Posts By: Steph

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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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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Cover Reveal – Branded by Stacy Gail

April 3, 2018 Cover Reveal 0

Title: Branded
Series: Brody Brothers
Author: Stacy Gail
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 2, 2018
Publisher: Carina Press

You want my hands on you, Celia. Making you shiver, making you moan, making you scream. Admit it.
Celia Villarreal had wanted those things with Ryland Brody, Bitterthorn’s golden boy—and wanted them badly enough to make a fool of herself one idiotic night months ago. 
Naughty children shouldn’t touch what they don’t own.
Rejection always stings, but putting a move on Ry had devastating consequences. Now, her regret burns as bright as her need—until Ry, as glorious as ever, makes her an offer that might finally be her ticket out of town. 
I’m not your enemy, darlin’. If you give me half a chance, you’ll see that I can be your hero.
When working together leads to grinding all naked-like with the very cowboy who’d seen her at her worst, Celia is afraid she’s made a mistake. 
Until the truth comes out.
This is who we are, from now on. Say it. Feel it.
Once Ry’s past motivations come to light, Celia must decide if she can give him another chance, or turn her back on Bitterthorn—and the one man who’s always wanted her—for good.

A competitive figure skater from the age of eight, Stacy Gail wrote stories between events to pass the time. By fourteen, she told her parents she was either going to be a skating coach who was also a romance writer, or a romance writer who was also a skating pro. Now with a day job of playing on the ice with her students, and writing everything from PNR and cyberpunk to contemporary romance at night, both dreams have come true.

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Ivan – Kit Rocha – 4.5 stars

March 30, 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.

Ivan – Kit Rocha – 4.5 starsIvan by Kit Rocha
Published by Kit Rocha on March 28, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Book #3 in Gideon's Riders

As the sheltered princess of Sector One, Maricela's life is defined by duty: to her people and to her family. Her wealth and influence have allowed her to build a better world, but they come with a price---the responsibility to secure political stability with a practical marriage. Maricela cherishes the idea of marrying for love, but there's not much romance in the endless line of suitors interested only in prestige and power.

And her handsome, brooding new bodyguard isn't helping the situation.

Ivan is the perfect, deadly warrior, a man trained from childhood to be the ultimate protector to the Rios family. His focus on keeping her safe is intense--and a little intoxicating. When the threat of danger cracks his icy control, Maricela realizes she's not the only one fighting against temptation.

Ivan knows that the blood on his hands makes him unworthy of the pure-hearted princess. But from the first kiss, their forbidden affair feels inevitable. He can give her a glimpse of life outside her gilded cage and a lover who wants the woman instead of the crown. The only thing he can never do is promise her forever.

Because spurning her noble suitors to marry her bodyguard wouldn't just be a scandal. It could set off a political firestorm that would tear Sector One apart.

The ANGST is strong with this book.  You have a man who thinks that he’s not worthy and a woman who is so devoted to making sure she does everything right by her family that she’s shut herself off to being truly happy.  Yeah it was a slow build but it was so worth the wait because when they finally acknowledge what they want…  BOOM!!!!

Maricela was an interesting character as we only have seen her as the sheltered Princess who is definitely loved by her family but her actions when her brother was attacked made one see her in a different light.  She’s now being guarded by a man who shouldn’t make her want him but there is something that draws her to him just the same.  She knows she’s destined to be married off to one of the major families in Sector 1 (or maybe more than one) but she yearns to be seen as her own self vs a Rios.  I liked her knowledge that it wasn’t what she wanted but she didn’t wallow in pity but did what she could to make a difference to the people in Sector 1.  I appreciated that she did let herself mope a bit but that it didn’t rule her.  She still tried to put on the show in a way that didn’t call attention to how unfair things were but that she knew there were so many worse things that could be happening.  I enjoyed how and who she was with Ivan even as they fought to keep their attraction secret and under control.  She tried so hard but also made others look at things differently when she finally spoke up about what she wanted and needed.  I loved her strength in this even as she hurt.

Ivan was heartbreaking.  I am so happy we got to see what drove him before he finally allowed his need to claim Maricela come out.  We got to see a man finally find someone who accepted who he was and didn’t judge him for it.  He also got to get some much needed peace with himself and his history.  I loved how growly he was but also how fiercely he wanted Maricela to have a chance to be free even if it wasn’t what others thought she needed.  He fought so fiercely to get her moments where she wasn’t putting the false face on and truly live.  He really was an amazing character to see open up to living life and I quite enjoyed it.  He broke my heart a few times but I understood why even as I was cursing the moments.  He reads the situations so well that you’d think he reads minds but it is what makes him such a valuable member of the Riders.  I didn’t like seeing what people put him thru for something he couldn’t prevent but this event shaped so much of his life and why he thinks he’s not worthy of happiness that seeing it finally resolved made me smile.  This is a man who is dirty as hell in so many ways but with a huge heart that finally gets to be treated the way it deserves to be.

Now… I CANNOT WAIT for more stories because yeah…  there is so much that will hit you in the feels in this story that isn’t wrapped around the main pair….  I really really really am ready for Gideon’s book but yeah I want more from Sector 1 and I can be patient…. *peeks* is there a hint yet of when Gideon’s book is coming *sighs* must be good… must not whine…  must be good…

four-half-stars

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Hot and Badgered – Shelly Laurenston – 5 stars

March 27, 2018 Kensington, NetGalley, Read in 2018, Sent, Steph 1

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

Hot and Badgered – Shelly Laurenston – 5 starsHot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston
Published by Kensington on March 27th 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Shifters, Action & Adventure
Pages: 400
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.   Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up . . .

My reaction once I saw the title for this book and knew it was about HONEY BADGERS:

via GIPHY

This might be one of the ways I imagine our favorite honey badgers:

via GIPHY

But I am torn on how to review this because I loved it so much and don’t want to even partially spoil anything so…  it is LIST TIME!!!

Why do I love this book so much?  Well..

  • We get to see HONEY BADGERS…  I mean come on now who wouldn’t love it just for this alone.
  • A certain character I love gets their ass kicked and… also gets what’s coming to them from another source as well.  When a mama says “I hope you have a kid just like you”, pray this doesn’t happen.
  • Bo!!!!!  Yes Bo is back in all his OCD glory.
  • Kyle!!!!!  We gets lots of psycho Kyle and man oh man did I miss him.
  • The sisters are divine!
  • Lock makes a fun appearance.
  • A certain overly focused older genius makes an appearance.
  • I really hope that one of the sisters ends up with my favorite panda.
  • We get another species that I didn’t expect but should’ve cause he’s just priceless and I can’t wait to see more of him in future books.
  • Another bear shifter so you know what he’s especially good at *waggles eyebrows*
  • A love story that makes sense even as the world around them goes crazy they just work…

Now on to my warnings..

Read this ONLY with people around you that won’t get distracted by snort laughing as you hit some of the funniest parts.

Don’t read this while DRINKING ANYTHING…  Yes I do mean DRINKING ANYTHING…  You will spit take a few times if you do and there is a distinct possibility of laughing hard enough where it will come out your nose.

Be prepared to want MORE NOW as this book reminds you of why you love this series so much and so badly missed the world that Shelly has built for us.

So…. just go ahead..  buy it and prepare to not get anything else done until you’ve read it.  Also…  I might be a WEE bit excited that Shelly will be the keynote speaker at a RWA luncheon this summer.  I will try to contain my fangirling but…  yeah…  I WILL BE IN THE SAME ROOM AS SHELLY… *hyperventilates* I’m cool…  I’m cool…  I’ll be cool….

five-stars

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Hurts to Love You – Alisha Rai – 3.5 stars

March 26, 2018 Avon, Edelweiss, Read in 2018, Steph 1

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

Hurts to Love You – Alisha Rai – 3.5 starsHurts to Love You by Alisha Rai
Published by HarperCollins on March 27th 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Multicultural & Interracial, Contemporary Women
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars
four-flames

Being bad never felt so good, in the third novel in Alisha Rai’s sexy Forbidden Hearts series!

Well-behaved women don’t lust after men who love to misbehave.

Heiress Evangeline Chandler knows how to keep a secret . . . like her life-long crush on the tattooed hottie who just happens to be her big brother’s friend. She’s a Chandler, after all, and Chandlers don’t hook up with the help. Then again, they also don’t disobey their fathers and quit their respectable jobs, so good-girl rules may no longer apply.

Gabriel Hunter hides the pain of his past behind a smile, but he can’t hide his sudden attraction to his friend’s sheltered little sister. Eve is far too sweet to accept anything less than forever and there’s no chance of a future between the son of a housekeeper and the town’s resident princess.

When a wedding party forces Eve and Gabe into tight quarters, keeping their hands off each other will be as hard as keeping their clothes on. The need that draws them together is stronger than the forces that should shove them apart . . . but their sparks may not survive the explosion when long-buried secrets are finally unearthed.

I had such high hopes for this one but it just didn’t completely make me happy.  I liked it but compared to Jackson’s story…  yeah… just not as good as I’d hoped.  I loved seeing the wrap-up but I wanted something bigger from the main pair, Eve and Gabe.  Still was a good read but Jackson just has my heart.

Eve is finally making some strides to stand on her own two feet by quitting the job she hated and starting to avoid her abusive father.  She also is head-over-heels obsessed with Gabe.  She knows he’s not in to her but she can’t help but try to be around him any way she can.  I felt for her as we go thru this book because what she was subjected to as a child was horrible and the damage that was done to her psyche because of her father made me feel for her.  She makes some moves to get Gabe to notice her and boy does it work.  They do take their time getting there but there is no mistaking what she means to him and what he means to her when it finally comes to a head.  I liked how she finally found her voice but also appreciated how much she understood the undercurrents and implications of the major secret that has been under everyone’s noses for decades.  Her open acceptance of the secret made me smile as Gabe needed someone to be there for him.

Gabe is convinced that he’s a love them a few times and leave them kind of guy.  He’s also convinced he’s too old for Eve but man oh man does he want her.  He’s also hiding a huge secret that finally comes to light on the build-up to Livvy and Nico’s wedding.  He also finally lets himself have Eve but isn’t completely honest with her on what he wants from her.  There is a lot of angst with these two but the final bits of the family secrets overshadow the relationship that is being built between he and Eve.  I did adore them together but would have liked more time with them.  He’s so good at making sure people around him are taken care of but seeing him finally get some major answers made me happy.  I appreciated how much he saw of Eve and what he did to help her find her voice.  Having someone silently stand by and provide support without judgement or taking over is what most of us need when fighting the demons of our past.

The story arc wraps up nicely with some twists that I didn’t completely expect but that weren’t completely surprising.  I know that might not make sense but some of what comes out was hinted at previously you just have to have not been distracted by the wonderfulness that is Jackson…  LOL  I am sad to see this series end but hopefully she’ll give us a way to see *HINT* Jackson again in some other story that conveniently needs a chef… *HINT HINT HINT HINT*

three-half-stars

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Wrong to Need You – Alisha Rai – 5 stars

March 26, 2018 Avon, Purchased, Read in 2018, Steph 1

Wrong to Need You – Alisha Rai – 5 starsWrong to Need You by Alisha Rai
Published by HarperCollins on November 28th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Multicultural & Interracial, Contemporary Women
Pages: 368
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars
five-flames

A Cosmopolitan Best Book of 2017!

Alisha Rai returns with the second novel in her sizzling Forbidden Hearts series!

He wasn’t supposed to fall in love with his brother’s widow…

Accused of a crime he didn't commit, Jackson Kane fled his home, his name, and his family. Ten years later, he’s come back to town: older, wiser, richer, tougher—and still helpless to turn away the one woman he could never stop loving, even after she married his brother.

Sadia Ahmed can’t deal with the feelings her mysterious former brother-in-law stirs, but she also can’t turn down his offer of help with the cafe she’s inherited. While he heats up her kitchen, she slowly discovers that the boy she adored has grown into a man she’s simply unable to resist.

 An affair is unthinkable, but their desire is undeniable. As secrets and lies are stripped away, Sadia and Jackson must decide if they’re strong enough to face the past...and step into a future together.

Oh dear Lord… Jackson is just my favorite hero of this series.  I love his misunderstood self and how badly he wants his Sadia.  Alisha could give me more of him but I don’t think I’d ever be satisfied.

This continues the story started in Hate to Want you but now we get to focus on Jackson (Livvy’s brother) and Sadia (Livvy’s oldest brother’s widow).  This continues to uncover what really happened a decade ago when tragedy struck the Chandler and Oka-Kane families.  We get a few major bombs dropped during this one but I am going to remain focused on the man who I’d love more of…  Jackson…  He’s such a quiet person and very self-contained but when he loves, he loves fiercely which makes the pain he’s had to go thru for so many years so much more visceral.  He’s always had a thing for Sadia but felt that he would cause her more pain by returning to the town he’s avoided since being accused of something he didn’t do.  He didn’t even come home for his oldest brother’s funeral but wait for the payoff because when you see his grand gesture… *heart melts*  I loved seeing him lower his guards with Sadia and grow in to a relationship with his nephew.  As you go thru the story you get to see him blossom and finally get comfortable with who he is and what he wants.  He’s just amazing even if he comes across as standoffish.

Sadia also had a lot of growing to do in this book.  She’s still struggling with her husband’s death but also what was going on just prior to his death and now her need to be with Jackson.  She has a lot on her plate but the main thing I appreciated was how Alisha captured this need to be perfect and measure up to something that is impossible.  I liked seeing how she finally realized what her role is in her family and her own value even if it isn’t the same as the others in her family.  She’s stronger than she realizes but seeing her finally accept Jackson and what he is to her was my favorite part.  I adored how much she loved her son but also how much she opened up to Jackson even as she tried to keep her distance.

You’ll get to see some major moves towards the families healing and reconciliation but wait until book 3 for the rest of the story behind what actually happened all those years ago…

five-stars

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Hate to Want You – Alisha Rai – 4 stars

March 26, 2018 Avon, Purchased, Read in 2018, Steph 1

Hate to Want You – Alisha Rai – 4 starsHate to Want You by Alisha Rai
Published by HarperCollins on July 25th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Multicultural & Interracial, Contemporary Women
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
five-flames

Alisha Rai, one of contemporary romance’s brightest stars, makes her Avon Books debut with the first novel in the sexy Forbidden Hearts series!

One night. No one will know.

That was the deal. Every year, Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler would share one perfect night of illicit pleasure. The forbidden hours let them forget the tragedy that haunted their pasts—and the last names that made them enemies.

Until the night she didn’t show up.

Now Nicholas has an empire to run. He doesn’t have time for distractions and Livvy’s sudden reappearance in town is a major distraction. She’s the one woman he shouldn’t want . . . so why can’t he forget how right she feels in his bed?

Livvy didn’t come home for Nicholas, but fate seems determined to remind her of his presence—and their past. Although the passion between them might have once run hot and deep, not even love can overcome the scandal that divided their families.

Being together might be against all the rules . . . but being apart is impossible.

One of Amazon's Best Romances of the Month & Best Romances of 2017!

I know …  I know… I’m behind but I finally was able to read this one along with the rest of the series (in less than 24 hours) and I am glad I did.  The series does need to be read in order as the story unfolds across the three books.  In this one we meet the star-crossed lovers who find their way back to one another after tragedy tears their families apart.

Livvy is back to be there for the mother who doesn’t need her but that doesn’t stop Livvy from trying desperately to get something from her mother.  We get to meet a woman who wants nothing more than to forget the past but who is still hung up on the man who seemingly doesn’t want her any more.  I liked her strength even as she crumbled because of all the mess that tore apart her entire world.  I also appreciated that even as she tried to hide what Nico meant to her there was a part of her that always knew she’d never move on.  There is so much hurt, so many secrets, and so many hurdles I felt banged up by them all even though I was only reading about the drama.  Her finding peace with the past is a huge part of this story and even though it does take the other two titles to see the final secrets revealed the pairing between Nico and Livvy has a very satisfying conclusion which leaves you ready for more.

Nico…  Nico…  Nico… he’s a mess who is so practiced at denying what he wants and how he feels that you just want to slap him.  When we finally find out why he did what he did it makes sense but at the same time you really wish he had just talked to people.  He’s also very focused on giving Livvy all the pleasure he can when they see each other once a year…  Ohhhhhhh I didn’t mention that did it?  Yeah they’ve seen each other every year until the past one on her birthday for a night of sex.  He’s always looked forward to each year because even though he tries to deny it …  He’s still hers and only hers.  Seeing him work on figuring this out and dealing with the messed up remains of his family was interesting but my favorite part had to be when Livvy’s twin shows up…  I admit seeing his reaction to someone breaking in cracked me up.  I did appreciate that he owned his behavior when push came to shove but I did want him to wake up sooner than he did.

Keep an eye out today as my reviews for the other 2 parts come out later….

four-stars

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A Princess in Theory – Alyssa Cole – 4.5 stars

February 28, 2018 Avon, Edelweiss, Read in 2018 1

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

A Princess in Theory – Alyssa Cole – 4.5 starsA Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
Published by HarperCollins on February 27th 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Multicultural & Interracial, Romantic Comedy
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars
four-flames

From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise . . .

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

I am sorry I didn’t request this one earlier but I did and was so happy to get approval from Avon!  I adored this book and am ready for book 2.. like now…  I mean really it can hit my Kindle any time now… *checks Kindle* darn!  I thought I could wish it in to existence but hey let’s chat about this one…

What if you’ve never had a true family? Or you can’t remember what it was like because you ended up in foster care due to the death of your family?  You might end up like Ledi and feel like something is wrong with you so you just do the best you can do standing on your own.  She’s such a strong character with a heart of gold who really at her core just wants to feel like she matters.  She has her degree program that means everything to her and a friend who isn’t a bad person but honestly is a mess.  Oh…  she has her lab mice but I mean she really is lonely but strong enough where she doesn’t need a man in her life.  And she especially doesn’t need the stupid spam emails that keep cropping up in her account but… In comes…

Thabiso….  he’s a Prince.  Yes, a Prince.  So you have this image of a man who is used to getting anything and everything he wants, when he wants it, and how he wants it.  Yeah, he’s this in so many ways but there is a deeper core to him that wants to find out why the girl who he was betrothed to abandoned his country.  Yes, he knows it wasn’t her since she was young and it was her family but let’s not get caught in that detail.  He’s driven to do what is best for his country but he’s at a bit of lost ends because he doesn’t agree with some of the things his advisors are trying to tell him to do.  He meets Ledi under interesting circumstances and we get to see the two of them find something that ends up meaning everything.

I’m being careful because I truly enjoyed the story and want others to get a chance to see how they find one another even when things aren’t perfect.  I loved seeing this build and the way they pushed to figure out if this was real made me smile.  Go for it and grab this one for a nice story about two souls who really fit each other in surprising ways.

four-half-stars

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