Favorite Quote: When a woman says she fine, an intelligent man runs in the opposite direction.
Ex Nex Agent William Thorne was violently altered mentally and physically when he risked his life to save his best friend. Slowly going insane by the changes affecting him, William knows he must find Holly Evernight before he loses his grip on reality forever.
People are trying to kill SOS agent Holly Evernight and she has every reason to believe William Thorne is one of them. After all, it’s her invention that is slowly killing him. When he confronts her at home, Holly pushes aside her fear and strikes a bargain with him. She will help heal him if he will protect her from the assassins who are stalking her.
William agrees as her touch seems to soothe the madness within him. But someone wants Holly dead and if William doesn’t figure out who it is, he will lose his only hope at salvation.
Evernight, the fifth book in Callihan’s dark and thrilling Darkest London series, drops us back down the rabbit hole from the first page. As this book references and expands upon events that happened in book four, Shadowdance, I wouldn’t recommend starting the series here.
Romance is the key element on which this series is built while the the fantasy aspects play hard and fast. Outstanding world building and the dynamic characters breathe life in this series. Callihan keeps the main premise of the arc intact while she expertly injects new subplots; heightening the drama and suspense as she slowly begins to pull the individual pieces together towards the series finale.
The originality of her characters and their individual stories is what keeps me hooked. There are no clear cut good and bad and we are often shown that some feel the means justify the end. The lines between good and evil are blurred; giving credence to the knowledge that sometimes heroes and villains are only separated by a series of degrees. Smooth writing, fast pacing, and engaging dialogue keeps you on your toes to the very end. Multiple sub plots are rich in subterfuge and adventure as you submerge yourself into the decadent and dangerous lives of the amazing individuals who exist in here.
William and Holly’s story started from tragedy in Shadowdance and continues on as such in here. Both used as pawns in a brewing supernatural war that is larger and more ominous than we have been led to believe. Holly was kidnapped and forced to place one of her inventions, a mechanical heart, in William at the instruction of an insane man. This invention is slowly killing William and keeps in him excruciating pain. This places Holly and William at direct odds because William thought Holly was a willing participant in his torture and now he feels she must pay him his pound of flesh.
When they ripped out his heart, and he had finally succumbed to blissful oblivion, he held on to one thing: his hatred of his tormentor and the one with the angel’s face and devil’s mind. Evernight.
A majority of the book focuses on Holly and William’s relationship. William blames Holly for his torture yet he must stay with in her reach in order to alleviate his pain and madness. Holly also feels responsible for his torture and has chosen to separate herself from the world out of penance and fear. Holly’s and William’s chemistry sparks white lightning from their first scene. Forced to work together, they slowly learn more about one another and begin to form a bond that deepens the more time they spend together. William’s sexual innuendos and flamboyant nature is the perfect foil for Holly’s more reserved and sardonic nature; adding humor in this otherwise somber tale of betrayal and deception.
“Let me see if I have this correctly,” he said struggling not to crow, “you are going to rub your hands all over my body…” -she narrowed her eyes in distaste, which only made him grin reach epic proportions- “slowly and thoroughly-”
“Really Mr. Thorne.”
“While my part in it is to lie here and take it?” His cheeks ached from smiling. “Is that the plan?”
Callihan does an epic job of blending the suspense of the story with the emotional journey of William and Holly. Non stop action speeds the story along as you frantically absorb all the nuances and shifts. The plot was remarkable in it’s elements and I found myself riveted as the story slowly revealed itself. Callihan’s clear and concise writing leaves little confusion with the convoluted and multi-layered storyline. With each scene we watch William and Holly face their demons and overcome internal obstacles while dealing with external factors that try to stop them. Neither plot nor romance is sacrificed. They balance and complement each other through the entire arc; merging together towards the end.
“I’ll never be truly safe.”
“None of us are. It is a sacrifice to the life we choose. That does not mean we must live it in fear.”
Engaging word play creates a story you cannot put down. The supporting characters are intense, well developed, and intertwine with our protagonists to give us a rich, full bodied story. Much that has been played out behind the scenes comes into the light. Everyone here has an agenda and doesn’t always play by the rules. There are plenty in here to love and hate with abundance. We learn much more about Adam; his particular story has been waiting to be told since he was first introduced, and the additional powerful supernatural beings who are finally making themselves known. Alliances are made as enemies come out of the dark, threatening the well being of all those involved.
As we headed towards the ending I found myself gripped with tension. Callihan plays it close to the vest. The ending is a phenomenal mixture of hope and despair; wrapping up the main conflict and introducing new pathways for the arc to follow. Once again Callihan leaves me both satisfied and wanting more. Evernight contains the perfect balance of action, suspense, intrigue, and romance that makes this series a must read for all noir PNR aficionados.
DNF-cover and premise promised a powerful YA dealing with demons, mental illness, and grief. Unfortunately the story itself failed to engage me with u...moreDNF-cover and premise promised a powerful YA dealing with demons, mental illness, and grief. Unfortunately the story itself failed to engage me with unlikable characters, the faint premise that anti psychotic drugs cause more harm then good, and a heavily padded storyline. (less)
Nadia Conrad is in college, studying to be a special education teacher. Between her grueling work schedule and full course load, Nadia has no time for herself much less time to date anyone. But when she moves into a new apartment and meets her downstairs neighbor, Nadia feels a connection that may toss all her plans into the wind.
Daniel (Ty) Tyler has his own problems. A young single dad; he works full time and goes to night school to try and make a better life for himself and his four year old son. Having lost at love once before, romance is something he neither wants or needs, but when he meets Nadia, he can’t seem to stay away from her.
Sometimes love happens whether we want it or not. And sometimes, we didn’t even know we wanted it until its gone.
I’m going to tell you all a secret. I’ve never been a Back Street Boys fan. Don’t hate me, haters!! When I was first offered this for review, I didn’t get the significance of the book title until a friend clued me in. I still don’t really get it but that’s okay. I Want It That Way is the first in a trilogy and Ann Aguirre’s first foray into New Adult romance. A talented author whose urban fantasies and dystopian YAs I have enjoyed in the past, I was thrilled to see Aguirre venture into a new genre.
Aguirre pens an easy going low conflict coming of age story that touches on the average social and emotional problems that this age group can encounter. Well written but predictable in the journey and the addition of strategically placed melodrama to heighten the appeal of the conflict. Interesting secondary characters add humor and a sense of realism to the story; from Nadia’s friends to her bosses and family.
Nadia, our protagonist, is a personable albeit average character. Smart, snarky, and extremely work orientated, she handles life as best she can, always coming up with a suitable solution herself or with some external help. She has a bit of a naughty side to her that was cute but announced itself rather abruptly in scenes. Not prone to overly emotional meltdowns or dramatic gestures of angst, she’s easy to read about but not overly exciting.
Aguirre paints a realistic portrait of Ty as a single father. Ty’s girlfriend’s abandonment of him and their newborn son left a huge hole of anger and guilt in Ty. With his backstory and overwhelming schedule, you can feel his weariness and understand why he shies away from relationships though his hot/cold attitude towards Nadia does wear on the reader. We don’t get a lot from him (physically or emotionally) so it was hard to see him for more than just a romantic plotline.
I felt that Aguirre did a better job of developing Nadia and her individual relationships with her roommates more than with Ty and the romance itself. The fact it’s all presented from Nadia’s point of view causes the reader to lose valuable insight we would have gained from hearing Ty’s thoughts and emotions at certain pivotal scenes. The romance moves very fast; insta-lust strikes hard and Nadia speaks of falling in love rather quickly. It’s hard to accept that is how she feels because their relationship is presented in a time frame of sorts. The chemistry seems to be sexual in nature (Nadia and Ty in conversations and Nadia’s thoughts speak of how sexy each other is, ect…) I wanted more in depth conversations that addressed their attraction and explained why they feel this way about one another. What was the one thing that made each other the one. We never get to see where it turns to an emotional attraction. Nadia’s day to day activities and her life in general overwhelms the actual romance. Aguirre also skips ahead days and weeks where we are told things happen but don’t see it actually unfolding. The conflict wars with the subplots at times and it made me want to skip ahead and bypass the banality that affects the story.
Regardless of my issues, I did enjoy the book overall though I wasn’t enamored with it. It doesn’t stand out from other new adult books being offered and that was a disappointment. I admit to being curious about the next one in the trilogy-As Long As you love Me-as this couple was alluded to frequently in this book and I’m curious to see if Aguirre can find the romantic balance and development that was needed in here.
Favorite Quote: “They want an expert to explain she wasn’t a sociopath, just someone who craved constant attention and wasn’t able to solve her own problems.”
“You just described everyone on Facebook.”
Dr. Sheridan (Danny) Doyle has come back to his hometown to visit his ailing grandfather. A victim of an abusive father and a mentally ill mother, Danny rose like a phoenix from the ashes of his childhood and used it to reinvent himself into a famous forensic psychologist. Now he’s back and involved in a series of murders that all date back to a decades old act of violence that has frozen the town in time.
One Of Us is a mystery thriller that steps off the beaten path by giving us the who, what, when, and where fairly early on and concentrating on the “why.” Humor and horror walk hand in hand through the small town of Lost Creek, PA, as the past and present intermingle to try and explain a recent rash of murders. It pits two former residents against one another in a morbid game of cat and mouse as O’Dell strips away the town’s layers to expose a crime that once set in motion, destroys a multitude of lives as it slowly comes to light. A crime that was ignored due to small town prejudice, fear, and ignorance. It’s only when the true story comes to light do we realize just how much of this town and it’s residents was built upon a single act of revenge that was punished in the harshest of fashions.
Lost Creek is a small mining town whose claim to fame is the century old hanging of a group of miners by the owner of the mines. Referred to as the Nellies, these Irish-American miners were immortalized by the town as folk heroes as men who stood up to the injustice of the mines and the men who ran them. Danny Doyle, a descendant of one of those ill fated miners, has always hated Lost Creek. It represents all of his childhood fears-from the dark mines to his hate filled father. He comes back to Lost Creek to see his grandfather, Tommy, who was his savior as a child against the craziness that surrounded Danny. While out on a run, Danny stumbles on to a dead body at the foot of the town’s most historical and gruesome artifact, the very gallows where the Nellies were hung. The murdered man is a descendant of one of the original men who had a hand in the Nellie hangings. As Danny lends his expertise to the investigation, he begins to realize that the murder is but a single piece in a much larger picture. A picture that leads straight back to his family and sets in motion a series of events that changes everything Danny has ever known.
O’Dell builds the storyline slowly; heavy descriptive scenes and characterization give readers a first hand look at the poverty and mindset of those who live in these small towns where the only way to make a living is often met with death. Though Danny is the main protagonist, the rest of the cast is equally compelling and persuasive in their views and actions. From the eccentric four time divorced town detective who was Danny’s pseudo father figure to the egomaniac mine owner’s daughter whose beauty hides a rotten core; O’ Dell gives us a town rich in history and quirky personality.
Danny is an interesting protagonist. A gentle somewhat facetious man whose job has him looking into the eyes of the mentally insane everyday. There seemed to be two sides of him that fight against one another-the boy who struggles with hating and loving his parents and the man who struggles to keep all that pain buried inside, presenting a well adjusted person to the world. Having the story told in the first person helps the reader settle into Danny’s thoughts and world with relative ease.
Though not a whirlwind of action and intrigue, the story flows at a decent if not slow pace, picking up considerably once Danny begins to put the puzzle pieces together. Plenty of dialogue, character interaction, and armchair analysis helps us to see the multiple connections that O’Dell has been slowly revealing to us. Though the actions of some weren’t surprising (I figured most of it out by the middle of the book) the reasons behind them were.
All in all O’Dell writes an interesting tale of madness and circumstance that entertains while offering a brief glimpse into the history of Irish immigrants who can to America with dreams of a better life; only to find themselves in the same if not worse conditions.
Favorite Quote: “I’m going to tell you every filthy fucking thing I want to do with you and to you. Because I only know what gets you off. I want to learn what turns you on.”
Trix escaped Sector Five four years ago, allowing everyone there to believe she was dead. Now living in Sector Four and officially an O’Kane, Trix is clean with a new name, a new family, and the life she has always wanted. Except for missing the man she left behind in Sector Five, Trix is the happiest she’s ever been. When she is kidnapped in broad daylight, she is shocked to find herself back in Sector Five and face to face with the one man she never stopped loving.
Finn has been slowly killing himself everyday since Trix disappeared. Believing Trix is dead, all Finn wants to do is annihilate Sector Five and then find a place to finally let it all go. When he is called into his boss’s office and sees Trix, he vows he will do everything he can to get her back home safe and sound. Easier said than done though when politics places a bounty on both their heads.
Finn knows getting Trix home will be the easy part. Leaving her there and having to return to Sector Five may drive the final nail in his coffin. As Finn and Trix fight their way to the O’Kanes and safety, they also have deal with the blazing addiction that has roared back up between them. An addiction neither of them managed to kick in their time apart. With a sector war brewing on the horizon, Finn and Trix are once again caught in the crossfire and this time neither may make it out alive.
I am a huge fan of Kit Rocha (aka Moira Rogers) and I even have the coffee mug, flask, and temporary tattoos to prove it. The Beyond series is pure erotic decadence layered in sex, violence, and freedom as Rocha slowly evolves and expands their post-apocalyptic world and the people who inhabit it. Action packed with intriguing well plotted storylines and an ongoing arc that takes this erotic dystopian romance from common place to extraordinaire in both writing and presentation. This series celebrates the choice of freedom in all aspects of life. A much needed voice in our dodgy political climate of late. Strongly character driven, Rocha builds strong, intelligent, loyal men and women who promote and embrace the idea that your lifestyle and choices are nothing to be ashamed of. Ménages, orgies, exhibition, voyeurism, and some erotic BDSM all balance well with the main conflict(s).
The strong romantic element in this series continues to surprise me. The underlying premise of sexual promiscuity should overpower it but in reality it only reinforces the multiple layers of love and respect that exists between everyone. The men in here are alpha times infinity but Rocha digs beneath their barriers and shows us gentle, sexy, protective men who can treasure and protect their friends, family, and lovers without crushing their spirit. There is a strong theme of equality between the sexes. Even in the rare D/s scenes, you understand exactly what the term “power in the submission” means. It is a gift and it’s treated accordingly.
The heart of the story is the second chance romance between Trix and Finn. A sexually raw and heart wrenching journey that forces our protagonists to view and forgive the actions of their past in order to have the future they want. In the past, their times together were a drug fueled coupling that occurred under a heavy layer of fear and distrust. Both lived with the knowledge that everyday could be their last. Each did what had to be done in order to survive and still suffer from the shame of past decisions. Especially Finn. As Sector Five’s enforcer, he was tasked with some incredibly vile acts that have left a permanent stain on his soul. Seeing Trix alive and healthy only compounds his feelings of guilt and shame that he wasn’t able to get her out sooner. Also, a small part of him fears he may have unintentionally kept her there with him for his own selfish needs.
He hadn’t saved Trix’s life. She’d saved her own.
Finn also has to deal with the general distrust from Sector Four. Though most know the condition Trix was in when she was found, no one knows the whole story. To the O’Kane’s, Finn is the enemy. In their love and concern for Trix, Finn is regarded with suspicion and in some cases, outright hatred. Finn deals with it; accepting and welcoming it as penance for his crimes. Even with the seriousness of the conflict, Rocha tosses in some humor that helps to combat the somber tone of the story. While Trix understands her family’s reluctance to accept Finn, she doesn’t hesitate to slap back when their concern becomes a little too intrusive.
“This is horse shit.” She tossed a glare over her shoulder at Jasper as she dug a lace-edged handkerchief from her pocket. “The next time you’re giving it to Noelle in some dark corner somewhere, I’m going to come kick you in the balls. See how you like the interruption.”
Poor Jasper. *giggle*
The chemistry between Trix and Finn is a heady explosive mixture of lust, love, and guilt, all compounded by the danger they are in. Their attraction to one another was never in doubt but the reasons for it are. Trix fears falling back into their old trap but Finn pushes to show her that they have both grown from their time apart and this second chance is their reward.
Four years and a world of distance hadn’t stopped them from winding up right here at this very moment. He’d thought she was dead, and that hadn’t stopped him from picking her up when she’d stumbled back into his life.
Nothing would stop him, and she needed to hear it so badly that her throat ached. “Say it,” she whispered against his skin. “Just once.”
“I’m not going anywhere, “he promised. Low and rough. “I’ll never leave you.”
The ongoing arc picks up where it left off in book four and keeps expanding, adding new subplots and characters to an already volatile mix. We glean more knowledge from other sectors and the men/women who rule them along with clues towards what looks to be a glorious bloody finale. Plenty of time is spent with previous characters further reinforcing the concept that Sector Four is one big family and everyone is in everyone’s business. I always enjoy seeing how past heroes and heroines are getting along and am pleased when authors give us peeks back into their lives, allowing us to experience the evolution of their characterization in relation to the storylines.
The luxury of being a simple bootlegger was long gone. From now on, Dallas O’Kane was a man preparing for war–and not the messy-but-confined brutality of a sector war. In his gut, he knew where the real danger lay.
Kit Rocha’s Beyond series is my addiction and I can’t wait for my next fix.
Favorite Quote: “Please. The devil wished he had half my style and a fourth of my schemes.”
Cal and Nikos Leandros are back and this time they face their greatest enemy…themselves. Cal’s monstrous heritage is slowly gaining a foothold, trying to obliterate Cal’s humanity. On top of that, Cal is being pursued by a murderous doppelganger, a psychotic ex, and a band of covert warriors who feel it’s time for Cal to be put to rest…permanently. As the clock ticks down, sending Cal and Niko’s closer to their deaths, it may be Cal’s murderous other half that saves them in the end.
Rob Thurman brings her A game to the table in her ninth installment of her Cal Leandros series. Secrets are revealed and we learn once and for all exactly why Robin Goodfellow has been such a primary figure in the Leandros brothers lives. The story is a bit more chatty than normal but the storyline is possibly one of her best. Presented in duel POVs, you get an in depth look at Cal and Niko’s past through the eyes of an immortal. And their past is far longer and more convoluted than anyone ever imagined. Thurman’s continued use of mythology and religion, twisting and manipulating to her whims, further expands and evolves her world, keeping the series fresh and inventive.
I am a huge fan of this series. Similar to the WB show, Supernatural, the premise is built upon two brothers whose love and loyalty to one another defines their very existence. Heavy on sibling love and the concept that not all family is tied by blood. Each episode in self contained with a long running arc. Well-plotted and cast with characters with dynamic personalities, this series is filled with suspense, betrayal, sarcasm, humor, and some very dangerous antagonists. A fascinating series that continues to captivate and enchant. Thurman does a fabulous job of exploring and evolving the relationship between brothers Cal and Nikos as they fight to protect each other and the clueless humans in the city.
Downfall opens with Cal noticing that he is beginning to manifest some physical traits of his auphe heritage. He fears that the more he starts to look like the auphe, the more he will start to act like one. Cal also has a influx of enemies gunning for him. He is been targeted for death by the Vigil, an organization that works to keep humans unaware of the supernaturals around them. Though he has always been on their radar, his actions in Slashback (book 8) placed him on their hit list. Cal’s ex girlfriend, Delilah, is now head Alpha of the Kin and has decided to clean house…beginning with Cal. Grimm is also back and is going to make Cal play the game of world domination with him regardless if Cal want to play or not.
Similar to Slashback, Thurman tells this story in the present and past but this time uses Robin Goodfellow’s memory to fill in most of the remaining blanks that have existed throughout the series. Robin has been a large part of the series but purposely hid his importance from us. In here we learn the full extent of his loyalty to Cal and Nikos and his intensive and sometimes intrusive manipulations behind the scenes. Reincarnation is the theme and Thurman works it into the ongoing storyline beautifully. We are gifted with a dual narration-Cal and Robin-as they each remember the past. It gives the story a sense of intimacy and depth to hear Robin bear his innermost feelings and actions concerning Cal and Nikos. We feel his pain, sadness, and weariness as we learn he has spent centuries trying to keep Cal and Nikos alive while they charged fearlessly into danger with each new life. It has become an endless cycle that Robin is determined to break.
The conflict is an explosion of violence, sacrifice, and brings about a shocking conclusion that wraps up a open storyline but leaves us with some interesting clues towards the future of Cal and his “family”. Robin definitely rules this installment and shows everyone that he is indeed the ultimate trickster. This series continues to walk on the dark side of urban fantasy as it repeatedly shows us that monsters do exist in the world and sometimes the difference between them and us is nothing more than a degree of separation. Even with each book having a resolvable conflict, I don’t view them as stand alones. The arc is long standing and convoluted as is the evolution of the main characters. I recommend starting from the beginning with Nightlife.
Vera Hadley has spent her whole life being a Hadley and all that comes with it. Now poised on the eve of her wedding to a man she doesn’t love, Vera decides to finally live her life on her own terms and sneaks away with the help of two servants. Vera arrives in Round O, South Carolina and soon sets herself up living quarters, a job, and a possible suitor. When she receives a call about an old friend in trouble, Vera has to make a choice on whether she will continue to hide from her father and fiancee or will she finally make a stand and claim her life as her own.
Set in South Carolina during the 1940’s, Palmetto Moon is a southern contemporary about a young woman of privilege whose family’s social and financial ambitions push her to seek her own way in the world. I adore a good bygone era women’s independence story and envisioned a possible mixture along the lines of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Carrie Khoui or Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. Unfortunately, this story had neither the strong characters nor dynamic storylines of either book.
Disney-fied to the utmost extreme, Palmetto Moon is a saccharine story that has all the elements to be a wonderful journey of discovery, hope, and love but fails to deliver. An interesting premise that never seemed to quite gain a foothold and develop. It is a deliciously decorated package that when opened, lacks substance. The best I can say is that it is sweet. The characters are formulaic and sweet; never emerging from their cocoon to develop and grow. It’s all tell and no show. The plot and subplots are sweet with little to no exploration. There were certainly many openings for our heroine to explore her new found freedom in areas of sexuality and social structures that never panned out. Numerous plot holes and dead ends left me frustrated. The ending is sweet and predictable from the halfway mark. Even the villain(s), who aren’t really villainous, are mere caricatures that hint towards a danger we never see. There is no sense of adventure within the main plot. No standing on the precipice, quivering in anticipation wondering what will happen. There is a faint religious theme that flows under the story, giving kudos to the time and place in which Boykin is writing about.
Our heroine, Vera, comes off strong in the beginning of the book. Boykin’s voice slowly draws the reader in as Vera tells us of her dreams, desires, and fears. We learn that she had been planning to run away from her autocratic family for sometime now and has been stealthily putting things in motion to facilitate her escape. She is scared but determined to take her fate into her own hands. Once she arrives in the small crossroad town of Round O however, the story begins to fail for me. Everything just falls into place. She arrives and within 24 hours she has a place to live, a professional job which she has no qualifications for, a handsome suitor, and a new best friend. Vera is perfect. She is beautiful, soft spoken, and well educated. There is very little adversity or moral dilemmas for her to overcome; both which are key components in a coming of age trope. She is the quintessential heroine who triumphs in the face of…no danger.
A variety of secondary characters only to exist in order to tell Vera’s story. They aren’t viable sustainable characters of their own. Frank Darling is a handsome diner/store owner whose dreams were shattered when he was denied entry to the armed forces for a health defect. Stuck in this one horse town, he self flagellates himself for his supposed failings. Once he meets Vera, he falls head over heels and his life mission focuses solely on getting Vera to marry him. We have the stereotypical nasty busybodies that only the southern small towns seem to breed. But Vera is able to put them in their place with a well heeled insult and arched brow. Vera’s fiance and parents are here today-gone tomorrow. Clare, Vera’s new best friend, is a young widow with three adorable small boys. She can’t leave the boarding house because…widowed women can’t live on their own? I didn’t understand that part. She is being pressured to marry one of the older gentlemen boarders but of course, Vera will swoop in and save the day *sigh* Various other characters offer vague humor and depth but as I stated earlier, they are place holders and their issues all fall by the wayside as the main conflict blows through.
The ending comes at us fast and is really the only true obstacle that Vera faces. A small obstacle that is easily and painlessly rectified. And we don’t even see that. We learn of it after the fact. Everyone is made happy in the end and our leads live happily ever after. All in all it wasn’t a bad book. It’s well written with a smooth flow that makes for an easy simple read. I just expected more and was saddened to see it didn’t deliver.
Moon Kissed is a reissue from Aline Hunter. A paranormal romance novella that has all the right elements but failed to engage me story or romance w...more2.5
Moon Kissed is a reissue from Aline Hunter. A paranormal romance novella that has all the right elements but failed to engage me story or romance wise. I’m not a fan of “mate bonding” to begin with and I felt the connection the couple had was magically manufactured and not due to actual attraction. An interesting main conflict falls short as the pseudo romance takes up a considerable amount of space and the length of the story offers no real chance for it to develop and expand. A quick hot read that unfortunately doesn’t offer much beyond grunts of MINE and sex.(less)
Peregrine Island is Anna’s last chance. With no job and nowhere to live, Anna comes back to the island that made her life miserable as a teenager. Trapped there by circumstances, Anna is dismayed to find her childhood tormentor is also on the island. Anna has no inclination to forgive and forget and vows no matter what happens, she will stay the sixty days required and then go back to the city and try to repair her life.
Theo Harp, the prodigal son and gothic novelist, is back on the island to finish his second book and hopefully exorcise some demons from his past. He regrets how he treated Anna as a child but he is older now and wants to let bygones be bygones. He also wants Anna off the island but not for the reasons she thinks and when it looks like someone else wants her gone too, Theo goes from being her villain to her hero.
I have been a HUGE fan of Susan Elizabeth Phillips for years. My first foray into her world was Fancy Pants and from there I devoured everything she ever wrote. Strong, crazy heroines, annoying over protective alpha heroes, drama filled misconceptions, and some of the most insane secondary characters and towns kept me laughing and cheering for years. Her past few books haven’t quite held the same spark as her earlier works. The characters seem harder and more brittle while the storylines tell more than they show.
Ms. Phillips’ writing takes a noticeably darker turn in her newest work, Heroes Are My Weakness. A romance suspense with a gothic flavor whose base is centered on family and touches on abuse and mental illness. I have to say my expectations were not met in this book. The writing, tone, and characterization all felt so different from her previous works. It’s not a bad thing for authors to branch out but there is an uncomfortable struggle in here, made evident by the stumbling storyline, fast switching scenes, and characterization. Ms. Phillips changes the overall tone of her writing with this book but seems to have trouble changing her style to fit.
Anna is a puppeteer. Growing up with a famous and critical mother left Anna always struggling to be accepted and loved. This has lead Anna to invest in a series of relationships that left her with little to no emotional and physical fulfillment. Having spent her life savings on taking care of her dying mother in her last year of life has left Anna broke and in frail health. All she has is the cottage her mother received when she divorced her last husband, Elliott Harp. A cottage that has a cordil attached to it. Anna must live in the cottage 2 months out of the year or it reverts back to the Harp estate. Anna’s mother assures her that the cottage holds something of value that will make her life complete. Only, Anna doesn’t want to go to Peregrine island because that is where her step brother, Theo Harp, tried to kill her when she was 15 and she has avoided the island ever since.
Anna screams victim in the beginning. She is a walking version of Murphy’s Law. If it’s bad and can happen, it happens to her. A typical Phillips heroine, only in this case, I was more annoyed than amused. She has a martyr complex; she makes excuses for everyone in her life but Theo. She spent her entire life savings in an attempt to make her mother love her though she uses her mother’s sickness to justify it. She makes excuses for her loser boyfriends, and when she helps a friend do her job. I also had issues with the consciousness aspect that has Anna “hearing” her puppet’s voices during times of indecision and trouble. It was a frivolous aspect that didn’t match the tone of the story or Anna.
As the story progresses, Anna begins to settle on the island and put down roots. She becomes more confident and assured (again, a familiar growth pattern all Phillips heroines go through). She and Theo strike up a tentative truce when Theo asks to “borrow” the cottage to write in and Anna uses him to sharpen her wit on. Attraction from their teenage years comes back full force and soon she and Theo soon embark on an affair though Anna tries to keep it un emotional. This is her finally taking a stand in her life. She feels she and Theo will never have anything permanent with his secrets and her life being back in the city.
Theo was harder to get to know as the entire story is from Anna’s point of view. His actions in the beginning seems to back up all the reasons behind Anna’s antagonism towards him. As we get to know him, you sense that there was far more to him then what you see. Both he and Anna hide their feelings behind sarcasm and witty comebacks. If Anna has a martyr complex, then Theo has a white knight complex. His backstory is revealed in layers as Anna uncovers every one of his secrets and you honestly can’t help but feel for him once you learn everything. It’s only really towards the end that the real Theo breaks through and you hear, in his own words, how he’s felt since the beginning. It’s an emotional outpouring that moved me. I did feel though that the story and his character would have been better served by allowing more of his POV to be seen.
The chemistry between Anna and Theo is apparent from the beginning but the romance is slow going. Ms. Phillips takes her time allowing them to fall in love; needing them to work through their issues before committing. Watching these two snark at each other is funny, especially when that humor enters the bedroom. The scenes are emotionally sexy but physically chaste and most occur off scene.
The mystery is intriguing though at times seemed to be overwhelmed by the multiple subplots intertwining with it. There is lot going on and Ms. Phillips does an admirable job of resolving them though it all happens rather fast. We learn the answer to Anna’s legacy and phantom prowlers and Phillips leaves us with a nice epilogue that assures us that Anna and Theo are happy.
Overall I found the book easy to read and amusing in a dry way, but the struggles I mentioned in the beginning didn’t make this new venture of Ms. Phillips an altogether comfortable read.
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.
Cordelia (Cordie) Kane was raised by her father and has always had a crush on her best friend’s brother, Aiden. When her father dies unexpectedly, lea...moreCordelia (Cordie) Kane was raised by her father and has always had a crush on her best friend’s brother, Aiden. When her father dies unexpectedly, leaving Cordie devastated not only by his death but with the news that her mother is alive and didn’t die in a car accident as she was told, she decides this is the perfect opportunity to let go of the past (her crush on Aiden) and move forward with her life. Her first goal is to find out why her mother left her and her father so many years ago.
Aiden Madison is a workaholic. Main controller for his family’s chain of hotels, Aiden is forever wheeling and dealing with his cell phone glued to his ear and his laptop always open. He has known Cordie for years and firmly placed her in the friend zone. An impromptu and very steamy kiss shocks Aiden into opening his eyes and seeing the beautiful woman standing before him.
When Cordie tracks her errant mother to Sidney, Australia, Aiden is steamrollered into going with her and soon the two of them find themselves involved in a mystery involving a wealthy family who will do anything to keep their secrets buried. Multiple attempts on Cordie’s life send Aiden into a tailspin and makes him realize that he may lose the one person he never knew he wanted.
I have always been a fan of Julie Garwood’s historical and romance suspense stories. Her wonderful balance of humor and structured chaos has kept me entertained for years. I was pleased to see Cordie and Aiden getting their own story after seeing them in Murder List (2007). Recently though, I’ve noticed her last few books haven’t had the same spark and enthusiasm they previously held. The romance seems one-sided and the conflicts lack depth, action, and intrigue.
Fast Track is a friends to lovers story that starts out with high intentions but falls short of the mark. I saw a lot of similarities between this book and an earlier release, Sweet Talk. Both books contain a beautiful, loyal, intelligent woman who fall for an emotionally constrained alpha who treats her like a booty call. Also, similar to Sweet Talk, the hero’s work/family comes first. In fact, in Fast Track, our hero spends approximately 85% of the book working. The other 15% is having sex with the heroine and trying to keep her safe from her mother’s vindictive family.
A large part of my dissatisfaction with the story is that we don’t see any real interaction between Cordie or Aiden growing up. Yes, they did appear in previous books but that doesn’t help new readers or those like myself who don’t exactly remember what happened seven years ago. In here, we see one scene showing when Cordie first meets Aiden and decides “he’s the one” but beyond that, everything starts in the present. We don’t know why Codie is attracted to Aiden or what happened in the years leading up to this point to facilitate her crush lasting so long.
The beginning of their present day romance promises much but fails to deliver. A steamy kiss that makes Aiden notice Cordie and then we begin to see some jealousy on his part. But beyond that we are never given any hint to how Aiden feels about Cordie. Even he muses a few times that he’s not sure what he feels for her; brushing it aside as an inconvenience. We never hear him say anything that would clue us that his feelings for Cordie go beyond physical attraction. Their love scenes are like random hook ups. They look at one another, have sex, and then Aiden disappears for a few days on business. They don’t date; a one time “lunch date” actually ends up being a business meeting for him with a roomful of associates.
The fact that Cordie makes excuses for Aiden’s behavior; never calling him on his “hit it and quit” it attitude, frequent disappearances, or lack of communication made me lose respect for her quickly. Especially since she is so fierce in other aspects. She just continues to talk about moving on with her life though she doesn’t really do anything but make feeble motions.
The main conflict surrounding Cordie’s mom also fails to engage. Her father tells her not to wait on love and that she is finally safe as everything is in Cordie’s name; yet we never see any indication from her mother’s actions that she would want access to the fortune Cordie’s dad left to her. Her mother is worth millions. We meet her mother in Sidney and are assured that her mother wants nothing to do with her. As Cordie attempts to get on with her life, an accident proves to Aiden and Cordie that someone wants Cordie out of the picture. An interesting concept, especially once we learn the reasons behind the attack, but as the ‘romance’ makes up a majority of the story, the mystery gets interjected at random stages, leaving this reader rather ambivalent about the whole thing.
Two small subplots concerning Aiden and his family provide some relief from the drudgery of the story. We get clues to Aiden’s younger brother’s coming story and what looked to be a contender for the main conflict-the land acquisition-fizzled and resolved in lackluster fashion.
The ending is overly dramatic catch all that wraps everything up neatly with no loose ends. Love is instantly realised and we have our happily ever after. I would have liked to have seen more development all around as I felt the entire story stayed on one level without any real emotional depths. I think I have come to my breaking point with Ms. Garwood. While I’ll continue to read and reread her older releases, the new ones just aren’t for me.
Favorite Quote: “Are you sure I can’t talk you into takin’ an admin position when your probationary period is up?” “Do I still get to Taser people from behind a desk?” “No.” “Then no way.”
Devin McClain is a mega star in the country music business. Gorgeous and popular, he has more than his fair share of exuberant fans. When it looks like one fan maybe taking things too far by attacking a crew member on Devin’s tour bus, Devin’s record company demands stricter security measures, starting with a personal bodyguard for Devin.
Liberty Masterson’s return to civilian life after a stint in the military has been a rocky road until she lands a job with a prestigious security company. When her boss assigns her to play babysitter for a country music star, she doesn’t figure on having to pretend to be the playboy’s flavor of the month. But Liberty is a professional and will do whatever is necessary to keep her client alive and well till the end of his tour.
Close quarters spark some combustible chemistry between Liberty and Devin and soon Devin wants to make this pretend romance a reality. But while Liberty is willing to fully submit to Devin behind closed doors, she isn’t sure their relationship can withstand the demands of Devin’s famous lifestyle.
Lorelei James’s Blacktop Cowboys series has always been a favorite of mine. Her characters are imbibed with so much spirit and personality that they are indeed larger than life. Bold self-assured independent women and flirtatious sexy alpha cowboys has the pages smoking as you follow their rock strewn path to love. Plenty of humor and sex makes these erotic romances a joy to read. Flavorful dialogue keeps the story flowing along at a steady pace. Multiple plot lines are revealed simultaneously, merging together to provide a well won ending for our lovers.
Liberty and Devin have been seen throughout the series and I was thrilled to not only see they would be getting a book, but would be paired together. Opposites attract is a winning trope for me and Liberty and Devin couldn’t be more opposite…or so you think. James does a fabulous job of setting up our hero and heroine, revealing their personalities and their back stories, taking a considerable amount of time letting us get to know them and see the extreme differences between them. Cut throat misconceptions set the stage for a prickly beginning but as the story progresses, James slowly cuts through the artifice and we begin to see that our protagonists are indeed perfect for one another.
Holy mother of God. It was a miracle he managed to keep from drooling. Or cursing at the sky because the fucking universe had a sick sense of humor. Or maybe this was Karma beating you with the stupid stick for boldly proclaiming that you didn’t find Liberty Masterson attractive.
“Do I need to make it clear to Devin again why I am here?” “Maybe. I don’t know. He’s in one of them moods where——” “He needs naked fan adulation to help him through his rough day?”
Devin and Liberty are on fire. Heavy steamy chemistry will keep you enthralled as our couple takes their relationship from professional to personal. A strong sexual connection develops between them, allowing them both to push aside their differences and focus on each other. One constant I like about James’s writing is she celebrates her characters sexuality. No slut shaming or embarrassment for their wants and desires. In a world where we seem to be heading towards a Puritan state of mind, it’s always refreshing to see two adults engage in a sexual relationship that isn’t forced, coerced, or used as a cure for some previous trauma. The physical scenes are very well done with explicit detailing and a heavy dose of erotic fun and romance.
“Make me feel it.” “Feel what?” “That first thrust. Don’t be sweet. Don’t go slow. Slam into me so hard I feel this big cock of yours in the back of my throat. So I always remember this moment.”
The main conflict is a mixture of past and present, building a solid storyline. James addresses issues and creates an engaging read that fills you with strong emotions as you watch Liberty and Devin work to build a time sustaining relationship that will last past the tour. James writes with such intimacy that we are instantly drawn into their lives. Multiple subplots intertwined with the romance. Emotions run the gauntlet as old wounds are reopened and allowed to heal.
Dynamic secondary characters add even more flavor and depth to the story as we get a behind the scenes look at what is all involved in touring with a major music star. Subplots involving family and friends show a prime need for communication. Getting involved with the other band members and roadies shows us this lifestyle isn’t for the faint of heart. I enjoyed seeing old faces from previous books and see what they have been up to.
I did feel the main conflict wasn’t as developed as it could have been and was overwhelmed by the romance. Plus, while I enjoyed the slow ride of Liberty and Devin’s romance, at times Liberty’s stubbornness became a hindrance. Regardless, this series continues to entertain and I recommend it to everyone who wants an erotic romantic contemporary series with realistic characters, emotional romances, strong friendships, and interesting lives that will keep you waiting for each installment. Even though each book in the series can be read as a standalone; some characters and situations bleed over.
As a huge fan of the organization, RAINN, I jumped at the chance to review and purchased some additional copies to send to friends. Summer Rain is a r...moreAs a huge fan of the organization, RAINN, I jumped at the chance to review and purchased some additional copies to send to friends. Summer Rain is a romance contemporary anthology filled with tales of love, loss, redemption, and most importantly…choice. A wide variety of voices come together, each giving us a snippet into a relationship and the dynamics surrounding it. While love doesn’t necessarily play an important part in every story in here, life and romance are the key components and each character is given the chance at finding it. I enjoyed seeing some familiar faces and meeting some new ones. Not every story worked for me but the anthology, as a whole, is well written and presented. I have heard there is a second volume coming-Winter Rain-and I look forward to reading it.
Redemption by Ruthie Knox. A somber story about a relationship where the only connection seems to be sex. Both parties are experiencing a rough patch and use each other to escape the troubles that seem to be hounding them. Enjoyable though I wasn’t enamored with the couple. C+
The Heart of It by Molly O’Keefe. A new to me author, O’Keefe offers us a delicate affair between two victims of abuse. Poignant and enlightening, we see how childhood abuse can affect people and the struggles they go through to move past it. B+
Sacrifice by Cecilia Tan. Another new to me author. Virgin sacrifices and sexy demi gods? Hoo Rah! Unfortunately, this one didn’t work for me. I enjoyed the backstory and the emotional evolution of hero but felt the story glossed over the actual jump from lust to love. C-
Real Feelings by Charlotte Stein. I adore Charlotte Stein and this story. Choice and consent are at the forefront of this sci fi romance when a woman buys a male AI only to discover that what she thought she wanted, pales in comparison to what she can have if she just learns to trust. A
Rainy Season by Mary Ann Rivers. A sweetly emotional story that deals with disappointment and having the courage to let go of the past in order to move forward. B
The Rain in Spain by Amy Jo Cousins. An honest look at marriage, communication, and the compromises that must be made in order to for both parties to connect on all levels in a relationship. A romantic journey through Spain only adds to the sensuality of the story. B
Fitting In by Audra North. Social acceptance and being true to yourself is the theme of this story by new to me author, Audra North. In here, the son of two gay parents finds himself reevaluating his choices in life when he meets the college pharaoh and learns that changing oneself begins on the inside. B.
Private Study by Shari Slade. An interesting look at sexuality and the shame that is often directed towards young women who seek to explore their own. Slade does a fantastic job of capturing the uncertainty and fear that often accompanies sexual curiosity in young adults. B+
Storm Warning by Alexandra Haughton. Second chance love is always a winner for me and Haughton does a fantastic job of addressing and offering realistic solutions to the issues behind the relationship falling apart. B
Favorite Quote: “Oh come on, I’ve seen you two together. It’s like watching a nature documentary on scientists trying to get the two most socially awkward people in the world to mate.”
Deacon Whitney, software mogul and billionaire, hires a group of professionals to come to his private island and renovate his family estate. Known as the Crane’s Nest, this family jewel, nestled along the New England coast, has been the focal point of murder and mystery since the death of Catherine Crane; supposedly at her husband’s hands.
Nina Lindon is hired by Deacon to landscape the estate and jumps at the chance to use this job to jump start her business. A victim of a malicious co worker, Nina has had to start again from scratch and this is her chance to get herself back on her feet.
Upon meeting, Deacon and Nina gravitate to one another; he sees a woman not after his money and she sees a man who will be careful with her bruised heart. Though, they may not get a chance explore their attraction when it becomes apparent that the house and it’s ghostly inhabitants have something against true love. Unless Deacon and his makeshift scooby gang can figure out how to lay these angry spirits to rest, these star crossed lovers may learn the true meaning of “till death do us part…”
I’ve always enjoyed Molly Harper’s writing. From her contemporaries to her paranormals, Ms Harper writes rich snark filled hilarious stories filled with strong females and slightly strange but smexy men. Better Homes and Hauntings is a delightful paranormal romance filled with tongue in cheek humor, endearing characters, and some crazy shenanigans. Her characters are hysterical and provide much eye rolling and snorts of laughter as you slip smoothly into their lives. The storyline is a wonderful mix of love and suspense with an easy flow and an enjoyable conversational writing style.
A naturally shy, unassuming, and slightly geeky woman, Nina has a well hidden streak of wickedly funny sarcasm and one liners. She zings them out of nowhere, startling giggles and outright snorts from the reader. A landscaper by trade, she was taken advantage of by her former partner who became vindictive when she left to start her own business. He systematically destroyed her reputation and her life. Down, but not out, Nina is struggling to recoup what she lost and try to rebuild her life and business again one job at a time.
Deacon is the perfect geeky beta. Smart, funny, and handsome; he has a boyish charm to him that appeals to NIna’s gentler nature.An action figure fan to boot- he delights, intrigues, and frustrates Nina to distraction. I found his social awkwardness utterly delightful; especially in his attempts to “woe” Nina.
Deacon snapped her out of her reverie. “You’re actually doing me a favor, you know.”
“If the whispering among my staff is any indication, this dance is probably serving as the office pool breaker for “Is Deacon asexual?’”
“That’s kind of insulting. How is that helping you?”
He shrugged. “I put fifty dollars down on ‘not asexual’”
“They let you bet?”
“Well, I bet under Vi’s name.”
The slow evolution of his and Nina’’s relationship is a fun journey filled with humor, snarkiness, and lots of steamy chemistry.
The supporting characters are just as eccentric and fun as our main protagonists. From Deacon’s flighty cousin who is determined to out the Whitney family secrets once and for all to Cindy, the head of Cleaning service. They have some wonderful banter between them.
“Sweetheart, I’m going to insist that you ride that man like a pony. [...] For the good of all mankind, technological advancement, and America’s place in the world wide economy. Think of the gadgetry he could come up with if he had a little stress relief.”
“You are all class, my friend.”
Cindy and Jeff (Deacon’s bff) have some past history which leaves you in stitches as they bicker and trade insults on their way to romance.
The conclusion of the conflict and sub plot was a action packed and engaging though I had figured it out fairly early in the story. The mystery of Deacon’s ancestors is finally laid to rest and the romance(s) flourish; delivering to us our happily ever after but with a few twists that adds to the overall enjoyment.
If you’re looking for a funny, sexy paranormal romance with a dash of mystery and suspense that will leave thoroughly entertained then I highly recommend picking up Molly Harper’s newest stand alone, Better Homes and Hauntings.
Every fan of Harrison’s Elder Races series has fallen head over heels for Dragos’ and Pia’s baby boy Liam aka Peanut. A hybrid Wyn with some impressiv...moreEvery fan of Harrison’s Elder Races series has fallen head over heels for Dragos’ and Pia’s baby boy Liam aka Peanut. A hybrid Wyn with some impressive powers, Liam is ready to go to Kindergarten even though he is only 6 months old. If you read Pia Saves The Day, the novella before this one, you know that Pia’s words to Liam to be a big boy precipitated his rather shocking growth spurt. This short novella picks up from there and presents beautifully a child’s first day of school; showing us the fear and uneasiness one feels when entering a new chapter of their life. Plenty of laughs and some angst made this journey a grand adventure and offers readers some hints into what Liam is slowly becoming.(less)
Trevor Shay seems to have it all. A successful football and baseball career and an enviable lifestyle but when his college mentor’s daughter runs into trouble, Trevor drops everything to help her get her life back on track. He pulls some strings to get her an exclusive interview with him, hoping the interview and change in scenery will pull her out of her downward spiral.
Haven Briscoe has landed her dream job as a sports journalist but the recent death of her father leaves her grief stricken and unable to move forward. When she is approached to do an exclusive expose on dual sports playing star Trevor Shay, Haven feels this could be exactly what she needs to jump start her career and her life.
The chemistry ignites as Haven spends time with Trevor and learns the differences between the boy she knew in college and the man who stands before her today. Haven doesn’t mind a little play time but she knows her career could be ruined if she crossed professional lines. Trevor is willing to let Haven into his life and his bed but a secret he keeps hidden from the world prevents him from letting her into his heart. When Haven accidentally discovers his secret, Trevor is forced to either trust her with everything or let her go forever.
Straddling The Line is number eight in Jaci Burton’s racy sports theme romance series-Play by Play. Originally built around the popular and sports orientated Riley family, the series has spun off the family and is now divulging into relatives of the Riley’s and various friends and teammates. While I enjoy the fact the series is continuing, I feel it has never quite gotten back to the same level it had when it was based solely on the Riley family. Since Playing To Win, I’ve noticed Burton’s books have undergone a transformation. Softer edges and less volatile characters blunt the edge this series used to possess.
I’ve felt the series has become repetitive in its undertaking. We are seeing the same story, right down to almost identical scenes. The only difference seems to be different names and careers. The conflicts are weaker and resolve almost instantaneously. Stilted formal dialogue, formulaic love scenes, and low key emotional reactions from the protagonists had me longing for the earlier books. There is no surprise or anticipation in the last few books I’ve read which was a huge selling point for me in the beginning. We were never 100% sure our couple would make it. Now, there is no doubt they will end up together and the story merely maps out how they get there. Unfortunately, the story isn’t all that interesting.
Trevor and Haven are personable characters whose interaction is comfortable and almost 100% conflict free. They are extremely similar in their character makeup. Intelligent, loyal, and witty with a lack of the usual deep seated emotional baggage that often sparks the tension and must have misunderstandings in these romances. Though hard working, their well balanced personalities and dry humor sparks throughout the story. It was nice that neither were made dependant on the other for their happiness. Both are successful in their own right, Trevor more so, and comfortable with themselves. Even Trevor’s secret didn’t cast a heavy pall over the storyline with him being rude or cutting to Haven in his efforts to hide it.
The chemistry between Trevor and Haven is steamy but rhetorical. We know they are sexually attracted to one another but beyond that I never was convinced they actually fell in love. It felt that they were just going through the motions. The attraction felt convenient to the story, it could have been anyone. They never really argued, fussed, or fought beyond Trevor repeatedly shutting down any talk about his father and childhood. There were no real sparks between them.
Sexual scenes are rote and predictable. A masterbation scene clues us into their attraction to one another. This scene has been used as the sexual opener since book four. In every love scene from then out…Trevor goes down on Haven and then they have sex. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. No change up. The dialogue during the lovemaking was also repetitive. Listening to Haven say, “Make me come. I want to come. Let me come,” became irritating after the 5th time. She never variates.
The main conflict was interesting in that Burton brings forth two issues; grief and embarrassment. Both are steeped in realism. In Trevor’s case, Burton addresses a common problem; touching on the stigma one can face when the issue becomes known. My qualm though was that neither held a strong place in the story. We are told but never really shown the effects on Haven and Trevor beyond cursory glances. They weren’t as big of a problem as we are led to believe. The resolution(s) were quick and painless which negated all the posturing both did during the book because of them.
While Burton’s sexy romances have always offered me a cozy respite from the normal rigors of everyday life, I’m no longer sure if the direction this series is taking is appealing to me anymore.
Favorite Quote: “What was it that Pam from Archer says? Oh right, you could drown a toddler in my panties right now.”
Victoria (Tiny) Corielli is a low paid bike messenger who needs money now. Her mother’s cancer has returned and Victoria needs to secure them new housing and pay for the mounting medical bills. While doing some deliveries for her questionable step brother, Victoria meets the most incredibly sexy man she has ever seen whose charm and good looks makes her melt right there on the street.
We aren’t strangers. Somewhere, at some point, we must have made a connection and we’re now recognizing it again in this lifetime.
Victoria runs away because the reaction this man pulls from her just from their first meeting scares her to death. She has no time for romantic entanglements; there is just too much on her plate right now. Weeks later, her step brother sends her out on another job that leads her straight back to him. He claims her brother is helping him secure someone for a special job but when she offers up herself, he doesn’t want her help.
“Are you sure I can’t help you?”
His fingers close around the frame and tip me toward him until I have no choice but to brace my hand against the hard wall of his chest. His hand leaves my arm and comes around me like a shackle.
“Let me be perfectly frank with you, Victoria. There are lots of things that I’d like you to do for me. Some of them involve you on your knees. Others require you bent over a table. All of them require me to be between your legs. But I don’t pay for that.”
Victoria once again flees but soon, everywhere Victoria looks, there he is.
Watching. Waiting. Wanting.
Because what Ian Kerr wants…Ian Kerr gets.
I want to say right off that I think the blurb for Losing Control is misleading in that it gives the impression this is your typical overly alpha stalker billionaire chases the naive and charmingly inept “I will do anything for…’ virgin romance. In reality, the book is far more than that. It is a steamy, sexy, funny and oh so good and dirty love story about two people whom fate has arranged to meet one another and their sparks light up the world around them. A certain Cinderella-esque feeling permeates the book as Ian steadily and at times bull doggedly pushes his way into Victoria’s life though Victoria is anything but a compliant princess looking for her prince charming.
“I’m not a toy. You don’t get to put me in Barbie’s expensive town home and play with me until you’re bored. I’m a fucking real person, and my mom’s a real person. And we don’t need this shit right now. I say who I sleep with and whose bed I’m in—and right now, you aren’t even in the same conversation.”
Her strength is heart wrenching which is made evident by all she does for her ailing mother. She will do whatever it takes to make her mother’s life better. She’s strong, fearless, intelligent, and wonderfully down to earth and funny. She has learned the hard way that nothing in life is free and sometimes though the price is high, you do what you can for those you love. And Victoria loves her mother more than anything.
“I’d do anything to keep my mother alive.”
Ian, Ian, Ian. *laughing softly* Ian Kerr is the ultimate alpha with his arrogance, money, and rather autocratic way of taking charge with or without Victoria’s permission. He is a gorgeous, bossy, sexy, generous, irritating man whose obsession turned adoration for Victoria makes you forgive him rather quickly.
“I’m a big collector of things.” “Am I a thing?” “No, your my heart.”
And his mouth. Oh. My. God. This man’s mouth should be illegal. He says the most dirty and delicious things.
“You’re done when I say so. Your pussy still wants me.”
His long fingers are still stroking my post-climactic nerve endings, more gently now but still firm. His thumb caresses my clit lightly, and I shudder with each pass.
“You’re so wet and hot and fucking beautiful right now and I want you to come. Now.”
Though the beginning started out slowly, the pace picks up rather quickly as we divulge into the characters lives and what exactly Ian’s job for Victoria entails. The romance develops at a slow seductive speed, intertwining with the various subplots, and pulling it all together into one explosive mixture. Fredericks allows ample time for Victoria and Ian to connect emotionally and mentally before pushing them into bed, which works perfectly for their personalities and the story overall. Dynamic chemistry, witty banter, and intense dirty love scenes brought this couple to life and elevated them beyond the normal offerings we have seen in this trope lately.
“I think of you non-stop. When I get up in the morning, I wonder if you’ll like the smell of the soap I used. When lunch rolls around, I wonder if you’ve eaten enough. I wanted to delay making love to you until I was completely sure you were with me – mind, body and soul – because yes, Tiny, you are mine. And this isn’t for show.”
The ending, while inconclusive, doesn’t leave us dangling from a cliff. Victoria’s and Ian’s story continues in book 2, Taking Control, which releases September 16, 2014.