Sometimes you read a book that is more than a book. Sometimes it's a story that breaks your heart -- and not just once -- just so it can put all the bSometimes you read a book that is more than a book. Sometimes it's a story that breaks your heart -- and not just once -- just so it can put all the broken pieces back together in a way you never expected or even hoped it could....more
Okay, so if you know me, you know I love Everything Brighton Walsh writes. This book is no different. I will add an additional statement here, though.Okay, so if you know me, you know I love Everything Brighton Walsh writes. This book is no different. I will add an additional statement here, though. I didn't just love this book. IMO (and let's be honest, that's all that matters because this is my review) this is the best book she's written yet.
I REALLY FREAKING LOVED IT!
Now, I'm gonna start by saying that the whole captive/prisoner trope is scary for me. Mostly because so often, these stories contain elements of non-consent. Now, I'm not here to judge anyone for their own personal fantasy life. We all have one. But the idea of non-consent is a hard limit for me. I'm happy to say this story didn't have that. Well, at least not sexually.
This heroine is young, withdrawn, and most importantly, relatable. We've all had those moments where we we feel like we're not good enough. Like the people in our lives don't love us for who we are. Brighton does a great job connecting the reader to the heroine's struggle right away.
Madison feels like this. And beyond that, she has shit for parents. No lie. Her parents are the literal worst. An addicted mother who can't function, and an absent father who doesn't seem to give a fuck. But they are an affluent family with enough money to hide all their imperfections.
Enter Ghost. AKA: the anti-hero/captor. Lawd, I loved that we got both POVs in this book. I don't know if I could have fully appreciated him without hearing his voice. Now, Brighton is known for giving us sexy-as-fuck heroes. But Ghost is that with an edge. I mean, he's a fucking kidnapping criminal, right?
I read this book in one sitting. I couldn't put it down. The pace was amazing, and the plot had enough twists and turns and drama to keep me completely riveted and flipping pages.
I love romance. I'm completely unashamed by my obsession with a love story. Is this book darker than what we've come to expect from Brighton Walsh? Yes. Does that make this any less of a love story? Hell no.
Buy this book! Buy it, and read all the words and tell me how much you loved it.
If she keeps writing NA, I might have to admit that there are actual NA books that I love. And I loved this so much.
So, I generally hate the NA genre. Like, a lot. But I can't begin to tell you how much I truly LOVED this book.
I've had Caged in Winter on my TBR listSo, I generally hate the NA genre. Like, a lot. But I can't begin to tell you how much I truly LOVED this book.
I've had Caged in Winter on my TBR list for a while. But I was saving it for my vacation, when I knew I would have ample time to read and enjoy Brighton's words.
There were some mixed reviews, especially concerning the main character, Winter. Some people called her "emo." Well, I didn't ever get emo from her. I got a damaged, defensive young woman. A woman who has built up walls around her, so she's never in a place to get hurt. And let me just tell you: Winter's been hurt.
Her story is one that touched me, and made me FEEL. When you read as much as I do, sometimes heroes and heroines overlap. They blend into each other bc of tropes and characteristics you always see in romantic stories. But Winter's struggle was so genuine and believable. And there wan't a particular tag to place upon her. I never thought, "Oh, hey. I've read this before."
My heart hurt for her. And that only made meeting our hero, Cade, that much better. Because he saw Winter for who she was. Right from the very beginning. And the love and patience took for him to finally break those walls down, made him one of my favorite heroes I've read.
Brighton Walsh writes in a way that I love. Reading her words is as easy as watching your favorite movie. She tells an emotional story, and that's what you take away when you're finished - pure emotion. She doesn't get caught up in over-descriptive filler. Every word means something. I might not know what her characters are wearing, or all the ingredients to whatever it was that Cade was cooking, but I knew at every moment, what her characters were feeling. And that is what makes an amazing book.
Cade was a swoony, hot hero. And I loved him.
But Winter - her story and journey were what made this book for me.
When I sat down to read Season of Second Chances by Brighton Walsh, I expected to enjoy it. Mostly because I love the author and her words, but also bWhen I sat down to read Season of Second Chances by Brighton Walsh, I expected to enjoy it. Mostly because I love the author and her words, but also because we’re approaching the holidays, and from the description, it sounded like the perfect book to curl up with.
Well, it was.
And I loved it.
We meet Claire on Christmas Eve. She’s stranded in the airport in Chicago, trying to make it to her sister’s house for Christmas. But the snow is pouring, and all flights have been cancelled. This sucks for her. Under normal circumstances, this would suck for anyone. However, we learn that Claire needs to get the hell out of Chicago for other reasons – reasons far more pressing and personal than wanting to trim a tree with her family.
And that reason is Logan.
Logan…hnnnnggg. (More on him later.)
We find out that Claire actually used to live in Chicago, that she had a whole life there. A life filled with a man whom she loved, his daughter, and the promise of a future with a family she adored. Unfortunately for Claire, she always felt like she came in second place to Logan’s job. And for that reason, two years ago, she made the decision to walk away.
But she’s never forgotten him.
And beyond that – she still loves him.
Damn, I adore a good love story about reconnection. And when Logan happens upon the put-out Claire and offers her a place to stay to ride out the storm, it becomes clear that that’s where this story is headed. Logan – by the way – is my actual dream man. I know I love to read about various different men with different traits and personalities. But what I fantasize about and what I actually want are, in reality, very different. He’s someone who has his shit together, he has a career, a home, and a daughter who he loves and cares for. Oh, and he’s hot…and swoony…and hot. (Please to be seeing what I will now refer to as the “sweater scene” because from now on, I will always be turned on by a man who fills out a sweater stretched across his chest and stomach muscles. Thank you very much for that visual, Brighton.)
These two definitely have a lot to work through – their past, their lingering feelings, and their palpable chemistry that jumps from the page. And if you know this author, you know she brings the swoons and the heat. And did I mention the Daddy swoons? Because that’s another thing that just killed me dead in this story. Because Logan’s daughter, Sophie, made me want a stepchild of my very own. (And I don’t even really like kids.)
This story is like a Peppermint Mocha on a cold night - rich and decadent and sweet. And steaming hot. It’s the perfect treat to curl up with. And fans of contemporary romance will adore it…just like I did. So, now I’ll be trolling airports looking for hot single dads. Thank you for that, Brighton.
I pretty much blew through the previous books in this series, and basically since book three, I’ve been powering through to get to this particular booI pretty much blew through the previous books in this series, and basically since book three, I’ve been powering through to get to this particular book.
Hawke and Sienna.
I mean…how could you not just be desperate for their story? Lonely alpha wolf and young girl just growing into womanhood. That alone would make for a fascinating story in itself. But Hawke and Sienna are, of course, so much more than that.
Hawke is the alpha of his pack. A loner. Well, a hot loner who just happens to be powerful and amazing. But yeah…he’s an island state. And we know that the reason for his self-imposed solitary is because he found his ‘mate’ at a very early age…and she died while they were still children. We know from all the previous books what mating means to the changelings. Mates are the heart of each other. And they only do it once.
But from the moment the Lauren family defected from the Psy-Net, Hawke has been connected to Sienna Lauren. The only problem is – Sienna is underage. And well, she’s off-limits. And to Hawke’s credit, he never once acts on his feelings, never once does anything inappropriate. In fact, he allows her to go and stay with the Dark River cats to give her some space so she can be her own person without having to fight the connection he knows she feels as well.
Nalini Singh did a really great job developing this story because, let’s be honest, it could have come off a little creepy. And Hawke could have totally come across as some dirty perv. And it never once felt that way.
Sienna is nineteen when we start Kiss of Snow. She’s come back to the den, working as a soldier for Snow Dancer. And she’s dealing with the increasing threat of the power she has inside her as an X-Psy. No one really understands the depth of this power except Sienna and Judd. And even they don’t fully understand it because most X-Psy die before they reach adulthood.
And – as Hawke learns – Sienna has definitely reached adulthood. Their chemistry is off the charts. And even though Hawke tries, he just can’t stay away from her. And I was obsessed with each and every interaction between them.
He’d wanted to taste her, stroke her, pet her. Simply holding her, simply dancing with her, had driven his wolf half to madness…
But Sienna wasn’t going to take less than everything that Hawke could give her.
“You’re giving me just enough to make sure I can’t forget you and not enough to go against your all-important principles. Well, fuck you.” Quiet words, because she would not scream and yell, would not allow him to see her break. “I don’t want the crumbs from your table.”
They were volatile.
And hot as fuck.
My only complaint (yes, I have a complaint) about their story is the number of times we were cockblocked. Now, I don’t mind a well-placed cockblock. Especially when you’re trying to build the sexual tension. But JFC, we’ve had seven books of unresolved sexual tension between these two already. And it felt like every kiss, every touch, was interrupted by something, some crisis, or someone.
I got frustrated.
We did get the added bonus of a side love story between Walker and Lara in this book. And I loved it…so fucking much. They were the perfect way to balance the angst and fire between Hawke and Sienna. Their story was surprisingly sweet and emotional, gripping and downright sexy.
The shit hits the fan in regards to the war in this one. And things are only going to get darker and more inflammatory as the series continues. I have a million feelings about the key, secretive players. Especially Kaleb and The Ghost. Or Kaleb, the ghost, as I like to call him. I could be DEAD WRONG, but I think it’s him. And if it’s not…no one will still be able to convince me that Kaleb is a bad guy. I think he’s good…or at least torn. But I’m guessing he’ll ultimately come down on the right side of things.
The conclusion of this story was (almost) worth the angst of getting us there. Actually, I was very happy with the resolution. And what makes me even happier is that I don’t think we’re done with Hawke and Sienna, much like we’ve never been done with Sascha and Lucas after ten books.
Looking forward to the next one, and seeing where Nalini Singh is going to take us next in this wonderful world I’ve been obsessed with. I wish I could give this five stars, but the still-frustrated whore in me is knocking off a half star for repeated cockblocking.
I need collect my thoughts before I flail all over this review in the most embarrassing way ever. . . .
So, that’s not happening.
Because I fucking lovI need collect my thoughts before I flail all over this review in the most embarrassing way ever. . . .
So, that’s not happening.
Because I fucking loved this book!
Like, it was my favorite in the series yet.
Like, I’m having a hard time wanting to read the next because HOMG, I was not expecting to love Mercy and Riley so much! And I did. I loved them!
Mercy is a Sentinel for Dark River. And we learn that she’s ready to mate. She wants it, she’s eager to have the kind of connection and love that she’s surrounded by in her pack. But unfortunately, Mercy is also a strong, dominant female. She wants someone equal to her in every way, and now that the rest of her comrades are paired off with other women, it doesn’t look like she has any viable options for a man in her future.
Riley, whom we kind of got to know in book three, is Brenna’s brother. A wolf in the Snow Dancer pack. And not just any wolf. He’s the liaison between the two packs along with Mercy. We know he’s protective, based on how he dealt with Brenna after her attack. But what we don’t know is why. What drives it?
Chapter one finds us with Mercy after the mating ceremony for Dorian and Ashaya. She’s alone deep in the woods – mistly feeling sorry for herself and frustrated at her lack of options. And what do you know…Riley walks out of the trees.
They trade insults and awesome banter. And like his name, he knows how to rile her up.
“Got an itch, kitty?”
“You want to claw at me, kitty-cat? Come on.”
AND CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW THEY FUCK? IN CHAPTER ONE?
SERIOUSLY, YOU GUYS!
It was like the best Christmas present ever!
Being the predatory animals they both are…they fight for dominance.
“You’re still trapped under me.” He nuzzled at her throat. “And you smell all hot and wet and ready.”
“Talking’s not what I’m interested in right now.” Releasing her hands, he let her twist onto her back…only to push apart her thighs and settle his erection snugly against her.
Mercy didn’t care.
What she didn’t know was that Riley would suck on her nipple like it was his favorite treat before he sank those strong teeth into her delicate flesh… All she knew was that she had gorgeous male flesh under her hands and oh it felt so good.
“Now” – he thrust against her, letting her feel the heavy, dark heat that she could have – “what’s my fucking name?”
“I yield.” Everything stilled. He couldn’t believe he’d heard right. He’d expected a grudging acknowledgement of his dominance at most. But this… His wolf wanted to nip at her, pet her, make sure she knew he’d take care of the gift she’d given him.
Writing this from the grave.
DID I MENTION THIS WAS CHAPTER ONE???
Their love story was filled with several different obstacles. The most important being that they were both from different packs. But here’s the thing – Riley never stopped pursuing her. He never stopped telling her what she meant to him. And even though they both knew that mating would cause the least dominant of them to have to leave their pack, he knew that what they had together was worth it.
“I’ll try, Mercy. I’ll give it everything I have.” It was a raw promise, from the heart of a wolf, from the soul of the man.
He thrust a hand through his hair, and when he looked at her again, any hint of vulnerability was gone, replaced by steely determination. “I’m keeping you.”
“You ready for a full-time man?” Hard words. “Because I don’t do part-time.”
I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!
But Mercy knew she couldn’t walk away. She knew that ‘having a mate was a gift, a brilliance of being.’ And she knew that her mate had to come before her pack. Especially after she remembered the words Riley’s brother, Drew, spoke to her.
“He’s got a heart as big as Texas – he’ll die for you without blinking. But he doesn’t expect anyone to do the same for him.”
Excuse me while I cry.
There were a lot of other side stories in this one. Big news (in a couple ways) on the Sascha and Lucas front. And of course, my new obsession, Hawke. I will die when I finally get to his book. I think it might actually kill me. So much so, I don’t know if I can wait to read it after the three books I still have left before it.
I’m very impatient, Nalini! Don’t you understand?
And the conclusion to this story was – as you might expect – wonderful. Riley had always been the protector, the one who people needed…until he met Mercy.
“I need you.” He hadn’t said those words since the day his parents died.
Eleanor & Park is one of those books that, no matter what I say in this review, I won't be able to do it justice.
There's something that's just soEleanor & Park is one of those books that, no matter what I say in this review, I won't be able to do it justice.
There's something that's just so completely soul-igniting and consuming about first love. This rings especially true with Eleanor and Park, two misfits who, in spite of who they are and everything they come from, manage to find each other in the most unlikely place, surrounded by the most unlikely people.
Both perspectives of the two main characters pull you along and tell you story that not once ever feels forced. Every moment is important, every interaction is heart-wrenching in the best possible way.
I fell in love with them both, and loved each of them equally. I rooted for them, I ached for them, I laughed with them, and I cried for them.
Eleanor was like a snapshot into my sixteen year old heart and soul and psyche.
Park what's the smart, witty, sensitive, and wonderful boy that every girl hopes actually exists.
This book is the kind of book you can only hope to find as a reader. A book that not only makes you feel... It makes you feel everything. Every single emotion. It runs from high to low and then back all over again. And as a reader, you can only keep reading to see what happens next, to see what emotions might be waiting for you on the next page.
I loved it all...even the ending. Which was perfect and beautiful and true to character. I wouldn't change a single moment or word.
Especially not these:
“Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.”
This is the best young adult book I've read since The Fault in Our Stars. And certainly the best YA book of 2013....more
Questions For this review provided by Jaime Arkin at Fictionfare:
Overall what did you think of Beyond Pain?
Overall, Beyond Pain exceeded all expectatiQuestions For this review provided by Jaime Arkin at Fictionfare:
Overall what did you think of Beyond Pain?
Overall, Beyond Pain exceeded all expectations I had for it. Or any erotica book, for that matter. As I was reading, I kept thinking, it can’t get any better than this. But then, it just would. With each page and every chapter that moved the plot forward, I found myself more engrossed in the story, more invested in the characters, and ultimately, I was completely submerged in this fascinating, incredibly original world the authors created. I don’t give 5 star reviews very often. But I would have given this 20 stars if I could have. It’s one of those books that leaves you completely satisfied and spent, but at the same time, you just know that nothing else you’ll read for a while will live up to it. Book hangovers are so bittersweet.
What did you think about Bren? How does he compare to the other guys in this series?
Bren was amazing. You know, I loved Dallas. Like, I loved him. However, there was something about Bren that pulled me in even more. Maybe it was because he was so layered. He was damaged, but in truth, all of the heroes in this series are damaged in some way. It was just the way he handled the pain in his past, channeled it, and used it because he realized he needed it. Not because he was broken and felt the need to be punished, but because he wanted it. It was sexual, of course. We’d all read about the fucking in the cage after fights, but you find out it’s so much more.
There has always been this steely quiet about him – this silence that seemed lethal. But the amazing thing was that with Six – even from the beginning – it felt like more. He was protective of her, aware of her, attuned to her in a way that transcended the obvious sexual attraction they both felt. And my favorite thing about him was that he was so fucking patient. Like, even though he didn’t think he deserved it, he knew waiting for her was the best thing. Not just for her, but for both of them. Gah! I get all flaily just thinking about it.
Did you like the additional points of view spaced throughout the story?
I struggled with this in the first book. But by the time I read Beyond Control, I got it. And in this one, I found myself looking forward to reading the thoughts of the other characters I’ve become so invested in. They don’t do it in a way that takes away from the story. Everything has a purpose. I love that.
Plot wise, how did this one work for you?
Plot wise, this one was the best for me. And that’s saying something because I truly enjoyed the plot of Beyond Control. With each book, I feel like we’re getting more, seeing more. And the true test for me is when I don’t feel the need to skim. Every word seems important. I don’t want to miss anything. And that’s a credit to the authors. Everything that happens is so dependent on everything else in the story. There’s no filler, no unnecessary words. I’m not only immersed in the main characters, but everyone else, too. The established characters are built upon; the new characters are introduced and developed in a way that makes me want to know more. Amazing, really.
What did you think of Six?
Six was amazing. I loved her. And truth be told, I’ve loved her since the moment she was introduced. She was so broken, but not in a way that made her weak. In fact, it was just the opposite. It made her strong. It made her the kind of character, the kind of woman who fought back. And that just made my life.
But for all her hard edges, she was tender in a million different ways. Especially with Bren, but with everyone else, too. I loved the tiny ways in which she moved forward with him. The little ways that she let him in. And at the same time, through her, we let him in as well.
Trust was something that she fought against, but at the time, she fought for it. She didn’t give it away, and I think that because of that, it made it all the more valuable. For her and for Bren.
And for as patient and understanding as Bren was with her, she was equally the same with him. She saw the things in him that mattered. She wanted to be the same thing for him that he was for her. It was truly beautiful. And I loved that once they were ready to be together, that was it. There was no angst, no fighting against it. Yeah, she still had to work through her trust issues, but with every moment together, you felt her just let go a little more, give in a little more.
And her heart – I cannot with how good her broken heart was. She reminded me of Lex in so many ways. And you know, Lex is my favorite character of the series so far. Six truly wanted to help other people. Especially those who had been damaged like her. And that was why – even during the angst – I couldn’t help but root for her. Cheer for her.
How about the writing, do you think it needs to improve or no?
The writing has improved with each and every book. But no, I don’t think it needs to improve. I think they need to keep doing whatever they’re doing because it works. And it’s amazing.
Welp, I highlighted more than half the book, so this is a hard question. But for me – this was the best:
Bren had seen burly men – tough men – reduced to tears at the prospect of trials and changes smaller than the ones she’d endured. “You’ll be all right, that’s a promise. Have I ever lied to you?”
“And I won’t. Even if what I have to say is hard.”
“I know.” Her laughter tickled his skin. “You’re my favorite of all the people who’ve ever kidnapped me.”
It was sweet, in a sad, twisted sort of way – which pretty much described both of them perfectly. “You’re absolutely my favorite person I’ve ever kidnapped.”
Six eased her hand from his, only to slide it up his arm and over his shoulder. Her nails pricked his skin. “You’re good at fucking, aren’t you?”
Bren had never been one for conversational niceties like graceful segues, but her subject change was so abrupt he blinked. “I don’t suck at it. People come.”
When she lifted her head, the early morning light revealed her flushed cheeks. “I don’t know how to do this. I’ve never wanted to encourage someone to try to fuck me before.”
She was so nervous he couldn’t tease her. Instead, he brushed her tangled hair out of her face. “We fucked last night. I didn’t put my dick in your pussy, but trust me. We fucked.”
This is everything I love about them.
Favorite Bren & Six moment?
The night after the fight.
The night they watched.
I can’t even begin to explain how much I loved this whole scene. Not just because it was, hands down, the best erotica scene I’ve ever read – and it absolutely was – but because I feel like this was the moment that both of them completely let go and gave in to each other.
Bren knew what she wanted. And for the first time, Six felt strong enough, secure enough to let it happen. The whole damn scene was painfully arousing. But most importantly, everything about it – every spoken word, every single touch – was beautiful, heartbreakingly emotional, raw, and real.
I didn’t talk a lot about Dallas and Lex while I was reviewing Beyond Shame. Not because I didn’t love them, but because I did. So much, in fact, thatI didn’t talk a lot about Dallas and Lex while I was reviewing Beyond Shame. Not because I didn’t love them, but because I did. So much, in fact, that had I started in on these characters, everyone else would have fallen by the wayside.
Because sweet merciful fuck…
Both of them owned me.
Lex, or as Dallas (and only Dallas) calls her, Alexa… Well, she’s amazing. She’s this tough-as-nails woman who knows what she wants, and with the exception of the King of Sector Four, she knows how to get it. But damn if she doesn’t want Dallas most of all. And there’s the thing – the best thing. Dallas feels the exact same way about her. And Dallas…
Dallas is the King. And JFC, what a King he is. He is tatted and rough and seriously, if someone was going to write my ideal fantasy man – and I guess that’s what Kit Rocha did – Dallas would be it. Yeah, he’s a scary motherfucker, but the best thing about him is that everything he does, each decision he makes is because he genuinely loves and respects the people in his district. Especially those in the O’Kane Clan. But for as much as he feels that way, Dallas has a hard time showing anything that looks like real emotion because that might be viewed as weakness. Especially with Lex.
I should also say that Lex is my favorite character in the series. I love her. Love everything about her.
And once again, I’m not gonna just retell a story that was already told more amazingly than I could tell it, but I am gonna tell you what
I loved about his book.
I loved that once Dallas and Lex made the agreement to be together, Dallas wouldn’t share.
She was his, and by god, she wasn’t going to be anyone else’s. And as much as Lex loved to be with others, especially Noelle, she really fucking loved it, too. Their sex was raw and dirty and real. And in my opinion, a million times hotter than anything else. Even when – especially when – Dallas gave in and allowed Lex to have a fantasy. A fantasy that was so hot, you just have to read and experience it for yourself.
I also loved that this book delved more into the political aspect of the dynamics in the world Kit Rocha created. I loved that we learned that Dallas and Lex both came from humble backgrounds from which they had to fight and claw their way out. And I loved that by exploring all of this, as a reader, I was able to understand them more, root for them more. Because they were soul mates. They were the epitome of being two halves that made the most amazing whole.
I’m excited about what else is coming from the two woman who make up Kit Rocha. And while I wait, I’ll just be over here planning out what tattoo I’m gonna get and drinking bourbon from my O’Kane flask. ...more