I enjoyed this one more then book one. Perhaps because Mike and Natalie acted more mature (on some thing) and seemed to have their lives on track prof...moreI enjoyed this one more then book one. Perhaps because Mike and Natalie acted more mature (on some thing) and seemed to have their lives on track professionally. (less)
Very one dimensional in characterization and storyline. Man kidnaps women; essentially taking her from one prison and putting her in another. Titi...more 2.5
Very one dimensional in characterization and storyline. Man kidnaps women; essentially taking her from one prison and putting her in another. Titillating but not engaging in the least. I am pretty much over dark erotica and forced BDSM. (less)
I'm not sure exactly how to rate this. I enjoyed the storyline; a rich insecure quarterback for a fictional NFL falls for a young bookish woman...more3 stars
I'm not sure exactly how to rate this. I enjoyed the storyline; a rich insecure quarterback for a fictional NFL falls for a young bookish woman whose just starting out in life and whose insecurities rival his. The opposites attract trope. I loved the integration of football and publishing and there were some wonderful secondary characters who enriched the storyline. Unfortunately, I didn't like the main characters. Rachel and Ryan were so ugly to one another and the reasons for their fights were often ridiculous. It had a lot of potencial but I think Parr goes to far in showing us just how opposite these two are and it leaves you wondering how on earth they can even like each other much less fall in love. (less)
Sean Rush, ex military, ex convict, and current car thief, has been having an affair for the last eight months with an unknown man who sneaks into his home late at night and fulfills all his sexual fantasies. He knows nothing about the man except he is big, quiet, and amazingly talented in bed. As they spend more time together, Sean begins to realize that he wants more than just some stolen moments in the dead of the night.
Ryker, a lieutenant for the Havoc motorcycle club, has been watching Sean for a long time but only recently gave himself permission to act on his attraction. When things start to go south for Sean, Rykers protective instincts kick in and he drags Sean to the Havoc compound for safety. Sean has lots of secrets though, some that can destroy Havoc and everything Ryker has built if they all aren’t careful.
When Ryker’s own secrets come to light. Ryker will have to convince Sean that its not the rush that keeps them together, but the love that has built despite it.
I was excited to see S.E. Jakes was writing a M/M romance centering around a motorcycle club. There aren’t many of them out there and I really enjoyed her Men of Honor series. An interesting premise hints at a troubled young man whose lover will do anything for him and ends up having to prove that. That being said, Running Wild failed on multiple levels for me. My first point of contention is the secret sex. It’s eerily similar to Kristen Ashley’s Mystery Man premise. I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now. No one lets someone break into their home for almost a year to have anonymous sex with them. Fiction or not, it’s not romantic no matter how you spin it. It smacks dubious consent and cowardice.
Second problem was Sean himself. Being in his head was a confusing journey and I likened it to watching one of those tiny rubber balls bouncing around. His thought process goes 90 miles a minute in multiple directions; flashing between past and present, speech and thought with nary a contextual clue to help you follow along. I do think Jakes did a good job with showing us someone who I suspect has ADD along with his PSTD might act. He has very limited control and being an adrenaline junkie to boot doesn’t help. I found his inability to sit still and just listen to be extremely tiring. He also had a “bratty” nature to him that wasn’t appealing, but that’s on me. I’m not a fan of adults who act like that in books or real life.
The storyline was a myriad of sub plots that overwhelm the book. The gist of the story is a car theft ring that pits three central groups against one another-putting Sean directly in the middle. Between the races, thefts, accidents, flashbacks, interjection of other series characters and storylines, kidnappings, the club’s businesses, and other MCs…I was confused about 75% of the book. Everything is very limited in explanation. An onslaught of information is dropped on us throughout the book but most of the actual events happen off scene. There is minimal development for such an convoluted storyline. There is also a supernatural scene that just left me staring blankly at the book. I know why it was done but I felt it was complete overkill.
The romance was steamy at times, sexually speaking, but I didn’t buy into Sean and Ryker’s chemistry. They already had an 8 month relationship before the book even starts, so we weren’t able to see their interactions or their thoughts during that time. Sean spoke of it in his disjointed way, but I felt Ryker’s explanations were a little bland. Once we learn his secret, his actions make more sense but I still couldn’t see beyond lust between the two of them. I never saw the “spark” that they saw in each other that would lead them to love.
The ending wraps up the various story lines, though we are left with a few open ended questions in regards to some events that occurred so I’m assuming Jakes will revisit them in the future. Jakes has said the M/F Skull Creek MC series, written as Stephanie Tyler, won’t overlap with this series but we do see/hear a little about it in here. While I enjoy some of Jakes’ works, I don’t foresee me continuing this one unless book two takes a much different route.
Not bad but the structure was weak, the romance under whelming, and the storyline was all over the place. The set up and reveal reminded me of Pulp Fi...moreNot bad but the structure was weak, the romance under whelming, and the storyline was all over the place. The set up and reveal reminded me of Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill in how the characters spoke and the event time line.
Warning: There are LOTS of triggers in here. (less)
A somber look back into this world. I loved seeing Issac and Lilli again. Their lives take a tragic turn but Fanetti handles the plot well with realis...moreA somber look back into this world. I loved seeing Issac and Lilli again. Their lives take a tragic turn but Fanetti handles the plot well with realistic emotions and actions. (less)
Had a strong Madeline Sheehan feel to it though I felt the storyline only breezed over certain plot lines and there was some gratuitous violence towar...moreHad a strong Madeline Sheehan feel to it though I felt the storyline only breezed over certain plot lines and there was some gratuitous violence towards the end. (less)
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I thought I was getting an erotic romance with the bad boy meets good girl theme. Color me happy that this wa...moreI was pleasantly surprised by this book. I thought I was getting an erotic romance with the bad boy meets good girl theme. Color me happy that this was so much more. A sweet and retrospective story about family, expectations, and finding oneself.
Though student/teacher romances are usually not my cuppa tea, Loving Mr. Daniels is a bittersweet romance between two consenting and age appropriate a...moreThough student/teacher romances are usually not my cuppa tea, Loving Mr. Daniels is a bittersweet romance between two consenting and age appropriate adults (the heroine is 19 and hero 22) whose lives mirror one another in grief and tragedy. Both humorous and heartbreaking, this well written contemporary stays with you long after you reach the end.(less)
The last book of Dean Koontz's I truly enjoyed was One Door Away From Heaven. The last few I’ve read since then seem to be drift...moreDNF
I don't rate DNF's.
The last book of Dean Koontz's I truly enjoyed was One Door Away From Heaven. The last few I’ve read since then seem to be drifting away from the suspenseful & mysterious (of which I’m a huge fan of) and more into the spiritually introspective. The City bored me. I didn’t feel like I was reading a story but rather a historical text-book. Lots of purple prose, metaphors, and hyperbole drags the book down and the actual story gets lost in the clutter. Numerous characters and plot lines left me feeling overwhelmed and unsure exactly what was going on. I think from now on I’ll just stick to re reading his earlier works.(less)
Favorite Quote: “What was it that Pam from Archer says? Oh right, you could drown a toddler in my panties right now.”
Victoria (Tiny) Corielli is a low paid bike messenger who needs money now. Her mother’s cancer has returned and Victoria needs to secure them new housing and pay for the mounting medical bills. While doing some deliveries for her questionable step brother, Victoria meets the most incredibly sexy man she has ever seen whose charm and good looks makes her melt right there on the street.
We aren’t strangers. Somewhere, at some point, we must have made a connection and we’re now recognizing it again in this lifetime.
Victoria runs away because the reaction this man pulls from her just from their first meeting scares her to death. She has no time for romantic entanglements; there is just too much on her plate right now. Weeks later, her step brother sends her out on another job that leads her straight back to him. He claims her brother is helping him secure someone for a special job but when she offers up herself, he doesn’t want her help.
“Are you sure I can’t help you?”
His fingers close around the frame and tip me toward him until I have no choice but to brace my hand against the hard wall of his chest. His hand leaves my arm and comes around me like a shackle.
“Let me be perfectly frank with you, Victoria. There are lots of things that I’d like you to do for me. Some of them involve you on your knees. Others require you bent over a table. All of them require me to be between your legs. But I don’t pay for that.”
Victoria once again flees but soon, everywhere Victoria looks, there he is.
Watching. Waiting. Wanting.
Because what Ian Kerr wants…Ian Kerr gets.
I want to say right off that I think the blurb for Losing Control is misleading in that it gives the impression this is your typical overly alpha stalker billionaire chases the naive and charmingly inept “I will do anything for…’ virgin romance. In reality, the book is far more than that. It is a steamy, sexy, funny and oh so good and dirty love story about two people whom fate has arranged to meet one another and their sparks light up the world around them. A certain Cinderella-esque feeling permeates the book as Ian steadily and at times bull doggedly pushes his way into Victoria’s life though Victoria is anything but a compliant princess looking for her prince charming.
“I’m not a toy. You don’t get to put me in Barbie’s expensive town home and play with me until you’re bored. I’m a fucking real person, and my mom’s a real person. And we don’t need this shit right now. I say who I sleep with and whose bed I’m in—and right now, you aren’t even in the same conversation.”
Her strength is heart wrenching which is made evident by all she does for her ailing mother. She will do whatever it takes to make her mother’s life better. She’s strong, fearless, intelligent, and wonderfully down to earth and funny. She has learned the hard way that nothing in life is free and sometimes though the price is high, you do what you can for those you love. And Victoria loves her mother more than anything.
“I’d do anything to keep my mother alive.”
Ian, Ian, Ian. *laughing softly* Ian Kerr is the ultimate alpha with his arrogance, money, and rather autocratic way of taking charge with or without Victoria’s permission. He is a gorgeous, bossy, sexy, generous, irritating man whose obsession turned adoration for Victoria makes you forgive him rather quickly.
“I’m a big collector of things.” “Am I a thing?” “No, your my heart.”
And his mouth. Oh. My. God. This man’s mouth should be illegal. He says the most dirty and delicious things.
“You’re done when I say so. Your pussy still wants me.”
His long fingers are still stroking my post-climactic nerve endings, more gently now but still firm. His thumb caresses my clit lightly, and I shudder with each pass.
“You’re so wet and hot and fucking beautiful right now and I want you to come. Now.”
Though the beginning started out slowly, the pace picks up rather quickly as we divulge into the characters lives and what exactly Ian’s job for Victoria entails. The romance develops at a slow seductive speed, intertwining with the various subplots, and pulling it all together into one explosive mixture. Fredericks allows ample time for Victoria and Ian to connect emotionally and mentally before pushing them into bed, which works perfectly for their personalities and the story overall. Dynamic chemistry, witty banter, and intense dirty love scenes brought this couple to life and elevated them beyond the normal offerings we have seen in this trope lately.
“I think of you non-stop. When I get up in the morning, I wonder if you’ll like the smell of the soap I used. When lunch rolls around, I wonder if you’ve eaten enough. I wanted to delay making love to you until I was completely sure you were with me – mind, body and soul – because yes, Tiny, you are mine. And this isn’t for show.”
The ending, while inconclusive, doesn’t leave us dangling from a cliff. Victoria’s and Ian’s story continues in book 2, Taking Control, which releases September 16, 2014.
More Than Music is the first book in a new adult romantic contemporary series that revolves around an up and coming rock band-Villain Complex. Book one focuses on the developing relationship between two musicians who compete on a reality show together. Ms. Briggs uses her skills to paint an engaging and humorous coming of age story that addresses the expectations of ourselves, family, and the lengths one will go to for fame and fortune. Though told primary from the heroine’s viewpoint, we do get in depth dialogue between both protagonists, enabling the reader to get an entertaining story.
Heavily character driven, the story paces itself nicely, slowly revealing our protagonists’ backgrounds while building the storyline and subsequent romance. What makes this book more appealing is the maturity and straightforwardness of the protagonists. There are no dark or hidden secrets. The lack of over the top angst and emotional heaviness was refreshing.
The behind the scenes step by step look into a reality based show was interesting as Briggs delves into the competitiveness between the performers, the prima donna mentors, and often assumed but never voiced predetermined winners.
I enjoyed seeing Maddie gather her courage to take the plunge to live her fantasy. While she is a talented young woman, her strengths are buried beneath a deep well of vulnerability. Her mother’s issues concerning music and men have played a huge part in planning Maddie’ future. Being invited to audition and winning a spot on the show with the band is her dream come true. Plus, she’s always had a crush on Jared but assumed with his player status that he would never be interested in someone like her. Maddie tries to hide her attraction because she wants the band to win and doesn’t want any conflicts to ruin their chances.
“…I don’t know if I can do a casual hook up…”
Jared was a little harder to get a bead on, especially with the story being told by Maddie. We only see what she sees. There are essentially two Jareds-the rock star player before the camera and the quiet work focused Jared off camera that seduces Maddie with his soft words and kisses. Jared has worked hard to get his band where they are at now and his need to succeed wars with his need to see where things could go with Maddie. He gives off mixed signals which adds to the conflict.
“This was the trick to being an entertainer: pretending everything was great while your life was falling apart around you.”
The romance develops slowly between Maddie and Jared. In the the beginning, you get the feeling the attraction of Maddie’s end is her crush. It’s only when Maddie gets to know Jared, seeing a much different man than the one she’s used to hearing about, that her feelings and confusion deepens. Also, the reality show wants to play up Jared’s player status to encourage more viewers for the show so Maddie is hurt at times when she catches him flirting with fans. The chemistry between Maddie and Jared is potent and the forbidden aspect makes for some nice steamy inventive “quickies” around the studio.
”I’d lost myself in the show, in Jared, in the impossible dream and the beautiful lie.”
Lively secondary characters infuse the story with some humor and depth. Briggs’ tongue in cheek characterization of the reality show’s staff and contestants supplied some laughs and I couldn’t help but wonder who she modeled some of her characters after.
I did have a few qualms concerning the story. I wish we could have seen more interaction with Maddie’s mom and Jared’s parents. They all played a large role in the actions and career paths of their children and I found it odd that we barely interact with them. I felt the other band members weren’t as fleshed out as our protagonists but since this is a series, I suspect we eventually get to their individual stories. Also, the conflict was almost too predictable from the argument that forces our protagonists to look deep within themselves and make some hard choices to the rather pale ending.
Regardless of my misgivings, Elizabeth Briggs’ debut, More Than Music, is a quick comfortable read that is sure to appeal to music and reality show fans.
As one of the beta readers for this book, all I can say it that Haines takes it to the limit in here and sets up a chilling tale of betrayal, deceptio...moreAs one of the beta readers for this book, all I can say it that Haines takes it to the limit in here and sets up a chilling tale of betrayal, deception, revenge, pain, and remarkably... hope. (less)
Janine (Jan) married Rod Stoddard during a low point in her life. Both her parents had been killed by a drunk driver and Rod became her anchor in the sea she was adrift in. It wasn’t until later that she realized she had married a controlling abusive man. After years of trying to become the “perfect woman” she knew she never would be, she takes advantage of his absence to escape the hell she has been living in. Helping her is an organization called Moving On (fictional) which arranges to secretly move abused women through a human network to safety. Jan chooses to go to Asheville in order to see her daughter and granddaughter before she disappears for good.
Harmony ran away from her abusive home and her mother refused to keep in contact with her for fear her father would find her. She is devastated when she sees her family home on the news, engulfed in flames. Unable to contact her mother, Harmony panics until a knock on the door reveals her mother.
Tyler, upon learning Jan’s story and her fears that Rod will come looking for her and place Harmony and her granddaughter in jeopardy, opens up her home to Jan. Tyler wants to continue on with her mother’s legacy of helping others but also feels this is the perfect way to pay back Harmony for the friendship she gave Tyler’s mother, Charlotte, before her death.
As Jan and Harmony work on rebuilding their relationship, Tyler opens her heart to another newcomer-Adam Pryor. Soon, their friendship blossoms into a romance, convincing Tyler that she is ready to move forward in her life.
No River Too Wide is the third installment in Emilie Richards’ Goddesses Anonymous series. A series built around a group of women who have created a safe place in the mountains of North Carolina to help women in need. This contemporary follows the lives of three women whose trust have been broken. A wife finds the strength to leave her abusive husband, her daughter guards her heart in order to not be caught in the same trap as her mother, and a single mother betrayed by love finally opens her heart only to find disappointment once again. When the lives of these three women intersect, old wounds are opened and lessons are learned in redemption, forgiveness, and hope.
A compelling story that takes an intimate look at domestic abuse from a survivor’s point of view; Richards’ has three strong voices in here that compete for our attention. The blending isn’t as flawless as I would have liked because of the strength of each of the characters. Each character’s story is just that-their story. Though Richards’ uses these mothers as a bridge to help understand the dynamics of the mother/daughter relationship and the hard choices one will make for the love and protection of a child, I couldn’t help but feel the bridge never truly completes and each woman remains an island unto themselves.
Jan struggles with her first taste of freedom, her fears that her husband could find her at any given time, and trying to rebuild a relationship with her daughter. A majority of the time Jan is in her own world and her interactions with Harmony are limited to short secret visits because she can’t be seen with Harmony. Harmony is angry at her mother for staying with her father all those years and essentially abandoning her while struggling to form keep a friendly relationship with the father of her child who she refused to marry. The interactions between Harmony and Jan are uncomfortable at times. I commend Jan’s strength in leaving her abuser and understand the reasons why it took so long for her to leave. It’s extremely easy to ask, “Why didn’t she leave,” when you are standing on the outside looking it Harmony is personable with a dry sense of humor and a strong sense of self. She understands her anger towards Jan and actively seeks to understand and forgive.
Taylor, also a single mother, allows Jan to live with her in order to help her keep Harmony and her granddaughter safe. Owner of a yoga salon, Taylor shares with us her struggle with having a child as a teenager, her own pain at mother’s abandonment, and her inability to forgive those she feels transgressed against her. Both Harmony and Tyler are alike in their issues. Tyler’s mother pushed her away when Tyler got pregnant in high school and refused to give up the child. Though Tyler and her mother eventually healed their breach, Tyler still harbors resentment of what her mother did and the fact they didn’t have much time together in the end. She also has residual anger towards her child’s father for how he acted when he found out she was pregnant though they too have reached a better place. I can’t say I really liked or disliked Taylor because I never really felt I got to know her. She had a place saver feel to her. I felt she was used more as a stepping stone to help bring in the suspense and mystery that surrounds her love interest-Adam.
The story bobs and weaves, giving us insight into the past and present, while moving forward. Richards doesn’t use emotional manipulation to make you feel sorry for these women. Rather, she digs deep and allows them to come full circle; each finding their own path to peace and serenity. I did feel after I was finished that reading the ones before this may have allowed me a better understanding of Taylor and Harmony.. Regardless, No River Too Wide is a quiet story of triumph and perseverance. The lessons learned show that life is a series of unknowns and that with the acceptance of help from others, you can rise above your circumstances to lead a life that is fulfilling and filled with wonder.