Elijah Carter is a young man who is treated like a simpleton because he is deaf. Gay and ashamed of his sexual orientation and penchant for pain, he aElijah Carter is a young man who is treated like a simpleton because he is deaf. Gay and ashamed of his sexual orientation and penchant for pain, he allows himself to be sexually abused by the owner of the local saloon, Harlan Crane.
Grady Mullins, a cattle rustler, wants Elijah too but unlike Harlan, he doesn’t want to control him. He gently pursues Elijah, trying to show him he has choices in life, but Elijah is unable to separate himself from the vicious cycle he is caught in.
When someone Elijah loves is taken from him, Elijah begins to spiral down a dark path towards vengeance and despair. Caught between love and hate, Elijah learns to take control of his own destiny and is forced to make a choice. A choice that could end his life or free him forever.
Sweetwater by Lisa Henry is a somber bittersweet coming of age story that addresses the stigma of homosexuality (both internally and externally) and the cruelty shown those with disabilities. Set in the boomtown-South Pass City- in the 1800s, Lisa Henry paints a vivid picture of life in a small western town that is only one step from extinction. You can taste the dirt and grit permeating your nose and mouth while experiencing the almost maniacal atmosphere that surrounds a town built on greed and gold. A fast pace and clear concise writing tells us a story that appeals to our sense of justice and innate need to champion the underdog. An interesting cast of characters reside here. Not all together likable but dynamic in the realistic roles they play in this town and in the hero’s life.
Harmon Ely had a dream. A dream to establish his own town smack dab in the middle of Texas but first, he had to find the right men and women to help mHarmon Ely had a dream. A dream to establish his own town smack dab in the middle of Texas but first, he had to find the right men and women to help make his dream a reality. Forty acres and a home is his offer to anyone brave enough to come settle in this forsaken land. All they need to bring is their willingness to work… and a wife.
Three men take him up on his offer-Patrick McAllen, Clint Truman, and Gillian Matheson. Patrick McAllen, the youngest son of an abusive religious leader, sneaks out of his father’s home in the middle of the night with his best friend and soon to be wife, Anne Spencer, and heads towards Ely’s trading post. A master carpenter, Patrick has no doubts he can be an asset to the town, but Patrick knows his father will be coming for him and this time escape may not possible.
Clint Truman, a former Texas Ranger, has already buried one family and is slowly following them into an early grave one drink at a time. His best friend, Sheriff Lightstone, knows he has only one chance to save Clint from himself and tells him of Ely’s offer. Clint doesn’t want another wife but when his friend takes him to meet a young mother whose situation in-flames Clint’s protective nature, Clint agrees to marry her and help her raise her newborn son if she is willing to trust him and help build a new life for the three of them.
Captain Gillian Matheson has no idea why his wife Daisy has insisted he come meet her and their sons at Harmon’s Ely’s Trading Post but he fears the worse. Married for five years, Gillian and his wife has spent more time apart then together as he refused to leave the Army and she refused to leave her family and follow him from post to post. Commissioned to take a young girl to safety before heading to meet his wife, Gillian is injured and wakes to find himself at the trading post with a parcel of strangers and a wife with some interesting news.
Jodi Thomas’s small town contemporary romance series, Harmony, just keeps getting better and better with each new installment. A tried and true contemporary with a strong ongoing arc written in an entertaining conversational “soap opera” style. After seven books, I can honestly say my attention hasn’t even begun to falter.
Favorite Quote: I came all this way because I’m not certain…
Gia Andrews, a humanitarian worker, left her small Tennessee home town sixteen years ago aFavorite Quote: I came all this way because I’m not certain…
Gia Andrews, a humanitarian worker, left her small Tennessee home town sixteen years ago after her stepmother, Elle Mae, was murdered and her father convicted of the crime. When she receives news her father is being allowed to come home because he is dying, Gia comes home to care for him and to figure out exactly what happened that night.
Being known as the daughter of a murderer doesn’t do much to help ease her way back into small town life but meeting a certain attractive bartender helps to take away the sting. As Gia gets to know her father again and try to deal with the guilt of his crime and her abandonment of him, she soon discovers that everyone has a story to tell about that night. As Gia sifts through the half lies and truths, the past comes back to life and she soon discovers there was far more at stake than a simple crime of passion. And the consequences of discovering once and for all what really happened that night may devastate them all.
The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle is a thought provoking dramatic undertaking that takes a decade old crime and uses it to dissect and examine the characters who all were affected by it. While the mystery is a strong base the story is built on, I found the character dynamics far more prevalent. A trio of siblings, torn apart by their stepmother’s death and father’s conviction of the crime must come together and finally deal with the past and their own feelings towards their father and each other. Belle’s voice is a wonderful blend of humor, sorrow, and compassion as she tells us a story of love, loss, jealousy, guilt, and forgiveness. Using the past and the present, Belle guides us down a long twisting road, letting us form our own opinions about what happened as we listen to the victims recollections of what happened and the accounts of all those left behind to question and wonder.
Gray Bishop is the second book in Kelly Meade’s Cornerstone Trilogy. An action packed dark urban fantasy that revolves around a family of loup garous-Gray Bishop is the second book in Kelly Meade’s Cornerstone Trilogy. An action packed dark urban fantasy that revolves around a family of loup garous-the McQueens. If you haven’t read book one, I highly recommend you do so as the ongoing arc is extremely important to the storyline and characters bleed over with little to no re cap. Each book focuses on one brother.
RECAP FROM BOOK ONE…READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
We first met Bishop McQueen in book one, Black Rook. Bishop, a gray wolf, was made their father’s alpha heir by default when his brother Rook gave it up in order to be with his true love, a magus named Brynn. A group of hybrids kidnapped their youngest brother, Knight, in order to use him to build an army of vicious hybrids to take over the supernatural world. Various subplots left us wondering at the end of Black Rook and Gray Bishop picks up right where it left off.
Bishop, his family, and various other alphas heirs from other packs are dealing with the aftermath of some fatal attacks and searching high and low for the hybrids. Loup garou towns across the country are being attacked and decimated and there is nothing the packs can seem to do to stop it. Bishop is not only feeling the strain of trying to protect the residents of the Cornertown pack but also his own imagined failings in protecting his brothers-Rook and Knight-who were kidnapped and brutally assaulted in book one. When he meets a female black wolf, his stress levels rise to infinite proportions as he realizes his wolf wants a female neither of them will be allowed to have.
Jillian Reynolds, daughter to the alpha of Springwell and heir apparent, is not only in Cornerstone to help find and stop the hybrids but is also looking for a new mate. She lost her first mate and knows she needs a strong alpha to rule by her side when she takes over the pack. Jillian is shocked when her wolf tries to lay claim to Bishop’s wolf. She knows they can never be together but sometimes the heart and wolf refuse to be denied.
When danger hits close to home for Jillian, she and Bishop race to Springhill only to find that the chaos of Cornerstone has come for her family. With time running out, Jillian and Bishop will have to face their feelings and the archaic laws that rule their lives if they are to survive what’s coming for them.
More angst, violence, pain, and yes, death chases this second installment as Meade builds the crescendo towards the finale. If you have ever read Kelly Meade aka Kelly Meding, you know she doesn’t hesitate when leading her characters down a long hard path. Heavily character driven, Meade further expands upon the arc and the dynamics of everyone involved, weaving it in and out of the main storyline. Racism and treachery continue to prevail as Meade adds tidbits of back story into the world building to further educate readers. Plotlines are expanded and crushing revelations are made that will leave readers shocked at the implications. We learn more of the varied supernatural factions and their past actions that lead them all to this point. Smooth writing, lightening fast pacing, and captivating dialogue keeps you on your toes to the very end.
Favorite Quote: “I’m here because I couldn’t stay away.”
Matt McKinney, a Navy Seal, is on leave after his best friend is killed on a mission and MattFavorite Quote: “I’m here because I couldn’t stay away.”
Matt McKinney, a Navy Seal, is on leave after his best friend is killed on a mission and Matt was injured. Unable to fully deal with what happened or the promises he made to his dying friend, his commander forces him to take some time off and he winds up heading to the beach with a cousin of his. While there, he spies a single young mother of four and his vacation suddenly takes a much different turn.
Abby Davis has brought her young children to the beach to help start the healing process after their father was killed in a plane crash. Not looking for a replacement dad or husband, Abby can’t help but be drawn to Matt as he invites himself into their family fun and gives her children the time and attention they never experienced with their father. A week is all they have though and while Abby isn’t looking forward to saying goodbye, she knows it’s for the best. When the time comes for them to part ways, Matt isn’t ready to let go of this special woman or her kids and soon plans are made to see each other again.
Matt and Abby spend as much time as they can together, slowly building their attraction into something much deeper but Abby has already sacrificed her happiness for one man whose job was his life and refuses to put herself and her children through that again. Matt will have to open his heart and give it his all if he wants to convince Abby he is worth the fall.
Worth The Fall is a sweet heartfelt story about two people who are given a second chance at finding love after life delivers a set of painful blows against them. Fast pacing, realistic issues, in depth relationship exploration, and poignant character growth gives readers a romance that focuses on the journey and surrounding elements as a whole rather than focusing on one single element and building around it.
Favorite Quote: “…the list of foodstuffs that shouldn’t be introduced to a woman’s private parts is actually quite long.”
Tim Cannon is an EMT whose liFavorite Quote: “…the list of foodstuffs that shouldn’t be introduced to a woman’s private parts is actually quite long.”
Tim Cannon is an EMT whose lifestyle has him constantly on the move. He uses one night stands to burn off his excessive energy. Over six feet of pure muscle and bearded sex on a stick ensures Tim never lacks companionship but when he meets a food truck chef, he finds himself suddenly wanting more than just instant gratification. And that scares him to death.
Sarah McCall is a chef and co owner of a food truck business. A west coast transplant, she lives life serenely and slowly, taking the time to feel and enjoy every experience she can. Whether it’s refining the sauces for her menu or spending time in bed with a certain sexy EMT…Sarah has learned that the best things in life are worth waiting for.
Afternoon Delight is a sensual erotic romance that starts out as a flirty sexual interlude only to build into something more that shocks both parties. Set in the bustling city of Manhattan, Calhoun introduces us to two individuals whose attraction leads to a lesson in control and learning to appreciate the slow anticipation of living life day to day.
Favorite Quote: “I promise I won’t tell anyone a famous rock musician wants to take you out. I mean, Jesus, how embarrassing.”.”
It’s 1981 and Julia NaFavorite Quote: “I promise I won’t tell anyone a famous rock musician wants to take you out. I mean, Jesus, how embarrassing.”.”
It’s 1981 and Julia Nash has recently arrived in Manhattan, ready to leave her mark on the literary world. Landing a job as a publisher’s assistant, Julia dreams of becoming a full time editor, but the fierce competition and her boss’s wandering hands makes her wonder if this is the life for her. An impromptu club night beings her to the attention of a man who Julia has long crushed on-Jack Kipling.
Jack Kipling is a hot British rock star who has the world by the horns. Denied nothing by anyone, when he sees Julia dancing with abandon at a local nightclub, he is instantly captivated by her effervescence and innocence. Determined to indulge himself upon her many charms, Jack sweeps her up into his hurricane fueled life and takes her deep into a world of decadence and abandonment.
Jack and Julia embark on a tempestuous relationship that introduces Julia to lifestyle that intrigues and repulses her. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll becomes Julia’s new anthem though a small part of her reminds her to guard her heart because Jack will eventually leave her. Jack’s past history of broken promises and hearts guarantees that. When Julia’s predictions come true and their relationship comes crashing to a halt, Julia discovers that her heart never stood a chance against a man like Jack.
Come Dancing is a debut contemporary romance set in the early 80’s by Leslie Wells. Displayed against the glittery excess of the 80’s, Wells pens a sexy, sweet, and somewhat complicated romance about two complete opposites who find they have more in common than they ever thought if they are willing to take the time to look beyond the masks they both present to the world. Wells builds an emotionally poignant love story, abound with romance and humor. Readers will enjoy watching the relationship develop between our protagonists; gleaning the deepening connection as each layer is pulled back.
The story is pretty straight forward in its delivery. Predictable even though the journey is what is appealing. Heavily character driven, they breathe life into the storyline and elevate it beyond a simple contemporary romance. I loved it’s set in the 80’s where people still listened to 45s on turntables, dubstep was nonexistent, and no one had to stop and answer their cell phone or check their social media pages.
“You have probably heard of Baba Yaga-the wicked witch of Russian tales who lived in a log hut that walked about on chicken legs, rode through the fC+
“You have probably heard of Baba Yaga-the wicked witch of Russian tales who lived in a log hut that walked about on chicken legs, rode through the forests in a giant mortar steered with a pestle, and ate small small children if they didn’t behave. According to legend, Baba Yaga usually appeared as an ugly crone, although she also wore other faces, and sometimes gave aid to a worthy seeker, if one could pass her tests.
You probably think you know who Baba Yaga is. But you’d be wrong. Because I’m Baba Yaga, and this is my story.”
Barbara Yager aka Baba Yaga has been called to a small farming community to help locate three missing children. Disguised as a herbalist, she travels in a magical Airstream RV with her talking pit bull/dragon protector. Not known for being comfortable with alot of human interaction, Barbara’s investigations lead her to believe that the missing children are part of a much larger picture that involves dark magic. With the handsome town sheriff at her side, Barbara pits her will against human and not so human enemies-determined to protect the town, the children, and her heart.
Deborah Blake’s debut Wickedly Dangerous is the first book in a new series that is based on the Russian fairy tale of Baba Yaga. Blake manipulates this old tale to make Baba Yaga more of a job title and bestowing it on three young women. This trio of “sisters” use their magic to help keep the nature in balance and guard the doorways between the mortal world and the otherworld. Blake offers an interesting mixture of legend and mythology that blends together to produce a story that is at times engaging and fun despite the serious subject matter.
Very few international authors can hold my attention (I often find the phonetic spellings of the accents annoying) but Zara Keane holds mine tight inVery few international authors can hold my attention (I often find the phonetic spellings of the accents annoying) but Zara Keane holds mine tight in her romance contemporary series built upon the small town of Ballybeg, Ireland. Love and Blarney is a sweet and humorous novella that focuses on the wild Ruairi MacCarthy and the wife he left behind in America when he had to come back to Ireland for a family emergency. Keane combines humor and a little heartbreak into an engaging little second chance romance as we learn why Ruairi left his wife and the extent to which his wife goes to get him back. Miscommunication is the theme and meddling family members the saving grace as Ruairi and Jayme find their way back to love....more
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: “So, are you a hero, Cole Walker?”
Shannon MacLeod has always gone for the wrong type of man. After she drifted from one toxiRATING: C-
Favorite Quote: “So, are you a hero, Cole Walker?”
Shannon MacLeod has always gone for the wrong type of man. After she drifted from one toxic relationship to the next, her last boyfriend gave her a wakeup call in the worst possible way. With her world shattered, she’s sworn off men—especially those of the bad-boy variety.
Cole Walker is exactly the sort that Shannon wants to avoid—gorgeous, tattooed, charming, and cocky. But his rough exterior hides a good man who’s ready to find “the one.” He’s determined to pull Shannon from her self-imposed solitude and win her heart.
As Shannon opens up in the face of Cole’s steady devotion, the passion between them ignites to blazing levels. But when Shannon’s past comes back to haunt her, her fears may destroy the trust Cole has built between them—and tear them apart for good…(goodreads)
Fans of Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street series have waited impatiently for Cole Walker’s story since first meeting him in Down London Road. The teenage brother of Jo Walker, readers fell in love with this adorably fierce and loving teenager whose abusive past broke their hearts. Now, Cole is all grown up and looking for his own happily ever after.
Cole and Shannon met for the first time when they were fifteen years old. A chance meeting that affected both of them to the point where they remember each other years later.
“… I felt like fate had just handed me two cups and I’d stupidly drunk from the wrong one.”
Cole manages a popular tattoo parlor and has his life on track. When Shannon applies for a job at the parlor, Cole feels it’s fate bringing them back together for a second chance. Shannon believes fate is once again kicking her in the teeth while she’s down. She has had enough of bad boys and instantly assigns Cole in the role of a villain; finding him guilty of every crime every man ever committed against her.
“I don’t like you. I don’t trust you. There’s nothing behind that charming smile but empty promises.”
Echoes of Scotland Street is an emotional undertaking that crosses the line on many occasions in terms of character angst and drama. In a way, it reminded me a lot of the first book-On Dublin Street. The protagonists are characterized in a similar fashion to the protagonists in On Dublin Street, especially in regards to the heroines. Like our heroine in here, the heroine in On Dublin Street, Jocelyn Butler, had some serious emotional issues that at times made her a liability to the storyline. She was a train wreck that readers couldn’t pull themselves away from. The difference between these two heroines is we didn’t have the connection or background with the hero in On Dublin Street as we do in here with Cole. We get to know Braden and Joss at the same time, muting the sense of outrageous over their relationship antics. In here we know what Cole has been through and it’s painful to see him being so unfairly judged. It’s hard to enjoy a story when you are unable to like a character. It’s even harder when the character you don’t like is the main character.
Favorite Quote: Cursing softly, he finally admitted to himself that he wanted to be her hero.
Sir Orion Wherlocke has spent most of his adult life avoiFavorite Quote: Cursing softly, he finally admitted to himself that he wanted to be her hero.
Sir Orion Wherlocke has spent most of his adult life avoiding commitment and marriage. A confirmed bachelor, his childhood and various family members has shown him that marriage for the Wherlockes and Vaughns only ends in pain and sorrow. He has his sons and is more than able to find someone to warm his bed when the urges comes upon him…and walk away when he’s done.
That is until he meets the one women he may not be able to walk away from.
Lady Catryn Gryffin de Warrene is at a loss on how to protect her son from her late husband’s brother’s manipulations. He wants her son’s inheritance in his pocket, her in his bed and is willing to go to unbelievable lengths to secure both. She is determined to protect her son, no matter the cost to her.
That is until she meets the one man whose price may be to high for her to pay.
Sir Orion finds himself involved in Lady Catryn’s troubles when she steals his carriage, along his wayward son, to chase down the men who have kidnapped her son. As they cross the countryside, searching for the little boy, Orion and Catryn find themselves at the mercy of a madman whose defeat will require a whole lot of daring and a little bit magic.
If He’s Daring is the sixth installment of Ms. Howell’s Wherlocke series. A sensual entertaining historical romance series that gives voice to the more darker aspects of human nature. Love, humor, heroism, revenge, and redemption all combine to produce a winning literary recipe. Action and suspense go hand in hand as two lost souls come together to stop a mad man from destroying a young boy’s life and the lives of those who care for him. This can be read as a stand alone and you do not have to read the others in order to appreciate this story, though previous heroes and heroines drift in and out of the story at random intervals.
As with all of Howell’s heros and heroines, I was instantly smitten upon first meeting Catyrn and Orion. Unlike previous books, this installment has not one but two heroes-father and son. Heavily character driven, Howell excels at building dynamic characters whose complicated lives draws readers in effortlessly. Exciting plotlines open the door to a whirlwind adventure that pits good against evil. A strong paranormal base only adds to the intrigue and suspense.
Orion is a delightfully sexy alpha with a commanding nature, sensuous soul, and generous heart. Though his childhood caused him to barricade his emotions behind a stout wall and engage in affairs with expiration dates, I found his quiet sense of honor a delicious attribute. He is the quintessential reluctant hero. The events in book five brought change to his life, causing him to look beyond himself and his own wants and needs. One of those changes was his son, Giles. Giles is a delightful young man whose exuberance for life belays his tragic upbringing. Discovered living on the streets in book five, Giles is eight going on eighty. It’s because of him that Orion takes a chance on helping Catyrn; knowing that getting close to her could be his downfall.
A widowed woman with her own tragic secrets, Catyrn is not one to hide behind her gender or social status when faced with difficult tasks. Like Orion, her loyalty, honor, and love for her family is boundless. She is a pillar of steel wrapped in an attractive and deceptive looking package. Strong and intelligent, watching her war within herself as she struggles to remain cool, calm, and collected with each new revelation into her husband’s distasteful deeds that placed her on the road she’s on now was interesting to watch and spoke of her own emotional wall.
Catyrn and Orion’s romance begins slowly, taking almost the entire book to achieve fruition. Neither of them are looking for love or the complications that can come with it. Catyrn is not one to indulge in a short sweet affair and that’s all Orion thinks he has in him to give her. Their chemistry is a solid presence, slipping into your subconscious from the start. No games are played nor are we inundated with overly dramatic misconstrued events. As they are not married and in the public eye, they have to be careful in their exploration of their sexual compatibility which slows down the journey even more; but makes for some fantastic sticky sexual tension. There is a sweetness to their lovemaking once decisions are made. Their passions are quiet but explosive and you will swoon as each bare more than their bodies to one another.
A series of dark actions is the building block of this story. As the storyline reveals, we learn the true extent of the harm that has been visited on the heroine. We know who the villain is from the beginning but bringing him down proves not as easy as you would think. A well crafted persona of pure insanity, this villain exceeds all boundaries yet he never crosses the line into unbelievable. His downfall is both dramatic and fitting.
Dynamic vibrant secondary characters are everywhere yet you never feel overwhelmed. We see various Wherlockes and Vaughns from previous books and meet a few new ones whom I hope we see more.They really are a large and unusual family and Howell gives us a little more background on the families with each new book. The inclusion of the supernatural into the storyline holds a bigger portion than normal, but as always, Howell uses the characters’ gifts to enhance the main conflict, not as a catchall to solve all their problems and save the day.
If I had any qualms about the story, it was Catyrn’s ability to brush off her anger and pain over certain events. I wanted to see a deeper emotional outburst at all that had been done to her. She doesn’t really deal with it. Instead, she pushes it deep inside, hiding it away with the thought, “It’s over. There is nothing I can do about it now.”
Regardless, If He’s Tempted is well rounded enjoyable historical romance that is sure to be a keeper on any readers shelf who loves a dash of everything in their love stories.
Lauren Barrett is coming home. Unable to deal with the pressures of college and losing her scholarship in the process, Lauren decides to head3.5 stars
Lauren Barrett is coming home. Unable to deal with the pressures of college and losing her scholarship in the process, Lauren decides to head back to Sharon, Nebraska and try to get her life back on track.
Rob Conrad never left Sharon. Stunning good looks and high school popularity can only take you so far, especially when your family seems to think that’s all you have going for you. Now working construction and stuck in a relationship that seems to be going nowhere, he can’t figure out where his life went wrong.
As Lauren and Rob begin to spend more time together, old feelings and new dreams begin to form and soon this unlikely pair are a couple. But when old fears rear their heads, Lauren and Rob will need to decide if loving each other is enough.
As Long As You Love Me is the second in Ann Aguirre’s new adult trilogy, 2B. Based on three friends from college, each books follows their trials and tribulations through love. Though this book expands on a subplot from book one, each one can be read as a stand alone with little to no confusion. Lauren and Rob were introduced in book one-I Want It That Way. Lauren is Nadia’s best friend and college roommate and Rob is Nadia’s brother. We were given hints that Lauren has nursed a crush on Rob most of her life but we learn he has always regarded her as a little sister. Towards the end of book one, we see Lauren is dealing with some serious issues and leaving college.
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.
I liked the premise of Takedown but found the story didn’t engage me. There were too many conflicts vying for attention, resulting in none of them2.5
I liked the premise of Takedown but found the story didn’t engage me. There were too many conflicts vying for attention, resulting in none of them being explored with any real depth. Grant chooses an interesting approach in this series is written almost like a serial with lots of movement but minimal results. The story only seems to scratch the surface of the emotions we can sense circling within. Certain scenes were introduced then discarded, leaving me wondering the reasons behind their inclusion. The writing is good overall but it switches between 1st person to 3rd person and rapid POV changes adds to the confusion. I think you really need to start from the beginning in order to get the whole story....more
Favorite Quote: “If I owned Texas and Hell, I’d rent out Texas and live in Hell.”
I first discovered Laura Drake when I was offered an arc of The SweetFavorite Quote: “If I owned Texas and Hell, I’d rent out Texas and live in Hell.”
I first discovered Laura Drake when I was offered an arc of The Sweet Spot. A bittersweet romance contemporary that deals with grief, heartbreak, and forgiveness. Drake’s ability to work past the trite and hit on the cusp of the matter with beautiful prose and a genuine empathy for her couple made that book a winner for me. When I was offered Sweet On You, I jumped at the chance and was delighted to see that Ms. Drake’s writing has only gotten better with time.
LT Katya “Smitty” Smith, army medic, was placed on medical leave when she was injured in a suicide bombing and now suffers from crippling PTSD. Her superiors demanded she take the time to heal; requiring a clean bill of physical and mental health before she can return to her unit. Katya fears she will not be able to pass the eval on her own so she looks for a job stateside in order to help her find her balance again. Hired on as a trainer of a medical team for the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) circuit, Katya hopes she can fix herself and hightail it back to her “family.”
Cam “Cool Hand” Cahill is a professional bull rider who is at a crossroad of his life. He knows this will be his last year riding and is unsure what a busted up ex bull rider is good for once he steps out of the limelight. All he wants is one last shot at the world title and no one, not even a dark eyed seductive gypsy with magic hands will stand in his way. But Cam senses a kindred soul beneath the skittish trainer and begins to work his own brand of magic.
Sweet on You deals with fear, guilt, regret, and forgiveness.
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 w2.5
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....more