Favorite Quote: “When I’m with you it’s like I’m the person I’m supposed to be and I want that.”
With a young son in tow, Wyatt (Ty) Svenson has stopped running and decided to settle in the small town of Bishop, Arkansa. Fixing motorcycles in his garage helps to keep his hands busy and his mind off the multitude of problems that plague him. When his attractive neighbor comes over to complain about the noise, Ty sees a cold woman who thinks he’s beneath her and welcomes the anger she inspires in him.
Shelby Monroe, the local art teacher, has her life sectioned into boxes that she keeps sealed shut. Trying to deal with her mother’s Alzheimers, an abusive childhood, and a recent meltdown on TV, Shelby is barely hanging on by her fingertips. Heavily attracted to Ty’s bad boy image, her life is just not conducive to any relationships but that doesn’t stop her from wanting just a few carefree nights in Ty’s bed.
Ty isn’t looking for a casual relationship. He doesn’t want to be her dirty little secret. He wants it all with Shelby but first he’ll need to convince her that he and love are worth the risk.
This is my first time reading Molly O’Keefe. While I did not read the first two in this series, this book can be read as a standalone with no issues concerning past characters or storylines.
By the title and cover, I expected a fun and naughty romance contemporary. This story was so much more than that. Dark, edgy, and emotionally turbulent, Between The Sheets is a jewel hidden underneath a false facade. A modern day romance that speaks of second chances, love, heartbreak, redemption, and hope. It portrays three battered souls who must decide if the love they so desperately want is worth the pain that will come from reaching for it.
Heavily character driven, O’Keefe writes a bittersweet love story that doesn’t offer false platitudes towards a happily ever after. Her protagonists have deep issues that affect their lives and the lives of those around them. There is no instant fix or cure. We are assured almost from the beginning that this relationship, should it be successful, will always be a work in progress.
Well written with an emotionally deep and convoluted storyline, it gives an indepth examination of abuse, family, and the multitude pain that comes from both; the situations surrounding Ty and Shelby will bruise your heart. Shelby was raised by an abusive overly religious father. She choose to bury her emotions in order to save her sanity and comes off rather brittle, cold, and self serving at times. Her powerful voice resonates throughout the book, giving us her reasons for the way she is without manipulation. The shield she uses to protect herself is not attractive though as her backstory is revealed, you can easily empathize for why she is the way she is. She was taught to be self contained and it was a painful lesson she learned very well. Dealing with a parent who has Alzheimers only adds to Shelby’s already over flowing plate.
In the heavy dark silence he left behind, she stacked and put away those small desires to be someone else, to want more than she had, and she got back to the business of being Shelby Monroe, Art Teacher. It was enough. And if sometimes she wanted to scream, or cry, or find some stranger to prove to her that she wasn’t totally dead inside or invisible to the world, it was an urge she could easily overcome.
She had overcome worse.
Ty was easier to connect with than Shelby. Her knife sharp edges keeps everyone-readers included-at a safe distance. Ty is a good man whose carefree lifestyle is brought to a halt when a young boy appears out of nowhere, claiming to be his son. Ty learns an on and off again relationship produced a child he was never told about. The mother has been sentenced to prison for a multitude of crimes and leaves Ty struggling to get to know his son. Ty knows it’s time to settle and be the responsible parent his son obviously needs so he picks Bishop and hopes this town can help he and his son heal the breach that exists between them.
“I love you." … Did you hear me? Ty wanted to ask, feeling like somehow saying those words had cleared out part of him. Created a hole that needed if not filling, then at least acknowledgment. But he knew Casey had heard him.
Ty isn’t perfect. He had made mistakes that continue to haunt him to this day but he tries hard to be the best he can with what he has to work with. Ty’s ability to love without constraint is a gift that continuously gives through the story. Ty’s son, Casey, is a sweet mixed up boy whose whole life has been a series of disappointments. A neglectful abusive mother and an absent father has left him emotionally disconnected and in need of therapy. He just wants to be loved and does some questionable things to try and get that love.
At times I felt there was no way Ty and Shelby could make this work. Honestly, by the end of the book I still wasn’t completely convinced but I had hope for them. Ty falls hard for Shelby and steadily chips away at her shell but her emotional distance is hard to deal with. Plus, Ty is fragile in his new status of parenthood. Shelby shuts herself down to those who want to help but she is so gentle and giving with Casey and her kids and you are able to see the remarkable person buried beneath the guilt and shame she wears like a shroud. Oddly enough the deep and sensual intimacy found in here is a result of everything but the physical sex. Not to say the physical scenes aren’t a mixture of dark, hot, erotically stimulating needs and wants. Ty has a bit of a dominant side and Shelby likes having her rigid control ripped away from her in sexual situations.
“He wanted to believe no one had ever had her like this. Ever. Because he’d never been had like this. Ever. All the way. And it wasn’t just sex, it was everything. Every single fucking thing about her.”
O’Keefe takes great pains to show that sometimes the best way, the only way, to show someone you truly care is just by being there whether the other person acknowledges it or not.
The ending was a bit melodramatic in it’s attempt to force a decision in the relationship. It resolves itself on a dime and left me feeling that it was all too easily obtained for such a tremulous journey. Regardless of my issues, Between the Sheets was a pleasant surprise in its content and storyline and I look forward to reading more from Molly O’Keefe.
Favorite Quote: “Nothing about you could ever be ugly to me.”
The third and final installment of Joanna Chamber’s historical M/M romance brings a conclusion to this poignant and sensual love story between two men who defy convention and society’s edicts to be together. Lush emotional scenes and heartfelt declarations only serve to remind us that no matter what gender is being presented, love is a gift and should be viewed as such.
Enlightened picks up five months after Beguiled ended. David was badly injured when he helped a friend escape her abusive marriage. His lover, Lord Mundo, takes David to his country estate to recover and they use the time to indulge in their growing passion far away from prying eyes and judgemental tongues. But David knows something is wrong; Mundo seems to be drifting further away with each passing day. When David’s learns his mentor is dying, David and Mundo travel to London and David agrees to perform one last act to ensure his mentor’s daughter will be safe. While in London Mundo’s father pays a surprise visit and delivers some shocking news that makes David question Mundo and their relationship.
David Laureston, an Edinburgh Advocate, has always been ashamed of his love for men. A complicated man whose sexual preferences have cause him pain and confusion in the past. His ethics continuously war with his passions. He knows he should not be attracted to men but is unable to resist. Especially concerning Lord Mundo. Mundo breaks through David’s walls and has him imaging the seemingly impossible-a lifetime together.
The two were linked, quite inextricably, his affection for Mundo exposing him in ways that horrified him. The protective barriers he’d spent a lifetime building up felt like they were crumbling away in the face of the emotions he was helpless to deny.
Lord Mundo Belfour, a Scottish Lord, was a self proclaimed hedonist who did not see his enjoyment of male companionship as a hindrance to his eventual marriage and procreation of a heir. It was merely an itch to be scratched. David is the only man who has ever made Mundo question his actions and feel something beyond physical attraction.
“I thought you were naive, till you made me see that life I’d always wanted [...] didn’t amount to anything at all. I wasn’t going to have it all. I was going to have nothing. You saved me from that.”
The intense and unavoidable chemistry takes a softer note in here, having gone far beyond the initial base attraction. We are shown the intimacies that exist when two people fall in love. The confusion and conflict our two protagonists struggle with strikes a poignant note in your heart as you wonder how this can possibly work. David’s near death brings out a side of Mundo that both enchants and scares David. Seductive and heartfelt dialogue and actions speak of our lovers deep feelings towards one another.
“So very like you to want to put things right,” Murdo murmured. He turned his head till their eyes met, and his dark gaze was warm with affection. His lips sought David’s, and their mouths moved together in a consoling kiss that had nothing to do with passion. “David,” he said, when they broke apart. “David.” He said David’s name like it meant something all on its own. Like a vow. Like a promise.
The continuing arc comes to a head as David sets in motion a plan that will protect his friends once and for all; helped along by a most unexpected source. Events set in motion by David’s plan creates an unintended domino effect that leads to an exciting and well earned conclusion for this trilogy.
Joanna Chambers’ Enlightened trilogy has been a joy to read and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.
Evan Arden is a hit man who is doing penance in the desert for screwing up a hit. Alone besides his dog, Odin, he waits each day for the email telling...more Evan Arden is a hit man who is doing penance in the desert for screwing up a hit. Alone besides his dog, Odin, he waits each day for the email telling him he can come home. When a woman wanders up to his cabin, lost, he waffles between letting her live or killing her on the spot. Luckily, he lets Lia live and they spend one night together in bed. She leaves the next day to take care of some things but promises to come back. Evan gets his email later that day and leaves her a note telling her he's sorry.
When I picked up this trilogy, I just thought it would be a decent fast read with not much emotional commitment. Truth is, I liked far more then I thought I would. I like Evan. I like his emotional detachment. I like his thoughts, his dialogue, and his struggles. He's a walking contradiction with more baggage then a Samsonite. Having spent 18 months in Iraq as a POW, he was discharged with PTSD among other things. Now working as a hit man for a mob boss, he's a walking time bomb waiting to explode.
Though the novella is short-only 56 pages-you really get a fully bodied story that sets up the hook perfectly.(less)
This trilogy gets even better with book two. Evan, our hitman, is being to unravel. His PTSD and his increasing feelings for Lia drive him to the poin...moreThis trilogy gets even better with book two. Evan, our hitman, is being to unravel. His PTSD and his increasing feelings for Lia drive him to the point of no return. This one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. (less)
Enjoyable in that it finally wraps everything up but I really felt the whole story could have been told in one book. Lots of dragging out and rehas...more3.5
Enjoyable in that it finally wraps everything up but I really felt the whole story could have been told in one book. Lots of dragging out and rehashing of same old issues. Very OTT emotional scenes and plot devices that dragged on from book one and two. (less)
K.L Bromberg’s Fueled KILLED me. Absolutely killed me. Book one, Driven, left us with a HUGE cliffhanger and Fueled opens up right where we left off....moreK.L Bromberg’s Fueled KILLED me. Absolutely killed me. Book one, Driven, left us with a HUGE cliffhanger and Fueled opens up right where we left off.
Rylee and Colt are back but find that while sex is easy, it’s the emotional ties that build and bind a relationship that may prove to be their undoing. Rylee has guessed what Colt's traumatic childhood entailed and tries to help but even with her education and skills in this area she is having a hard time dealing with Colt as a victim and as her lover. Colt is doing his best to push Rylee away while simultaneously holding her tight in his hot little possessive grip. Some of his behavior is circumspect (and quite douchey)and that hurts Rylee though she understands why he does it. But understanding doesn't always go hand in hand with forgiveness as Colt learns the hard way.
I like that Colt is more open and Rylee is stronger. Bromberg is slowly building their romance though the pitfalls are harsh. I find it telling that while Rylee loves Colt, she isn't willing to destroy herself or him in order for them to be together.
Some humor elevates the storyline but prepare for a lot of angst and anger as these two damaged lovers struggle to find a place for them to co exist. Another cliffie ends the book so some may want to exhibit more self control then moi and wait for the final installment-Crashed-release date to be announced. (less)
Again, Emma's journeys are heartbreaking and I really wish this kid didn't have to face so much. Book ends on a major cliffhanger so once again, bewar...moreAgain, Emma's journeys are heartbreaking and I really wish this kid didn't have to face so much. Book ends on a major cliffhanger so once again, beware. (less)
Egads...it can't end HERE!!! Ack. Need the last one now.
Kat and Sloane's relationship is definitive past the plus one arrangement regardless of what...moreEgads...it can't end HERE!!! Ack. Need the last one now.
Kat and Sloane's relationship is definitive past the plus one arrangement regardless of what they think. The slow move from lust to love is apparent and well done. I love the personable secondary characters. The add depth to the storyline and provide a healthy balance between the plot and the romance.
Favorite Quote: “ So…you just fuck’em and chuck’em?”
Rylee Thomas lives an orderly controlled life and likes it that way. Working for a non for profit that specializes in helping abused and traumatized orphans, Rylee feels her life is complete.
Until she meets Colton Donovan.
Colton, a playboy race car driver, sees Rylee at a charity auction and decides he wants her in his bed. And Colton always gets what he wants. When Rylee turns down his rather crude offers, he makes a bet with her. By the end of the night, she will accept a date with him. When Colton uses nefarious means to win the bet, Rylee can’t see her way out of it. Rylee isn’t like the women who normally throw themselves at Colton and her rejection of him intrigues him. Colton wants more than just a single date with Rylee so he maneuvers her into spending more time with him by promising to fund her new charity project if she escorts him to every single event involving the project.
Rylee enjoys her time with Colton but his edict that he doesn’t do relationships doesn’t make sense to her and she refuses to be another notch in his belt. As she gets to know the real Colton, her feelings for him grow and she soon finds herself falling for him. But Colton has a dark side and as Rylee begins to get under his skin and closer to his secrets, Colton finds himself willing to do anything to stop her from discovering the truth…even if means destroying them both.
K. Bromberg’s Driven is an emotionally driven romantic contemporary that focuses heavily on the protagonists and their relationship. It’s a story that doesn’t offer us anything new in the bad boy millionaire with hidden secrets meets good girl with hidden secrets trope, yet, there was a certain je ne sais quoi to the story that kept me reading till the very end. It contains a familiarity to it. If EL James’s 50 Shades series and Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series had a baby, this would be the result. A more modernized, less angst driven story. Complete with a 0_0 ending. *thud* This is a trilogy folks, and this first installment ends with that in mind.
Rylee and Colton meet under dubious circumstances. Rylee falls into his arms when he opens the door to a closet she was accidentally locked in. Immediately, there is a potent attraction. He proceeds to get a little too touchy-feely and Rylee shoots him down, having seen him earlier putting the same moves on another woman. Rylee sees him for the womanizer he is and wants nothing to do with him. Of course, his ego can’t handle that and soon the chase is on.
He chases her, insults her, propositions her, and eventually uses her altruism to bind her to him. Now I know many are saying, “Really, Tori? We want to read this…why?” Because Colton’s douchebaggery is epic and is used in a way to highlight his potential. Yes, he’s a playboy and he doesn’t hide it. But he is also honest and upfront with Rylee from the beginning about what he wants, what he expects, and more importantly, what he will never give her. Rylee is just as forthright. She is also intelligent, kind, well off financially, and not looking at Colton with star struck eyes.
“I didn’t know if I want to punch him or fuck him.”
I’m a sucker for the bad boy falls for the good girl storyline and Bromberg does an excellent job solidifying that aspect in our protagonists. I also like the stronger heroine. No wide eyed innocent lip biters in here. Communication is at a premium. I get tired of the never ending internal monologue that often occurs in these stories. The heroine ruminates about how she feels but never tells the hero. We do not see this problem. Rylee is wonderfully verbose. She is upfront and honest about what she expects from a relationship; to both Colton and herself.
“I’ll let you in on a little something as well, Ace. I don’t like being made to feel like I’m sloppy seconds to your bevy of babes. You’re developing a pattern of wanting me right after I know you’ve been with another. That’s a habit you’re going to need to break or nothing else is going to happen here.”
The chemistry between them is undeniably HOT and only made hotter by their caustic interactions. I loved watching their dates. It’s here we see the differences in Colton and what he could eventually become. As we don’t get a clear shot into Colton’s head, we are only privy to his dialogue, the relationship is entirely from Rylee’s POV. Her feelings for Colton progress fast and it was in that aspect the story slipped a little. Too much empathise is placed on the protagonists at the expense of the storyline. A lot of build up and rushed emotional aspects but no real payout. Also, Rylee second guesses herself more as she gets tangled up further with Colton and I really wish she would have stuck to her guns. Some BDSM is alluded too but completely vanilla. If you blink, you’ll miss it. We are introduced to the main conflict(s) and the potential villain but no advancement or explanations. Hopefully, this will be addressed in the next installment.
All in all, I enjoyed Driven. It has a fast paced crack style to it that makes for an engaging read. It hits all the major points of interest. I think a bit more development into the external factors would have benefited the storyline and made it more it’s own. Regardless of any issues I had, I enjoyed the story and the ending definitely guaranteed I will read book two. I must know what happens. Book two, Fueled, releases in August 2013.
Confessions Of An Almost Girlfriend continues the story of Rose Zarelli. Mrs. Rozett brings our MC to life with her engaging narrative-giving us ra...more4.5
Confessions Of An Almost Girlfriend continues the story of Rose Zarelli. Mrs. Rozett brings our MC to life with her engaging narrative-giving us raging emotions and a general sense of overblown drama that is readily apparent in this age group. High school is such a traumatic, confusing time of life to begin with but Rose also has outside drama that only adds to her emotional turmoil. No topic is off limits for Rose or us. In here we deal with drinking, death, sex, romance, bullying, abuse and everything else that made high school such a large part of our journey to adulthood.
I enjoyed seeing Rose again. Intelligent, clever, and snarky; Rose has a strong sense of self that resonates through the story though continues to experience life through the eyes of a teenager. She pokes at herself in a self deprecating manner that is funny and endearing at time. Rose continues to march to her own beat and has problems with those who want to disrupt her marching. Through out the book we watch as Rose experiences growing pains and tries to be the person she feels she should be rather than what is expected of her.
Rose is not having an easy time of it this year. Jamie Forta, her “almost” boyfriend was taken to jail last year as revenge against dumping his girlfriend, Regina Dalladoe. Since being released from jail, Jamie has vanished with no contact with Rose. When Rose “saves” a boy from being bullied by Regina’s younger brother Conrad, this reopens a war between her and Regina. She is also fighting with her mom, her brother, and her best friend Tracey. I found it very sad that Rose’s attempts to grieve for her father are taken away from her when deemed inappropriate. Rose is expressing herself in a positive manner, seeking to speak to others who have lost someone yet because she is “dwelling on it” she is the one in the wrong.
Jamie is once again an enigma throughout the book. You're never sure exactly where he stands in regards to his feelings for Rose. He comes and goes as he pleases yet just when you and Rose are at your breaking point, he does something so sweet you instantly are caught back into his circle. At times I still felt Jamie was just stringing her along but I can also understand Jamie’s reluctance towards Rose in regards to a romantic relationship. She’s younger than him and far less experienced. Rose though shines as she attempts to understand his motivations and asks hard questions even as she is scared of the answers. I just really wished he would stay or go-I found his actions extremely immature and cruel at times.
Jealousy, bullying and abuse continue to be a strong underlying theme in the book as we watch Rose choose what she feels is the the right decision and is made to pay a heavy price for it. Ms. Rozett writes the situation in a realistic manner that continues to remind you this is a teenager making these decisions.
The ending leaves us on a tiny cliffhanger as Rose is once again left holding the bag and getting blamed for trying to do the right thing. I did like the epilogue and have to say Angelo is one of my favorite characters in here. He is one of the few who accepts Rose just as she is-flaws and all. I’m also looking forward to hearing more about Tracey and Peter and seeing where that goes.
All in all, Confessions Of An Almost Girlfriend will appeal to all ages who enjoy a well narrated YA that embraces individuality while providing a strong defense against the many common issues that plague high schooler. Accented with dashes drama, humor, and romance- you have an entertaining winner. I am looking forward to seeing the conclusion to in book three, title and release date to be announced.
Nom Nom Nom Sloane and Kat are a steamy, hawt couple who's plus one arrangement heats up as the lines blur in their relationship. Not a huge billionai...moreNom Nom Nom Sloane and Kat are a steamy, hawt couple who's plus one arrangement heats up as the lines blur in their relationship. Not a huge billionaire dominant storyline fan but this one works. Sloane doesn't treat Kat like an idiot and Kat is more then able to hold her own against his strong personality. I like that he always gives her a choice and doesn't hold them against her. (less)
A hot steamy PNR erotic niblet that manages to incorporate a full body story into a small number of pages. Sexy shape shifters, raw emotion, and a bit...moreA hot steamy PNR erotic niblet that manages to incorporate a full body story into a small number of pages. Sexy shape shifters, raw emotion, and a bit of a conflict makes this a fast hot read. (less)
Bold Tricks is a wild roller coaster ride filled with death, violence, and redemption. Book two, Shooting Scars left us with a doozy of a cliffhanger-...moreBold Tricks is a wild roller coaster ride filled with death, violence, and redemption. Book two, Shooting Scars left us with a doozy of a cliffhanger-both in terms of plot and romance. Who would Ellie pick? Javier-her first love or Camden-the love of her life? Will they find Gus? Ben? Travis? So many questions left rolling through our head but in Bold Tricks, everything is answered. Some are what we wanted to happen, others left me a little uneasy. I loved that Halle stayed true to all three protagonists. None are particularly likable. Violence is a way of life for them and none turn a blind eye or try to rationalize their actions. They do what needs to be done.
Action packed from beginning to end, this twisted labyrinth will leave you wanting more. (less)
Tori: Everyone who has read Karina Halle’s Artist Trilogy has been clutching their pearls in a panic waiting on the release of Shooting Scars. Book one, Sins & Needles, left us literally hanging by our fingertips over a screaming chasm. Shooting Scars picks up right where Sins and Needles left off and takes us on a wild intense ride where lies are spoken, truths revealed, and we learn nothing is ever as it seems.
At the end of Sins & Needles, Ellie left with Javier, her first love and now greatest enemy, in order to save Camden McQueen’s life. Javier claims to want to make her dreams of revenge on Travis a reality though Ellie thinks, and rightly so, that this is not Javier’s end game. Ellie has played the game far too long not know when someone is attempting to run a con on her. As they head to the Mexican border, Javier begins to speak of their time together and what he suffered when she left. We learn the truth of the events in the novella, On Every Street, but rather than make Ellie feel better, it only furthers her conviction that Javier is insane. Once they reach Mexico, Ellie learns exactly what Javier wants her to do and why. Javier has broke from Travis and in retaliation, Travis had one of Javier’s sisters violated and killed. Javier needs Ellie to help him seek his revenge on Travis. He claims only she can get close to Travis and kill him. While Ellie is playing her part, seeking to catch Travis’s attention, Camden and Gus are following close behind, waiting for the perfect opportunity to rescue her. When Camden finds Ellie, he is plagued by dark thoughts and doubts. Is Ellie being held against her will or does she want her old lover back in her arms and bed? When plans change and Ellie finds herself in a dangerous situation, Camden and Javier both ride to her rescue and choices are made that leave you questioning everything you’ve read.
What I truly love about this series is the heroes and heroine are not nice people. They aren’t pillars of society. They make horrible decisions. They lie, cheat, steal, and kill. We aren’t promised rose gardens and sparkly rainbows. Halle has led us into a world of violence and makes us look beyond the artifice and into their souls. She makes no excuses for the screwed morality of these characters. She doesn’t care if their lack of accountability and penchant for criminal activity makes us cringe. She wants us to cringe. She wants us to scream, shout, and cry foul. She wants us to fall off our pedestals of righteousness and wallow in the mud and muck. She demands we accept them for exactly who they are. She dares us fall in love with the bad.
I liked that we were given more of Javier in here. He is essential to the story as Ellie’s past and after reading On Every Street, I needed to know where his head was. His emotional immaturity is quite evident as is his craziness. While I enjoyed his scenes, I also found myself feeling sorry for him. He’s like a child that only sees what he wants and can’t fathom why he is unable to have it. Do I believe he loves Ellie? Yes, in a possessive, “she was mine first” sort of way. I don’t believe he really knows Ellie or her complicated depths. He would rather drag her down to his level in order to keep her chained to his side then allow her to leave for her own good. I believe that is part of the reason he wants Ellie to kill Travis. Once she crosses the line, he figures that will cement her to his side. She will be no better than him.
Camden is an enigma who I feel is essentially good but not above doing dark violent things for those he loves. He has made some terrible decisions in the past but is able to forge ahead without making sad tired excuses for his behavior. He learns from them. And he loves Ellie. Maybe I’m sick, but there was something almost sensual in the way he tortures one of Javier’s men for information on Ellie’s whereabouts. The fact that he was able to acknowledge his distaste for what he was doing but also keep doing it for the woman he loved was mind boggling. I’m so Team Camden.
Mandi: Tori expresses much of my thoughts so I’ll be brief. Edgy is the first word that comes to mind when I read this book. I say edgy because this author give us a hero and heroine who have faults. Many faults. It’s almost like they are both so far from redemption they are perfect for each other. And if that gray area isn’t enough for you, enter Javier. Ellie’s former lover. By all accounts we should hate him. He used Ellie, cheated on her, he kills people, he is an all around bad guy. But Halle takes this grey area and just stretches it out. We now have Ellie, a con artist who doesn’t really feel remorse about the life she has led. Camden, who has this very dark, almost violent side to him. And Javier, the ultimate villain. Or is he? This is where Halle excels. Instead of your normal love triangle, she gives you a story about three people so tightly interwoven, you really aren’t sure how it will all play out.
I ultimately think this is a love story between Ellie and Camden, but this journey of getting to their HEA is a really fun and crazy ride. Oh – and this series is so cracky I can barely stand it!! I love.
The Frozen Star picks up right where The Burning Star left off. Kay has been kidnapped by Lord Donovan and Kira is recovering from the near fatal wounds she received trying to stop him. Kira is the main focal point of this story as we learn how she came to be raised by Lord Donovan and what her connection to Kay is. Now safe and secure in the Seelie castle, Kira is finding her first taste of freedom somewhat stifling.
Kay, waiting for the unknown in Lord Donovan’s dungeon, gains unexpected allies as she tries to figure out what Donovan is planning. Still reeling from learning she is not human and she has powers galore, Kay struggles against her illness while trying to find away to escape and make her way back to her family, friends, and Ryan.
Jessie Lane has upped the ante on her fantasy YA series. More action, intrigue, suspense, violence, and romance permeate this installment. Emotions run high as we learn the of the complicated ties that bind Kay and Kira and Lord Donovan’s end game. Lane continues to manipulate the legends of the fae, borrowing from other fairy tales to create their own version. Crisp concise writing and a fast pace engages the reader from page one. I enjoy the YA tone that the series continues to carry. Still refreshingly barren of the purple prose and huge emotional angst scenes that seem to clutter YA much more often than not. A good balance of suspense and humor goes far in keeping the storyline on an even keel. The world continues to build and evolve with added knowledge and characters.
Kira and Kay’s back stories are incredibly different yet they are very similar personality wise. Kira, like Kay, is strong, committed, and loyal. You get an old soul feeling from her even though she is only seventeen. Her life has aged her both emotionally and mentally. Not raised in the most loving of homes, Kira’s childhood was a study in cruelty. She was raised by Lord Donovan with his malicious son, Cole. Abused and tortured, Lord Donovan systematically stripped her of everything, leaving her an almost empty shell, devoid of even the smallest of emotions. Unlike Kay though, Kira is a warrior. She will not be content sitting safe in the castle while everyone else fights for her safety. This causes some untold problems when Kira’s parentage comes to light and suddenly Kira has a large family that loves and cares for her.
The unsure romantic entanglements from The Frozen Star are sorted out in here. There are multiple romances that sweep through the book offering hope and humor to lighten the dark undertones. The romances are sweet, heartfelt, and undeniably YA which worked perfectly with the tone of the book. Prince Kane is undeniably a romantic as he tries to convince Kira she is the only one for him and shows her in a manner that can’t be ignored. Ryan is heartbroken Kay is gone but receives a gift, proving to Ryan that she is indeed his soul mate. Even Nick finds love with a prickly fae but certain events keep the reader unsure if they are meant to be.
The main conflict is supported by various subplots but easily contained in that the storylines are told primarily from Kira and Kay’s viewpoints. The shifts are easy to follow with no lag time or confusion. Through the girls we learn the source of Lord Donovan vendetta and what his future plans are. Some new characters are introduced to help widen the scope of the world while some are lost. I enjoyed seeing familiar faces and getting to know them better. Prince Kane has to be my favorite. He’s so open and the perfect foil for the darker more somber Kira.
Lane once again systemically resolves the main conflict with the appropriate means, leaving us some what shocked and dismayed by some of the results. We are left with a cliffhanger but not a major one.
The Frozen Star more than answered the challenge left by The Burning Star and is perfect for those YA readers who enjoy a steady diet of dreamy boys, action packed adventures, and diabolical villains in their paranormal diet. I look forward to the next and I look forward to book three, the final installment, title and release date to be announced.
Cynthia Edens makes a successful transition from adult to YA in her debut trilogy. The Better To Bite, book one, centers around high school junior, An...moreCynthia Edens makes a successful transition from adult to YA in her debut trilogy. The Better To Bite, book one, centers around high school junior, Anna Lambert, who's move to her father's home town and opens old wounds when she discovers that her father hasn't been completely honest with her. Secrets shroud the town as Anna struggles with a new school and finding herself in the sights of not one but two popular, good looking boys. A series of killings has Anna suddenly looking at her new home with new eyes. Is the killer a stranger...or is the monster right under her nose?
A delightfully dark character driven storyline; well plotted with a suspenseful edge that kept me reading and guessing the whole time. I'm looking forward to book 2-The Better To Howl. (less)
Kate Winters passed the Goddess test and in now set to become the Queen of the Underworld. After being away from Henry for six months, she is more than ready claim her throne and start her new life with him. But once again secrets and deception will stand between them when an evil from the past rises and the one person who can save them all is the one person Kate fears the most.
Goddess Interrupted picks up six months after The Goddess Test ended. Kate left the underworld at Henry’s request. After what happened with his first wife, Persephone, he wants Kate to be happy and sure of exactly what she is getting into. When Kate arrives in the Underworld, she gets there just in time for Henry to disappear. Cronus, king of the Titans and father to all, is slowly escaping his prison. Cronus was defeated and imprisoned by the Pantheon decades ago for the cruelties he invoked against them and the humans. Kate soon learns that Calliope is working with Cronus to free him completely. With the rest of the Parthenon preparing for war, Kate decides it is up to her to find Henry. As he is being held in Tartarus, Kate goes to Persephone for help. Only she can navigate that world.
Kate is already feeling insecure, not having seen Henry for six months and his cold and distant attitude upon her arrival. With the added pressure of Persephone, Kate begins to think long and hard about whether she can truly be happy with Henry, knowing his love for his ex wife. As the count down begins, Kate makes a decision that could tie her to Henry forever or destroy them all.
I was very disappointed in this installment. The problems that were apparent in book one but seemingly fixable only unravel further in here creating a vacuum effect. Uneven, slow pacing, weak plots with numerous holes, vague action, and undeveloped characterization left me feeling ambivalent. Henry continues to tell Kate nothing. At all. In fact, no one does. Every piece of information she gets is only through sheer will and determination. And lots of anger. She spends a majority of the book laminating about Henry’s lack of interest and his feelings towards her and Persephone. Every time she sees him, she demands to know his feelings for her yet for some unknown and annoying reason, he cannot voice what he wants. Henry continues to be wrapped in his shell of self pity and angst. I found myself unable to like him here as I did in book one. I expected Ms. Carter to develop and humanize him at least a little bit. Instead, we lose bits and pieces of him.
His love for Persephone, while it is is admirable, it’s wholly unrealistic. Almost as unrealistic as Kate’s love for Henry. They were miserable together. Yes, he and everyone else says he loved her with his whole heart but the story doesn’t support that love. There is also the virgin mishap. The big hook in The Goddess Test was Henry being a virgin. Only in here, we are disabused of that notion. Though, in Ms. Carter’s defense, maybe she meant it in a metaphorical sense because Henry has never had sex without an aphrodisiac. Regardless, Henry wasn’t a virgin in book one and the explanation was weak.
The rest of the characters only continue to disintergrate and their selfishness is astounding. While it is possible to have unlikable characters who are enjoyable for just that reason, these characters aren’t able to make that jump. Here we have a group of powerful beings who spend more time patting Kate her pretty little head, telling her not to worry that she is slated for death while trying to avoid going to war. I found that amazing, knowing that should Cronus go free, the world will be destroyed.
The underlying themes of infidelity are further expanded on in here from book one. Kate is very judgmental when it comes to woman, and I found myself disappointed with her self righteousness. I was also disappointed that Ms. Carter choose Persephone to play the classic role of mean girl. Her character is used to further expand the chasm that exists between Henry and Kate. A chasm that Henry is unwilling or unable to bridge. In my opinion, Persephone is the only unselfish one here. She was miserable and in turn was making Henry miserable. When she falls in love with someone else, she sees that she would never love Henry the way he deserved to be loved, so she gave up her immortality in order to free him. As for Ava, I found her more appealing when she was human. As Kate’s goddess BFF, her lack of basic courtesy (she redesigns Kate’s bedroom without asking; paying homage to Persephone) was grating. James continues to slip further in my admiration as his actions reveal him to be nothing more then a troublemaker between Henry and Kate.
The main conflict struggles to assert itself as Ms. Carter sets up the scene and initiates the plot lines. The possibilities of the villains was endless and could have saved the story for me, but since we hear/see everything through Kate’s eyes, we are still kept in the dark with her. Calliope is a strong presence but her reasons for revenge slowly go from structured to rambling, leaving us and the story twisting in limbo. The ending is a contrived predictable mess that only tells me that something big was needed to hook the readers into reading book three. And we are left with a trite cliffhanger. Ms. Carter seems to have trapped herself in the world she has made, leaving herself with limited space to develop and maneuver. I had really hoped that the problems of the first book would be addressed and fixed in here but it seems Ms. Carter decided that quantity was more important then quality.
Favorite Quote: “Damn it, if he didn’t have any condoms, she was going to see him cry like a baby. “
Hope Carson came to Ash, Kentucky to try and start her life again without fear. Having survived a brutally abusive marriage, she now finds herself savagely attacked and a suspect in the attack of a close friend and the murder of a police officer. Since her ex-husband is a cop, Hope doesn’t trust the police in this small town…nor the DA who makes her feel things she thought she had buried long ago.
Remy Jennings knows he shouldn’t feel so protective of Hope Carson but his gut instinct tells him there is no way she was involved in the attack or murder. She was set up and Remy is determined to find out why. When Hope’s past comes to Ash to take care of her once and for all, Remy will do whatever is necessary to gain her trust and protect her before it’s too late.
When Hope Carson wakes up in the hospital, she is informed she tried to commit suicide after supposedly shooting her best friend and murdering a police officer. Hope has tried to commit suicide before but the desperation of that situation doesn’t even begin to match this one. She knows she didn’t try to kill herself and it’s only through the efforts of her best friend Law Reilly and lack of evidence are the charges dropped and she is able to go home. Hope is convinced her ex husband has something to do with all of it but cannot prove it. She is finally getting her life back together after being physically and mentally abused by him and is determined to stand on her own two feet.
Remy Jennings, the local DA, has been talking with Hope’s ex-husband about Hope and her “mental problems.” Remy knows something is wrong with Hope’s situation and can’t shake the feeling that her ex husband isn’t being completely honest with him. Remy has been strongly attracted to Hope since the first moment he laid eyes on her and isn’t sure if it’s emotions or logic making him feel this way so he decides to watch and wait.
If You See Her is the second in Shiloh Walkers dark and gritty romance suspense Ash Trilogy. Not only does Ms. Walker continue to deliver her trademark scorching hot love scenes and dynamic, personable characters in here but she raises the bar; building even more suspense and intrigue that will keep you hooked till the last page. Fast pacing and suspenseful engaging story lines will have you continuously second guessing yourself as new revelations and clues are revealed. Ms. Walker has kept me firmly in the dark to our villain and his reasons. I await impatiently for the third and final book so that all will be revealed because I am apparently slow.
Hope and Remy are two fantastic protagonists. Though not as brightly colorful as Lena and Eliza, (our hero and heroine from If You Hear Her), they neither less bring their own quiet intensity to the story that more then works for this reader. Their chemistry burns hot and sultry with little flickers of fire that slowly become a raging inferno. Ms. Walker does a wonderful job in handling Hope’s and Remy’s problems. The fear, anger, and sense of helplessness are all physical felt as you watch Hope struggle to be her own person. Remy too has a sub story that reveals his own feelings of inadequacy and fear. Both are intelligent, independent, with a strong sense of loyalty. I love that Ms. Walker never draws out any misunderstandings or problems between the protagonists in her stories. They may have them but she doesn’t make it so much of a main story line as more of a bridge for our characters to connect with. The slow steamy sexual heat and tension these two generate will leave you panting as you watch them dance their way in to each others arms. Remy and Hope are perfect together and watching Hope discover what it’s like to experience true unfetter love is a joy to watch unfold.
I was surprised at how the little we saw the main villain from the arc in here though his presence is felt strongly though out the book. He was such a major character in the first one. Our secondary villain more then makes up for it. He normality in the face of his actions makes him an even more chilling encounter. I admit to having a small giggle at the main villain when he gets insulted by the appearance of the second villain. Past characters are present and accounted for as they continue to leave their indelible impressions on the story. We see more of Lena and Eliza and learn where they are headed in their life, along with Law and Lena’s other friends. We also meet a new character who’s appearance in town may be the catalyst that sets the ending in motion.
If You See Her will continue to have you looking over your shoulder and playing detective as you try to figure out who is the killer. Ms. Walker plays her cards close to her vest and leaves you gasping at the end and more then ready for book three-If You Know Her. I will warn that so far the two books in the series end in an abrupt manner with no epilogue or glimpses in the future. Though I am not a fan of cliffhangers, the way these are done do not bother me.
If dark and gritty suspense romances are your genre of choice, then I wholeheartedly recommend Ms. Walker’s Ash trilogy. These are not stand alones so I invite you to start with the first one-If You Hear Her- before reading this one. The third in the series, If You Know Her, releases March 2012.
Favorite Quote: “ You can take that Tinkerbell shit and shove it up your ass. “
There are some spoilers from book 2 in here so proceed at your own risk.
If You Know Her is the conclusion to Shiloh walker’s exciting, nerve racking, explosive romantic suspense Ash Trilogy. She has led us on a merry chase as we watch a town terrorized by a serial killer scramble to stop him from claiming anymore victims. Though a fan of everything Ms. Walker writes, I am bias in my thinking that she absolutely kicks arse in romantic suspense. Not only does Ms. Walker deliver her trademark scorching hot love scenes and dynamic, personable characters in here but she goes above and beyond in creating a suspense that will keep you perched on the edge until the very end. Exciting pacing and a dramatic multilayered storyline will hold you hostage as the tension builds through the book, increasing with each new revelation. Ms. Walker gives us two wonderfully strong and charismatic protagonists in the form of Nia Hollister and Law Reilly.
Nia and Law first met with dubious results in If You See Her. Nia is the cousin of the first murder victim and comes to Ash to identify the body and try to figure out what happened. She was out of the country when her cousin was murdered and the guilt has her doing some investigating on her own. She is accosted by the town gossip and goes on a rampage, pulling a gun on Hope and Law, demanding they confess to her cousin’s murder. Law is instantly fascinated by Nia, and can’t stop thinking about her after she leaves.
“Stupid, he knew, being that hung up on a woman with that kind of reckless disregard. Even now he found himself wondering what that mouth of hers would feel like pressed against his. How she would taste. How she would feel if he pressed her up against a wall, then pressed himself against her…”
When she comes back to Ash, she instantly gravities to Law and they begin to work together to find the killer because neither of them believe the official story that Hope’s ex husband was the serial killer.
The sparks light the pages on fire from the moment these two first meet. The characterization of these two is so real in their personalities and actions. Both are intelligent, aggressive, independent loners. They have their own way of doing things and aren’t concerned in how others view them. I like that there were no huge hurdles or misunderstandings with their relationship to weigh their story down. The extreme steamy sexual heat these two generate will leave you exhausted as you watch them find their way in to each others arms.
“ …he wanted, so bad, to stretch her back out on the bed and learn every inch of her lovely body, first with his eyes, then with his hands, then with his mouth.”
What starts as lust develops into to an explosive love affair that is stunning to watch unfold. The romance balances nice with the main conflict-each a main component to the story and play off each other well.
Our villain comes alive in this installment. We learn of his reasoning’s behind his killing spree and the path he has chosen to take in this story. Ms. Walker did a fabulous job of hiding in him plain sight and while I had inking of who it might be, I wasn’t absolutely sure until she revealed it. His character is multi faceted and leaves you chilled as you realize the sheer magnitude of what he has done, hidden behind the normal facade he presents to the town. His narcissistic personality is so shocking in it’s duplicity that you can’t help but be impressed with him. It’s an interesting story line as we flash between his POV and the other character’s POVs. Other characters maintain their larger then life roles and continue to deepen the storyline. Our previous protagonists; Ezra and Lena, Hope and Remy continue to be central figures in this storyline as they join with Nia and Law to try and solve this case. I enjoyed the animosity that sparks between Hope and Nia. Law may think Nia is the cherry on his sundae but Hope isn’t so forgiving.
The ending is a roller coaster ride of mixed emotions as we take dangerous curves and stomach turning loops, flinging us towards an explosive confrontation that leaves no one untouched. Ms. Walker wraps up this series in a concise fashion that answers all our questions and leaves us with a HEA for our heroes and heroines. I can’t recommend this trilogy enough and proclaim it a must have for all romantic suspense fans. I don’t recommend reading it out of order. Ms. Walker’s unique set up and endings for the first two books make it almost impossible to understand what is happening if you do not start with book one-If You Hear Her.
KMM's Iced is considered one of the book of the year to read and I was NOT disappointed. Dani comes through different in here. Maybe because the fo...more4.5
KMM's Iced is considered one of the book of the year to read and I was NOT disappointed. Dani comes through different in here. Maybe because the focus is on her as a person rather than Mac’s sidekick. Also enjoyed the dynamics between her and Ryodan. I like that while the book is dark and sensual, we aren't made to view or deal with any romantic entanglements concerning Dani. Christian rocks batshit crazy like no one I know, I enjoyed getting to know Ry's men, Kat's predicament is interesting, and I enjoyed the seeing bits of Barrons, and other players from the Fever series. I’m looking forward to book two, like, NOW! My only qualm? I see Jo in the same light as Layla from Ward's BDB series? Go away Jo!! :)(less)