Vox – Christina Dalcher – 3.5 stars

August 20, 2018 Uncategorized 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Vox – Christina Dalcher – 3.5 starsVox by Christina Dalcher
Published by Penguin on August 21, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Dystopian, Thrillers, Political
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads
three-half-stars

"[An] electrifying debut."--O, Oprah Magazine"The real-life parallels will make you shiver."--Cosmopolitan

One of Entertainment Weekly's and SheReads' books to read after The Handmaid's TaleOne of Good Morning America's "Best Books to Bring to the Beach This Summer"One of PopSugar, Refinery29, Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, Real Simple, i09, and Amazon's best books to read in August 2018

Set in a United States in which half the population has been silenced, Vox is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning...

Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard.

...not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

This is not a happy, happy, joy, joy kind of book but one that should make you think and perhaps be a bit frightened.  I did struggle with the timeline presented which lowered the score I decided on but I did appreciate the way the author pulled in items that should sound familiar to many of us as we watch world events.  There are a few things about all the adult characters that you will like but also items that you won’t like.  All are flawed but human and no matter what you think of why they do some of what they do the focus should remain on the world around them.

How does a modern country devolve in to a country where half the population is suddenly out of the workforce?  How does this become acceptable and the prevalent mode of operation in a connected world?  One only needs to look back in recent history with Afghanistan before and after the Taliban to see how the world changed for women.  We can also look at some of the strict religious cults and their treatment of those who aren’t one of them.  The author shows how easy it is to mold the minds of youth and the outliers to become walking, talking puppets of a regime.  The way we see the oldest son drink in the new messages being taught in school while easily devaluing the mom who loves him was scary to see and then realize that this is where we typically see these events start.  One only needs to feed the insecurities and fears to make it possible for repression and regression to happen even in this modern era.

The message that comes out of this for me was a refreshed need to become more vocal and aware of my place in society.  I need to be more active and willing to step up to say when something is wrong even if it results in making others uncomfortable.  I cannot afford to stay quiet and let the world move around me without my participation in protecting those who may not have voices.  Please take a chance on this book in hopes that you will take away a message that no matter what our voices deserve to be heard and we deserve to be considered equals in the world regardless of sex or orientation or culture or color or or or….

three-half-stars

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Untamed Cowboy – Maisey Yates 4 stars

June 19, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, Harlequin, NetGalley, Read in 2018 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Untamed Cowboy – Maisey Yates 4 starsUntamed Cowboy by Maisey Yates
Published by HQN Books on July 1st 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Western, Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

In Gold Valley, Oregon, love might be hiding in plain sight…

Some things are too perfect to mess with. Bennett Dodge’s relationship with Kaylee Capshaw is one of them. They work together at their veterinary clinic and have been best friends for years. When Bennett’s world is rocked by the appearance of a son he didn’t know he had, he needs Kaylee more than ever. And he doesn’t want anything else to change. But then Kaylee kisses him, and nothing will ever be the same…

Kaylee’s done her best to keep her feelings for the man she’s loved since high school hidden away, but one unguarded moment changes everything, and now there’s no more denying the chemistry that burns between them. But the explosion of desire changes all the rules, and what’s left could destroy their bond—or bring them to a love that’s deeper than she ever imagined…

Also includes a bonus Gold Valley novella, Mail Order Cowboy!

I don’t mind admitting that I was excited when I found out that the second book in the Gold Valley series would be Bennett’s and Kaylee’s.  After the glimpses we have gotten to see in previous books, I had no doubt these two would end up together and I was glad we didn’t have to wait until later in the series to have it happen.

In Untamed Cowboy, we find out that Bennett wasn’t always the buttoned up man that we knew him as.  You see, Bennett got his girlfriend pregnant at age 16 and after she told him she lost their baby and moved away, Bennett was determined to never let his emotions get away from him again.  He was going to make responsible logical decisions and ensure that he never put any pressure or stress on his family after everything that they had already been through.  That’s why Bennett prides himself on having a plan for every aspect of his life, even if those plans mean he is settling for a life that can never truly make him happy.  Bennett was prepared to marry Olivia even though he didn’t love her because he didn’t want love or passion in his life.

When a social worker shows up at Bennett’s house with a 15-year-old son named Dallas that Bennett didn’t know he had, all of Bennett’s plans for an uncomplicated life start to unravel at the seams.  Understandably, Bennett is devastated to find out that his high school girlfriend lied to him about losing the baby.  On top of that he discovers that his son’s life has not been at all the life he should have had.  How can he make up for all the time he’s lost and how does a man who has prided himself on guarding his heart convince his son to trust him and let him in when he doesn’t let other people in himself?

The one constant in Bennett’s life has always been Kaylee Capshaw.  From the moment he saw her at school looking shy and lonely, Bennett and Kaylee have been best friends.  With all the chaos in his life, right now more than ever Bennett needs Kaylee to be the source of stability in his life she has always been.

Kaylee Capshaw has been in love with Bennett for as long as she can remember.  She’s stuffed her feelings down through the years knowing that Bennett didn’t feel the same.  After years of having a front row seat to Bennett’s relationships, she’s determined once again to move on and find a relationship for herself, so why can’t anyone else light her up the way Bennett does?

When Bennett tell’s Kaylee that he’s planning to find someone to hook up with, Kaylee can’t take it anymore.  She will be damned if she can sit back and watch him move on with someone else again without ever having a chance to touch Bennett Dodge herself.  Bennett isn’t prepared for Kaylee to suggest that they scratch each other’s itch, but once he agrees he has to face that his feelings for Kaylee have never been as clear-cut as he has convinced himself they were.  With all of his plans obliterated, can Bennet reach for the happiness that is his for the taking?

I related to so strongly to Bennett, Kaylee and Dallas in this story due to my own background.  I saw so much of myself in Kaylee in Dallas.  The inability to trust when your parents, the people you are supposed to be able to count on are the very people who have hurt you the most.  The need to test and push people around you to see if they will abandon you like everyone else.  The knowledge that you aren’t worthy of love and respect even when someone wants to give it to you.  With Bennett you can understand why he feels like he has to be perfect and never be a burden to anyone.  He watched his family go through so much, and he never wanted to feel like he added to it.

It was delightful to see Bennett, Kaylee and Dallas begin to heal the wounds from their past become the family they all deserved.  I hope we will get to see more glimpses of them in future installments of Gold Valley.

 

four-stars

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Knocked Up – Stacey Lynn 3 stars

June 12, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, Uncategorized 1

Knocked Up – Stacey Lynn 3 starsKnocked Up by Stacey Lynn
Series: Crazy Love #2
Published by Random House Publishing Group on June 12, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Contemporary, Contemporary Women
Pages: 250
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars
three-flames

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes baby in a baby carriage. Just not necessarily in that order. . . .   Braxton: I should probably be dead or in jail right now. Instead, thanks to some tough love, I worked my ass off and now I own a string of tattoo parlors throughout the Pacific Northwest. And yet the one thing I’ve always wanted—a family—still seems out of reach. When my best friend gets married, I’m just hoping to blow off some steam with the super-hot maid of honor. But after Cara Thompson tracks me down to tell me she’s pregnant, she’s more surprised than I am when I tell her I’m all in.   Cara: For the first time in my life, I’m living for myself—not for my parents and their ridiculous expectations. I gave up on my MBA, dropped out of the Ivy League, and moved to Portland to pursue my dream of becoming an artist. And what’s the first thing I do? Get knocked up. For a tatted-up sex god, Braxton Henley seems way too eager to “be there for me.” Is this guy serious? Maybe. He sure is patient. Because he won’t back down until I admit what I know in my heart: that our one night stand might’ve led me to the one.   Advance praise for Knocked Up“Stacey Lynn always knows how to perfectly balance sexy and sweet, and has a modern writing style that makes all of her stories feel fresh and fun.”New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne

“A broody alpha hero with heart . . . I fell madly in love with Braxton from the very first page. Prepare to pull and all-nighter with Knocked Up.USA Today bestselling author Stacey Kennedy  “Braxton is your ultimate tattooed father-to-be—sweet and ever so sexy.”—Stina Lindenblatt, author of the Pushing Limits series

The steamy standalone novels in Stacey Lynn’s Crazy Love series can be read together or separately: FAKE WIFE | KNOCKED UP   And don’t miss her passionate Fireside series: HIS TO LOVE | HIS TO PROTECT | HIS TO CHERISH | HIS TO SEDUCE   This standalone ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

I love a good unplanned pregnancy story.  I don’t know if that’s due to my own life experience, or if I just enjoy the premise of two people being thrown together by a pregnancy that they don’t expect.  It’s safe to say this would only be true in the world of Romance where I am guaranteed a HEA.

Knocked Up was mostly an enjoyable read.  I enjoyed the premise of the characters spending a night together after their best friend’s wedding.  I found the heroines reaction of sneaking away the morning after to be realistic and adored that it was the hero whose feelings were hurt when she left.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t happy that he was hurting but it was nice to have the hero acknowledge his feelings out of the gate.  While on the surface Braxton and Cara come from different worlds, they have way more in common than the people around them may realize.  Both of them have experienced less than stellar parenting, although for very different reasons, and both have experienced heartbreaking loss.  The chemistry between Braxton and Cara is palpable, I only wish we had gotten to read about the first night they spent together as it was happening rather than it being in the past by the time we meet them.

There were some elements of the story that I found clunky. When Braxton and Cara go to see her midwife together for the first time, the doctor wants to hear the heartbeat.  The story references the use of an internal ultrasound want for this even which struck me as very odd.  As a mother of five that didn’t sound right, regardless of how early in my pregnancy I was they were always able to check the heartbeat externally.  The internal wand would have made sense if the midwife was doing an ultrasound, but that wasn’t the case here.  Also. Braxton’s reaction to the procedure made me roll my eyes.  He refers to the wand as a dildo cam and makes a comment about not knowing whether to be terrified or turned on.  It just felt immature which was contradictory to everything else we see from him.

Also, Lucy is a rescue pup featured in this story.  For most of the book she is a Bullmastiff, but towards the end she is a pit bull.  Keeping in mind this was an arc, the author may correct this in the final copy.

All in all, I enjoyed  Knocked up and would recommend it to readers that enjoy an unplanned pregnancy.

three-stars

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The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang 4 stars

June 6, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Penguin, Read in 2018 1

The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang 4 starsThe Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Published by Penguin on June 5, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Multicultural & Interracial
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads
four-stars
two-half-flames

"This is such a fun read and it's also quite original and sexy and sensitive."--Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author

"Hoang's writing bursts from the page."--Buzzfeed

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he's making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

I really enjoyed this debut novel by Helen Hoang.   Stella was a delightful heroine who has just as much of a solid understanding of her strengths as she does of her shortcomings.  She is an accomplished professional who has mastered balancing her needs with the expectations of society as a whole.   Her confidence and willingness to communicate in a direct fashion to those around her, even when it related to her insecurities had me cheering for her from the first page.

Michael was a sweetheart of a man who seemed perfect for Stella from their very first meeting.  His patience and communication made him the perfect fit to guide Stella through her practice sessions.  While I didn’t ever find myself really buying into Michael’s dread of being compared to his father since we only ever experienced the concern through his memories, it didn’t detract from the overall story.  I really enjoyed seeing Michael with his family as I felt it set the stage for what a caring individual he was.

You know who I wanted to throat punch throughout the book?  Well yes Phillip her creepy co-worker, but not just him.  I absolutely wanted to throttle Stella’s mom.  Seriously, her approach to her daughter’s love life drove me crazy.  I don’t care whether or not Stella is autistic, pressuring your daughter to date because you want grandchildren is obnoxious.  I struggled to reconcile a woman who raised such a wonderful woman with the same woman who would also treat their daughter that way.

I am not in a position to weigh in on whether or not this book represented autism well due to my limited experience, but I will say one thing nagged at me.  Having Stella end up with a man whose cousin happened to be autistic as well seemed to smooth some situations over that would have required more work between the characters had that not been the case.  I felt like we missed seeing some elements of all of the characters involved by not having this negotiation take place on page.  Certainly Stella and Michael were both strong enough characters to pull this off based on the other serious topics that tackled.

All in all, The Kiss Quotient was a very enjoyable read that I am glad I had the opportunity to review.

four-stars

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The Start of Something Good – Jennifer Probst 4 stars

June 5, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Read in 2018, Uncategorized 1

The Start of Something Good – Jennifer Probst 4 starsThe Start of Something Good by Jennifer Probst
Published by Amazon Publishing on 2018-06
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women
Pages: 301
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
three-flames

An enriching story of family ties, broken hearts, and second chances from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.

When Ethan Bishop returns to the Hudson Valley, his body and spirit are a little worse for wear. As a former Special Forces paratrooper, he saw his fair share of conflict, and he came home with wounds, inside and out. At his sisters' B & B and farm, he can keep all his pain at a safe distance. But quiet time isn't easy when a fiery woman explodes into his life...

It's business--not pleasure--that brings Manhattan PR agent Mia Thrush reluctantly to the farm. Tightly wound and quick tempered, Mia clashes immediately with the brooding Ethan. Everything about him is irritating--from his lean muscles and piercing blue eyes to his scent of sweat and musk.

But as the summer unfolds and temperatures rise, Ethan and Mia discover how much they have in common: their guarded histories, an uncontrollable desire, and a passion for the future that could heal two broken hearts. But will their pasts threaten their fragile chance at a brand-new future?

I’ve really enjoyed some of Jennifer Probst’s series, specifically Marriage to a Billionaire, Searching For and The Billionaire Builders , so I was excited to see she had a new series in the works.

The Start of Something Good is the first book in Probst’s new Stay series, and fans of her work won’t be disappointed.    The story has all the elements that fans of Probst will enjoy.  Close knit family, emotional writing and characters who tug at your heart-strings and great sexual chemistry.

There were lots of elements that made The Start of Something Good an enjoyable read for me.

  • My family loves Disney movies so I loved seeing this incorporated into Ethan’s family
  • Chloe added a wonderful element as a young woman going through her own struggles.  I enjoyed that both Mia and Ethan bonded with Chloe and helped mentor her even though it wasn’t their responsibility.  The interactions that included her added a depth to their relationship that would have been missing without her.
  • I adored Ethan’s sisters and am already looking forward to their stories.  The epilogue tells me Ophelia has quite a history with Kyle.  I wonder how Ethan will deal with the conflict between his childhood friend and his sister.
  • Hei-Hei the chicken, behold his majesty

If you enjoy contemporary romances centered around families and small town settings than The Start of Something Good is for you.

four-stars

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Bone Driven – Hailey Edwards 5 stars

May 31, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, Uncategorized 1

Bone Driven – Hailey Edwards 5 starsBone Driven by Hailey Edwards
Series: Foundling #2
on May 31, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Epic, Romantic, Action & Adventure
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars
two-half-flames

'Edwards creates amazing fantasy worlds that the reader becomes completely engrossed in' (Goodreads)

The bayou is burning, the battle is just beginning - and Luce Boudreau is smack in the middle of no-man's land . . .

Life as a cop in Canton Town, Mississippi, is never dull - particularly when hiding deep within you is a demon bent on the apocalypse. Luce is doing her best to pretend her two worlds aren't crashing into each other, but what should be a routine arson investigation takes a shocking turn when Luce discovers a link between the suspects and her own dark secrets. There's no turning back, even though her search for the truth threatens to burn her old life down around her.

Lines are being drawn in a war Luce barely understands, and she just might be on the wrong side of them. Now she must embrace her powerful destiny, or the ones she loves most will pay the ultimate price.

Book Two in the powerfully addictive fantasy series The Foundling, perfect for fans of Ilona Andrews, Jenn Stark and Helen Harper

What readers are saying about Hailey Edwards:

'A fantasy of a five-star read!' Amazon reviewer

'This is a well written and entertaining story, full of humour and suspense, that I found to be a terrific read.''A fast-moving journey filled with the unexpected.' (RT Book Reviews)

'Hailey Edwards has exceeded all expectations.' (Goodreads)

'Well-plotted fantasy with intriguing characters, heart-pounding action, suspenseful intrigue and subtle romance. (RT Book Reviews)

'Edwards has this way of writing that makes you feel like the narrator is talking to you and that you're old friends.' (Goodreads)

'The world building is fresh . . . The characters are well-drawn and easy to root for. And the romance really hits the spot. '(Red Hot Books)

'One of the most interesting books i have read in a long time, it starts off pretty normal but when the shocks start coming they don't stop and Luce ends up feeling from one revelation after another.' Amazon reviewer

'One aspect of her writing I enjoy is her ability to take the mundane and with a few changes, turn it into something unique and unexpected. She builds dynamic character bases, using common mythology but takes it one step further using previously unseen species or imbibing currently known species with skills and know how that offers readers something new in the paranormal world.' (Smexybooks.com)

As you can see from my rating, I absolutely loved Bone Driven.  It picks up about a week after Bayou Born and we find Luce trying to put pieces of her life back together after beating off War.   Unfortunately Luce finds it’s impossible to go back to the simple small town life she craves.  Not only is War still out there, but there are new Charun  everywhere she turned and even people she loves aren’t immune to the evil that seems intent on awakening Conquest.

My heart broke for Luce in this book.  Not only do the losses continue to pile up around her, but it also seems that everyone wants a piece of her.  While Cole, Tom, Miller and Santiago want to protect and help her, they also need certain things from her that Luce doesn’t entirely understand or isn’t ready to give them.  Wu and Kapoor are both playing a long game that we don’t yet understand but it can’t be good for her or the coterie.  Maggie still loves her but also can’t yet forgive her entirely for the choice that Luce made.  Her attempts to straddle both her existing and new worlds strains her friendship with Rixton to the breaking point and there is nothing she can say to fix it when deceiving him means keeping his family safe.

Luce’s family is targeted again in the battle to bring forth Conquest.  How much more pressure will she be able to take before the guilt and pressure push her permanently into the cold space that will bury her humanity once and for all?

While I didn’t have this issue,  a number of reviewers for Bayou Born had indicated that they struggled with the pacing.  Let me assure you, you will not have any pacing issues with Bone Driven.  The non-stop action and emotion had me glued to my kindle, I even snuck it out during a graduation ceremony.

five-stars

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Bayou Born – Hailey Edwards 4 stars

May 30, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Read in 2017, Uncategorized 1

Bayou Born – Hailey Edwards 4 starsBayou Born by Hailey Edwards
Series: Foundling #1
on October 17th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
two-flames

"Edwards [creates] amazing fantasy worlds that the reader becomes completely engrossed in." GoodreadsHer beginning may be our end . . .

Deep in the humid Mississippi bayou, a half-wild child is dragged from the murky waters. She has no memories, no family and is covered in mysterious markings. Adopted by the policeman who rescued her, Luce Boudreau follows him onto the force, determined to prove herself in the eyes of those who are still suspicious.However, there's more of a battle ahead than Luce could possibly imagine. She may be an orphan without a past, but no one - including Luce herself - could ever be prepared for the truth of her dark, powerful destiny . .

"Well-plotted fantasy continues to engage the reader with its intriguing characters, heart-pounding action, suspenseful intrigue and subtle romance." RT Book Reviews

"The world building is fresh ... The characters are well-drawn and easy to root for. And the romance really hits the spot." Red Hot Books

I love all things PNR and UF, and I often have trouble identifying the line between the two genres when a series contains romantic elements, especially when the UF story results in a HEA.  While it’s too early in the Foundling series to know whether I will get that HEA, I’m certainly keeping my fingers crossed.

Bayou Born is an exciting new entry into the UF genre.  I haven’t been as excited about a UF series since I was first introduced to the Mercy Thompson series.  Bayou Born presents reader with a world and magical characters unlike anything else I have ever read.  There are no shifters or vampires here, not that there is anything wrong with either of those.   You would pry my shifter books out of my cold dead hands, but it was nice to read something so unique.  I won’t give any spoilers here, as the discovery of exactly what Luce and the men from White House Security are is an integral part of the story.  My only complaint is that we find out so late in book 1 that I felt like I just had a grasp on the world we were being presented with when the book ended which resulted in months of pining for book 2.

 

Stay tuned for my review of Bone Driven.

four-stars

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Wild Hunger – Suzanne Wright 2.5 stars

May 29, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Read in 2018, Uncategorized 1

Wild Hunger – Suzanne Wright 2.5 starsWild Hunger by Suzanne Wright
Series: Phoenix Pack #7
Published by Montlake Genres: Action & Adventure, Fiction, General, Paranormal, Romance, Shifters
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
two-half-stars
three-half-flames

When half–wolf shifter Frankie Newman receives an e-mail from a family member she didn’t know existed, a secret is revealed: as a child, Frankie witnessed her father killing her mother…and then himself. Frankie was torn from her pack by her mother’s human relatives, and the trauma was erased from her memory. Realizing that she’s been lied to her entire life, she’s never felt more alone. Until she catches the scent of an old friend—warmly familiar and intoxicating.

Trick Hardy, enforcer of the Phoenix Pack, can sense the rush of mutual attraction when he sees Frankie again. He knows immediately that she’s his true mate. But he also knows that, given her fragile state, he needs to tread with care—no matter how fierce his surging desires.

As aroused as Frankie is by Trick’s darkly dominant air and simmering desire, her priority right now is her past—not her future, no matter how tempting. But as more secrets emerge and Frankie’s life is threatened, Trick must do everything he can to keep her close and safe. After all, it’s their destiny.

Like lots of PNR fans, I am a fan of Suzanne Wright’s shifter series.  They are always follow the predictable format that makes them the cracky goodness I enjoy.  Wild Hunger delivered on all of the items readers have come to expect:

  • Fated mates – check
  • Super possessive alpha heroes – check
  • Snarky humor among pack mates, often at the expense of Greta who rightfully deserves it – check
  • Some flavor of bad guy or guys that ultimately threaten the heroine and/or the pack in general but who are ultimately defeated – check
  • Over the top sexual references and the notion of saving your ass for your mate – check

The story had all the elements that I look for in Wright’s books and would have gotten a higher ranking from me if it weren’t for one major problem.

You see, in Wild Hunger we are reminded multiple times that the hero of this story, Trick, has had a past that included sleeping with both men women.  Rock on, bring on the bisexual heroes you say and I agree.  Unfortunately rather than either opting not to specifically state that Trick is bisexual because the label is needed when we know his history or stating that Trick is bisexual, the story seems to make a point to make a statement that Trick isn’t gay.  Below are a couple of examples of this:

  • When a man who Trick has hooked up with in the past attempts to make the heroine question whether she will really be able to give Trick what he needs, she tells him that Trick isn’t gay.  When he doesn’t believe her she says “I’m pretty sure he’s straighter than the pole you dance on every Saturday.”
  • When Frankie (the heroine) is talking to a female member of the pack about the exchange above, the female packmate says “Seeing you and Trick together will have made him face that Trick isn’t gay, wich means he also had to face that you’re able to give Trick something he can’t give him – not unless he’s interested in a sex change anyway.

I just don’t understand why the author opted to address Trick’s sexuality this way when the fact that pack mates have hooked up with each other is openly known and accepted.  Clearly men and women both do it for Trick, why is there any need to make it about being or not being gay?

I hope that we will see this topic handled more appropriately in the future because I would hate to need to stop reading a series that I have enjoyed for years.

two-half-stars

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A Rancher’s Heart – Vivian Arend – 4 stars

May 21, 2018 Read in 2018, Sent, Steph 1

I received this book for free from the Author . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Rancher’s Heart – Vivian Arend – 4 starsA Rancher's Heart by Vivian Arend
Published by Arend Publishing Inc. on November 16, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General, Western, Humorous
Pages: 344
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
three-half-flames

This cowboy has given up on love, but the new nanny might just make him change his mind. The first in a brand-new series from New York Times bestselling author Vivian Arend.  

Caleb Stone is wearing too many hats and it’s making him crankier than usual. He’s a cowboy, a father, and the head of his large family—and has been since tragedy claimed his parents over ten years ago. The ranch is struggling, but it's the title of single dad that’s got him tangled up in knots. He needs a full-time, live-in nanny at the Silver Stone homestead in Heart Falls, Alberta, to help with his two little girls, but the woman about to arrive on his doorstep? Tantalizing, tempting, and trouble with capital T’s.

Tamara Coleman doesn’t regret the choices that led to losing her job, but she definitely needs a fresh start. When a friend recommends her for a nanny position in a new town, she swears this time it’ll be different. No more acting on impulse—except sexy, gruff Caleb is exactly the kind of man who pushes all her buttons. And what’s more, it’s so much fun to push his in return. Sparks fly between Tamara and her gorgeous boss, but she can’t risk her position, and he doesn’t dare risk his heart.

With two people fighting their true natures, something’s going to give. Luckily, there’s more than one way to capture a rancher’s heart.

I blame school for how long this took me to read but I am happy that I read this one and was able to jump right in to book two immediately.  We first met Tamara in the Coleman series but this is where we really get to see who she is while also seeing a new family and area.

There is a lot of heart in this one with two girls who need someone to be their advocate while making sure that both of them have their own voice.  Tamara is the right person for the job as she recognizes the behavior and makes sure to gently work on a healthier dynamic.  She also recognizes how badly she wants Caleb while at the same time not wanting to ruin this second chance.  I quite enjoyed her heart and how badly she tried to make up for the girls’ mom (I can’t even with that woman).

Caleb was wonderfully surly but charming… he was so badly burned by his ex and while he tries to avoid what he wants from Tamara…  well we all know how that turns out.  I liked him but didn’t always like his actions even though I understood them.  He really wants to do the best he can for his entire family but he at times goes about it in the worst way.  He is very attentive once he lets his need for Tamara to the surface.  I quite enjoyed how much they wanted one another but also how much they worked together to make sure that the girls were always taken care of.  This is something that I found endearing as they had been thru so much in such a short time.

This is a bit short but I did quite enjoy the introduction to this family and I think you will too.  Go grab this!!

four-stars

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Musings: Facing One’s Own Mistakes & Trying to Listen More

April 3, 2018 Musings 0

This post will not be a pretty one…  I will make mistakes… I will probably say something that won’t sit well but I need to be honest and open in a way I thought I was but after reading so many stories by so many Authors of Color (AOC) after the latest RWA statement regarding diversity and the RITAs I think I need to be open so I can finally be what I want to be… a true advocate for diverse voices in all areas of my life.

I have always said that I truly try to be color/ethnicity blind in all aspects of my life but you know what…  THIS IS A PRIVILEGE THAT REALLY SAYS “I have the luxury to say things that actually mean that I’m not truly trying to make sure that ALL voices get a chance to be heard.”  I am privileged in that I am a relatively educated white woman who was able to grow up in areas with diverse citizens and non-citizens.  I had the chance to experience the services and teachings from people of all sorts of religious and non-religious backgrounds.  I was encouraged to read, to seek out information from varied sources, and go out to just experience life around people.  Yes, people…  all kinds… I went to school in a public system where in high school my friends were from the projects, from the richest areas of town, and those who were like me just normal middle to low class kids.  I was also lucky enough to not be the popular kid but because of the classes I was in I knew everyone in my school including who sold drugs, who needed food or support due to poverty, and every single one of the popular kids.  I never feel in to a single clique but was able to spend time around anyone I wanted.  In fact, I had the chance to spend some time around one of the people I went to high school with and her perception was that I was popular.  I never felt that way but perhaps because I liked to be around those who tolerated me (sad but there were so many problems at home that tolerated me was GREAT) others could perceive it as popularity.

I say this because me claiming to be color blind is the worst thing that I could actually say.  I need to actually say that I will not tolerate the fact that those who aren’t like me get sneered at.  They get told that speaking up is just complaining… that asking for an equal chance at being recognized for work that is AMAZING is just whining…  I need to own that I should be looking for the voices that aren’t being celebrated and use my platform to encourage more people to PAY ATTENTION!!!  I don’t actively search for AOC and that needs to change… I need to do better…  WE NEED TO DO BETTER…  I need to be aware in a way that allows me to support all AOC by being aware that by claiming color blindness I was actually part of the problem.  I am not going to say this will be easy for me to correct but I am saying I want to do better.  I will be at my first RWA in July and will change my Twitter avatar as we get closer to the convention so I can be recognized.  I will speak up if I hear or see any behavior that AOC have had to deal with over the years.  It will be hard for me because I do have trouble speaking out.  I admit it…  I avoid confrontation most of the time because that’s the way I was raised.  Don’t draw attention to yourself… be a good girl…  don’t embarrass the family… I know that it was what was taught to them but you know what…  I need to speak up and truly try to be an advocate.

If you know a work, series or anything by AOC that you’d like to see me read or talk about…  PLEASE LET ME KNOW!  I am being honest when I say I will try anything once..  I really do love to read anything just so I can at least say that I tried it even if I end up not liking it.  I encourage you to start to pay attention to what you are reading, who you look to for recommendations, what characters are included, how people are represented, and above all….  NOTICE WHAT IS MISSING…. saying you are colorblind is not a plus…  it is not a positive…  you are most likely doing the same thing I was doing and missing problems that need to be addressed.  I cannot say this enough…  If you see me at any event, please come up to me to say hi…  to avoid being alone or in general just cause you like books.  I am an introvert by nature but I love books…  I love reading…  I love talking about books…  I love learning about new books…  I love hearing about the old school stuff that I never read because I didn’t read romance until about a year before this blog started…  Send me an email by using the contact page…  Find me on Twitter… Honestly if you just want to tell me off because I was so damned proud of being something that was not really a good thing…  Yeah go ahead..  I will own my blindness but I also own that I will be trying to be more than that going forward.  I want to be a positive in this community and the community in general.  The only way this is possible is to acknowledge that my own arrogance is a huge part of what allows this behavior to continue.

So…  Let me know…  Let anyone reading this blog know…  Who are some AOC that we all need to read?  I really do want to know either on here or Twitter…  If you are an AOC or represent an AOC please reach out to me…  I want to do better and really put my actions ahead of my words.

Also…  thanks to Suleikah Snyder who reminded me that by reaching out to her before I posted this made me do the same thing I don’t want to do.  So yeah I’m posting before I get any feedback cause…  I have a lot of work ahead of me but dammit I will learn…

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