Posts Categorized: Read in 2016

Dating the Guy Upstairs – Amanda Ashby – 3.5 stars

June 19, 2016 Intermix, NetGalley, Read in 2016 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.

Dating the Guy Upstairs – Amanda Ashby – 3.5 starsDating the Guy Upstairs Published by Intermix Source: NetGalley.com
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three-half-stars
two-flames

From Amanda Ashby, author of the charming contemporary romance Dating the Guy Next Door, comes an all new story of a fake relationship that might not be so fake after all...

LIARS OR LOVERS?

Young librarian Riley Harris has always maintained her independence, leaving the drama of love to anyone silly enough to fall for it. Her Jane Austen novels are as close as she cares to get to “true love.” Luckily, her handsome upstairs neighbor—and landlord—Will Henderson feels the same way.

Since his ex-fiancé crushed his heart, Will devotes himself to charity in an effort to atone for the misdeeds of his wealthy, ruthless father. So when Will needs a date for his brothers high-society wedding, he asks Riley to be his faux girlfriend.

After a spontaneous kiss throws both Riley and Will for a loop, they find themselves fighting their mutual pride and prejudice against love. And when Riley is rocked by something from Will's past, both will need to decide whether to follow their heads or their hearts...

We all know what happens when a story tells you that the main characters don’t believe in the whole happily ever after crap.  Yeah, we get what happens in this story but it was a nice ride to see them proven wrong.

Riley has watched her parents flit from relationship to relationship with disastrous results which has left her being very driven to be self-sufficient.  She’s willing to do anything that her boss requires just to get a chance at the promotion that would help her pay for her mom’s latest mess.  This includes watching a hamster and even going on a “date” with the woman’s nephew.  I felt for her but enjoyed how she was willing to put everything in to her friendship with her landlord, Will.  When she agrees to be his fake girlfriend for his brother’s wedding she realizes that perhaps she isn’t as against the whole happily ever after as she thought but maybe he is the one who will be her other half.  I liked her but did get a bit frustrated with her reluctance to let him in.  She has her reasons but they just began to wear on me towards the end.

Will was another story.  I liked how he opened his eyes to her once he was pushed in to the corner but I also liked how he tried to make her understand that he saw her.  I didn’t like how he was able to turn things on and off based on his perception of things but I did understand why he was the way he was.  It wasn’t easy to watch but overall he made me happier than she did.  He’s got the moves and words for her but some of his actions were not the best.  I loved the way he showed her what she meant to him finally and appreciated that it showed how closely he paid attention to her wants and needs.  He knew her to a level that we all wish someone was there for us but it took him a bit to realize that this was everything.

Cute story with a little bit of fun and smexy times.

three-half-stars

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Before the Fall – Noah Hawley – 4 stars

June 4, 2016 Grand Central, Read in 2016 1

Before the Fall – Noah Hawley – 4 starsBefore the Fall - FREE PREVIEW (Prologue and Chapter 1) by Noah Hawley
Published by Grand Central Publishing on January 19th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Thrillers, Suspense
Pages: 34
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four-stars

From the Emmy, PEN, Peabody, Critics' Choice, and Golden Globe Award-winning creator of the TV show Fargo comes the thriller of the year.

On a foggy summer night, eleven people-ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter-depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs-the painter-and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members-including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot-the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.

This was an interesting book showing how things can change in a blink of an eye and what you think was true maybe wasn’t so true after all.

We have one couple that seem to love one another but his drive keeps him away from them most of the time.  They’ve stood the test of a child abduction but perhaps things aren’t as happy as they seem.  The glimpses we get of this couple and their daughter were moving in many ways as we get to see a sense of what might’ve been if the plane hadn’t gone down.  You also feel a huge sense of sadness that JJ doesn’t get to have more time with his mom.  I liked what we got to see of her and how much she truly loved her kids but still seemed to not be comfortable in the world she stumbled in to.  Her husband also seemed to be a good man under the drive and seeing what happened after the crash while knowing what happened on his last day in his office made me wonder what if…

We have a couple that to me never seemed to be in synch even in the glimpses we got of them from before the crash.  The tidbits made me wonder what made them get together in the first place?  What kept them together other than appearances?  At the same time we see how they lived just before the crash and this makes you wonder what really plays out behind closed doors both on a professional level and a personal one?  I wanted to know more about how he got started on the path he was on…  what might’ve come out if the crash didn’t happen… wanted to know more about the others who had a hand in it… I just wanted more.

We have the man who just happened to barely make the plane and wasn’t really supposed to be on there.  How he used a memory from childhood to save himself and JJ.  How this accident and quirk of fate took him down a path he couldn’t imagine but one that he was uniquely suited for.  I liked Scott.  I truly liked him and appreciated how he moved thru this event while not letting others dictate his path.  I loved how he seemed to be more present than anyone else in the story and didn’t hide away from the truth as it was presented to him.  I appreciated how he saw things others didn’t see but also didn’t claim to know all the answers.  He just was….. I’d love to see where he goes and how JJ grows up….

There are other characters that weave around this story and seeing their parts play out made this an interesting read.  You are pulled in various directions, across various time periods but it all makes sense as the acts play out.  I appreciated this as we got to see the lives interrupted… lives cut short because..

Yeah you thought I would give away the details of what happens but honestly that would wreck it.  Take a chance and read this…  I know I’m glad I grabbed it while at BEA as it kept me entranced as these stories played out.

four-stars

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The Pages of the Mind – Jeffe Kennedy – 4.5 stars

June 2, 2016 Kensington, NetGalley, Read in 2016 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.

The Pages of the Mind – Jeffe Kennedy – 4.5 starsThe Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy
Published by Kensington on May 31, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Romantic, Romance, Action & Adventure, Historical, Science Fiction
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-half-stars

An Orphan's Throne

Magic has broken free over the Twelve Kingdoms. The population is beset by shapeshifters and portents, landscapes that migrate, uncanny allies who are not quite human…and enemies eager to take advantage of the chaos.

Dafne Mailloux is no adventurer--she's a librarian. But the High Queen trusts Dafne's ability with languages, her way of winnowing the useful facts from a dusty scroll, and even more important, the subtlety and guile that three decades under the thumb of a tyrant taught her.

Dafne never thought to need those skills again. But she accepts her duty. Until her journey drops her into the arms of a barbarian king. He speaks no tongue she knows but that of power, yet he recognizes his captive as a valuable pawn. Dafne must submit to a wedding of alliance, becoming a prisoner-queen in a court she does not understand. If she is to save herself and her country, she will have to learn to read the heart of a wild stranger. And there are more secrets written there than even Dafne could suspect…

I love this world.  There I said it.  This world makes me so happy and I was extremely excited to see that we would have more stories about it with new people to fall in love with.

Dafne spoke to me with her tendency to be hidden in the background and comfort in books.  She’s not much of a people person but those she allows close mean the world to her.  She takes her word very seriously but yearns to have something of her own that she convinces herself she will never have.  As she finally gets out on an adventure we get to see exactly who she is and what she is made of as she is faced with the chance to have more.  I loved seeing her struggle to understand what was happening to her but mainly loved her finally owning who she is and what she deserves.  She’s going on such a journey in this story so sit back and enjoy the ride.

Nakoa is just amazing.  I have to say he might beat Harlan in sigh-worthy moves but both of them have a special place in my book boyfriend heart.  He can’t speak her language but he still manages to show her how much she means to him and that they were always meant for one another even though she had never met him.  There is something about a man that is so powerful being so soft for his lady that just does it for me.  There is something else about him that does it for me and that I will leave to you to discover but suffice it to say he’s incredibly sweet and sensual but that isn’t even what I am referring to.  If you want to know what it is just message me and I will spoil for you but only if you seek me out.  I loved reading that moment and knowing what it means to them made it so much more than a simple moment.

This story continues from where we left the Kingdoms with more of the world to explore and find out.  I look forward to our next pair because that will be incendiary to say the least.  The way that we get to see so many people from the other stories made me very happy.

four-half-stars

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Until November – Aurora Rose Reynolds – 3.5 stars

May 31, 2016 Read in 2016 1

Until November – Aurora Rose Reynolds – 3.5 starsUntil November by Aurora Rose Reynolds
Published by Aurora Rose Reynolds Genres: Fiction, Romance, New Adult, Erotica, General
Pages: 250
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three-half-stars
five-flames

November is looking forward to getting to know her father and the safety of a small town. After leaving the big apple and her bad memories for Tennessee, November starts working for her dad at his strip club doing the books. The one time she’s allowed there during club hours she runs into Asher Mayson. He’s perfect until he opens his mouth and makes assumptions. November wants nothing to do with Asher but too bad for November fate has other plans. Asher Mayson has never had a problem getting a woman that is until November. Now all he can think about is making November his and keeping her safe.

THIS IS NOT A CLIFF HANGER.
Newly Edited and Updated Version
*Recommended for mature audiences 17+ due to strong language and sexual content.*

If you want a quick, hot read that will make you laugh a few times as the main pair come to terms with one another, well this one is for you.   It is a very hot read with the teasing and tension hitting the moment they meet but when they finally act on it… yeah… *fans self*

I loved Beast from the moment we meet him and seeing his reactions to people just managed to crack me up.  You’ll love him as well and I hope that as I finally read this series we get to see him a bit more.

November hasn’t had the best of lives with a mother that so seriously needed to get much worse than she got but hey karma will get back at her later.  I liked how November took the hits but kept fighting to be loved and to stand on her own feet.  She isn’t weak nor is she stupid but man oh man does she NOT know what to make of Asher.  Her interactions with his family and her own new-to-her family made me both laugh and feel for her as she finally gets something that she never had growing up…  unconditional love and acceptance.  I appreciated that she didn’t want to be weak but wanted to be kept in the loop no matter how hard it might be to hear.  She also was a great blend of a woman who loves girlie things but also is willing to get dirty (yep in many different ways) if the occasion calls for it.

Asher started off as a bit of an ass.  You aren’t sure what to make of him and then you start to get more information about who he is, what makes him tick and the family “curse” which then makes you adore him.  He’s very driven to protect what is HIS even as he can’t quite make her understand that he isn’t kidding.  I appreciated getting the look at how much he values family and truly understands what it means to want to provide for those  you love.  He made me so happy and so mad many times during the story but that is a good thing as some of the storyline honestly made me roll my eyes.

I didn’t really care for the “suspense” part of the story as it was very cheesy but otherwise the main pair made me very happy and I will be looking for more in the series.

three-half-stars

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Mr. and Mr. Smith – HelenKay Dimon – 5 stars

May 26, 2016 Read in 2016 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.

Mr. and Mr. Smith – HelenKay Dimon – 5 starsMr. and Mr. Smith by HelenKay Dimon
Published by Random House Publishing Group on May 24th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Military, LGBT, Gay
Pages: 210
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
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five-stars
five-flames

Secrets and seduction make for an explosive combination in HelenKay Dimon’s edgy, thrilling new series, which kicks off with a novel about two men who can handle any threat—except the one posed by desire.

Fisher Braun knows how to keep a secret. As a covert paramilitary operative, his job—and his life—depends on it. He’s at the top of his game, ready for action and always in control. No enemy has ever brought him to his knees, but one lover has: Zachary Allen, the man currently sharing his bed. The perfect package of brains and brawn, Zach is someone worth coming home to, and Fisher hates keeping him in the dark about what he does. But the lies keep Zach safe. Until the day Fisher loses everything. . . .

Zachary Allen is no innocent civilian. Although he plays the tech geek, in reality he’s deep undercover for the CIA. In a horrible twist of fate, the criminal enterprise he’s infiltrated has set its sights on the man whose touch drives him wild. Zach would do anything for Fisher—except blow his own cover. Now, in order to save him, Zach must betray him first. And he needs Fisher to trust him with all his heart if they want to make it out alive.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

What do you get when you have two men who have an abundance of chemistry?  You get this book and all the sexy man on sexy man action that it contains.  All I have to say is “MORE MORE MORE CAN I HAZ MORE????”

We start by getting to see Fisher in the middle of his worst nightmare come to life.  He’s going to find out that what he thought was bad is infinitely so much worse than he could’ve ever imagined.  He’s such a hard soul to get to know but what this is hiding is a man who needs someone to just STAY.  He needs someone to love him for everything that he thinks he isn’t but is and show him that he can be their everything.  I loved how much he struggled with what happens but loved that HelenKay didn’t make him fold immediately.  We get to see someone truly struggle with what he feels, thinks he knows and projects on others around him because of his history.  His angst and struggle made everything hard on both men but honestly there wasn’t another way for this to play out.  If the struggle didn’t happen then nothing else would’ve worked.

Zach is having to do the one thing he never wanted to do but, like Fisher, he is struggling with his past.  He’s also struggling because he made a choice that has led to this breaking point even though there really wasn’t another way for this to go with who he is at his core.  You can feel how hard he just wants Fisher to listen to him, to believe him and to accept him but there’s also an undercurrent that he expects the worst.  His interactions with the team and Fisher will have you turning pages quickly because you want to know how this plays out.

The sexual tension between the men has a tendency to explode on the page which will keep you fanning yourself as you try to cool down but keep reading.  I also loved the storyline outside of the love story and need more about this especially H&W. *HINT HINT*  I mean if that gets told it’ll be something else because I think there is going to be an interesting twist there.  The whole idea of this organization existing even in its damaged state is something that will cause some havoc and seeing the team flush all of the rot out would be fun to read about.

Thank you to HelenKay and to her agent Laura Bradford because if Fisher and Zach didn’t make it to the page it would’ve been a great loss to readers.  These two were amazing to read!

five-stars

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Beyond Ecstasy – Kit Rocha – 5 Stars

May 25, 2016 Read in 2016, Sent 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.

Beyond Ecstasy – Kit Rocha – 5 StarsBeyond Ecstasy by Kit Rocha
Published by Kit Rocha on May 23, 2016
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
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five-stars

The O’Kanes have a reputation for working hard and playing harder—except for Hawk. He joined the gang with one goal: to ensure his family’s survival through the impending war with Eden. It’s been years since he had the luxury of wanting anything for himself. Now, he wants Jeni. From the first moment he saw her, he’s been obsessed with making her his. Not for a night—forever.

Jeni’s been lusting after the former smuggler for months, but he keeps shutting her down. She’s almost given up on getting him in her bed when he offers her the last thing she ever expected—a collar. Accepting it means belonging to him, body and soul. It’s a reckless gamble, but Jeni can’t resist the chance to slip under Hawk’s armor.

The only thing more shocking than the dark, dangerous pleasure they discover is how right it feels. But falling in love is even more reckless when forever is far from guaranteed. Because they aren’t just at war, they’re out of time—and every breath could be their last.

Excuse me while I go whimper in a corner for a while after reading this book.  There are a couple of reasons for this – this is book 8 of 9… *sobs* …. and I swear Kit Rocha is trying to KILL ME.  I MEAN SERIOUSLY TEAR MY HEART OUT OF MY CHEST AND KILL ME!!!

via GIPHY

I mean seriously…  rip my heart out with a single freaking word then just stomp on it.

I can’t really do this book justice with a review because it was just that wonderful but I am going to do a quick list of supplies for this and just leave you with them and…

READ IT NOW DAMMIT… If you don’t well hell you are missing out on EVERYTHING>>>  ALL THE FEELS!!!

  • Have Kleenex on hand
  • Don’t read in public after the 50% mark (not giving you exact point but let’s just say be safe you should perhaps not read in public at all)
  • Schedule recovery time
  • Find a happy place after the story to reflect and get back to a normal heart rate before you go out in public again
  • Take a moment to have a treat (I personally had a fruit pop to recoup *note that I had no chocolate*)
  • I should put —- HAVE A TREAT READY… so maybe this should be first….
  • Try not to think of how you need to ask a significant other to maybe act out a couple of things.. *hmmmm got distracted for a sec remembering what of the things might be fun*
  • Did I mention Kleenex?  Seriously dude ONE FLIPPING WORD….

Hmmmmm….. also where did I put the flogger???  LMAO

But honestly, Kit Rocha once again managed to both rip my heart out and give me the story that made me happy sigh at the end.  Hawk and Jeni were such a wonderful pair to get to know even as the world as we know it rips apart.

And ummmmmm… when a certain someone gets his story (no not book 9 but trust me this one’ll be AWESOME) I need to have it ASAP but also need to make sure to take the day off so I can read/recover without interruption from real life.  He’s going to be AMAZING.

five-stars

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House of Payne: Steele – Stacy Gail – 4.5 Stars

May 24, 2016 Read in 2016, Sent 2

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

House of Payne: Steele – Stacy Gail – 4.5 StarsHouse of Payne: Steele by Stacy Gail
on May 1, 2016
Pages: 348
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
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four-half-stars

TRIGGER WARNING: This book deals with the sensitive subjects of surviving rape, trauma suffered during combat, child abuse, and possible sterility. If you have issues with these elements, this book might not be for you.

Raped. Tortured. Beaten. Essie Santiago’s life fell apart when she was sixteen, and it’s taken eight years to put it back together. There are some pieces that can never be mended; it would take a miracle for her to get pregnant, and physical closeness is something that makes her shudder. Only her love of creating beauty in the form of fashion gets her through the worst of the darkness.

When a mortar attack destroyed half his face and all of his life as he knew it, something vital died inside of former Marine, Ezekiel Steele. For years he’s felt nothing… until he sees Essie trying her best to be invisible. But the feisty spark inside the lovely fashion designer is too bright to be concealed, and like a moth to a flame, he’s helpless to resist her.

Chicago’s premiere tattoo studio, House Of Payne, is taking the world of fashion by storm, holding a contest to find the best designer the city has to offer. Competition is fierce, but all Essie can concentrate on are Steele’s dirty-talking lessons in sex. But when the student surpasses the master when it comes to love, Steele’s inner demons get the better of him. If he can't face them down, he’ll lose Essie forever.

123,000 words

***This standalone, mildly erotic contemporary romance contains a dirty-talking Alpha with a penchant for having sex in public places. No cheating, no love triangles and no cliffhangers. Fairy tale HEA guaranteed. Due to adult language and sexual content, this book is not intended for people under the age of 18***

 

If you haven’t picked up this series yet I would advise you…  GET MOVING..  BUY BUY BUY!!  Ok now that this little bit of business has been completed let’s look at this story.

This was not an easy story in some respects as Essie has a lot to work thru after her attack when she was just a teenager.  She’s so strong though and seeing her let down the walls with a man who is anything but easy to handle was wonderful to watch.  She’s thinking she’s made a mistake coming back to her hometown but what she finds as she struggles thru a competition that could make her fashion career is the life she never thought she’d have.  I loved her strength, her weakness and the fact that even as broken as she believes she is she’s not willing to accept anything but what she deserves.  She’s not a person who will accept less than everything and this causes some moments where, once again, I wanted to hurt a Stacy Gail hero *she does this on purpose I just know it* .  Essie will have you laughing with her, cheering for her and crying at times as you see her finally emerge from the shadows to become exactly who she should be.  I loved seeing her transformation in this book.

Steele was something else.  He’s got demons of his own to exorcise and dammit if I didn’t want to strangle him as much as I wanted to cuddle him.  He’s drawn to Essie in a way I won’t spoil but they are perfect for one another.  There is something gentle about the man even as he is not someone to be trifled with.  You’ll melt as he works his magic on Essie and really wish you were in her shoes.  I have to admit there are some things he does that makes me think about a man currently in my life who has helped me open up more than I ever have been able to before.  There is something freeing about having someone that really does seem to see you… not the persona… but the real you and pushes you to let that side free.  Steele is this person for Essie and it turns out Essie is this person for Steele.

This was not an easy read but it is worth getting to see two damaged people finally find what they need to truly live life again.  You’ll definitely be cheering for them to figure things out so run away and pick this up.

Thanks again to Stacy for sending this my way…  I’m sorry I ran so late on getting this up but you know I love ya!

four-half-stars

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The Undoing – Shelly Laurenston – 5 Stars

March 29, 2016 Kensington, 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 Undoing – Shelly Laurenston – 5 StarsThe Undoing by Shelly Laurenston
Published by Kensington on 2016-03-29
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy, Fiction, General, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 400
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
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five-stars

A risk worth taking…

No one would ever accuse Jace Berisha of having an easy life—considering her husband…you know…killed her. But that was then! Now she fights for mighty Viking gods with the spectacular and vicious Crows.

But things are turning very bad, very quickly because a vengeful, ancient goddess has come into the world with just one thing on her mind—ending it. And the only way they can hope to stop her is if the Crows join forces with their one-time enemies, the Protectors. A Viking Clan created to do nothing but kill every Crow they see.

Thankfully, Protector Ski Eriksen is a peace loving kind of guy. Because the woman he is desperately trying to get close to is the beautiful and not-very-chatty Jace. Battling Nordic clans? Unkillable goddesses? Jace’s mean-spirited dog? None of these things would ever get in the way of a true Viking!

Ok Vida…  I cannot stress this enough..  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!  You will get hugs and maybe if both our schedules can work out at RT a drink for sending me this ARC.

Now to the book….

Those who know me know that Shelly Laurenston is a drop everything author for me even with the craziness of my job and school.  When this one arrived in  my mailbox I might’ve squealed a bit then jumped right in.  It was so worth having to stay up later to work on homework just because of our lovely Crows and the poor men who fall in love with them.

Jace was someone that most people would have a hard time knowing but I think she and I would fit in just fine together.  I love to just curl up and read while avoiding the world.  The fact that my local grocery store now has delivery just makes it so much easier to get off work on Friday and not leave again until work on Monday.  My cats have gotten used to this fact and I think enjoy it as much as I do.  Jace needs to figure out something to get her away from the other well-meaning Crows so takes advantage of an offer to work with the Protectors.  What she finds is people who get her and truly accept who she is even with her quirks.  She also ends up finding an amazing man who doesn’t think she’s damaged or bizarre but really gets HER.  I loved seeing her open up and become the woman she was meant to be even as the world is in crisis.

Ski… *seriously happy sigh*… this is a man who just understands her once he puts all the pieces together.  He has spent most of his life dealing with the characters that are the Protectors and now he’s found a woman who truly can fit in his world while keeping him on his toes.  He needs someone that is capable of being independent in many ways but still needs him.  He’s also such a fun character to get to know as he manages to balance his own interests with the immense responsibilities that are on his shoulders.  I also couldn’t help but love….

His CAT….  yeah we have a book with animals that are just as funny as the people who own them with their own quirks and awesome mannerisms.  Ski’s cat and Jace’s puppy will keep you giggling at various moments plus..

BRODIE HAWAII!!!!!

Oh and we get CLIPBOARDS… People get to finally start showing why they are critical for the battles to come and I loved how this story continues to build as we see more of the inhabitants of this world….

Also…  The Sisters made me have to sit the book down and laugh for a few minutes…

Yeah ok I am babbling here but this is why Shelly Laurenston is an automatic GIMMEE and I am so happy to have crossed paths with Vida in Kansas City.  I am glad we met and she keeps feeding me with titles that make my book-reading soul happy.

five-stars

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Fight to the Finish – Jeanette Murray – 3.5 stars

March 9, 2016 NetGalley, Penguin, Read in 2016 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.

Fight to the Finish – Jeanette Murray – 3.5 starsFight to the Finish by Jeanette Murray
Published by Penguin on 2016-03-01
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Military, Romance, Sports
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars

The author of Against the Ropes takes her First to Fight series another round with a novel of a JAG officer who loses his cool, when love delivers a knockout punch...

Kara is a single mom working hard to keep life running smoothly for herself and her son, but a custody battle is wearing her down. When her friend suggests asking a JAG officer for some unofficial advice, Kara agrees—and soon finds herself officially head over heels...

As a Judge Advocate, Graham has seen his share of nasty custody disputes—and he plans on keeping his distance from this one. But this purposeful, passionate woman has a way of drawing him ever closer to the edge. And when Kara’s ex starts to throw his weight around, Graham will have to choose between toeing the line or stepping into the ring...

I admit that I have enjoyed this series because of the sexy boxers and the women who are strong enough to stand beside them.  We get to see strong, sexy men but also see women who do not let themselves be lost while being involved with strong personalities.

Kara is someone we’ve seen around the periphery but getting to know her in this book was fun.  I liked how she has worked so hard to do what she loves but at the same time raise a strong son who has so many things against him.  She’s vulnerable and lonely but is resigned to living a life that isn’t 100% under her own control.  I do understand why she was determined to just deal with the cards she was dealt but loved how her attorney reacted when she finally found her voice.  She’s confused by what she feels for Graham but she can’t seem to let him go.  I loved how she decided to be honest with him and say it wouldn’t work but I hated that she kept the real reasons from him until late in the story.  Her reaction to his cave-ish man moment was a bit off the handle but she owned that which made me happy.  Did he deserve a bit of a dressing down?  Yes but… he really didn’t do anything wrong enough to warrant her knee-jerk reaction.

Graham was something else.  I did adore his acceptance of Kara’s son and all that his life entails.  He really wanted to be able to have her in his life and understood that this was part of it.  His kindness and understanding while being patient for her to finally come around was sweet while also being hot as hell.  I appreciated that he realized what she was to him very quickly and made his mission to be taking some of the load off her shoulders while still letting her be her.  He was also sexy as hell in the bedroom but what I appreciated more than anything was the fact that even in his cave-man moment… he really was trying to do the best thing.  He walked a thin line but walked it well as he tried to free the woman he loved from a life that wasn’t fulfilling to her.

This series was a lot of fun to read and I look forward to more from this author.

three-half-stars

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Kidnapped By The Billionaire – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 stars

March 8, 2016 Macmillan, NetGalley, Read in 2016 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.

Kidnapped By The Billionaire – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 starsKidnapped by the Billionaire by Jackie Ashenden
Published by Macmillan on 2016-03-01
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Get lost in the deeply passionate, darkly sensual new novel from Jackie Ashenden, Kidnapped by the Billionaire.
He kissed her the way he’d run her down, conquering her, taking her…

A priceless plan. An illicit attraction.
Seven years ago, billionaire-turned-bodyguard Elijah Hunt lost everything he had—his family, his future—and now he wants revenge. But when he decides to kidnap the daughter of the man who ruined his life, Elijah gets a lot more than he bargained for. Violet Fitzgerald is nothing like her corrupt wealthy father. In fact, she’s so disarmingly independent—and irresistible—that she just might be dangerous…

And a love that’s too good to be true.
Violet never thought she’d feel a connection to her captor. But there’s something beneath Elijah’s steel-bodied exterior that makes her want to know him more deeply…and surrender to his every demand. But once Elijah’s erotic fantasies become a reality—and he and Violet develop a real romantic connection—he finds himself in a quandary: Is he still the one in control? Or has Violet imprisoned him—body and soul?

Jackie Ashenden's novels are:
"Sexy, emotional." -Laurelin Paige, New York Times bestselling author
"Tantalizing . . . explosive."-Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Mine to Take
"Not to be missed."-RT Book Reviews

Ok, Jackie is a master at making you want to hate the hero but then love him as you get to understand more about their demons and what has driven them to be the damaged men you meet.  Elijah is no exception as he is driven to a desperate act in order to complete his mission.  You’ll sort of hate him but he’s someone that was given one of the hardest moments that anyone could ever survive and came out the other side a different man.

We’ve seen Elijah in the previous books as he seemingly thwarts our other leads in their pursuit of their own revenge and answers but as we discover in this story he had his own ax to grind with our bad guys.  He’s now having to scramble to complete what he believes to be the best revenge for his loss but, as he discovers when he meets our heroine, perhaps what he needs has been standing right in front of him in the guise of a spoiled princess.  I loved how severely he lived his life because of his trauma but as we saw the walls tumble down around his inner self there is a man with such a deep heart and feelings that just needed to find a new mate.

I LOVED VIOLET *ahem* I really loved Violet and how she surprised everyone with how strong she is.  She really got to come in to her own true self and find out that she was ready to be seen as the strong person she was.  She really surprised me as she let go of her dreads which allowed her to hide and accepted that she couldn’t escape Elijah.  She tried but was smart enough to wake up quickly and embrace what she was stuck with.  As she opens her eyes and heart to a man that is not what he seems, she also has to realize who her family truly is and accept that her biological ties may not be what she should focus on.  I also appreciated that she pushed Elijah and accepted his dark side while working to make sure he saw the light side that deserved to live.  She’s insightful and isn’t willing to just take the easy ride if push comes to shove she can and will push hard.

This series has been so wonderful to read and I look forward to much more from Jackie.  I know she will push me to the dark side but then deliver heroes that love their partners with no reserve once they accept that this is truly theirs.

four-half-stars

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