Genre: Contemporary Women

Divider

Hurts to Love You – Alisha Rai – 3.5 stars

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

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

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

Being bad never felt so good, in the third novel in Alisha Rai’s sexy Forbidden Hearts series!

Well-behaved women don’t lust after men who love to misbehave.

Heiress Evangeline Chandler knows how to keep a secret . . . like her life-long crush on the tattooed hottie who just happens to be her big brother’s friend. She’s a Chandler, after all, and Chandlers don’t hook up with the help. Then again, they also don’t disobey their fathers and quit their respectable jobs, so good-girl rules may no longer apply.

Gabriel Hunter hides the pain of his past behind a smile, but he can’t hide his sudden attraction to his friend’s sheltered little sister. Eve is far too sweet to accept anything less than forever and there’s no chance of a future between the son of a housekeeper and the town’s resident princess.

When a wedding party forces Eve and Gabe into tight quarters, keeping their hands off each other will be as hard as keeping their clothes on. The need that draws them together is stronger than the forces that should shove them apart . . . but their sparks may not survive the explosion when long-buried secrets are finally unearthed.

I had such high hopes for this one but it just didn’t completely make me happy.  I liked it but compared to Jackson’s story…  yeah… just not as good as I’d hoped.  I loved seeing the wrap-up but I wanted something bigger from the main pair, Eve and Gabe.  Still was a good read but Jackson just has my heart.

Eve is finally making some strides to stand on her own two feet by quitting the job she hated and starting to avoid her abusive father.  She also is head-over-heels obsessed with Gabe.  She knows he’s not in to her but she can’t help but try to be around him any way she can.  I felt for her as we go thru this book because what she was subjected to as a child was horrible and the damage that was done to her psyche because of her father made me feel for her.  She makes some moves to get Gabe to notice her and boy does it work.  They do take their time getting there but there is no mistaking what she means to him and what he means to her when it finally comes to a head.  I liked how she finally found her voice but also appreciated how much she understood the undercurrents and implications of the major secret that has been under everyone’s noses for decades.  Her open acceptance of the secret made me smile as Gabe needed someone to be there for him.

Gabe is convinced that he’s a love them a few times and leave them kind of guy.  He’s also convinced he’s too old for Eve but man oh man does he want her.  He’s also hiding a huge secret that finally comes to light on the build-up to Livvy and Nico’s wedding.  He also finally lets himself have Eve but isn’t completely honest with her on what he wants from her.  There is a lot of angst with these two but the final bits of the family secrets overshadow the relationship that is being built between he and Eve.  I did adore them together but would have liked more time with them.  He’s so good at making sure people around him are taken care of but seeing him finally get some major answers made me happy.  I appreciated how much he saw of Eve and what he did to help her find her voice.  Having someone silently stand by and provide support without judgement or taking over is what most of us need when fighting the demons of our past.

The story arc wraps up nicely with some twists that I didn’t completely expect but that weren’t completely surprising.  I know that might not make sense but some of what comes out was hinted at previously you just have to have not been distracted by the wonderfulness that is Jackson…  LOL  I am sad to see this series end but hopefully she’ll give us a way to see *HINT* Jackson again in some other story that conveniently needs a chef… *HINT HINT HINT HINT*

three-half-stars

Divider

Wrong to Need You – Alisha Rai – 5 stars

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

Wrong to Need You – Alisha Rai – 5 starsWrong to Need You by Alisha Rai
Published by HarperCollins on November 28th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Multicultural & Interracial, Contemporary Women
Pages: 368
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars
five-flames

A Cosmopolitan Best Book of 2017!

Alisha Rai returns with the second novel in her sizzling Forbidden Hearts series!

He wasn’t supposed to fall in love with his brother’s widow…

Accused of a crime he didn't commit, Jackson Kane fled his home, his name, and his family. Ten years later, he’s come back to town: older, wiser, richer, tougher—and still helpless to turn away the one woman he could never stop loving, even after she married his brother.

Sadia Ahmed can’t deal with the feelings her mysterious former brother-in-law stirs, but she also can’t turn down his offer of help with the cafe she’s inherited. While he heats up her kitchen, she slowly discovers that the boy she adored has grown into a man she’s simply unable to resist.

 An affair is unthinkable, but their desire is undeniable. As secrets and lies are stripped away, Sadia and Jackson must decide if they’re strong enough to face the past...and step into a future together.

Oh dear Lord… Jackson is just my favorite hero of this series.  I love his misunderstood self and how badly he wants his Sadia.  Alisha could give me more of him but I don’t think I’d ever be satisfied.

This continues the story started in Hate to Want you but now we get to focus on Jackson (Livvy’s brother) and Sadia (Livvy’s oldest brother’s widow).  This continues to uncover what really happened a decade ago when tragedy struck the Chandler and Oka-Kane families.  We get a few major bombs dropped during this one but I am going to remain focused on the man who I’d love more of…  Jackson…  He’s such a quiet person and very self-contained but when he loves, he loves fiercely which makes the pain he’s had to go thru for so many years so much more visceral.  He’s always had a thing for Sadia but felt that he would cause her more pain by returning to the town he’s avoided since being accused of something he didn’t do.  He didn’t even come home for his oldest brother’s funeral but wait for the payoff because when you see his grand gesture… *heart melts*  I loved seeing him lower his guards with Sadia and grow in to a relationship with his nephew.  As you go thru the story you get to see him blossom and finally get comfortable with who he is and what he wants.  He’s just amazing even if he comes across as standoffish.

Sadia also had a lot of growing to do in this book.  She’s still struggling with her husband’s death but also what was going on just prior to his death and now her need to be with Jackson.  She has a lot on her plate but the main thing I appreciated was how Alisha captured this need to be perfect and measure up to something that is impossible.  I liked seeing how she finally realized what her role is in her family and her own value even if it isn’t the same as the others in her family.  She’s stronger than she realizes but seeing her finally accept Jackson and what he is to her was my favorite part.  I adored how much she loved her son but also how much she opened up to Jackson even as she tried to keep her distance.

You’ll get to see some major moves towards the families healing and reconciliation but wait until book 3 for the rest of the story behind what actually happened all those years ago…

five-stars

Divider

Hate to Want You – Alisha Rai – 4 stars

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

Hate to Want You – Alisha Rai – 4 starsHate to Want You by Alisha Rai
Published by HarperCollins on July 25th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Multicultural & Interracial, Contemporary Women
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
five-flames

Alisha Rai, one of contemporary romance’s brightest stars, makes her Avon Books debut with the first novel in the sexy Forbidden Hearts series!

One night. No one will know.

That was the deal. Every year, Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler would share one perfect night of illicit pleasure. The forbidden hours let them forget the tragedy that haunted their pasts—and the last names that made them enemies.

Until the night she didn’t show up.

Now Nicholas has an empire to run. He doesn’t have time for distractions and Livvy’s sudden reappearance in town is a major distraction. She’s the one woman he shouldn’t want . . . so why can’t he forget how right she feels in his bed?

Livvy didn’t come home for Nicholas, but fate seems determined to remind her of his presence—and their past. Although the passion between them might have once run hot and deep, not even love can overcome the scandal that divided their families.

Being together might be against all the rules . . . but being apart is impossible.

One of Amazon's Best Romances of the Month & Best Romances of 2017!

I know …  I know… I’m behind but I finally was able to read this one along with the rest of the series (in less than 24 hours) and I am glad I did.  The series does need to be read in order as the story unfolds across the three books.  In this one we meet the star-crossed lovers who find their way back to one another after tragedy tears their families apart.

Livvy is back to be there for the mother who doesn’t need her but that doesn’t stop Livvy from trying desperately to get something from her mother.  We get to meet a woman who wants nothing more than to forget the past but who is still hung up on the man who seemingly doesn’t want her any more.  I liked her strength even as she crumbled because of all the mess that tore apart her entire world.  I also appreciated that even as she tried to hide what Nico meant to her there was a part of her that always knew she’d never move on.  There is so much hurt, so many secrets, and so many hurdles I felt banged up by them all even though I was only reading about the drama.  Her finding peace with the past is a huge part of this story and even though it does take the other two titles to see the final secrets revealed the pairing between Nico and Livvy has a very satisfying conclusion which leaves you ready for more.

Nico…  Nico…  Nico… he’s a mess who is so practiced at denying what he wants and how he feels that you just want to slap him.  When we finally find out why he did what he did it makes sense but at the same time you really wish he had just talked to people.  He’s also very focused on giving Livvy all the pleasure he can when they see each other once a year…  Ohhhhhhh I didn’t mention that did it?  Yeah they’ve seen each other every year until the past one on her birthday for a night of sex.  He’s always looked forward to each year because even though he tries to deny it …  He’s still hers and only hers.  Seeing him work on figuring this out and dealing with the messed up remains of his family was interesting but my favorite part had to be when Livvy’s twin shows up…  I admit seeing his reaction to someone breaking in cracked me up.  I did appreciate that he owned his behavior when push came to shove but I did want him to wake up sooner than he did.

Keep an eye out today as my reviews for the other 2 parts come out later….

four-stars

Divider

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

Divider

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.

 

Divider

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
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
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

Divider

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
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
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

Divider

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
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
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

Divider

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
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
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

Divider

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
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
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…

tumblr_noys8mkgT11s0my1wo1_250

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

Divider