The Start of Something Good – Jennifer Probst 4 stars

June 5, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Read in 2018, Uncategorized 1

The Start of Something Good – Jennifer Probst 4 starsThe Start of Something Good by Jennifer Probst
Published by Amazon Publishing on 2018-06
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women
Pages: 301
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
three-flames

An enriching story of family ties, broken hearts, and second chances from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.

When Ethan Bishop returns to the Hudson Valley, his body and spirit are a little worse for wear. As a former Special Forces paratrooper, he saw his fair share of conflict, and he came home with wounds, inside and out. At his sisters' B & B and farm, he can keep all his pain at a safe distance. But quiet time isn't easy when a fiery woman explodes into his life...

It's business--not pleasure--that brings Manhattan PR agent Mia Thrush reluctantly to the farm. Tightly wound and quick tempered, Mia clashes immediately with the brooding Ethan. Everything about him is irritating--from his lean muscles and piercing blue eyes to his scent of sweat and musk.

But as the summer unfolds and temperatures rise, Ethan and Mia discover how much they have in common: their guarded histories, an uncontrollable desire, and a passion for the future that could heal two broken hearts. But will their pasts threaten their fragile chance at a brand-new future?

I’ve really enjoyed some of Jennifer Probst’s series, specifically Marriage to a Billionaire, Searching For and The Billionaire Builders , so I was excited to see she had a new series in the works.

The Start of Something Good is the first book in Probst’s new Stay series, and fans of her work won’t be disappointed.    The story has all the elements that fans of Probst will enjoy.  Close knit family, emotional writing and characters who tug at your heart-strings and great sexual chemistry.

There were lots of elements that made The Start of Something Good an enjoyable read for me.

  • My family loves Disney movies so I loved seeing this incorporated into Ethan’s family
  • Chloe added a wonderful element as a young woman going through her own struggles.  I enjoyed that both Mia and Ethan bonded with Chloe and helped mentor her even though it wasn’t their responsibility.  The interactions that included her added a depth to their relationship that would have been missing without her.
  • I adored Ethan’s sisters and am already looking forward to their stories.  The epilogue tells me Ophelia has quite a history with Kyle.  I wonder how Ethan will deal with the conflict between his childhood friend and his sister.
  • Hei-Hei the chicken, behold his majesty

If you enjoy contemporary romances centered around families and small town settings than The Start of Something Good is for you.

four-stars

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Bone Driven – Hailey Edwards 5 stars

May 31, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, Uncategorized 1

Bone Driven – Hailey Edwards 5 starsBone Driven by Hailey Edwards
Series: Foundling #2
on May 31, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Epic, Romantic, Action & Adventure
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars
two-half-flames

'Edwards creates amazing fantasy worlds that the reader becomes completely engrossed in' (Goodreads)

The bayou is burning, the battle is just beginning - and Luce Boudreau is smack in the middle of no-man's land . . .

Life as a cop in Canton Town, Mississippi, is never dull - particularly when hiding deep within you is a demon bent on the apocalypse. Luce is doing her best to pretend her two worlds aren't crashing into each other, but what should be a routine arson investigation takes a shocking turn when Luce discovers a link between the suspects and her own dark secrets. There's no turning back, even though her search for the truth threatens to burn her old life down around her.

Lines are being drawn in a war Luce barely understands, and she just might be on the wrong side of them. Now she must embrace her powerful destiny, or the ones she loves most will pay the ultimate price.

Book Two in the powerfully addictive fantasy series The Foundling, perfect for fans of Ilona Andrews, Jenn Stark and Helen Harper

What readers are saying about Hailey Edwards:

'A fantasy of a five-star read!' Amazon reviewer

'This is a well written and entertaining story, full of humour and suspense, that I found to be a terrific read.''A fast-moving journey filled with the unexpected.' (RT Book Reviews)

'Hailey Edwards has exceeded all expectations.' (Goodreads)

'Well-plotted fantasy with intriguing characters, heart-pounding action, suspenseful intrigue and subtle romance. (RT Book Reviews)

'Edwards has this way of writing that makes you feel like the narrator is talking to you and that you're old friends.' (Goodreads)

'The world building is fresh . . . The characters are well-drawn and easy to root for. And the romance really hits the spot. '(Red Hot Books)

'One of the most interesting books i have read in a long time, it starts off pretty normal but when the shocks start coming they don't stop and Luce ends up feeling from one revelation after another.' Amazon reviewer

'One aspect of her writing I enjoy is her ability to take the mundane and with a few changes, turn it into something unique and unexpected. She builds dynamic character bases, using common mythology but takes it one step further using previously unseen species or imbibing currently known species with skills and know how that offers readers something new in the paranormal world.' (Smexybooks.com)

As you can see from my rating, I absolutely loved Bone Driven.  It picks up about a week after Bayou Born and we find Luce trying to put pieces of her life back together after beating off War.   Unfortunately Luce finds it’s impossible to go back to the simple small town life she craves.  Not only is War still out there, but there are new Charun  everywhere she turned and even people she loves aren’t immune to the evil that seems intent on awakening Conquest.

My heart broke for Luce in this book.  Not only do the losses continue to pile up around her, but it also seems that everyone wants a piece of her.  While Cole, Tom, Miller and Santiago want to protect and help her, they also need certain things from her that Luce doesn’t entirely understand or isn’t ready to give them.  Wu and Kapoor are both playing a long game that we don’t yet understand but it can’t be good for her or the coterie.  Maggie still loves her but also can’t yet forgive her entirely for the choice that Luce made.  Her attempts to straddle both her existing and new worlds strains her friendship with Rixton to the breaking point and there is nothing she can say to fix it when deceiving him means keeping his family safe.

Luce’s family is targeted again in the battle to bring forth Conquest.  How much more pressure will she be able to take before the guilt and pressure push her permanently into the cold space that will bury her humanity once and for all?

While I didn’t have this issue,  a number of reviewers for Bayou Born had indicated that they struggled with the pacing.  Let me assure you, you will not have any pacing issues with Bone Driven.  The non-stop action and emotion had me glued to my kindle, I even snuck it out during a graduation ceremony.

five-stars

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Bayou Born – Hailey Edwards 4 stars

May 30, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Read in 2017, Uncategorized 1

Bayou Born – Hailey Edwards 4 starsBayou Born by Hailey Edwards
Series: Foundling #1
on October 17th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
two-flames

"Edwards [creates] amazing fantasy worlds that the reader becomes completely engrossed in." GoodreadsHer beginning may be our end . . .

Deep in the humid Mississippi bayou, a half-wild child is dragged from the murky waters. She has no memories, no family and is covered in mysterious markings. Adopted by the policeman who rescued her, Luce Boudreau follows him onto the force, determined to prove herself in the eyes of those who are still suspicious.However, there's more of a battle ahead than Luce could possibly imagine. She may be an orphan without a past, but no one - including Luce herself - could ever be prepared for the truth of her dark, powerful destiny . .

"Well-plotted fantasy continues to engage the reader with its intriguing characters, heart-pounding action, suspenseful intrigue and subtle romance." RT Book Reviews

"The world building is fresh ... The characters are well-drawn and easy to root for. And the romance really hits the spot." Red Hot Books

I love all things PNR and UF, and I often have trouble identifying the line between the two genres when a series contains romantic elements, especially when the UF story results in a HEA.  While it’s too early in the Foundling series to know whether I will get that HEA, I’m certainly keeping my fingers crossed.

Bayou Born is an exciting new entry into the UF genre.  I haven’t been as excited about a UF series since I was first introduced to the Mercy Thompson series.  Bayou Born presents reader with a world and magical characters unlike anything else I have ever read.  There are no shifters or vampires here, not that there is anything wrong with either of those.   You would pry my shifter books out of my cold dead hands, but it was nice to read something so unique.  I won’t give any spoilers here, as the discovery of exactly what Luce and the men from White House Security are is an integral part of the story.  My only complaint is that we find out so late in book 1 that I felt like I just had a grasp on the world we were being presented with when the book ended which resulted in months of pining for book 2.

 

Stay tuned for my review of Bone Driven.

four-stars

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Wild Hunger – Suzanne Wright 2.5 stars

May 29, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Read in 2018, Uncategorized 1

Wild Hunger – Suzanne Wright 2.5 starsWild Hunger by Suzanne Wright
Series: Phoenix Pack #7
Published by Montlake Genres: Action & Adventure, Fiction, General, Paranormal, Romance, Shifters
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
two-half-stars
three-half-flames

When half–wolf shifter Frankie Newman receives an e-mail from a family member she didn’t know existed, a secret is revealed: as a child, Frankie witnessed her father killing her mother…and then himself. Frankie was torn from her pack by her mother’s human relatives, and the trauma was erased from her memory. Realizing that she’s been lied to her entire life, she’s never felt more alone. Until she catches the scent of an old friend—warmly familiar and intoxicating.

Trick Hardy, enforcer of the Phoenix Pack, can sense the rush of mutual attraction when he sees Frankie again. He knows immediately that she’s his true mate. But he also knows that, given her fragile state, he needs to tread with care—no matter how fierce his surging desires.

As aroused as Frankie is by Trick’s darkly dominant air and simmering desire, her priority right now is her past—not her future, no matter how tempting. But as more secrets emerge and Frankie’s life is threatened, Trick must do everything he can to keep her close and safe. After all, it’s their destiny.

Like lots of PNR fans, I am a fan of Suzanne Wright’s shifter series.  They are always follow the predictable format that makes them the cracky goodness I enjoy.  Wild Hunger delivered on all of the items readers have come to expect:

  • Fated mates – check
  • Super possessive alpha heroes – check
  • Snarky humor among pack mates, often at the expense of Greta who rightfully deserves it – check
  • Some flavor of bad guy or guys that ultimately threaten the heroine and/or the pack in general but who are ultimately defeated – check
  • Over the top sexual references and the notion of saving your ass for your mate – check

The story had all the elements that I look for in Wright’s books and would have gotten a higher ranking from me if it weren’t for one major problem.

You see, in Wild Hunger we are reminded multiple times that the hero of this story, Trick, has had a past that included sleeping with both men women.  Rock on, bring on the bisexual heroes you say and I agree.  Unfortunately rather than either opting not to specifically state that Trick is bisexual because the label is needed when we know his history or stating that Trick is bisexual, the story seems to make a point to make a statement that Trick isn’t gay.  Below are a couple of examples of this:

  • When a man who Trick has hooked up with in the past attempts to make the heroine question whether she will really be able to give Trick what he needs, she tells him that Trick isn’t gay.  When he doesn’t believe her she says “I’m pretty sure he’s straighter than the pole you dance on every Saturday.”
  • When Frankie (the heroine) is talking to a female member of the pack about the exchange above, the female packmate says “Seeing you and Trick together will have made him face that Trick isn’t gay, wich means he also had to face that you’re able to give Trick something he can’t give him – not unless he’s interested in a sex change anyway.

I just don’t understand why the author opted to address Trick’s sexuality this way when the fact that pack mates have hooked up with each other is openly known and accepted.  Clearly men and women both do it for Trick, why is there any need to make it about being or not being gay?

I hope that we will see this topic handled more appropriately in the future because I would hate to need to stop reading a series that I have enjoyed for years.

two-half-stars

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A Rancher’s Heart – Vivian Arend – 4 stars

May 21, 2018 Read in 2018, Sent, Steph 1

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

A Rancher’s Heart – Vivian Arend – 4 starsA Rancher's Heart by Vivian Arend
Published by Arend Publishing Inc. on November 16, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General, Western, Humorous
Pages: 344
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
three-half-flames

This cowboy has given up on love, but the new nanny might just make him change his mind. The first in a brand-new series from New York Times bestselling author Vivian Arend.  

Caleb Stone is wearing too many hats and it’s making him crankier than usual. He’s a cowboy, a father, and the head of his large family—and has been since tragedy claimed his parents over ten years ago. The ranch is struggling, but it's the title of single dad that’s got him tangled up in knots. He needs a full-time, live-in nanny at the Silver Stone homestead in Heart Falls, Alberta, to help with his two little girls, but the woman about to arrive on his doorstep? Tantalizing, tempting, and trouble with capital T’s.

Tamara Coleman doesn’t regret the choices that led to losing her job, but she definitely needs a fresh start. When a friend recommends her for a nanny position in a new town, she swears this time it’ll be different. No more acting on impulse—except sexy, gruff Caleb is exactly the kind of man who pushes all her buttons. And what’s more, it’s so much fun to push his in return. Sparks fly between Tamara and her gorgeous boss, but she can’t risk her position, and he doesn’t dare risk his heart.

With two people fighting their true natures, something’s going to give. Luckily, there’s more than one way to capture a rancher’s heart.

I blame school for how long this took me to read but I am happy that I read this one and was able to jump right in to book two immediately.  We first met Tamara in the Coleman series but this is where we really get to see who she is while also seeing a new family and area.

There is a lot of heart in this one with two girls who need someone to be their advocate while making sure that both of them have their own voice.  Tamara is the right person for the job as she recognizes the behavior and makes sure to gently work on a healthier dynamic.  She also recognizes how badly she wants Caleb while at the same time not wanting to ruin this second chance.  I quite enjoyed her heart and how badly she tried to make up for the girls’ mom (I can’t even with that woman).

Caleb was wonderfully surly but charming… he was so badly burned by his ex and while he tries to avoid what he wants from Tamara…  well we all know how that turns out.  I liked him but didn’t always like his actions even though I understood them.  He really wants to do the best he can for his entire family but he at times goes about it in the worst way.  He is very attentive once he lets his need for Tamara to the surface.  I quite enjoyed how much they wanted one another but also how much they worked together to make sure that the girls were always taken care of.  This is something that I found endearing as they had been thru so much in such a short time.

This is a bit short but I did quite enjoy the introduction to this family and I think you will too.  Go grab this!!

four-stars

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Musings: Facing One’s Own Mistakes & Trying to Listen More

April 3, 2018 Musings 0

This post will not be a pretty one…  I will make mistakes… I will probably say something that won’t sit well but I need to be honest and open in a way I thought I was but after reading so many stories by so many Authors of Color (AOC) after the latest RWA statement regarding diversity and the RITAs I think I need to be open so I can finally be what I want to be… a true advocate for diverse voices in all areas of my life.

I have always said that I truly try to be color/ethnicity blind in all aspects of my life but you know what…  THIS IS A PRIVILEGE THAT REALLY SAYS “I have the luxury to say things that actually mean that I’m not truly trying to make sure that ALL voices get a chance to be heard.”  I am privileged in that I am a relatively educated white woman who was able to grow up in areas with diverse citizens and non-citizens.  I had the chance to experience the services and teachings from people of all sorts of religious and non-religious backgrounds.  I was encouraged to read, to seek out information from varied sources, and go out to just experience life around people.  Yes, people…  all kinds… I went to school in a public system where in high school my friends were from the projects, from the richest areas of town, and those who were like me just normal middle to low class kids.  I was also lucky enough to not be the popular kid but because of the classes I was in I knew everyone in my school including who sold drugs, who needed food or support due to poverty, and every single one of the popular kids.  I never feel in to a single clique but was able to spend time around anyone I wanted.  In fact, I had the chance to spend some time around one of the people I went to high school with and her perception was that I was popular.  I never felt that way but perhaps because I liked to be around those who tolerated me (sad but there were so many problems at home that tolerated me was GREAT) others could perceive it as popularity.

I say this because me claiming to be color blind is the worst thing that I could actually say.  I need to actually say that I will not tolerate the fact that those who aren’t like me get sneered at.  They get told that speaking up is just complaining… that asking for an equal chance at being recognized for work that is AMAZING is just whining…  I need to own that I should be looking for the voices that aren’t being celebrated and use my platform to encourage more people to PAY ATTENTION!!!  I don’t actively search for AOC and that needs to change… I need to do better…  WE NEED TO DO BETTER…  I need to be aware in a way that allows me to support all AOC by being aware that by claiming color blindness I was actually part of the problem.  I am not going to say this will be easy for me to correct but I am saying I want to do better.  I will be at my first RWA in July and will change my Twitter avatar as we get closer to the convention so I can be recognized.  I will speak up if I hear or see any behavior that AOC have had to deal with over the years.  It will be hard for me because I do have trouble speaking out.  I admit it…  I avoid confrontation most of the time because that’s the way I was raised.  Don’t draw attention to yourself… be a good girl…  don’t embarrass the family… I know that it was what was taught to them but you know what…  I need to speak up and truly try to be an advocate.

If you know a work, series or anything by AOC that you’d like to see me read or talk about…  PLEASE LET ME KNOW!  I am being honest when I say I will try anything once..  I really do love to read anything just so I can at least say that I tried it even if I end up not liking it.  I encourage you to start to pay attention to what you are reading, who you look to for recommendations, what characters are included, how people are represented, and above all….  NOTICE WHAT IS MISSING…. saying you are colorblind is not a plus…  it is not a positive…  you are most likely doing the same thing I was doing and missing problems that need to be addressed.  I cannot say this enough…  If you see me at any event, please come up to me to say hi…  to avoid being alone or in general just cause you like books.  I am an introvert by nature but I love books…  I love reading…  I love talking about books…  I love learning about new books…  I love hearing about the old school stuff that I never read because I didn’t read romance until about a year before this blog started…  Send me an email by using the contact page…  Find me on Twitter… Honestly if you just want to tell me off because I was so damned proud of being something that was not really a good thing…  Yeah go ahead..  I will own my blindness but I also own that I will be trying to be more than that going forward.  I want to be a positive in this community and the community in general.  The only way this is possible is to acknowledge that my own arrogance is a huge part of what allows this behavior to continue.

So…  Let me know…  Let anyone reading this blog know…  Who are some AOC that we all need to read?  I really do want to know either on here or Twitter…  If you are an AOC or represent an AOC please reach out to me…  I want to do better and really put my actions ahead of my words.

Also…  thanks to Suleikah Snyder who reminded me that by reaching out to her before I posted this made me do the same thing I don’t want to do.  So yeah I’m posting before I get any feedback cause…  I have a lot of work ahead of me but dammit I will learn…

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Cover Reveal – Branded by Stacy Gail

April 3, 2018 Cover Reveal 0

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

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

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

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Ivan – Kit Rocha – 4.5 stars

March 30, 2018 Read in 2018, Sent, Steph 1

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

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

Book #3 in Gideon's Riders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

four-half-stars

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Hot and Badgered – Shelly Laurenston – 5 stars

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

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

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

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

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

via GIPHY

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

via GIPHY

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

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

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

Now on to my warnings..

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

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

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

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

five-stars

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Hurts to Love You – Alisha Rai – 3.5 stars

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

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

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