I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this book just because, from the description, both heroes sounded so damaged. I like angst, but having TWO...moreMy Review:
I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this book just because, from the description, both heroes sounded so damaged. I like angst, but having TWO wounded heroes is tough. But the reviews for the book were all good, so I decided to give it a go.
It was a good book and yes, both heroes are desperately wounded, but the author handled it well. The book has moments that are tough, but I didn't feel like it ever got too depressing or harsh. BOTH of these guys are emotionally fragile, but they prop each other up. They are both well aware how close the other guy was to ending it all and there's a certain strength they each gain from that. Knowing that someone else is watching and counting on them makes each of them stronger.
This is Nick's home and he's definitely the most wounded of the two after years as a youth spent tortured and abused. He has issues...serious, deep issues, but overall, this is a guy coping with what life handed him pretty well. And life has really not been very kind to him....until Owen washes up on his beach. Besides his adopted father Don, this is his first break that life has handed him.
Two years ago, Owen's partner died. He has never recovered, but he has a connection, a shared pain, with Nick....and then it begins to morph into more as they discover their sexual chemistry and eventual friendship. This guy has the patience of a saint, but he seems to understand Nick and what Nick needs. He doesn't handle Nick with pity or loathing like so many before. He sees what Nick's gone through with compassion and admires the man he's become despite the pain. The two of them together are good... most the time.
Like I said, this is a complex book and the author handled the psychology of it all very well. She didn't sugarcoat Nick's issues nor did he have a miraculous recovery brought on by love. What she did with that aspect of the story felt real, both the up's and the down's of it.
It's an interesting love story and certainly not the norm. Most love stories don't begin with joint attempts at suicide, but it works. I certainly wouldn't want to read a book like this every day because it does have heavy overtones, but it was nice to delve into the angst for a break after all the sugary sweetness of my Christmas reading list. (less)
My Review: What a completely different and interesting set-up for this book. When the book begins, Lucky is in the process of stealing a truck-load of...moreMy Review: What a completely different and interesting set-up for this book. When the book begins, Lucky is in the process of stealing a truck-load of drugs and you (the reader) are wondering what the heck is going on. That opening segment is a pretty good chunk...like 3-4 chapters and I did think at one point in time that I didn't want to continue reading it. I'm so glad that I did because against all the evidence saying he's not at the beginning, Lucky is actually one of the good guys.
Lucky is part of the SNB, a branch of the government that tracks down pharmaceutical bad guys. He's serving out a ten year sentence from when he actual did use to steal drugs for a living. He works for Walter and is counting down the days until his 8 years of indentured servitude is up, although he has truly come to love his job and his boss. Lucky hasn't had a very lucky life...in fact, his life has pretty much sucked and he uses sarcasm and a really dry humor and abrasive personality to keep people at bay. His one real relationship he had ended in tragedy and that full story broke my heart by the time it was all revealed. He doesn't trust others or himself to form relationships. He's also the con on this team of government agents. He feels like they despise him, so he puts up barriers to keep them at arms length. When he has to start training and working with Bo on a daily basis, it's harder to keep those barriers up.
Bo has had his own legal and drug issues and is the new con on the team. The difference is Bo is actually a former marine and pharmacist. Lucky sees Bo as so much better than him because he went to college and did something with his life, even though they are pretty much in the same boat with the law. Lucky and Bo are two totally different types of guys. Lucky doesn't get attached to anyone. Bo makes connection with everyone. Bo is completely open and up-front with everyone. He's a caretaker...he cooks, is a bit OCD, and is a complete health nut.
Then there's Walter...their boss. I love that Walter sees Lucky for who he really is. He's completely past the con part of Lucky, although Lucky doesn't truly realize that. That relationship, to me, added a lot to the book and helped to see Lucky for who he's truly grown to be over the 8 years. This is a book with complex characters who have serious flaws but it's full of little details to give you hope. Hope for their future and hope that things are going to straighten out for them, but there are also tons of little danger signs that show that things could go the other way for them. In that way, this series reminds me a lot of the Cut & Run series. It's very much the same type of characters walking a tightrope between right and wrong/good and bad.
This is the first book to the start of a series about these two characters and I like the set-up it provided. It will be interesting to see where it goes from here. (less)
My Review: Flat out, I loved this book. I had a really hard time putting it down, but I'll state right now, the reason I loved it so much was Alex and...moreMy Review: Flat out, I loved this book. I had a really hard time putting it down, but I'll state right now, the reason I loved it so much was Alex and Chase. I had a few issues with Danni, but I will get to that in a moment.
But the set-up with Chase and Alex was just perfect. Chase is a straight guy, engaged to Danni, but he's always been bi-curious...although he's never admitted it to anyone, even himself. When Danni catches him masturbating to gay porn, she pushes until he admits a fascination...one that he assures her that he NEVER plans to act on. As timing would have it, Danni goes away for a 2 month school right before Alex moves in. Alex is bi-sexual and immediately drawn to Chase. At the same time Alex is pursuing Chase, Danni is pushing him to think about what he truly wants and pushing him to maybe explore all that. Then things happen...and Danni freaks out.
That is my issue. She pushed, then did exactly what he feared would happen. And I have to give the author credit because she wrote Danni exactly the way most women would react and as much as I hate it, it was probably right. But it made it so hard for me to like Danni's character in this book. I adored both Chase and Alex and all I could see was Danni screwing everything up over and over again. I want to fall in love with all the characters that should be in love together.
But regardless of that, I did really, really enjoy the book. I was totally pulled into the story and ignored my work all day to sneak "just a few more pages" reading....a sure sign of a good book. I cannot wait to read more of this series....maybe Cooper and Jayson next?? Because I can already tell there is so much more to their story and I want to read it. (less)
My Review: Flat out...I bought this book because of that cover. Luckily, the story is good too. Really creative. Adrien and his two half brothers have...moreMy Review: Flat out...I bought this book because of that cover. Luckily, the story is good too. Really creative. Adrien and his two half brothers have spent the last 8 months chained and tortured. He's offered a way out by binding himself to Lily so that they can search for a weapon. He does NOT like humans and thinks that she's doing this entirely out of greed.
Lily HATES vampires. They killed her entire family...or so she thought. Now she's found out that her son Josh is alive and she has the power to save him. She only has to bind herself to Adrien and search for this weapon. She knows it won't be easy, but will do anything to save her child. Anything.
This book starts off incredibly quickly with a ton of action and suspense and really doesn't let up throughout the entire story. It also gets really smexy really fast and I loved that. There's a connection between Lily and Adrien that goes beyond their blood bond and it made the story and romance really intense. I love stories where there's something a bit more mystical/deeper to the romance than just normal lust and this book had it.
It's a creative world and there are two other brothers still chained and tortured who need to be freed. There's also an insane bad guy still to catch so there are definitely more smexy, hot times to come and I'm looking forward to the next book. The ending on this one got a bit too smaltzy for me, but the rest of the book was OUTSTANDING! Definitely a fun, paranormal read. And I thought I was through with vampire stories...I was WRONG!!(less)
My Review: Wow, what a powerful story this is....really riveting. Gavin is a detective from a family full of cops...three brothers and a father who all...moreMy Review: Wow, what a powerful story this is....really riveting. Gavin is a detective from a family full of cops...three brothers and a father who all work or have worked on the force. He has a secret that he's hidden most of his life...he's attracted to men. He's in the middle of working a BDSM gay serial killer case when his life implodes and it gives him the perfect opportunity to explore his sexuality. Not only is he gay, but as he's investigated this case, he's discovered that he's also very drawn to this BDSM world...he's a submissive. Kinky and gay...not exactly things that as a cop, he's exactly excited to share with the world, especially his work world. Gavin has the added difficulty that his work world is also his family world...a family full of alpha men.
Ben is a psychologist who's also a Dom so he's consulting on this case. He sees the submissive side of Gavin and wants to help him explore it....seriously smexy times a coming for these two. Yum! I thought Ben's character was a perfect one...Dom's have to watch their subs for signals and who better to do that than a psychologist. It makes Ben good at both of these things and I loved how responsive he was to Gavin's needs.
This was a great book, not only because of the great story and smexy scenes, but it's also really great suspense. I had my suspicions who the bad guy was, but the whole story kept me guessing ...and I just knew something bad was going to happen (mainly because I'd read the story description for book #2...don't do that if you don't want any spoilers). The book is told entirely from Gavin's pov and it was interesting to watch as he explored all these new avenues of his sexuality. At the same time, he is really dealing with a lot of really difficult personal issues.
I loved the addition of Myah and Cole to the story. I loved both these characters as they provided support to Gavin in his new life. I also really loved that they both work in the police department so can give that support to all aspects of his life.
There is a book two to this series, and I'll admit, I'm a bit anxious to see where Ben & Gavin go from here. They definitely have not had an easy time of it and I see a bit of angst coming their way. My difficulty now is forcing myself to wait to read the next book while I get a few things done that I neglected while I read the first one. (less)
My Review: I've loved this entire series, but there was just something special about this novella. I really connected with both of these characters and...moreMy Review: I've loved this entire series, but there was just something special about this novella. I really connected with both of these characters and their emotions throughout.
Jordan and Aynslee meet on a flight and immediately connect. The problem is, Jordan's entire life is in flux as he's trying to find a new team where he can be more than the back-up. As a result, he KNOWS that he's going to be moving soon. It's not fair of him to get involved with someone so he tries to avoid the pull from Aynslee. BUT Aynslee doesn't know any of this. She just keeps wondering what she's doing wrong and if she's totally reading the signals wrong. But you can't mess with fate as the two keep coming across each other until they can no longer deny the attraction.
LOVED this story. It was seriously so sweet and romantic. I love that Jordan really tries to protect both of them from the effect his career is going to make...even to the point that he's truly willing to make sacrifices about where he goes. He's simply a sweetheart who's just caught in a bad circumstance. I also like how human he is. Playing as the backup has affected him and his own feeling of self-worth. He's getting that back but even Aynslee can see that it's not all quite there for him. He loves hockey and sitting on the bench is killing him.
There were so many scenes in this book that melted my heart. When Aynslee makes it to the game and then when Jordan meets her parents....both gorgeous smile-worthy scenes that just left me happy to have read them. Jordan and Aynslee have such a natural relationship. It makes the book fun to read. It was definitely one of those books that I found myself smiling the whole time I read it. Romance---this book has it in spades!!(less)
My Review: I have waffled and debated my rating for this book. My ratings are based upon how much I enjoy a book.... my entertainment value. There are...moreMy Review: I have waffled and debated my rating for this book. My ratings are based upon how much I enjoy a book.... my entertainment value. There are certain things that can ruin a book for me along these lines. 1. I simply do not enjoy historical books anymore. 2. I NEED an HEA. This book broke both of those rules, but I still LOVED it.
This book....it's gritty, it's harsh, it's violent. It's about prison life in the 1930's. But these characters...omg, these characters. The author weaves the story in such a way that you fall in love with them and their story. And yes, I absolutely was crying by the end of it.
And that brings me to the other thing...the end. *sigh* This is not a book with an HEA and I'm not sure I could have handled that without the section called "Coda". Coda gave me closure. I needed that. I'm still sad about the ending, but not devastated like I would have been otherwise.
So my advice about whether or not to read this book...if the story description appeals to you, you probably will enjoy the book. It's written incredibly well, and in the end I can say that yes, I absolutely enjoyed my time reading it. I'll probably even re-read it again someday.(less)
A Stone Creek Christmas My Rating for this book: B
Story Overview: Stone Creek veterinarian Olivia O'Ballivan communicates easily with animals, but men a...moreA Stone Creek Christmas My Rating for this book: B
Story Overview: Stone Creek veterinarian Olivia O'Ballivan communicates easily with animals, but men are another story. Especially rugged architect-turned-rancher Tanner Quinn. Olivia's uncanny bond with his daughter Sophie's pony has him questioning her sanity, while she wonders if he's not just a drugstore cowboy. Then twelve-year-old Sophie conspires with Olivia to get Tanner into the spirit of Christmas. But will a holiday miracle transform the globe-trotting Tanner into a rancher—and family man—for all seasons?
My Review: This was simply a sweet old-fashioned Christmas love story, featuring a broken-hearted widower (Tanner,) his 12 yo daughter (Sophie,) and the town veterinarian (Olivia.) There was a special sense of holiday magic in this book because Olivia can talk to animals which leads her to a lost reindeer at the start of the story. As a result, a character named Kris Kringle appears periodically and mysteriously throughout the novel. It adds a touch of whimsy to the novel, that at times, went a bit too far for me, but it was all for Christmas fun, I know.
I really liked what Sophie added to the story, but there were times that Tanner's overprotectiveness just didn't seem to make sense. Tanner's over-the-top reaction to her supposed danger, just didn't ring true to the actual circumstances. I don't think that it would have been that hard to fix the issues within that story and made this a really superb book, but as it stands, it just seemed a little off to me.
I did enjoy this book. There were little things that niggled at me, but overall it was a fun holiday read.
At Home in Stone Creek My Rating for this book: A- Story Overview:
Everyone in Ashley O'Ballivan's life is marrying and starting families—except her. But why bother dating when no one can compare to Jack McCall, the man who left her heartbroken years ago? Now he's back in town —and maybe heisn't who she thinks he is. While recovering from a dangerous mission for the DEA, security expert Jack rents a room in Ashley's bed-and-breakfast. For both their sakes, he tries to keep his distance, though neither can deny the growing spark between them. But when his past catches up with him, he'll have to leave again…just as he realizes where he's always belonged—in Stone Creek.
My Review: This is Jack and Ashley's story. Jack is a covert contractor whom Ashley has been involved with off and on since her freshman year in college. But he comes in and out of her erratically and usually breaks her heart when he leaves suddenly (many times without even a goodbye) because of the nature of his job. In this book, his last job went badly and he is suffering the life-threatening effects of a toxin that was injected into him as he escaped. Out of his mind with the accompanying fever, he shows up on Ashley's doorstep of her B&B.
There is a lot of emotion in this book. Jack is more than likely dying from the toxin. As far as his family knows, he has been dead for many years (the military killed off his original identity so that he could work covert ops for them without endangering his family.) His illness makes him question his choices that he has made especially in regards to them.
I really enjoyed this book. Because of the nature of Jack's job and his medical condition, it read a lot like a romantic suspense novel and I LOVE those. There were moments when the story turned a bit cheesy and unbelievable (like Ashley just rolling over when older brother Brad issued his edicts...*argh*,) but overall, I truly loved the story and enjoyed it a LOT!
This book was a re-issue of two earlier novels, but I am so glad that I picked it up. These two books feature two sisters from the O'Ballivan family. Their older brother Brad has obviously been featured in a book too. I will have to figure out which book it is so I can read his story. The last O'Ballivan sibling to still need an HEA is Melissa (Ashley's twin) and her novel is A Creed in Stone Creek. I have this book and the other two Creed novels in that series, but I haven't read them yet (they were released over the summer.) I can promise you that they are moving to the top of the TBR very soon after Christmas (I have to finish all my Christmas-themed reads first.)(less)
Review reposted from my Smitten with Reading blog...
My Review: A wonderful mix of science fiction fantasy and eroticism, this was a fun book to read. S...moreReview reposted from my Smitten with Reading blog...
My Review: A wonderful mix of science fiction fantasy and eroticism, this was a fun book to read. Sera, Ash, & Brandt are all soldiers for the Federation, which is at war. Sera has been working her own team, but Ash & Brandt have been working deep undercover and want to add Sera to their team. The issue is that Sera & Ash have a history together that left her broken-hearted 10 years ago and she is not ready to let go of that yet. Brandt comes up with a plan to get Sera to agree to work with them by having her act as his lover rather than Ash's. They are working deep undercover where their every move is monitored at all times so the undercover work has to be VERY convincing.
This book is really very hot. These three are having to maintain their cover story while at the same time, they all three are getting re-acquainted and trying to find a comfortable place mentally to work together. The emotions under the surface are roiling, growing, and changing. A very cool feature in the book is that because they are having to work so deep undercover, they have a comm link within their heads, but they have to open it to get it to work. Sera spent a lot of the book stubbornly ignoring the calls from the other 2 on her comm link.
Sera is stubborn and strong. While Brandt & Ash both have family power and money behind them, Sera comes from nothing and has made a lot of her life regardless. She was devastated 10 years ago, but managed to pull herself back up from that and has become a better person for it. She believes in the job that she's doing and that is most important to her. As her feelings for both Brandt & Ash grow, her softer side comes out and it's really gorgeous how much she soothes both of them just by little touches.
Ash never stopped loving Sera. Family obligations kept him from being able to do what he wanted 10 years ago. In this regard, this book reminded me a lot about the structure from historical novels... Where moneyed sons have to make the correct family matches for their families. But now, Ash has made that sacrifice and is not willing to make it again. He realizes what he lost 10 years ago when Sera walked away and will not lose her again.
Brandt was my favorite character in this book. He realizes almost immediately that he wants a relationship with Sera...one that includes Ash too. He is the most level-headed of the three because he does not have past emotions holding him back. All he knows is that he loves these two and wants to do what he has to to make their Triad work. It's really a fabulous dynamic.
Like I said, this book was simply a fabulous sci-fi erotic book. I enjoyed the world that was established seamlessly throughout the book without all the detailed world-building that you normally get in first books of a series. The scenes are hot and I loved that there was a relationship between the men as well as the relationship with Sera. It makes for a really beautiful relationship between all three. I am definitely looking forward to reading more from this series in the very near future! (less)
I would give this book a 3 1/2 rating. I enjoyed reading it and the chemistry between all the characters, but I had issues with the fact that the male...moreI would give this book a 3 1/2 rating. I enjoyed reading it and the chemistry between all the characters, but I had issues with the fact that the male lead had been married and cheated without too much guilt or thought about it (at the time.) It just left a bad feeling about his overall character that stuck throughout the book for me...(less)