This book was one of my most anticipated reads of 2012, so you can imagine how excited I was to get it a week early. Ty and Zane are two of my favorite fictional characters, and probably one of my favorite series of all times, and this installment was AMAZING.
Ty and Zane have had a few months of leisure, but a phone call from Texas and Zane’s family throws off their balance. After a pit stop in West Virginia, Ty and Zane both head down to Texas to see what they can do to help Zane’s dad after he’d been shot and find out what is going on at the ranch. With the shooting, multiple trespassing violations, and missing exotic animals, Ty and Zane are quickly plunged into a case that hits way too close to home.
I don’t want to give too much away, although I’m sure most die-hard fans have already read this book, but I am going to try and keep this one as spoiler free as possible.
Let me start with the one thing that was somewhat of a letdown for me, and that was the overall ‘case’ of the book. I liked how the big-cat sanctuary came into play, and we got to see Ty face his fears of big exotic cats (literally). However, for me it really felt as if the case took a bit of a back seat to the rest of the story, which has a different feel than the other books in this series. So much of the first five books is solely focused on the mystery aspect, and the lives and romance of Ty and Zane usually take a more back-seat role. In this installment, that is flip-flopped and the case takes more of a back-seat to the romance. Not that I didn’t like it, it just set a very different tone to this book, and I like the high-stakes, lots of action of previous books. I even kind of missed the intensity of the previous books.
That being said, the romance and peek at Ty and Zane’s day-to-day life was so incredible. We got to spend a small amount of time in West Virginia with Ty’s family, and I forgot just how hilarious they are. Between Chester and Ty’s parents, I spent most of that trip home with them in stitches. MOST. Again, without giving too much away, something big happens between Ty and his father and for a few seconds, I hated Earl. I’ve always been with Zane in that I didn’t have a good understanding of the relationship between Ty and his dad, but I’ve never outright hated the guy until that one moment.
The highlight of this book for me was finally getting to meet Zane’s family. His sister Anne was so sweet and funny, and she has probably the second best line in the whole book. She was so supportive of Zane, and was willing to stand up to their horrible mother at every turn. Zane’s dad was probably one of the best secondary characters ever written. He had the all time best line of the book, and from the first moment we met him, I fell in love with him. He truly loved Zane, was glad to see that Ty was helping Zane get his life back together, and did everything he could to help run interference between Zane and his mom. Speaking of Zane’s mom, she was a piece of work. The woman was cold and rude and nasty and an all around bitch. She wasn’t supportive of Zane’s career choice or anything in his life for that matter. I could see a lot of Zane in her, but was also so glad to see all the ways that Ty was helping him break those bad habits and become a better person.
A lot of stuff happens in this book that help Ty and Zane really move forward with their relationship. Again, without giving away any spoilers, I can’t give specifics here, but there tons of conversations and small (and big) decisions that really helped propel their relationship forward and onto the next level of commitment and intensity. These two together are one of my all time favorite couples.
All in all I can’t say enough wonderful things about this book. I absolutely loved the relationship progression for Ty and Zane. So many spoiler-ish things happened that made me laugh and giggle and cry and scream. Getting to see an inside look at Zane’s family was so special and explained so much, and I can’t wait to see more of them. I give Stars & Stripes an A-(less)
In the fairness of full disclosure, I read this story in a previous draft as well. While I liked it back then, I love and adore it now.
Andrea is incr...moreIn the fairness of full disclosure, I read this story in a previous draft as well. While I liked it back then, I love and adore it now.
Andrea is incredible in this book. She kicks ass, takes names, and is a total bad ass. I love her, best side-kick. Ever. Raphael has some total d-bag moments, but I love him. He more than makes up for it with some groveling and hilarious shifter pranks. Asciano gets some great page time, and I love that little kid!! A few moments with Kate and Curran, and they are a blast. BUT WAIT - the novella Magic Gifts that Ilona had for free on her website during christmas, is added to the end of this book. *CHEER* As always, Ilona delivers an incredible story wrapped around myth and folklore that leaves me desperate for more! (less)
I have such a love-hate relationship with this series. The books either blow me away, or leaving MUCH to be desired. While I wasn't as upset with this...moreI have such a love-hate relationship with this series. The books either blow me away, or leaving MUCH to be desired. While I wasn't as upset with this book as I was with the last, the book felt boring and like it dragged on. The hard hitting suspense and action that was common in the early books was non-existent here. I needed more, all the way around. C-
I was looking forward to trying Robards, because so many people talked up just how wonderful her romantic suspense books are. I was a little hesitant because this was a new paranormal series, but I like paranormal as well, so I figured all would work out. Yeah, not so much.
Charlie has dedicated her life to studying serial killers after the traumatic event of her childhood. The last thing she ever expected was to be tapped by the FBI to act as a consultant on the case that is looking to be more and more like the serial killer from her past. Charlie doesn’t want to go, but the FBI convinces her it’s best. So with her FBI protection detail and shaky nerves Charlie goes off to help the case.
But the FBI doesn’t know about Charlie’s gift/curse of seeing people right after they die a horrific death. While it helps with finding and tracking down murderers, Charlie has a slight problem, one of the serial killers, Michael Garland, she was profiling in prison has attached himself to her and is actively haunting her. Garland refuses to be ignored, but is also willing to help her out in any way he can. With her gift, Garland’s help and the FBI team, they just might be able to solve this case before Charlie becomes the next victim.
I will admit that I liked the overall premise of the book. I liked that Charlie could see ghosts, interact with them, etc. I liked the serial killer case, it was creepy and scary and all around suspenseful. However, the romance in this book was horrible. I didn’t like it at all. Charlie had a few shared kisses with sexy and understanding FBI agent Tony, but the real romance of this story was between Charlie and Garland, the man she had been profiling as a serial killer for who knows how long. That is creepy, and gross, and creepy, and gross!!
The romance between these two was uncomfortable for me to read. Charlie never really seemed to think, at any time, that Garland WASN’T a serial killer. She even had to remind herself time and time again that he killer numerous women, that he was a stone-cold killer. Then she would turn around in her own ghost form (while astral projecting) and get down and dirty with the guy. I can’t count the number of times my eyes popped out of my head and I screamed at her: “HE’S A SERIAL KILLER! WTF??”
Even though the case with the killer was intriguing, I couldn’t get over the romance. I tried to get past it, tried to ignore the whole sleeping with a serial-killer aspect, but I just couldn’t. The direction that Robards chose to go with the romance clouded the rest of what could have been a stellar series. I can honestly say I probably won’t be picking up any of her books in this series in the future.
All in all this story was lost on me. While I think this could have been a solid story: it had an interesting premise and world and an intense and unique serial killer case that kept me guessing until the very end, the romance was so poorly done IMO, it ruined everyone else. I don’t know that anything other than a move away from the romance between Charlie and Garland could have made this book better for me. I give The Last Victim a D-(less)
LOVED IT! There were so many amazing things that happened:
- We got to spend lots of time with Hawke and Sienna, to the point where they almost stole t...moreLOVED IT! There were so many amazing things that happened:
- We got to spend lots of time with Hawke and Sienna, to the point where they almost stole the show from Riaz and Adria - Lots of page time was spent with the wolves: Riley & Mercy had wonderful moments (an an announcement that had me happy dancing), Drew & Indigo were great and Judd... Oh Judd. - The book had a lot of action within the psy movement. I can't wait to see where the series goes next, especially if we spend more time in psy politics. - Kaleb... Oh Kaleb, I love you - The Arrows were featured quit a bit too. I have such a girl crush on Aden and Vasic. I *pray* they each get their own book.
I never thought I would be a m/m fan, but Mandi from Smexybooks pushed and pushed and pushed these books on me until finally I gave in. Mandi, if I haven’t thanked you already, you’re my book hero. Now, Roux is writing the 5th book in the Ty & Zane saga and I am the biggest fan girl imaginable.
When we left Ty and Zane last, my heart was completely broken. Just when Zane professed his love, Ty ran and Zane was left alone. Now, Ty is on a secret mission and they don’t know when they will see each other again. That is until Zane shows up in Chicago as Ty’s backup. Now the two much get a CIA hitman across the country safely, with men on their tails.
As things heat up, Ty and Zane are forced to put their lives on the line to save Julian and Cameron. Despite their inability to get along, Ty, Zane, Julian and Cameron make the best of their situation and learn to trust each other on their journey. But the closer they get to DC, the more things heat up and the more precarious their situation gets.
Let me first start by saying that this is the first book in the series that Roux has written by herself, and not only do I think she did the book justice, I think she rocked it something fierce! I loved the previous books, but I could also tell whenever there was a POV switch, when the authors switched off in the middle of a scene. Not that it ruined the story, or pulled me out of the book, but it was enough of a jolt for me to take notice of the changes. In this book, Roux does an incredible job of having the entire book flow from cover to cover. The sentences flowed from one into another, and there were no feeling of the POV change. The story itself flowed better and just felt more polished. Also, I couldn’t tell that Roux hadn’t been writing both characters all along. Both Zane and Cameron were as true to themselves as Julian and Ty. I never once felt as if anything was amiss, and I’m just as gaga over Zane and Ty as I was before.
Onto the book! The overall story in this book is AMAZING. I absolutely adored Julian and Cameron from Warrior’s Cross, so getting the chance to see them again was such fun. Add in the fact that Julian and Ty could barely get along, and it made for some hilarious scenes. I can’t count the number of times I burst out laughing at something Julian or Ty said or did. The two almost beat the crap out of each other a million times, they snark and tease and torment one another to the point of driving Zane and Cameron crazy. I loved it. One scene in particular that killed me:
“Their IDs are fake,” Julian told the TSA agents with supreme confidence. He was even using his Irish accent as he spoke. He looked at Ty with what appeared to be heartfelt sincerity. “I can’t let you kill innocent people.”
“Shut up!” Ty growled at him. He pointed a finger in Julian’s face. “If I get a cavity search because of you, I will kick your ass!”
The relationship between Ty and Zane left me absolutely heartbroken at the end of the last book, and I was pretty worried that it would take awhile for these two to mend fences. Lucky for us, Roux doesn’t torture us for long and has these two reconnecting within the first couple chapters. I loved that Ty knew how much he hurt Zane by leaving, knew that he would need to beg and grovel to get Zane back. And let me tell you, Ty Grady can grovel. *swoon* These two really seemed to cement their relationship in ways that I never even imagined possible for them. They were open in their love, committed to making it work no matter what, and at times so romantic I melted into a little puddle of goo.
“I know I’m not easy,” he whispered. “I promise I’ll make it up to you.”
Zane shook his head. “I knew what I was getting when I realized I loved you. I don’t expect—don’t want you to change, no matter how crazy you make me sometimes.”
“I like you crazy,” Ty growled as he stood up.
Some of my favorite (and not-so favorite) previous characters make an appearance. I was really worried when Nick showed up in this book. But I have to say, I was really happy with the way that storyline resolved itself. While I would have been totally happy with Zane throwing a punch or two, I also think he handled Nick in the best and only way he knew how, and came out feeling even better about Ty and their relationship. We get to spend some time with Deuce as well, meet his girlfriend and get some exciting news on that front as well. As always, Burns is pulling the proverbial strings, but this time it was crazy to see him not in absolute control. The twist to that plotline was enough to have me pulling out my hair!
We also got to find out a little more about Ty and Zane’s past. Everything from some top secret information regarding Ty’s military career, to some of his crazy innermost thoughts. We get more information about Zane’s wife and his dating history, and his own secret missions for Burns. There is much revealed in this story, but there is also more questions left open. Enough that Roux managed to dig her claws in my once again, hooking me to Ty and Zane in ways I never imagined possible.
All in all I was floored by this story. I was expecting it to be just as great as the others, and Roux came in and blew me off my feet. It was a wonderful story, a sweet romance, and everything I could have hoped for. The action never stops and the memories of Ty, Julian, Zane, and Cameron still have me giggling hours later. This series continues to be my favorite m/m series of all time, if not just one of my favorite series period. I give Armed & Dangerous an A.(less)
Lou: We started our first discussion about the Fifty series in our past book discussion here. Each of us felt that the series was like crack, but there were obvious faults within the series such as inconsistencies, and way too much content that should have been cut in half. With how the second book ended, I thought how could the 3rd finish it off. What was there left to tell? After reading Freed, I can’t think of a single reason why this story was published. It had no plot that brought the story together. It was just more of Fifty and Ana drifting along with no purpose. And because of that I’m a angry reader because I don’t know why a book would be released that had NO purpose to it whatsoever. It’s not unknown that this series was originally fan fiction. And guess what. With this final entry, it felt as if nothing had changed and it did read like fan-fiction. A very very bad one.
MinnChica: I loved the first two Fifty books, and I thought that James left enough loose ends that the potential for a third story was there. I wanted to find out what more would come from the Mrs. Robinson character, who the person was trying to kill Christian and the romantic in me was hoping to see more of a deeper connection between Ana and Christian. But like Lou said, this third book felt pointless, seemed to have no direction and – in my opinion – was poorly written. I think this series could have been wrapped up in two books, and don’t feel as if there was any decent resolution to the story.
Lou: I agree, Minn. There wasn’t any decent resolution to the story, and I felt as if this book was more of a gravy train ride. What annoys me so much is that this book felt as if it was a first draft of a story. In most books, there is a plot driving the story along whether it be external, internal, or both. There was none of this in Freed. It was just more of Fifty and Ana fighting, and the first part of the book was such a snore fest because as far as I was concerned, it was just blocks of writing. There’s not much to explain about what the plot of the book is and how it played out because there isn’t one. Mrs Robinson’s character just blew away quietly in the wind without any real impact. We have a subtle secondary storyline with Ana best friend, and Fifty’s brother but that drifted away also. And Fifty was just a total and complete arse in this book. How he treats Ana after she reveals she’s pregnant, I thought it was despicable of him in his treatment of her.
MinnChica: In the first two books it was obvious to me that Christian was damaged, he had some serious emotional problems, but with the end of the 2nd book I honestly thought that he would be given a chance to really grow up emotionally in the third book. Boy was I wrong! If anything, it seemed to me as if Christian became even MORE emotionally stunted. He was a total jerk at every turn, he never once seemed to look at things in a second way, and quite honestly his behavior in this story ruined the whole series for me. I don’t want to read about someone who takes one step forward and then about twelve back. It was disappointing.
Lou: It was like Fifty had to go back and be his damaged self to add tension to a lack lustre story. I just didn’t get this book at all because I still can’t find a reason for the actual story. Fifty gets treated of his dominant and BDSM tenancies by the cure of Ana. The way in which Fifty got into the BDSM scene was so incredibly messed up that I honestly thought it was safer for him not to be practising it. It’s still a horrible message to send out though that Ana cured him of that. The ending of the book just made me laugh so hard because it was like a Harlequin ending, but one that was outdated so many years ago: Babies! The ending is that Fifty and Ana become a normal loving family and raise babies together and they are all super duper loved up. Talk about how to kill your story as far as I’m concerned.
MinnChica: In regards to the BDSM, I didn’t see it as Christian getting “cured” by Ana, because they still partook in some “kinky-fuckery” but I was more upset that during their few BDSM scenes, Christian didn’t seem to have any care for how he treated Ana. He was cruel and mean and in it for his own f-ed up agenda. It was hard to read… I thought the end was a bit of a cop-out as well. I wasn’t very impressed at all on that front. One of the other things that constantly drove me NUTS during the story was that Ana’s assistant Hannah was constantly having the spelling of her name changed. Half the time it was Hannah, and the other half it was Hanna. Little things like that just reinforced my thought that not a lot of time was spent on the editing and cultivation of this book. =(
I will admit though that there were a few scenes that I enjoyed in this book. There were tiny snippets into Ana and Christian’s life that I was pleasantly surprised by. Ana giving Christian a haircut, some of their moments on their honeymoon, the few times Christian would play piano for Ana. For me, those small scenes just showed me that the potential for a wonderful story was there, but the execution lacked.
Lou: It’s like the British slang that was used throughout the book, despite it being in an American setting. It’s obvious no decent editor had gone through this book, and it’s something that the author should have picked up on. Fifty was very cruel to Ana, and he came off as abusive that left me with a sour taste in my mouth. After reading this final book, I wouldn’t recommend this series at all now. When you release a book, you make sure it’s the best as it can possibly be. I don’t want to read or pay for a book that looks like it still belongs in the fan fiction world. If I want to read fan fiction, I’ll go to their sites. All in all, what a cock up of this book was. I can’t recommend this book because it is crafted poorly.
I give it a F.
MinnChica: All in all I was horribly disappointed in this book. I was expecting the same level of wonder and excitement that the first two books in the series gave me, and instead I found myself constantly frustrated and annoyed while reading. Christian came across as a spoiled and spiteful child and Ana never seemed to grow a pair enough to stick up for her basic right to be treated like a decent human. Like Lou, I can’t recommend this book to anyone. I think the first two books will still hold a special place and are worth the read, but the third book is not worth the ridiculous price.
I am such a sucker for Nalini Singh. As soon as this ARC hit my inbox I did a little happy dance and then immediately sat down to read. I love Vasic,...moreI am such a sucker for Nalini Singh. As soon as this ARC hit my inbox I did a little happy dance and then immediately sat down to read. I love Vasic, I loved Ivy. I loved them together. I loved the way the series is headed. LOVED! (less)
Julie James is back with another fabulous novel about the FBI field office in Chicago. A Lot Like Love features FBI agent Nick McCall, the leading undercover agent in his office, and the sexy heiress Jordan Rhodes. Nick gets called in to assist with a junior agent’s undercover assignment. But in order to get what they need, they enlist civilian Jordan Rhodes by dangling the release of her brother from prison over her head.
When things get dicey, the one night undercover operation turns into a week long ordeal, and Nick and Jordan must continue their “relationship” in order for the FBI to obtain their evidence. But when jealous ex’s and creepy private investigators get involved, things take an unexpected turn that no one saw coming!
I absolutely love James’s books, and A Lot Like Love might be my favorite so far. Nick is such a classic guys guy at the beginning of the book, and as a long time undercover operative, a little hardened with normal life. He is used to stringing women along, only being available when not working undercover. He isn’t used to having friends, and his family usually gets put onto the back burner for the job. But once he is placed in the role of loving and doting boyfriend, he really takes to Jordan. His jokes about wine and Jordan’s heiress lifestyle are hilarious and keep the story moving quickly.
I’ve always loved James’s heroines. They are strong independent women with great values and self confidence. Jordan is no exception! Although she is an heiress, she is also a dedicated business woman who wants to make her own way and devoted sister and daughter. I enjoyed the way that she helped Nick grow into his own, and stood up for what was right and wrong.
Their relationship was great as well, filled with sexual tension and innuendo that sparked up the pages. Their conversations about wine always carried playful undertones, and even though I’m a total beer girl, it was fun and flirty and sexy all the same. The dialogue was absolutely fabulous. James is always witty and sarcastic and fun to read, it’s one thing about her writing that always stands out to me.
We also get to see some more of Cameron and Jack, the hero and heroine from Something About You. And this investigation continues on a little with what Cameron and Jack unraveled in the last book. While I was a little disappointed that we deviated from the norm of having a female lawyer lead, I liked the theme of staying with the FBI office and agents we met briefly in the last book.
I think that one of James strengths is her ability to really bring to life her secondary characters. Jordan’s genius twin brother Kyle was an absolute doll and so fun to read. I cracked up every time he made an appearance, and his back story of being the “Twitter Terrorist!” Absolutely hysterical. Junior Agent Huxley also stood out for me, as I tend to have a love for all things nerds, and he was the quintessential pocket protector type. I can only hope that James continues to stick with characters we know, and we can see more of these guys in the future. (There was a small note that the next book should be featuring Jordan’s brother Kyle!)
I am such a sucker for weddings, and contemporary romance, so when I saw this new author and book from Carina Press, I requested it immediately. I have to say, not only am I so glad that I got this book, it will probably be one of my favorite contemporary romances of the year!
Ivy is a wedding planner and a hopeless romantic. She believes wholeheartedly in love, and loves going to work every day doing the thing she loves: helping couples show and share their love through their wedding. When she finds out at the last minute that one of her brides will be on a sleezy reality show, she worries that her career as a respected wedding planner is down the drain. Instead, the network executives were so impressed with her they tap her to do her own wedding show.
Ivy never expected her one-night stand Ben to show up as her cameraman for the new show, especially after their disastrous and fabulous first date. But the more time they spend together, the more Ivy knows Ben is the one, and the more determined she is to make him fall in love with her. The only problem is that Ben is so jaded, he might not be able to stick it out, regardless of if he falls for her right back.
I can not say enough good things about this book. All of the things I loved the most about the Bride Quartet series by Nora Roberts: the friendship between co-workers, the elegant and amazing weddings, and the beautiful core romance were all just as fabulous in Barth’s story. Add in the playful writing and sexy interludes, and it was an all around incredible contemporary romance read.
One of the things I loved most about this book was Ivy’s unwavering belief in love. She was so optimistic, so set in her faith that love really can conquer all, and she lives her life to the fullest with that belief every day. Many times when heroines are so obsessed with love, they can come across as desperate, however Ivy was so genuine and sweet and caring and loving with every single person she came across, and it felt so refreshing for me while reading. I loved that she loved her job, that she treated each and every person she met with the utmost respect and care, and that she was just such a loveable heroine.
While Ben was a complete opposite in his beliefs, constantly quoting the divorce rate and all the horrors a wedding day can bring – bridezillas, heinous mother-in-laws, etc – he was also a romantic in disguise. He never seemed to realize that he was sweeping Ivy off her feet with every small and sweet gesture, every helpful hand, every supportive shoulder. He talked big about never wanting to fall in love, never wanting to get married, and yet his actions were always loving and caring and supportive toward Ivy, the exact opposite of his words. It was kinda sweet to see him be so clueless, and yet such a fabulous hero at the same time.
Their romance was great as well. It started off with a bang (literally) and after they knew they could heat up the sheets, Ivy backed off and tried so hard to get Ben to fall for her emotionally as well. the sexual tension that went along with their dates and interactions at work blew me away and had me giggling and smiling at every page. I absolutely adored their journey together and can’t wait to see more of them in future books as they settle more into their relationship.
The supporting cast of characters is absolutely AWESOME as well. I loved Ivy’s business partner and team, as well as the group of guys that Ben finds himself falling in with. I liked that Barth added male characters who were part of the wedding scene, and yet manly and strong hero material as well. I never thought I’d be so excited to read about a male cake decorator, but I am swooning for more of Sam!
All in all this was such a fabulous contemporary read. The hero and heroine are both deep and wonderful characters in their own right, and when brought together they light up the book. Their friends and family are wonderful supporting characters as well, and make for a wonderful foundation for a series I know will be at the top of my to-buy list. Contemporary romance fans need to go out and read this book immediately, I promise you won’t be disappointed. I give Planning for Love an A-(less)
I was so excited to read Donovan’s story, because I absolutely fell in love with him from the first book. However, this series has had quite a few bumpy moments over the past 4-5 books. While I went into this book optimistic, I was pretty annoyed with the end result.
Donovan has always had a soft spot for women and children. He does anything and everything he can to protect them every chance he gets. When Rusty introduces him to Eve, he knows he needs to help her, not because of the instant attraction, but because he can’t seem to keep his mind off her.
Eve is on the run, with her younger half brother and sister in tow. She is doing everything she can to keep them safe, but it’s getting harder and harder to run and keep their heads above water. Donovan and the Kelly family seem too good to be true, but Eve gets swept up in their generosity and kindness. But Eve’s past is quickly catching up with her, and Donovan might not be able to keep her safe from everything.
I think the biggest disappointment for me in this book was the insta-love between Donovan and Eve. I think they had barely known each other for 2 days before they were professing their undying love for one another. There wasn’t even the huge stakes and high intensity that comes along with many other romantic suspense books. Instead, other than a tornado that whips through Eve’s pathetic trailer, there is almost no suspense in the beginning or middle of this book. It made for a very slow reading pace.
I also struggled horribly with Eve’s character. I admired her for her desire to do anything in her power to keep her brother and sister safe. However, in every other aspect of her life, she was a little too meek. She let Donovan steamroll her into moving in with him, caring for the kids, and everything else. Although it seemed like she was pretty fierce before going on the run, it seemed like life really beat the spunk out of her before we get the chance to spend some time with her character.
My biggest problem with this book came toward the end when Eve and Donovan had their falling out. I thought Eve’s reason for losing faith in Donovan was totally unrealistic, especially since they had been so “in love” not only seconds before. Eve’s inability to hear exactly what was said, and then to misinterpret it so completely annoyed the crap out of me. I almost stopped reading at that point.
Despite my issues with the book, Banks continues to write secondary characters that absolutely blow me away. Every scene with Rocky and Sean was perfect. I love these two and am so excited for whenever they actually get their story. The new recruits to the KGI family are super intriguing as well. I can’t wait to read about Swanny, and I sincerely hope that Banks looks back to the first few books for inspiration to get this series back to the incredible roots it began with.
All in all I was pretty disappointed with Donovan’s book. I really wanted more for his character, especially since I have loved him for so long. I had a lot of problems with Eve’s character, and found her to be the weakest heroine in the series so far. I hated the insta-love relationship between Donovan and Eve, and thought it didn’t jive with the drama that drew them apart at the end. I am anxious to read the next book though, because Swanny stole my heart in this book. I give After the Storm a C-(less)
I fell in love with the KGI series within the first few chapters of the first book. However, I’ll admit that after reading book 4, I was super disappointed with Banks and the series direction. I’m not a fan of an author adding a paranormal element to a contemporary series, and didn’t even bother to read book 5. But when I saw that Banks was going to tell PJ and Cole’s story, I figured I would give the series a chance again, and I’m so glad I did.
PJ, the lone woman on the KGI team has also felt accepted and useful and part of the team. Her relationship with fellow sniper Cole was professional until the night he showed up at her dive bar and took them to the next level. Before PJ has the chance to process this new development, they are sent on a mission that goes so incredibly wrong – PJ’s life will never be the same again. She falls into a tailspin, and walks away from her KGI team without looking back.
Cole has never wanted anything more than PJ, and not being able to track her down has weighed heavily on him. When the KGI team realizes that PJ is hell bent on a course of revenge, Cole and the rest of the team will put themselves on the front line with her, regardless of the mission. But as things heat up and PJ and Cole get closer to their target, they also have to face the heat in their relationship, with the KGI team, and everywhere else in their chaotic lives.
I have to say that this book definitely feels like Banks is getting back to the roots of the KGI series. I can’t even begin to tell you how angry I was at the paranormal vibe, and now that we’ve left that behind and gotten back to the core suspense and romance plots, I’m much happier with the series and this book. If she continues with this path, I will definitely be picking up these books again from now on.
A short disclaimer for everyone: this book deals with a VERY difficult topic and situation. I usually like to keep my reviews spoiler free, but with this I think it’s important everyone know before they spend money on this book that Banks writes a very difficult scene to read, and a very sensitive topic all around: rape. It was ugly and horrific and incredibly difficult to read, and anyone who will be triggered negatively by that should seriously double think the purchase of this book.
The suspense in this book was off the charts, especially in the beginning as PJ went through the most horrific event possible. The stress of her then going off the grid, hunting after those who hurt her, and doing everything in her power to bring down the bad guy was intense. The book felt like it was non-stop action, with just a few moments of R&R for both PJ and the KGI team. But again, that seemed to bring the whole original feel of the series back, all action all the time, with just the right amount of romance thrown in.
Speaking of romance, I’m glad the way Banks handled everything. Given what PJ went through, it was nice that she and Cole were given the chance to have a tryst before, and that he was there to pick up the pieces after. And, I have to say that the way PJ and Cole went about their romance was great as well. They were already great friends, and one-time lovers, that foundation they had already built was a good starting block for them to just keep going. Cole supported PJ even as she had difficulties with intimacy, and he was the perfect gentleman throughout. If I wasn’t already half in love with Cole before this book, I would have easily fallen for him in this story.
The angst in this book is right up there with the first in the series, The Darkest Hour. With all the drama between PJ and Cole, PJ and her team, and her team and the KGI group as a whole, the story was all angst all the time. But, I loved it. Although I’m not usually one for overly angsty books, I thought it was the perfect combination of angst and drama and kick-ass.
All in all I’m so glad that I read this book, as I really felt like Banks went back to the roots of the KGI series. I loved the action and the drama and suspense, and felt like it was just the right mix of over-the-top storyline and credibility. The romance between PJ and Cole never felt forced, especially after all the trauma PJ went through, and for that I was grateful. I’m anxious to get back into the series and see what Banks has in store for us next. I give Shades of Gray a B(less)
MinnChica – I had some mixed feelings about Shane at first. Given Josie’s memories of the way he treated her and their marriage, and his inability to explain his actions, I was a little concerned he would be too much of an Alpha-Hole for me to enjoy. But I was wrong, he was so protective of Josie, and although he hurt he, he had the best intentions behind his actions, and he ended up being a wonderful hero. I also loved the way Zanetti was able to describe the enhanced abilities of Shane and his brother by showing the reader as Shane’s powers returned to him. We were able to learn all about the world as Shane recovered his memories and his abilities bit by bit. So fabulous!
E – Shane was very fascinating. I enjoyed his combination of special skills and insistence on finding out what had happened and why. I will admit to a soft spot for a hero with amnesia because I think with the alpha hero it provides a glimpse into their inner self and how they really feel. All of the filters and walls that usually conceal those thoughts and feelings have been removed by the amnesia. I did have a few moments of worry about Shane when certain pictures of Josie surfaced but I liked how that was eventually resolved. Shane with all of his alpha-ness proved that he really did love Josie and would do what it took to make her happy even if it meant going against his inclination to view her as soft and fragile.
Has – I also liked Shane, and I loved the fact that despite his leaving Josie for two years, he was always determined to win her back even though being with her would have been impossible and dangerous. I also had the same fears that he would overrule her because he was pretty alpha and determined but I liked that Josie stood her ground with him. I also like that Josie had the upperhand with Shane due to his amnesia and some of the issues they had when they first marriage such as the secrecy and over-protectiveness was tackled head-on which helped to cement their relationship. I also agree with MinnChica about the unveiling of Shane’s abilities and how the little clues were spread out throughout the book until the truth was laid out to Josie. I do like this premise and this was a great take on the whole super-soldier are genetically engineered.
2. Thoughts on the Heroine
MinnChica – I thought Josie was awesome as well. Poor thing was so desperate to have a family that she stayed married to a man that up and left her and stayed gone for over two years. That’s some dedication, and I loved her for it. I also liked that she didn’t allow Shane and his brothers to put her in the dark. That she demanded they let her into their world, and demanded a place in their family. She knew her limitations, didn’t do anything that would classify her as a TSTL heroine, and I liked that she found a balance between needing protection, and showing Shane that she could take care of herself.
E – Josie was also an intriguing character. She never really had a family of her own but was teased with the opportunity more than once growing up in foster homes. Unfortunately not all of the homes she was placed in were good homes so she learned not to depends on people because they either left or mistreated her. The one time she took a chance was with Shane and after they started building a life together he abruptly vanished. Despite her hurt and anger when he reappeared she could not abandon him. I really liked how she never quit fighting. If she wasn’t fighting for her independence from Shane she was fighting for full inclusion to his family or fighting for her life. Her actions shared that she could be warm and caring without being soft and fragile which was what Shane needed. She also shattered some preconceived notions held by Shane’s brothers.
Has – I also found Josie interesting and engaging, and I liked how people around her kept underestimated her for being weak or fragile and that helped her to get out of predicaments and scrapes. Although I found some scenes when it was too convenient or lucky because while she did have some training due to Shane, it was brief and she also gave up on it after she left. But I enjoyed her stubbornness and resourcefulness and I liked her interactions with Shane’s brothers who she won over. The theme of family and loyalty was very strong in the book and this really helped to highlight both the brothers yearning to keep their family safe and Josie’s desire for one of her own helped to add a layer of warmth which made me relate to them.
3. Favorite Scene
MinnChica – Oh man…. This is a tough one. There were so many things I really liked about this book. I think for me, the one scene that stood out in my mind was when Josie was eavesdropping on Shane and his brothers conversation about their history and what they had been up to. Although Josie knew about Shane’s super hearing, she still tried to be all stealthy-like, and at the same time both Shane and his brothers knew she was there. Shane demanded that his brothers answer truthfully and fully as a way to prove to all of them that he was in it for the long haul, in both his marriage and his family. To me, it was a pivotal scene for both the romance between Shane and Josie, as well as the overall story arc. Plus, Zanetti added a little bit of humor to lighten the somber mood.
E – MinnChica picked a great scene there but I think I am going to pick the scene when Shane first realized that Josie could and would fight. Some pictures of Josie spanning about three or so years were discovered under circumstances that made Shane look really bad. Josie knew that something wasn’t right and given the secrets Shane kept during their brief marriage she could only guess the problem was Shane. She did what she needed to temporarily disable Shane and ran to the police. I liked this scene because it showed that Josie wasn’t stupid and that she was strong enough to figure out how to hold her own. Those two traits really came in handy throughout the remainder of the story.
Has – The scene which MinnChica picked is also my favourite because it was the turning point for their relationship and opened up the trust between Shane and Josie. I think my other favourite scene has to be the first love scene between Josie and Shane, that was smoking hot and steamy and it also helped to set up the tension because there was still issues but it was very well done.
4. Dislike about book
MinnChica – Hmmm, I’m trying to think of things I disliked in this book. Other than Shane in the beginning, there wasn’t much I didn’t like. The world was unique and different, and reminded me a little of the Ava Gray Skin series. I was absolutely thrown for a loop with a lot of the twists and turns that Zanetti threw into the story, especially towards the end with people that Josie thought she could trust.
E – I don’t have any complaints about this story. The twists and turns kept me intrigued and I loved the ongoing tension between Shane and Josie.
Has – While I liked the main suspense plot, which was unexpected in the twists and turns and I liked how that turned out. I was a tad disappointed in the villians linked with Shane and his brothers. I especially found one character a bit too cartoony and I dont think it made sense this person would be in a position of power especially funded by powerful high-placed people would allow them to have full sway over the super-soldier programme. That was a bit of a let down for me.
5. Any other misc. thoughts along with grade
MinnChica – All in all I really liked the first in the Sins Brothers series. I loved the set up with Shane and his brothers, working to get revenge on the people who raised them. Their past is unraveling to be so different and horrific, and I can’t wait to get more snippets from their childhood. I loved the romance between Josie and Shane, especially because of the second chance aspects, and the fact that although Josie was still head-over-heels for Shane, she made him work at earning her trust once again. I’m so excited for the brothers to get their stories, and to find out more about the world.
I give Forgotten Sins a B+/A-
E – Zanetti has been an auto-buy author for me since I read her first book when it was released back in 2011. Her world and characters captivated me and she has maintained her grasp across three different romance subgenres. Forgotten Sins was no exception. I fell in love with Josie and Shane from the very beginning. Josie’s strength and yet vulnerability. Shane’s amnesia, special skills, and determination to keep and protect Josie. I also had a blast with Shane’s brothers and how they struggled to deal with the reality of Josie instead of their mental image of women. I am really looking forward to Zanetti’s future stories with the Sins Brothers.
I give Forgotten Sins an A-
Has – This was my first Zanetti book, and I wished I picked a book of hers much sooner, because she has a great voice and I loved the dynamics between the brothers and the romance with Shane and Josie. While I wasn’t keen on one character, the premise and on-going story threads has definitely left me wanting for the next book. Forgotten Sins was pacey, fun and very sexy romantic suspense with an unexpected plot that went into different directions – I am hooked!
Many of you may already know that I am obsessed with Sports Romance books. I love them. I go out of my way to find them, and I gobble them up whenever I get the chance. Susan Elizabeth Philips Chicago Stars, Rachel Gibson’s Chinooks Hockey Team, Carly Phillips’ Hot Zone and Jaci Burton’s Play by Play are amongst my favorites. I’ve recently added Kate Angell’s Richmond Rogues Series to the list. If you have any others that you love, PLEASE… let me know!!
I received the first book in her series as a freebee from Kobo (I think…) and after reading through the first one, immediately bought books two through four. The 2nd book in the series, Curveball was by far my favorite, and so fun to read. It follows the three all stars of the “Bat Pack” who are the hardest hitting all stars of their team. They work hard, they play hard, and they party hard.
The three guys: Psycho, Romeo and Chaser start off the book on a suspension for in team fighting, and have to deal with the hardest sentence of all, sitting out of the first few weeks of the season. But as these guys struggle with their suspension, they all also have to deal with the introduction of each of their lucky ladies. And let me tell you, they all have a wild ride ahead of them!
Psycho is a nudist, and with the recent purchase of his home, has been hounded to renovate it to its former glory. Enter Keely, the down on her luck designer who weasels her way into the role of Psycho’s designer. As they work side by side restoring his home, they also find a way to heal both of their souls. I really enjoyed the story between these two. They were both from somewhat disadvantaged childhoods, and yet they found a way to really come together and find comfort and a home within each other. I loved Psycho, and I thought that Keely fit him perfectly.
Romeo is the smooth talker in the group. He never has a problem with women, and they tend to fawn all over him. When he tried to apologize to Emerson, female reporter, he finds himself smitten with the one woman who didn’t instantly fall at his feet. Romeo for the first time ever has to chase after a woman he wants, and is constantly thrown by the fact that Emerson doesn’t fall easily. I loved the slow build of their relationship and the way that Romeo had to fight to prove to Emerson that she was exactly what he wanted. The slow and tension filled build of their relationship was so fun to watch unfold.
Chaser is the more subdued of the Bat Pack. His lifelong best friend Jen is home for good, and after one almost kiss, the two realize that there might be more between them. Jen wants to settle down, and Chaser tries to set her up on date after date, putting himself through hell as he watches her date other men. I’m a HUGE fan of friends to lovers stories, and Chaser and Jen got the least amount of page time, which was a disappointment to me. These two danced around each other, not sure if the other would be committed to taking their relationship to the next level, yet dying on the inside watching each other date the wrong people. I wish we could have had more of them, but it was easy to see just how easily they were able to fall in love.
The only thing that disappointed me about Curveball was the length. It was somewhat short for a novel that tells three romance stories in one. Although I was completely satisfied with the progression of each of the Bat Pack’s journey to love, I wish there would have been more.
I was really looking forward to this book, it had hockey and a porn theme, what more could a girl want? However, this book started really slow for me, and never really seemed to pick up.
Austin is struggling to define his sexuality. Between playing hockey and living with gay couples, Austin is bombarded with extremes from both sides of the spectrum. When he takes home a few gay videos in hopes that it’ll help him figure out what he wants once and for all, he’s surprise at how attracted he is to a dominant, Puck.
Liam likes his work as Puck, but meeting Austin is throwing him off his game. Austin is everything that Liam has wanted, but given the age difference and Austin’s confusion, Liam is determined not to push. But when both Austin and Liam can no longer deny what’s going on between them, will either one be able to step up and take their relationship to the next level.
I really struggled to get into this book. I thought it was slow in the beginning, especially since we didn’t even get the chance to meet Liam until almost a third of the way into the book. Austin’s struggle with defining himself was a key factor in the entire book, but I would have liked to see Liam get involved a little bit sooner than he did.
I thought Austin’s involvement with his college hockey team was one of the best aspects of this story, along with his relationship with his roommates. I liked the way the brash, rude, and misogynistic players contrasted with Austin’s roommates who were all content within their own (sometimes kinky) skin. It added another dimension to Austin’s struggle with figuring out his place in the world, and I liked the way he was able to lean on his roommates, and stand up to his teammates. Those two aspects were probably my favorite of the whole book.
While I really wanted to love the romance between Austin and Liam, I just struggled getting into it. Because Austin struggled to define himself, he came across as a bigot and a jerk more often than not. Once he finally got to the point where he felt okay asking for what he wanted, I lost most of my interest in his as a character. And while I started off really liking Liam, there was one scene where his character made a decision that annoyed me. Like with Austin, once it happened, I was over Liam and his attitude, and at that point didn’t really seem to care one way or the other for either of them.
All in all, while Belleau is a wonderful writer, and her plot always seem so interesting, I found myself having a hard time getting into this book. I wanted to love Austin and Liam and cheer them on as they discovered their place together, but unfortunately I just couldn’t connect with either of them. I give Straight Shooter a C-(less)
MinnChica: Ever since I read the first Ashley book, I’ve been hooked by her alpha heroes. While the Colorado series is far from my favorite of her’s, I was anxious to dive back into any one of her books and get that special dose of badass alpha hero and snarky heroine that I’ve come to love. While this wasn’t my favorite book by Ashley, it had a lot of wonderful and special moments!
Has: I am also a Kristen Ashley Addict, and I really like the Colorado series which is one of my favourite series of hers. I was looking forward to this one because I love the setting and the premise sounded great. However, I found myself feeling lukewarm over this installment and I think it was due to feeling disconnected to the plot and the characters. Although I am with MinnChica, about some of the good scenes, the book didn’t win me over and I was disappointed because I think the Colorado series is one of Ashley’s strongest series.
MinnChica: I liked Zara, a lot actually. She is the kind of heroine that I’ve come to love and respect from Ashley. She is strong and funny and at times a little insecure. Yet, when life kicked her down, she was ready to fight to get back on track. She didn’t wallow in despair because she lost her business, her marriage, and her house. She picked up the meager pieces of her life and started over again, with the understanding that she would still hope and dream for what she really wanted. I loved that about Zara. But for me, I just couldn’t connect with Ham the same way. His character felt contrived and flat. While I love the alpha-hole heroes that Ashley is known for, I’d like to see her break that mold just once!
Has: Oh I totally agree with you about Zara! She was the highlight in the book, but I honestly felt that Ham was the weakest aspect of the plot because he did feel one dimensional. I also didn’t like how the set-up for their romance began. While he had all the hallmarks of an Ashley alpha hero, he never had that magic or spark. I also didn’t find his feelings for Zara that believable because their romance had no tension. I also wish that Ashley could break out and write a beta, geeky or even a gamma type hero for a change as well because I am getting tired of the same type of heroes. I think I am fatigued with the same archetype heroes, and that is affecting my enjoyment of her recent books, which the last couple haven’t really blew me away. While I like she has a certain style which definitely has the crack factor, Jagged never lived up to that element for me.
MinnChica: I couldn’t agree more. Ham just felt so empty as a character. Another aspect of Ashley’s book that has started to really get on my nerves is the way her characters speak. Dialogue is a big part of her books, and while I can forgive the motorcycle books for having a lot of slang, I’m starting to realize that each and every character talks the same way. Male, female, lawyers, bartenders, they all have the same speech patterns, same inflection, same “ghetto” speak. I’m finding it more and more difficult to enjoy the dialogue when each character sounds the same.
Has: I agree. It was especially glaring here because Zara and most of the supporting characters had the same speech patterns. It was hard to distinguish sometimes between Ham and Zara because they spoke so similarly and I found it confusing at times. I think it just added to my disconnection and the one dimensional element of the story that made Jagged a very meh read for me.
I also felt the main plot with Zara’s family was not believable, especially about a long lost nephew and the estrangement she had with her father who was so over the top crazy that he became a caricature of a villain. Usually the Kristen Ashley’s plots are enjoyable but I just found this to be really weak and uninspiring.
MinnChica: I agree that the sub-plot with Zara’s family was a little over-the-top on the ridiculous scale. It wasn’t an aspect that I particularly enjoyed. I’m beginning to feel as if many of Ashley’s books are just recycled from previous storylines she’s already written. It’s unfortunate to say, but also unfortunately true.
All in all I wasn’t all that impressed by Jagged. I felt as if the only really saving grace was Zara. Ham felt like an interchangeable hero that could have been any other hero she’s written. Between the language and dialogue problems of this book, and the recycled storyline, I struggled to enjoy this book. I give Jagged a C
Has: I felt the same way, overall I felt very meh on this book and I really didn’t want to feel like that because I always look forward to her releases. Although there were some fun scenes which are classic Ashley, the romance was lackluster and Ham was uninteresting to me despite Zara having promise as a character. The main plot which was tied up in a neat bow at the end was not believable or that intriguing. I felt disconnected to the story and the characters.
I love the Fool’s Gold series, it’s one of my favorite contemporary romance series, and I absolutely adore all things Susan Mallery.
Patience loves living in Fool’s Gold, can’t imagine ever living anywhere else. She had a normal childhood, except for the time her best friend Justice suddenly disappeared without a word, or a trace. When Patience finds out Justice has returned to Fool’s Gold, and discovers his history in witness protection, they resume their friendship as if nothing had ever come between them. Except now, they are both adults and able to act on the attraction that has been simmering for years.
Justice always loved Patience. As a boy, he loved her innocence and pure outlook on life. As a man, he can appreciate her personality, her beauty and everything else he remembered about her. As much as Justice wants to be able to keep Patience as his own, his past is one that he doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to outrun. But when life catches up with them both, love might be the only thing that can save them.
I adored this story. I always worry that with long standing series like this, the books can start to get old and feel recycled. However, this book felt fresh and new and I am so excited about this new trilogy, especially since we’ve already met the heroes. After I finished this book, I wanted to forsake my TBR pile and glom onto the next two books in this series.
I really liked the idea of Justice being in the witness protection program, and how that played such a huge role in this book, and his life. I loved that he became a bodyguard, and really devoted his life to saving others, like the US Marshall’s did for him. I just wish that Justice would have been able to see that his genetics didn’t make up the man he was. He really let his father determine who he was, how he identified himself. I hated that for him, because everyone else besides him was able to see just how incredible of a man he turned out to be.
I thought Patience was wonderful. If I could choose the kind of best friend to have, it would be someone like Patience. She was so down-to-earth and fun and loyal. She loved Justice from the moment they first met, and she never really stopped. She was dedicated to her friends, standing behind them one hundred percent. Even when she wasn’t sure she wanted to make a new friend, she was able to look past the surface and see down into the individual. She is the kind of romance heroine I love reading about. Seemingly perfect in every way, and yet the kind of woman who didn’t let it go to her head, or make her any less loveable.
The romance between these two was somewhat subdued. Their sexual relationship starts off with a bang, and although they both kid themselves that it’s just physical and nothing more, it was obvious to me that the two of them fell pretty much in love the minute they laid eyes on each other as adults. They beat around the bush and tried to convince themselves it wasn’t the real deal, and yet there was never a moment I didn’t believe these two wouldn’t make it.
All in all this is another fabulous romance in the Fool’s Gold series. I love Mallery’s writing, and I think this installment is one of the better ones in the series as a whole. I am so anxious to read the next few books in the series, as I think the heroes are all going to be badasses, and the heroines sweet and fun. This book has rekindled my love for this series!
I am an absolute sucker for small town contemporary romances, and when the fairly new-to-me Roxanne St. Claire’s contemporary was posted on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read and review this book. I’ve only read a few things by her, but everytime I put down one of her books, I immediately want to pick up another.
Lacey lost her entire life in a hurricane and is forced to start over with her teenage daughter. Her lifelong dream of building a B&B on her grandparents land finally seems within her grasp. She wants none other than Clayton Walker to design and build it. However, she wasn’t expecting the younger Clay Walker to show up on her beach half naked and looking undeniably sexy.
Clay needs a second chance to get his life back, and the project with Lacey seems to be the best way to get that second chance. But as he begins working closely with her to get the B&B underway, Clay realizes that there is more to life than just work. But with the zoning issues on the island, Clay’s family drama, and an unexpected visitor from Lacey’s past, will she and Clay be able to build more than just a B&B?
I loved and adored this book. I couldn’t put it down, didn’t want to put it down! It was such a fun and lighthearted and super sexy read. This would be the perfect book to curl up with under the sun on the beach (or in the bathtub). One of the things that appealed to me the most in this story was the side relationships between Lacey and her best friends, Lacey and her daughter Ashley, and even Ashley and her father and Clay. St. Claire does a wonderful job of creating real and life-like situations between her characters, and those interactions were so wonderful to read. I’m super excited that we will get to see more and more of Lacey and her BFFs, especially since they were all so well developed, with their secrets and dreams.
I also thought that Lacey’s relationship with her teenage daughter was super realistic. I don’t have any kids, but my siblings are still teenagers, and I could absolutely relate to Ashley and her mannerisms and attitude in this book. I thought that St. Claire did an incredible job portraying the teen. I also really liked the differences in the dynamics between Ashley’s relationship with her mother, her absentee father who shows back up for a short period of time, and even Clay. Bravo!
I would have liked to get a little more alone time with Lacey and Clay, since it seemed like the time they had together was spent half on the page and half off. That being said, I loved their interplay together. They joked and laughed and shared so many little details with each other that it was easy to feel their connection. Although they both kept some pretty big secrets (well, really Clay kept the big secrets), he was also the kind of hero that you could tell felt every emotion deeply. His drawings of the future had me almost in tears. So sweet and romantic and beautiful!
I am anxious to see how this series progresses. It reminded me a lot of Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor series in that the relationship between the heroines is a close one, with plenty of fun sexy times thrown in. I can’t wait to find out why Jocelyn is so scared to see her father, the backstory of Eve and her married doctor… I just know that St. Claire is going to rock the rest of the series, especially if this first book is any indication.
All in all I can’t say enough good things about this book. It was such a lighthearted read. It put a smile on my face for hours and I am so anxious to dive back into these characters to see where life takes them next. Fans of Jill Shalvis, Carly Phillips and Susan Mallery will definitely want to check out this series! I give Barefoot in the Sand an A!(less)
MinnChica: I adored Jessica Clare (and all her pen names). I think her writing is fun and sexy and flirty and I know I’m always in for a good read. While I was a little hesitant to read about another billionaire, I loved Logan and his band of billionaire brothers. I’m so excited about this series overall, and am anxious for the next installment. Both Logan and Bronte were great fun to read, and this story was a light, fabulous read.
Has: I also adored the book! I loved that it was fun and sexy and no deep and dark angst in sight of the plot or even the BDSM overtones which so many billionaire heroes seem to be into these days. I also definitely enjoyed the banter and sexy tension between Logan and Bronte and it felt so refreshing – in a lot ways, Stranded with a Billionaire made me fall in love with this trope all over again! And the beginning when they were both left behind after the evacuation off the island and which the attraction between them sparked off in a fun way. But I really enjoyed it when Bronte learned about Logan’s real profession and wealth and it was an interesting conflict which she has to learn to cope and accept and I felt that was realistic.
MinnChica: I loved the beginning as well. When they were stuck together in the elevator then the stairwell was just too cute and perfect. I liked that it gave them the chance to get to know one another on a fairly intimate level so quickly. And since Logan kept his real profession quiet for a bit, it gave them a chance to go into a relationship with no preconceived notions about one another. It was a perfect setup for them, and I loved it. Of course, once Logan came clean and Bronte learned the truth, watching her have to deal with fitting into his lifestyle was great as well!
Has: This what I really enjoyed about the plot and characterisation so much, Bronte and Logan were really into each other but because of their perceived pre-conceptions or past hang-ups which in the case of Logan, who had an ex who was a gold-digger – he was reluctant to open up and be vulnerable. But I liked that Jessica Clare explored this element realistically especially with Bronte being afraid as a kept woman and wanting to be more. Usually this aspect in this trope is glossed over or used as a major conflict but Logan and Bronte realised this was not an obstacle to block their relationship. I liked how they took things slow and dated which helped to focus on their issues. I also liked how she used her philosophy degree and quotes to comment on things around her, and that really added a fun layer in the tone of the story.
MinnChica: I loved the little philosophy tidbits, I thought they added a little extra something special to the story. I thought it was such a different billionaire book than what has recently hit the market. Logan is insecure about his wealth and the way that makes people react around him. Bronte is scared she will never be able to fit into Logan’s perfect classy world. They have dirty sexy, but it’s super hot and mostly vanilla. I loved it, like Has said, it made me enjoy the billionaire trope all over again. One other thing I thought was great was the was that Clare showed just how close the brotherhood was between Logan and his friends. I adored seeing that!
Has: That was another aspect I loved – the brotherhood with Logan’s friends and they all offered something different, like Hunter who is the next hero in the sequel – the scarred and silent type and I am really looking forward to his book and his heroine, Gretchen, who is Bronte’s room-mate.
I think what I liked so much about this book, it really focused on the romance, and it didn’t get bogged down with the angst which can be a good thing but I am finding that it can also overpower the story and it doesn’t feel fresh anymore. But Stranded with a Billionaire was such a fun and sexy filled story with humour and I really missed that element in contemporary romance.
MinnChica: I am so excited for Hunter and Gretchen!! They were both such amazing supporting characters, and I can’t wait to see how they get their happily ever after! All in all I loved this book. I thought it was a wonderful new direction to take the billionaire trope, and got me excited to read more. I loved how Bronte and Logan took the time to work on their relationship after everything fell to pieces, and how dedicated they were to being able to live in each other’s lives. I can’t wait for the next book in the series. This book just reaffirmed my love for all things Jessica Clare!
I give Stranded with a Billionaire an A-
Has: Stranded with a Billionaire has reignited my love of the billionaire hero because it was refreshing, sexy and fun and I loved the delightful tension between Bronte and Logan which never deviated into forced angst. I also adored the supporting characters who will feature in upcoming sequels and promises this series will be entertaining and lively as well as refreshing with the billionaire hero trope. This was a book, which made me want to snuggle my e-reader with a smile because the romance was so enjoyable and I can’t wait for the followup as well!
I also give Stranded with a Billionaire an A-(less)
Publisher: Forever Publish Date: March 29, 2011 How I got this book: ARC from Mandi – Smexybooks
I just want to start by saying that Mandi from SmexyBooks is my blogging hero. She writes amazing reviews, is so fun to chat with, and always sends me fun books! When she offered to send me a preview of Ford, I jumped up and down, checked my mail twenty times a day, and gobbled it up the night it arrived. The second installment in the Lucky Harbor Series was amazing, and I so cannot wait for Shalvis to finish writing more!
Tara has finally started to find her place in Lucky Harbor, not only for herself but also with her sisters. She is starting to be happy, and the amazing and incredible Ford wants to try and win her back. The two have a long history together, and Ford just isn’t done with her yet. But when Tara’s ex-husband is back in town, wanting to reconnect, Tara will have to find them both off with a stick.
Thinks keep getting more and crazier when Tara’s past comes walking in the door, looking for a relationship. Soon her quiet little life turns up on end and she must come to terms with what will really make her happy.
I absolutely loved this story, everything about it. It was amazing and perfect and I just can’t say enough wonderful and fabulous things about Shalvis. I have yet to pick up a book of hers and NOT love it. I really enjoyed the start of the Lucky Harbor series, and was anxiously waiting to find out more about Tara. She intrigued me with her seemingly perfect life that was far from it. Having to watch a heroine grow and change can be such an incredibly journey, and Tara’s was one of the best.
The ever changing dynamic and relationship between Tara and her sisters is one of my favorite aspects of this series. Having three sisters who were not raised together and coming to find their balance within a trio is so fun to watch. Each finding their own way in their new life, with their new loves, with running a business and still finding time to form the foundations of sisterhood is just amazing. I love their constant bickering, the make ups, and the realization that they will always have each other’s backs, regardless.
My second favorite part is Ford. Damn that man is fabulous. He was everything you expect in a romance hero: sexy, smart, understanding, demanding, caring, funny… An all around fabulous guy. He was so patient with Tara, and yet pushy when he knew she needed it. The chemistry between the two was smoking, but the history there just added to all the tension and intensity. I love that they were given the chance to face their past and move forward.
The love triangle between Tara, Ford and her ex-husband was great as well. The way the town reacted to it had me laughing out loud, it was great. I was happy with Tara’s decision and thought that Shalvis wrote it in a way that was exceptionally well done.
I am now anxiously waiting the next installment, Head over Heels, Chloe and Sawyers story. I’m such it’ll be just as amazing as the last two!
All in all, I give The Sweetest Thing an A! (less)
I have been a longtime fan of Burton, and when she started this series, my inner sports fanatic jumped up and down in glee. I was a little hesitant about reading a stock car racing book, only because I don’t understand the sport, nor do I have any desire to. But my love of all things Play-by-Play won and I gobbled this the second it hit my doorstep.
Gray is the son of a senator, and found out the hard way that the life he wanted didn’t fit into the mold his parents had in mind for him. But his love of racing won out and he became extremely successful following his dream. Now that his father has been named as the vice-presidential candidate, the sexy Evelyn shows up at his doorstep, expecting him to be ready and willing to endorse his father to rally the southern vote.
Evelyn has always had to prove herself in the male-driven political arena. The one thing she will not accept is failure, especially from Gray. She is intrigued by the son of her boss, and although she is attracted to him, is reluctant to get involved with him. Evelyn’s one goal is to get Gray to back her father’s campaign, but along the way she realizes there is more to Gray than she knew, and she falls easily for him.
I have to say, this is not my favorite book in the series, by far. I had a difficult time getting into the racing aspect of the book, and never really understood the appeal of it. Aside from that, I had some problems with the way that Gray and his family reacted toward one another, especially after some pretty scary ordeals.
I did like both Gray and Evelyn as our hero and heroine, and their romance was very well done. I liked that Gray was so laid back and easy going, and the small group of friends he has intrigued me from when we first met them in the last book. I was anxious to see how he would react to falling in love, and Gray didn’t disappoint. I love when heroes fall hard, and Gray was no exception.
I loved Evelyn, I thought she was an extremely strong character and fabulous heroine. She was successful in her career with aspirations to go even further. She felt so strongly for both Gray and his father, and she wanted so much to be able to reunite them, despite being told not to meddle. She took her job seriously, and I loved that Burton made her out to be a strong and successful heroine in her own right. I hope that we get to see more of Evelyn in future books, as I think she might be the best heroine to date. Maybe…
Like I said earlier, I had big problems with the way Gray and his family treated one another. I get that there were some hurt feelings over the horrible things they said to one another, but I didn’t really understand how Gray could be left in the dark surrounding some big issues with his father, especially given the fact that his father was a senator. That his mother and sister kept secrets as well didn’t make sense to me either, they wanted to reunite the two as well, so the secrets were kind of a big deal between them. I just didn’t like the way this was handled.
All in all I enjoyed this book. I really liked Gray as a hero, and Evelyn was a fantastic heroine. As always, Burton can be counted on to write sexy and fun relationships, and she never disappoints on that front. I am especially excited to be going back to a sport I’m really excited about for the next book: hockey.
HOLY CRAP! Ilona & Gordon Andrews do it again. Magic Bleeds is the 4th installment of the awesome Kate Daniels series. When we last left Kate, her relationship with Curran was about to take a turn. Kate promised Curran a naked dinner date, and we started our journey from there. Due to a misunderstanding, the first portion of the book leads fans on an emotional rollercoaster as Kate goes through the difficulties of sorting out her feelings.
Kate quickly gets assigned a crazy case full of rapid spreading diseases, crowds of hysteria, and influential people all around town ending up dead. Kate must work quickly to discover the villain, fight for a relationship with Curran, and take on a new foe who will bring her that much closer to her destiny: taking out the big bad Roland.
Since starting my countdown more than a month ago for this book, I honestly did a little dance at the bookstore when I got a call it came in. I rushed home, and read it cover to cover in one sitting. It definitely does NOT disappoint. This book has everything Urban Fantasy fans love: plenty of fighting, crazy villains, and a love story to die for.
Kate’s new adversary in this book is, in my opinion, the best villain to date. This mysterious person comes on the scene trailing death and destruction. Once Kate unravels the history behind the new foe, the story becomes so much more intense and a little heart breaking. The connection between these two took me completely by surprise, and that is something that does not happen to me often. The fights between these two are well matched, well played, and described in a way that lets the reader into a front row seat at the ring.
The dialog and interchange between Kate and her cast of supporting characters will never cease to amaze me. Andrews’ writing is a great combination of wit, jokes, and seriousness. The one liners had me laughing out loud, and the depth of emotion had me sometimes crying. Although I would have liked to see more of the “boy wonder” also known as Derek, I thoroughly enjoyed Kate taking on a pet (something she swore never to do), who frequently provided comedic relief throughout. Andrea, Raphael, Jim, and Dali are all back for more, but seem to take more of a back seat role.
I enjoyed the fact that this book really focused on two main aspects: the relationship between Kate & Curran (and can we say HOT HOT HOT!) and the fight between Kate and the villain. The budding romance for Kate & Curran really takes center stage, and I love that Andrews’ makes the two of them so real. They get into arguments, they get pissed at each other, they pick fights, and at the end of the day, the make a decision to try and make it work and they stick to it. It’s real, it’s gritty, and it’s fabulous written.
This book DOES NOT disappoint.
All in all, I give Magic Bleeds 5 out of 5 Beast Lords. (less)
When I first read the blurb of this book, I was hooked. While I love my wolf shifters, there aren’t enough cats in the PNR world, so I was stoked to see something new. I loved the spin Tyler put on this book, and am anxiously waiting for more!
When Landon is pulled in the middle of a mission and sent to DC, he isn’t happy about his new assignment. Getting to work with Ivy was nice, but he wasn’t sure he was ready to be a glorified babysitter. But once Landon got to see some of Ivy’s cat skills in person, his interest in his new top-secret job spiked, and not just because of his super sexy partner.
Ivy loves her work, but her luck in partners has been piss-poor. She is hesitant with Landon, but as they spend more and more time together, Ivy realizes that Landon is not only a great guy, but an incredible partner. Their first couple of missions together will test them more than either expected. Not just professionally, but personally as well.
There was so much to love in this book. First was the twist on the standard shapeshifter that Tyler created in her world. Ivy can’t shift into a cat, instead, her DNA shares some of the same attributes of the big cat and as such she has cat-like abilities. Think night vision, enhanced hearing and smell, the ability to heal faster, claws, and the agility to land on her feet. She isn’t a human and a cat sharing the same body, instead she benefits from the boost her cat DNA gives her. I loved that it was such a fun and neat twist, and I loved every second of it!
The other aspect I really enjoyed was the way Tyler did such a great job combining a paranormal romance with a romantic suspense. Much of this book felt like a really great RS book, complete with training scenarios, insane missions, and camaraderie between the characters. I loved the way Ivy and Landon had to not only find a way to work together given Landon’s dislike in his new job and Ivy’s lack of faith in her partners, but they also had to find a way to fit in within the overall organization they work for. The animosity between the humans and elite shifters was off the charts, and finding the perfect balance with each other and the greater team at large were such fun dynamics to read about.
Tyler did a great job introducing secondary characters that I can’t wait to find out more about. I adored all of Landon’s teammates from his special forces unit, and I really hope that they will have the chance to pop up again in future books. I also loved the greater team of shifters that Landon and Ivy worked with. I can’t wait to find out what happens with each and every person, and I hope that Tyler has success with this series so that I can watch them all get their happily ever afters!
There wasn’t much not to love in this book. For me, the beginning was a bit slow, and the end was a tad far-fetched, but I loved it either way. It wasn’t anything that pulled me out of the story, or caused me to slug through with the reading.
All in all, I thought Tyler has an amazing first book in the X-Ops series. I loved Ivy and Landon, and thought their sexual chemistry was so intense and off the charts. The secondary character, the romance, and the suspense were all top-notch! I will be anxious to get my hands on the next book in the series! I give Her Perfect Mate an A-(less)
MinnChica: Oh Becca! You poor, sweet thing. I love the idea of her having to crawl back to her former lover, after almost destroying his entire life, because she is now on the run. I love the idea of having to face the fact that she screwed up big time before, and having to ask the one man she loves for help, and tell him she was wrong. I thought she had some major balls, crawling back to Jarrett, and also accepting his wrath with the right amount of humility and spunk.
Lou: I really liked and admired Becca. She kept a cool head when her life was in danger, and had the guts to go back to the man that she loved—and betrayed—for help and protection. But when it came to close contact with Jarrett and sex, all that logical thinking of hers went out the window. They were both each other’s weakness.
E: Becca had such a rough time of it; betrayed as a child, living a life of constant lies, betrayed once more, and left trusting her life to the man she betrayed. I loved how she was determined to figure out who betrayed her team and would do anything to get revenge. I also thought the way she continually pushed the boundaries Jarrett imposed a very telling sign of her personality. As much as I liked Becca, I also felt sorry for her because she was so steeped in lies and betrayal she had a hard time believing anyone but she was also willing to question if things weren’t quite adding up.
2. Thoughts on Hero
MinnChica: Although Jarrett comes across as a bit of an asshat at first, I really felt for the poor guy. For someone who never let anyone in, he fell hard for Becca. To find out she was just infiltrating his life was a huge blow to his ego. Watching him struggle with finding ways to punish her was both hard and funny. I hated the way he treated her at times, and yet when we were allowed into his mind, and saw how much he struggled with NOT loving her, it was bittersweet.
Lou: I really enjoyed Jarret’s character. Yes, he could be an ass at times but considering his girlfriend betrayed him and sent him to prison, I gave the guy a break. Like Minn mentioned, Jarret struggled with keeping an emotional distance from Becca. It was clear from the start it was an impossible task for him. A lot of Jarret’s murky past was told but I never got a super dangerous or calculating vibe from him. But I liked that he’s now on the straight and narrow, and I loved the friendship he had with Wade and Sebastian. Loved the bromance going on!
E: Jarrett *sigh* poor wounded, secretive, broody, and so much fun. At first I was prepared to feel sympathy for him but then I wondered how Dimon was going to redeem him enough so I could believe him as a hero. Boy did she manage to play with my emotions as I alternated between loving him and wanting him to pull his head out and see what was happening. He was so emotionally torn and had a legitimate reason to distrust Becca but as I started to see what was going on in his head and some significant incidents of his past I became firmly on his side regardless of his occasional idiocy.
3. Favorite Scene
MinnChica: Oh man… there were a lot of really good sexy ones, but I think the one I liked best would probably have to be the big standoff between Becca, one of her co-workers, Jarrett, and his business associate and lawyer. It gave the reader the chance to see just how far Becca would go for Jarrett, just how much the side romance between Wade and Elijah had developed, and another side to Sebastian. It was such a pivotal scene for everyone, and I loved the tension!
Lou: The sex scenes were super hawt. Like, really hawt. I especially loved that we saw m/m action. I adored Wade and I can’t wait for him to have his book. I hope he gets his book, though I’m not 100% sure on Eli. He broke Wade’s heart *sobs*
E: So I have to say that the drawback of adding your thoughts last is sometimes an earlier commentator takes the scene you were going to choose. In this case BOTH MinnChica and Lou grabbed my scenes. I LOVED the standoff because it really showed just how deeply a couple of individuals had begun to care about others. I also thought the m/m secondary relationship was very well done and I have hopes. I really want to see those two work through their issues and watch Eli perform a massive grovel.
MinnChica: Like I said before, Jarrett was a bit of an asshat in the way he treated Becca in the beginning, and I had a hard time liking him at first. He used sex as a way to try and punish her, and sometimes that came across as degrading. However, like I said, when we got to see into his thought process, it was all understandable. It was just a little difficult to get through at first.
Lou: Jarrest was an asshat at times, like Minn mentions, but I think he and Becca were on the same wavelength at times when it came to sex. I suppose my only dislike was that I thought Eli was sometimes whiny, especially towards Becca. I’m guessing he’s Wade’s HEA but I hope he stops whining and controls that childish temper of his because he hurt Wade pretty badly with his carelessness. I love Wade. Wade needs his heart mended!
E: I struggled a little bit believing the unexpected support Becca, Eli, and Jarrett received at the end. I didn’t quite buy the motivation given the behavior of that individual through most of the story. I am being deliberately vague so I don’t go into detail about what I consider a major spoiler. It was enjoyable I just wish I had noticed more of a transition.
5. Misc. Thoughts and Grade
MinnChica: All in all, I thought Dimon had an amazing first book in a sexy new series. I loved all the secondary characters, especially Wade and Sebastian. I can’t wait to see how Wade’s relationship with Elijah develops throughout the series, and what’s in store for Sebastian next. This book was super sexy, and had lots of intrigue. I can’t wait to read the next one! I give Mercy a B+
Lou: Mercy was a sexy romance with hawt smexing that was so engaging on an emotional level also. There is a lot of smexing in this book but for me it really worked because of the dynamic of Jarret’s and Becca’s relationship, which I thought was about power at times. I loved the secondary characters, especially Wade, and I’m looking forward to Sebastian’s book. I also give Mercy a B+
E: I thought Dimon really stepped up both the heat and her character development in this first installment. I found it an enjoyable and captivating read. Like the other reviewers I can’t wait to see what happens with the secondary m/m relationship and the other supporting characters I grew to enjoy. I am looking forward to seeing what Dimon comes up with next. I am also giving Mercy a B+(less)
I’ve found the Bluebonnet novels extremely enjoyable, but the one novella I read really didn’t work for me. I was a little hesitant going into this book, since the novella left such a bad taste in my mouth, however I’m so glad I decided to stick it out with Clare. I really enjoyed this book.
Brenna has been working as the office manager to the survival school ever since they opened. She gets along great with everyone except for Grant. Grant loves to antagonize her, tell her what to do, and generally drive her crazy. But Brenna gives as good and she gets, and driving Grant equally crazy is her forte. So agreeing to be his fake girlfriend is a little hasty, even for her. But Brenna finds she has a bit of a soft spot for Grant, especially when he’s under scrutiny from anyone other than her.
Grant is shocked when the wild and crazy Brenna announces to his family that they are dating. Sure, it’ll get his mother off his back, but Brenna drives him up the wall, despite her sexy body and big heart. But as their fake relationship progresses, Grant realizes that despite Brenna’s chaotic ways, he wants to make things between them real. But Brenna’s past finds ways to creep into the present and throw a wrench in their every plan.
I have to say, there is something about frenemy books that absolutely make me giddy. I love the push and pull, the high levels of sexual tension, and the fine line between having fun with each other, and at one another’s expense. I think that Clare does a wonderful job of walking that fine line, and making sure that Grant, Brenna, and the reader all know that their jokes and pranks and words are all in good fun.
Another thing I absolutely adore about this series is that Clare doesn’t hold back with the smut. Although this book isn’t nearly as erotic as the last in the series, Grant and Brenna don’t waste any time getting physical. Although their relationship is fake to start off with, the sex is very, VERY real. I know I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again: I love the way that Clare is able to keep the romance moving forward in a positive direction, all while making sure that the sex scenes are off the charts.
The one area that disappointed me a little was the big argument that broke Grant and Brenna’s relationship toward the end. Maybe I just didn’t relate to the things that Brenna had to go through as a child, and therefore found it a little silly as such a large conflict motivator. I’m sure that other readers will really enjoy the twist that is added in, but for some reason I just didn’t think it would have had such a huge emotional impact on Brenna this far into the future. But maybe that’s just me…
The introduction of the next hero and heroine was awesome though. I was wondering who we would get to see next in Bluebonnet, and I have to say that I am super excited to figure out why Rome is so secretive, and what kind of sexy exploits the virgin Elise can get into. I like staying with the survival group, especially since I’ve enjoyed their stories more than the other Bluebonnet characters, but I hope we aren’t running out of characters. One of the things I think Clare does well is bringing in fresh and exciting secondary characters, so I hope that we get to see more people in and around the camp.
All in all I thought this book was super fun and sexy. Although Brenna and Grant didn’t have a “kink” like the last book, they were still finding lots of reasons for naked time, and who doesn’t love that? I thought their romance was so fun, especially as they played tricks on each other and worked through their frenemy status. I give The Expert’s Guide to Driving a Man Wild a B-(less)
I love and hate anthologies. They open my eyes to new authors, new stories and new situations that might push my comfort zone. With this anthology, I was hoping to find some new m/m authors that I could glom onto and find some great reads. While there were some good stories in this anthology, there were some not-so great stories either.
Haunted by Jana Denardo In Denardo’s story, a couple go on a working vacation together. One a photographer and the other an author of ghost phenomena. This story was super cute. Trestan and Connor were super secure in their relationship, and excited to be on vacation together, getting the chance to experience some hauntings first hand. They have quite a few sexy times and I enjoyed all their moments together. B+
Off the Tracks by Chelle Dugan This story really threw me for a loop. Owen was set to go on vacation to celebrate his best friends divorce. He trips and falls, knocking his head and landing back into the past. There he meets James and begins to fall for them. One night he falls asleep and wakes up back in present time, but to a life he always dreamed of, with James. I’m not a huge fan of time-travel, but when you throw in a weird dream/alternate reality thing, I just couldn’t connect with the story. C-
Krung Thep, City of Angels by Zee Kensington A young Marco is making his first international trip, backpacking through Thailand. When he gets lost one day, Chris, a frequent traveler, comes to his rescue and the two spend a few marvelous days together. I am not a huge fan of couples that come to such a quick HEA, and while they didn’t make any declarations, it felt as if they moved super quickly in their relationship. I did like the way Zensington described Thailand, that aspect of this story made it an enjoyable read for me. B-
Sunlight on Water by Susan Laine Ari is on vacation in Florida and meets the sexy Ryan. They have some steamy moments together, and when Ari tells Ryan his family won this extravagant vacation, Ryan takes off. Despite Ryan admitting he is a hustler, Ari wants to make a relationship work. This story didn’t really work for me. I never got a feeling of either character, and didn’t like their perfectly wrapped up HEA. D
Fall Forward by Jamie Lowe Chase and Harrett are going on their first vacation as a couple, and arguing about what is and is not acceptable to display their relationship in the small town they are going to. When they set their worries of others aside and just enjoy each other, sexy times commence. This story was super short, but cute too. B-
A Good Night’s Sleep by Anna Martin In all the stories of the couples that first meet, I think this might be one of my favorites. There isn’t a laid out HEA, instead a cute little HFN where Alex and Matt decided to travel together after a sexy night together on the train. Yes, there was train sex. It was good! B+
All You Need by Dar Mavison Trent and Rory are taking a much-needed trip into NYC on a limited budget and a rocky place in their relationship. They argue and snap at each other, but are eventually able to work out the kinks in their relationship and get back to a happy place. This story was ok, but for some reason didn’t stand out as great as some of the other rekindling romances from this book. C
All at Sea by JL Merrow Josh is on a family vacation, and runs into Rupe while renting a boat. The two connect as friends, and quickly take their relationship to the next level. They lean on each other and have a somewhat believable HEA, given they met in this short story (possibly due to the mini-epilogue in which it explains they broke-up and got back together throughout their lives.) Will definitely find more Merrow to read! B
Something Different by Sean Michael This might have been my favorite second chance story in this anthology. Adam and Tucson were once lovers, and broke up long ago. When they both end up in Vegas on vacation, they pick up their romance and realize they were better together than apart. I really liked this story, it was super cute and sexy and well done. I will definitely be looking into more of Michael’s work. A-
Perpendicularity by Mal Peters Kyle is an Olympic snowboarding champion in France for a tournament. What was supposed to be a romantic weekend turned into a solo trip. But one look at Kyle’s personal chef and he thinks he might be able to make time for a little romance. He and Dylan have a great friendship that leads to more and was super cute. I liked it. B+
The Jeep Guy by Eric Renner I had a horrible time getting into this story. I couldn’t get through it at all and ended up DNFing it after a few pages.
Know Nobody by G.R. Richards This short was more erotica than romance for me. Gerald wants to get away, and heads to Niagara Falls to “hook up.” He has an erotic evening with three twinks he picked up in a bar. But when his long-time best friend Sylvain shows up, he realizes what has long been in front of his face and the two begin a relationship. I didn’t really like this one very much. Not enough romance for me. D
Reconnecting by Claire Russett I adored this story. It was probably one of my favorites. Sam is at a work conference and dreads running into the love of his life – John. John knows what he lost when he left Sam, and is determined to win the man back. Anyway he possibly can. There is sexy moments and angst and a wonderful reconnection story. I likey. A
Mending and Moving On by Cecilia Ryan Bryan and Liam meet on the plane, and again once they land in Spain. Their relationship develops quickly and progresses to something serious in a VERY short time. I had a hard time reconciling them moving so quickly, especially since Liam was willing to give up his nomad lifestyle for a happily ever after. C
New Lease by B.G. Thomas This story intrigued me at first, and then went downhill, unfortunately. Wade and Kent are both dealing with the loss of their partners, but Kent is handling it better than Wade. I felt as if Wade was victim to an abusive relationship, and didn’t like that he was constantly thinking about killing himself. I had a hard time relating to either hero and their decisions. D
All in all this anthology was what I expected. There were some great stories, and some not-so-great ones. I personally am glad I read it though, because it gave me the chance to find some new to me authors that I am excited to check out!(less)
I’ve read Ford in the past, and I really enjoyed her stories. The chance to read another small town romance, a favorite trope of mine, and I was all over it. However, this book started really slow for me, and unfortunately never really picked up.
Kara left her hometown with a horrible reputation, a broken heart, and a mother who was off her rocker. Coming back years later, Kara worried more about getting her business started and her good reputation back. The never ending feelings she’s had for Wade is something she isn’t ready to deal with, no matter how much they push to the forefront. But the town of Bella Warren is all about holding a grudge, and Kara is going to have her work cut out for her to rebuild her image.
Wade thought he was over Kara long ago, but seeing her in his home once again brings home back all those feelings. The last thing he wants is to have Kara walk out of their lives again, especially after the hurt that his sister, Whitney, and he went through the first time. But the feelings for Kara are all-consuming and Wade isn’t willing to deny what he knows could be the future he’s always dreamed of.
I can’t pinpoint an exact reason why this book started so slow for me, but I had a difficult time getting into the story. I’m not sure if it’s Kara’s hesitancy toward returning home, or the extended narrative in the beginning before any action happens, but either way, it was difficult for me to get really engaged. That being said, I thought the setup of this story was super cute and had the potential to be so amazing and incredible.
The romance between Wade and Kara was one of those ‘one step forward, two step back’ kind of things. Wade was constantly worried about Kara leaving again (which she proved to do time and again), while Kara was worried about what other people would say and think. She was so desperate to turn her image around that she was willing to put her whole life and feelings on hold for the approval of people who she couldn’t even stand. It was a little immature and uncalled for, especially after the strength she showed in coming back to her hometown in the first place.
I really enjoyed the friendship between Kara and Whitney and Tasha. The strong bond and female friendship was a big theme throughout the book, and I enjoyed getting to see Kara and Whitney rebuild their friendship, while adding Tasha into their circle. I love getting to see strong female friendships, and think Ford really knocked that aspect out of the park for me.
The town of Bella Warren was a big bone of contention for me. I’m not a big fan of small town romance books where the town plays such a negative role in the books. I tend to find more enjoyment in the books where the town is such a positive and driving influence toward good, not the bad. I found the other people in Bella Warren to be stuck in that high school mentality, and I did not like it. I hope that in future books, Ford shows the town and it’s people in a much better light.
I also thought the sub-plot with Kara mother to be sad and depressing. While I completely understood why Ford went in the direction she did, I was hoping for some kind of happy resolution between Kara and her mom, or at least some kind of closure. Instead, I ended up feeling sad for both of them, as neither one really got what they wanted out of their relationship.
All in all I thought the first book in the Chester Farms series was good. It wasn’t a book that kept me turning the page faster than I could read the words, but it was a cute story overall. I do like the Chester family, and would be interested to see how Whitney and Tate Chester get their happily ever after. I give Never Stopped Loving You a C.(less)
Publisher: HQN Publish Date: Out Now! How I got this book: NetGalley
Trace of Fever, the 2nd book in the Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor Series by Lori Foster is yet another Foster book that had me sitting up, taking notice, and wishing desperately for a sexy mercenary of my own.
After the horrible things his sister had to go through, Trace goes deep undercover with a local crime lord he knows is behind a large portion of the sex trade. And Trace will stop at nothing to bring Murray down. And things are going great, Trace has gotten himself all the way to Murray’s security detail when someone throws a kink in his plans.
Priscilla has one thing on her mind, and one thing only: the demise of Murray Coburn. The only problem is that she doesn’t know the first thing about taking someone down. But when she and Trace are paired together, the chemistry sizzles and ignites until the fire between them might just be enough to take down Murray’s entire organization.
One of the things that I really love about this series is just how in-depth Foster goes into the world of human trafficking. I love when an author can take such a horrific topic like this, bring it to light, and still have a great and happy story prevail.
I loved Trace from the moment we first met him in When You Dare. With the abduction of his little sister, he was one hundred percent devoted to doing his part in taking down guys like Murray, and he went at it with everything he had. He was determined to let nothing stop him, and then he met Priss. Suddenly he found his focus being on her; making sure she was safe, taken care of, and out of Murray’s mind.
That single minded focus actually brought out so many other aspects of his character. I loved that he was devoted to the mercenary agreement he had with Dare, how steady he was under pressure – even when facing something he had never faced before. Plus his attraction to Priss really seemed to take him by surprise, but he went with it and had me wishing for my very own Trace.
Although the heroine in the first book was difficult to read at times, the only thing I couldn’t stand about Priss was her name. There’s just something about referring to such a strong willed, determined, and fun woman as a “Priss” that rankled on my nerves. Other than that, I loved her. She was a survivor, brought up from nothing with a single minded determination to avenge her mother. Despite all the horrible things that Murray wanted done to her, and that Trace had to do to save his cover, Priss was determined to see it all through to the very end.
I really liked the romance in this one as well. There was a bit of a slow build up between Priss and Trace. They danced around each other, flirting and dropping hints before actually acting on any of their feelings. They were both so dedicated to their mission, yet knew that would could be between them so special, that they were willing to make sure it was the right time, the right everything. It was special, and all that more meaningful once they finally came together.
Jackson was also featured somewhat prominently in this one, and I can’t wait to get his book next. He and Alani had some great moments together, and I just know that the tension between those two is going to light up the pages and take over the entire book.
All in all I am so happy with this series to date. I love the strong Alpha hero fighting for a cause that is so close to his heart, driving him to do everything possible to save just one girl’s life. I loved our heroine’s desire for justice, and her dedication to get it regardless of the costs. The romance was incredible and was the perfect balance to the suspense plot.
I am a newbie to Nicholas’ work, and I am so happy to say that after reading only one book by her, I’m thinking I need to add her name to my list of auto-buy authors. I absolutely adored this book!
Amanda has a wild side, but after her older brother witnessed it first hand, she does everything she can to suppress it. But when her brother’s best friend and star of her fantasies propositions her with a wild night together, Amanda can’t hold back that part of her any longer. She takes Ryan up on his offer, and although they only plan for one night, Amanda finds herself going back for more.
Ryan is the king of laid-back, easy-going, so when the straight-laced Amanda shows interest, he jumps at the chance to be with her. But the last thing Ryan ever expected was to have Amanda pull him in so much, he starts to debate the merits of happily ever after. But between Amanda’s overprotective older brother, three crazy and wild younger sisters, and their very different backgrounds, will Ryan and Amanda ever be able to make it work past the weekend?
Since this was my first book by Nicholas, I will admit to being a little bit confused in the beginning. It wasn’t until I stalked her website after putting the book down that I realized this series is a spin off from a popular and long standing series Nicholas has been writing for years. So while fans of her books will fall easily into the groove with this, I felt a little confused as to what was going on in the beginning. It seemed as if the characters had all been introduced in a previous chapter and I was left in the dark. Fortunately, that one little mishap didn’t change the fact that the rest of the book had me falling in love.
I’m a big fan of the older brother’s best friend stories, and this was so well done! I loved the way Ryan and Amanda danced around the issue of revealing too much to her brother, and how her sisters were all-too-willing to keep secrets. The family dynamics between them was so wonderful, so potent, so realistic I couldn’t put the book down once I started. The minute I was finished I wanted more, and the thought of waiting until September for the next book almost made me cry.
The romance between Ryan and Amanda was so amazing. Although Amanda was thought of as the perfect sister, her wild side had a way of overriding her common sense and made her do some pretty stupid things. The stuff she said to Ryan in the beginning of the story was pretty insensitive, and I loved that Ryan was quick to put her in her place. It was fun to see the tables flipped on the characters, and I loved the way they went about rebuilding their friendship and relationship. Plus, the sexy times between these two was SMOKIN’ HOT. Between the role-playing and the crazy anything goes nightclub, these two heated up the sheets, the walls, the laser tag playing field… Wowza!
Another aspect I thought Nicholas did incredibly well was the secondary characters. While I’m sure many of the characters will be familiar faces to long-time readers, everyone was new and fresh for me. I have to say though, Amanda’s sisters and brother might be my new favorite fictional family. They teased and tormented each other without mercy, and yet it was so obvious how much they loved and adored each other. If I could be a part of any fictional family, I think I’ve found my choice! I am so excited and anxious to read more!
All in all I absolutely loved my first Nicholas book, and have already budgeted out buying up her backlist. I thought Amanda and Ryan were fabulous characters with a phenomenal romance and a supporting cast of characters that kept me smiling and laughing and hoping for more. I can’t wait to read the next in the series, and am so glad to have found a new-to-me author who has a lot of books I can go back and glom onto.
This book killed me. Absolutely, positively killed me. It’s been a week since I finished it and I’m still reeling. The romance aspect of this book flayed me open and literally squeezed my heart till it hurt. There were twists and turns that Andrews sprinkled in the book that had me both laughing and crying. The end had me sobbing, literal tears streaming down my face as one of my favorite characters in the series sacrificed their live to safe the others. There were so many different emotions packed within every moment, every scene, every word. I am so excited about the way this series has progressed, and I love the way that Andrews had made it possible for the world and characters to stay true to themselves. I love the journey that Kate is on, and I am so excited and sad with each book that comes out, because it means that Kate’s journey will soon be coming to an end.
This series remains my all time favorite. The romance, the action, the drama, it is all the perfect blend of harsh and unforgiving and loving and sweet. Never before has a book cut me open as much as this did!(less)