This was a SUPER sort novella about a military man getting together with his long ago best friend. It was cute, but I wanted more! B- Full review to co...moreThis was a SUPER sort novella about a military man getting together with his long ago best friend. It was cute, but I wanted more! B- Full review to come(less)
While I haven’t read any of the other books in this series, I’ve enjoyed Bell’s books in the past. A sexy Dom cop and an insecure heroine seemed like the recipe for success, IMO.
Something about Rafe has always made Courtney a little leary. Maybe it was his potent sexuality. or maybe it was the thought of him dominating her in bed, either way, Courtney knows she needs to steer clear of that one. But Rafe hasn’t been letting her run away, and he ends up giving her a proposition he can’t refuse: four scenes with him calling the shots.
Rafe doesn’t do more than four scenes with any woman, because then they get too connected. He knows that everlasting love isn’t in the cards for him, so committing isn’t on the table. But what Courtney needs isn’t a commitment, she needs someone to help her explore her sexualiaty, and Rafe wants to do it. Too bad Rafe can’t seem to give up on the idea of Courtney, even after their four sessions are done.
There were a few times while I was reading this book that I felt a little confused. Usually I am a stickler about reading series books in order, but I made an exception here. While I’m sure I missed some nuances and jokes, I didn’t feel like I was totally lost around this cast of characters. That being said, I think I’m going to go on a buying spree to read the previous books! :)
I really liked Courtney. She had been through a really rough time, and was trying so hard to work on finding herself again. Having come from an emotionally abusive relationship, she wasn’t looking to find someone who would be super controlling, or want a commitment from her right away. The deal she made with Rafe seemed more than perfect, especially since it gave her a chance to explore the side of her sexuality that she was intrigued by, but scared to give into. I loved the way she really tried to protect herself from falling back into old relationship habits, but that she was still willing to take the chance on love. That she was strong enough to realize she had grown into a strong woman capable of making good decisions about her love life.
My poor heart broke for Rafe. Given his past, he had more than enough reasons to worry about falling in love again, but I was a little worried he was protecting his heart a little too much. It was especially evident after he realized just how important Courtney was to him, that he continued to push her away. I hoped that he would have wised up a bit sooner, but he was a stubborn ass right up to the end.
Their relationship was SUPER sexy, and I thought Bell did an amazing job with balancing the sex scenes between smutty and sweet. I liked that Rafe pushed Courtney to her boundaries, but also that he took the time to make love to her without the bells and whistles. For me, it made their relationship seem more realistic, more true to them as individuals and a couple. Let me warn you now though: the epilogue might require a glass of ice cold water and a cigarette. *wink*
All in all, I really liked the third book in the Dare Me series. It easily came across as a stand alone novel, and had a wonderful storyline. I enjoyed the hero and heroine as well as the secondary characters. The romance was both tender and rough, and I thought Bell did a wonderful job bringing together two unlikely souls. I give Down on Her Knees a B(less)
Cute short romance about a geeky hero that has to overcome his nerdyness to win the girl. Not as good as Barth's other books, but a cute wrap up to th...moreCute short romance about a geeky hero that has to overcome his nerdyness to win the girl. Not as good as Barth's other books, but a cute wrap up to this series. B- Full review to come. (less)
I had never read Yates before, so when I saw this fun novella about a geeky heroine who is looking for a little fun, I couldn’t help myself.
Evie is a smart and brilliant woman who owns her own software design company, but when it comes to men, she is completely clueless. When she is contracted to design a dating app, Evie does what any woman in her position would do: research. But researching with Caleb is more than Evie expected, and after one night, Evie found she can’t seem to shake Mr. One Night Only.
Caleb has never wanted to date a woman full time, but something about Evie has him coming back for more. After their one explosive night together, Caleb is determined to spend as much time with Evie as possible, even if it’s not between the sheets. Helping her with her app and learning everything that makes her smile isn’t his style, but for Evie, Caleb is beginning to think that long term might not be such a bad thing.
I have to say, I absolutely adore geeky heroines, and Evie was such a wonderful character. I adored the fact that she was so nerdy, and yet so confident in herself. It gave her character such depth that she could see her shortcomings, and I loved the way she tried to deal with it all. She went out and got help, she tried all the tips and tricks, and even when she was failing, she just tried again. It really endeared her to me. Made me fall for her all over again.
I thought Caleb was great as well. He was the typical bachelor who came from money. He didn’t have to work, didn’t have to scrape by, and basically lived off his family money doing whatever the hell he wanted, whenever he wanted to. At the same time, it was easy for me to tell that he was disappointed with the way life was going for him, especially once he met Evie. The way she inspired him to be more, to do more with his life was so fun to watch. I really liked the way that Caleb could see that although Evie was a little rough around the edges, there was something so special about her.
The romance between these two was so wonderful. I adored the way they really made each other better people. Evie gave Caleb the strength to find something that motivated him other than partying and women. Likewise, Caleb was a kind of sounding board for Evie, someone to help her break out of her nerdy shell and be herself around. I thought their romance was such fun, especially when Caleb shows up at her office. That scene was probably one of my favorites!
I have to say, the sex in this book was super steamy and oh-so-hot! I’m definitely going to have to pick up another Mates book in the future, especially if this is her normal style of writing. I loved the way Caleb and Evie were so into each other, that they let their emotions reign supreme a lot of the time. It led to some really interesting naked moments. :)
All in all, I really enjoyed my first Mates read. I thought Evie and Caleb were both really great characters, and although this novella was short, it didn’t read like one. It felt really drawn out and well developed. The romance was super sexy and also very sweet. I give Crazy, Stupid Sex a B(less)
I really hate the trend of novella/category length books that have 2-3 in the series. It feels like I'm being cheated as a reader. I thought this was...moreI really hate the trend of novella/category length books that have 2-3 in the series. It feels like I'm being cheated as a reader. I thought this was just okay. The writing was good, but I wasn't really hooked on Fable or Drew. (less)
This is a SUPER short novella that is more like a prequel to the next story. I liked it, poor Jackson couldn't catch a break with all the blind dates...moreThis is a SUPER short novella that is more like a prequel to the next story. I liked it, poor Jackson couldn't catch a break with all the blind dates he got set up on. LOL(less)
We have done some promo for Davis here at The Book Pushers in the past, so when I got the opportunity in my schedule to finally read one of her books, I jumped at the chance. I adore my wolf shifters, and thought Davis created a unique world.
Christa has been working for the human Shield organization for some time now, making sure that the wolf shifters don’t take out the humans. But her new boss is taking risky moves and making her rethink her position. When she is taken hostage by a shifter, she worries about which shifter rumors are true, and which are not.
Hayden enjoys his job as Marshal, and having a human mate throws him off a little. Hayden wants Christa to believe in his cause, but getting her to see his side of the story may be harder than he thinks. But as Christa’s old boss wages a war against them, they will have to fight together to save their own.
While this book can be read as a stand alone, there were multiple times when I felt like I was missing out on so much because I hadn’t read the previous books in the series. There was a lot of world building that had already been done in the other stories that wasn’t explained thoroughly, and there were times I felt as if I had to infer a lot about the world, the characters, and their ongoing fight with Shield and other rogue wolf groups. That being said, I think Davis has done a wonderful job creating a fun world to read about different kinds of shifters and humans all interacting together and finding ways to coexist.
The romance in this book felt a little rushed to me. While Hayden is all in because of the pull he feels for his mate, I had a harder time connecting with why Christa finally gave in to the romance. Hayden kidnapped her, wouldn’t let her leave, almost threatened her niece and nephew and then kept trying to keep her from her true nature, being a warrior. The sexual chemistry between them was obvious, but the emotional connection I wanted to see wasn’t as strong as I had hoped.
I was definitely intrigued by the other secondary characters of this series, and will probably go back and read the previous books. I liked how the two groups of shifters have banded together to fight the common enemy, and I wish I had a better frame of reference for their backstory, because I think it has incredible potential to be a great story arc.
While I enjoyed Hayden and Christa, I did feel like a lot of this novella was split evenly between the romance and the ongoing plot arcs, so we didn’t get a chance to really know Hayden and Christa as individuals. Again, part of that could be because I hadn’t read any of the other books, but I would have liked to see a little more in-depth character development.
All in all I enjoyed my first read from Davis, but would definitely recommend anyone starting this series to read the book in order. I really enjoyed the world building and overall plot arcs, and I am interested in going back to get fully caught up to date. For me, I would have liked a little more on the relationship and individual development of the hero and heroine. I give Divided Loyalties a B-(less)
This was super short, but VERY sexy. The only thing that kinda bothered me was that Adam was the one constantly giving sexual favors in this book, so...moreThis was super short, but VERY sexy. The only thing that kinda bothered me was that Adam was the one constantly giving sexual favors in this book, so it seemed a little one sided. :((less)
This blurb seemed like it would be right up my alley, snarky heroine, badass hero, and a suspense plot to keep me on my toes. However, this book didn’t live up to my expectations.
Maggie has been dating a Senator for over a year now, and when she finds him cheating on her, she is pretty much over the guy. But finding him murdered isn’t what Maggie wanted either, especially when she is the prime suspect. Thankfully, FBI Agent Clive was following her and able to provide an alibi.
Clive has wanted Maggie since the first moment he started shadowing her. Finding out she had nothing to do with the Senator’s shady business deals was a relief, getting to spend time and care for her was his dream and nightmare all at the same time. As the killer realizes Maggie is the main witness to his crime, her life is in more danger than she ever imagined.
Let me start by saying this book is REALLY short. We’re talking around 50 pages or so. For how intensive the blurb made this book sound, it shouldn’t be a surprise that so much of the actual story takes place off the page. However, I was kind of shocked at just how much was behind the scenes. I felt like we were a little jipped on just how much of the story was told to us. I wanted to get in on the pulse pounding action, I wanted the suspense give me heart palpitations. Instead, we had a passing mention of all the good stuff, and it was almost like we were given an overview of what happened. Not fun for me to read. :(
However, I did enjoy Maggie’s character. She was a bit of a snarky and sarcastic heroine that I knew I would have loved even more if we had gotten more of a chance to know her. She was both sweet and caring and also a little cocky. She made me laugh and I thought she was a wonderful character. I know this is going to be a series, so I’m sure her character will be flushed out a bit more, so I can only hope that readers get to know even more about her.
Clive was sweet, but didn’t really stick out in my mind after putting down the book. He didn’t have that air of badass about him that I was expecting, and unfortunately there wasn’t anything special about him that made him stick out in my mind after I was finished with the story. It was a bit disappointing to say that there wasn’t really anything bad about him, but nothing great either.
The romance was the main focus of the 50 page story, and even that kinda fell short for me. It wasn’t that the romance wasn’t good, or that the writing or character development wasn’t good. There just wasn’t enough time for Yardley to cram everything in that would have made this book spectacular.
All in all I was pretty disappointed with this book. Again, it’s not like the writing or editing was bad, there just wasn’t enough story to work for me. I am a big fan of novellas, however the story has to have enough meat on it in order for it to grab my attention, and this just didn’t make the cut. I give Wake Up Maggie a D+(less)
I really enjoyed St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay series, and was sad to see it come to an end. Thankfully, we are getting more and more Barefoot books, and the first novella in the Billionaires series was a great way to kick it off!
Zeke was the nerdy guy in high school that everyone made fun of. He was shy, smart, and more than a little awkward. But he has made up for it in spades. He works out, gained some confidence, and has built his own empire. Seeing his high school crush Mandy has Zeke thinking about the family he wants to start, and how he wants her to be a part of it.
Mandy has fallen more than she ever thought possible. From the star cheerleader and prom queen, Mandy is now up to her eyeballs in debt and working as a maid in order to get by. Seeing Zeke again makes Mandy think back on her horrible marriage, and what she wouldn’t give to find the kind of love that Zeke has to offer. But Mandy’s marriage was horrific, and moving on might not be in the cards for her.
I was a little worried that the billionaires trope would be played out, but I liked the way Zeke and his group of friends made a joke of it, and how they all treated their fortunes differently. I loved that Zeke was still 100% humble. It made him that much more adorable. I love the geek hero theme, and although Zeke isn’t as geeky as he supposedly was in high school, I thought the way his insecurities about that time played out in his relationship with Mandy was perfect.
I liked Mandy. I wasn’t too sure what kind of secrets would be revealed about her marriage, and I was a little surprised the direction that St. Claire took it, especially since it wasn’t really explained in detail. I did like the little twist we got at the end, it was the perfect balance between drama and fun. I did wonder how much Mandy’s view of herself was skewed though. Although one of her high school nemesis’ was constantly talking down at her, Mandy seemed to have a very unfavorable view of who she was in high school. I felt bad that she obviously didn’t remember the good times.
I’m anxious to read more about the Billionaires in this series, and think the introduction of them was fun and different than other billionaire books I’ve read in the past. I love the idea of following them as they try and work toward building their Minor League team and stadium.
All in all I thought this was a cute and sweet first novella in the tie-in series to Barefoot Bay. I really liked both Zeke and Mandy and thought they had such a wonderful chemistry together. I thought their romance was a little rushed, but still sweet and almost innocent at times. :) I’m anxious to read about Frankie and Elliott in the next book. I give Secrets on the Sand a B(less)
I had never read any of Cahill’s work before, so I was kinda excited to read about a party planner and sexy security officer. Unfortunately, while this book was SUPER hot, there wasn’t much else to keep me excited about reading.
Cassandra loves her job as a party planner, and she is damn good at it. She thinks of everything, plans for everything, and is 100% devoted to work. But at one party she keeps running into the sexy Lucas, and their attraction is off the charts. Cassandra is determined to stay away from him, but she can’t seem to keep her hands to herself.
Lucas loves his job, but something about Cassandra keeps pulling his mind from security and onto her. The attraction is undeniable, but after just a day in her company, Lucas wants so much more than just a roll between the sheets. But Cassandra is completely focused on her business, so Lucas will have to go above and beyond to show her just how great they can be together.
I really wanted to love this book, but I have to say, there just wasn’t enough plot for me. I would say that about 90% of this book is all sex, and while those sex scenes are pretty darn hot, I needed more actual story. I felt like this novella moved extremely quickly from the insta-lust phase to the I-love-you phase. For me there wasn’t anything substantial to enjoy about the characters and their situation.
I did enjoy the set up of Cassandra’s business. I think the party-planning theme is super fun, and I loved that Cahill took us from a super sexy adult party with naked people to a cute and innocent princess party. The different parties gave the novella time to change gears and do a little lighthearted moment between all the naked time.
However, I have to admit that the little kid party was one of the only scenes in which Lucas and Cassandra were not naked together, and it just wasn’t enough. I have a very difficult time believing in a character’s happily ever after if they have only spent a few hours together talking about something other than sex. It just doesn’t work from me in the romance department, and I struggle with not only my enjoyment level, but also the believability.
All in all I thought this was a very sexy book, but unfortunately it just didn’t work for me. If readers are looking for a extra hot, short story, than this should be one they check out. However, if you are like me and need a little more plot to go with your erotica, this might be a book you want to skip. I give 7 Minutes in Heaven a C-.(less)
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+(less)
Dear lord this book had so much going on, so many feels!! But it was SO GOOD!
Lucky has no memories from before he washed up on shore in South Africa, and keeping a low profile is what he intends to do. But when a man walks into the bar where Lucky bartends and claims he was an ex-Navy Seal everyone thought was dead, Lucky’s life blows up in ways he never thought possible. Now, under suspicion of being turned, Lucky has to head back to the States and undergo therapy, and lie detector tests, and more.
Rex was once Lucky’s partner, but after four years of believing his partner dead, he had moved on. Now that Lucky’s back, Rex’s relationship with Sawyer is being threatened and neither man is willing to say goodbye. But Lucky’s return isn’t the only thing threatening Rex and Sawyer’s relationship. The terrorists who captured Rex’s Seal Team in the first place are back, and looking for revenge.
I can’t stress enough just how much was going on in this book. Not only did we get TWO romances, but there was also the speculation around Lucky’s allegiance, the mystery around the terrorist organization that held the Seal Team, and the big conclusion that shocked even me!
Let me start with the two romances because they were so totally different, and both were so amazing! Rex and Sawyer had been dating awhile, but were still stuck in that unknown phase. Are they serious, can they be together outside of a war zone, do they have a future? And answering those questions all while having the unknown factor of Josh (Lucky) hanging over their heads was so well done. I loved these two together, and was so glad that they got their HEA.
Lucky and Dash were another story. Poor Lucky is struggling with his memories, but the attraction to Dash is too much to overcome. I loved that these two had way more obstacles than the normal couple, and yet at the end of the day, none of it mattered. Despite the fact that they barely knew each other, they knew enough to know that all the other BS, the drama, the angst, wouldn’t be enough to tear them apart. For that, I loved these two more than I ever thought possible!
The mystery surrounding Lucky and retrieving his memories was left a little unsettled for me. I wanted him to get his memories back, and was a little bummed that never happened. However, the way it all tied up at the end was amazing and shocking and awesome and everything I can’t even put into words. Jakes did a fabulous job of knocking me out of my socks, and I loved it! I never saw it coming, and although I felt like I got hit with the broadside of a barn, it was awesome!
All in all the sixth book in the Men of Honor series is probably my favorite Jakes book to date. I loved the fact that there was so much going on, so much action and backstory and threads to unravel. Although there were times when I struggled to keep up with all the characters, all the backstory, it was 100% worth it. I loved both romances, I loved the mystery that surprised me, and I can’t wait to go back and do a Jakes re-read! I give Bound to Break a B+(less)
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-(less)
I adore all things Shannon Stacey, and her holiday novellas have become a favorite of mine at the end of each year.
Rachel is working at her dream job, she loves the day to day responsibilities, she loves the work, and she has been crushing on her boss big time for as long as she has worked for him. But crossing that line in the sand is something that she only dreams of doing, until they are snowed in at one of Adrian’s romantic resorts, and their time together leads from one thing to another.
Adrian has built his business from the ground up. Risking it all for a quick tumble with his executive assistant isn’t worth it, especially because he couldn’t do his job without Rachel. But being snowed in together is playing havoc with their libidos, and their work weekend takes an unexpected journey between the sheets. But being back at work the following week brings more mixed emotions than Rachel or Adrian know how to deal with, and might be enough to kill their fragile relationship.
This was a very short novella, only about 40 pages or so, and while I felt like Stacey told a wonderful story, I also wish we would have gotten the chance to see more. I, for one, like reading novellas. I love having a quick and easy read that I know will leave me with a huge smile on my face by the end. Stacey accomplished this to perfect. Of course, the only downside is that when I find myself falling hard for the characters in certain novellas, 40 pages just isn’t enough. :)
One aspect I thought was handled really well in this story was the complications of going back to work together. Both Rachel and Adrian were unsure how to act Monday morning, and they both got their signals crossed, their feelings hurt, and the miscommunication skyrocketed. But, I was able to feel their discomfort with not knowing how to act around one another. Adrian was worried about crossing some line at work with being the boss. He didn’t want to pressure Rachel, make her feel uncomfortable, especially since he valued her position so highly. On the other hand, Rachel was confused that Adrian wanted to be business as usual when he dove straight into work. She was worried about speaking up and ruining her position. It was a tightrope, and they both fell spectacularly.
I thoroughly enjoyed both Adrian and Rachel. They came across as such vivid characters in my mind. I’m not too sure why I was able to so easily relate to them both (maybe it was all the years I worked as an executive admin??), but either way I connected with them both so early in the story. I wanted – desperately – for them to get their HEA, for them to put aside their work concerns and be honest about their budding relationship. I loved the way they were able to so easily admit their feelings and move past their communication issues, address them, and find a way to balance their work and person lives.
I thought the epilogue was such a special treat. Many times, in novellas, we don’t get a chance to glimpse anything in the far future. I love that Stacey gave us a chance to see just how wonderful things are for Rachel and Adrian, on both a professional and personal scale, a year into the future. It was an extra special treat, and I so enjoyed it.
All in all I thought Stacey created another fabulous holiday short. While I was jonesing for more from these characters, I love the fact that they were able to fall so epically and build back up in such a short amount of time. The quick love was easy for me to believe in because of their work schedule, so I had no complaints about the romance. I give Snowbound with the CEO a B+(less)
I’m a big fan of both second chance love stories, and friends to lovers stories. After reading this blurb, I knew this story would be right up my alley.
Sophie and Parker are both moving back into their childhood homes after the lives they thought they wanted fell apart. Picking up their friendship is just another natural thing for them, and they both quickly realize the crushes they had were mutual. Acting on those feelings is more intense than either Sophie or Parker realize, and things quickly get serious.
But issues arise from their pasts, namely Sophie’s ex-husband: the cheating bastard, as well as Parker’s ex high school sweetheart who broke his heart. But their friendship is stable, and although the budding relationship isn’t nearly as strong, both Sophie and Parker know what they want, and they want one another.
I thought Parker and Sophie had a great connection. It was so sweet to see them both picking up the pieces of their lives, and each others lives as they became best friends once again. I know that I have friends (sorta) like that. Where we can drift in and out of each others lives and know that we are still there 100% when the other needs us. Seeing that bond between Sophie and Parker, so strong to start, was special. I love when romance books take the time to really focus on the friendship between the hero and heroine.
I also liked the way they each had some HUGE relationship hurdles to get over. Between Sophie’s cheating douche bag ex-husband, to Parker’s high school and college sweetheart who broke his heart, they were both pretty emotionally scarred when it came to relationships. Those emotional scars were enough to send them both into a tailspin at times, but I liked the way that Stivali gave them a lot of chances to talk and work it out.
One aspect of the book that really didn’t work for me was Sophie’s relationship with her family. I have such a hard time understanding why any family member would be such a jerk to their own child. The way that Sophie’s father talked to her was just annoying and hard for me to believe, especially after everything she went through. I also felt as if there was just something missing. While all the right ingredients were there for a wonderful romance, there was just something in the execution that didn’t work for me.
All in all I enjoyed my first Stivali read. I thought the hero and heroine were great characters, and their romance was such fun to read. (PS: VIRGIN HERO ALERT!) However, there was a spark of that something special that felt missing in their romance. I wanted and needed more to really commit to them fully, and I never really felt like we got that. I give Leave the Lights On a C.(less)
Lou: I got so excited when I learned that Thea Harrison was releasing a Christmas novella about Dragos, Pia, and their little Peanut. Dragos and Pia are one of my favourite couples of the Elder series and this novella was the perfect downtime to see how they interact as a family, and to see the softer side of Dragos who is so in love with his son. Pia wants Dragos to take them on holiday, and she sneakily plants ideas into the dragon’s head. This novella features a baby dragon, missing treasure, smoking hot sex, and a pissed off dragon who will go to any lengths to protect his family. Dragos and Pia are closer than ever and the romance between them has not waned in the slightest. Liam is growing incredibly fast, and his POV was so sweet. The ending was one of the most adorable endings EVA, and I will never tired of this couple so I’m hoping they’ll still have more stories to tell in the future.
I give Dragos Takes a Holiday an A.
MinnChica: I love both Christmas novellas, and all things Elder Races. Getting the two combined was an extra special treat!! Every moment we spend with Dragos and Pia has become a favorite of mine. This couple continues to be my favorite, and getting to see them with baby Liam warms my heart. I loved the way Pia cared for Dragos by subtly pushing for a family vacation. I loved the way that we got to see a few scenes from Liam’s point of view. They are so sweet and innocent and oh-so special! I loved the way that Dragos continues to care for Pia and Liam 100%, above all else. Their relationship is everything from sweet and tender to sexy and rough. The pirates were a fabulous touch that Harrison knocked out of the park. I can’t wait for the next in this series!!
I give Dragos Takes a Holiday an A
E: **Happy sigh** Some authors are able to transition effortlessly between novels and novellas. Harrison is one of those. She uses her novellas to give a glimpse of the the rest of the world or of the everyday and they are just wonderful. I was extremely excited to hear she was returning to the Elder Races world with a novella and even more excited when I found out it would star Dragos, Pia, and Peanut! After all Dragos and Pia introduced me to this world and Peanut has been around almost since the beginning as well. I loved getting a glimpse into the inner workings of the Culebre family. It was great seeing exactly how well Pia and Dragos knew each other and how they worked to keep each other happy. I also really enjoyed how Harrison has given Peanut his own personality and development as he grows. His reasoning for doing certain things was so very logical and made me smile. I also loved the intrigue/mystery and setting that Pia, Dragos, and Peanut explored during this story. It was wonderful to revisit the Elder Races world in this novella. I am adding it to my list when I need a Wyr fix but don’t have time to read a novel.
I give Dragos Takes a Holiday an A+
Has: I adore the Elder Races series and Dragon Bound is one of my all time favourite paranormal romances. So I was excited and looking forward to reading a novella featuring Dragos, Pia and the Peanut who has definitely captured my heart! Dragos Takes a Holiday was a fantastic side story which delved into the private and intimate look at Dragos’ family. The plot with the treasure hunters was entertaining and humorous. It was funny to see Dragos being all ‘dragon mode’ on the hunt for treasure and keeping up with a precocious and trouble-magnet baby son. There were some amusing scenes that I thoroughly enjoyed. Dragos Takes a Holiday was a fun, sexy and action packed novella! It was a great interlude in the lives of Dragos and his family which left me very satisfied with that last click for the final page on my ereader. I really hope we get more in the future!
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-(less)
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-(less)
These are very short (one night only) glimpses into the band Sole Regreat. It's an interesting set up for the series. NOTE: You should go into this no...moreThese are very short (one night only) glimpses into the band Sole Regreat. It's an interesting set up for the series. NOTE: You should go into this novella expecting it to be unresolved and a one night only thing. If you're looking for a novella with a typical romance HEA, you won't get it. (less)
Jordan started one of Washington’s D.C. newest and hottest websites around, Need to Know. It’s an anonymous website where the single ladies of D.C. can log in and find out information about the bachelor men in the city. An excellent resource to weed out the crazies and keep hold of the good guys, Jordan finds herself the most popular lady in D.C. (with the ladies at least). Her temp job helps her cover her identity, all while verifying any and all information she can about the bachelors on her site.
Forest is a tough nut to crack. As one of the most eligible bachelors of the city, Jordan is determined to get any information she can on him. But Forest has other ideas, mainly ones that involve the two of them naked together. As Jordan’s site gains more and more notoriety, Forest hopes that she will trust him with her secret, despite the fact that he’s already found out all the details.
I enjoyed this book. It had a different premise than I’ve ever seen before in romance, and I loved LOVED the idea behind a need-to-know dating site. If my college campus would have had something like this, I could have avoided a lot of dating disasters back in the day. :D
The romance in this one was so well done. I loved that both Jordan and Forest had some pretty heavy baggage going into their relationship, but despite that and the secrets, the two of them were still able to come out on top. It was clear as day that these two were perfect for each other. Jordan was able to pull Forest out of his work, and get him to live a little. While Forest was able to give Jordan a helping hand, not just with her business but with advice for her personal life as well. They were each other’s sounding board and strong shoulder, and I adored them together.
Dimon has also done a wonderful job creating some serious sexual tension between these two. While most of her books are hot, Hot, HOT, I thought this novella was perfectly balanced between the sexual chemistry, the tension, and finally the actual smexing. I know this novella was written as a Cosmo Red Hot Short Story, but I can only hope that Dimon will get the chance to revisit Jordan and Forest in the future.
The secondary characters in this story rocked as well. Between Forest’s best friend, Wendell, to Jordan’s best friend, Elle, the entire cast of characters was fun to read. I especially loved the moments when Jordan and Elle would sit down together and go over the horrific and hilarious stories they had uncovered about the bachelors of D.C. I laughed and cringed at the thought that they were all probably true!
All in all I thought Dimon did a wonderful job creating a truly unique romance short. I adored Jordan, and thought she was the perfect heroine for Forest, the ultimate hero. The storyline itself was fun and sexy and full of hilarious little anecdotes. I can’t wait to see what Dimon comes up with next. I give Everything You Need to Know a B(less)
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-(less)
MinnChica: I adored Dane’s writing, so anytime she puts out anything, I’m all over it. Given the fact that Gregori is tatted, pierced, and has a mohawk, well… I couldn’t put this quick novella down. I adored the romance between these two, and thought that Dane did a fabulous job telling us a sexy and sweet story in only 80 short pages. I have to say though, I really hope that we get to see more from this group of friends!!
E: Oh MinnChica I am there with you! I have been looking forward to reading this since I first heard about it. It was amazing how much Dane managed to pack into this novella. The sense of a long enduring friendship, the flashes of heat, and the struggle to put the past to rest, and seize the future. The fact that Gregori is so very intense made the peace he could find with Wren special and gave him a logical reason to fear losing it. I also hope that we get more set with this group of individuals because they are all characters.
MinnChica: Gregori was super intense, and while I completely understood his reasons behind running scared, I kinda wanted to punch him for it. :) He was so completely wrapped up in his own little world, and his own little pity party, that he wasn’t able to see what he had with Wren. Despite his sexy broody thing, I would have liked him to wake up a bit sooner. But Wren, oh Wren. I liked her so much! She was strong, knew exactly what she wanted, and wasn’t afraid to fight for it. If I could be besties with any book heroine, Wren would be toward the top of that list!
E: I agree, I think he took the coward’s way out and I loved how Wren and his personal assistant Kresley refused to enable his attempts to keep her in a little corner of his life. Each time Wren stood up to Gregori and demanded what she thought she was worth I had to cheer. I also enjoyed how confused he really was when people weren’t just falling in line like he expected because he is “Gregori”. I also really loved how Wren insisted on making her own way into the world of art and refused to use Gregori for his entree. It was another example of how she didn’t need him but wanted to share her life with him. She would also tell him things as she saw them and seeing Gregori think about her insights was amusing. I also thought it was so sweet that Gregori would go out of his way to have some sort of treat to share with Wren because he knew that she liked them. My heart melted when we got the rest of the story because it showed he really wasn’t all that self-centered and oblivious, just scarred from his past.
MinnChica: All in all I really enjoyed this short novella. Gregori was such an intense and loaded character, and Wren was just all around fabulous. Like E said, another thing that endeared her to me was the way she was so determined to make it on her own merit. I thought the romance was good, but I could have used a little more from Gregori, since he really didn’t seem to atone for his constant running. I hope to see more from Dane with this cast of characters. I give Cake a B+
E: I loved reading this short novella. It was intense, emotional, vivid and satisfying while leaving me wishing for more stories set in this world. The interaction between Gregori, Wren, Kelsey and rest of the supporting cast was a treat to read. Dane has the ability to provide a great story regardless of the length which is an amazing skill. She continues to revalidate with each release why she has a prominent position on my auto-buy list.
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+(less)