaginable things, and then start their HEA right away. I have a hard time believing that, and was so glad to see Cross have Maya and Jackson take a step back. They went to therapy, they talked through their experiences, and they did it on their own. Sure they talked on the phone, but they also stepped back from each other’s lives and took the time to unwind. It made me believe in their romance so much more.
We didn’t get the chance to really see a lot of supporting characters in this book, because most of the book took place during their captivity. However, we did get to meet the Secretary of State, a wonderful character who I would love to see more of. I did want to see more of the group of girlfriends though. I liked that these books focused a lot of the friendship between the heroines, and we didn’t get the chance to see that with this book.
All in all I thought this was Kaylea Cross’ best book to date. She really went above and beyond with the plot, taking on the horrific challenge of showing the right amount of torture and prisoner abuse, all while keeping the story readable and enjoyable. I loved the romance between Maya and Jackson, and how quick they were to rely and draw strength from one another. I can’t wait for Cross’ next release! I give Lethal Pursuit an A...more
Really enjoyed this one! I thought the BDSM aspects were done really well, the romance and relationship was great, and the smexy times was totally hotReally enjoyed this one! I thought the BDSM aspects were done really well, the romance and relationship was great, and the smexy times was totally hot. VERY good but short novella! Will be looking for more books by this author.
Publisher: Carina Press Publish Date: November 7th How I got this book: NetGalley
This was my first Christine d’Abo book, and will NOT be my last. I really enjoyed this one!
Paige has sworn of the lifestyle and spends so much time working, she doesn’t have time to worry about her pathetic social life. But one night Carter walks into the coffee shop and Paige can’t help but to notice him. When she realizes he is a Dom and wants to play with her, all of Paige’s insecurities about the lifestyle take front and center stage in her mind.
Carter is intrigued by Paige, and wants nothing more than to play with her and see where things might go, but she is so scared of something in her past. After one night of indulgence, Carter can’t stay away from her. But when Paige is confronted with her past, will she be strong enough to stand up to it, or can she finally move on?
A few of the BDSM books I’ve read lately have fallen incredibly short. Yet here I am, back again, hoping that I can find another book and author who can deliver an emotional and sexy BDSM romance. Let me just say, that I thought d’Abo did a wonderful job.
As is somewhat common, Paige has a bit of a troubled history. Her previous Dom was a controlling and abusive bastard, and although she got the strength to leave him once, the emotional scars of the relationship prevent her from moving forward with her life. One of the things that I really liked about Paige, was that despite her fears, despite not knowing Carter for long, she trusts in her instincts. She listens to her gut and takes charge of her life back. I liked Paige, and even though at times it felt like she was rushing things with Carter, I never got the sense that she was going into situations with her eyes closed.
I loved Carter, he was such a great Dom and all around guy. He had the ability to read Paige and know exactly what she needed, how far to push and when to pull back. As a man, he was funny and charming and the fact that he spent all his time texting with Paige and getting to know her outside of the lifestyle was sweet and endearing and gave their romance a little bit of sweet mixed in with the spice. Plus some of the things he came up with… *fans self* Holy smokin’ hot!!
This is a shorter story (about 90 pages) so obviously the romance moved quickly. But unlike other stories I’ve read, I didn’t exactly feel as if things were rushed. There were no declarations of undying love, there was no promise of marriage and a happily ever after, and I liked it. Even the sub-plot with Paige’s ex didn’t feel forced or overdone. Instead it played out in a way that I thought was reasonable and well done.
I also loved Paige’s brother and sister. Although I’m not a fan of HEA menage stories, I might be tempted to go back and read the first book in the series. But the developing story between Ian and the mysterious “blue eyes” set up the third book really well. I might have to branch out of my comfort zone and read that one as well.
All in all I really loved this book. I thought the romance between Carter and Paige was well done, the BDSM scenes were hot and filled with believable emotion and commitment and communication. I only wish it would have been longer!
I’m a fan of Quinn’s books, so when she emailed me about her newest Love Required book, I was interested to see how things would work out between frenemies Cory and Vicky.
Cory is a workaholic CEO who has been waiting for the moment his parents retire to Arizona and he can take on the company full time. But between his daily duties, launching a magazine and everything else he has going on, Cory doesn’t have time to really live his life, and dating is totally out of the question. But his parents demand he start to slow down, and they think getting a girl is the perfect way to do it.
Vicky has crushed on Cory longer than she can remember, but he has always brushed her off. Until one night when he takes her higher than any man has before. Now their pictures are splashed across the newspaper gossip pages, and Cory asks Vicky to pretend to be his girlfriend. Vicky sees the opportunity to show Cory how they can be more than pretend, and jumps in. But her heart is on the line, and Cory is struggling with figuring out what is real, and what isn’t.
I always love stories when the hero and heroine are thrown together in a relationship they aren’t too sure they want. Although Vicky has crushed on Cory since they were kids, she also knows that she isn’t the kind of woman Cory wants to settle down with. She’s outspoken, a flirt, and has a larger-than-life personality, all things that Cory typically steers clear of. But as they explore their chemistry together, they are both shocked at how explosive they can be.
I thought the sex scenes with these two were off the charts. Not only does it take them forever to find a bedroom, but these two just have the kind of chemistry that keeps a book burning from page one. Every time the are next to one another, the sexual tension is spinning wildly out of control, and neither one of them cares to repress it. I adored their bathroom scene, especially since neither expected it. It was sexy and impulsive and so hot.
One of the things that I think Quinn knocked out of the park on this one was Cory’s apology. There was even a discussion between characters about how Cory needed to make a grand gesture in order to win Vicky’s trust once again, and he went all out. I loved his surprise, his willingness to rope in her brother (despite the fact the man hated him), and just how well he was willing to go to win her back. It was sweet and the perfect ending to the story.
All in all I was glad to see a few characters make another appearance, and loved our hero and heroine. Cory and Vicky were the perfect “opposites attract” couple, and both their romance and sexual chemistry was so fun to read. I can’t wait to see what Quinn has in store next. I give No Romance Required a B+...more
Holly loves her job as a PR rep, and when she lands the contract to work with a big-time European soccer star, she has to help him to rebrand his image. Kepler is known in the tabloids as being a partier, a ladies man, and a killer on the field. But a car accident ended his European career and lands him in a struggling US team. Holly knows she can help Kepler, but was shocked at the sexual tension between them.
Kepler is looking for a home. A place to settle down, have some kids, and live out the rest of his soccer career for a team that can get behind him. North Carolina isn’t what he is used to, but he is enjoying it nonetheless. And Holly is definitely not what he expected. The chemistry between them is off the charts, but Holly is keeping her distance, and Kepler can’t do anything about it. Until Holly changes the rules of the game. Then, Kepler is ready to play the game of his life.
I don’t recall ever reading a soccer book, and although I know next to nothing about the game, I was intrigued anyway. While I liked the soccer aspects and Kepler, I had a hard time connecting with Holly, and thus believing in their romance.
I thought Kepler was a really well thought out and executed character. He came from a hard life, and made something of himself from nothing. The dedication and hard work that he put into his career was awesome, despite the fact that the press painted him as nothing more than a playboy. The fallout of losing his career was devastating, and I could feel his pain. I thought Crowley did an incredible job portraying him as a wonderful and tortured and fantastic hero.
For me, I really struggled with Holly. I could understand her desire to keep her work and her pull to Kepler separate. However, I just didn’t really get why she waffled so much with it. She would flirt and kiss and even lead Kepler on, and then pull back and claim they couldn’t move forward because of work. I got where she was coming from, but I really struggled with an emotional connection to her character because of the way she kept taking one step forward and two steps back.
Because of my disconnect with Holly’s character, I had a hard time connecting with the romance as well. Again, it seemed as if their relationship would move forward – flirting, kissing, and more. Then Holly’s brain would interfere and their relationship would slip back into a negative place. I struggled with why Kepler kept letting Holly come back and lead him around, and was glad that he was the one to finally put a stop to it. I just wish that Holly would have been forced to make some kind of grand gesture (like we always expect our heroes to do) when she was trying to win him back.
All in all I thought this was a decent debut from Crowley. I loved Kepler’s character, and thought she did a fabulous job creating a hero I could love and support. For me, Holly and their romance fell short though, and made the story a little difficult for me to really sink my teeth into. I give The Striker’s Chance a C+...more
Publisher: Berkley Publish Date: November 1st How I got this book: Review copy from publisher
I love the world of the Lupi, so when I received this anthology, I was super excited to read Wilks story in particular. The stories in order in the anthology:
Upon a Midnight Clear by Virginia Kantra I started to read this story and stopped after only about 20 pages. I’ve read some of Kantra’s stories in the past, and I’ve never been a fan of historical paranormal stories for some reason. I’ve tried with Kantra’s Children of the Sea series and was not impressed. So unfortunately, I didn’t get very far with this story either (although I don’t think it’s set in the Children of the Sea world.)
First Light by Kimberly Frost This story is the first in a new series by Frost about a rich world with numerous different paranormal creatures. The world-building was very intense and seemed to drag down the story in the beginning. It took me awhile to get into the story, but once I did I found myself enjoying the different characters and the world itself. I think this new series has the potential to be an extremely developed paranormal romance, and I will be looking forward to reading more in the future. I give First Light a C
Human Error by Eileen Wilks The world of the Lupi is a wonderful urban fantasy series, and one that I’ve enjoyed reading for awhile now. However, I didn’t realize that I was a book or two behind, especially once I saw that my favorite growly enforcer Benedict found his mate. Arjenie and Benedict are headed back to her family home for the first time, and Benedict is a little worried about meeting her family. When a trickster shows up as well as skinwalker determined to hurt Arjenie’s family, Benedict will have to let his wolf loose to save his mate’s family. I really enjoyed this short. Benedict is one of my favorite characters in the series, and seeing him get his HEA is so awesome. Plus, the fact that Argenie is such a sweetheart and willing to fight for Benedict to the very end had me loving it even more. Plus, the fact that Wilks wrote in a skinwalker… Loved it! We don’t see enough skinwalkers in the urban fantasy genre! I give Human Error a B
An Inconvenient Mate by Lora Leigh I’ve read a few stories set within the world of the Breeds, but I’ve never read the series in it’s entirety. That being said, the novellas that I have read work as stand-alone books, as long as the reader understands that the stories are usually within a larger plot arc. I’ve always been able to follow the stories, however I’ve also always felt as if I was missing a little something. Like there is more going on behind the scenes with the characters that I am in the dark with. I felt this even more so in this novella than the others I’ve read. Isabelle and her Navajo family are going into negotiations with the Breed, and when Isabelle looks up from the bar one night into Malachi’s eyes, her world is changed forever. The two have an explosive sexual relationship and mate almost right away. But a stalker who has it in for Isabelle will try just about anything to hurt her, and nearly succeeds. While Leigh always has some super hot sex in her books, for me the plot felt like it fit within a full-length novel and left me somewhat confused and a little let down. I give An Inconvenient Mate a C-
All in all I think fans of the World of the Lupi series as well as the Breed series will enjoy this anthology. The stories (that I read) were all very sexy, filled with action packed plot and fit well within the anthology. Overall, I give the anthology a C-...more
I’m not usually a huge fan of amnesia stories, as I think that sometimes the story suffers, however I like the twist that Munro put on this story.
While Ryan was on tour, he was mugged and knocked hard enough in the head that all his memories were more than a little screwy. The image of a woman he knows is important to him is all he has left of his secret wife, Julia. He doesn’t know how to get his memories back, and it isn’t until he gets the divorce papers that he starts gaining more and more memories of his sexy wife.
Julia is done with Ryan. She thought that since his band wore masks, that he wouldn’t be the average rock star. Instead, he hasn’t called since he left on tour, and she’s got enough problems with her family business failing. But when he comes back and wants a second chance, Julia isn’t sure she has the time to deal with her husband, and reimage the family-owned strip club.
I like that this story had a lot of fun elements. The failing strip club that Julia decided to turn into a Burlesque club was such a fun and neat theme to play throughout the story. I loved all the scenes at the club, especially whenever Julia or the other girls would dance. It gave the book such a sensual and sexy vibe.
For some reason, the book seemed to have a novella feel to it, maybe because so much of the story took place at the club — working on turning it around from a failing strip joint, to a classy Burlesque club. While there was a lot going on with the remodeling of the club, the romance portion of the story definitely felt like a novella. Julia and Ryan had to steal moments to work on their relationship, and because so much focused on the club itself, the book had an overall condensed and novella like feel to it.
I did really like the romance between Ryan and Julia though, especially as Ryan was getting his memories back. I liked that he would have to ask Julia about their past, about the things they did together, and how vulnerable that made him to her. I think it definitely helped that he was so desperate to remember, so desperate to have Julia HELP him remember, that it really helped him win her back over.
I thought the supporting cast of characters were great, especially Ryan’s best friend and fellow rocker, Caleb. I also loved all of Julia’s friends, and am looking forward to continuing the series to see how things work out with her friends on their dating show. :) I think that is bound to be hilarious and fun and sexy.
All in all I really liked this story and look forward to more. I thought Munro did a great job giving the amnesia trope a different spin, and I liked the way it worked for both Ryan and Julia. I loved their second chance at love, especially as Ryan was willing to do anything and everything to win his wife back. I’m definitely looking forward to more. I give Past Regrets a B-...more
This was my first Fox read, and I have to say one of the only reasons I requested it was because of the hockey star hero. I’m definitely glad I took the chance.
Avery and Roman have a very long and complicated past. Friends since before they could walk, childhood sweethearts, and eventually high school lovers, when Roman left to pursue his dream, Avery was left behind to pick up the pieces. Now that Roman is back for a wedding, these two are thrown into each other’s path and realize that the connection they always felt is still alive and looking for more.
Roman knows his career is coming to an end, and isn’t sure what he wants to do with the next phase of his life. Either way, he knows that he wants Avery to be a part of it. But getting her to trust him again, fall for him again, is more work than Roman thought it would be. Being together is everything and more these two expected, but life has a way of throwing a wrench into the best laid plans.
I’m a huge fan of second chance love stories, and Roman and Avery needed that second chance. It seemed as if so much of their past was left unopened, unresolved. They both needed the chance to get over and move on from who they were as kids, and the fact that they both really wanted to move on together was so beautiful. For some reason, this second chance story really struck chords with me that no other story has. I’m not sure if it was because of all their past issues that went without resolution, or because they were both still so obviously in love, or if it was because they had to really learn to trust and become friends again. Either way, their romance had me laughing and crying.
The secondary characters were wonderful as well. I think I’m going to have to go back and read the previous two books so that I can see Avery’s two best friends have their journey to love. Both Sloan and Walker and Grier and Mick were so sweet and supportive and fun. I loved the relief their friendship provided both Avery and Roman throughout the intense romantic moments.
The small town in Alaska was an interesting backdrop for the small town romance. I have never been to Alaska (nor had the desire to. It’s too damn cold for my desert blood!) but I’ve heard of it’s beauty, and Fox did a wonderful job of portraying a cozy and different way of life for those making a life in town. I hope that Fox explores more with these characters and town in future books.
The sports aspect of the book, which was the original point to peak my interest, was almost moot. We didn’t get the chance to see Roman play in any professional setting, and although he worked hard coaching the high school hockey team, the sport itself didn’t really factor much into the story. I wasn’t disappointed though. I loved the fact that Fox took the time to really focus on the romance.
All in all I was impressed by my first Addison Fox read. I loved the different small town vibe that the tiny, secluded Alaska town provided. The characters were all so well developed and I’m anxious to go back and read more about them. But the romance was the key factor in making this book so good! I give Just In Time a B+...more