Posts Categorized: Steph

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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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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Seared – Suleikha Snyder – 4 stars

January 26, 2018 Read in 2018, Self Published, Steph 18

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

Seared – Suleikha Snyder – 4 starsSeared on December 12, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

It’s been 10 years since Naya saw her stepbrother, Lachlan Christie. In that time, he’s become a famous chef, complete with his own hip and trendy Manhattan restaurant…and she’s become the woman who can give him everything — especially her body and soul. But the past doesn’t always stay dead, and you can’t escape it, no matter how far you fly or how hot you burn.

Naya’s determined to win Lachlan and secure them a happily ever after, no matter what it takes — but is love enough to save her master chef?

In the first book in the Master Chefs series, the forbidden meets the possible — and passion cooks up a storm.

Update – winner of the contest is Samantha.  She’s been emailed but everyone go out and get Seared!!!

HOT!  Ok that’s the first word that comes to mind when describing this book but it’s hot because the pairing works.  Well, that and the power exchange between them makes sense and it is very palpable as you read the story.

Naya knows what she wants or to be p, more accurate, who she wants.  The death of her former stepfather brings her back to New York to finally take the steps to her happy ever after… that is if she and her soul mate are willing to fight the specter of a man who was rotten to the core.  Naya has such a strong understanding of who and what she is which most of us never really figure out.  I liked that she was willing to sit back a bit at first but when she realized what was really happening she fought for what mattered even as she was being pushed away.  The interplay between her and her mother made me smile as you can feel the love between the two very strong women.  They love and love deeply but there are so many secrets that they both keep.

Lachlan loves Naya with all his heart and soul.  This is not a secret but as you read the book you begin to understand how hard he’s tried to bury this in order to give her the chance to fly.  He’s also dealt with his own sort of hell when it came to his father.  I truly hated the man even beyond the grave but was more pissed at Lachlan as he seemed to not see a way beyond the mess.  I loved how much he wanted to give Naya and that he really pushed her to make sure that she did know what she wanted.  He also made sure that he gave her what she needed even as he struggled with his own needs.  I also enjoyed the by-play with Naya’s mom as it showed how much she loved him even as she hated his father.  I really appreciated that we saw a relationship that existed between a child that wasn’t hers in blood but was hers in every other way that mattered.  She saw HIM not the wrapper and encouraged him even as she worked to protect her own daughter.

Lachlan and Naya made me smile even as they went thru the mess as they really were perfect for one another.  She’s not going to completely let him walk over her but she’s going to fight for the real him.  She won’t accept less than that.  He’ll fight to let her fly and support her as she navigates the world around her but own every single bit of her without caging her.  The balance they achieve is fun to read and…

I didn’t mention this but…  THERE IS FOOD!!!  FOOD FOOD FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD….  He’s an amazing chef and she isn’t so bad herself.  You’ll enjoy the mentions of food in the book so make sure to have snacks available if a craving strikes.

 

Now for my bit of fun…  I adored this book and wanted to do something a bit fun with it so I’m gonna do a giveaway –

For a chance to win a Kindle or Nook copy of Seared plus…  yes plus…  a print copy of Cravings by Chrissy Teigen… tell me do you find a man who can cook to be sexier than one who can’t?  Is there something that you love to cook?

I’ll take entries until February 2nd at 11:59 pm Central Standard Time.  US only.

 

FYI – This is Cravings…  and yes I have a copy which will be used over the next month to make some evil recipes:

25982685

Maybe she’s on a photo shoot in Zanzibar. Maybe she’s making people laugh on TV. But all Chrissy Teigen really wants to do is talk about dinner. Or breakfast. Lunch gets some love, too.
For years, she’s been collecting, cooking, and Instagramming her favorite recipes, and here they are: from breakfast all day to John’s famous fried chicken with spicy honey butter to her mom’s Thai classics.
Salty, spicy, saucy, and fun as sin (that’s the food, but that’s Chrissy, too), these dishes are for family, for date night at home, for party time, and for a few life-sucks moments (salads). You’ll learn the importance of chili peppers, the secret to cheesy-cheeseless eggs, and life tips like how to use bacon as a home fragrance, the single best way to wake up in the morning, and how not to overthink men or Brussels sprouts. Because for Chrissy Teigen, cooking, eating, life, and love are one and the same.

four-stars

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Twice in a Lifetime – Jodie Griffin – 4 stars

January 24, 2018 NetGalley, Read in 2018, Riptide Publishing, Steph 0

Published by Riptide Publishing Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com

Ok Jodie knows I love her writing…  I also adore her as a person who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and love chatting with on Twitter…  before I get to the review I have to leave this here…

Yep…  I went there!

So on to the book, I don’t read a lot of F/F but I don’t see a lot of it in my feeds normally.  I have enjoyed the ones I have read so far and plan on trying to read more of them once I survive February so if you have any you’ve read let me know.  In this case we have a second chances romance where two women have had kids, been married and lived their lives with a lot of love but now are they willing to take the risk to love again?  There is a lot to overcome with one being the boss of the other and the fact that they are working in a very male, hetero field but these two women find a way to grasp this connection to create a new life with one another that is to be envied.

Talia is finally doing something she loves by working with the Police Department and their community involvement team.  She’s happy to be the assistant to a woman who sets sparks off and makes her want something that she doesn’t think she can have but as they work together the sparks seem to build to flames.  Talia had an amazing husband who she lost way too early but it has left her with a great view of love and now perhaps a chance to find it with a woman who makes her want.  I loved seeing her with her daughters as we get glimpses of how strong her partnership was with her husband.  You see how they built a life together and how that shaped the women her daughters have become.  They both had their own stories to go thru but they also provided Talia with the advice to go for what she wanted.  The support she received from them allows her to fight for what she wants.

Eve made me so happy as we got to see her fight for what she wanted while taking a risk that could impact the career she worked so hard to build.  She does make some choices that weren’t always the best but there was always a perceived good idea that underscored the choice.  I liked seeing her son and her reaction to his relationship as it felt like something I’d see in my real life should the situation arise.  I can see how much Eve cares for those around her and how badly she wants to help those who need it.  She’s strong but with Talia she does show how much love means to her.  She’s bold but practical and seeing how hard she fights to make things work will make you happy.  When the dark moment arrives it will hurt but how it plays out shows how much family means to her.

The story is a sweet love story with two women who love with everything in them.  It shows both in their relationship with each other and the ones they share with their children.  Give this one a try as it is truly a story of family and finding love later in life.

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Beyond Forever – Kit Rocha – 5 Stars

October 24, 2017 Read in 2017, 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.

Beyond Forever – Kit Rocha – 5 StarsBeyond Forever (O'Kane for Life, #2) by Kit Rocha
Published by Kit Rocha on October 24th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 132
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
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five-stars
five-flames

Before they were the King and Queen…

Six years before the Beyond series started, an ambitious bootlegger named Dallas O’Kane caught a very pretty thief named Lex with her hand in his safe.

The rest is very sexy history.

In Beyond Forever, follow Dallas and Lex through the turning points in their relationship, from the night he caught her trying to rob him, through his rise to successful bootlegger, to legend, to Sector Leader--with Lex always there, willing to give him the push he needs.

Beyond Forever is a prequel novella that jumps through time to tell the story of the biggest moments in the formation of the O’Kanes and their King and Queen. It will be far more enjoyable if you’ve already read Beyond Control, and contains spoilers for the entire Beyond series. 

I don’t even know where to begin… I really don’t…

I will say please pay attention to the blurb especially with respects to reading Beyond Control before you read this.  There are definitely spoilers for the series in this but without reading Beyond Control you won’t have a measure as to where this couple is now, then and way back then where the majority of the novella is set.  You’ll miss what is so crucial in this novella and why addicts of the series clamored for this story.

Dallas is not what we know him as now when we start the flashback portion of this story.  He’s smart, stubborn, and determined but he isn’t the King we all know him as.  He stumbles upon a thief who throws him off his game a bit but there is something about her that screams to him in a way he can’t fully ignore.  I loved seeing this glimpse of the man behind the legend and as the flashback moves forward we can see where the seeds for the confrontation in Beyond Control were sowed and know how much the drama there was forged in the beginnings of the King and Queen.  Dallas would truly be nothing without Lex but it took many years for them to finally find balance.

Lex pushes all the buttons but we get to see how early she truly fell in love with Dallas.  She’s driven but seeing how she struggled with getting him to understand how to balance what he wanted with what he truly needed made me love her even more.  She pushes him to be all that he should be and also makes decisions that need to be made when Dallas struggles with what has to be done.  Lex knows Dallas isn’t weak but also knows that he will sacrifice everything to do what he thinks has to be done to keep his people safe.  He has a huge blind spot and if it weren’t for Lex pushing the O’Kane’s we love would not be in existence.  I enjoyed seeing her vulnerability when it came to Dallas but I also hated seeing how much she was willing to tolerate just to be by the man she loved but didn’t have.  It made a lot of Beyond Control come in to focus as they really were not a healthy dynamic until the brutal moments in that story.

Be prepared to see the King and Queen in a different light after reading this and appreciate the work that it took to get them to what we know now.

five-stars

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House of Payne:Max – Stacy Gail – 4.5 stars

October 23, 2017 Read in 2017, 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.

House of Payne:Max – Stacy Gail – 4.5 starsMax by Stacy Gail
on October 16, 2017
Pages: 305
Source: the Author
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four-half-stars
four-half-flames

TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains flashbacks of violence and drug abuse, and the impact of these factors on family members. If you have issues with these elements, this book is not for you.

Chicago’s premiere tattoo studio, House Of Payne, is across the street from the Mad Cow diner, but it might as well be on another planet as far as waitress Paradise Simone is concerned. She’s a good girl from Waukegan with a past she’d rather forget, and a future that goes only as far as the next day. What does she know about superstars and paparazzi?

But Pari does know danger when she sees it, and tattooist Max Kulagin has it written all over him. A proper Waukegan girl should know to steer well clear, but she can’t resist Max when he leaves beautiful, intimate art sketched out on cheap diner napkins.

Beautiful, intimate art…of her.

Max knows ugliness. He was born in it. Raised in it. Had it shoved down his throat every goddamn day. So when he stumbles across true beauty, he worships it. There’s a deep sensuality in the waitress who likes to suck on her pen whenever he’s around, and he’s just the man to bring that beauty out in her. She might be a lady in the street, but one look at Pari tells him she’s going to be a freak in the bed.

And in the shower.

And while he’s driving with her head going to town in his lap.

The life Max leads might be in the spotlight, but it’s Pari who gets caught in the glare. When her past catches up to her, it’s her life that holds all the excitement, and not in a good way. But there’s no force on earth that can take Max’s beautiful Paradise away now that he’s finally found it.

93,000 Words

***This standalone, mildly erotic contemporary romance contains a woman with an oral fixation and a man who’s happy to encourage it. There are multiple sex scenes that include oral sex. No cheating, no love triangles, no cliffhangers. HEA guaranteed. Due to adult language and sexual content, this book is not intended for people under the age of eighteen***

I have to say Max made me smile at times because of his over-the-top need to keep Pari safe and comfortable.  He does so much to show what she means to him even as he struggles to understand what she actually means to him.  This is a couple that has a good amount of heat but the fact that they just fit makes it an easy read and easy pairing.  Are they perfect?  No… both of them make some mistakes… but their pairing just flows once they get together with no major drama or stupid issues.

Pari made me smile with her innate warmth and gentleness hidden under a spine made of steel.  She’s quite funny with her struggle to not curse but man, oh man when she curses the results are EPIC.  I enjoy  her love of life and really loved when she finally realizes what she needs, wants and deserves.  I think this story shows that we all struggle to understand what we want and where we fit but when we find it we should hold on with both hands.  She’s quite open with what she needs from Max in the bedroom and elsewhere but also sees what he’s saying with his actions which makes her extremely rare.

Max has to be one of my favorite characters.  He’s such an unapologetic personality who says what he thinks, means and doesn’t give a hoot about how others perceive him.  Well, this is what you think but in reality we have a man who suffered a horrible betrayal so he cares what people think but hides it behind an inventive vocabulary and the attitude that he doesn’t care.  He’s so gone over Pari that he shows the vulnerability behind the mouth and what we get is a huge softy that will do anything for someone he loves.  His willingness to open his eyes and ears to listen to what she tells him when he crosses a line shows that he is a great guy under everything.

This pairing made me extremely happy as they bring the best out in each other but at the same time don’t change each other to be together.  They are very good at pushing each others buttons but in a way that makes the other stronger… not weaker…  This was a nice way to revisit the House and see how everyone is doing.

four-half-stars

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