Posts Categorized: Sent

Let It Ride – Vivian Arend – 5 stars

May 26, 2015 Read in 2015, Sent 0

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

Let It Ride – Vivian Arend – 5 starsLet It Ride by Vivian Arend
Published by NLA Digital LLC on 2015-05-19
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Western
Pages: 187
Source: the Author
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five-stars

He’s her rock in the midst of the storm

When Maggie Ward’s world is torn apart by sudden tragedy, the only thing that makes her days bearable is Clay Thompson’s unwavering presence. He’s protective, caring, and everything she could ask for in a friend. But when she finds herself longing for more than friendship, it will take a little seduction to convince the stubborn mechanic she’s ready to start living again.

She’s his heart, whether he knows it or not

Clay Thompson’s got the taking-care-of-others business down pat, only he’s never faced this particular challenge before—the one woman he’s always wanted is unexpectedly his to care for. Suddenly it's not just responsibility driving him, but a wild desire to make Maggie truly his. But following his heart might mean sacrificing the family he’s held together for years.

Tissue Warning on this one!!!

I have to say you will need them at the beginning and again as things come to a head but…  this story is so worth the pain.  There is something about the pair and how they truly do find a match in one another which honestly is true to what some people experience in their lives.  While the beginning was a bit brutal the love that they share made up for the pain.

Maggie has had everything collapse around her but the one thing she counts on is her friendship with Clay.  She’s strong and definitely hurting but I loved her dedication to living life and not hiding from everything that has happened.  You’ll love her willingness to admit when she needs help but also love that she doesn’t always need it.  She is strong and she’ll need to be in order to prove to everyone that she’s the best match for a strong man.  While not everyone will approve of their relationship I think that it was perfect and quite honestly where she needed to be.  Her willingness to open her heart back up to a man who meant so much to her and her past was wonderful to see but also to see that she truly saw him as his own person made me happiest.  She isn’t trying to replace what she had but is reaching for life again where she’s happy and whole.

Clay was amazing.  He’s so strong and caring that you’ll adore him as he struggles with doing what he thinks is right and taking what he wants.  Once he makes his mind up well….  actually hmmmmmm Maggie made it damn hard for him to stay “honorable” which is what he needed in order to be hers.  He’s also very family driven and what happens in this story made me mad for him and had my heart break a bit.  This moment doesn’t diminish the story in any way but makes it very clear what he wants and needs.  I enjoyed seeing his care and concern for Maggie with regards to sentiment in town but honestly she’s strong enough and to see her call him on his ways made me smile.  I also enjoyed that the one thing that could’ve kept them apart is what made them strong enough to reach for what was in front of them.

You get two strong people who have been brought to their knees by tragedy but where they end up is a beautiful place with a bit of trouble along the way…  I loved this story and can’t wait for more….

five-stars

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Moment of Clarity – Karen Stivali – 5 stars

May 6, 2015 NetGalley, Read in 2015, Sent 0

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

Moment of Clarity – Karen Stivali – 5 starsPublished by Dreamspinner Press Source: the Author
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five-stars

Moments in Time: Book Three

Spending the summer together on Fire Island brought Collin and Tanner closer than ever, but back in their conservative college town, challenges confront them at every turn.

As they search for their new normal in their old environment, Collin's brother Sean surprises them with help when they need it most. But when word about their relationship gets out, trouble erupts with friends and family. When Collin's relationship with Tanner becomes an issue in his brother's custody battle and Tanner struggles with his feelings for a heartbroken Wendy, Collin wonders if everyone he cares about would be better off without him in the picture.

In order to save them both, Tanner must make it clear to Collin that their love for each other is all that matters.

This series has been a very enlightening one with realistic stressors on our heroes and a chance for some to see the varied reactions that can happen when someone comes out.  I found Karen’s treatment of Collin and Tanner to be handled with a deft hand as not everything will be perfect but love can truly overcome all.

Tanner and Collin have gone thru a lot of things and of course we can’t have their lives be completely drama-free.  They are looking forward to getting back in the dorms but unfortunately there has been a small incident that means they can’t check in.  They end up bunking temporarily with Collin’s brother who is going thru his own drama with a wife that has abandoned him and the kids.  They have a good life and routine going while they wait for the dorms to complete but still can’t completely be together which is driving them insane.  A moment of weakness results in a disaster that runs them over to a friend until their dorm becomes available.

Life in the dorms is going well… School is going well…. and then disaster strikes in the form of homophobic behavior and the boys are trying to deal with the fall out when a true friend gives them a chance to have a home without fear or having to hide who they are to one another.  They are starting to be happy and then yet another strike comes at Collin which makes him do something that I truly wanted to slap him for being so dense but I did get why he thought what he thought.  I loved Tanner’s mother and what she does even as Collin tries to separate himself from everyone.

My favorite moment has to be the ending as we finally get Collin to be accepted by those around him and get the support he so desperately needed.  He’s finally grown in to his skin which shines thru to those around him.  The moments at the end give you hope and a great feeling for their future.

five-stars

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The Tears of the Rose – Jeffe Kennedy – 4 stars

May 4, 2015 Kensington, Read in 2015, Sent 0

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

The Tears of the Rose – Jeffe Kennedy – 4 starsThe Twelve Kingdoms: The Tears of the Rose by Jeffe Kennedy
Published by Kensington Books on 2014-11-25
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical
Pages: 336
Source: the Author
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four-stars

Three sisters. Motherless daughters of the high king. The eldest is the warrior-woman heir; the middle child is shy and full of witchy intuition; and the youngest, Princess Amelia, she is as beautiful as the sun and just as generous.

Ami met her Prince Charming and went away to his castle on the stormy sea-cliffs--and that should have been her happily ever after. Instead, her husband lies dead and a war rages. Her middle sister has been taken into a demon land, turned into a stranger. The priests and her father are revealing secrets and telling lies. And a power is rising in Ami, too, a power she hardly recognizes, to wield her beauty as a weapon, and her charm as a tool to deceive. . .

Amelia has never had to be anything but good and sweet and kind and lovely. But the chess game for the Twelve Kingdoms has swept her up in it, and she must make a gambit of her own. Can the prettiest princess become a pawn--or a queen?

For a chance to win a paper copy of The Talon of the Hawk please go here.

I am going to admit something…  This is my least favorite sister of the series but her book is well done.  I didn’t dislike her as strongly after this as I did by the end of the last book but she still isn’t the favorite one of the trio.  I also found the way this story unfolds to be intriguing and it left me ready for MORE.

We know Ami as the spoiled one… the favorite daughter of the High King who has always gotten what she wanted.  She’s managed to find a man who adores her but then has her perfect life ruined by his death.  She’s driven to find out who killed her precious true love and when she finds out it was her sister…  well then her sister is evil.  I got why she was upset but her refusal to even listen to those around her trying to get her to understand what happened just served to enforce the spoiled rotten view of her.  Her adoration and devotion to being the spoiled princess devoted only to her Goddess and her now-deceased love takes a bit of a beating as she starts to be intrigued by a monk in white that seems to push her to be more than just a pretty face.  As she finally starts to open her eyes to the world around her we finally get to see a woman emerge that may prove to be a formidable foe for the challenges that lie ahead.  I enjoyed seeing her finally realize that her actions have true consequences and that she needs to make her own mind up in order to truly see what is waiting for her in her future.  She’s stronger than I expected once the worst of the bratty child goes away.

Ash…  I enjoyed this scarred man who wasn’t swayed by the bratty princess but pushed her to be something more.  He’s such a sweet man under the scars and attitude but mainly his heart shines thru to show a man driven by duty and love.  His strength and unique talents serve this tale well plus set up some action we see in the next book.  I loved how he didn’t accept her originally and actually wasn’t afraid to show her how badly she has acted over the years.  He shows her that life didn’t end when Hugh was killed but that she not only could live again… she could find a love that in most respects is truer than the one she thought was perfect.  He wants her not the avatar… not the beautiful princess..  not a woman to be spoiled and worshipped but…  a woman with flaws and all that is true to herself and not a puppet on a string.  His sacrifices for her were amazing and beautiful.

Overall this is a good story with a few surprises but mainly I found this to be a big redemption for a character I wasn’t fond of in any way, shape, or form from the last book.  I liked how she was changing and was very glad to see her come out of her spoiled background.

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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Don’t Walk Away – Vivian Arend/Elle Kennedy – 4 stars

April 30, 2015 Read in 2015, Sent 0

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

Don’t Walk Away – Vivian Arend/Elle Kennedy – 4 starsDon't Walk Away by Vivian ArendElle Kennedy
Published by NLA Digital LLC on 2015-04-21
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Humorous, Romance
Pages: 211
Source: the Author
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four-stars

Book 3 of the DreamMakers. A red-hot collaboration from New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors VIVIAN AREND and ELLE KENNEDY.

He wants to rock her world—in bed and out of it

For former Army Ranger Dean Colter, sexual escapades and wild flirtations are the norm—but it wasn’t always that way. Years ago, the DreamMakers co-owner was a one-woman kind of guy until he tore Emma Lee’s heart apart. Yet he’s never forgotten her, and when Emma waltzes back into his life, a second chance is suddenly within his reach…and he’ll be damned if he’ll screw up again.

She wants her world to stop spinning apart

Emma’s no longer the naïve girl she used to be. Now a successful designer in the fashion world, she refuses to let Dean’s killer smile and sweet-talking ways distract her from her goals. But being the target of Dean’s full-out seduction isn’t easy to resist, even as the dynasty she’s built teeters toward disaster. This time she might the one who breaks both their hearts when she has to walk away.

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DreamMakers
All Fired Up (Parker & Lynn)
Love Is A Battlefield (Jack & Pepper)
Don't Walk Away (Dean & Emma)

I have to start this off with the note that I adore Vivian Arend as both an author and a person I have been lucky enough to spend time with in real life.  I am sad that I won’t get to see her this year but I still have her writing to keep me company….

I have been looking forward to seeing our resident Casanova get knocked on his ass by love and this story was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO worth the wait.  He’s down for the count and we get to see a side of him that we had a feeling was there hidden underneath the swagger.  Dean is such a sweet, sensitive man under the talk and OHHHHH BOY can he talk….  I loved seeing his confidence take a back seat to truly wanting something real with Emma.  He shows his vulnerability to her and I enjoyed seeing him struggle with what he wants while not being certain if she is on the same page with him or not.  He’s so willing to show her all that he has to offer her but at the same time acknowledging that he might lose her this time.  I loved his personality and the glimpse of what made him in to the man we adored in the first two books.  He’s deeper than many give him credit for and for this I adored him.

Emma was a surprise to me.  I didn’t always care for her dismissal of him at the start but I understood where it was coming from as we got the story of their younger years.  She’s strong but isn’t always aware of how strong she truly is.  She hides behind a shell but with Dean’s affection and support we see her step out of the shadows to be her own person.  She doesn’t need Dean to carry her but needed the kick in the pants he provides her to show her she really is strong.  I liked seeing her start to open up to those around her and even more enjoyed that she didn’t hesitate to ask Dean for everything he had not just a pretty, soft side of himself.  She’s definitely his match and I enjoyed seeing them surprise each other.

Overall this has been a fun series of books and I hope to see more from this duo of authors….

four-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
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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
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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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Moment of Truth – Karen Stivali – 4.5 stars

March 9, 2015 Read in 2015, Sent 0

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

Moment of Truth – Karen Stivali – 4.5 starsMoment of Truth by Karen Stivali
Published by Dreamspinner Press on 2015-03-04
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 113
Source: the Author
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four-half-stars

Moments in Time: Book Two

Collin expected to spend another summer fixing cars and working at the college pizzeria. Instead, he's living in a beach house on Fire Island, waiting tables at a hip seaside restaurant and, for the first time since he and Tanner got together, they can publicly be known as boyfriends. Being "out" takes some getting used to, but with the help of new and old friends, Collin is happier than he ever imagined. And more in love. But newfound freedom brings unexpected challenges, and when friends get flirty, old insecurities arise. Moments of doubt and jealousy threaten their happiness, and Collin and Tanner must confront the truth or risk losing it all.

I have to start with the fact that I really tend to enjoy everything Karen Stivali writes and have enjoyed getting to spend time with her in person at a couple of conventions.  I am also looking forward to seeing her in Dallas this year and getting to congratulate her for this wonderfully honest series.  Collin and Tanner do not have an easy road ahead of them but we get to see more of how they really feel about one another without having to hide who they are to one another.  I look forward to the next story in the series but let’s chat about this one first…

We get to see the boys in a wonderful environment where there is no judgment about being gay and they can finally be open in their affection for one another.  I adored seeing Collin start to come out of his shell and be open with his feelings even as he struggles with the loss of his family.  The way that we get to see his struggle with who he is and what he wants is heartbreaking but very honest as not everyone going thru this struggle has a great support system.  His struggle makes it difficult for Tanner to know exactly how he stands with Collin but Tanner is very patient with this and understands.  They do have some conflict but the conflict is handled well and is completely understandable when it comes.

There is also a side story with a woman from Tanner’s father’s past and someone extremely close to our boys…  I am going to be honest here and say that I hope this person realizes the major mistake they’ve made sooner rather than later as to lose someone that truly is a friend is a very sad price to pay for someone that doesn’t deserve it.  I do admit that it would’ve been nice for something to have been said earlier in the summer but I did understand why they kept their suspicions to themselves even as I wanted them to spill the secret.

If you want to see a story that builds at a realistic pace and that also shows how much pain being narrow-minded can cause someone who doesn’t fit the “traditional” mold then please read this.  It is a struggle too many people go thru in the world where in some places being gay can be a death penalty.  I have enjoyed watching their relationship build and look forward to seeing what happens when they get back to school.

four-half-stars

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The List – Anne Calhoun – 4.5 Stars – Contest

March 3, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Sent 2

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 List – Anne Calhoun – 4.5 Stars – ContestThe List by Anne Calhoun
Published by Berkley Publishing Group on 2015-03-03
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, General, Literary, Romance
Pages: 336
Source: the publisher
The List (An Irresistible Novel)<img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=booaholano0c-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00L9B7CCS" target="_blank">Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Who’s on top?

Matchmaker and stationery shop owner Matilda Davies brings people together. For those on her list, Tilda will find the man or woman of their dreams—whether it’s for an hour or a lifetime. But due to a painful past, the British expat has never put her own name on the list. Instead, she limits herself to emotionless and commitment-free hookups. Then she meets Daniel, who wants not just her body, but also her heart…

Daniel Logan hides the soul of a poet under the suit and tie of an FBI agent. Specializing in financial crimes, he pieces together stories of greed and ensures justice is done. He plays by the rules—until he meets Tilda. He’s drawn in by her passion as well as her mysteriousness. Daniel knows that no matter her secrets, he’s the perfect match for Tilda. But even pleasure doesn’t come with a guarantee…

Ok bear with me for a few…  This isn’t an easy book to read or review in some respects.  You need to be patient as you read this as you might be tempted to dislike the heroine but give her a chance.  She’s who she is because of where she came from and what she had to deal with growing up.  I found myself understanding her in many ways because I could see myself in her ways of protecting herself from what she sees as a fundamental flaw within herself.  The hero is someone you will not have any issues with as he is definitely swoonworthy in his devotion to the woman who captivated him from the start.

Let’s start with what I adore about Daniel:

  • His devotion to the heroine even as she tries to drive him away
  • His understanding that it isn’t him at issue but something within her
  • His devotion to his family
  • His acceptance that they are two distinct people and should be free to have their own pursuits
  • His message on the first day *you won’t see it until the end but dear lord*
  • His way of getting her to start seeing him *admittedly loved how sneaky and dirty he was*
  • His naughty as hell side *fans self*

Now let’s see what caused me to like Matilda *Tilda*:

  • Her knowledge that Daniel isn’t at fault
  • Her acceptance that she wants him even as she fears hurting him
  • Her soft heart hidden under the ice that she wears so well
  • Her ability to see what people need even as she won’t see her own needs
  • Her ability to spot something special in things that she herself doesn’t understand but craves with all her being
  • Her love for her grandmother
  • Her wilder impulsive side that is there just waiting for someone to see it and encourage it
  • Her true nature that just needs someone to truly accept her and love her

Now…  the two people who I wish would fall off the face of the earth for what they did to a younger Matilda that made her in to the seemingly cold woman who believes something is wrong with her…  well I am not going to give them away here but trust that you will want to put them in a special spot in hell for what they did to her psyche when she was vulnerable.  This of course also causes Daniel some pain as we see but you’ll love his understanding of what is truly going on and admire how much he was able to let go as much as it hurt him to do so.  This is a man worthy of love and devotion which you’ll see he eventually gets from the one woman who completes him.

 

I adored this story and since the team at Berkeley are so generous…  I have a paperback copy of this one to give away to one lucky commenter.  All you need to do is tell me something about the person(s) that ground you.  We all have someone that has held that place in our heart that we know accepts us as we are…  Mine was my grandfather Sophus who I knew loved me as I was…  Leave a comment by 3/11/15 at 11:59 pm CT for a chance to win the paperback.

four-half-stars

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