Genre: Contemporary Women

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Master Professor – Tara Sue Me – 3.5 stars

April 4, 2017 NetGalley, Read in 2017 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.

Master Professor – Tara Sue Me – 3.5 starsMaster Professor by Tara Sue Me
Published by Penguin on April 4th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General, Contemporary Women
Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-half-stars
four-half-flames

The New York Times bestselling author of the Submissive novels launches a new erotic romance series...

Students are begging to be held after class...

Andie Lincoln is madly in love with Terrence Knight—her childhood friend-turned-Hollywood’s newest golden boy. But he’s a Dominant and wants her trained as a submissive before he’ll consider a relationship with her. He enrolls her at the RACK Academy with strict instructions for her teachers: Do whatever you need to, but don’t take her virginity.

Fulton Matthews, the director of incoming students, is enthralled by Andie. Though he questioned her enrollment at first, watching her discover her submissive nature is hotter than his most intense fantasy. Under his control, her sexual awakening brings him to his knees.

Yet they can go only so far. Andie belongs to another, and Fulton is bound by a contract that strictly forbids relationships between teachers and students. But when Terrence comes to collect his prize, Fulton discovers it’s not easy to let Andie go. . .

I really wanted more from this story… more time with the characters, more details, more about the school, more about the secondary characters…  you get the point.  I am looking forward to more in this series but let’s chat about this first one.

We start this story by meeting Andie who is a virgin and is dating Terrence, a man she’s known forever but only recently made the transition to dating.  He’s a huge star but he has a secret he only recently shared with her…  he’s a Dom.  So we learn that he’s arranged for her to enter this school that teaches the BDSM community and, in particular, Doms/Subs.  She’s unsure but she knows she wants Terrence and as she researched the BDSM community she found that this kicked off a new level of fantasy she never imagined.  She’s a bit of a mystery as we start the story because you wonder why she was so willing to do this and not demand more from the man she supposedly loves.

When we meet Fulton Matthews we don’t get the best impression of him or how he treats others.  He’s very opinionated but he does own up to mistakes and the fact that he judged her before he really gave her a chance.  He’s got his own issues to work through as the story progresses but I did enjoy getting to know him.  I also enjoyed the fact that he was honorable even as he was hoping for things to go his way.  He’s drawn to her even as he knows he shouldn’t be but he really tries to not cross the line.  I also have to admit that he made a lot of valid points with her but mainly he did what was right which was to not interfere when Terrence comes to visit.  He did piss me off in the later stages of the book but that’s to be expected as we have to have the bad to make the good that much sweeter.

I had issues with this whole idea, no matter how presented, of “taking a break” or “granting a pass” in order for your lover to be trained to be perfect for you.  I just don’t think that this is an idea that sits well with me but I did enjoy the book.  I am definitely ready for more of this series and cannot wait until we get more of the others stories… yeah… I want to know more about the lover/best friend and what happened.

three-half-stars

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Forever Mine – Erin Nicholas – 3.5 stars

March 29, 2017 Grand Central, NetGalley, Read in 2017 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.

Forever Mine – Erin Nicholas – 3.5 starsForever Mine by Erin Nicholas
Published by Grand Central Publishing on March 28th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Romantic Comedy
Pages: 352
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-half-stars
three-flames

Maya Goodwin doesn't believe in holding back. Ever. As a cop, she never hesitated to throw herself into harm's way to save someone. Even after an injury on the job forces her to retire, she's not afraid to keep risking it all to get the life she wants. With a new career teaching martial arts to kids already underway, she's looking forward to the future - and taking a chance on the unbelievably hot Dr. Alex Nolan.

Maya - daring and spontaneous - is the exact opposite of what Alex always thought he wanted. But when a nine-year-old daughter he never knew existed shows up on his doorstep, Maya is the one who helps them hold it together. With love on the line, will the guy who's always played it safe be willing to take the biggest risk of all?

I enjoyed this title but I wasn’t happy with the hero in many ways.  I liked him… I just didn’t like him…  yeah I know this is a direct contradiction but you’ll see…

Alex is trying to make up for not being in his daughter’s life for her first 9 years through no fault of his own.  He had a one night stand and the mom didn’t tell him until she needed help managing the disease that both he and his daughter have, hemophilia.  He’s reeling by this intense attraction he feels for the woman who might be able to help him understand the superhero universe his daughter loves.  He wants to be there for his daughter and perhaps try for something with his former fling but this attraction to this woman is hard to ignore.

Maya is just as thrown by her instant attraction and connection to Alex.  This attraction allows her to get distracted in the oddest moments but as with everything else she does…  she rolls with it and jumps in.  She’s not afraid to take risks but is also confused by his hot/cold routine.  I liked her and her openness as it was refreshing compared to Alex’s tendency to keep things compartmentalized.  She also has a wake-up call in this story as she has to confront her own tendency to do things without regard to long term consequences.  You’ll enjoy her personality and what she does for those she cares for.  I really liked her so the way Alex behaved pissed me off even as I liked him.

Alex has a lot to learn about life as he doesn’t share his own diagnosis of hemophilia and this hinders him in so many ways he didn’t realize.  He almost lost something important to him because he is so damn shut down.  This is why I say I liked him but…  I just didn’t like him…  I got it… I really did but I wanted to just hurt him many times in this book.  Maya deserved better than the way he treated her but as always the hero does wake up and I think the epilogue helped me come to terms with him.  He did try but dammit he made me mad…  LOL

I need to go back and read more by Erin as I enjoyed this one plus…  she’s sort of local for me.  Gotta try to support NE/IA writers as much as I can…  😉

three-half-stars

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Too Wild to Tame – Tessa Bailey – 4.5 stars

September 7, 2016 NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

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

Too Wild to Tame – Tessa Bailey – 4.5 starsToo Wild to Tame by Tessa Bailey
Published by Grand Central Publishing on September 6th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-half-stars
four-half-flames

Sometimes you just can't resist playing with fire . . .

By day, Aaron Clarkson suits up, shakes hands, and acts the perfect gentleman. But at night, behind bedroom doors, the tie comes off and the real Aaron comes out to play. Mixing business with pleasure got him fired, so Aaron knows that if he wants to work for the country's most powerful senator, he'll have to keep his eye on the prize. That's easier said than done when he meets the senator's daughter, who's wild, gorgeous, and 100 percent trouble.

Grace Pendleton is the black sheep of her conservative family. Yet while Aaron's presence reminds her of a past she'd rather forget, something in his eyes keeps drawing her in. Maybe it's the way his voice turns her molten. Or maybe it's because deep down inside, the ultra-smooth, polished Aaron Clarkson might be more than even Grace can handle . . .

So… If  you’ve never read anything by Tessa Bailey…

WHY THE HELL NOT… & …. BE READY FOR SERIOUSLY DIRTY TALKING HEROES!!!!

Now back to normal programming but damn if our hero, Aaron, isn’t a buttoned up, seething, cold, annoyingly conflicted, dirty as hell talking man.  His heroine, Grace, isn’t exactly the first person you’d expect would not only love this man but give him back as much heat as he provides her.  As you get to know Aaron you will see what Grace sees in him even as he struggles to see something other than what his ^%#^$&^%&$ biological sperm donor so effectively pounded in to his brain.  I found myself cheering for him as we got glimpses of who he really is and yet appreciated that Tessa did not give us an easy ride with him.  I enjoyed seeing how he was doing the right thing even as he claimed to be doing anything but good.  I have to say though the man had a way with words and admittedly needed a cold drink at times.

Grace is a heroine that will surprise you as you really get to know her.  The first impression is not what you’d expect but, like Aaron, there is something deeper that everyone needs to acknowledge… She’s in some ways fragile but there is a steel spine hidden in the depths which gets tested repeatedly by the men in her life.  I loved the scene in the field with the rest of the girls and laughed like crazy as she lets Aaron in on what transpired.  Her willingness to put herself out there for Aaron made me wonder if I had that same strength in me to put myself out there for someone.  There is such a huge amount of work that she does to become who she is in the end and I appreciated that this was handled with a deft hand even as fast-paced as this book was.  She’s definitely his match and this shines in their moments together.

I need to go back and read the first story in this series but CANNOT WAIT FOR BELMONT & SAGE!!!!  They are going to probably do a combination of break my heart and make me have to break out a fan… there is some amazing chemistry happening that leaps off the page as you see them together.  So join me for the ride to their story…

four-half-stars

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Homecoming – Shannon Stacey – 4 stars

August 30, 2016 NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

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

Homecoming – Shannon Stacey – 4 starsHomecoming by Shannon Stacey
Published by Penguin on August 30th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, General
Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-stars

The New York Times bestselling author of Defending Hearts returns to small-town New Hampshire where a substitute football coach and a guidance counselor tackle love.

They were the golden boys of fall: Stewart Mills High School’s legendary championship football team. Fourteen years later, they’re back to relive their glory, save the team—and find themselves again . . .

Sam Leavitt has returned home to Stewart Mills with one goal: to fill in for Coach McDonnell and lead the high school football team to the championship. He doesn’t have time for distractions or commitments—but he’s unable to resist falling for the sexy guidance counselor he shared a hot night with months ago.

Jen Cooper knows what she’s looking for long-term, and it’s not Sam—even though the night they shared was explosive. Now, with Sam back in town and working by her side, picking up where they left off is too great a temptation to resist. But before long their fun fling is looking like a future together. And as the championship approaches, Sam is faced with a big decision that will either break them apart—or help them find their way home.

I struggled a bit with how to rate this one as I had issues with the heroine until close to the end of the book.  She’s a counselor but it felt like she spent a big chunk of the book judging our hero which started to annoy me as I LOVED Sam.

Jen is looking for Mr. Right for Life not Mr. Right Now.  She wants something she didn’t think she’d ever want…  something like her parents but the man she shared a single moment on the hood of her car holds more appeal to her than anyone she’s ever met.  He isn’t right for her because he’s not going to be in town for any longer than it takes Coach to recover.  She decides that she’ll just explore the  chemistry between them but nothing more.  No relationship… just fun… then she’ll work on finding the man who will be her partner.  She’s quick to judge his reaching for her as a coping mechanism and just as quick to write him off but does finally realize that something has changed between them as we get towards the end of the book.  I liked her but she isn’t my favorite SS heroine.

Sam is just yummy!  He’s got a lot to work thru and it comes in stops/starts as he works out his issues with his past.  I loved how he recognized how badly he wanted Jen and even as he tried to deny that she was who he wanted for the rest of his life he didn’t completely fight it.  His issue wasn’t with her but more his denial that this small town was the place that was his HOME.  I got why there was a struggle and appreciated it as he tried to do something with his life that kept him in the region he felt most comfortable in.  He really didn’t understand what his question meant to Jen but the fact he owned it in the end made me happy.  I felt for him because a crappy childhood can cause you to equate the location and actions of others suspect with an incredibly difficult ability to trust that staying is a good idea.  He’s such a great guy that I think it colored my reactions to Jen which isn’t fair but is what it is.

I think you’ll like this story and may have the same struggle with Jen that I did but they really are home for one another so stick with it.  She’ll prove herself and he will make things right…  I mean that is why we love romance!  HEA..  HEA… HEA…

four-stars

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The Angels’ Share – JR Ward – 4.5 stars

July 27, 2016 Berkley Trade, Read in 2016, Sent 1

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

The Angels’ Share – JR Ward – 4.5 starsThe Angels' Share by J.R. Ward
Published by Penguin on July 26th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Sagas
Pages: 432
Source: the publisher
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four-half-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward delivers the second novel in her Bourbon Kings series—a sweeping saga of a Southern dynasty struggling to maintain a façade of privilege and prosperity, while secrets and indiscretions threaten its very foundation…

In Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to look more and more like murder…

No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.

Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior...or the worst of all the sinners?

And now for the continuing saga of the Bradford Family….

I can just see this being made in to an evening soap opera or perhaps a telenovella in the future because it just flows like one of those epic train-wrecks that we see on those shows.  The last book ended on a bit of a surprise note with secrets being exposed and a family undergoing a major change.

The patriarch of the family is dead and has left chaos in his wake by virtue of stealing millions of dollars from his kids along with the Bradford Bourbon holdings.  He’s also left behind a scandal in the form of a pregnant soon-to-be-ex-wife of his son.  Lane finally has the love of his life by his side but is now having to hold together his family in order to right the wrongs perpetrated by his father.  He’s strong but how much can one man take on his shoulders?

There are a lot of twists and turns in this one but I think you’ll enjoy the ride.  We have the pieces coming together for Lane… Gin’s life falling apart around her both of her own making and just in general as she realizes how big of a mess she’s in…. Sutton finally having to face that even though she loves someone she has to let go (Nope nope nope want her and him together)… Edward finally seeming to understand his life and perhaps show some growth…  Samuel T was such a broken man and I loved seeing his inner battle more…

In general there are so many story-lines that are playing out during various points of the book that I really felt like I was watching a TV show and as much as I’d like to say that I hated it…  well…  I’d be lying because…

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You just can’t look away… I need more more more…

This has:

  1. Slutty ex-wife
  2. Drunk older brother in love with someone he can’t have *thinks he can’t have
  3. Who dun it???
  4. In love couple who actually are happy…
  5. Mother who is drugged up and lives in a fantasy world
  6. Momma who has cancer
  7. Dun dun dun….  the return of the lost brother….
  8. SCANDAL in the fact that millions are missing
  9. Who’s the father x2….
  10. Surprise new characters that I adored
  11. Villains GALORE

I could go on but you get the point…  CRACKTASTIC…

on a side note…  *ahem* Erin and team…  when can I get the next one??? *bats eyelashes*

four-half-stars

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The Bourbon Thief – Tiffany Reisz – 4 stars

June 29, 2016 NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

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

The Bourbon Thief – Tiffany Reisz – 4 starsThe Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz
Published by Mira on June 28, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Family Life, Literary, General, Romance, Historical
Pages: 400
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-stars

From the internationally celebrated author of the Original Sinners series comes a brand-new tale of betrayal, revenge and a family scandal that bore a 150-year-old mystery

When Cooper McQueen wakes up from a night with a beautiful stranger, it's to discover he's been robbed. The only item stolen—a million-dollar bottle of bourbon. The thief, a mysterious woman named Paris, claims the bottle is rightfully hers. After all, the label itself says it's property of the Maddox family who owned and operated Red Thread Bourbon distillery since the last days of the Civil War until the company went out of business for reasons no one knows… No one except Paris.

In the small hours of a Louisville morning, Paris unspools the lurid tale of Tamara Maddox, heiress to the distillery that became an empire. But the family tree is rooted in tainted soil and has borne rotten fruit. Theirs is a legacy of wealth and power, but also of lies, secrets and sins of omission. The Maddoxes have bourbon in their blood—and blood in their bourbon. Why Paris wants the bottle of Red Thread remains a secret until the truth of her identity is at last revealed, and the century-old vengeance Tamara vowed against her family can finally be completed.

I struggle with how to explain this one without giving away secrets but here we go any way…

There are two time periods (actually sort of 3… hmmmm….) that are presented in this book but you won’t be thrown back and forth like crazy between the periods so if your afraid of it because of that…  worry no more.

Present day is a man meets a woman at the bar, they play a bit in bed, she tries to steal from him and then he gets told a story.  The present day piece is not the main story you want to hear even though I’d almost like to know more about Cooper as he might have his own story to tell but I digress.  Paris is the woman who has attempted to steal a very valuable bottle of bourbon from him and while he’s pissed she makes a deal with him that he can’t refuse.  She’ll tell him a story and at the end of it he’ll be compelled to give her the bottle as it is rightfully hers.  This is the real story you are wanting to read and it isn’t the most beautiful or happy story.

We get to see the dark underbelly of a Kentucky bourbon dynasty where anything will go in order to keep the family line intact.  We have murder, incest, rape and all sort of other secrets that come to light as Paris reveals the story of the last of the great Maddox family.

Tamara is the golden Maddox princess but her life isn’t all sunshine and love.  Is she spoiled?  Yes….  but not all is right in the Maddox household.  There are so many secrets that start to unravel on her birthday and they come to light slowly over the course of a few years and the reader is taken along for the ride.  We get glimpses of the founding of the distillery and the madness that started it all.  We also see that this latest behavior by the scion of the Maddox line is not the only time where darkness has entered it but that the line has had issues all along.

I enjoyed this story but I will warn you that this isn’t for everyone.  There are things that come to light as Paris reveals the history which might make (honestly should make) one uncomfortable but I found myself drawn to the characters and wanted to know more.  I’d like to see more of Paris in the future as she intrigued me but this doesn’t read like a start of a series so perhaps that will never happen.  If you don’t mind darker tones to a story then I’d say go grab this one but if even the idea of rape or incest makes you extremely uncomfortable then you might not like this.  I will note that I did like what happened to the person who attempted the rape so… there’s that…  Once again Tiffany has given us a story that isn’t pretty in tone but keeps you interested in knowing more about the characters and wanting to know how it all plays out.

four-stars

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Everywhere and Every Way – Jennifer Probst – 4 stars

June 3, 2016 Gallery Books 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.

Everywhere and Every Way – Jennifer Probst – 4 starsEverywhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst
Published by Gallery Books on May 31st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, General
Pages: 384
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-stars

Hot on the heels of her beloved Marriage to a Billionaire novels, New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst nails it with the first in an all-new sexy romance series featuring red-hot contractor siblings who give the Property Brothers a run for their money!

Ever the responsible eldest brother, Caleb Pierce started working for his father’s luxury contracting business at a young age, dreaming of one day sitting in the boss’s chair. But his father’s will throws a wrench in his plans by stipulating that Caleb share control of the family business with his two estranged brothers.

Things only get more complicated when demanding high-end home designer Morgan hires Caleb to build her a customized dream house that matches her specifications to a T—or she’ll use her powerful connections to poison the Pierce brothers’ reputation. Not one to ignore a challenge, Caleb vows to get the job done—if only he can stop getting distracted by his new client’s perfect…amenities.

But there’s more to icy Morgan than meets the eye. And Caleb’s not the only one who knows how to use a stud-finder. In fact, Morgan is pretty sure she’s found hers—and he looks quite enticing in a hard hat. As sparks fly between Morgan and Caleb despite his best intentions not to mix business and pleasure, will she finally warm up and help him lay the foundation for everlasting love?

I was approached with this title just before the crazy whirlwind that was BEA.  I then proceeded to get pneumonia and forgot to get back to the publicists with my email address that I use for NetGalley but…. They thankfully took my plea for the title and sent me the link to grab this from NetGalley so here we go.  I had another title in front of it but once I started it I was hooked.

Imagine living your life trying to make your dad finally be happy.  Imagine not being completely true to yourself but living a sort of half-life as you struggle to finally get approval… If you can imagine that you have a lot of what Caleb is going thru as we open this book.  He then not only loses his dad he also is confronted with the fact that he now has to find a way to work with his two estranged brothers in order to save what he had made his life.  There is so much pain, hurt and sheer stubbornness holding the boys apart that you will want to just slap them but at the same time as the whole story unfolds you understand it.  Caleb is all strong, sexy MINE male but we see how much of a true softie he is.  He’ll make you swoon and let’s be honest ladies…  If you are lucky enough to find a man you are just barely getting involved with that says stubble is just fine…  well hell..  instant melt.  I mean we all know that spending time shaving our legs isn’t our favorite thing but we also all know that for a new relationship or just fling we go the extra mile for smooth baby smooth.

Morgan made me happy with her fight, softness and general kick-ass personality so I enjoyed getting to see her hold her own against all the men.  I also felt for her when her story comes out as that would cause most women to give up hope but she’s so much more than that.  She tried so hard to keep him at bay but there is something that just is with her and Caleb so you will enjoy seeing her lose the battle.  The first scene in the bar cracked me up and her reaction afterwards was immensely satisfying.  I also enjoyed how she just fit with them and wasn’t afraid to wade in to the tension between the boys but also knew she had to let them figure it out between themselves.

Now…  I have to admit I am looking forward to the next story but honestly… the final brother will make me happy if what I think is true is true.  If it is true you will not be able to keep me from that book even if I am in the middle of something else.  The next book will prove painful I’m sure but if my hunch plays out then book 3 will just be ANGST CITY….. *sigh*

I also admit to being jealous of the work they were doing and could imagine the artistry that they created in the house.  I did have the chance to meet The Property Brothers while I was at BEA and found myself laughing as they were mentioned.  I’m pretty sure they would enjoy the fact that they were mentioned in here as they definitely have the sense of humor to enjoy it.

four-stars

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30 Days – Christine d’Abo – 3 stars

August 31, 2015 Kensington, NetGalley, Read in 2015 0

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

30 Days – Christine d’Abo – 3 stars30 Days by Christine d'Abo
Published by Kensington on 2015-07-28
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Erotica, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-stars

For years, Alyssa has been going to bed with a memory. Is she ready to wake up with a fantasy?

Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mate, but not Alyssa Barrow. She met Rob at nineteen, and they were set to live happily ever after—until he became ill. In his final days, Rob urged his beautiful, young wife not to abandon happiness—or pleasure. He even left her a special gift, a sexy game plan to help her move on: Thirty cards with instructions for thirty days of passion. You'll know when the time is right, he'd said. Now it's two years later, and when Alyssa meets her hot new neighbor, Harrison Kemp, she begins to think the right time is right now…

From his sculpted thighs to his devilish grin, Harrison is the kind of man women want. Before she can lose her nerve, Alyssa tells Harrison about her long-ignored cards…and asks him to help her fulfill them. It's a favor he's more than happy to, um, perform. With his skillful touch, and the hot press of his lips against her skin, Alyssa finds herself re-awakening to life—and a host of other sensations. But what began as not-so-innocent fun soon grows into true intimacy, and Alyssa realizes she's opening herself up not just to sex…but to love. When it comes to a future with Harrison, what's really in the cards?

Saucy, heartwarming, and insightful, 30 Days explores the agony—and the ecstasy—of starting over, and how a little encouragement, and a little courage, can go a long way…

Be ready to tear up a little bit as you read this but also be ready to have a couple of issues with both the hero and heroine…

I’m struggling a bit with this one…  I liked it but I didn’t like how little we got to see of who Harrison is and what he wants other than thru her eyes.  I didn’t like that we really had limited time with him outside of what they did in bed or when they were fulfilling one of the cards.  I liked what we saw of him but I found myself wanting more of his time than of her time.  We just get a glimpse of a good man that has his own demons to put away but I just don’t see how they can be in love without more from him.

My biggest issues were with the heroine and her obsession with the past.  I get that she lost the love of her life… I really do… but I struggled with how much we had to hear about him and what he meant to her and blah blah blah.  Okay that sounds a bit harsh but come on really????  In real life there are these sorts of stories but I guess we have uncovered that in my fiction I don’t want to constantly hear about the ex or see the heroine obsess over her dead true love.  I mean we are in the story to see a couple develop and to be quite honest I felt for Harrison as he was fighting a ghost.  Granted what let him in to her life was her wanting to use the cards the man left her but dammit…  I wanted to understand more about the pull they shared which was constantly interrupted by the musings she had about her dear, sainted dead true love.

Yeah I guess I am a meanie but overall the story wasn’t bad but wasn’t something that I adored.  I liked the idea of the cards and the way it could bring someone back to life but dammit I want my couple to be a couple without a constant ghost cropping up.

three-stars

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The Bourbon Kings – J.R. Ward – 3 stars

July 29, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015 1

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

The Bourbon Kings – J.R. Ward – 3 starsThe Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
Published by Penguin on 2015-07-28
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, Romance, Sagas
Pages: 400
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal.... For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.From the Hardcover edition.

I struggled with exactly how to rate this book before landing on a 3 star.  It has some things going for it but a few things going against it.  I can understand why some DNFed the book because it is full of EPIC WTFery but that WTFery was the thing that kept me entertained.  I mean it was like looking at a train wreck and being unable to turn away because you just want to know WTF happened next.

I equate this book to a cross between a telenovela and a traditional US soap opera…  we have the following:

  • Family Empire – come on you know Dallas, Dynasty and The Young and the Restless all have family businesses that are empires.  In this case we have a Kentucky Bourbon dynasty.
  • Sibling Squabbles – well in this case it isn’t so much a squabble as it is dynamics between the 3 children we see and the 4th that is non-existent.
  • Villains – Well in this case we have a bastard of a father, a bitch of an estranged wife and well an amazingly entitled asshole of a suitor (damn if you should call him that cause I’m sorry he’s just a supreme asshole)
  • Unrequited Love Interests – The heroine of this story, rival family’s daughter and the dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild
  • Secret Baby – The dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild that doesn’t know he’s a father….
  • Spoiled Princess – Beleive me when I say this woman is SPOILED…  She wouldn’t know how to live without her money and damn if she doesn’t make the single largest mistake because of this HUGE reliance on the finer things in life

Don’t go in to this story thinking you are reading a romance because to be honest the romance is in many respects the weakest part of this.  I enjoyed Lane and Lizzie but they weren’t the focus.  I also found myself a bit frustrated with Lizzie’s attitude during most of the story.  She’s very quick to jump to conclusions and typically the conclusions she jumps to are the most negative ones you can have.  I also felt the ending to be a bit abrupt and choppy but as much as I hate to admit this…  I’m hooked so give me more.

I am looking forward to the next books in this series because I think like this one I will be most interested in how the family deals with the revelations in this story.  I want to see what happens with the oldest brother and the sister as they find their matches because damn if those stories won’t prove interesting.  The dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild will prove the most interesting when he finds out the secret as he has finally decided he’s done playing the games…  or is he…  tune in for more from this series…  LOL

three-stars

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Sweeter Than Sin – Shiloh Walker – 4 stars

October 6, 2014 NetGalley, Read in 2014, St. Martin's Press 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.

Sweeter Than Sin – Shiloh Walker – 4 starsSweeter Than Sin by Shiloh Walker
Published by Macmillan on 2014-09-30
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

CAN’T FORGET THE PAINIt took years for Adam to stop drowning his regrets in alcohol, and running the local bar doesn’t make it any easier—especially not when everyone he knows gathers there to discuss the shocking allegations that have shattered his hometown. When another murder rocks sleepy Madison to its core, it becomes chillingly clear that even more vicious wounds are waiting to be exposed.WON’T RESIST THE PLEASURENothing is sacred anymore, and no one is safe, least of all the mystery woman who shows up in town out of the blue, looking like every fantasy Adam’s ever had. She may have her own dangerous secrets, but she can’t ignore the urgent heat between them any more than he can. As a killer’s quest for vengeance explodes into violence, Adam is tempted to lose himself in the delicious promise of her body—until he realizes he’ll risk anything if she’ll give him her heart…in Sweeter than Sin by Shiloh Walker.

I’m loving this series so much and this entry has an amazing balance of suspense and romance.  I loved the fact that we have two people who really have always felt something for one another even though one of them wasn’t really aware of what the other one meant to them even back then.

Adam has buried himself in alcohol and women to dull the pain of not being there for the woman who meant everything to him when she needed him.  As his town starts to unbury the past he is forced to recall the horrifying details of what happened that long ago night and is confronted with someone that he never expected.  I loved how damaged he is and how aware of his own weaknesses but still making the effort to not slip back to addiction.  He’s so strong but shows such a weakness when it comes to his heroine.  I loved watching him work so hard to stay within boundaries with her and truly respect her even as he wants to get the answers he so desperately needs.  His need for her leaps from the pages and you’ll probably want him for your very own….  I have to admit to sighing a few times as his need shines thru.

The one thing I am not going to do is give the heroine completely away.  Her journey is part of the story I wouldn’t trade because as you see her work thru her issues you get to see how much she needs Adam.  She’s got so much guilt and so many secrets that you want to help her but know that she needs to do this by her own terms otherwise she won’t be able to move forward.  She’s very strong and my hope is Shiloh will give us more time with her as she gets on with the life that has been in limbo for so long.  She’s got a strong soul and it shines as it lets go of the secrets and embraces a future with a man that is everything to her.

The story told about this town is not a pretty one or an easy one to read.  As someone who has lived with an abuser as a child it hit me a bit harder than some but I loved that Shiloh went there.  I think while it is something that is disquieting and honestly disgusting in nature it is something that happens every day all over the world.  Only by bringing stories to the public, even fictional in nature, it hopefully will make some people do more research to see what they can do to help victims of these horrible crimes and also bring those perpetrators to justice.

Special thanks to NetGalley.com and St. Martin’s Press for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest opinion.

four-stars

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