Confession time: I was scared of starting this book. I love Ginger Scott's books. All of them. Without exception. Yet, the angst of WAITING ON THE SIDELINES and GOING LONG was a little hard on me. Nolan and Reed had to go through so much and often times it was outside interference that broke them apart. Again. And again. It hurt because I'd come to love these two. So when THE HAIL MARY landed on my Kindle I was worried that they'd have to deal with issues again, they'd only have limited control over. This time, Ginger took pity on me. The problems Noles and Reed had to solve were, while grave, not out of their control. And they did so with flying colors.
After GOING LONG ended Nolan and Reed married. Reed became a professional football player and that life, with all its ups and downs, injuries and thousands of miles apart, is hard on a marriage. While they are still very much in love they are both hanging by a thread. Reed's neck injury four years ago scared the living daylights out of Nolan and makes her fear for Reed's life whenever he steps on the field. He's closing in on forty but retiring isn't an option for Reed, much to Nolan's grief. So they are stuck in a place where both are right, unease has settled in, and there is little they can do except to ride it out. The alternative isn't an option.
I want something that is in direct conflict with what the love of my life wants.
These two have gained so much maturity and despite all the resentment of their past mistakes, despite their arguments, there is still this undeniable, palpable love. They had a ton of issues but I never doubted them to make it to the other side. They never stopped fighting for their love and handled their issues with a grace they lacked when they were teenagers.
Somehow… still, after all these years, this guy can make me feel special just by the way he looks at me.
I fell in love with them so deeply this time. The way they were working through the obstacles, one at a time although they kept piling up, they had each other's back even though their relationship wasn't always easy. And can I say how much I loved Reed? He is the kind of hero I adore about this author's stories. They are all decent men, good to the bones and not afraid of their own feelings. He has come so far, has grown and matured so much. His relationship with his daughter was one of my favorite things.
More than anything, I want to live. This life, with this girl— it’s my passion. I’m nothing without her, and everything when I’m wherever she is.
I also fell a little bit in love with Jason although I really hated him in the first two books but he, too, showed a lot of growth and had become a man Noles and Reed could rely on.
Ms. Scott has proven times and again that she can write poignant stories that hit you right in the chest, with characters you can't help but fall in love with. THE HAIL MARY is the perfect happy ending for two wonderful people who had to overcome so many challenges in life. The first two books gave me a knot in my stomach because of all the teenage angst. This story has a different kind of angst, the one you feel in your heart but still know that everything will be alright in the end, because the love Nolan and Reed have for one another is unquestionable and irrevocable. It made the hurt I felt while listening to the first two books so worth it. I'm a little sad to have to say goodbye to them now.
The setbacks. The milestones. The ride. The motherfucking ride. This life, it’s hard on a marriage. It’s hard on the mind and the soul. You have to be something rare just to survive it and I did. We did.
When I started Royally Yours I knew deep in my bones that it would be magical. Of course I don't expect anything else from Emma Chase but this installment in the Royally series is a little different. Sure, it has the author's trademark humor, swoon worthy her and wonderful heroine but it's way more emotional than the other three.
From the other books we know that Queen Lenora is the unmovable object to her grandsons' moving ones. She always seems to draw up a facade and only drops it for the ones she loves. Royally Yours guides us through the first 20+ years of her life, which were saturated with love but also tragedy that doesn't stop even for a future queen.
Every dynasty has a beginning. Every legend starts with a story. This is ours.
This time I would like to talk about a side character first who so thoroughly captured my heart. I adored Lenora's friendship with Thomas. Theirs was true, honest and full of innocent love only two long time friends share.
He’s become my rock and my fun skipping stone. The someone I’d been missing my whole life. My friend.
Lenora was a sweet teenager with a wild streak. From an early age she has been prepared for one role only: being the ruler of her country. Being a child, acting like one was never in her cards. One of the most important lessons is to never show emotions in public.
After the loss of her parents she had to grow up fast and be the first queen of Wessco which isn't at all the awesome job they made us think it is in first grade. Lenora has to fight a lot of resistance, and it's pretty lonely if there is no one who has your back... Lenora's loneliness made my heart ache, she was conditioned to not show emotion so when things got bad she cried behind closed doors. Good thing she met Thomas's brother, however, who would soon become her closest ally and biggest champion.
I was made for this . . . for her. To cherish her, protect her and challenge her, to guide her and follow her— to be the man she needs, so she can be the woman, the queen, she was always meant to be.
Edward was everything I want from a male main character. He was absolutely smitten with Lenora, her spirit which she showed when she was among familiar faces, her stubbornness and he loved to rile her up. He had a dirty mouth on him and taught Lenny that it's absolutely OK to be not as queenly proper in the bedroom. With Edward, Lenora was a woman first and with him she could be the wild girl she had inside of her. Although she outranked him there was never a feeling of imbalance in their relationship. Edward was possessive of his firecracker queen and spoke his mind. I adored their relationship that was based on honesty and acceptance and a soul-deep connection and love that grew naturally.
She’s ethereal— a heavenly creature and a sin-tempting spirit all in one— and she takes my breath away.
I didn't expect this story to be so deeply emotional although we got a little of Lenora's backstory in the other books. Royally Yours is an absolutely romantic fairytale that managed to make me laugh and cry at the same time. This may be the story you didn't see coming, yet you'll fall head over heels in love with it. I had my heart in my throat from the first to the last page. Lenora and Edward's epic love was perfection and I wouldn't mind getting more books in this series.
You know, when you read the last The End of a beloved series it's always with both sadness and joy.
Free is the phenomenal conclusion to the Chaos series by Kristen Ashley and has pretty much an all-cast from Dream Man, Chaos, a little Honey and Unfinished Heroes. Heads up: this book can't be read as a standalone. The sheer amount of POVs will leave anyone, who hasn't read the previous books in this series, completely lost. While I usually don't like jumping between so many multiple viewpoints, it didn't bother me in this story because I knew all the characters.
Cole "Rush" Allen is a chip off the old block. He is in most ways a carbon copy of his dad, maybe a little more easy-going. But everything I loved about Tack I also love about Rush - his protective nature, his open adoration for his woman, how he looks out for her, his bossiness, his integrity, his humor...I could go on for a while.
“You’re lucky you’re a great fuck.” I grinned.
“And got great hair,” he went on. I grinned bigger.
“And fantastic legs.” My grin got seriously toothy.
“And beautiful cheekbones.” That surprised me.
“Beautiful cheekbones?” Another sigh.
“Baby, you pretty much got beautiful everything, which means I’m fucked.”
So it's probably no surprise when I say he has joined the ranks of Tate, Tack and Luke, who are my top favorite Kristen Ashley male characters. He falls for Rebel fast and when he loves, he loves hard. Tack and Rush's relationship was one of my favorite things. His dad gave him advice in typical Tack manner. Straight, to the point but not unkind and with so much wisdom - Tack has come a long way. Father and son had an unbreakable bond.
“You’re a good son. You’re a good man,” his dad whispered. “I have no idea how, through all the shit you had to wade through that was not in my power to protect you from, you turned into the man you are. But you did and I’m damned proud, Rush. You’re the man I wanted to be. You’ll have the Club I wanted to make. And I did more. I made Tabby. I had a hand in makin’ Ride and Cut. I earned the love of your stepmother. I debate it every day, what makes me the proudest. And I gotta tell you, son, havin’ that to debate is the best place a man can be.”
Rebel was da bomb. I adored her. She has a bit of a superwoman complex, a need to always take care of others and make things right for them. She just can't help herself. If someone needs a leg up, a shoulder, she's there. I think she may be one of my most favorite heroines. I adored her for Rush. She was perfect for him in every way. She had sass, courage, smarts, compassion and a tender heart. There were so many sweet moments between them, moments that left me without a doubt that these two were a once-in-a-lifetime, meant-to-be love. And I didn't care that they it was pretty much love at first sight.
“I’m keeping you,” he said against my lips. He was keeping me. I was going to belong to somebody. And that somebody was Rush Allen.
There were also many laugh-out-loud moments, and I was again floored how kind and sweet and funny the Chaos men could be when they didn't need to be tough. I *need* to paste this interaction between them when they meet Essence, Rebel's hippie neighbor (who reminds me a little of Tex in a more feminine, sweeter way), for the first time.
I'm putting this deliberately in spoiler tags because it's a long quote, the quote itself isn't a spoiler! It's worth it to read! (view spoiler)[“Accidentally, I was a cock blocker!” Essence exclaimed. “Did that hippie granny just say she was a cock blocker?” Joker whispered. “I’m so sorry, Rush, I didn’t mean to be a cock blocker!” Essence cried. “Essence, it’s okay,” Rush murmured. “Cock blocking is never okay,” Shy muttered. “You two can shut up or I’m gonna knock your skulls together,” Hound growled. Joker grinned at his boots. Shy put his hands to his hips and pressed his lips together. Boz sneezed. Everyone looked at him. “What?” he asked. “I’m allergic to macramé.” “He’s allergic to hippies,” High murmured. “She’s a sweet old lady,” Snapper said. “She’s a cock blocker, nothin’ sweet about that,” Hop put in. “Are you men really fuckin’ jokin’ at a time like this?” Tack growled. “It’s okay, really, Mega Rush,” Essence declared. “It breaks the tension.” “Mega Rush?” Dog asked. “I’m Tack, Rush’s father,” Tack introduced himself . . . again. “Yes.” She looked him up and down. “Mega Rush,” Essence replied. “I think I love this woman,” Brick stated.(hide spoiler)]
Another side character who stood out was Beck, the Bounty MC member who treated Rosalie horribly in Rough Ride. I loved what Ms. Ashley did with him. He was definitely one of my favorite POVs in FREE. The villains' POVs (yes, plural) raise the tension and the stand-off left me a little breathless and tense.
Leaving Chaos isn't as easy as I thought it would be, even though I knew Kristen Ashley would leave them in a happy place. These characters have stolen a piece of my heart and run away with it. FREE is the perfect conclusion to the series and will remain with me for a long while. It is about amends and tying up loose ends, solving the remaining mysteries, catching up with beloved characters and finally bidding them goodbye. I hope we get to see the Chaos cast in other books and can catch up with them. Until then, I'll listen to the audiobooks and relive vicariously through these awesome characters and hope that maybe, someday, there will be another MC series in the future.
Tacked grinned at the open stretch of tarmac in front of him, glinting in the sun. And Chaos rode.
This was my first Christina Lauren book and these two authors made it straight to the top of my auto-read list. Everything and everyone in this story
This was my first Christina Lauren book and these two authors made it straight to the top of my auto-read list. Everything and everyone in this story was lovable that the book felt almost a little too short which is by no means the authors' fault and only my love and enthusiasm for this wonderful friends-to-lovers novel.
Millie loves her job and her small circle of four friends who consists only of the XY-chromosome variety and are all scientists. One of them is Reid, her best friend, and their relationship is truly amazing. The ease with which they treat one another almost could have fooled me into thinking that they are really solely platonic. But while they have a beautiful friendship, Millie keeps Reid and everyone else at arms length, so far that Reid wonders at some point if she has the emotional capacity to feel deep emotions.
But one night Millie is a little tipsy and feels a little frisky so she makes her move and they end up spending, you guessed it, half a night. Apparently the underlying attraction they've felt for one another has been brewing and neither of them has acknowledged it. So how do you go back to friendship when the night you had with your best friend rocked your world? How do you keep the awkwardness out?
Trying to be cool about banging your best friend is a lot harder than I would have anticipated.
When the five friends need to attend a black tie function for work and don't have dates they have the glorious idea to register for an online dating platform. Millie signs up with a name none of her friends are aware of and finds herself being a 98% match with Reid. They start messaging each other, with Reid being none the wiser that he's talking to his best friend. For so long Millie has kept everything she feels inside: about her sick dad, the way she's dropped the ball with her sister. For the first time Millie can be herself, but she does it on the sly and as we all know...secrets always have a way of coming out at some point.
Often times emotionally closed off characters come across a little distant, maybe even cold. Not Mllie - she has a warmth about her that I found enchanting. She is wicked smart and has a kickass sense of humor, she just bottles up her feelings. The way she explained them totally resonated with me and I think this is what made this book so special to me. I saw myself in a lot of things Millie said and did. Her loneliness, not being able to say the things that moved her...in her mind she voices things many of us aren't able to admit.
I’m lonely. I’m lonely because I don’t tell people what I need or what I want, and then get hurt when they don’t figure it out on their own.
Reid is dreamy and so so swoon-worthy. Ahhh he has this charming, humorous and intelligent way about him I love. There is also an innate kindness that makes him stand out. And don't get me started on his nerdiness. I LOVE a hot nerd. I adored Millie and Reid's friendship. It was easy, sweet, and strong enough to overcome mistakes made on both sides.
The way he smiles up at me is the same way he always looks at me: like there is nowhere else he’d rather be. There’s no awkwardness or tentative touches. It’s just us.
Their circle of friends is a hoot, totally quirky, endearing and nerdy and when they interact you can feel the love they have for each other. You can also feel a sort of reverence they all have for Millie.
The graphic format of the friends' online chats is extremely well done - so hats off to whoever decided to make the book look interactive and alive!
MY FAVORITE HALF-NIGHT STAND is a beautiful and enchanting study of characters and online dating with surprising depth and a little angst towards the end. I had such a ball reading about the friends' antics and Reid and Millie's path to love in this modern and crisp writing style. So as always, when I find a new author to love, I'm desperate to catch up on their other books. If you love a cute, delightful friends-to-lovers story that will have you swoon and make you think then grab this. You're welcome.
“I love you, too.”
He punctuates each small phrase with a kiss lower on my throat.
“All of you. The silly, the quiet, the argumentative, the sarcastic, and even this side.” He kisses my shoulder. “The softer side.”
I haven't read a book that punched me in my heart and my gut and destroyed me so thoroughly like this in a long, long while. I'm left raw and in need of a good ole hug.
HEARTBREAK WARFARE is a life lesson. About how we shouldn't judge people's decisions because we haven't walked in their shoes - so start this story with this mindset because it'll make you uncomfortable. It starts out with Katy leaving home and her husband and son for a deployment she doesn't want to go on, meeting a fellow soldier she feels a connection with but she fights the attraction because she's a happily married woman.
That was before the ambush. What follows is harrowing, a hail storm that batters your heart, leaving it ripped open and bruised. Heather M. Orgeron and Kate Stewart didn't hold back when they described the nightmare of Briggs and Katy's time in Iraq. It was painful but necessary because, let's be real people, there are people in this world who live this nightmare everyday. If they can live it so that we can breathe easy and live free and in peace, then we damn well can read about it.
Katy's resilience and strength is nothing short of awe inspiring. When she came back from Iraq she couldn't accept the change in her. She was stuck in hell with no way out of it. Yet she fought for her family and herself with every breath she took. The guilt, the horror, the nightmares would be her companions for the rest of her life. The only person in the world who understood was the man she was trapped with in hell. Only he knew the atrocities because he lived them, too.
Locked in our gaze, everything else disappears. I see the pain and fear leave her eyes. They’re replaced with trust, with a connection so powerful it steals my breath. We’re no longer in this bunker. There’s no pain. No torture. We’ve drifted off to a place that’s ours alone.
Briggs, a cocky, wisecracking and mellow guy, had fun riling Katy up. He knew he couldn't cross the line with her but those two months in captivity with her turned their initial connection into an unbreakable bond as only life-altering events experienced together can weld it.
She’s all that matters. As long as she makes it back to her little boy in one piece, and as long as I can see her smile again, I can live with whatever hand I’m dealt.
Gavin was a saint. That man deserves a medal for being one of the most selfless men in romance. My heart shattered for him, how he fought to bring the woman he fell in love with back from her darkness.
She’s finally home, and I’m still living in the headspace we were in when she left. Not only are we not on the same page anymore, we’re reading completely different books.
And here's the thing - every single one of these characters is so wonderful and amazing that you can't help but root for them all and it's what tears you apart while reading this story. All of them are catapulted into an impossible situation and they have to make impossible decisions. If you had made me choose I wouldn't have been able to and it's that dilemma that makes you understand some of Katy's choices. They all did things that hurt the other and it changed all of their lives fundamentally, but when you are thrown into Briggs and Katy's hell your world is narrowed down to a very small piece with little room to wiggle and hidden exits.
Now I'm nursing the mother of all book hangovers. This book is hard, so hard that I had tears in my eyes pretty much all the way through which turned in ugly-crying at the tough parts. Heather and Kate definitely didn't take the easy way out with their story-telling, which, by the way is effortless and seamless. Even though it may not be for everybody, everybody should still read it. There are so many lessons in this story. It's darkness and light, violence and tenderness and full of undiluted love.
Together, we breathe the ultimate sigh of relief, and as our climax ripples between us, our eyes never part. Ocean blue meets amber sunset. And it’s beautiful.
HEARTBREAK WARFARE is raw, unfiltered and painful, and pure heartbreaking emotion, that will have your heart in your throat, make you cry and angry, oh so angry. It deserves its title 100%. Ms. Orgeron and Ms. Stewart have penned one of the best and most memorable stories I've read and these characters will stay with me for a long time.
Thank you to all the soldiers in the world for their service so that we can live free and in peace.
I'm bitten by the Royal bug! I can't get enough of those Wessconian princes!
This time we get naughty, wild, hot mess Henry who, after his older brother's abdication is next in line of the throne. Nobody really believes in him, not even he believes in himself.
If I’m supposed to be the Great Royal Hope for my country, we’re all well and truly fucked.
Thank God though there is Nicholas who thinks that Henry will make a stellar king. Before that though he is happy to add one more bad decision to his scoreboard. While his grandmother believes him to be alone in a castle, giving him "space" to acclimate in his new position, he accepts the offer to be part of a royal edition of a "The Bachelor" type of show. Hoping for a last hurrah before the reality of court life and politicking starts he's disappointed that sex is off the menu for the duration of the filming.
Bookish and shy Lady Sarah von Titebuttom accompanies her sister Penelope who is one of the contestants vying for Prince Henry's attention. She'd never thought that she, the quiet, socially awkward girl would draw Henry's attention and win his affection. But Henry is everything she can't have. And even if she could she wouldn't want him, with him being a major player he is bound to break her heart. Right? RIGHT? If she JUST could stop thinking about the charming, larger-than-life, cheerful and cocky Henry.
“Corrupting the good ones is my favorite pastime.” Oh yes, definitely a Willoughby. I hug my book to my chest. “I’m not corruptible.” His smile broadens. “Good. I like a challenge.”
They become fast friends and soon Sarah becomes the most beautiful woman for Henry. I loved how Henry was knocked on his butt by his realization when he fell in love with the super-sweet, totally endearing Sarah.
I would give up a crown for her. I would give up my name, my title- I would trade my country, forfeit my birthright, lie, kill, cheat and steal for this. For her.
She is so good for him - the man who nobody takes seriously has fundamental things to say and she is always there to listen. I loved their harmony when they spent time together, when they chatted, or Sarah listened to Henry playing the guitar. They could have been totally normal people next door, being themselves, enjoying each other's company. They were two puzzle pieces that matched perfectly - I loved them so much. Although Sarah never lacked courage she gains self confidence with Henry's help and Henry in return matures into the man his country needs as the future king.
This is such a beautiful, swoon-worthy, humorous and romantic love story. It was pure perfection and there is not a single word out of place. I wish I could read this story again for the first time - Sarah and Henry captured my heart. Emma Chase writes perfect romance and I can't get enough. So next up are Logan and Ellie!
I’ve never had someone who was just mine, body and soul—mine to protect and hold and love. And that’s what Sarah is . . . she belongs to me now. We belong to each other.
I read Tangled a long time ago. I remember loving it and that it was written solely from the male character's point of view. So I'm a bit at a loss why I never picked up Emma Chase again. Audiobooks make it so much easier to catch up on your TBR so I figured, with two of my favorite narrators, Zach Webber and Andi Arndt, performing GETTING SCHOOLED I had no excuse to not read another book by this author.
There is something immensely attractive and endearing about a cocky guy with the reputation of a women connoisseur who is head over heels in love with his high school sweetheart. That's exactly what Garrett is. He is the history teacher you always wanted to have. He has charm in abundance, is smart, not just in life but with the kids he is teaching and he has a warmth I found incredibly alluring. Garrett is one of a kind and I fell in love from the first moment. How he held on to his love for Callie over the years, that he never forgot her yet lived his life...he just amazed me.
They say you can’t go home again... but they’re wrong.
I came home and found the love I never really lost.
Callie is his female counter piece. She was thrown into a situation and didn't just make the best of it, she shone.
This story has so much warmth, love and humor - I totally felt at home in Lakeside, New Jersey. I wanted to be part of this charming small town and I can honestly say, if I could go back to school I totally would if it had teachers like Garrett and Callie. With them comes an array of pretty wonderful side characters - especially Dean, Garrett's best friend was a hoot.
The depth of emotion and the strong connection the two main characters had came really through Emma Chase's words. While Garrett and Callie's relationship was basically drama-free it wasn't without a little heartbreak along the way but that's what made it more real, even more relatable. My heart totally broke for them although I knew that soon they'd have their happiness back soon. Because that's the way these two were. And there wasn't any other way around it. They were perfection!
My memories of loving Garrett are pale and flimsy compared to this. This is real and solid . . . and us. How did I breathe without this?
Zach Webber and Andi Arndt have done an outstanding job performing these two main characters and all the side characters. They really brought them to life and I have to say there is a constant growth with these two. They just get better and better with each book they narrate.
If you love a great second chance romance, stories that make you feel good and laugh, swoon, and get the tiniest bit teary-eyed you can't go wrong with Getting Schooled. It left me with a goofy smile on my face and my heart full.
She was the love of my life, before I had any fucking idea what love was... and then, still, even after I did.
After reading Missing From Me and Lost For You I was literally salivating for Logan's story. In the previous books he was volatile, showing violent tendencies, rough-housing with his band mates and I started wondering what had happened to him. In this book you get all the answers.
I was lucky to listen to the audio book with one of my favorite male narrators ever. Jacob Morgan has this way of slipping into a role that makes it seem effortless and absolutely natural. He becomes the person he narrates. It was my first time listening to Ava Erickson but she also did a fantastic job with Tori.
There’s a place between asleep and awake when your brain is still lost in a dream, but yet, you know you’re conscious. That’s where Rhenn lived. He owned that space in my head. That little sliver when the day was new— it belonged to him.
Tori's story has accompanied us throughout all the books in this series. The day the tour bus crashed with her and her band mates on board changed her life and took away the man she loved. Gravely injured, in a coma the chance to say goodbye to her husband was robbed from her. You know how the dead spouse trope is hard to tackle, especially when they were good people and Rhenn definitely was a good man. So to make you believe that Tori met her future in Logan without tainting Rhenn's memory is like walking a tightrope. I can report that Jayne Frost mastered this challenge brilliantly.
Logan is the kind of man you just can't help and fall in love with and feel for. His childhood was a train wreck, the multitude of tragedies and violent memories shaped him into a seemingly volatile, unreliable man. Hidden behind the front of the unfeeling, womanizing bad boy lies a character who often cares too deeply. His inability to read which only two other people know about, is a source of great frustration to him.
She was everywhere. In every face and every sound. Even the breeze held a hint of sugar and cinnamon. Sweet, like her. And so fucking bitter I could barely stand it.
This is where Jayne Frost excels - she writes unusual, multi-layered, complex characters you want to get to know, care about and fall in love with. Where Logan is TNT, Tori is the flame that lights his fuse. They just can't get along for a minute, always bickering, getting the next jab in but there is also kinship, something they see in each other that feels familiar and soon their animosities turn into understanding which turns into friendship and finally a love so big it will make your heart expand. The explosive chemistry they've had from the start translates into their sex life and let me tell you, those are some hot scenes and placed strategically without giving the impression that they serve the purpose of being fillers.
I just loved this slow burning love story. Their connection is so undeniable and while there are many moments that will give your heart a little pinch there are also lighter moments which will make you smile. At no point you will feel that Logan is Tori's consolation prize after losing Rhenn.
The man was gorgeous. He shone like the moon. A light in all the darkness that swirled around him. And there was darkness. But it didn’t consume him. Just danced along the edges, framing him in shadow.
Jayne Frost knows how to write. Her style is expressive, engaging, polished and descriptive. In every chapter you will find a line or two that will tug at your heart. Her rock star romance is some of the finest out there, it's deep and meaningful and you can see why it's her jam to write about them. With Down to You she has cemented her status on my list of all-time favorite auto-buy authors. This deeply emotional love story is my favorite in this series so far and when I think about whose book will be up next I just can't wait to get my hands on it.
Our confessions hung in the air, an overcast sky filled with tears, shattered dreams, and bittersweet memories. And a rainbow. I saw it in Tori’s eyes, every color under the sun.
While Down To You can be read as a standalone I highly recommend to start at least at Missing From Me and continue with Lost for You. It will give you a deeper understanding of the dynamics between the band members and also of Tori and Logan.
We are living in a time in which everything in our life is rushed. We focus on things we deem essential to our lives, smart phones, computers, the newest cars, the most beautiful houses. You know what THE SIMPLE WILD did to me? It gave me perspective. After reading this powerful story I feel the urge to decelerate. To strip MYSELF down to the essential and just be.
Twenty-four years ago Calla's mom left Alaska and the love of her life behind. She tried. She really tried to make a go of it but the stark beauty of it depressed her rather than exhilarated. She packed herself and her two year old daughter and went home. Calla, now twenty-six, receives a phone call from the past she can hardly remember. Going back to Alaska, to the man who fathered her, who she hasn't talked to in more than a decade - it's not an easy decision to make. Too much hurts the disappointment, being let down by her dad, still, after all this time. Yet, there is no better time than now, so she goes on a journey to reclaim her past.
Calla is young woman whose most important struggles are what to wear, which make-up to apply, which picture to post on her and her bestie's blog. Being confronted with the bleakness of her dad's hometown is a new struggle at first. Through her eyes we see the landscape turn from barren to stunning and gorgeous. This is where the magic happens: when the setting of a story becomes a character in it. I adored KA Tucker's descriptions of the untamed, rough Alaskan beauty so much. I've always wanted to go there but now I feel an even stronger pull.
While Calla gets to know her dad again you see a distinct growth. You know she won't leave as the same person she arrived as, the spoiled young woman who has been living in abundance. Alaska strips her off the plenty and gives her the kind of softness that comes when you fall in love with a country and its people. She finds out that she's more her father's daughter than she thought she was.
Talk about Wren, he was a wonderful, beautiful, flawed character who so wanted to do right be his loved ones but just couldn't leave his skin he was born in. He had a gentleness, quiet and wisdom about him that drew people to him instead of repelling them. When all the truths came to light, his sacrifices, heart flew to him.
It turns out he is the man on the other side of the phone, listening to me prattle in childish wonder. He’s exactly who I wanted him to be, despite all his flaws, and all the pain he caused.
Jonah is the guy who pulls a girl's piggy tails if he likes her. It's exactly what the rugged bush pilot does with Calla. I laughed at his antics, the way she got her revenge, his teasing personality. He was a jerk in the beginning but he soon realized that the lost daughter was made of sturdier stuff and that he didn't know all of the history between father and daughter. I loved the contrast between his teases and his tender and loving side.
My limbs curl around his body as I watch his broad chest heave with each thrust, and his hooded eyes alight with fire, our gazes locked, and I wonder how on earth I could ever possibly have not wanted this man.
The Simple Wild is powerful, emotional and a little sad at times (yeah, I cried) but also full of love and laughter. I take lessons away from it, the loudest message of it being to live more in the moment and not to get stuck in the past you can't change, to appreciate the commodities we have but also to grab my smartphone that one time a day less and enjoy my surroundings more. I have K.A. Tucker to thank for that.
“You should have called him. He should have called you. Your mom should never have left. Wren should have left Alaska for you. Who the hell knows what’s right, and what it would have led to, but it doesn’t matter because you can’t change any of that.”
Ahhh bliss. This book. THIS BOOK. Brooke Blaine is one of those authors who remind me why I love MM romance.
If you have read A Little Bit Like Love you will definitely feel the difference: While that one was on the angstier side A Little Bit Like Desire is completely drama-free - and I'm not complaining. Shaw's and Trent's story is lovely and sexy.
Both of them are pretty easy-going and laid-back. They communicate, especially Shaw has a gift to grasp the essence of a problem and offer a quick solution or knows what to say to comfort or give advice. His thoughtfulness is one of my favorite things about him. Shaw doesn't even realize his appeal and that makes him even more attractive. Also, the whole slacks, vest and tattoos getup? Sexay!
For being a rockstar, Trent is very balanced and even-tempered, yet he has this allure and charismatic pull that draws me to characters like him. He didn't have any major freak-outs, was sweet and cheeky sometimes, smoldering hot and sexy at other times and very, very lovable. Even more so because he didn't capitalize on his rockstar status or his good looks. Many times he felt like the cute boy next door.
“Wow,” “Oh,” he said. “That was a good ‘wow.’” “A very good wow.” “Thank you,” he said. “You look seriously fucking ‘wow’ yourself.”
What this story has in spades is sexual tension. It builds deliciously slowly between Trent and Shaw and I read this book holding my breath, waiting for them to finally, FINALLY get on with it...only to get the equivalent of blue balls for the umpteenth time. I sang a quick Hallelujah when they finally made it to the home run.
TEASER COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR
I loved seeing Lucas and Jackson again but the one person who never fails to capture my affection is Bash. That guy has a heart of gold and his mischievous personality is so freaking adorable I want to hug him whenever he's in a scene. Ahhh! I can't wait for his story!
I was sold on this story when I heard that Shaw would be matched with a rockstar, which coincidentally is one of my favorite sub-genres. Brooke Blaine made the best out of it. A Little Bit Like Desire is a fast-paced, quick read and has a very pleasant flow and Brooke's trademark cheeky and naughty humor. If you have never read MM Romance before but want to pop this particular cherry, I can't recommend this series enough. It has everything - emotional depth, excellent story-telling and characters you can't help but fall in love with.
I’d fallen in love with Trent slowly and without warning, so completely that I felt like I couldn’t breathe when we were apart. Maybe that was why I’d shied away from falling for someone for so long. Because I knew that once my heart attached itself to another, there would be no way of tearing them apart.
OK OK. Hold the press..I have an announcement to make: This is one of the best books I've read this year. Leave it to Sarina Bowen to shatter my heart and put it back together, piece by piece. This book will stay with me for a very long time and I think it's my most favorite by this author so far. The Accidentals is not your usual YA romance. It introduces us to a set of characters who sneak into your heart. You will fall in love with them despite their flaws and past mistakes.
Rachel's life changes over night when her mother passes away and her famous father enters her life. For seventeen years she has been longing for her dad to be a part of her life, now that her secret dream has come true she doesn't know what to do with it. There are so many questions she wants to know the answer to but the biggest and most complicated of all, "why did you never want to meet me?" she doesn't dare to ask. What's more, she has to deal with her grief, the loneliness she feels after her mom passed away transfers from the pages right into your heart. I hurt for this young girl who didn't have a lot of people she could turn to.
This story isn't so much about the romance between a lovable boy called Jake and good girl Rachel but her relationship with her dad and I have to say it was my most favorite thing about it. While the blossoming love was heartwarming and sweet the complicated ties to her father completely captivated and entangled me. Both Rachel and Frederick avoid conflict at all cost out of fear. Rachel because she's scared of the truths she will learn, Frederick out of embarrassment. Rachel also shows some passive-aggressive behavior towards her dad which is par for the course for a seventeen year old girl who is still trying to find out who she is and most of all where she comes from.
My whole life I’d been trying to understand my missing father. And the whole time I hadn’t had the first clue about my mom.
She held on to her anger tightly and there was also this life-long guilt, inadvertently nourished by her mother, that she messed up her mom's live.
I was totally immersed in their growing love for each other and while they got to know each other the facts Rachel knew as truth began to blur, now learning the other side of her parents's story. Frederick was first and foremost a friend for Rachel, his paternal side started to show a little later and I thought it was in line with his character - he had been living the celebrity life and had no clue about raising a child. Granted, it took him a while until he figured out how to be a good parent but it was obvious right from the start that Frederick wanted his daughter in his life. He wanted to know her, to give her his time and ultimately his advice. And he also gave her the unconditional love only parents can give, he just needed to make Rachel understand it.
"I hear you tossed your cookies."
I turn my face away. The mattress wiggles as he lies down on the bed next to me. One hand skims over my hair.
"Rachel, I love you anyway."
When I finally found out about his reasons for not being a part of Rachel's life I was all the way there along with Rachel's righteous anger but like Rachel I forgave him because he didn't make excuses for himself. His unapologetic honesty was what I loved most about Frederick.
Now Jake was the best. He was a wonderful counterpart and an anchor for Rachel. Somebody she could rely on 100 percent. I know that Sarina Bowen's heroes are always awesome but she hits me right in the feels with them every single time. And have I mentioned that he is a nerd? Yes! Totally my kind of guy.
He smiles, and it’s such a nice smile that I wish I could just climb inside it and live there.
This year in books has already been AMAZING. I keep adding to my favorites shelf and you bet that The Accidentals will go there. Ms. Bowen is one of those authors I can never go wrong with. Her characters are always relatable and lovable. She delivers every single time but I think with her Young Adult debut she has outdone herself. I adored Rachel, Frederick and Jake. I laughed, I cried a little, I felt and rooted for all of them and was hoping for things to work out. And this, people, is what I expect from a good book.
While I've read Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series I never read the original Psy-Changeling series (*loads Amazon to buy all the precioussss*). I listened to the audiobook of Silver Silence to prepare for Ocean Light and boy, am I impressed. I loved this story beary, beary much!
Bears have big bodies and big hearts. No one can ever argue otherwise. But there is a school of thought that says these big, blunt, gorgeous, and often aggravating creatures are the most sensitive changelings of us all. It’s hard to hurt a bear … but if and when you succeed, their pain is enormous.
Nalini Singh created a world so incredibly complex, creative, original and rich it's mind-blowing. I am full of awe and admiration. It seems real, tangible, as if this future could be ours, paranormal aspects aside.
Silver was a conundrum in the beginning. She was supposed to be emotionless but how can you like somebody who is supposed to be unmoved by pretty much everything? I really liked Silver right from the start. No idea how the author did it but kudos to Nalini Singh. As the story progressed I fell in love with Silver's heart, the way she loved Valentin was just so beautiful because she did it with no holds barred which was remarkable considering her conditioning of being Silent and holding on to it for such a long time.
“She cleared her mind of all other thoughts, her attention only on the wild, beautiful man who called her his sunshine and who saw starlight in her eyes.”
Dibs on Valentin. What a soul. He is one of the sweetest, most endearing, humorous, mischievous, loyal male character I've had the pleasure to read. He hoped against hope and loved with an open heart despite it getting bruised over and over again. He was putty in Silver's hands, but growly, sexy and dominant as a counterpoint and loved unconditionally. Valentin and Silver's banter was one of the cutest I've read so far.
“I’ll be beary good,” he promised, his face lit from within.
She had the sense of playing with a wild thing. “Now you’re just beyond bearing.”
I read that some people had troubles with the information flood. I agree that there is a lot of information and if you haven't read the original series it might get overwhelming. I think the audiobook helped a great deal with that. On the opposite side those who are Psy-Changeling World pros might get bored by the repetition of well-known facts. I wouldn't know. All I can say is that I found all the details immensely fascinating.
The narrator of Silver Silence is amazeballs. She does male and female character and does them so well that I really enjoyed listening to her. I usually have troubles listening to a female narrator doing both but this one did a fabulous job.
To say I adored Silver Silence isn't praise enough. I can't wait to read Ocean Light. Plus I have lots of books to catch up to. Guess, what I'll listen to next?
“I love you, Valyusha.” “I’ll be your teddy bear anytime, Starlight.” Taking her hand, he pressed it to the bass beat of his heart. “It’s yours. Forever and always.”
“Regrets only happen when you aren’t brave enough to try something that scares you."
Confession (nope, no pun): I have never read MMM. Heck I don't read MMF or MFM all that much. It's the idea of one person usually being added to an established relationship. It makes it difficult for me to believe that all partners in a three-way relationship are equally well loved and there is no imbalance and one of them is left behind, emotionally. So going into "CONFESSIONS: ROBBIE" was a bit of challenge for me but since Ella Frank has written one of my favorite MM series it was a no-brainer that I at the very least TRY (see what I did there?).
This trilogy starts off pretty much about the time when the last book of the Temptation series ended. it's about Robbie Bianchi, Julien Thornton and Joel Priestley, also dubbed The Princess, The Prick and The Priest. With a triple point of view Ella Frank ensures that we get a good feel for all three main characters and their thought processes.
From the first moment Robbie's sassy and fun personality was introduced in TRY he brought a cheeky element into the story. In consistency with Temptation he continues to be the loud, proud, playful and endearing young man, who lights up a room with his cheerful and sweet disposition. He is pure sunshine. That is not to say that he doesn't have a care in this world. Like all people he has had painful experiences but he doesn't dwell on it and moves forward with his eyes wide open. Robbie is a firecracker and with him The Priest and The Prick get more than they bargained for.
Robbie was a burst of sunshine on the coldest of days, and that was exactly what Julien would need next week. A burst of sunshine and a steady hand to hold him upright.
I think we met Joel Priestley for the first time in Ella Frank & Brooke Blaine's love child, the #PresLocked series. He was still living in LA until Logan and Cole (Temptation series) invited him to become a full partner at their law firm. The intense, stoic and closed off Priest has always been an enigma. From the moment Robbie and the charismatic lawyer meet they rub each other the wrong way. In "Robbie" we get to know the real Joel Priestley and he was. UTTER. PERFECTION.
“I knew you were going to be like this. I told Julien: he’s going to be a handful with attitude to spare, but so fucking beautiful when he submits.”
I'm totally gone for him. He is protective of those he loves, caring in an unassuming way, which is surprising for an intense man like him and it was then that I fell head over heels in love with him. He is the pillar people use for support, the man everyone looks at for advice. But there is also a darker side about him and that manifests itself in Joel always being in control and deliciously dominant.
“Control, mon cher petit. It’s all about control. And once you understand that, you will understand Priest.”
Lastly there is Julien, Priest's husband, who craves closeness and warmth. This and Robbie's zest for life attracts him to the spitfire. Julien is a tv chef with a bad reputation. He is charming, magnetic, a little impish and seductive. But like Priest he is also a top dog which makes their relationship a little complicated. There is no doubt that they love each other, there is always a sense of complete devotion but to balance out their natures they need a third party. Robbie complements them in every way. With his sunny, mischievous and precious personality he brings lightness and a beautiful sweetness into Joel and Julien's marriage that had been missing before.
“We don’t want to change you to suit us, Robert. We want you because of who you already are.”
Now. This is Ella Frank and we know what a DIRTY BIRD she is. She writes hands down some of the hottest, filthiest sex scenes and if you think Logan and Tate were hot, Priest, Julien and Robbie will incinerate your Kindle.
Remember when I said in the beginning that three-way relationships are always a little difficult for me? Robbie grows into this relationship. There is absolute transparency about what Priest and Julien expect and complete honesty about their feelings. I adore this. I love that they see the special young man Robbie is. He is being cherished and wooed and there is no doubt in my mind that the connection with him will end up being as deep as the one Priest and Julien share. It just comes so natural because there is no pretense and pure acceptance from the first moment. It's also all kinds of sweet to see Robbie slowly fall in love with the man he used to dislike so passionately.
The last thing Robbie remembered hearing as he drifted off to sleep was the soft tap tap tap of a man who was a little less strange to him tonight— and a whole lot of wonderful.
The story is pretty light so far but I'm sure that Ms Frank will crank up the angst in the next installment. There is a lot in the past of Julien and Joel that needs to be explored and I'm sure there will be a little bit heartbreak along the way which will have my emotions all over the place. Well, Ella, bring. It. On.
"CONFESSIONS: ROBBIE" is a solid, enchanting introduction to this new series. Joel Priestley, Julien Thornton and Robert Bianchi have charmed me and left me craving for more of their unique, fascinating and surprisingly homogeneous constellation. The waiting for May begins, when CONFESSIONS: JULIEN will be released:
When you've read so many books in your life you kinda feel that not much can surprise you anymore. And then there comes this one book, by an author you've never read (*hides in shame*) that becomes a total game changer. I don't think I have ever fallen in love with an author's writing that fast. Jill Shalvis' ABOUT THAT KISS had me from page 1. I was a goner from the very beginning. I know for many of you it's old news that she's awesome. Could have bullied me a little harder, just sayin'.
Anyway. Kylie is a woodworker (mind out of the gutter!). That's the first thing I loved about the heroine, it's not a common job for a woman. I simply adored her, she had that quiet strength about her that I admire so much. And to go with that strength comes a stubbornness that challenges Joe not only once. She definitely isn't a pushover. Kylie is witty, smart, independent and irresistibly sweet. She also lets a setback never pull her under, she is the literal princess who trips, stumbles, gets up again and fixes her crown to soldier on. She gives Joe a run for his money because, damn, he really didn't see her coming.
Joe is the alpha badass we love in our heroes, a security expert who is excellent at his sometimes dangerous job. The job helps him to keep his mind focused on the now, lest he doesn't think too much of the mistakes he made in the past which is the reason he doesn't let himself get too close to women. He never goes back for seconds but this slip of a woman just sneaks under his skin and settles in nicely.
She was an irresistible dichotomy of sweet charm and heart-stopping sexy, and she threw him off guard with every look, be it a smile or a glare. In fact, he kinda liked when she gave him dirty looks, which meant he was seriously losing his shit. And he never lost his shit.
Joe is a good man to the core. He is supposed to keep Kylie at arms' length but he can't find the fight in him when it comes to this woman. It was adorable to see how he just didn't give a damn that she had sneaked past his walls. Joe is all kinds of alpha-goodness. Protective, commanding, charming, hilarious and when it comes to Kylie heart-achingly sweet.
There is a set of supporting characters who I found to be just as fabulous. One of them was Kylie's dog who ALWAYS stole the show when he was in the picture.
At the doorway between the shop and the showroom, he skidded to a stop and lifted a paw, poking at the empty air in front of his face. Not too long ago, her undersized rescue pup had run face-first into a glass door. So now he went through this pantomime routine at every doorway he came to. And she did mean every doorway.
He was such a goofball.
Vinnie trotted off toward the kitchen, stopping just short of the doorway to lift his paw and poke at the air. When he was satisfied that he wasn’t going to encounter a glass door, he happily made his way to his water bowl. “What was that?” Joe asked. “He has trust issues.”
Then there was Joe's dad, a former soldier with a severe case of PTSD. He was such a character and kept Joe on his toes. Molly, Joe's sister is everything you want in a sibling and she has no problem guilt-tripping him for his own good. I loved her. I think she'll be paired up with Lucas, I felt some serious tension coming off of the two of them.
The sexy times are comparatively tame compared to the racy stuff we usually get but that doesn't take away from the steam at all. In fact, it was lovely to see that an author can build up sexual tension like that. Hats off for that feat.
“How long do we wait?” “Long as it takes,” he said distractedly because she was sucking the salt off her thumb. Then she sucked on the straw to her soda and he nearly had a brain aneurism.
ABOUT THAT KISS is a charming, funny, sexy, engaging story that gives off the small-town feel yet is set in San Francisco. It will make you laugh and swoon, cheer on the main characters and fall in love with them very fast. So now that I'm done with my first Jill Shalvis book I'm a little peeved with myself because I don't have the time to go on a Jill Shalvis binge to gobble up her back list. One day I'll get to it, hopefully soon!
I don't think I need to tell any of the Jill Shalvis fans to pick this up but if you're like me and have never read any of her books do yourself a massive favor and get this one. It will rock your world.
It wasn’t entirely his fault that he was so emotionally challenged, she thought, putting a hand on his jaw. “You’re so pretty, Joe. It’s really a shame that you’re such a dumbass.”
If you've read DRIVE and loved it I'm happy, because it was my top favorite of 2017. If you expect The Real is a continuation or Drive 2 rethink - whe
If you've read DRIVE and loved it I'm happy, because it was my top favorite of 2017. If you expect The Real is a continuation or Drive 2 rethink - when has Kate Stewart has ever recycled a story? She has an incredible gift of putting her own unique spin on every trope and plot. And you bet that she did that with The Real.
Cameron and Abbie are troubled characters. At a certain age almost everyone comes with baggage but Cameron and Abbie decide to leave theirs at the front door and start with a clean slate. The rules are: no expectations, no talk about the past, no absolutes - just getting to know the people they are now, being in the now. The time they spend together is full of laughter and new things, banter, joy and growing feelings. And for a while this works really well and in their favor but at some point you need to drag the skeletons out of the closet and talk about the things that shaped you into the person you are today, right?
It was always the pain that twisted love into a tragedy. Expectations ruined the rest.
But let me tell you about Abbie and Cameron.
All the swoons for Cameron - I fell in love with the King of Woo from the first moment. He so deserves this name - he has this charming personality, the sweet, untroubled one that makes you think "this man has everything in his life and yet he wants ME." His romantic gestures make Abbie feel special, adored...wooed. He showers her with his affection and under his caring hands Abbie starts to bloom. Cameron is an unforgettable character, he was so honest and sweet about his feelings and adoration for Abbie. It was obvious that he fell in love with her early on.
“The only thing that could trump you today, Abbie, is you tomorrow. And I don’t want to be without you tomorrow.”
Abbie is highly suspicious of everyone. It's not just a quirk though, it's something she developed over the past years. Her inability to trust men has kept her from a change in her relationship status, a fact that she hates when everyone else is marrying the love of their lives. The cafe she goes to every Saturday is her safe haven, where she can pretend she is normal. When Cameron and Abbie set their rules it's the first time in a while that she feels freed from the burden of her past. Abbie was funny and smart, cautious for having been burned in the past but I didn't fault her for that. She needed to process everything at her own pace.
I have to admit that for a little while I didn't think that Abbie deserved Cameron but her insight, her own moment of enlightenment, the way she covered every concern I had and came to the right conclusion made her perfect.
In a new world of second chances, I was the luckiest son of a bitch alive. I knew it.
I loved how their relationship developed at a slow simmer. Their exchanges were funny and adorable from the beginning, turning more personal with every meeting, taking it to the next level with the crescendo of a toe-curling kiss that will set your Kindle on fire.
“I want you. I’m not jaded anymore, Cameron.”
“I feel the same,” he whispered softly. “You’ve changed everything for me.”
There is one aspect in this story that lifts this book from great to fantastic - unfortunately giving details would spoil the story so I'm being very vague but it's something that people don't talk about although we know it exists. I thought it was a stroke of genius and I love that Kate Stewart built a story about this issue.
Ms Stewart tosses us into a hurricane of emotions and for a good portion of the book I was cursing at her for having my heart in a too-tight grip. Joy and delight is mixed with gut-wrenching pain and sorrow. There is tenderness and light-hearted banter and fun, passion and anger to find in this story. Emotional, thought-provoking and poignant - it's what this author's books are known for and the reason why I keep coming back to her for more. She makes it hurt so good. DRIVE will be hard to push off the pedestal of TOP FAVORITE but The Real comes close.
I'm sitting here talking to my book bestie who is attempting to write a review for this book as well and we both are a little intimidated by timage:
I'm sitting here talking to my book bestie who is attempting to write a review for this book as well and we both are a little intimidated by the task because it's hard to do it justice. So let me get one thing out in the open:
READ. THIS. BOOK.
I suppose I could end this review here but I need to explain how awesome this book is and why I'm demanding of you to read it. Even if you don't believe ME, check out the other reviews about THE KISS QUOTIENT.
I have only read one story in the past that involved an autistic main character, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley, which is one of my most favorite books of all times. Autism is rare in books so I had to have this debut novel by Helen Hoang.
Stella is a shy, gentle-spoken, and so so brave, young woman. As an autistic woman with a brilliant mind she needs her routine. She also thinks that she's bad at sex and that practice with a professional might fix this problem. What she didn't anticipate was the connection she makes with the hired escort at their first meeting. The way Stella reacts to Michael shows how lonely and excluded she often feels and that's all kinds of heartbreaking. Stella's pain and struggles left me raw and had me tear up.
Uninvited touch is more often than not unwelcome, it makes her feel highly uncomfortable, but Michael's touch soothes something inside her. Her fear of being labeled is so deeply seated that she can't tell Michael about her disorder even when they become close. He would see her in a different light, would treat her with kid gloves and she doesn't want that.
She had a disorder, but it didn’t define her. She was Stella. She was a unique person.
Stella's courage is inspiring. I loved the things that came out of her mouth just because she doesn't have the filter that society insists on. I found it charming, funny and sweet. Her way of looking at problems is unique, brilliant and fascinating. She shows the clarity that children often portray. While her train of thought is often complicated the results are simple and logical.
Michael needs his job as an escort. It pays the bills he shouldn't have to pay. At the same time he feels guilty for his dreams of having his old life as a designer back. He never meets a client more than once - being stuck with a stalker he has learned the hard way but right from the start he feels that Stella is different. He knows he shouldn't get close to this woman, whose thoughtfulness and desire for him as a man and not an escort slay him. Feelings for a woman and escorting don't go well together, things can get messy fast. But how can he resist her plea for help when being close to her is all he wants?
Her eyes shot to his face, and Michael lost his train of thought. Those sexy librarian glasses showcased the most stunning pair of soft brown eyes. And her lips— they were just full enough to be tempting without detracting from her overall air of sweetness.
If Michael doesn't make you swoon you must be dead inside. He is intuitive, patient and kind and understands Stella on a level only soulmates do. He teaches her that she was never awful at sex, that she only had douchebag lovers who didn't care about her pleasure. Through his eyes she learns her own sexuality and sensuality. He knew when to push and when to give Stella space. The tenderness he feels for this sweet, smart, special woman accompanies you through the whole story. Everything she considers a flaw is perfection to him. But he can also be demanding and sexy and I loved how he flustered Stella with his dirty talk.
The story packs a surprising and very welcome amount of steam. These are some of the most erotic scenes I've read in a while. Plus, it has some really good grovel towards the end.
Michael was mint chocolate chip for her. She could try other flavors, but he’d always be her favorite.
Michael's family is pretty special too - as it is with big families his mom, sisters and cousin are all up in his business. I loved his cousin Quan, who gave it straight to Michael, there was no sugar-coating. When he is mad, Michael knows it but Quan forgives fast. I'm hoping he will get his own story.
As somebody who doesn't have anyone with autism/Asperger's in her life the disorder is an abstract medical term I know the definition of. I know the symptoms but at the end of the day it it's hard to understand what's going on in the mind of somebody who processes emotions differently. THE KISS QUOTIENT gives you a glimpse into the brilliant workings and emotional world of somebody with this disorder (and I hate to call it that) and an understanding beyond the medical concept. The lessons you will take with you after closing this book are fundamental, integral and authentic.
She could change her actions, change her words, change her appearance, but she couldn’t change the root of herself. At her core, she would always be autistic. People called it a disorder, but it didn’t feel like one. To her, it was simply the way she was.
When you open a book and you have that gut feeling that tells you this book will end up being an all-time favorite, one that you'll go back to and re-read multiple times, then you've found book gold. It's how I felt right from the beginning and the farther I got the more this conviction manifested itself. Stella and Michael will take you on a journey of self discovery and self appreciation, of accepting that autism is just a word for saying somebody is special and just as valuable and wonderful as somebody without. If you had only one more book to read in your life, this one should be it. Helen Hoang poured her very soul into it.
Can you imagine that this is a debut novel? I think we will hear a lot from this author.
"There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen
Eleven years after Evelyn let Dylan go she still hasn't found equilibrium. The heartbreaking event in her teenage years has hardened her, gone is the sunny girl who could light up the room with her personality. In her stead we find a closed off, world-weary Evelyn. Until coincidence brings Dylan back into her life. Both of them now in New York, they fumble to fuse the broken strings of their once tight-knit young love.
Dylan is now the producer of his own perfume and a successful businessman. His wealth hasn't changed him and he still looks at Evelyn with starry eyes. I have no words for how perfect, how sweet, wonderful, endearing and amazing he is. His love for Evelyn, even after such a long time, is in every word, in every gesture and I was hoping that Evelyn would sort herself out soon.
I saw the stark, blatant honesty in his words and mourned for all the time we’d lost. Mourned because I had been lost in mourning. We both had been. He had to leave when he did. I had to stay when he left. Our paths diverged, first one, then two.
Unfortunately, old habits die hard, she is locked up in her little world of gloom and it takes Dylan a lot of gentle and loving prodding to get her out of the funk. His infinite patience with her was nothing short of astounding.
Evelyn has left Ireland to live with her aunt after her gran died and she had nothing left in Dublin. She works at the bar her aunt manages and has given up growing flowers. The color has left her life on that horrible day eleven years ago. Little by little and with Dylan's tender love and care, his open affection she first finds fragments and then bigger pieces of herself. It was so good to see her coming back into her old self.
I loved Dylan and Evelyn's connection. They had such a solid friendship, their banter underscored it. I was so rooting for them. And oh my, Dylan was sexy as sin and temptation personified. How Evelyn resisted his loving and sensual onslaught, I have no idea. He is one of the most romantic characters I've every read about. His sweet gestures killed me. Every. Time.
“Each perfume I’ve create was inspired by you, Ev. Synaesthesia is you in the morning, when you’ve just woken up. Wildflower is you when you dance. E.V is you when you smile. Limerence is how I love you. And Hiraeth is how I’ve felt for eleven years without you in my life.”
HOW THE LIGHT COMES IN is a satisfying conclusion to this duet. In my opinion this is L.H. Cosway's best work so far, at least out of those I've read. The language is wonderfully lyrical yet modern, fitting the main characters' creative talents.
The scent was . . . sophisticated where once there’d been the naivety of a novice. It was . . . glorious, sumptuous, a medley of wonder.
Both installments are strong in their own way. The first has the foreboding of things to come and enhances the quality of the love all of the characters feel for each other. The second has the angst of unrequited love although we all know it has always been there for both the hero and heroine. Both installments together are a supremely emotional, sublime, exceptional, even a little life-changing story that will leave a lasting impression. I have no idea what to do with myself at the moment - I know that these books will stay with me for a long time.
I glanced at the man beside me and fell in love even deeper, because he’d flicked the switch. He’d turned on the light bulb in my mind, shown me a new way of thinking just like he did when we were teenagers. Only this time, I didn’t hate the world. I didn’t see the cracks. I saw all the beautiful, flawed and wonderful parts that held them all together.
Thank you, Ms. Cosway, for sharing your wonderful talent and Dylan and Evelyn with us, thanks for giving me the chance to read this wonderful duet.
Dreaming big is the only way to get away from the harsh reality of living in a neighborhood in Dublin, where bleakness and gang violence rule the daily life of their inhabitants. It's what Dylan does - he is determined to leave this part of his life behind.
Evelyn doesn't have aspirations like that - her mom had her when she was 15, pretty much the average age for girls to get pregnant in that quarter of Dublin. Her aunt, a very young woman with hopes and dreams of her own took her in. This is the setting when A CRACK IN EVERYTHING starts.
Evelyn has a sunny, optimistic personality. While she realizes that the place she lives in isn't ideal she always looks for the good things in her life. Always on her side, having her back, supporting and loving her are her aunt Yvonne and her best, gay friend, Sam. When Dylan crashes into her life she not only finds a friend but a love so deep it could last a life time.
Dylan is the realist to Evelyn's optimist. Her positive outlook on life is what draws him to her. He looks at the bleak life ahead if he stays in the same place but Ev is the light that breaks through the clouds for him.
I am completely in love. Totally and 100%. Evelyn and Dylan experience first love like any teenager. Like any teenager they feel that it will last forever and in their case I would even agree. It's all-encompassing and deep.
... I can only see my dreams clearly when I look through you first.” My insides blared on loudspeaker, while my voice was barely a whisper. “I don’t understand.” Dylan gave a sad laugh. “I just feel like any achievements are pointless unless I have you by my side.” In a heartbeat, I saw an entire life, a timeline of seventy or more years, with the only constant being Dylan’s hand in mine.
However, life and tragedy don't stop, not even for love. I loved, laughed and cried with the characters of this story. Sam, Evelyn's best friend, in particular stole my heart. He was an amazing friend, didn't have a filter and called people out on their BS. Just as wonderful was Yvonne, Evelyn's aunt. What a good heart this woman has.
Dylan, oh my, good to the core, honest, serious, an old soul if you will - he adored Evelyn, it was plain to see and he never held back to show her. He stood up for her and protected her. Dylan shot up the ranks to one of my favorite heroes, he is so incredibly special. His talent, to be able to smell the finest nuances of fragrances, is also unusual and makes him stand out of the mass of main characters. Finally, Evelyn - her talent is gardening and it complements Dylan's perfectly.I loved the bright light she shone on her friends and especially on Dylan, who often fixated on the gloom and doom in his life. She was so good at pulling him out of it. Until she broke too.
One thing I wanted to mention which didn't make complete sense to me...Evelyn waited to have sex atypically long - Dylan is her first and they don't use protection. They don't even talk about it. It's Sam who actually raises the issue. It wasn't exactly plausible and completely out of character for somebody as cautious as Evelyn to have unprotected sex.
It didn't make sense to me given the time she waited for her first time and what she knew about her mom and other girls in the neighborhood who became pregnant as teenagers - however, that is nitpicking, because the first installment was otherwise perfection.
“God, we make me sick sometimes.” I chuckled. “We make me sick sometimes, too.”
A Crack in Everything is the first installment about an epic love that is unbearable to watch being torn apart because it's not the main character's doing that makes it happen. L.H. Cosway captures the atmosphere of the dreary, a little hopeless life in a working class quarter in Dublin. I wish I could tell you every little thing that I loved about this book but my review would become so long you wouldn't read it - that is if I haven't lost you already.
The story ends on cliffhanger and what a cliffhanger it is. I ugly-cried - My heart broke for all of the characters - not a single one was unaffected by tragedy and I'm only pulling myself away from the book long enough to type out my review. I can't wait to go back and see things set to right. So...later!
There was a crack in me now, and someday it was going to expand and swallow me whole.
I think I can't hide how much I love Ella Frank's boys Tate and Logan. They are so very special, each in his own way. I was really excited to find out how Logan would explore these new thoughts about his relationship with Tate.
The first sentences of the story say it all and it's pretty much the central theme of the whole book:
IT WAS STRANGE how a life could change in the blink of an eye. How someone’s perception of things could alter in a nanosecond due to one look or word depending on the mood or the timing, or even the person they were with. And sometimes, when that happened, there was no explaining why. It just… happened.
This not only explains why Logan changes his mind but also why the author chose to change the path for her characters. They are on the brink of starting a new chapter.
In the newest installment we see a little more angst and a lot more emotional scenes. There is no doubt that Tate and Logan have changed each other's life for the better, that they enrich each other's life. You think they are as solid as they can be and nothing can disrupt their state of bliss. And even when there is discord you have that absolute trust in them that things will be OK in the end. There is so much love that it can't be any other way.
Not only Logan explores his new feelings toward their relationship, Tate also has to re-think a lot of what he thought was a given and he has taken for granted so far. I felt for both of them, how they both struggled with all the new influences and situations. I wanted to hug them so bad. Logan in particular, who is always the most beautiful when he bares his soul. His snark and sarcasm are my second favorite thing about him. Tate's anguish was hard to watch, he had a tough time figuring out how to work through all the new situations - but as I said, you trust in their love being able to overcome anything.
“You and I, we’re a bit of a mess lately, aren’t we?” “A little bit.” Logan brought his hand up to cover the one on his cheek. “But there’s no one I’d rather get messy with.”
We get to hang out with the whole gang and we get a little more of Priest and Robbie and how their relationship hasn't improved. I am really looking forward for their personalities to crash into each other. There is a lot of hate-lust going on. Robbie is coming back to his old sass which I loved to see. I actually like him now better than in the first installments because you can see a little bit maturity come through. There is also a tentative friendship developing between him and Tate, which I thought was lovely.
This definitely is Ella Frank's best installment so far and together with Trust the most emotional one. She shows us a bit of a different Tate and a solid Logan and a lot of mutual love and understanding between them. I adore their relationship so much, their connection and how they just work.
...and then he was falling all over again. Falling for the charm of the silver-tongued lawyer who’d picked him to sit down opposite that first night. Falling into a relationship he’d always wanted but never dreamed he would have. But most of all, he was falling in love with Logan all over again, just as he’d done every day since he’d known him.
I can't get enough of Ella's boys and it will be bittersweet to say goodbye to them when the next book will be out in January 2018. Until then I'm holding on to the warm fuzzy feeling she left me with.
Tate is the fifth installment in the Temptation series which must be read in order.
This series? THE BEST. No, really. Tessa Dare writes the swooniest heroes, the loveliest heroines and the sweetest stories. I adored The Duchess Deal. In The Governess Game she surpasses any expectation I had. I didn't want this story to end.
There is something about a troubled hero who thinks he doesn't deserve love, who shows rakish behavior and is totally unapologetic about it because he doesn't mislead the women. It's the bad boy thing. The man WE (or the heroine respectively) want to bring down to his knees and make him give up his bad boy ways. Chase Reynaud is the epitome of this hero. He has charm in abundance, the mischievous, handsome man with the twinkle in his eyes but if you look closer you see the darkness.
“You are the worst example of false advertising. I was led to believe I was hiring a prim scold. Then I learn you’re remarkable and bold and interesting.”
Along comes Alexandra Mountbatten, a hard-working girl who is such a contradiction - she's intelligent, sensible, level-headed, yet she tends to daydream about a man she collided with in a bookstore. In her mind she creates all kinds of romantic scenarios but never meets him again. Until one day, she is doing her job, setting the time in the homes of the wealthy, when she literally runs into him. Imagine her disappointment when he doesn't recognize her. Even worse, he's a rake extraordinaire. The real fun starts, however, when he hires her as the new governess for his hellions of wards.
While he falls in love with his wonderful, spirited, sweet and absolutely reasonable governess he sometimes needs a kick in the butt, however, Alexandra is happy to provide that. He hides his true feelings behind humor but she looks right through him. I was in awe of this heroine - her cleverness, her backbone, her sweetness she was the full package and the matching puzzle piece to Chase.
“We should go after the girls.” “Yes, we should.” Neither of them moved. Alex bit her lip.
“We’re going to kiss instead, aren’t we.” He caught her in his arms. “You’re goddamned right, we are.”
I loved every single aspect of the story. The characters, the storyline, the humor, the romance, EVERYTHING was perfect in this book. PERFECT. One of my favorite parts was Chase's creative eulogies for the wooden doll belonging to Daisy, one of his hellions.
he began in a dispirited tone,
“we commit to your keeping the soul of Millicent. Ashes to ashes. Sawdust to sawdust. She was a doll of few words and yet fewer autonomous movements, yet she will be remembered for the ever-present—some might say permanently painted—smile on her face. By the grace of our Redeemer, we know she will be resurrected, perhaps as soon as luncheon.”
He added under his breath,
For most of the book I had a goofy smile on my face. I couldn't get enough of the character's banter, their connection, the explosive chemistry. I am so gone for this author's writing style, it's not even funny.
I have read Tessa Dare's book before but I think this is her best series as yet. With her a warm, romantic, swoon-worthy stories she weaves magic around you that will have you think about the characters and their love long after you finish the book. I can't recommend The Governess Game enough. If you need a story that will cheer you up, don't hesitate. Grab this!
“Oh, and by the way.” She stopped at the door. “While you were ill, you pissed yourself. Twice. Just so you know.”
Have you read the 5-star reviews for this book? They are all true! You know these kinds of books...the ones that you can't seem to shake off, even days after finishing the story you still think about these characters? Writing a review is always a bit like saying goodbye to them but this time I don't want to say goodbye.
Kennedy and Jonathan have never chosen the easy path. They always went the most promising one, if it meant for Jonathan to stay in his hometown despite his abusive father because he fell in love with a girl when he was seventeen. Or for Kennedy to leave her home to help Jonathan fulfill his dream although she knew her parents didn't approve and it meant working two jobs to keep them both fed and under a roof. It is one of the themes in this book that stood out for me.
The fire? It still burns. Something tells me it always will, no matter who tries to put it out.
Kennedy's refusal to let Jonathan see their daughter isn't out of spite. The more you read on, the more you realize that she really only does it out of love, not just for her daughter - she protects the little girl fiercely - but also out of love for Jonathan because she wants him to be the man she always wanted him to be and that means for him to get his act straight, get sober and prove that he is reliable and a real father for their child. And Jonathan? He worships Kennedy, there is no doubt about it, not at any time throughout the story.
Maybe this moment is all wrong, and maybe it shouldn’t be happening, but there’s very little I want in this world more than I want this woman, so I'm not turning her down.
A year ago Jonathan realized that he would never get to be a presence in his daughter's life and winning back the love of his life if he didn't stop doing drugs and sober up. When he sees Kennedy again you can feel the remorse in every word, he is very aware of his mistakes and flaws. The love he has for her, they have for each other, is beautiful. You see it grow from their early days, when it was innocent and sweet to the desperate one when both of them stand at the the chasm that Jonathan's dream and its consequences created.
During the whole story I was in awe of Kennedy's resilience. Of course there was bitterness on her side that came through now and then, when she lashed out at Jonathan, she was suspicious and skeptical, not sure if Jonathan would see it through this time. She gave him tough love and he fought for her the moment he saw her again. I loved that they never took the easy way out, Kennedy was very strong in particular and while the aforementioned bitterness and her reluctance to let Jonathan see in might seem a bit harsh I completely understood where she came from.
“Just when I was starting to doubt I’d ever see you again.” “You didn’t think I’d keep popping up every so often?” “Oh, sure, but that’s not you,” she says. “I knew that guy would keep coming back. I thought I’d be dealing with him for the rest of my life. Drunk, high, out of his mind… but I never thought I’d see you again, real you, yet you’re here. I thought it would always be him.”
I have so much love for these two characters and their little girl Madison, who was such a delight to read about. There are a few light-hearted moments with her that lighten the angst and the mood.
This is one of the best second-chance romances I've read. I haven't read a book by J.M. Darhower before although I do have some of them on my Kindle waiting to be read. Now I know that I missed out. The writing is impeccable and the story packs an emotional one-two punch. It hurts so good! The realistic and brilliant portrayal of the characters made it relatable. It is about deciding who you are and who you want to be and following through, finding the real you and not letting glitter and glamour blind you and getting your priorities straight.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from it all, it’s that we have to be our own heroes. No guy in a costume is coming to save us. We have to save ourselves.
Do yourself a favor and trust those 5-star reviews and pick this up. $2.99 is cheap for what you get with this story - I promise it's worth it!
Did you hear that? That was Jay McLean shredding my heart.
There have been so many fantastic books this year and it's impossible to name one favorite but LOGAN is definitely among the top five of 2017. This book is also one of the hardest I've read in recent years and because of the theme one of the most important ones. It's challenging to sort through my feelings for Logan and Aubrey and write a somewhat coherent and spoiler-free review.
Logan is the Preston brother who just seems to go with the flow, without direction in his life. His favorite pastime seems to be getting high on marijuana but that would be simplifying it. Nobody really knows what's festering inside him. When Aubrey, the girl with the scarlet hair and freckles, moves into town Logan doesn't see her wounded soul. In fact, these two clash and are verbally at each other's throat at every chance. But slowly, slowly, slowly they find that they have more in common than they thought.
“You look like a leprechaun.” “You smell like a venereal disease.” “You want to get out of here?” “Yeah.”
Following Aubrey's and Logan's journey to You + Me is delightful and sprinkled with hilarious moments, and gut wrenching when everything escalates and the house of cards he built, held together with spit and baling wire, comes crashing down.
Logan's one of the tortured heroes you can't stay mad at. I tried when my heart was dragged over a cheese grater by the author but to no avail. I loved him, despite him playing unfair and lashing out. His smiles and laughter are an illusion and underneath his skin the wound never healed. But he is also sweet and affectionate. He was perfectly imperfect, he left me raw and hurting for him.
I am lost. I am high, floating. I am low, beneath the earth’s surface. I am night. She is day. I am darkness. She is light.
Aubrey was a wonderful heroine who had her own demons to battle and she often was her own worst enemy. Her need to protect herself by not showing how much Logan means to her is crushing and sad, but she is also forgiving if the person deserves it. She pulled my heartstrings with a deep-seated loneliness and fear of getting hurt again.
“One day…” Aubrey whispers. “I’ll be your Mary, Logan. I’ll be the one to take away your pain.”
We are re-united with the rest of the Preston family and while I love each and everyone of them Lachy and his dad have a special place in my heart. The way the youngest Preston brother connected with Aubrey was moving, touching, heart-warming. This little one is wise beyond his years yet allowed to be a kid because his whole family goes to great lengths to make it so. They are such a solid support system and safety net that you know, even if things seem hopeless, everything will be OK in the end. I also hope for a story for Tom - even though his wife was the love of his life...if somebody can do a story about him justice it's Jay.
Ms. McLean impressed me with LUCAS last year. This year she upped the ante and I am so thankful that she gave me the chance to read and review this little masterpiece of New Adult romance. The author combines the dry humor I love so much with visceral storytelling and if you want to hop on an emotional roller coaster there is no better ride than this one.
“What if we try, Red? What if we try, and what if that was all I could promise you? Will that be enough?”
LOGAN is the second in the PRESTON BROTHERS series and can be read as a standalone.
When two smartasses meet it can go two ways: they hate each other or they are in complete harmony and their verbal sparring is the spice in their relationship. Rita and Tanner are the latter - there is no doubt that they belong together from the first moment they meet. They just work. The problem? Neither of them has business being in a relationship, both of them have an identity crisis and a lot of baggage to work through. Rita personally - her soon-to-be-ex-husband's betrayal cut deep and rattled her to the core, Tanner professionally and personally - he is a famous tv chef, an eligible bachelor because of his looks, fortune and charm but filming a good portion of his time has taken the joy out of cooking. There is also the issue with his ex who threatens to tell lies in a tell-all book that could cost him his job. A dilemma he needs to solve.
Rita used to be a trophy wife. She gave up seven years of her life to an undeserving douchebag and lost herself along the way and she wishes nothing more than to find the girl she used to be, the one with dreams and hopes and a plan. There were so many signs that Rita had only buried them, signs that showed me that she was still her own person, even though her husband had done everything to make her his little wifey. The strength and spine to come back from the blow she was dealt is immense and the trust issues that come along with it are understandable. Did I like how she worked ultimately through them ? No, but only because Tanner was so freaking endearing and charming.
She didn’t just laugh— she laughed. Rich and melodic, filled with honest-to-God amusement that couldn’t be faked. And in a world where everything was faked for my benefit, it was the most intoxicating sound I’d ever heard.
Tanner. Le sigh. What a man. He was everything a woman should look for in a man. Full of humor and mischief, smart, good to the core and so incredibly gone for Rita from the get-go. He wanted to make her happy and his determination to make it happen made him selfless. He would have walked through hell and back if it meant that Rita got what she needed. What's not to love? And when they were together? Perfection. I fell head over heels in love along with them. Their relationship may be really insta but, I've said it before, if it's well done I can totally get on board with it an boy, was it well done.
It was then that I realized she was more beautiful than any other woman I had ever met, and not because of the way she looked— which at the moment was rather ridiculous. It was just… That was the exact second I realized I’d found her.
Tanner's relationship with his brother, the ribbing and good-natured competition they had going was also pretty awesome. Rita's ex-husband, however, was a piece of work I loved to hate.
I have yet to read some of Aly Martinez's books but I love that I still have catching up to do since I savor her stories. ACROSS THE HORIZON is so typical Martinez style and so not. It's got some of the angst I'm used to but mostly it's got a lot of laugh-out-loud moments that make this story a lot of fun to read. I got such a kick out of it and smiled pretty much most of the book.
While God had not given me the wherewithal to chase a good woman, he had sent me a good woman who thought this inability was funny. I could work with that.
THE FALL UP started my love affair with Aly Martinez's books and we have been going steady for years. ACROSS THE HORIZON is just another reason to carry on with it.
She glared. I fell in love again.
Across The Horizon is tied to the "The Darkest Sunrise" Duet but can be read as a standalone.
Ladies (and gents) - this made the list of my 2017 favorites. I knew after the first couple of pages that this book would be special but the more I advanced the more it became obvious what a wonderful story Tessa Dare has created with The Duchess Deal.
For once I'll forgo the summary because the blurb says it all...
Emma is a spirited young woman with a huge capacity for love and compassion. When she arrives at the Duke's house all she wants is to be paid for her labor that went into the creation of the wedding gown for Ash's former fiancée. She is facing a man covered in burn scars who proposes to marry her because he needs an heir.
He had to be joking. “You can’t be asking me to marry you.” He sighed with annoyance. “I am a duke. I’m not asking you to marry me. I am offering to marry you. It’s a different thing entirely.”
Ash can't stomach the hunt for a bride - he can't even stomach his own face and body in the mirror. When the young seamstress enters his house he knows she is the solution to his problems. He doesn't want this cousin to inherit the title and all that it entails so he needs an heir of his own. It is supposed to be a marriage of convenience and as soon as Emma is with child she is to live in a house in the country. Neither of them anticipated how their mutual attraction would change the course of their lives.
These two characters were made for each other. Both of them have ulterior motives for the marriage, both of them try to stay detached. And of course both of them fail. Emma is a wonderful heroine who does what the thinks is right. She isn't intimidated by the duke which Ash finds rather curious and his admiration for the young woman grows. Emma finds beauty in everything, and especially in the bitter, cynical young duke. I loved how she accepted him, how there was never a question that she desired him for the man he was with all his flaws, physical and character-related. With her selfless, kind and sweet mind I was completely charmed by her. Her sass, the endearments she found for Ash were comical.
“Would you like more sauce, sweeting?” His fingers strangled the stem of his wineglass. She could practically hear the grapes calling for help. She hoped that was a good sign. “If you don’t cease that nonsense,” he said, “you will regret it.” “Is that so, my heart?”
“What about ‘precious’?” she suggested. “No.” “‘Angel’?” “God, no.” “‘Muffin’?” In response to that, he hit the shuttlecock so hard, it sailed all the way to the back wall and thwacked one of his ancestors right in the powdered wig. She cheered. “Well done, my precious angel muffin.” “This stops,” he said. “Now.”
Ash...can I say that he is probably one of my all-time favorite HR characters ever? The retorts he volleys back at Emma had me laughing out loud so many times, I stopped counting at some point. Life wasn't kind to him until the sweet little seamstress entered his life. He suffered horrific injuries during war and the scars make women and children run from him terrified so it's only natural that he keeps people at arms' length. But when Emma comes into his life she shows him that he is desirable and good and soon he knows that if he lets her go his life will become darker again. He wants to protect her and hold her close.
“You are wet, and you are cold. You don’t like being cold. Therefore, I despise you being cold. I would go about murdering raindrops and setting fire to the clouds, but that would take slightly more than an hour. Perhaps even two. So we’re here, and you will cease complaining about it.”
Emma tries so hard to make him believe her that he is more than his scars and it was incredibly sweet to see the ice wall around his heart thaw. His indignation, arrogance and snark but also his big heart, deep hurt and vulnerability make him one of my most favorite and swooniest heroes in Historical Romance.
“You’re here,”he repeated, taking her hand and drawing it against his chest, right above his pounding heartbeat. “In my heart. Somehow you crashed your way into it when I wasn’t looking. The same way you barged into my library, I suppose. But you’re here now, inside. Emma, you’re the very life of me.”
One thing I need to mention that was incorrect (and I do that because of my Viennese ancestry) - Wienerbrød isn't an Austrian pastry, it's Danish. However, that's no biggie, I just wanted to mention it for the sake of authenticity.
Tessa Dare really brought these characters to life. I could feel the whole range of emotions these two went through in every word and it's a testament to this author's writing abilities. I have read some of Ms. Dare's books before but I think this is my favorite so far. The smart banter was one of my highlights. There is a whole range of potential future heroines, all of them with their own quirks and I am already salivating for the next book in this series!
Gahd. I've been waiting for this book for a loooong time. So when this landed on my Kindle...
So let's talk about FALL, shall we?
Jax/John Blackwood's story has intrigued me from the first time we met him. He's one of those tragic characters you don't undestand why they would do something drastic as trying to kill himself. He has it all: the good looks, immeasurable talent, charm, charisma. You will get all the answers and as easy as the answer seems as complicated it really is. Depression is such an insidious illness.
When a little impish ice-cream thief also steals a kiss, he isn't outraged. Nope, famous rockstar of one of the hottest bands John is charmed, the only regret he has is that he let her go.
Stella has never had a proper home. She lives in an apartment in New York City that belonged to her father until he up and left when she turned eighteen. Now thirty, she hasn't seen him since. She doesn't have any close friends although there's nothing she wants more. When she runs into larger than life lead singer and guitarist of one of the hottest bands repeatedly, ending up being neighbors, they become friends. Friends who bicker, friends who talk and friends who laugh. I can't even begin to say how much I loved their connection. Both of them snarky, goofy and broken in a way that it made perfect sense for them to become close.
John doesn't want to be treated like the resident elephant in the room, he doesn't want people to tiptoe around him but it's hard to tell people when you think you screwed up. Especially when you still give into the dark when it comes over you. The depiction of John's depression was done in taste and credible. He displayed the ups and downs of somebody who feels too much and that abundance of emotion can turn against him from one second to the other and it was positively heartbreaking at times.
I feel sick down to my brittle bones and terrified heart. Everything ends. Love dies. In the end, I’ll be alone, and there isn’t a thing I can do to stop it.
Stella doesn't trust easily. She had my heart from the very beginning. She was independent, sweet and a bright light in every life she touched. I thought she was the perfect girl for John. The woman with the big heart that held compassion and love for all the people in her life who was so scared of needing somebody that she couldn't let anyone close. And John was the perfect man for her - he bolstered Stella's self confidence, broke her defenses and showed her the beauty he saw in her.
She’s my new favorite song; I want to play her over and over.
John and Stella's love is a slow burn but oh so delicious. Their banter definitely sparks up their chemistry and when it was time for them to connect on another level I was just as eager for them to get there as they were. It was a thing of beauty, their hunger for each other, their emotional and physical connection. And can I say that John had the cutest nickname for Stella? It was breathtaking to watch them fall in love.
Stella giggles. That sound. It bubbles over my skin, trips my heart. I love that sound.
This was a very long book but it never felt boring. At no point did I have the urge to skim, I absorbed the words on my kindle. I laughed a lot, I had a little watery eyes now and then and I enjoyed the hell out of the story. But most of all I felt. So so much. Jax's bandmates and Scottie are the bomb - they stand behind their man no questions asked. Their loyalty and friendship was everything. And if you need different colloquialisms for masturbating apparently Kristen Callihan is a good source to go to...
“Beating the meat.” John snickers into his beer.
“Got a better one,” Whip counters with a brow waggle.
“Wanking the willy?” “Charming the snake,” Sophie offers.
“Polishing the pearl,” Jules says.
“Tickling my treat,” Brenna adds.
“I’m becoming uncomfortably aroused,” Rye grumbles, which makes Brenna flush bright pink and hide her face behind the rim of her martini glass.
And Scottie with his son? Gird your ovaries, people!
OK that's not a baby but you get the picture.
I hope Kristen Callihan doesn't keep as waiting as long for the next book as she did with this one. I am absolutely addicted to her stories and her writing style which is so crisp, beautiful and polished. She catapulted FALL up into my top favorites and is now competing for the top spot for this year. Can I say I loved it? Yeah. That epilogue was the sweetest thing. I need the next one. Like NOW!
“Stella Button, the moment you ripped that ice cream out of my hand, you knocked me off-balance. All I could do was fall.”
When I started this series I was seriously impressed with all the so obviously different personalities Nalini Singh equipped her characters with. No one was just an accessory, they all had a purpose and they all displayed distinguishing features. After Illium I was the most intrigued by Venom, the sangfroid, snarky member of Raphael's Seven. Needless to say I was over the moon when I saw his book popping up and although it wasn't a surprise who the author paired him up with I was happy it was Holly.
Heads up right away: if you expect a mushy romance this is not what you get. This installment is very story driven and while there is great chemistry between Venom and Holly the romance aspect comes pretty late in the story. It didn't bother me though - it was a natural development for them. The snarky banter and quips from the beginning turned gradually into a good-natured ribbing.
Individually Venom and Holly couldn't be more different, at least at a distant glance. He has a coolness about him that keeps people at arm's length. The only real connection and friendship he has with his brothers-in-arms, Raphael's Seven. Venom knows that he is one of a kind but he has come to appreciate it and uses his otherness to his own advantage - not hard since it comes with a set of kickass abilities. He is aware of Holly struggling with her alterity.
To the world, Venom was a vampire. And there were millions of vampires. But he was the only one with the eyes of a viper and the deeper, less visible changes that shoved him far outside that well-defined box. Like Naasir, he was and had always been alone among millions. Until Holly./i>
What surprised me about him was his benign nature (in all his badass-ness) and an unexpected gentleness with Holly. He loves her wildness, her intelligence and sweetness and he never lies to her. He is standing with her, backing her up when it is Holly against the world. Venom has a playful side about him that I found utterly charming. I loved he nicknames "Kitty" and "Hollyberry" he gave her. But Venom, too, has a past that shaped him.
He felt his lips kick up. When she wasn’t awake and snapping at him, she was pretty cute. Though he had to admit he liked the snappy, snarky side of her.
He understands Holly like no one else but it goes both ways - Holly recognizes Venom's otherness and realizing that she isn't the only freak helps her overcome her rage and feeling of loneliness. She is a complicated creature - we saw her in the beginning of the series as this broken doll, broken by Uram who Made her against her will but left her a being not quite vampire but not quite mortal or angel either. She felt a little bit emo back then so I loved to see that she took charge of her life. She has come a long way from "Sorrow" back to Holly.
Venom laughed, delighted with her— though he’d never allow her to guess that. Holly had always challenged him in a way that ignited his instincts, and she did it with a cutting intelligence that spoke to his own
Holly has become a force to be reckoned with, inspires loyalty and benevolence in people. Her struggles with what she has become are painful and I felt nothing but compassion and admiration for her courage. Add to that a sharp tongue, intelligence and kindness and she makes for a wonderfully strong heroine.
For those who have been wondering - yes, we get to see a little bit of Illium and Dimitri, whose interaction with Holly and his fatherly love for her made my heart soar.
Cupping her face in his hands, Dmitri spoke in a voice midnight with age. “Hate me if you want, Holly, but remember this: you’re one of the Tower’s now. You’re one of mine now. That might mean chains, but it also means you have hundreds of vampires and angels at your back.”
“Let’s go, my little weirdling. I’m Ash and Janvier’s teacher for the next hour. You can watch.” - Dmitri
The car race between Dimitri and Venom was an exhilarating moment in the book which we get a lot of btw. You will find a lot of heart-stopping action and exciting scenes. It wouldn't be a Guild Hunter story if we didn't get to catch up a bit with Raphael - he doesn't steal Venom's and Holly's thunder which I appreciated.
Overall this was a very satisfying installment - I had one little niggle I wanted to mention that in the grand scheme of things didn't diminish my enjoyment of this story at all: the show-down is a little too long. Holly's inner "dialogue" was a little exhausting but as I said, it is really only a small complaint.
Ms. Singh's writing is excellent. She knows how to pull you right into the story and make you commiserate with the characters and fall in love with them. They are complex and multi-layers and always, always likable. That she mixes different cultures into her stories only adds to the fascination. This book in the series belongs to my favorites - while the romance isn't as prominent it still has a lot to love about it. I can't wait to get my hands on the next one.
On that note, I notice a pattern in these books. The ones featuring Raphael and Elena drive the overarching plot forward, the ones featuring his Seven focus on the couple they are about. Yet, I wouldn't recommend reading them as standalones. They have a lot of names and little details and while Nalini Singh explains and elaborates on them very well they would still be way confusing.
“I love you,” he said, his eyes locked with hers. “From the tips of my hair to the tips of my toes. From yesterday to tomorrow and every tomorrow we will ever see. From this moment to the mystery beyond death. Every part of you, slow or fast, small or big, strong or weak. I love you, Holly.”
Archangel's Viper is the ninth installment of the Guild Hunter series which must be read in order.
The Boys are back!!! God. GOD. I have no idea where to start, I'm a mess. *takes a deep breath*
It's always so hard to do a book justice with your review if you love the characters and their journey like I adore these two. From the first book on Ella Frank's spellbinding, charismatic heroes of her Temptation series took my heart away and have refused to give it up again ever since. When I heard that this author would continue her amazing MM Romance I squealed. And did the Carlton dance.
Of course, there is always a bit of apprehension when an author decides to continue with the story of a couple he or she left in a happy place. So you might wonder if these books are necessary. Well, if you remember, there were a couple loose ends in the last three books I definitely think that there is enough material there to continue writing more Logan & Tate.
The story starts around four years after we left them. I am not going into plot details because I think the experience will be even better if you go in blind. Just trust Ella that she will do right by them. What I can say, however, is that Logan and Tate are in a good place. They love each other unconditionally, are devoted and as committed as commitment-phobe Logan allows. And Tate is more than OK with that - he has Logan's utter devotion and it's going both ways.
Logan is his usual arrogant and filterless self but there is a new layer of, let's call it maturity, to him that makes him so absolutely irresistible. For all his cockiness he always looks out for Tate. He gives his best friend and lover room to work out his problems. Logan is the most endearing when he shows his sweet side, which mostly his bartender is on the receiving end of. And he has a ginormous heart. Logan is also so utterly adorable when he shows his insecurities and worries. But all this together makes this complicated man so human and wonderful. And it doesn't hurt that he is hot AF. In clothes and in bed.
Tate is still the easy-going, considerate and level headed and wonderful man. He calms the storm in Logan and always knows the right things to say when the love of his life needs reassurance. Tate isn't any less captivating. He stands his ground with the intense Logan. The curly gorgeous man knows how much his lawyer loves to be teased and makes use of this knowledge often. Which more often than not lands them both in bed. And holy moly, when Tate gets authoritative and commanding it's like my Kindle catches fire. This guy's heart is just as big as Logan's.
Together they are like a well oiled machine. They just work. Their sexual attraction is strong as ever and so primal, raw and hot. They play rough but they play, what comes out of their mouths is positively filthy. It will leave you panting but coming back for more. But they can also be sweet and tender with each other and I have yet to decide which side of Logan and Tate I love more. They are just perfect and I'd totally be the turkey in their sandwich if they asked me.
We get to catch up with Cole and Rachel. I loved to see them again with their kids and how close they have become with Logan and Tate. We also see a familiar name return in this story and a new one and I have strong suspicion that we will see a new series or book about them in the future. Yes, we do get some reminders of events from the first three books but I found those necessary to ultimately move this story forward. The banter is, as always, hilarious.
Ella Frank can throw any book at me and I'll gladly read it. I can completely immerse myself in her stories and don't want to come up for air. Now the waiting begins for the next part in Tate's and Logan's journey. Until then...
Love doesn’t die, even when you stop feeding it. There is no expiration date on the ache of missing someone you shared your heart, life, and body with
Kate Stewart's star is rising. She is one of the most versatile writers I've had the pleasure to read so far and she always, ALWAYS delivers.
I have read a couple of love triangles in the past and I'm extremely picky about them because I usually don't like them - one of the parties always has their heart broken. But since this is Kate Stewart, how can I refuse? And lordy, thank gaaaaahd I didn't. So let's have a look at the book, shall we?
We all have these songs, the ones that catapult us back into the past and let us re-live it. We remember the people we were with when we listened to them, the places we connect with them, the feelings that were prominent at that time. We remember details like smells and tastes. Some of them are so bittersweet that we feel regret - regret that it's in the past, regret how we handled a situation, regret that things happened as they did or that we did let them happen.
After a phone call that throws her off her game and makes her missing her flight Stella decides to rent a car and hit the road the soundtrack of her life playing on the drive, consciously letting herself slip back into the life she has moved on from. That road was stony, full of obstacles and pain but also love, so much true, unfettered love and passion.
Torn. In love with two worthy kings, and I was queen of the damned. - Stella
Stella is a firecracker with so much spunk I gave her mental high-fives all the time. Her personality is scintillating, sparkly, beautiful yet flawed. She wants to do right by the people she loves but more often than not her emotions rule her and that leads to decisions that, although not necessarily wrong, hurt people and mostly herself.
I loved that looking back at the men in her life she didn't feel regret, she isn't bitter from the sweet. She realizes that they had their time and place in her life and shaped her into the strong woman she is today. Her capacity to feel deeply is never toned down but re-directed. The passion she feels as a young woman is still there when you close the book but so much more mature and refined.
“Because I want to talk to you every day. I want to look at you every day. Because I can’t fucking wait to see what completely inappropriate T-shirt you wear to work next.” “You like me a lot.” I grinned. “Enough to risk a nut,” he mused as he poured cheap shampoo into his hand. - Reid
Both men in Stella's life are beautiful in their own way. Reid is the broken guy, the quiet one and loner who suffers alone and is immensely private. Yet in his love for Stella he is so transparent, it is so obvious that his love for her knows no bounds. I loved Reid. LOVED.
...and that last second . . . that last second when his lips devoured mine was the second I lost a piece of myself I could never get back. - Stella
Nate is the guy who lights up a room when he enters. He's as gorgeous outside as he is inside. His love for Stella feels different but is just as strong. It's lighter, brighter, not as desperate and this is the way her love for him feels too. He gives her the freedom to explore, never pushes. I loved Nate. LOVED.
“Because I’ll be goddamned if I let you forget that I’m waiting. I want you to get used to these hands, these arms, this lap. We’ll be around a while. If it happens, it will happen naturally, and we’ll make our own story. If it doesn’t, I’ve got you with me now, and I’m good with that.” - Nate
Yet there comes a point when Stella has to decide which road she takes because sometimes love just isn't enough. For me it would have been impossible to make a choice - Nate and Reid were perfect. Ultimately she chooses herself though and it's everything you can hope for.
I love music, like Stella my taste covers a lot of variety and having links to the songs for every chapter and being able to listen to them right away is awesome and unique. It makes the reading experience interactive and will pull you right into Stella's head and heart. The story is told solely from Stella's point of view - in many cases that's a problem for me. I need the hero's thoughts, his feelings. Leave it to Kate Stewart to make Nate's and Reid's love shine through Stella. I had no issues at all to believe the depth of their feelings and connection with her.
This story gutted me, wrecked me. My heart is bruised and I hope Kate covers my therapy sessions, it's her fault after all. I have the worst book hangover - how am I supposed to just move on from this epic love story? Seriously, how evil is Kate Stewart to give us two perfect men while she watches our hearts getting punched and battered? I cried. I ugly-cried and I don't do that very often nowadays. I thought I'd given away the book of the year award 2017 prematurely but Drive tied A Charm of Finches. Guess I'll have to give away two books with my end-of-year giveaway.
I know many of us are ambivalent about love triangles. Ultimately this is a story about growth and deciding who you want to be, that love comes in all shapes and forms. That you can give a piece of your heart to more than one man but they will never own the same piece. Give this story a chance - you will drown in the emotions and it will make you hurt for the characters but at the end of the day the road is more important than the destination and the road not taken will always leave you wondering. This story will stay with me for a long time and I'll definitely re-read. Thinking about these extraordinary characters still takes my breath away.
Note to the author: We need Lexi and Ben, Kate, and we need a third story and you know which one I mean - I need to know that he is happy.
Tinseltown's notorious but immensely talented and sinfully gorgeous bad boy Brad Sinclair has to clean up his act when he learns that he has a daughter of five. Nicole is the result of a fling six years ago, one he has completely forgotten about. Now he needs a reliable nanny, one who knows her field of work but doesn't interfere too much. There is one who left a lasting impression, not only because she could stop his daughter from crying.
“I don’t know if you know this, Miss, but I don’t take no for an answer. That one in the bathroom is the one I want. She’s the only one who’s been able to stop that little girl from crying since she landed in my hands a week ago.”
Enter Cara DuMont. She is one of the best, her reputation is untainted and there is a reason for it. She does not take clients who are celebrities, actors or other socialites who could land her on the cover of a magazine. She didn't count on Brad's tenacity. She agrees to stay for a very limited time, after that he would have to find another caretaker for his daughter.
Cara fights her attraction to Brad with tooth and nails. She has seen how getting involved with your boss can destroy your reputation if the paparazzi smell a juicy story. Cara tries to keep her relationship with both Nicole and Brad strictly professional. Unfortunately she is in the habit to fall in love with the kids she takes care of. Cara is an endearing heroine and while all that glitz and glamour of Hollywood is fake she comes across as real, down-to-earth. She has a no-nonsense attitude and calls it as she sees it, and that includes Brad.
She made me comfortable, which was uncomfortable. She had a soft, seductive voice that never tried to seduce me. Around her, I wanted to make a go of the daddy thing.
Brad is a big child at first. He parties, he is known to f*ck around and he's selfish. Being a single daddy all of a sudden totally cramps his style. Yet, despite all that he is also charismatic, cheeky, and listens to what Cara has to say.
He was likeable for a hundred reasons he got paid good money for. But there was more to him. He was genuine. He listened. He was open to change yet stalwart in his beliefs. He spent his money on things that pleased him or minimized inconvenience, not status objects. He never pretended to be more than he was but didn’t suffer from insecurity or false humility. He was who he was. Utterly and authentically.
Sometimes you see glimpses of his southern upbringing. It's incredibly charming and makes him irresistible. When he hires Cara Brad gets more than he bargained for. He didn't expect the nanny to point out his deficiencies in parenting. But all hope is not lost - from the moment Brad falls in love with his daughter you can see some major growth.
"You turned this bombshell from six years ago into a family. You’re a magician. Do you know? I wasn’t ready for that little girl, and now I am. I can still be me and have a family."
Both of them struggle with their attraction and growing feelings. There is a lot of mutual respect despite their conflicts and based on that and their love for Brad's daughter they develop a friendship. It's a slow burn until they take their relationship to the next level but once they do it's an inferno. Yes, there are secrets and dishonesty but I could forgive those because they never came from a bad place. From this author's Song of Submission series I know that she writes some super-steamy scenes. These are strictly vanilla but not any less hot.
CD Reiss's writing is humorous with a good dose of snark, but there is also a lot of feeling. Some things only become clear later. I laughed about a piece of dialogue only to realize a couple of pages later how sad and literal the words actually were. I loved both characters, they both had their flavor of charm and together they made a delightful mix. I also adored their relationship with Nicole who almost stole the show.
“I love you, and I’m always here for you. Please always remember that.” She put her hands on my cheeks. “Okay,” she whispered close to my face. She poked the inner corner of my eye. “Why are you crying?” “I’m afraid you’ll forget.” “I won’t.” She put her fingertips to my lips then twisted them. “I’ll take it, lock it.” Her fingertips went to the breast pocket that wasn’t there. “Put it in my pocket.” I laid my hand over the place where she’d put my love. “Keep it forever.” “I will. It’s pink. I don’t throw away pink things.”
In order to retain credibility because of my on-going streak of 5 stars I was looking for flaws in this book. I really tried. I didn't find any. I loved this story so much I can't give it any less than 5 stars. Good thing that I realized today that this is going to be a series too. I am definitely going to read the next installment!...more
It is always bittersweet when you have to say goodbye to beloved characters and this holds true for Ace and Dylan even more. These characters have grown close to my heart because they were endearing like few others. So without further ado, this is me sending them off into their Happily Ever After.
“I love the way you bite your lip like that,” I said. “And I love the way you light up a room, just by being in it. I love how confident you are, and I love the rare occasion that has you turning adorably shy when you’re out of your element. I love how strong you are and the fearlessness you show when others would cower. You push me to be a better man and to fight for what and who I love.”
Ace and Dylan are in a good place. They are planning their wedding, which sometimes seems a little bit overwhelming to Ace. Leave it to Dylan to get him back into the zen zone. Their life is crazy, especially after Ace's very public proposal on national tv. They both are riding a professional high and can't wait to be wed in front of God and everybody. Of course there are one or two clouds in the otherwise amazing blue sky in the person of Dylan's biological mother.
Dylan is such a sunny character. He really knows how to make everyone around him smile and I'm still in awe how he became like that with his past. He centers and grounds Ace but the same goes the other way around. Ace is as protective as they come and he would do anything to help make sure his Daydream is shielded from his poisonous parent.
“You good?” he asked, and I gave him a broad smile as I nodded. No matter where we were, he was always checking in with me and those around him, always making sure everyone was okay. It was one of the things I loved most about him.
We get to see beloved characters from this author duo's other series. Among them there are PITA and Dawson, Nate and Shayne, Finn and Brantley, Derek and Jordan and my personal favorite, Logan Mitchell and Tate Morrison. I was again reminded why these two are my all time favorites. Logan again proves to be a great friend and lawyer. Of course there are also Dylan's adoptive parents who are among the most unconventional and lovely, fictional side characters.
The whole book is one huge epilogue and a celebration of Ace's and Dylan's love for one another. There are touching scenes and funny ones.
“Not to sound vain, but you’ve only mentioned how much the color of my eyes are your favorite about once a week since I’ve known you. So, again, I’ll ask: what’s my favorite fucking color?” “Yellow.” “Oh my God—” “I’m kidding, Jesus. It’s blue, right? Color of the ocean—” “And your fucking eyes. God, you’re such a guy.” Then I realized what I’d said, and rubbed my face. “Shit, we sound like a couple of chicks right now.”
And, this wouldn't be Ella and Brooke if we didn't get some scorching and hot scenes, too.
As our bodies moved together, the rawness of the moment wasn’t lost on me. I could feel the sweat, the pre-cum, and lube aiding to the animalistic act taking place on the bed, and it just ramped this moment up even more. We’d had the sweet. We’d had the tender. And right here in this moment, it was all primal. I was making him mine in all the ways I possibly could, and Ace was letting me. Fuck, was he ever.
They are sprinkled throughout the story and are pretty much the hottest thing since peanut butter and Nutella.
Fall apart for me, Daydream."
The only reason I couldn't give a clean 5 stars is the bachelor party. I felt that it started to drag a little there - these scenes were about everyone else but our heroes. Yes, I'm greedy but I would have loved more involvement of them.
The sweetest thing is the epilogue. I loved how the authors let us say goodbye to Ace and Dylan. Needless to say that I hope I'll get to catch up with them in other books by them. This definitely was a worthy conclusion of an epic love story and these two characters are among my most favorite in MM romance.