Posts Categorized: eBook

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Can’t Let Go – Gena Showalter 3 stars

October 31, 2017 Boookluvr Reads, Harlequin 1

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

Can’t Let Go – Gena Showalter 3 starsCan't Let Go by Gena Showalter
on October 31st 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads
three-stars

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter is back with a sizzling Original Heartbreakers tale about an icy war vet and the only woman capable of melting him... 

With trust issues a mile long, Ryanne Wade has sworn off men. Then Jude Laurent walks into her bar, and all bets are off. The former army ranger has suffered unimaginably, first being maimed in battle then losing his wife and daughters to a drunk driver. Making the brooding widower smile is priority one. Resisting him? Impossible. 

For Jude, Ryanne is off-limits. And yet the beautiful bartender who serves alcohol to potential motorists tempts him like no other. When a rival bar threatens her livelihood--and her life--he can't turn away. She triggers something in him he thought long buried, and he's determined to protect her, whatever the cost. 

As their already scorching attraction continues to heat, the damaged soldier knows he must let go of his past to hold on to his future...or risk losing the second chance he desperately needs.

Can’t Let Go is the fifth installment of Gena Showalter’s The Original Heartbreakers Series.  As with the other books in the series, Can’t Let Go features a damaged hero and a woman who has exactly what he needs to heal the physical and emotional needs of his past.

Jude Laurent hasn’t had an easy life.  Between being neglected as a child, losing his leg in a bomb blast while in the military and losing his wife and twin daughters in a car accident, Jude is just focused on surviving and putting one foot in front of the other day after day.  There is absolutely no way he’s going to get involved with Ryanne Wade, even if the sassy bar owner makes him feel more than the never-ending grief that has become his life.

Ryanne Wade has big plans for her future.  She will be living her life on her own terms, traveling the world to see all of the sights that she has been dreaming about for her entire life.  She most certainly follow her mother’s footsteps by having a life that revolves around whatever man she is with at the time.  She knows that Jude isn’t in the right frame of mind to have a relationship with anyone given his past, but she is determined to help him find some happiness in the few weeks they have together before she leaves for Rome.

***Warning… spoilers ahead***

I expected to love this book.  I have read all the other books in the series and I was looking forward to seeing Jude and Ryanne finally come together. I did like the book, but there were some elements of the writing that kept me from loving it.

Positives:

  • Jude’s turmoil and emotional pain were handled well.  The scenes that showed Jude falling apart completely as the grief overwhelmed him helped the reader see how tortured he still was.
  • Ryanne was everything I love in a heroine.  She was sarcastic while still being vulnerable and caring.

Negatives:

  • The scenario for Ryanne getting pregnant felt very over the top.  You have a virgin heroine who is on the pill having sex with a man who recently had a vasectomy and is wearing a condom that breaks, yet she still ends up pregnant.  I understand that it is possible that this could happen, but it is so unlikely that I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.
  • When the references to Showalter’s other book series as video games started in the earlier books, I thought it was cute and maybe smart marketing on her side.  After reading references multiple times in this book I’m over it.  I don’t want to feel beat over the head with references to your paranormal series when I’m in the middle of your contemporary world.
  • Sex on a mechanical bull… I don’t think I need to say more here.

 

In the end, I thought Can’t Let Go was decent, but not up to the level of other books in the series.  Unfortunately it felt like it was trying to hard to follow a formula and the quality of the storyline seemed to suffer as a result.   I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the next installment doesn’t follow the same path because I must read what happens between Brock and Lyndie.

three-stars

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Archangel’s Viper – Nalini Singh 5 stars

September 26, 2017 Boookluvr Reads, Read in 2017 2

Archangel’s Viper – Nalini Singh 5 starsArchangel's Viper by Nalini Singh
Published by Penguin Publishing Group on September 26th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, General, Science Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Enter New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh's breathtakingly passionate Guild Hunter world with the story of a woman who isn't a vampire or an angel...or human...   Once a broken girl known as Sorrow, Holly Chang now prowls the shadowy gray underground of the city for the angels. But it's not her winged allies who make her a wanted woman--it's the unknown power coursing through her veins. Brutalized by an insane archangel, she was left with the bloodlust of a vampire, the ability to mesmerize her prey, and a poisonous bite.   Now, someone has put a bounty on her head...   Venom is one of the Seven, Archangel Raphael's private guard, and he's as infuriating as he is seductive. A centuries-old vampire, his fangs dispense a poison deadlier than Holly's. But even if Venom can protect Holly from those hunting her, he might not be able to save himself--because the strange, violent power inside Holly is awakening...   No one is safe.

You’ll have to pardon my fangirling for a moment, but with some books/authors it simply can’t be helped.  I love Nalini Singh’s PNR books!  It doesn’t matter if I am in the middle of another book, when a new Guild Hunter or Psy-Changeling  book comes out I immediately start reading it.  PNR worlds can be tricky (especially first books) because so much of the story centers on the building or description of the world and I can find myself struggling to feel connected enough to the main characters of the story because I am so focused on the world.   I am always amazed that given how detailed the worlds in both series are, I didn’t feel that frustration or disconnect from the story.  Nalini’s world always seems to provide the detail needed to connect you to her characters rather than take away from the.  She does such an outstanding job bringing details like color, texture, taste and emotion to life in her books that you can almost feel the backdrops she describes.  Every description brings you further into the world of her characters and bonds you to them so that you feel every emotion along with them.  Given that, it’s no wonder both series are a favorite re-read for so many readers.

Archangel’s Viper was such a wonderful installment to the Guild Hunter series.  I have been looking forward to seeing Holly and Viper since Holly was introduced to us as Sorrow.  Their back and forth banter made me hopeful that they would be paired up later in the series once Holly had time to heal, so I was thrilled when this book was announced.

I loved seeing how far Holly came since we last saw her.  Her confidence, determination and attitude were delightful.  The emphasis on her clothing and accessories gave us a glimpse not just into who Holly is today, but who she was prior to being thrust into the world of angels and vampires.  The back and forth between Holly and Viper made me smile because they truly had a dynamic that was simply their own.  When the everyone else was still treating Holly with kid gloves in some ways, Viper never shied away from treating her like his equal.  Whether that meant telling Holly truths she may not want to see, or physically testing her limits, it showed us how much confidence Viper had in Holly’s ability to exist in their world.

My favorite elements of this story (without spoilers) were:

  • Ashwini programming ringtones in Holly’s phone.  I love seeing the playfulness between such powerful beings.
  • All the nicknames Holly and Viper had for each other.  To others these may have seemed like insults, but in the end it was a way for the two of them to establish a subtle intimacy before they even realized what was happening.
  • Holly’s dislike for Viper’s sunglasses.  I love that a feature that made Viper seem so alien was something that never deterred Holly.  She was not only fascinated by his eyes and their behavior, but could read his eyes ina  way that other’s seemed unable to do.  While Viper didn’t believe his eyes reflected emotion in the same way that most eyes do, with Holly that wasn’t the case.
  • The details of Viper’s home that called out to both he and Holly.  Given that otherness of Viper I don’t think I realized how important it would be that whoever he ended up with would be drawn to some of the same comforts.
  • Viper absolutely melted my heart when he cooked for Holly.  Seriously, a vampire that doesn’t eat who goes out of his way to not just prepare food, but meals that were either centered around dishes that he knew Holly liked based on observing her or those that were a bridge to his own past.  Each one was prepared with such care that it was one of the most romantic scenes I have ever read.
  • The flavored blood that Ashwini sent with Venom.  This to me is an example of such a subtle detail making a world of difference to the story.  Listening to Venom describe the flavors and the memories associated with them (especially given his taste for flavored blood) humanized him in a way that I wasn’t prepared for.
  • The glimpses into Holly’s relationship with Dimitri.  Given his painful past, I love that he has become a father figure to Holly and Naasir.
  • Holly and Viper playing in Central Park.  That scene did such a good job showing us how alike Holly and Venom were, and it was the first time we got to see Holly let her abilities surface in a playful way.
  • That Venom gave Holly his true name.  To me it was symbolic of his final wall coming down between them.  It was the moment where I knew that Holly had his heart for eternity no matter what came next.

Fans of the Guild Hunter series will not be disappointed with this latest installment, and I dare say may find Viper their favorite hero in the entire series (sorry Dimitri 🙂 ).  To those that haven’t read any books in the series yet, I have only one thing to say… What Are You Waiting For?!

five-stars

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Protecting Their Mate (Part Three) – Moira Rogers – 4 stars

August 11, 2017 Read in 2017, Self Published, 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.

Protecting Their Mate (Part Three) – Moira Rogers – 4 starsProtecting Their Mate (Part Three) on August 7, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
four-half-flames

Part Three (of Three)

As the full moon raises tensions--and appetites--Ashley indulges her wildest fantasies...and discovers what it truly means to belong to the pack. But Blake's control is tested as outsiders descend on the pack's territory, and Ashley discovers that following her heart may be the only way to find her mate.

Ashley's heart longs for one man, but her wolf demands that she test herself against the alpha. Can she settle for a life of never knowing, or will she risk everything for Blake?

Protecting Their Mate was originally published as an eight part serial under the penname Mia Thorne. It has been repackaged, but the story remains the same.

So we have seen Blake and Ashley struggle over the last two books with what knowing what they want and in this book we finally see it pushed to the brink as Blake wants to make sure that Ashley is with the wolf that is strongest and that her own wolf cries out for.  He struggles with his inability to keep her completely safe in the conflict with the other pack but the issue isn’t with his strength but the fact that even with the best laid plans something can go awry.  His actions and choices make him do something that is not truly needed but I understood his actions.

Ashley also is struggling with her own wolf but considering her background the fact that her wolf is being cautious is understandable and I appreciated her own honesty as she even struggles with what the real answer should be regarding who she takes as her mate.  While I didn’t like Blake’s action I did completely appreciate what we got as a result of it…  Lucas, Ashley and Blake…  oh yeah…  YUMMY!!!  The way this is wrapped up did make me happy as it was clear from book one that Ashley did have real feelings for Blake even though what brought them together could’ve explained some of it there was just a connection that was true from that moment forward.

I am happy that there is word about more books with the rest of the pack so I will sit here and try to control my urge to ask for updates as they work on their Kit Rocha titles…  but hey…  Moira Rogers…  More???  Now??? Please???

four-stars

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Protecting Their Mate (Part Two) – Moira Rogers – 3.5 Stars

July 31, 2017 Read in 2017, Self Published, 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.

Protecting Their Mate (Part Two) – Moira Rogers – 3.5 StarsProtecting Their Mate (Part Two) on July 31, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars
four-flames

Part Two (of Three)

As Ashley settles in to her life at the lodge, she meets more of her new pack mates--including wicked, intense Jud. His touch arouses her hunger--and Blake's possessiveness. Lucas, the unyielding alpha, grows concerned with the attachment between Blake and Ashley and sends Blake out on a mission.

While Blake is away, Ashley meets the most elusive member of her new pack--the enigmatic Connor, a hacker who, like her, was raised among humans. For Connor, sex is volatile--dangerous--and being near Ashley draws out the feral edge of the wolf inside him. As Ashley's connection with Blake--and with Lucas--grows deeper, an outside force threatens the peace of the Last River pack.

Protecting Their Mate was originally published as an eight part serial under the penname Mia Thorne. It has been repackaged, but the story remains the same.

And… it continues…

Lucas sends Blake away in order to provide his second much needed breathing room so everyone really gets to figure out what Ashley needs.  You may not like this as the story continues but his reasoning is sound and it gives others a chance to get to know her better.  Yes, Mac and Connor take over making sure she gets what she needs which is a moment that is enjoyable even as you sense that everyone understands who she is meant for even if her wolf hasn’t fully embraced it yet.

Jud is another interesting character so I am looking forward to when we get more from Moira Rogers in this world as I hope his story is told.  There is a bit more told about how the pack operates and the history but mainly the focus is on Ashley figuring out more about who she is and what she wants.

Lucas really intrigues me as he seems to always hold himself back but I sense that if we get his story there will be a lot of pain buried behind this powerful Alpha.  I also cannot wait to see what happens with Connor and Mac as there is a lot of concern with Connor which I hope proves to be a lot of worry about nothing.

There is also a discovery of another female werewolf so tension starts to rise as the worry surrounding this other “pack” comes in to the picture with plans being made to meet with them.  I think that this new discovery causes ripples that fold in to the next book as Blake is on edge with his own struggle to be certain that Ashley has a choice.  He wants her so much but his need to take care of her causes tension along with her own need to find out what her wolf needs.

Part three wraps this up so stay tuned for next week…

three-half-stars

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Protecting Their Mate (Part One) – Moira Rogers – 3 stars

July 31, 2017 Read in 2017, Self Published, 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.

Protecting Their Mate (Part One) – Moira Rogers – 3 starsProtecting Their Mate (Part One) on July 24, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars
four-flames

Part One (of Three)

Blake is on a mission from his alpha--to track down a werewolf whose parents dragged her into the human world years ago, one who may be in danger. He expects the lead to go nowhere, given how few wolves live among humans, but he discovers something rare indeed, caged in a basement: a beautiful, curvy woman gripped by the fever, ready to mate.

Ashley Todd has never fit in. She's always been too much--too big, too demanding, too aware of the wolf hiding beneath her skin. She's been locked away for months--been alone for a lifetime--and in walks Blake to save her from her prison. Her rescuer is hard, intense--a dominant wolf whose bossy attitude makes her growl...and yearn to submit.

Soothing Ashley's mating fever is Blake's responsibility--and his pleasure. Their passion is explosive, undeniable. But what started out as a job for Blake quickly becomes something more, and the toughest part of his mission looms: taking Ashley back to his pack so she can choose her permanent mate from amongst his brethren.

Ashley is drawn to dominant Blake, but meeting the rest of the pack reignites her desire. She is overwhelmed by her new life and all it entails, but embracing her inner wolf means embracing the truth: if she doesn't explore her attraction to the other members of the pack, she'll never find her forever mate .

Protecting Their Mate was originally published as an eight part serial under the penname Mia Thorne. It has been repackaged, but the story remains the same.

Imagine living a life where your fundamental nature was considered foul and needed to be suppressed.  This is reality for Ashley who has been locked in the basement of her family home by her father.  He is what she is which is a werewolf but has gone insane so doesn’t feel that his very nature should be considered acceptable and living as a human is the goal.

Ashley has finally hit her limit and is trying to escape while in heat when she hears someone trying to get to her and smells the scent of death.  She is relieved to be free but at the same time conflicted by the fact she’s always been told she wasn’t right.  She misses her family but the new life she is going to be building is so right for her and I enjoyed watching her bloom under the attentions of some seriously yummy males.

This first installment introduces us to the main members of the pack but focusing on the potential bond between Blake and Ashley.  Blake wants to make sure that Ashley has a choice in what she wants and needs so she knows she’s free compared to her past.  He’s strong and definitely wants her but makes sure that her needs in the midst of the mating fever are taken care of by the pack.  I loved Blake but also loved her interactions with Mac and the other packmates.

I’d like to say that this is on par with my love for the O’Kane series but this first installment left me a bit shaky as I wanted to get more time of Ashley and Blake getting to know one another before we had her with others.  I know I know… just me being a bit greedy.  LOL

and… on to part 2…

three-stars

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All or Nothing at All – Jennifer Probst – 3 stars

July 25, 2017 Boookluvr Reads, Gallery Books, NetGalley, Read in 2017 1

All or Nothing at All – Jennifer Probst – 3 starsAll or Nothing at All by Jennifer Probst
Published by Gallery Books on July 25th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, General
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

HGTV’s Property Brothers meets The Marriage Bargain in this third novel in the Billionaire Builders series, an all-new sexy contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.

***Warning, this review will contain a pretty major spoiler.  I felt the topic needed to be touched on in the review, so if you haven’t read the book and don’t want spoilers, come back after you’ve had a chance to read the book 🙂 ***

 

For readers of the Billionaire Builders series, I am sure that you, like me, saw some elements of this story line coming a mile away.  It was clear that Tristan and Sydney would be the focus of his book, and given the glimpses that we have had of Sydney’s daughter Becca, that we would be looking at a secret baby romance.   Secret baby story lines can be tough because the author must impress upon the reader that the choice of keeping a child from their father was justifiable at the time, and that given the circumstances the hero would be able to forgive the heroine for her decision enough to finally have their HEA.   This criteria wasn’t completely met for me in All or Nothing at All which I will get into further later in the review.

In the 3rd installment of the Billionaire Builders series,  the book begins by showing us the moment that Tristan left town, and Sydney 7 years ago.  This glimpse helps set the stage for why they have such off the charts chemistry and so many unresolved issues as we move into the present.  These flashbacks continue throughout the book showing the reader scenes from both character’s perspective all the way from childhood through recent events.  While I think these flashbacks help demonstrate the history that the characters have with each other and how integrated Sydney was in their family, I do think they were too frequent and not all necessary to help the reader understand the dynamics between the characters.

The main plot point in this book is that when Tristan and Sydney once again find themselves considering a relationship, everything implodes when Sydney reveals to Tristan that he is in fact Becca’s father.  While I understood how Sydney would feel a momentary sense of panic given Tristan’s desire to leave his home to move to NYC, I didn’t buy in to this being a justifiable reason to keep his child from him for 7 years.  Sydney wasn’t just keeping Becca from Tristan when she made this decision, but also the rest of the Pierce family.  Given how much a part of the family Sydney was and how much she professed to love them all, this was where the story line didn’t fit for me.  She has worked in the Pierce family business all this time, spent time with Cal and Dalton (Tristan’s brothers) and yet never once seemed to second guess her decision.  In the end I felt that Sydney had made an extremely selfish decision because regardless of what would have happened between her and Tristan, she would have had a support system in the rest of the family.

While the secret baby wasn’t as well done as I had hoped, I enjoyed seeing Tristan and Sydney come back together and work out their issues.  The forced wedding angle was a bit over the top for me, but it did serve as a catalyst to keep them in close proximity.  It was also enjoyable to see Cal and Morgan’s wedding in this book.  Picturing that wedding dance sure gave me a chuckle.  I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see Dalton and Raven’s engagement but I realize not everything was going to get tied up in this book.

I am a little sad to know that this series is finished because I did enjoy the brothers.  Seeing how far they have come in their relationships with each other was the most heartwarming part of All or Nothing at All for me.

If you have thoughts on this book or the series in general, I would love to hear them!

 

 

three-stars

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Rocky Mountain Home – Vivian Arend – 5 Stars

July 19, 2017 Read in 2017, Sent, Steph 1

Rocky Mountain Home – Vivian Arend – 5 StarsRocky Mountain Home by Vivian Arend
Pages: 507
Format: eBook
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars
four-half-flames

The FINAL NOVEL in the bestselling SIX PACK RANCH series by New York Times Bestselling Author Vivian Arend.
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There’s no distance you can run to escape the past.

Too stubborn to face his sins, Jesse Coleman bolted from the Six Pack Ranch, only to fall straight into the arms of a beautiful stranger. Twelve hours later, the seductive firebrand is nothing but a whiskey-laced memory—but one powerful enough to convince Jesse tracking down his elusive lover is worth the effort.

Darilyn Hayes figured it was her lucky night when the sexiest cowboy in Alberta interrupted her annual drink-until-I-fall-over wake. At least until four weeks later when she discovers she’s pregnant and her one-night-stand is nowhere to be found. Still, as she’s shared with her devoted blog readers, Dare has dealt with life’s not-so-gentle surprises before. She’ll make it on her own.

When an internet picture gone viral leads to their reunion, Jesse’s floored by Dare’s news. She’s very clear she’s not looking for a commitment, but screw that. He’s going to do the right thing by her and his unborn kid. The fact they lit the sheets on fire is a bonus, but with a baby on the way, both their lives are gonna change.

Jesse’s got a ton of family to reconnect with, including his estranged twin. Dare holds family loosely—even though she loves them—because she knows too well how fragile life can be. Between her and Jesse, they’ve got enough baggage to open a store.

But they still have a shot at forever—if they’re willing to fight for it.

This final novel in the series contains the following:
A sexy, dirty, cocky-as-hell prodigal son Coleman with massive bridges to rebuild. A woman able to see to the heart of the matter yet bold enough to speak the truth. A family of extraordinary resolve and endless love. A wedding or two. And babies—oh lordy, the babies…

Ok anyone who knows me knows I have LOVED the Six Pack Ranch Series by Vivian Arend.  I didn’t want it to end but all good things must come to an end and this series ends on the story all of us have been waiting for…

JESSE JESSE JESSE JESSE JESSE

ok ok you get the point…  but damn if I wasn’t waiting with baited breath as we watched the others finding their way while wondering what our favorite asshole was doing.  I loved Jesse…  love him even more now but even Vivian would have to admit he was a weeeeeeeee bit of an asshole.  Yeah I got it …  I honestly got why he reacted the way he did.  I don’t forgive him for it but things aren’t always exactly as they seem so finding out what the final nail on the coffin was for his time in Coleman territory made his behavior so much more heartbreaking.

Jesse meets a woman at a bar who is obviously out for the same thing he is… a good time in the sack while forgetting things that noone else needs to understand.  He’s a bit surprised when he wakes up in the morning and she’s gone but life moves on.  The woman in question, Dare, really did enjoy her time with him but the surprise she’s left with means she’d like to have been able to find him.  She’s strong and as we get to know her we learn why she was there while also seeing that her strength is also a bit of a downfall as it has left her a bit isolated.  She deserves so much but fear holds her back and with her backstory it makes sense.  She posted on her blog a picture of Jesse which leads to him finding her then finding out that their little roll in the hay has a little complication.

I loved seeing Dare not beat around the bush with Jesse but I especially liked that she didn’t immediately take him up on his offer to marry her.  They both deserved better than that and I think that this gave them both the time to finally realize what is important.  Jesse had a lot of growing up to do and while he did it there was some strain on what they were building together.  Both of them were both shaped by actions in and out of their control so seeing how they supported one another by calling each other on misconceptions made me smile.  Her reaction to meeting all the Colemans was also perfect as she got to see who shaped the man Jesse really is behind the asshole exterior.  He’s got such a huge heart but he’s stubborn as a mule which makes them a perfect pair.  I honestly adored watching them battle but never crossing the line in to bullying or hatred.

As the synopsis says… BABIES BABIES BABIES but we would expect no less from the Colemans.  I look forward to the next series and know there will be a lot of fireworks with the first couple.

Oh… and Vivian… if you read this…   we need dragons and bears and cowboys and more more more… hint hint…  😉

five-stars

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The Red – Tiffany Reisz – 4 stars

July 18, 2017 Read in 2017, Sent 1

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

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
The Red – Tiffany Reisz – 4 starsThe Red by Tiffany Reisz
on July 11, 2017
Pages: 248
Format: eBook
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
four-flames

Mona Lisa St. James made a deathbed promise that she would do anything to save her mother's art gallery. Unfortunately, not only is The Red painted red, but it's in the red.

Just as she realizes she has no choice but to sell it, a mysterious man comes in after closing time and makes her an offer: He will save The Red if she agrees to submit to him for the period of one year.

The man is handsome, English, and terribly tempting...but surely her mother didn't mean for Mona to sell herself to a stranger. Then again, she did promise to do anything to save The Red...

The Red is a standalone novel of erotic fantasy from Tiffany Reisz, international bestselling author of The Bourbon Thief and the Original Sinners series.

I admit to being a huge fan of Tiffany Reisz.  I really enjoy her writing no matter the genre but this story is something hard to define and yet I couldn’t put it down.

The premise is interesting in that Mona is doing everything she can to keep the gallery her mother loved open but even though she does everything she can the gallery is still in dire straits.  She ends up making a deal with a mysterious stranger that unlocks her inner siren and saves the gallery.  The stranger takes us all down a seductive path that delves in to fantasies that are mild in the beginning but then gets stranger and more disturbing but still intriguing as the book progresses.  I found the descriptions of the artwork to be my favorite part as the words seem to leap from the pages with an almost visceral impression on my brain that I felt at times like I could touch the images as if they were here.

This book is not for the faint of heart as the sex described is disturbing to many but the underlying current is one of consent and exploration.  We must remember that this is a work of fiction and even though some of the kink described is beyond my level of comfort others would find this to be exciting and something they wanted to try.  Malcolm is mysterious and as you get to the end of the book you understand why he is such a mystery.  I appreciated the twist at the end because it again proves that Tiffany is great at keeping something hidden from the reader until the pivotal moment where this bit of surprise is needed.

This is another moment when I ask…. when do we get more?  I know this book will not be for everyone and even the bloggers that I know who love Tiffany were of mixed feelings when it came to this one.  I liked it a lot but do not go in to this one without an open mind and a willingness to push the boundaries of what you are willing to read and experience.

four-stars

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The Hating Game – Sally Thorne 4 stars

July 6, 2017 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley 1

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

The Hating Game – Sally Thorne 4 starsThe Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Published by HarperCollins on August 9th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Romance, Contemporary, Humorous, General
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.
Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
                       2) A person’s undoing
                       3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.
Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

One of my absolute favorite romance tropes is enemies to lovers.  I love watching the characters go from snapping and snarling at each other until they give in to their physical attraction.  They often then tell themselves that their attraction is purely physical until their emotional connection smacks them upside their head.    When I sat down to write this review I thought about why I am so drawn to the trope two reasons stood out.  The first is that insta-hate seems much more plausible to me than insta-love.  This isn’t necessarily specific to romantic relationships for me, but carries over to friendships as well.  Most of my closest friends are people I didn’t like when I first met them and now I can’t imagine my life without them.  The second reason is that I think so many of us have a list in our head of exactly what we think will make us happy in life, including our relationships so we avoid situations that don’t fit those narratives.  The reminder that what seems like it would make us happy on paper doesn’t always fit in reality is something I think we could all use now and then.  So given my love of the trope, when I read the blurb for The Hating Game I couldn’t wait to read it.

Most of us can relate to working with someone who we don’t care for, but can you imagine sitting directly across from them day in day out?  No thank you!   That is exactly what the main characters in Sally Thorne’s romantic comedy The Hating Game are dealing with.  Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman are  executive assistants at very different publishing houses.  Lucy comes from Gamin Publishing whose employees see literature as art.  Josh on the other hand worked at Bexley Books where the employees believe the bottom line matters far more than the words on a page.  The differences in the styles of the two companies is never more clear than when we see Lucy and Josh interact.    To say that these two don’t like each other would seem to be an understatement in the beginning of the book.   They both take passive aggressive to a whole new keeping score on everything from who looks away first, smiles first etc… even going so far to keep score and a list of what they deem to be violations that they could report to HR (Think an in case of emergency break glass kind of situation).  When both characters are up for the same promotion their antics reach a whole new level.

Initially I felt that the antics of both main characters was very immature and I worried the book was going to be too “cutsie” for me, but once Lucy and Josh were thrown into situations where their game-face started to crack and we got a glimpse into their true feelings I was rooting for them all the way.  Josh’s character was so swoon worthy once you uncovered all of his cool composure and understood that much of what appeared to be dislike on his part was his own defense system.   I actually found myself irritated with Lucy because she was constantly overlooking the good things that Josh was doing for her well past the time it felt reasonable.  She redeemed herself in the end when she stood up for Josh when he needed her the most.

I don’t want to spoil any of the fun scenes that you will encounter in this story so I’ll just say that if you like the enemies to lovers trope this book should go on your TBR list right away.  You won’t regret it.

 

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Fierce Obsessions – Suzanne Wright 3 stars

June 14, 2017 NetGalley 1

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

Fierce Obsessions – Suzanne Wright 3 starsFierce obsessions Published by Montlake on 6/13/17
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-stars

When raven shifter Riley Porter was given sanctuary by the Phoenix Pack, she let them believe she had left her flock. Reluctant to divulge the secrets of her past, she was still embraced as family. Only Tao Lukas, the protective and passionate Head Enforcer of the pack, was resistant to the enigmatic shifter. Until Riley started to arouse in him something other than suspicion.

Tao doesn’t trust lone shifters, especially ones so guarded—and tempting. But the sexual tension between them is making them both come undone, and vulnerable to more than desire. All Tao wants is for Riley to stay with him and to trust him with the truth of her past.

As Riley’s mysteries come to light, so does a danger that threatens not only her life but the safety of the entire pack. For Tao, keeping Riley safe means keeping her close—forever—as his mate.

In case The Phoenix Pack series is new to you, I am going to give you a little background.  Raven shifter Riley Porter left her flock and has been living on own when she ends up at a homeless shelter for shifters.  It is there that Riley meets two orphan shifter children, Savannah who is a viper and Dexter who is a cheetah and becomes their guardian.  When the safety of the homeless shelter is threatened, Riley and the children end up staying with the members of The Phoenix Pack.

Tao Lukas is the Head Enforcer of The Phoenix Pack and body-guard to the alpha’s.  Tao’s focus is always on the protection of his back and ever since Riley arrived he’s been a thorn in her side, accusing her of being trouble and bringing danger to his pack.  To say he isn’t her biggest fan is an understatement.

Now, onto Fierce Obsessions:

When Riley wakes up with a raging hangover after a night of partying with the pack, she finds herself in bed with Tao Lukas.  As if the headache and nausea wasn’t enough, now she has to figure out how to deal with an awkward morning after.  Sure, she’s always been attracted to Tao but she wasn’t going to chase after a man who doesn’t like her no matter what their chemistry was like.  Certain that Tao will want to forget what happened as much as she does, Riley is caught off guard when Tao tells her he has no intention of forgetting what happened.  Not only that, but he has every intention that it happen over and over again.

Tao Lukas wanted Riley the first time that he saw her, but Tao doesn’t do change or trust people easily so he didn’t just accept her joining her back at face value.  Once he realized that Riley wasn’t there to do any harm to his pack, he also realized he had to be sneaky if he was going to have her in his bed.  Tao’s pretty guarded, but Riley is even more so so he has had to wait until she wouldn’t see him coming.  After a night of tequila shots, Tao has finally found himself in her bed and he’ll take whatever approach he needs her to keep her there for the near future.

When Riley goes back to her flock to celebrate her uncle’s anniversary, Tao insists on coming along.  With the relationship between them so new, there’s no way he’s letting her get away from him that easily especially since Riley has never indicated she plans to stay with the pack.  Once events unfold that make it clear there Riley’s emotional health isn’t the only thing that he needs to be worry about Tao wants nothing more than to get her back on pack lands where he knows he can keep her safe.  Riley, stubborn as ever isn’t going anywhere until she gets to the bottom of who is targeting her and her friends and family in the flock.

I enjoyed watching Riley and Tao circle around the reality of the fact that they were in a relationship from the moment they got together.  Each was in denial for their own reasons even when their friends and family could see clear as day that they were meant to be together.  I especially adored the relationships they both had with the Savannah, Dexter and Kye and the fact that the children were given as much emphasis in the relationship building as what happened between Riley and Tao.  Given the personalities of both of them I think it was the only way to make the relationship believable as it built due to how important children were to each of them in different ways.

As always, I enjoyed the most recent glimpse into The Phoenix Pack and I look forward to seeing them again in future installments (fingers crossed).

 

three-stars

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