Posts Categorized: Berkley Trade

The Angels’ Share – JR Ward – 4.5 stars

July 27, 2016 Berkley Trade, Read in 2016, Sent 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.

The Angels’ Share – JR Ward – 4.5 starsThe Angels' Share by J.R. Ward
Published by Penguin on July 26th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Sagas
Pages: 432
Source: the publisher
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four-half-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward delivers the second novel in her Bourbon Kings series—a sweeping saga of a Southern dynasty struggling to maintain a façade of privilege and prosperity, while secrets and indiscretions threaten its very foundation…

In Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to look more and more like murder…

No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.

Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior...or the worst of all the sinners?

And now for the continuing saga of the Bradford Family….

I can just see this being made in to an evening soap opera or perhaps a telenovella in the future because it just flows like one of those epic train-wrecks that we see on those shows.  The last book ended on a bit of a surprise note with secrets being exposed and a family undergoing a major change.

The patriarch of the family is dead and has left chaos in his wake by virtue of stealing millions of dollars from his kids along with the Bradford Bourbon holdings.  He’s also left behind a scandal in the form of a pregnant soon-to-be-ex-wife of his son.  Lane finally has the love of his life by his side but is now having to hold together his family in order to right the wrongs perpetrated by his father.  He’s strong but how much can one man take on his shoulders?

There are a lot of twists and turns in this one but I think you’ll enjoy the ride.  We have the pieces coming together for Lane… Gin’s life falling apart around her both of her own making and just in general as she realizes how big of a mess she’s in…. Sutton finally having to face that even though she loves someone she has to let go (Nope nope nope want her and him together)… Edward finally seeming to understand his life and perhaps show some growth…  Samuel T was such a broken man and I loved seeing his inner battle more…

In general there are so many story-lines that are playing out during various points of the book that I really felt like I was watching a TV show and as much as I’d like to say that I hated it…  well…  I’d be lying because…

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You just can’t look away… I need more more more…

This has:

  1. Slutty ex-wife
  2. Drunk older brother in love with someone he can’t have *thinks he can’t have
  3. Who dun it???
  4. In love couple who actually are happy…
  5. Mother who is drugged up and lives in a fantasy world
  6. Momma who has cancer
  7. Dun dun dun….  the return of the lost brother….
  8. SCANDAL in the fact that millions are missing
  9. Who’s the father x2….
  10. Surprise new characters that I adored
  11. Villains GALORE

I could go on but you get the point…  CRACKTASTIC…

on a side note…  *ahem* Erin and team…  when can I get the next one??? *bats eyelashes*

four-half-stars

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The Bourbon Kings – J.R. Ward – 3 stars

July 29, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015 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.

The Bourbon Kings – J.R. Ward – 3 starsThe Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
Published by Penguin on 2015-07-28
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, Romance, Sagas
Pages: 400
Source: the publisher
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three-stars

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal.... For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.From the Hardcover edition.

I struggled with exactly how to rate this book before landing on a 3 star.  It has some things going for it but a few things going against it.  I can understand why some DNFed the book because it is full of EPIC WTFery but that WTFery was the thing that kept me entertained.  I mean it was like looking at a train wreck and being unable to turn away because you just want to know WTF happened next.

I equate this book to a cross between a telenovela and a traditional US soap opera…  we have the following:

  • Family Empire – come on you know Dallas, Dynasty and The Young and the Restless all have family businesses that are empires.  In this case we have a Kentucky Bourbon dynasty.
  • Sibling Squabbles – well in this case it isn’t so much a squabble as it is dynamics between the 3 children we see and the 4th that is non-existent.
  • Villains – Well in this case we have a bastard of a father, a bitch of an estranged wife and well an amazingly entitled asshole of a suitor (damn if you should call him that cause I’m sorry he’s just a supreme asshole)
  • Unrequited Love Interests – The heroine of this story, rival family’s daughter and the dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild
  • Secret Baby – The dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild that doesn’t know he’s a father….
  • Spoiled Princess – Beleive me when I say this woman is SPOILED…  She wouldn’t know how to live without her money and damn if she doesn’t make the single largest mistake because of this HUGE reliance on the finer things in life

Don’t go in to this story thinking you are reading a romance because to be honest the romance is in many respects the weakest part of this.  I enjoyed Lane and Lizzie but they weren’t the focus.  I also found myself a bit frustrated with Lizzie’s attitude during most of the story.  She’s very quick to jump to conclusions and typically the conclusions she jumps to are the most negative ones you can have.  I also felt the ending to be a bit abrupt and choppy but as much as I hate to admit this…  I’m hooked so give me more.

I am looking forward to the next books in this series because I think like this one I will be most interested in how the family deals with the revelations in this story.  I want to see what happens with the oldest brother and the sister as they find their matches because damn if those stories won’t prove interesting.  The dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild will prove the most interesting when he finds out the secret as he has finally decided he’s done playing the games…  or is he…  tune in for more from this series…  LOL

three-stars

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Asking For It – Lilah Pace – 5 stars – Excerpt/Contest

June 1, 2015 Berkley Trade, Contest, NetGalley, Read in 2015, Tours 1

Asking For It – Lilah Pace – 5 stars – Excerpt/Contest

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

Asking For It – Lilah Pace – 5 stars – Excerpt/ContestAsking for It by Lilah Pace
Published by Penguin Publishing Group on 2015-06-02
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley.com
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five-stars

“This is who I am. This is what I want. Now I need a man dangerous enough to give it to me.” 

Graduate student Vivienne Charles is afraid of her own desires—ashamed to admit that she fantasizes about being taken by force, by a man who will claim her completely and without mercy. When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy.

Their arrangement is twisted. The sex is incredible. And—despite their attempts to stay apart—soon their emotions are bound together as tightly as the rope around Vivienne’s wrists. But the secrets in their pasts threaten to turn their affair even darker...

Reader Advisory: Asking for It deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.

This is going to be a very long post as I want to get you excited to read this one….  I was blown away by this title and hope that people will be drawn to it like I was.  This is NOT for everyone and the warning should be heeded.

My review:

I think all of us that have read this struggle with the same thing which is “How do we review this?”  I mean this is an incredible story but the subject material isn’t for everyone but the way Lilah is able to show you how torn Vivienne is about her needs makes the story oddly compelling.  The thing that spoke to me most throughout this book is the way we see her crave the rough usage from our hero even as she finds her needs disgusting and wrong.  She’s got a lot of work to do to realize that while her needs are the same as everyone else’s they aren’t wrong nor are they something to be ashamed of.  The key is that she has to come to an understanding about her past and perhaps finally get someone to believe her about the incident from her past that colors everything.

Vivienne is a character that made me wince, cry and cheer as she finally gets something that makes her stronger.  The ability to find someone that can fulfill her darkest desires unlocks the true woman she is.  She finds strength in this new relationship that makes it where she actually wants her connection with our hero to be more than just the fulfillment of her desires.  As she navigates her own mental recovery she is compelled to understand why her partner is also drawn to this as he seems to be struggling with demons as well.  I am being careful in this review to not spoil things because the way they unfold is the main reason why I adored this story.

Jonah is our dark horse because we don’t get to see his viewpoint in this that often.  His actions speak volumes and what glimpses we get make me want to know more.  He has his own demons to slay but his care of her shines out.  I admit he made me flinch a few times but after the scene when he wants to actually care for her made me adore him.  I look forward to seeing where we go with him in the next book because DAMN is he compelling.

I can’t say it enough but I am BEYOND ready for book 2!!!!

Excerpt:

“It’s okay. This is difficult.” He pauses a moment before adding, “Are you scared?”

Deep breath. Honest answer. “Yes and no. I believe you aren’t going to do anything without my permission. But what we’re doing feels a little like jumping off a cliff. I’ve had this fantasy since – since always, but I never thought I’d act it out with a stranger –”

At that moment, a waiter appears by our sofa. Why do bar waiters only show up when you least want them around? Offhandedly Jonah says, “Bring me whatever she’s having.”

I don’t think he’s even looked at my glass. What if I had some ridiculous tropical drink, the kind of thing served in a pineapple with pink straws and paper umbrellas? The thought of someone as serious as Jonah sipping one of those makes me smile. Finally I’m able to relax a little – but not much.

As soon as the waiter hurries off, Jonah turns to me. “What would it take to make you feel safe?”

I like that he asked this. But how do I answer?

Cut to the chase, I remind myself. Jonah’s blunt honesty is the only way to go. “I’d need you to wear condoms. Unless you want to show me your medical records.”

Jonah nods. “I can get those for you. Can you show me test results too?”

It hadn’t even occurred to me that Jonah also might be concerned about that. “Um. Yeah, sure.”

“No rush,” he says. “I don’t mind wearing a condom at first. Makes it last longer.”

My cheeks flush as I envision Jonah inside me, pounding me, going on and on and on without mercy –

Jonah must know what I’m thinking, because he tilts his head as if he’s relishing the effect he has on me. He murmurs, “What else?”

Another sip of wine steadies me enough to answer. “I wouldn’t want you to tie me up. Not the first time, anyway.”

He smiles. “I like that you’re thinking about the future. I’ll have plenty of chances to give you what you want.”

It hadn’t even occurred to me before today that Jonah might have been considering a one-time fling. Now that I think about it, that makes more sense than assuming we’d keep playing out this scenario. But I’ve wanted this too long, too much, to assume one night will be enough to get it out of my system. If Jonah’s the right partner for this fantasy, then we have a chance I don’t intend to waste.

Already I sense that one taste of Jonah Marks won’t be enough.

 

Contest:

 

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five-stars

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Under the Lights – Shannon Stacey – 4 stars

May 28, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Sent 0

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

Under the Lights – Shannon Stacey – 4 starsUnder the Lights by Shannon Stacey
Published by Penguin on 2015-05-26
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 304
Source: the publisher
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four-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Kowalski Family novels, a sweet, sexy new series about taking hits, making second chances, and finding love…

They were the golden boys of fall: Stewart Mills High School’s legendary championship winning football team. Fourteen years later, they’re back to relive their glory, save the team—and find themselves again…

Chase Sanders’s life has taken a lot of crazy turns lately. But returning to his hometown to help his old coach keep his high school football team afloat might be the craziest thing to happen to him yet. That is, until he starts falling for the last person he should—Coach’s gorgeous daughter…

Kelly McDonnell learned the hard way that cocky, charming men are nothing but trouble, so she knows Chase is bad news. Still, she can’t resist his smile—or the rest of him. But when his loyalty to her father conflicts with their growing attraction, any hope for a relationship might be blocked before it can even begin…

Where do I start?  As most of you know I am a HUGE Shannon Stacey fan and have managed to get my mom and others addicted to her stories over the past few years.  I wanted to love this story as much as I LOVE the Kowalski’s but I must admit I miss my things of DOOM references.  This was a lovely story that I quite enjoyed but I admittedly do miss getting more of the family I adore.

In this book we get to meet a man who is in the process of losing everything to a dishonest partner and has lost a woman he thought he would spend his life with.  We see a broken man who has worked so hard to get to where he is at but now what does he have?  He’s asked to help out a man who believed in him and became a father to him so why not take this time to escape his new reality while trying to figure out what to do…  He’s broken in some ways but strong in so many others that he just doesn’t see and you just want to beat him over the head with it.  You want to yell at him “You are so much more than a broken man…”  I enjoyed how much he was willing to help out those who are in more dire straits than himself while not burdening or whining to others about what he’s going thru.  I didn’t enjoy him keeping it all to himself as it didn’t help him or anything to keep completely quiet.  He’s very honorable and that is part of what makes him almost miss the best thing that could ever happen to him.

We meet a woman who quite honestly wears her heart on her sleeve even as she tries to keep it hidden.  She does so much for so many but struggles with wanting to be seen as someone on her own two feet.  She wants something she believes needs to come from someone safe but what she needs is someone that is also strong.  She wants everything planned to the nth degree and love isn’t something that can be planned.  You find it when you least expect and in packages that at times are completely opposite what you think you wanted.  She has such a good sense of humor when the “boys” get drunk and go wandering but I enjoyed it most when she truly stood up for what she wanted.  She’s tough, honest and while she wants to keep her little “fling” hidden from the town she never lies to our hero about why this is important.  She never expected him to be anything other than a fling and he never promised her anything.

These two do give us a wonderful story and I do look forward to more of this series.  I’m sure they will become just as addictive as the Kowalski clan in their own way…

four-stars

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The Confession – Sierra Kincade – 4 stars

May 5, 2015 Berkley Trade, NetGalley, Read in 2015, Readathon 2015 0

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

The Confession – Sierra Kincade – 4 starsThe Confession by Sierra Kincade
Published by Penguin on 2015-05-05
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 368
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-stars

The hot and thrilling conclusion to the Body Work Trilogy, following The Masseuse and The Distraction

Anna Rossi walked away from Alec Flynn to keep her family and friends safe. But she can’t protect her heart from him, no matter how hard she tries…

Time has done nothing to quell Anna’s need for Alec. She knows that she did the right thing walking away; the constant media attention that Alec’s been getting for testifying against Maxim Stein and Force Enterprises is evidence enough of that. But no matter how many times she warns herself that Alec is dangerous, she just can’t stay away—even after her connection to him once again threatens her life…

Alec knows the evidence he has against Max could stop him from hurting anyone ever again. But when it’s revealed that Alec stands to inherit everything from Max’s loss, his testimony is called into question—and Max could walk free putting Anna in harms’ ways once again. Now he’s beginning to wonder if any of this is even worth it—and if he and Anna will ever have a chance at true happiness…

We have finally reached the end of Alec and Anna’s story and while I am sad to see it end I am happy that we finally have a conclusion.  I am happy with the way it played out but still want to have more about their friends and family.

Anna hasn’t been happy since she walked away from Alec to save everyone she loves.  She just wants people to be safe around her even if it means tearing her heart out.  She’s almost ready to run away again when she is abducted.  She ends up having Alec save her but finds out something that truly tears her apart…. is it what it seems or is there more?  I liked her strength in this one even as everything twisted around her.  She’s not willing to play the victim and we get to see more of her struggling to do what is right plus hold on to what she really wants.  They are still hot as hell when they get together but there is more to it this time.  I think I enjoyed it because there was more behind them this time and we saw more of Alec’s vulnerability.

Alec has consistently been a character that I found fascinating.  Under this tough guy exterior is a man who wants nothing more than to be loved and have those he loves be safe.  He is driven to do anything he can to keep Anna and those she holds dear safe even as it means keeping away from her.  I enjoyed seeing his love for Anna shine even as he tried to keep the walls up.  He adores her with all of his being and his ability to give her what she needs is wonderful.

This series grew on me as I found out more and more about them.  I am happy with where it ends up but honestly want to see Amy and Mike… really I want to see where they end up… PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE…

four-stars

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Last Kiss – Jessica Clare/Jen Frederick – 5 Stars

May 1, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Readathon 2015, Sent 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.

Last Kiss by Jessica ClareJen Frederick
Published by Penguin on 2015-05-05
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 384
Source: the publisher
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five-stars

From the bestselling authors of Last Hit and Last Breath comes the next dark and sensual tale in the Hitman series that crosses the line between danger and desire...

Naomi: When I was kidnapped I thought only of survival. I don’t thrive well in chaos. That’s why I gave my captors exactly what they wanted: my skill with computers. Making millions for a crime lord who kept me imprisoned in his basement compound kept my family safe. When he was taken out, I thought my ticket to freedom had arrived. Wrong. I traded one keeper for another. This time I’m in the hands of a scarred, dark, demanding Russian who happens to be the head of the Bratva, a Russian crime organization. He wants my brain and my body. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued, but I can’t be a prisoner forever...no matter how good he makes me feel.

Vasily: At a young age, I was taught that a man without power is a puppet for all. I’ve clawed—and killed—my way to the top so that it is my heel on their necks. But to unify the fractured organization into an undefeatable machine, I need a technological genius to help me steal one particular artifact. That she is breathtaking, determined, and vulnerable is making her more dangerous than all of my enemies combined. But only I can keep her safe from the world that she now inhabits. Soon, I must choose between Naomi and Bratva law. But with every day that passes, this becomes a more impossible choice.

I have enjoyed this series and seeing two people who have a lot of issues find the person who understands them…Yeah … I can handle that.

Naomi is different from most people.  She is used to being the outsider but has a tender soul who wants nothing more than to be understood.  She’s got Aspergers Syndrome which makes it difficult for her to relate to most and is misunderstood.  As I see this in the real world I enjoyed the care that was taken to show her struggle with the compulsions and needs that her mind has to have in order to process what of the world she can let in.  Her personality shines through and watching her fall in love with our hero was wonderful.  She’s strong as hell and very open about most things even as she struggles with letting anyone truly see her.  Her comments as they explore the physical side of their relationships often made me giggle and how she responds to what he needs was eye-opening for both of them.

Vasily… yeah I have wanted his story from book one.  I am thrilled that he found a woman who needs him but also pushes him to be more than just a volk.  He’s still a volk and not a good man in the traditional sense but for where he comes from and what he is…  yeah he’s a good man.  It pained me to discover what was behind his hatred of touch but watching him fall for a woman who needs him and isn’t afraid of his job–  WORTH IT!  I loved seeing his struggle with wanting to take her and denying himself out of fear.  I also enjoyed seeing him work thru issues and ultimately fight for what was right for his people even as he didn’t believe they would follow the man that had nothing.  He has himself and Naomi but mainly they follow him because at his core he is what they need and should aspire to.

 

five-stars

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This Gun for Hire – Jo Goodman – 5 stars

April 8, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Sent 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.

This Gun for Hire – Jo Goodman – 5 starsThis Gun for Hire by Jo Goodman
Published by Penguin on 2015-04-07
Genres: Fiction, General, Historical, Romance, Western
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
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five-stars

"Perfectly crafted"—PW (starred review)

Jo Goodman, a premier writer of western romance and the author of In Want of a Wife, is back with a sensational new novel for fans of Linda Lael Miller and Joan Johnston

He’s got a job to do…

Former army cavalryman Quill McKenna takes pride in protecting the most powerful man in Stonechurch, Colorado: Mr. Ramsey Stonechurch himself. But the mine owner has enemies, and after several threats on his life, mines, and family, Quill decides to hire someone to help guard the boss’s daughter. Only problem is the uncontrollable attraction he feels toward the fiery-haired woman who takes the job.

…but she’s a piece of work.

Calico Nash has more knowledge of scouting and shooting than cross-stitching, but she agrees to pose as Ann’s private tutor while protecting her. But between her growing attraction to Quill and the escalating threats against the Stonechurches, Calico will soon have a choice to make—hang on to her hard-won independence or put her faith in Quill to create the kind of happy ending she never imagined…

I have to say I grabbed a copy of this on a bit of a whim but I am very happy I did.  This one made me laugh and fall for the main pair as there is something honest and unique about them.  The side characters were also well done but the times we see our main pair interact made the book for me.

Calico Nash is infamous…  People don’t know exactly who Calico really is but the exploits are talked about far and wide.  What we get is a woman *gasp* who isn’t traditional for the times.  She’s brash, outspoken, a great shot and above all else INDEPENDENT!  *faints*  I mean for the times she is definitely NOT a typical woman but I enjoyed that about her.  She was raised by her father and learned her bounty-hunting skills from him but honestly she doesn’t hunt just for the money.  She has very clear ideals and is willing to work to right things that aren’t taken seriously by most law enforcement.  She’s also very smart which serves her well when she takes a job pretending to be a teacher for a well-to-do young lady.  I enjoyed her wit and her willingness to own up to mistakes if the times warrant it but I mainly loved her ability to keep our hero on his toes.  She wants someone to love her but doesn’t understand this as it isn’t something she ever thought would be hers.  She is off her game at times with our hero but she recovers well and I think you’ll like her ways of getting him off-kilter.

Quill cannot lie.  I mean seriously he sucks at lying….  really he does…  I enjoyed him for this reason as it causes him some difficulties when he wants to keep Calico from doing something he wants to keep her safe from.  He’s smart and is wise enough to understand he’s not going to be able to keep her from getting her way but he does still try even though he loses.  I enjoyed watching him struggle with his attraction for a woman that should be all wrong for him.  I also quite enjoyed that while he did try to protect her it didn’t come from a place where he thought she was weak.  He really does appreciate her spirit even as it drives him insane.  He also is great at managing his charges even as they battle him every step of the way.

I think the main thing that kept me engaged was this wild ride that Quill and Calico take us on as they battle each other with wit, humor and mutual dislike that evolves in to something fun to see.  They really are well-matched and definitely bring out the best/worst in one another.

five-stars

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Silver Bastard – Joanna Wylde – 3.5 stars

April 7, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Sent 1

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

Silver Bastard – Joanna Wylde – 3.5 starsSilver Bastard by Joanna Wylde
Published by Penguin on 2015-04-07
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 448
Format: Paperback
Buy on Amazon
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three-half-stars

First in the new Silver Valley series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Reapers Motorcycle Club Novels

Fourteen months. For fourteen months, Puck Redhouse sat in a cell and kept his mouth shut, protecting the Silver Bastards MC from their enemies. Then he was free and it was time for his reward--full membership in the club, along with a party to celebrate. That's when he saw Becca Jones for the first time and set everything in motion. Before the night ended he'd violated his parole and stolen her away from everything she knew.

Five years. It was five years ago that Puck destroyed Becca and saved her all in one night. She's been terrified of him ever since, but she's even more terrified of the monsters he still protects her from... But Becca refuses to let fear control her. She's living her life and moving forward, until she gets a phone call from the past she can't ignore. She has to go back, and there's only one man she can trust to go with her--the ex-con biker who rescued her once before.

Puck will help her again, but this time it'll be on his terms. No more lies, no more tears, and no more holding back what he really wants...

This is my first time reading anything by Joanna Wylde and I must say I do need to go back and read more.  I enjoyed this story but did find myself struggling at times with the pace and the heroine.

Becca didn’t have the most ideal childhood and the way she meets our hero is not exactly the way one would want to meet anyone.  She’s rescued from her mess of a mother and excuse of a stepfather by a man who is freshly out of prison.  She’s taken to Idaho where she is lucky enough to be taken in by a couple who manage to give her a semblance of a real life and childhood but things are still not easy for her.  When we see her again she’s on her own in an apartment working a crappy job and going to cosmetology school in order to do something with her life.  While I liked her I did find myself struggling with her seeming wishy-washy personality that couldn’t decide if she should be with Puck, without Puck, cut her mom out of her life or keep her mom in her life.  I wanted to yell at times “MAKE YOUR DAMN MIND UP” but I refrained.  I did understand why she behaved that way but I think I could’ve done without some of it.  I did like her strength and it will serve her well as she manages the lifestyle of an old lady.

Puck… bless his kickass ways that get shot all to hell by his weakness for Becca.  He’s definitely dangerous but even as we see this side of him we get to see a man who takes a major risk in breaking her free.  She’s his and once he decides to claim her there is nothing anyone can do to stop it even as she seems to keep one eye on the door.  I loved how under the growly exterior there is a really good guy who just wants to make things right.  He’s not an angel nor is he a traditional good guy but even bad guys can have good hearts.  He means everything he says to her and while they both have moments where they say some truly awful things to one another but even this isn’t a surprise.  Both of them have had a tough time in life and hurt has a tendency to bring out the worst in them.  He is something to behold when he makes his intentions clear which makes it fun to see in action and is HOT… *fans self*

three-half-stars

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Below the Belt – Jeanette Murray – 4 Stars

April 6, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Sent 0

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

Below the Belt – Jeanette Murray – 4 StarsBelow the Belt by Jeanette Murray
Published by Berkley Publishing Group on 2015-04-07
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Military, Romance, Sports
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!

There's more than one way to win in the debut of the First to Fight series...

Athletic trainer Marianne Cook is ready to do whatever it takes to turn the men of the Marine Corps boxing team into fighting machines. After all, her ultimate goal is to land a job training professional athletes. But when she notices a certain hard-bodied marine trying to hide an injury, Marianne realizes that she’ll have to use covert tactics to get him talking.

First Lieutenant Brad Costa has waited years for the chance to fight for a spot on the Marine Corps boxing team, knowing he has to push twice as hard to get half as far as his younger counterparts. Brad tries to downplay his injuries to the attractive trainer who has his dreams in her hands, but Marianne isn’t buying it. Maybe it’s time to deploy some targeted flattery.

As Brad and Marianne’s attraction turns red-hot, there’s more than one person having a hard time keeping their eyes on the prize…

I will admit that I decided to read this book because of its cover and the fact that the blurb didn’t do anything to make me run away from the pretty cover made it easy to go “MINE”.  I ended up with a story I liked quite a bit and a team that I can’t wait to read more about.  The characters are fun and I admit that I’m particularly looking forward to when a certain younger, thinks he’s God’s gift to women, Marine meets his match.  *snicker*

In this story we get to meet a man who is driven to be on the Marine’s boxing team because of a desire to honor his father’s memory.  He’s always wanted this chance but when he injures himself early in the tryout process he’s struggling between what is right and what he needs to do to not be kicked out of the tryouts.  He’s aloof and grumpy but absolutely shocked at his reaction to the team trainer.  He doesn’t want to want her nor does he want the distraction of a relationship but he just can’t resist the way she calls to him.  I enjoyed seeing him struggle with his attraction to her but my favorite part was seeing him start to let people in.  He’s someone to admire other than his secret but I could understand why he took so long to finally admit what was happening to him although I wish he hadn’t gone about it the way he did.  His gesture at the end was funny to read but you knew it came from his heart.  Brad is such a good guy to his core he just needed to see it and understand that while he could be focused on making the team the key is… TEAM.

Our heroine has her own issues with wanting to be seen as the trainer not a woman.  When Brad starts to mess with her preconceived notions of what she wants moving forward she’s resistant.  I enjoyed watching her struggle but also appreciated her willingness to see where they went.  I did get frustrated a bit with her seeing the worst in some situations even as I understood where she was coming from.  She’s strong but is willing to see the other side once she stops to think about it.  I liked how she really just wanted him to open up to her but allowed him to deflect her at times.  I enjoyed seeing her admit to her mom that she had someone but mainly loved seeing her blossom in to her own as she became more comfortable with her job and her relationship with a man who adores her.

Both characters had a lot of waking up to do during this story and needed to accept who they were in order to make a future.  The way Ms. Murray weaves their story was a lot of fun to read and seeing how the rest of the characters interact makes me ready for more from this team.  I look forward to seeing more of the coaches and our pair from this story as the others in the team meet their match!

 

four-stars

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Last Breath – Jessica Clare/Jan Frederick – 5 stars

March 4, 2015 Berkley Trade 0

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

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Last Breath – Jessica Clare/Jan Frederick – 5 starsLast Breath by Jessica ClareJen Frederick
Published by Berkley Publishing Group on 2015-03-03
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
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five-stars

From the bestselling authors of Last Hit comes the next in the steamy series that explores the exquisite power of our darkest passions . . .

Regan: I never really knew what misery was until the day I was kidnapped and sold for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Two months later, I’m at a brothel in Rio when I meet Daniel Hays. He says he’s here to save me, but can I trust him? All I know of him are his sarcastic retorts and his tendency to solve every dispute with his gun. He’s also the only safe thing in my world, and I know it’s wrong to fall in love with him, but I can’t seem to help myself. He says he’ll protect me until his last breath, but I don’t know if I should believe him or even if I can.

Daniel: For the last eighteen months, one goal has dictated every action I’ve taken. I’ve left the Army, turned paid hit man, and befriended criminals all across the globe to find my kidnapped sister. In every brothel I raid and every human trafficking truck I stop, I hope the next face I find is my sister’s. In a hidden brothel in Rio, I find Regan Porter, bruised but not broken, and still sane despite her weeks in captivity. I should leave her behind or send her home, because the last thing either of us needs right now is to get involved. But with every passing minute, I find I’m less able to let her go.

MATURE AUDIENCE

I put the content warning up for this one because it has a very brutal start but damn if it isn’t worth every second of reading.  I loved Nikolai but Daniel is nothing to sneer at and his heroine Regan is definitely his match.

We met Regan in Last Hit as our sweet heroine’s nice yet more worldly roommate who gets the raw end of the deal when they are kidnapped and because she is an extra she is sold in to the sex trade.  Regan does what she needs to in order to survive but she doesn’t make it easy for the men who come to see an American cry and snivel.  She’s using every trick she can think of to check out while things are being done to her but she may be almost to her breaking point by the time a man comes to purchase her for his private use.  What she gets is a man determined to get her out of the situation and get her back to people in the states that have been looking for her.  I loved how she was so ready to fight but also was smart enough to bide her time for the correct opening.  I also loved how she worked so hard to keep it together when most would’ve given up and settled in to die.  She’s a fighter and as she spends more time around her rescuer we get to see that she isn’t completely healed but on her way to a life that will be perfect for the woman she has become.  Regan is a survivor in many ways but I loved seeing her open up to Daniel as time passes.  She deserves every bit of happiness that she gets and he will be the man who makes sure she wants for nothing.

Daniel was a character I enjoyed in our brief glimpses of him in Nikolai’s book but this story showed how much depth he really has.  He’s been searching for his sister who was kidnapped and believed sold in to the sex trade with some thinking she’s already dead.  Daniel will not believe it so has in many respects sold his soul to the devil in order to get news about women matching his sister’s description in the underground sex trade.  He’s rescued a few from slavery but still hasn’t found her.  He’s agreed to do the dirty work of getting Regan back with the hopes that this will also lead him to his sister and with the Bratva needing a line on a hacker.  He soon finds that not only is there more to Regan’s kidnapping than they expected but this strong woman is someone that he can’t live without even as he won’t hold her to anything.  He was amazingly patient with her and protective of her but in a way that felt natural and not smothering.  He just wants her happy and whole but doesn’t expect her to want him even as he craves her.

This story is not for the faint of heart but was very compelling and kept me cheering for Regan as she reclaims herself and also for Daniel as he gets the answers that his entire family needs to heal.  I’m gladly going to keep up with this series as they continue to release….

five-stars

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