Drive Me Wild is part 3 of a 5 part serial by Shari Slade. These edgy, suspenseful, erotic little niblets are an action packed surprise that gives readers a decadent taste of the dark side of Motorcycle Clubs and the bikers who give their undying loyalty to this brotherhood. The serial focuses on Noah, an enforcer with the Devil’s Host MC, and Star, a waitress whose cousin is in deep debt with the MC. In Ride Me Hard (part 1-review here) Noah is sent to collect payment for the debt Star’s cousin owes the club. Unable to locate Harry, Noah takes Star instead. A connection forms between Noah and Star though the connection is littered with lust and fear as Star is unsure in what manner Noah and the club will be extracting her cousin’s debt.
In Break Me In (Part 2-review here) Noah arrives back to the clubhouse with Star for protection only to put her straight into the line of fire as the Devil’s Host president wants his money and Star’s cousin is refusing to tell him where it is. Star learned along time ago that pain is just an emotion. An emotion that can be twisted for pleasure if you can find right person to share it with. When Noah is forced to get the answers his president wants, the results are catastrophic.
Drive Me Wild is the aftermath of Noah’s rebellion. The MC holds their lives in their hands while also deciding if and who they will send to rescue Noah’s sister who has been kidnapped by a rival MC. Star has begun to believe that Noah may actually care for her and while it relieves some of her anxiety…it also relieves the control she has had over her mouth. *wink*
As everyone knows, in an MC you can bad mouth your old man all you want but it had better be in private behind closed doors. Only a united front is shown in front of the MC. Star strikes out verbally to punish Noah for brushing her off and not allowing her to have her say but that’s okay because Noah knows exactly what Star needs.
“We’re alone now, Star. Do you need to cry?”
“Do we have time?”
“For me to give you something to cry about? I think so.”
He bends me over and pushes my face into the bedspread. The thermal weave I’d studied so closely is rough against my cheek. He holds me there with just the weight of his hand fisted in my hair.
“I’m going to spank your ass until it’s all pink and perfect. Until your pussy is soaking wet and you’re sobbing from it. Until you’re wild and raw.” He yanks my skirt up and my panties down in two brisk tugs. “And you’re going to tell me when you’ve had enough crying, understand?”
I nod, the slight movement jerking at my scalp, sending a fresh wash of pleasure down my spine.
“And if you’re really ruined—if your eyes are puffy and your face is swollen, if you’re fucking wrecked, just the way I like—I’ll lick your pussy until you come so hard on my tongue we both see stars. You can do that for me, baby. Can’t you? Let yourself go like that?”
Tears are already leaking from the corners of my eyes. Relief. I shudder with it. “Yes.”
The bed creaks as he settles beside me and then the first crack of palm to ass vibrates through my body. It’s a sharp heat and then it fades. A second crack, lower this time. A third, to the left. They layer together until my ass is all stinging heat and throbbing. I’m crying in earnest now. From the sharpness of the pain, the sweetness of the ache.
He spanks me again and again. On the end of every blow is a reverb that shoots straight to my clit, the pleasure on the other side of torment. I can feel moisture gathering between my lips every time I squirm and sob into the bedspread.
Everything feels swollen and ready. My pussy, my ass, my clit. God, my clit feels so hard I might come just from this. And I cry some more at the thought of not having Noah’s tongue. I’m crying for orgasms I’ll have and orgasms I won’t. I’m crying just for the sake of crying and it feels amazing. I’m nothing but feelings, dancing on the edge of Noah’s touch. Tender and brutal.
“I’m ruined.” I cry out.
But I’m not. Not nearly. I’ve got miles to go before Noah ruins me fully, drives me completely wild, wrecks me. I don’t know if we’ll have enough time together to get that far, but I’m ruined enough to make him happy in this moment.
Slade opens up further about Noah and Star’s childhoods; especially Noah’s. His blue collar upbringing is at odds with his tough exterior only further proving that all walks of life can be seen in an MC. A huge cliffhanger leaves readers rocking back in shock as we learn that not everyone is committed to the cause and sometimes what you see is definitely not what you get.
When I first saw came across this book-the title, cover, and blurb demanded I read it. A supernatural motorcycle club with a suspenseful storyline? Sign me up.
The storyline focuses heavily on the characters with light introductions to the Inked Menace club members and dual backstories on our protagonists-Cecelia Marks and Lucky Miller. Cecelia is in the witness protection program after she turned her husband in to the Feds for illegal arms dealing. An impromptu decision to get a tattoo leads her to Lucky. Lucky Miller is a wolf shifter. A patched member of a secret shifter motorcycle club- Inked Menace- he went nomad when his girlfriend was murdered. Lucky and Cecelia connect instantly but their collective issues keeps them from making any moves in that direction. When he hears Cecelia has a bounty on her head and two rival gangs are thinking of trying to collect on it, he throws caution to the wind and decides he and his club are going to protect Cecelia no matter what.
Unfortunately what I expected to read and what I read were two different things.
Weak characterization and storyline takes potentially strong, interesting protagonists and makes them clichés. This is a result of the author choosing to use a multitude of plot devices to force the characters into the direction she wants them to go rather than building on the base she initially sets up. Can’t pursue a relationship due to past issues? Then we’ll slap in a situation to make it possible. Unsure sexually where you stand? The mate bond is a surefire way to bypass having to work through all those pesky emotions. Can’t figure out how to address the supernatural elephant in the room? No worries. We’ll just make the other person magical too. So on and so on. There was no real work in developing the story. Rather the reader is manipulated by flash and awe before noticing there is nothing behind the smoke screen.
Awkward dialogue and some odd phrasing made me laugh but not in a good way; knocking me out of story multiple times. The losing of one’s head is referred to as getting you’re neck hacked from your body. The heroine refers to her and the hero having sex as sating their baser desires. Dirty talk from the hero consists of, “you’re so tight that when we’re done you’re gonna squeak when you walk.” *blinks*
The story rushes to the end with almost no time devoted to the main conflict beyond introducing and off the wall resolution. I wished the villain would have played a more active role. The relationship issues are resolved with sex and a single conversation and everything else is “magically” wrapped up with a happy ending for all.
Moonlight on Nightingale Way is listed as the final book in Young’s adult romance contemporary series, On Dublin Street. Based on a group of friends and family, we have watched this group grow and expand beyond what was first introduced in book one-On Dublin Street. Brimming with sexy men and women, humor, angst, real world issues, and much growth in the world, characterization, and from the author herself, I have enjoyed, for the most part, my journey through this series.
Opposites attract and enemies to lovers are always fun tropes to read in romance. Often starting from an antagonistic base, readers laugh and rejoice as the protagonists learn more about one another and find that spark we saw from the beginning. I admit I was uneasy when I read the excerpt to this book at the end of book five. I really didn’t want another story about woman or man whose baggage is so great they are unable to emotionally or mentally move on with their lives; choosing instead to place all their anger on the shoulders on the one person who truly sees them. Luckily for us, this is not one of those stories.
Grace Farquhar is a quiet, intelligent, studious woman who works from home as a freelance book editor. When she finds a pair of thong underwear drying on the landing between her apartment and her neighbor’s, she expects to make her issues known and leave…in a quiet, considerate manner. Unfortunately, her neighbor doesn’t seem like a quiet considerate man. He’s gregarious, big, gorgeous, obnoxious and immediately takes offense at what he deems Grace’s prude-like stance. From there starts a battle of the wills that left me giggling and smiling non stop.
“For the last three nights I’ve had to put up with the constant loud sex from you and your bloody American. I just want peace and quiet. I want some bloody goddamn sleep!”
“Have you got a glass up against the wall?”
“How did you know I’ve been fucking an American?”
“Because. I. Can. Hear. Every. Word. She. Says.”
Logan McLeod was just released from a two year stint in prison for assaulting the man who beat and almost raped his sister. Working as a nightclub manager; all he wants is to catch up on everything he missed during his incarceration. Namely sex. He uses one night stands to avoid commitment and dealing with his issues. When Grace makes her feelings known over the underwear, the loud sex noises, the constant parade of woman, he feels judged and strikes back.
“You don’t have to be so antagonistic, you know. You should consider removing that stick from your tiny arse.”
“You talk down to me. And there’s that pinchy-mouthed look you give me instead of a smile every time you pass me in the hall.”
Pinchy-mouthed? I sniffed at the insult and turned to leave again, not deigning to give him a response.
“And that. That haughty little sniff is extremely fucking annoying…”
I really liked Grace and Logan. Grace with her soft snarky wit and strong sense of self. She escaped her abusive family years ago and has made a life for herself with the help of some close friends. Watching her learn to trust Logan intimately was delightful, especially after he put a roadblock in their way only to discover he screwed up. MEN! Luckily for him he has an ace in the hole-namely his sister and her friends. Logan delights and confounds with his blatant sexuality and obnoxious charm, making the chemistry between them burn throughout the story. Young does a great job of facilitating the romance amongst the backdrop of their personal issues.
“I know good and bad, Logan, trust me. And deep down you do too. And you know you’re a good man. You know it. And I’m not going to tell you any different.”
Emotionally the overall tone is rather lightweight. A bit more formulaic than usual for Young, this engaging romance contemporary can be read alone though it is part of a series. A delightful journey of love and second chances. The fast steady pacing coupled with the slow burning romance is perfect for the overall tone of the story and subject matters at hand. Young’s witty dialogue and dynamic characterization only adds to the over all appeal.
“The horror. How will you ever get your next booty call?”
The main conflict blends well with the subplots. Young injects tongue in cheek humor to help offset the seriousness of the subject matter. Young slowly peels the lid back on Grace and Logan’s problems and begins to systematically and realistically address them using some well placed secondary characters. Logan learns to let go of his fear and guilt over what happened in the past, accepting he paid the price and can move on. Grace learns that she is worthy in all aspects of her life and that sometimes letting go completely is the best way to move forward.
The ending is a bit serendipity in that Logan and Grace both receive the ‘out’ they need to close the book on their respective pasts. It ends rather abruptly; shifting straight into a brief epilogue that gives us small peeks into the lives all the past couples; gifting us with a fond farewell. While I’m sad to see this series end, I’m sure this will not be the last we see of Samantha Young and her wonderful imagination.
Favorite Quote: “I could stay like this all night. Breathing in your scent, never leaving your body.”
Addison Peacock has carried a torch for her college fiance for five years. When he leaves after graduation, promising to return, she is forced to stay due to her father’s illness. Now he’s back-only he’s married and she doesn’t find out till after they slept together. Shattered by his deceit and duplicity, Addison sees hope on the horizon in the fine, fine form of her new next door neighbor.
Damian Walker has his own problems. A car accident destroyed his sports career and took something very precious from him. Damian knows what it takes to get your life back on track and while he’d love to help Addison, he doesn’t have the inclination to be anyone’s rebound. If Addison wants a one night stand, she’s looking at the wrong man.
As Addison and Damian get to know one another better, the future starts to look brighter, but until Addison can let go of her past, all these two can ever be in next door neighbors.
Right Next Door looked in the beginning to be a lighthearted friends to lovers romance about a young woman who discovers the prince charming she waited years for is really a toad and looks to her neighbor for some sexual healing. Only it develops into being far more as we get to know the protagonists at the heart of it-Addison Peacock and Damian Walker. Love, loss, hope, and redemption all swirl together as our protagonists meet and begin their journey. The past plays heavily on the present; foreshadowing their actions and the emotional base on which they react. Both are damaged but Damian has already had ample time to move forward from his tragedy while Addison is just starting the recovery process.
“From here forward I’m going to be like the contestants from American Ninja Warrior-badass, unstoppable, and you better not mess with me because I’m not taking anyone’s shite.”
Their first meeting is like a nuclear explosion going off. Heavy flirting and instant white-hot attraction leaves them both a little stunned. Their chemistry is perfect…only they are not at the right stages on their lives to be together. Damian is looking for forever and Addison is looking for right now. Additional issues in their lives leaves them both weary of emotional intimacy and watching them get from point A to point B is a bittersweet mixture of lust, humor, misunderstandings, and some hot sticky dirty talk.
“I can’t believe you did that behind me.” “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to shoot my shite all over you like that. It was a lackluster attempt at birth control.” “What’s so funny?” “I was only upset I didn’t get to watch you touch yourself. Next time, do that when I’m looking.”
Humor and sorrow fill the pages as Damian and Addison slowly, almost reluctantly, build a relationship from friends to lovers. I wasn’t sure I would like Addison at first. She was pretty passive aggressive concerning her ex boyfriend and tended to demand a lot from Damian without giving as much in return. She also pulls a stunt towards the end that left me questioning her rationale. Despite this, it’s very easy to see why Addison is the way she is. She is caught in a whirlwind as she struggles to define who she is and where she is going after she put her heart and life on hold waiting for the man she loved to return. She never really moved on from that point in her life and deep inside she knew she has to. Addison grows monumentally throughout the story; learns to understand that love is a gift that can bring you pain and joy without destroying you in the process. She also learns to love herself.
“I need to focus on me, as selfish as that is.”
Damian I loved. While he too has some secrets and heavy personal issues he was dealing with, he had no problems being honest with himself and with Addison. He saw her and KNEW she was the one for him and is willing to wait until she realises it too. He had already been down that road of one night stands and meaningless relationships. He wants marriage, the white picketed fence, and 2.5 kids.
“My life is complicated, I don’t do casual, and I don’t play games. I won’t be giving myself away piece by piece. When I find the right woman, it’s going to be all or nothing.”
This is not to say he’s a saint because he’s not. He has his guy “moments” that only serves to push Addison away more than draw her close. Luckily for her and us, Damian is a fast learner and both are equally adept at saying they are sorry.
Pryor does an impressive job of wrangling the main conflict while pushing additional subplots into the storyline. A complex array building that tugs at your heartstrings as readers follow the path set out for them. A well-developed cast of secondary characters further the agendas set out, giving us the information our protagonist can’t or won’t give. Pryor doesn’t pull any punches and makes both Addison and Damian work towards their individual goals. The pivotal moment hurts, I won’t lie, but we are gifted with an ending that more than left this reader happy and comfortable with Addison’s and Damian’s future.
The first in a spin off of Vale’s The Heroes of the Dixie Wardens MC series bring us the boys of the Kilgore Swat Team and tRomance Suspense RATING: C+
The first in a spin off of Vale’s The Heroes of the Dixie Wardens MC series bring us the boys of the Kilgore Swat Team and the women who bring them to their knees. Fans will enjoy seeing Tru’s sister, Reese, and Bailey’s brother, Luke, front and center in a romance suspense that pushes some boundaries reality wise but brings it home with the humor, dominant alpha men, and sensuality that Vale is known for. Reese and Luke are both in Kilgore healing from broken hearts. A chance meeting opens the door to a new life for the both of them if only their respective exes would move on already. Erotic sexual scenes blends well with the storyline as Vale builds the romance. Plenty of action and suspense round out the extremely convoluted conflict which I admit confused me. There was too many plot twists to keep up and by the end I was a little shell shocked. Regardless, Vale continues to entertain me with her strong heroines and heroes who above and beyond for the people they love. ...more
Allen’s debut teen contemporary addresses the hero like worship that is gifted to high school football players and the socialContemporary/YA RATING: C
Allen’s debut teen contemporary addresses the hero like worship that is gifted to high school football players and the social and emotional ramifications of that worshiping attitude. The yearly scavenger hunt is held at this small high school to usher out the senior players and haze the incoming ones has four new players who have decided to teach these players, the school, and the town itself a lesson they will never forget. Told in the first person, each girl’s POV is told in alternating chapters, explaining what happened to lead to this moment and how they each chose to deal with what happened to them. Emotionally light with bits of humor and romance to offset the underlying seriousness of the storyline; the voice in here is decidedly young and it shows through the girls dialogue and actions. I did find some aspects unbelievable. For example, some of Peyton’s school work is more appropriate for middle school then high school. Overall it was good though the scattered layout and overall youthful tone took a toll on this reader and made it hard to stay engaged....more
Favorite Quote: “If I wanted to be sexually assaulted by a bottle of awful body spray, Simon, I’d go hump a cologne display in a drugstore.”
Devon Jenkins, sister to famous rock star, Trevor “Trax” Jenkins, has been playing a game with her brother’s sexy infuriating band mate for two years. Every since they met and he tried to lay some cheesy lines on her, it has been an antagonistic relationship in which Devon and Simon bicker, snark, and try to to avoid taking that final step into the unknown. When Devon is hurt in an accident and Simon is the one to care for her, Devon sees the complicated layers that belay his goofy playa’ personae and her resolutions towards him weaken considerably.
Simon Cole is a fun loving, sexy, intelligent, wealthy rockstar whose reputation paints a far different picture than the man we get to know. He has wanted Devon for a long time but her pricky nature and the fact her brother is his best friend has him keeping his distance. When Simon decides to let Devon know his intentions towards her are serious, he finds himself having to not only prove he’s worthy of her love…but that she’s worthy of his.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series-True North. A humorous, sexy, swoony romance that erupts between a rockstar and a widow. I was happy to see Simon and Devon were the next couple to be featured as the antagonistic chemistry between them was intense and begged to be explored. I will be honest and let readers know up front I was not as taken with this book as much as the first one, but I still enjoyed watching the fireworks explode as these two seemingly opposites’ attract each other like moths to a flame.
A groan tumbles out before I can stop it. I just let some poetry reading rich kid eat me out, and I loved it.
Heavily character driven, it’s the vibrant characters and realistic emotions and situations they face that makes the story come to life. Witty banter, steamy sex scenes, and the quiet introspective moments create a romance that perfectly showcases Liora Blake’s appealing voice and talented writing. I enjoy that Blake chooses to explore what is behind the mask of her characters, choosing not to give in to tired tropes and easy predictable behavior. She, like her characters, work hard at showing us the little nuances and quirky behavior that we all experience when striving to find and be in a relationship.
I’m scared to death I might want this. For real. Until it makes us whole again.
Our heroine Devon Jenkins has issues. Serious issues. Stubborn, passionate, snarky, and troubled, Devon hits first, then runs. Raised in a trailer park and referred to a ‘white trash’ growing up, she has self-esteem issues that eat at her day in and day out. Though she, like her brother, managed to claw her way out and make something of herself, she forever sees herself as undeserving, flawed, and unworthy. Able to maintain professional relationships with no problem, it’s the personal ones that give her the hives. Factor in she was in an abusive relationship for three years and her walls are thick, high, and covered in thorns.
Simon Cole was a joy to meet. Though he puts on a good show as the typical womanizing, opportunist, rock star; in reality he is smart, geeky, romantic, very talented, and comes from an upper crust background. He’s a multitude of contradictions. One minute he’s whispering erotic nothings in her ear and the next he’s reading her obscure poetry. He plays hardcore guitar and classical piano. He’s worth millions but sleeps on pink cotton unicorn sheets. He is honest to a fault and gives with his whole heart.
Watching these two fall in love is both funny and sad. Sexually they are in their element. Explosive chemistry leads to some pretty incredible mattress dancing and lots of laughs.
Dear Fellow Board Members:
I take full responsibility for making Simon late for your fancy meeting. The problem is he’s a sex goddess. Yes, goddess. Sometimes he giggles like a schoolgirl when we’re through. He tried to leave this morning, at a very responsible early hour, but I had to have him again. The man can fuck like nobody’s business. Please send him back as soon as possible.
Ms. Devon Jenkins
Their journey to their happily ever after is littered with man-made pitfalls-aka-Devon. Her multi layered self-esteem issues play a recurring role in her attempts to self sabotage her and Simon’s relationship. No matter what he does, she always waits for the other shoe to drop. For him to realise she is not worth his time. Heartbreaking and frustrating, you can’t help but want to shake her, hug her, and make her understand that she is worthy of Simon’s time. Worthy of his love. Worthy of happiness.
“I’ve been trying to be patient with you, not push, but we can’t grow this thing if you won’t let me in. I just want you to give me something-”
We see old and new friends aplenty though I did feel this one focused more on the couple then book one did. Kate and Trevor are a strong supporting cast along with Miss McKenna who is firmly Team Simon. I loved the introduction of Stacia and Preston and I hope we see more of them in the future. Their love of freshly made bread is quite amusing. Family continues to play a strong role in the series which I love. Too often, especially in rockstar romances, family members are often portrayed as leeches or screw ups who bring down rather than lift up their famous relative. I like that Blake shows family can be supportive and relatively normal.
The book does slow down considerably due to Devon’s issues. Devon’s internal monologue about her insecurities and jealousy does get a bit irritating because she rehashes the same issues over and over with no real steps of moving forward. I felt at times her issues overshadowed the storyline and Simon. I was disappointed with both the plot devices introduced towards the end to push Devon into making a decision about her and Simon. One didn’t make any sense and the other was nothing more than a manipulation that felt a little wrong considering what we knew of them. I would have understood more if there was a real defining moment or epiphany gleaned from the ordeal.
Regardless, True Devotion is an entertaining follow-up to True North; proving Liora Blake didn’t fall victim to the sophomoric slump. Fans of troubled heroines and adorable heroes will enjoy this snarky, humorous, antagonistic, and sweetly dirty romantic story. I look forward to the final book in this series-True Divide- is Kate’s sister Lucy’s story. YAY!! True Divide releases October 15, 2015.
Favorite Quote: “I remembered where I belong. I got off course for a second, but I found my way again and that brought me home. To you.”
Best selling novelist Kate Mosley chose to grieve and heal in private after a car accident claimed her husband’s life. When her publisher set ups a series of talk show appearances to revive her career, Kate is forced to back into the public eye and to relive all the gossip that surrounded her husband’s death and the part she played in it. Wanting to get it done and over with, she is unprepared for the force of attraction she feels when she meets Trevor Jenkins, lead singer of the popular rock group-Trax. Expecting the typical rock star attitude, Kate is surprised to see Trevor is a down to earth man who appeals to her on multiple levels.
Trevor Jenkins has struggled and clawed his way from poverty to stardom and has spent years enjoying the fruits of his success but finds himself now looking to settle down for the next chapter of his life. Kate Mosley looks to be a huge part of his future but like him, has some past tragedies that need addressing before they can both move forward.
As Kate and Trevor explore the raging chemistry that exists between them, Kate’s broken heart begins to heal, showing her that love can come to a person twice in life. But when a trashy tabloid exposes all her secrets and makes some damaging assumptions, taking Kate back to the darkest hour in her life, will she stay and fight for her new life or will she run away and destroy everything they have built?
True North is a delightfully sexy, funny, and bittersweet romance contemporary about a couple for whom a chance meeting spells another chance at true love for a grieving widow. Liora Blake’s debut is a shining jewel in an otherwise overly saturated trope that promotes over the top emotional baggage and immature protagonists whose extreme sexual escapades overshadow the storyline. Blake has an enticing voice that lends credence and realism to her characters and their actions. Both protagonists (though the story is told in the first person from the heroine’s POV) are fleshed out; Blake expertly reveals their flaws and strengths with clarity and conviction. Strong writing and a smooth unfolding had me instantly invested in the story by the first chapter.
“Kate my darling, we are about to make some real money.” “Are we going to start smuggling drugs in my books?”
Your heart will hurt for Kate though she doesn’t inspire pity. She is a delicious combination of snark and strength that sheaths a fragile vulnerability that will take a strong and patient person to discover. Having been the one who was driving the car when her husband died, Kate carries a lot of guilt. It was an accident but the tabloids ripped her apart and she has never forgiven them or herself. Having Trevor’s attention is both gratifying and scary. She doesn’t see why he would be attracted to her; with his millions and looks he could have anyone. She also fears her attraction to him; feeling as though she is betraying the love she felt for her husband by feeling something much deeper for someone else.
Even nearly three years later, I miss his body in a way that weakens my breath
Luckily for her, Trevor is one of the most patient heroes I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Sweet, sexy, funny, and forthright, he fights for her both sexually and emotionally. Every roadblock she places in front of them, and she puts up quite a few to my dismay at times, he pushes against them, using any means necessary to strengthen their connection. Trevor reminded me a little of Eminem with his trailer park backstory, harsh upbringing, and misogyny song lyrics. An angry young man setting out to destroy the world is thrust into the limelight where his youthful mistakes turn around to create a thoughtful well adjusted adult.
“Christ, tell me what I have to do to prove to you that you’re my entire fucking world. I’ll do it. I don’t know how many ways I can say it, how many things I need to do to show it. I’m yours, Mosely.”
Trevor and Kate’s romance is fraught with laughter and some heartfelt moments as they attempt a long distance relationship. I loved Trevor’s “chasing” of Kate. His text messages and gifts are thoughtful, showing his desire to get to know her better. Once they cross the point of no return, their love scenes blaze across the pages. Trevor has a dirty mouth and he knows how to use it. *wink*
“God, you’re so ready. You love this, don’t you? Acting like a filthy groupie. Fuck, I love that it made you crazy, baby.”
He doesn’t let up as he growls at me, continuing to slam into me over and over again. I groan out an affirmation and rotate my hips in response to his thrusts.
“Tell me how much you wanted it. How bad my sexy, sweet good girl wanted this.”
My answer comes out garbled, broken up by moans and screams. I manage to stutter out, “I wanted it in the dressing room. I wanted it all night watching you onstage. I needed it.”
“Yeah? Did you think it would be this good? A rock star fucking you this hard?”
A kaleidoscope of vivacious and interesting secondary characters add love, humor, and advice to the mix from an exuberant personal stylist to flirtatious band members. Family plays a strong role as shown when Kate and Trevor’s respective family members come out swinging when they think their loved ones are being hurt or taken advantage of. Trevor’s mom suspiciousness is well warranted as is Kate’s sister’s over-protectiveness.
The book does slow down a little in the last half as Kate tries to figure out what she really wants. The rehashing of her feelings and insecurities does get monotonous because it recycles the same issues over and over with no real advancement. Even though I knew she wasn’t doing it on purpose, at times I felt she was stringing Trevor along. It takes a predictable conflict to shock her out of her endless loop and move forward.
True North surprised me in the best of ways. I expected the usual fare and received something fans of opposites attract and second chance romances will adore the sweet, slow, and humor journey to true love as a woman learns how to love again with a man whose only want is to be her one and only. I look forward to book two, True Devotion, which is the story of Simon (Trevor’s band mate) and Trevor’s sister, Devon. Book two releases June 22, 2015.
Favorite Quote: “I’m just getting a dose of the Christian charity the town of Blessings is so good at handing out. If you belong to the right social circles, they can’t do enough. But if you’re unfortunate enough to have committed a sin in their good Christian eyes, they conveniently forget God didn’t set them up as judge and jury.”
No one is alone
Dori Grant is no stranger to hardship. As a young single mother in the gossip-fueled town of Blessings, Georgia, she’s weathered the storm of small-town disapproval most of her life. But when Dori loses everything within the span of an evening, she realizes she has no choice but to turn to her neighbors.
As long as there is love to give
Everyone says the Pine boys are no good, but Johnny Pine has been proving the gossips wrong ever since his mother died and he took over raising his brothers. His heart goes out to the young mother and child abandoned by the good people of Blessings. Maybe he can be the one to change all that. (Goodreads)
Adorable-no, I’m not kidding- Grant (Dori) is a seventeen year old mother who lives with her grandfather and works to support her 7 month old baby boy, Luther Joe. Her parents passed when she was nine and all Dori has known was the love and care of her grandparents. She has always refused to name the father for fear her that grandfather would go after him and she would lose him too. When a fire takes everything from Dori, she learns quickly who her friends are in Blessings and find a good one in Johnny Pine.
Johnny Pine has been raising his younger brothers since their mother passed away and their father was sentenced to life in prison. He fought social services to keep them and now does everything he can to keep them happy and healthy. Like Dori, he feels the town’s disapproval over his circumstances but chooses to look the other way and live his life to the best of his ability. When he sees Dori’s so called “Christian” neighbors all turn their back on her when she and Luther have no place to stay…he opens up his home and heart to her little family.
I’ll Stand By You is the second book set in Sharon Sala’s fictional town of Blessings, Georgia. This small town contemporary is light on the romance and uses the misfortune of two residents to examine the town’s values; looking beneath its pious nature to show the judgemental attitudes that exists within it. An engaging story that flows smoothly and evenly; addressing the expected and unexpected. The emotionally based characterization is deeply rooted in humor and sorrow. There is a strong inspirational tone to it with Sala gently poking at the morality of religion and the easy way people are able to justify their bigotry towards those less fortunate or considered different.
At times I wasn’t sure exactly what theme this book as striving for. Some scenes were melodramatic, serious, and long-winded while others were short, snarky, and dipped in sarcasm. There is an overblown sense of outrageousness and exaggeration that further hints to Sala’s enjoyment of poking at this town and its residents. I also had some issues with the abrupt POV changes. There are multiple characters and Sala seems to get in all their heads at least once or twice. The age of the protagonists gives the story a new adult feeling though that is not a detriment.
I absolutely adored Johnny, Dori, and the boys. All of them are sweet, sensitive, and genuinely nice people who despite their shaky circumstances in life, remain strong and relatively cheerful. That’s not to say they are doormats because all of them are more than able to stand their own and vocalize their displeasure in the face of injustice. They are the traditional underdogs we all love to cheer and there is plenty to sympathize and cheer for in here.
Watching this little group grow into a family will totally give you all the feels as you get to know them. Sala does a fabulous job with the developing characterizations and allowing them to progress into their designated relationships at their own pace. Nothing feels manipulated or forced. I found the boys actions and thoughts completely realistic for small children and the baby was hilarious.
An eccentric and gregarious group of secondary characters adds depth and realism to this small gossipy town. I loved that no one was able to hold their tongues and that Dori and Johnny did have those who wished them well in their corners. Dori’s “windfall” was an eye roller and seemed opportunistic but as I stated earlier, the story is built upon outrageousness.
Fans of Sharon Sala and the town of Blessings, GA is sure to enjoy their visit back. Plenty of laughs, tears, head shakings, and a few ‘bless your hearts’ are guaranteed as this ready made family learns that the town that seemed to shun them is more than willing to support them when times call for it.
Need Me by Tessa Bailey Romance Contemporary RATING: C
The second story in Bailey’s Broke and Beautiful series centers around a student, her professor, aNeed Me by Tessa Bailey Romance Contemporary RATING: C
The second story in Bailey’s Broke and Beautiful series centers around a student, her professor, and the forbidden love affair. Similar to book one, the storyline is engaging with a solid set up, strong characters, and bits of humor and heartbreak. While somewhat engaging, I didn’t connect with this couple so well. I found Honey to be selfish in her objective to seduce Ben. Not until the end does the fact he could be fired for her actions even enter her mind. Ben wasn’t exactly a prince either. His childhood soured him on relationships; especially ones that had the potential to destroy everything he has worked for. He lays a lot of his baggage at Honey’s feet. I also found his demeanor unsettling as he blew extremely hot and cold with Honey and says things that didn’t seem to jive with his persona. A melodramatic conflict pushes the couple towards their HEA, making me feel a little manipulated. Regardless, I look forward to book three because hints of Russell’s story look to be very interesting.
Favorite Quote: “We are all strange in our own way.”
Vasily is one of the Bratva’s top enforcers. Changes in circumstances and his own views has Vasily deciding the Bratva needs a complete overhaul to make room for a new path and a new leader In order to do this, he makes a deal with the council. If he brings them a lost artifact that is rumored to be blessed, they will throw his support behind him. Brawn and bullets won’t be enough for this job. He needs technological help and that calls for the Emperor. But he never expected the Emperor to be female…or to be attracted to her.
Naomi Hayes has spent the last eighteen months as a prisoner for the Colombian cartel; forced to use her genius intellect and skills to make them millions in exchange for her family’s safety. When her brother Daniel comes to her rescue, she is once again kidnapped, but this time by a surly Russian who demands her services. He promises to let her go if she helps him locate and secure the artifact he needs; but Naomi isn’t going to go quietly this time.
As Vasily and Naomi travel across Europe, avoiding the hitman sent to kill them, and following the trail to the artifact that leads them to some very interesting places, a relationship forms that soon takes over until only their wants and desires exist. But Vasily has to complete his mission to save the Bratva’s future and his own, even if it means giving up his heart.
Last Kiss picks where Last Breath left off and runs with it like a footballer with the world cup winning goal. In Last Breath, the hero, Daniel Hayes, was on a mission to rescue his sister from the Columbian cartel. He is asked to make a detour, as a personal favor to Nick (Last Hitman), to rescue his girlfriend’s best friend who was kidnapped and sold into prostitution. Daniel is forced to ally with Vasily for help extracting Naomi only to discover Vasily has other plans and spirits Naomi away for his own gain.
As with the other books in this series, you don’t have to have read the previous ones to enjoy the current one. Each installment stays centralized on the characters and conflict at hand with minor bleed over from previous installments. Though this one does not have quite the visible darkness the last installment had, there are still violent undertones and references to sexually illicit and abusive proclivities. Once again Clare and Frederick chose some difficult subject matters and they handle them with respect and dignity to all parties involved.
I enjoyed getting to know Vasily and Naomi. We met them in previous books but this installment is one hundred percent their story. They are both such wonderfully unique and compelling characters. Naomi has Aspergers Syndrome. Highly functioning and very intelligent, but extremely limited in her ability to handle everyday social interactions. She is completely honest in her observations and emotions. Her inability to process non verbal communication or the nuances of everyday conversations is heartbreaking at times.
I function differently than most people. I’m inside my head more than most, and I don’t know how to deal with people. I’ve been called everything from Rain Man to retard. I’m not.
Vasily is the victim of sexual abuse. Deadly, deceitful, and destructive- he is a full fledged sociopath. Sold into the Bravta at an early age, he is forced into a life that slowly chips away at his soul until there is nothing left. Like Naomi, he has trouble with sensory stimulation though his reasons stem from a far darker place.
I do not liked to be touched. I do not like women. Lust in not in my vocabulary.
Alike in many ways, they live their lives to the best of their abilities, forced to linger on the fringes of a society. It’s only when they meet and allow themselves to explore and grow within those boundaries do they truly get to see what they are capable of. They are two unusually shaped pieces of a puzzle that fit together perfectly to make a whole.
The story is told from both POVs, giving us an intimate accounting of how they feel in each situation they encounter without the overlap or recap that sometimes happens in this first person dual narrative. The chemistry and connection between them was instantaneous; literally smacking you in the face with their potency. Clare and Frederick take their time in slowly drawing out their personalities, introducing them to one another and peeling back the many layers to reveal their souls.
Vasily didn’t understand Naomi at first but as time passes he begins to and is soon able to anticipate what she needs to help her adjust to the situations he is putting her into without clipping her wings. He subtly pushes her boundaries, remaining a solid comforting presence at her back. He comes across so cold and unfeeling when in actuality I found his blunt speech quite romantic at times. He offers no useless platitudes or careless words to woo her into bed-he speaks plainly and directly from his heart.
I have lived a life worthy now that I have had the chance to love you.
Naomi’s evolution is quite adventurous and humorous at times. The changes in her emerge slowly as the story unveils. I appreciated the fact that she begins to understand that her boundaries are fluid and rationalizes these changes to herself in order to better accept them.
I’ve shared his germs. His mouth is safe now, in theory, because it’s something I’ve been exposed to. Maybe if I’m covered in Vasily’s germs, I won’t get sick when he touches me, because we’ll have communal germs. We’ll have been thoroughly exposed to each other’s bacteria.
Maybe he needs to kiss me all over.
The smooth writing and dynamic characterization I’ve come to expect from this writing duo doesn’t disappoint as they build an action packed suspense that engages from page one. Heavily character driven, Clare and Frederick do a fabulous job of intertwining the romance with the conflict, using one to feed the other. Well plotted and fast paced, it creates a satisfying arc of development for the main characters and culminates in two very different sort of conflicts – one that threatens the lives of Vasily and Naomi and one that threatens their relationship. If I had one qualm, it was I felt the resolution of one particular plot line was almost comical and didn’t present as I had been expecting.
Last Kiss was a satisfying read and I recommend this series to anyone who loves romance suspense with damaged characters, erotically charged romances, dry, witty humor, and non stop thrills and chills. I look forward to the next installment-Last Hope-set to release September 29, 2015.
Favorite Quote: “Oh soldier, how did we come to such a place?”
Midnight’s Kiss picks up right where Night’s Honor left off. The Nightkind (vampyres) demesne is currently engaged in a battle over the throne, with Julian Regillus, the reigning king, and Justine, a powerful council member, at it’s center. Melisandre (Melly), heir to the Light Fae throne, is kidnapped by Justine in hopes of bringing Julian to heel when he hears his former lover is in trouble.
Julian and Melly had an explosive three month affair over twenty years ago that was destroyed when Julian accused Melly of betrayal. Unwilling to believe her innocence, Julian breaks it off and never speaks to her again unless absolutely necessary. Over the years they have danced around their pain, trying to get over their love for one another and move on with their lives.
Melly is convinced Julian will not be rushing in to save her anytime soon, so she is shocked when he appears in the neighboring cell. Now both he and Melly are prisoners with no hope of rescue in sight. Forced to work together to escape, they find their past intrudes on their present when the passion they thought long dead flares to life. But can Julian forgive Melly’s betrayal? And if so…will Melly forgive his?
I have wanted to learn more about Julian since Serpent’s Kiss. His appearances so far has painted a picture of a ruthless, arrogant, unfeeling man who would do anything to secure his absolute rule over the Nightkind. In here we finally get Julian’s backstory, learning everything there is to know about his life, his turning, his broken affair with Melly, and the true reasons behind his push for the throne. Harrison gives us Julian’s side of the story, which paints a very different picture of the events that surrounded Julian and his past actions.
Suspense, mystery, humor, and dramatic romances makes for a delightful series that continues to engage and intrigue with each new installment.The smooth storyline and personable characters immediately drag you back into Harrison’s supernatural world as though you never left. Heavily character driven, the world building continues to expand and evolve though Harrison tends to set boundaries; evolving certain sub worlds within the ongoing storyline in a series of installments. Right now we are fully submerged in the Nightkind demesne and its ongoing political upheaval.
Midnight’s Kiss embodies a trope I enjoy-second chance love with a bite. Two former lovers who have turned enemies. Pain, sorrow, anger, and distrust are the emotions that brew between Melly and Julian. I love when two seemingly indomitable wills meet and clash. Watching the hero and heroine go from antagonists to lovers is a delicious storyline; made only better when there is a volatile history that precedes it.
“I shouldn’t care so much. I shouldn’t care at all.”
In Night’s Honor, Melly came off as a bit of a diva. An actress and Light Fae princess, you got the feeling she was a pampered, spoiled, self entitled, brat who got what she deserved when Julian left her. Only Melly isn’t any of those things. She is intelligent, down to earth, loyal, strong, and very resourceful. Kidnapped and terrorized, Melly instantly takes stock of her surroundings and begins to plan her escape. She has a great sense of humor and a formidable arsenal filled with snarky goodness. Seeing Julian has actually come to her aid is a shock to her emotional grid. She still loves him but the pain he left her with keeps her from falling into his arms and begging for a reconciliation.
“You are delusional if you think I would ever let you take me again, after the way you treated me. You see this?” With her free hand she waved her fingers in the air down the length of her torso as she shook her head. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You’re neeevvver getting this goodness again.”
Julian is centuries old and his attitude reflects that. Born during the Roman Empire, this former battle horned soldier is an uber alpha wrapped in a thin veneer of civility. Sexy, morose, sarcastic, and a wee bit inclined to drama, he rules the demesne with an iron fist, hiding his emotions behind a mask of supposed indifference and boredom. Only two people have been able to see behind his mask-Carling and Melly. Melly was the first woman for whom he was willing to change his life for. Willing to give up his throne and whatever else was needed to keep her in his life. Her betrayal devastated him. Already feeling he wasn’t even close to being good enough for her, discovering proof of that broke something crucial inside of him.
Before her, he hadn’t known that he had been slowly expiring of thirst over the centuries. No matter how many people he tasted or how many lovers he had taken, he’d been dying inside. Dying. Then she had lit everything up inside of him-only to snatch it all away again, leaving him bereft and alone…
The reconciliation blends gently with the on going conflict. Being trapped in a prison isn’t conducive to any smexy times, it does however allow them to spend time together with no outside interference. Their chemistry is as strong as ever and the scenes drip with sweaty bare-chested alpha male posturing and some reluctant internal swooning on the heroine’s side.
She made another sound that was purely sexual, husky and needy, and the warmth of her body nestled against him. The soft curve of her breasts pressed against his bare chest, her hips brushed against his painfully hardening cock. […] The ravenous hunter in him took fierce note. All the signs were there. She would be his for the taking, all his again.
Non stop action speeds the story along as Harrison reveals each new subplot. As each scene unfolds, we watch Melly and Julian face their fears and overcome obstacles while dealing with the 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.
It does take some time for our hero and heroine to make nice and finally discuss what occurred 20 years ago, which I found a little strange. I will admit I guessed early on what had happened and was put out by how easily Melly and Julian forgive the situation. Harrison gives a reasonable explanation for the choices they make but I still wanted to see something besides perfuctionary understanding and forgiveness. It fell flat considering the build up that received.
The ending is a dramatic undertaking as a series of events lead us to an admirable conclusion. Harrison gives us a brief look in to Graydon’s story-Shadow’s End (Elder Races, #9), set to release December 1, 2015-that had me bouncing in my chair. I am SUPER PSYCHED FOR THIS BOOK!!
Harrison continues to write stories that any paranormal romance fan who loves action, suspense, humor, and a sizzling romance is sure to enjoy.
Favorite Quote: She doesn’t have a lot of tolerance for stupidity and well, I’m an infantryman. I’ve got a lot of stupidity I’m still working out of my system.
First Sergeant Gale Sorren lost more than he gained when he joined the military. His wife divorced him and left, taking his daughter with her. But after fifteen years, he has a chance to make things right when he is finally stationed close to his family. Now all he he needs to figure out is how to be the man he should have been from the beginning.
Melanie Sorren never stopped loving or caring for her ex husband but she couldn’t handle being essentially a single parent. She divorces him after one too many deploys and tries to put her life back together. When Gale appears back in her life and informs her he’s stationed near by, she is shocked and dismayed to find their chemistry is still as potent as ever.
Can Mel forgive Gale for breaking her heart so many times? And more importantly…can Gale forgive himself?
Jessica Scott has an astute and empathic voice for military life and the romantic problems that can accompany it. As a career officer married to a career NCO, I can imagine that she has not only seen it all but possibly lived some of it. My first husband was in the military and I can honestly say, being a military wife is not easy. The military is often an unwanted bed partner whose needs and desires will override your own. Add in kids and years of separation, and the stress and pressure can become unbearable. It takes a lot for a person to accept someone who comes with a million plus at their back and a commitment to duty that will take them from you at the blink of an eye.
Homefront is an emotionally bittersweet second chance love story that focuses on such a relationship. Well written with a flowing steady pace and well developed characters. Scott addresses the pain of war and not only the casualties wounded in service but also those who remain at home. Heavily character driven, Scott chooses to focus more on the couple and their issues in here then her usual MOD of balancing complicated romance with a strong defining conflict.
Gale and Melanie (Mel) married young when Mel became pregnant. If that wasn’t hard enough, Gale had already enlisted into the Army when they found out. He had to go and Mel knew that thought she felt abandoned all the same. Jamie, Mel and Gale’s daughter, was a fretful baby and miserable toddler. Mel’s anger over having to deal with Jamie’s needs by herself caused her to become bitter towards Gale and she gave up on him and the marriage after a few years; serving him with divorce papers and moving back home with her parents.
Your heart will hurt for this couple as you get an intimate look at their marriage and the emotional state they were in then and now. The love they have for one another is still a potent blend but time and bad decisions on both their parts has made the gulf between them seem uncrossable. Gale readily admits he wasn’t a good husband or father. Over a decade of his life has been spent skyping with his daughter and seeing her on the rare occasions he was stateside. Not a derelict dad but more that the career he chose left him with little in the way of choices when it came to his personal life. And he accepts the blame for that.
“He’d given the Army everything he’d had. And he could never get that back. The war, work, all of it was a convenient excuse for being a shitty father and a terrible ex husband.”
Mel never wanted to leave Gale but she was young and just couldn’t deal with it all alone anymore. Too many tears and broken promises left her with little choice. After the divorce, she valiantly accepts it’s just her and Jamie with Gale popping in when he can. Though he offers financial support, he is unable to offer the physical and emotional support she and Jamie need from him. When he shows up out of the blue, offering to Shock, anger, and more distressing…longing and attraction.
“She needed a few minutes to put everything back in the box marked “Gale” and did her best to ignore. Because she’d damned if she was going to cry over this man one more time.”
A slow and sensual romance builds; a tentative dance between two people who are still suffering from the guilt, sorrow, resentment, and anger over their shared past. The attraction is strong but the trust is at a bare minimum. Gale goes above and beyond to show Mel that he truly means to take an active part in his family’s life. His daughter is suffering from some serious issues and Gale sees that Mel needs him more than ever to be a hands on father and take some of the responsibility off her shoulders. Erotically charged love scenes add a punch to the storyline; showing readers that this was one area that never needed fixing for them.
“I think I want to skip dinner.”
“I think I want you for dinner.”
A pair of subplots intertwine, introducing some low-key conflict to the story and a way for Gale to finally exercise the demons that have been haunting him for years. Old friends make multiple appearances, giving us hints to how their lives are doing since reading their story. We also meet some new ones and gain hints to future stories. If I any qualms, I would have liked to go more in-depth on Jamie’s issues and hear her reasons behind her actions. Scott does a wonderful job of bringing Jamie to life with realistic behavior and dialogue for a teenager.
Homefront gives readers the perfect blend of romance and emotional entanglements as Scott once again divulges into the real time problems facing the military and their families. I look forward to reading the next in the series, After The War, which releases May 5, 2015 from Forever.
Fans of this series have waited impatiently for Finn’s story. Book three left readers sadly watching Finn’s slow meltdownRomance Contemporary RATING: B
Fans of this series have waited impatiently for Finn’s story. Book three left readers sadly watching Finn’s slow meltdown into alcohol and women after his father passes away. Sweet and achy is a good way to describe this NA. Addiction, enabling, and the constraints we place on ourselves in regards to family are the key points that our protagonists are forced to reckon with as Finn finds himself attracted to his ex girlfriend’s younger sister. A delicious romance brews slowly as various subplots erupt to flesh out the on going issues faced by this couple both individually and as a couple. An interesting turn of events places the main conflict in sharp relief, forcing a choice to be made. This series continues to mature both emotionally and physically and I look forward to the next on the series.
I love Jennifer Estep’s writing. She is one of the few authors I have read who was able to cross from adult fiction to youth adult with no missteps or awkwardness in the transition. She has a powerful appealing voice that resonates through her characters. Her stories contain a good balance of normal everyday normal life with strong magical world building. Estep’s unique twists and turns keeps the pacing steady while witty dialogue and dynamic characters keep you entertained.
Jennifer Estep’s latest urban fantasy adventure revolves around a magical and deadly version of Disneyland and a reclusive teenager whose reluctantly dragged into a long standing family feud. Action, intrigue, suspense, and a healthy dose of snark introduces a new world that blends modern sensibilities with magical charm.
Cloudburst Falls was the most magical place in America and tourist town where fairy tales are real.
Yeah, fairy tales were real here alright...including the monsters that went right along with them. Monsters that were fe-fi-fo-fum hungry for all the blood and bones they could sink their teeth and claws into, mortal, magick, or otherwise.
Lila Merriweather is a seventeen year old thief with strong talents that steals on contract. Orphaned at a young age, she resides in secret at the local library. Her only friend is the owner of the local pawn shop who watches over her as he and her mother were very good friends. Shallow, selfish, and antagonistic, Lila avoids most human contact...especially the families that control Cloudburst Falls and all those who live there.
The families who rule Cloudburst Falls function with a mob style mentality. Powerful families whose never ending manipulations and feuds spell disaster and death to anyone who is stupid enough to interfere. As magick is measured by your talent and the amount power behind it, these families maintain the power structure on which the town is built. The Sinclairs and the Draconis are the most powerful and most antagonistic towards one another. Lila has good reason to avoid these two families in particular.
Part of me wanted to run after her, grab her shoulder, spin her around, and plant my first in her face for what she had done to me, for what her family had done to mine…
The themes of this book are change, growth, and possibility; as is the majority of Estep’s books. Estep creates characters who aren’t always likable or easy to relate too. She gradually and with a steady hand helps to chip away at their shells to reveal their hearts; then begins the hard battle of putting them back together. Lila changes when she is forced to shed her anonymity and engage actively with the families. Her pain, sorrow, and need for revenge has fueled her for so long, she is unsure how to act when she really gets to know the objects of all her hate. Especially the young man, Devon Sinclair, whom she saves from kidnapping and is rewarded by being blackmailed into protecting with her life.
I hated him. I’d hated him for years, and was determined to hate him now, along with the rest of his stupid family. Lila growth is small but steady as she spends time with the Sinclairs and sees the truth behind the throne, so to speak. She learns they aren’t the heartless monsters she has always hated and feared. They to have suffered for their lifestyle and know the pain of losing the people they love. As she is forced to face some uncomfortable truths about herself, she discovers a small vein of sympathy for these people.
The possibility is presented as Lila comes to realize she is no longer alone in the world. Destiny has struggled to reassert itself and she now stands where her mother did before her. Not to say Lila learned forgiveness in her journey. Her ability to see both sides of the battlefield serve her well as she struggles to accept help from her enemies.
Estep has penned another exciting and action packed YA fantasy whose hints of darkness, violence, and, snarky humor offers a wide variety of potential in a young girl whose life is now dependent on the very people whom she faults for destroying it to begin with. ...more
The Slayer slays the heart in Moon’s 2nd book of her Untamed Hearts series. Love, hate, family, betrayal, hope, and redemption all blend together to bThe Slayer slays the heart in Moon’s 2nd book of her Untamed Hearts series. Love, hate, family, betrayal, hope, and redemption all blend together to build a lush and heart wrenching love story between a former gang banger, Chuto, and a preacher’s daughter, Aliane. If this sounds trite, it’s anything but. The brilliance lies in the characters who live in this story. Life is never easy and sometimes the hardest blows come from those you love the most and nothing even begins to prepare you for the blows this couple has to take for their love and happiness. Dark and forbidding at times, Moon doesn’t try to explain away the criminal element that permeates Chu’s life in order to give him a happy ending. Rather, she uses it as a learning guide, giving us the readers a chance to see the real man behind the deeds. Using the past and the present, Moon slowly shows us Chu’s life from the beginning and the friendship that has built between him and Aliane over the years. We learn the reasons why Chu has tried to stay away from her and the lengths Aliane will go to be with him. Fan will adore the heavy interaction with our favorite Italian boys-Novo and Tino; along with inclusions of past couples. Moon rips out out your heart and soul with The Slayer but in an exceptional fashion, she hands it back to you stronger than ever....more
Favorite Quote: You’re the only real thing in my life.
Cory Easton is a tattoo artist at Raw Ink and has just gotten out of a relationship that lost him his boyfriend but gained him a dog. Openly gay and still coping with a past tragedy, he finds his eye turned by a gorgeous reclusive tatted skateboarder who haunts the park where he walks his dog, Chopper. When Chopper decides one day to make a break for it, it’s Cory’s crush who comes to the rescue.
Jude York keeps to himself for very good reasons. When he helps Cory catch his dog, a tentative friendship begins to form. But Jude is a complex mystery and the rumors swirling around him has Cory on edge as he notices Jude’s ties to the local motorcycle club. As Cory and Jude spend more time together and their attraction grows by leaps and bounds, Cory begins to wonder if he can handle what Jude’s secrets may reveal. Because Cory has already been devastated once and Jude could very well be the one that finally destroys him.
There You Stand by Christina Lee is #5 in her Between Breaths series but can easily read as a stand alone. A debut M/M romance hits all the right feelz buttons as Lee pens a bittersweet romance between two people who are carrying some serious emotional and physical pain. A slow steady start filled with sexual tension and tentative chemistry allows more than ample time for our boys to meet, grow a viable realistic friendship, and eventually gain the courage to take their relationship to a new level. Intriguing subplots and interesting secondary characters takes the story beyond a simple romance; adding some delicious drama and suspense.
Lee does a fabulous job of balancing the romance with the mystery surrounding Jude. Strong writing and a steady pace allows us to follow along with no confusion. She doesn’t rush the protagonist’s relationship, allowing it to grow in a realistic manner as she slowly reveals the background information needed to understand where both men are at in their lives and the reasons they are hesitant to completely open up.
”We were both hiding…”
A lush and steamy sexual relationship gives us open scenes with a firm emotional base. I enjoyed that Lee doesn’t rush this aspect and use the bed as an instant solvent for Cory and Jude’s issues. There are strong external factors that complicate this relationship that demand resolution before anyone can move forward. Lee draws this particular storyline out thoroughly, giving it the seriousness it demands.
“Goddamn it, why do I have to play guessing games with you?”
“Because I don’t want your life to be in danger…simply from associating with me.”
“It’s too late, I’m already involved.”
A dynamic secondary cast brings in people from previous installments while introducing new faces. I love the camaraderie that Cory enjoys with his fellow employees. Lee gives Cory a full bodied social life that plays out well against the solitary nature of Jude’s. The inclusion of the MC is slightly predictable in the setting they are used but their characterization and actions ring true and gives clues to possible future storylines. Another M/M? We can always hope. :)
The conflict resolves easily and off-screen. I would have enjoyed more interaction with the villain . As it was, all information concerning him is second-hand so the gravity of Jude’s past and current situation didn’t flesh out as dramatically as I think Lee intended. Regardless There You Stand is an engaging story that will appeal to lovers of romance across the board. I look forward to reading more from her in the future.
Favorite Quote: “In our fathers’ day, you could have tossed her in your ship and be halfway to Tronscar by now.”
“Our forefathers had all the fun.”
Married and widowed in a two month span, Lida returns to her family’s home. Eight years later, happily raising her daughter on her own, she inadvertently captures the attention of a powerful viking warlord who will do anything to make her his wife. Before she knows it, she’s wedded, bedded, and placed on a ship headed to her new home.
Jarl Magnus has already buried one wife and now seeks another. Wanting a strong woman who can survive the harsh conditions of his homeland and bear him many sons, he is pleased by his new wife’s beauty and spirit but is quite unprepared to find himself actually liking her and his new stepdaughter.
As Lida and Magnus strive to set aside their ingrained prejudices towards one another, dissent begins to reign within their home. As the lies and distrust push Lida and Magnus further apart, an enemy’s need for revenge will either unite them as one or separate them forever.
Sandra Lake’s debut, The Warlord’s Wife is a historical romance based on a favorite trope of mine – reluctant bride and pushy groom. Set in the 12th century Sweden, this heavily character driven novel combines old skool dramatics and misunderstandings with modern sensibilities creating an engaging romance with some bursts of predictable angst, drama, and laughter. Fast pacing and a solid plotline gives readers the setup and background information needed without over burdening. The romance is strong, offset with a bit of mystery and suspense.
Lida was married at a very young age to the man of her dreams. He coerced her into sleeping with him before they tied the knot, marking her as a whore in her in-laws eyes when she is further along in her pregnancy then she should be. Her in-laws send her back to her parents, barring her return. Luckily for Lida, her parents are more open minded than most and accept her and her child with open arms. Happy in her widowhood with no plans on re-marrying, she is shocked and dismayed when she told the Jarl wants to marry her. Not one to hold her tongue, she tells him no, despite being told she should be grateful for this honor.
Why is it the most strikingly attractive men are always the most cantankerous?
Jarl Magnus is a gorgeous, rich, arrogant, grumpy man who is not used to be told no by anyone. Powerful in both strength and politics (his cousin is the King of Sweden) he is in Turku to find a new wife and solidify alliances. Already irritated by having to remain in Turku for too long, he sees Lida and instantly wants her. When she denies him, he uses blackmail her into accepting his suit.
“You will learn I possess nothing that has been given. What I have has been forged or earned. Be wise and make your counter offer, before I finalize the contract with your brother.”
Lida resents Magnus’s maneuvers but agrees to the marriage if only to ensure her daughter will have a chance at a decent life. Lida’s stubbornness and Magnus’s cluelessness was amusing at times. They both come into the marriage with preconceived notions. Lida doesn’t love Magnus and knowing he doesn’t love her, she fears she will be nothing more than a body to warm his bed and a womb to birth his children. She is strong, intelligent, and a very diplomatic strategist, knowing when to push and when to back off.
Magnus is a 12th century man whose father warned him time and time again to never fall in love, that women have only one job and that to service men. He is the alpha ruler of all he sees and makes sure no one forgets it. Lida confuses him. He wants her gratitude for a marriage she didn’t want and for the gifts that she never asked for and can’t understand why she refuses to give it to him. Though crabby and quick to accuse, Magnus is in general a kind man who doesn’t purposely treat Lida or her daughter unkindly.
“I am not your jarl in here, Lida. I am Magnus, your husband.”
As Lida and Magnus get to know one another, the sparks fly and the chemistry heats up. Despite their antagonistic beginnings, Lida and Magnus have a strong physical attraction to one another which is alluded to but very little is shown on scene. Luckily, both POVs are shown, enabling readers an intimate view of their thoughts and feelings. While Lake stays well within the boundaries of this time, the subtle power plays invoked by all are fun to watch, adding wit to their banter and personalities.
“I fear I will never understand the Jarl.”
“Shall I enlighten you? Suppose you are an idiot, then suppose you are a man. But I repeat myself.”
A well developed cast of characters add delight and depth to the story. Tero, Magnus’s stewart, offers advice and tries to calm the pathway to love between his mistress and master. Katia, Lida’s daughter, steals the show and is the perfect plot device to soften Magnus’s prickly nature. A vengeful villain sows seeds of malcontent, playing on Magnus’s jealous nature and the feelings he has for his wife. This is where the predictability comes in. The usual accusations come into play, attempting to destroy the bonds that are developing between Magnus and Lida but Lake brings in a character who helps to take the blinders off their eyes. I hope he gets his story soon.
The mystery reveals itself early on but the path to resolution is action packed with lots of dramatic demands for vengeance and revenge. There were some scenes that resolved off page, diminishing their impact, and I felt overall this weakened the storyline at certain points. Regardless, Lake’s debut historical romance is sure to appeal to those who enjoy spirited heroines, grumpy alpha heroes, and a slow sweet journey to everlasting love. I look forward to book two of the series, The Iron Princess, which is set to release June 16, 2015 by Intermix. I have a feeling Katia’s story will be very amusing considering her father’s (Magnus) attitude towards men and his daughter.
Cherish & Blessed are actually two separate novellas bound into one book for it’s second print. Cherish was originally released in 2012 and because of that I have decided to review each one separately.
Evan and Matt have been a couple for many years, having built a life and home together with Evan’s children. Though it was rough in the beginning when Evan fell in love with man after his wife’s death, the trials and tribulations seem to have faded.
Or have they?
Evan and Matt get the surprise of their life when the oldest daughter, Miranda, starts talking marriage to a boy she just met three months ago and then decides to invite the boyfriend and his family home for Thanksgiving. When it becomes obvious Miranda hasn’t been completely honest with the boyfriend, his parents, or herself, Evan and Matt will have to step in to ensure that Miranda knows she is cherished.
I have been a fan of this series since the beginning. Though not a huge fan of the ‘gay for you’ trope, Michaels’ does a fabulous job of building Evan’s and Matt’s relationship, starting with a friendship that morphs into attraction, than love at a steady and realistic rate. Michaels’ doesn’t shy away from the issues when dealing with the children, a deceased spouse, and homophobic relatives.
All of Evan’s kid’s have accepted Matt into their lives except for Miranda. She has had the hardest time accepting her mother’s death and the inclusion of Matt into their lives. Humor and mayhem lead the way as Miranda’s power play not only causes her family grief and embarrassment but also places strain on her relationship with her boyfriend and his family. Evan and Matt band together, along with her siblings and some friends to help Miranda see that her mother hasn’t been forgotten and that Matt is not a threat to her father’s love for her. I did approve of the manner in which it was handled. No kid gloves were used and Miranda got a rude but much needed awakening in how her behavior was unacceptable across the board. Personally, I think she got off rather easy but her issues run deep and it will take more then one weekend for her to overcome them.
As always, the chemistry between Evan and Matt is explosive and sex fueled but in here it is tempered by love and a quiet but fierce tenderness. Early on in their relationship, Evan would have pulled away from Matt in order to deal with this issue but now Evan embraces Matt and holds on tight because they are a couple-a team-and Evan will never let Matt go. Matt’s relationship with Evan’s children (the ones who like him-lol) continues to sweet and engaging as he truly adores them and vice versa.
Jim and Griffin find themselves floundering in their relationship as both are ready for something more permanent but scared to broach it to one another. Matt and Evan are looking to reconnect emotionally and physically as careers and two children still at home leave them very little alone time. When Daisy and Bennett invite the two couples to the Hamptons to celebrate the christening of their new child, the weekend opens the doorway to some much needed communication.
I have to admit I wasn’t as enamored with this installment. The story jumping between the two main couples was abrupt causing the flow to be shaky and not as well developed as her other installments. Jim and Griffin hold no appeal for me. I never connected with them as secondary characters. Michaels’ doesn’t really resolve Jim and Griffin’s communication problem and basically an epiphany that Jim has to ‘magically’ fix their issues. I did enjoy seeing Daisy and Bennett and Helen and Shane. Everyone has come such a long way.
Matt and Evan are sweet, sexy, and funny as usual with both continuing to open up more both physically and emotionally with one another. Certain long term issues are coming up and choices must be made.
Michaels’ ends both novellas on a soft positive notes, letting readers know that the couples we have come to enjoy continue to work towards their happy ever after.