Genre: Contemporary

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The Weekend: London Affair Part 1 – Rhyannon Byrd 2 stars

October 17, 2017 Uncategorized 0

The Weekend: London Affair Part 1 – Rhyannon Byrd  2 starsThe Weekend: London Affair by Rhyannon Byrd
Published by Headline on October 17th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 144
Goodreads

The Weekend begins Rhyannon Byrd's sexy new serial, London Affair, where a dangerous web of passion, deception and intrigue unfolds into an explosive love story... Perfect for fans of Sylvia Day, J. Kenner and Jodi Ellen Malpas.

American art-history graduate Emmy Reed is in London, hoping to land her dream job by getting an exclusive scoop on a famous reclusive artist. When a dangerous encounter throws her into the path of millionaire playboy Jase Beckett, Emmy is grateful for his quick-thinking - but equally determined to turn down his proposal to be his date for a family wedding. That is, until she discovers that her sought-after artist is his grandfather.

Tired of the game-playing women in his circle, Jase finds Emmy refreshingly fascinating. And as the weekend progresses and they work together to survive his insufferable family's devious scheming, Emmy and Jase find themselves drowning in an intoxicating sexual chemistry that leaves them both desperate for more...and reeling emotionally.

When their stunning weekend is over, neither is ready to let go. But dark secrets surround the Beckett family - can their fledgling relationship survive the damaging revelations to come?

Emmy and Jase's explosive London Affair continues in The Chase and The Confession.'From London to the English countryside, Jase and Emmy burn up the sheets in this first installment of Rhyannon Byrd's London Affair' P.T. Michelle, New York Times bestselling author'London Affair is signature Rhyannon Byrd - exciting, sexy, and romantic. Byrd brilliantly crafts a steamy love story with a couple that dazzles, and I couldn't put it down!' Virna DePaul, New York Times bestselling author

Looking for more sexy reads from Rhyannon Byrd? Check out the steamy Dangerous Tides titles: Take Me Under, Make Me Yours and Keep Me Closer.

Warning, spoilers ahead.  If you haven’t read The Weekend yet and don’t want major plot points spoiled please come back later.

 

While sitting down to write this book, I had to ask myself what makes a the plot of a book realistic.  It was interesting to think about because it wasn’t as black and white as I thought it would be.  I’m a big fan of both the PNR and UF genres, so I can’t determine whether or not a book is realistic based on whether or not the events portrayed in the book would ever take place in the real world.  So what then makes the story we are presented with relatable to us the reader.  What I decided was that as the reader I needed to be able to understand the decisions that the main characters were making.  That evaluation has nothing to do with whether or not I would make the same decisions, rather that given who the character is and the situations they have found themselves in, do I believe that they would make the decisions that they are making in the book.

Many books have a moment where the character makes a decision that seems out of character or unlikely in my opinion, but it rarely affects my enjoyment of the overall story.  It’s only when it is decision after decision that seems unlikely or downright dangerous that it affects my ability to suspend belief and enjoy the story.  The Weekend ended up falling into the latter category for me.  I just couldn’t see a woman making the decisions that Emmy did throughout this first installment.

My struggle with this story started from the very beginning.  When Emmy wakes up in a stranger’s home after sustaining a concussion sustained during a mugging, you would imagine that she would be suspicious and likely in a hurry to leave.   I mean when you don’t know where you are, or how you got there most women would be in a hurry to get the heck out of dodge, so when Jase offers Emmy a deal for an interview with his grandfather if she’ll be his date at a weekend family wedding I raised an eyebrow at her decision making.  Little did I know that this would be one of the most believable scenes in the entire story.

Once at the wedding, we find out that Jase’s family is a hot mess of epic proportions.  His dad is an alcoholic who is still actively drinking, his step mother could give the Wick Witch of the West a run for his money and his cousins are egotistical abusive assholes.  Does Emmy ever seem to second guess the situation she has found herself in… nope.  Below are just a few examples of the types of situations I am talking about.

  • Jase’s step mother is shown screaming at him on multiple occasions and quite frankly seems to have a creepy attraction to Jase although that’s never shown on page.  Emmy rescues Jase twice from these events, yet never calls him out for bringing her to this weekend without giving her a clear picture of what the situation is.
  • Jase’s step mother and cousin conspire to split Jase and Emmy up by making Jase believe she is cheating on him.  That in itself isn’t an uncommon premise, but in this case his cousin corners her, physical restrains her and forcibly kisses her.  Not only does our heroine not decide that she may be in over her head with this family, but she is immediately intimate with Jase for the first time after this happens.
  • Jase’s other cousin is cheating on his fiance throughout the entire book, and at one point a teenager that he has gotten pregnant shows up and he physically threatens her.

I just couldn’t wrap my head around a man that would knowingly continue to subject herself to all of this when she isn’t even in a relationship with man.  I personally would be hard pressed to stay in that situation with a man I loved, let alone a man I had a temporary arrangement with.

The Weekend ends on a bit of a cliffhanger and I will admit even with all of the issues in the story, I am a tad curious about what happens with both characters in the next installment.  It’s my hope that the over the top insanity gets dialed back a few notches.

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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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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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The Bridesmaid and the Hurricane – Kelly Maher – 4 stars

July 5, 2017 Read in 2017, 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.

The Bridesmaid and the Hurricane – Kelly Maher – 4 starsThe Bridesmaid and the Hurricane by Kelly Maher
Published by D Ink Editions on July 4th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 234
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
three-flames

A one-weekend stand over a year ago, and now they're coworkers...

Being a woman in TV is hard enough, but when the boss is trying to derail Radhika O’Leary’s career from behind the scenes, she has to make sure every aspect of her work—and her life—stands up to scrutiny.

Of course, the double standard is alive and well and Malcolm Jones, the broadcast meteorologist known as “Colm” to his friends and “The Hurricane Hottie” to his fangirls, knows that fame can hurt just as much as it helps. When Colm moves to DC, he’s excited to work with Radhika—her professional reputation is sparkling, and so are the kisses they shared that one weekend over a year ago when he was in town covering a blizzard.

But when Radhika is paired up with Colm for a project, all she sees is a looming storm over her carefully constructed career. Sparks still fly between the two journalists, and if they’re not careful, lightning might strike and alter the course of their lives forever.

So…  I meant to have this posted on release day but… ummmm…  yeah.  I found myself enjoying naps too much so this got delayed by a day.

The book opens with our heroine dreading another day with her horrible boss, Bella.  You will see this character pop-up over and over in the story which serves to make you dread seeing her name as much as Radhika hates to hear it.  Radhika is not looking forward to the day for more than just having to deal with this woman; her one-night *okay okay* two-night stand which was only supposed to be a rebound fling is now going to be working at the same station she works for.  She’s strong but there is something about Colm that calls to her even after not seeing him for a year.  I loved how they ran in to one another and you could sense that the chemistry that fueled the two-day fling is still there.  She’s been burnt so severely before that she has issues with seeing him but I understood them and appreciated that he didn’t let that stop him nor did he judge her for those issues.  She also has some great friends that support her while still kicking her ass at moments when she needs it most.  She also is strong enough to help her friends out and you sense that this is a woman who defends those who mean something to her even if she could get burned or hurt by the fall-out.  I liked her spunk and how when push came to shove the feelings she has for Colm cause her to take the chances she does with him.  She’s smart and independent but still craves the roots that many of us want but never find.

Colm… yeah..  I really liked Colm.  He’s smart and driven but such a sweetheart when it comes to his family.  He also never forgot his incredible two-day fling with Radhika so when he gets a chance he does not squander it.  He also makes sure to do what he can to protect her career as he knows that their involvement could prove tricky but he wants her too badly to not try.  Yes, he protects her by making sure that if they were to get involved there would be no blowback from an HR perspective plus knows that her abilities speak for themselves so adding this layer of “I’m not your boss” is a smart move even as it gets tested late in the story.  I also liked how he really worked to be honest with her and take it slow as he wanted to make this comfortable for her.  His feelings were strong and steady but his understanding of why she struggled made me enjoy the wait.  We see a couple who truly respect each other even as they want nothing more than to recreate the two-night fling.

You will enjoy how the boss has her downfall but I think the key to me was seeing how Colm did everything he told her he would do even as everything blew up.  He really was a great character so seeing how true he was to her made me smile.  I look forward to more of this series and hope that we get to see her other friends meet the partners they need or want.

four-stars

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Audiobook – If You Know Her – Shiloh Walker – 4.5 stars

June 12, 2017 Audiobook, Listened to in 2017, Reviewer -, Steph 2

Audiobook – If You Know Her – Shiloh Walker – 4.5 starsIf You Know Her by Shiloh Walker
Published by Tantor Media on 2012
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Contemporary
Pages: 390
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

A SHADOW IN THE WINDOW

Nia Hollister doesn’t scare easily. She’s returned to Ash, Kentucky, with a vengeance—and with a mission: find the killer who brutally ended her cousin’s life. What she didn’t count on was trembling with desire every time she sees Law Reilly. If any man can help her escape the nightmares for a while, it’s him. But can she allow herself to take comfort in those strong arms when her sister’s killer still roams free?

She may think she’s a bad ass, but she should not have come back to his town. He is watching her—as she slips into Law Reilly’s house, as she storms into the sheriff’s office. These men won’t be able to protect her when her time comes. Timing is everything, though he can’t wait forever. She’s nosing around the woods, looking for his hiding place. Yes, he is watching her . . . through the window . . . in her bed . . .

If she’s not scared, she should be . . . because he is very good at what he does.

This is the last in the series where we FINALLY get to know who the killer is.  This book has a great amount of heat between our hero and heroine but mainly we finally get to know who the killer is.  I can honestly say that I did know who it was from book one but I know many who read/listened to it did not have a true clue.  There was suspicion but as others have said there is misdirection that makes some doubt their instincts.

Nia isn’t a girlie girl or in any way a woman who wants to be just a wife … She’s very independent and driven to figure out who actually killed her cousin.  She’s not happy with what she’s found out and comes back to Ash to get to the bottom of this.  She’s got a partner in Ezra and in Law but she isn’t willing to sit back to let Ezra slowly uncover the truth.  She pushes.  She makes inquiries that cause the killer to become worried.  She just won’t back down even as attacks and incidents start to occur that make it clear the killer isn’t happy with her actions.  She also is fiercely attracted to Law but isn’t easily caught by him.  When she finally lets him in for a fling what results is more than she expects so she does make some errors.  I do like that she stayed true to her character so even the dark moment was expected even as I was pissed about it.

Law is at a crossroads…  His best friend has now managed to get her life back and is moving on with the love of her life.  His former crush has moved on with the love of her life … and… Law… well Law is still trying to understand what caused him to be instantly, crazily attracted to Nia.  He writes that off as she won’t be back around but then she storms back in to town.  He’s definitely protective but he doesn’t completely try to control her.  He wants her safe and to wait for help versus storm the castle alone.  I liked how growly he was but also the fact that once he had her that he didn’t hold back.  He was in love completely and still made sure that Nia was able to make her own mind up.  He knows that she isn’t going to be easy but he’s willing to play the long game in order to get the results he wants.

Now…  the killer… He’s completely fucked up and when you get more of his story you’ll be stunned at how good he was at putting on a facade.  He’s hidden himself from the public so well and the lengths he goes to in order to try to get out of this is stunning.  We do have some casualties but that is expected and there will be a lot of work to do for Ezra to get his new town thru it.  Ash will never be the same as they recover from this.

four-half-stars

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Audiobook – If You See Her – Shiloh Walker – 4 stars

June 5, 2017 Audiobook 2

Audiobook – If You See Her – Shiloh Walker – 4 starsIf You See Her by Shiloh Walker
on 2012
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 391
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

A FACE IN THE MIRROR

Hope Carson may not look like a survivor, but she has escaped an abusive ex-husband and recovered from a vicious assault. Now she endures the painful memories and suspicious rumors surrounding her involvement in the attack. Her ex is a cop, so the last people she trusts are law enforcement officials—and she certainly doesn’t trust how the local DA makes her feel inside.

Remy Jennings should know better. He has no business falling for a woman who he suspects may have a deeply troubled mind. And even if he did make a move, she’d bolt like a frightened rabbit. But how can he deny a burning desire that threatens to consume him? As Hope’s past catches up with her in the worst way, Remy is determined to break through her defenses, earn her trust, and keep her safe in his arms—before it’s too late.

We enter book two in this trilogy and still don’t have a bead on who the killer is but… as I said in my review of book one I did have an idea which seemed to get firmed up a bit in this one for me.  We get to see more on Lena and Ezra so that makes it nice to get to understand their relationship a bit more but this book really does pull Hope and Remy to the forefront.

Hope is someone who desperately needs to be free from her past but she can’t outrun it nor is she ready to truly face it in the beginning of this story.  She will make you happy as she fights so hard for her friend Law but she is so scared of her past that she doesn’t always fight for herself.  I loved her spirit as she realized that some people were on her side and that Remy was not what she expected.  She also shows her true strength as she finally stands up for herself in so many ways.  You’ll enjoy her spunk and watching her finally own what she wants and who she is.  As someone who has felt like she was invisible and her feelings/wants weren’t important by those who should have been supportive… I cheered her on.

Remy made me smile so many times during this story.  He really is so amazingly supportive of Hope but even he struggled to balance his need to protect her and his need to make sure she knew she was strong enough.  He also struggles with making sure that he isn’t misreading her reactions to him.  He wants her so much but also knows that she’s been thru so much so struggles to balance this so she can heal.  I adored him but appreciated it when he made mistakes and Hope called him on them.  This helped both of them find that middle ground where both of their needs were heard and met.

The story is fairly fast paced and I admit to being quite sad when someone I liked fulfilled his part in this story.  I didn’t see that coming but at the same time I appreciated why it went the way it did.  I also quite enjoyed seeing Law play a larger role in this and the way it played out folding so nicely in to the next story.  This is definitely a trilogy where waiting until all three books were out was such a great idea.  I don’t know if I would’ve been happy waiting for the third story to release…

Narration was nicely done with the pacing and vocal nuances adding to the story without distracting me from the characters.

four-stars

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Shadow Reaper – Christine Feehan – 5 stars – Paperback Giveaway!

May 30, 2017 NetGalley 6

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

Shadow Reaper – Christine Feehan – 5 stars – Paperback Giveaway!Shadow Reaper by Christine Feehan
Published by Penguin on May 30th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General, Contemporary, Suspense
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan returns to her scorching-hot series starring a Chicago crime family that has built its empire in the shadows...

Billionaire playboy Ricco Ferraro knows no other life. Being a shadow rider is in his blood—but so is a haunting desperation stemming from the secrets of his dark past. His recklessness puts not only his life at risk, but also the future of his entire family. To save them all, he must find a woman who can meet his every desire with a heat all her own...

Just when Ricco has given up hope, he meets her—a mysterious woman whose shadow connects with his. She’s someone looking for a safe haven from the danger that has stalked her over the last several months. In Ricco’s embrace, she finds one. But the darkness in which they so often find sanctuary can also consume them...

Welcome Rockie to the blog with her first review… Yeah I might’ve chosen this one for her on purpose but… look below for a treat…

I had the ability read an ARC for Shadow Reaper! I really love this series! Shadow Reaper is the continuation of Shadow Rider and Ricco’s story! I fell in love with Ricco and his family in the first story.

Shadow Reaper is a fast paced story, Christine Feehan is a master at what she does. This story flows through. There are several times during the story to fall deeper in love with Ricco! The art of shibari is interesting and to see it through Ricco’s eyes when he ties up Mariko. To see how he feels about Mariko throughout the book is amazing. Ricco was in a downward spiral that almost killed him.
Enter Mariko who was sent to kill him, because she is going to lose her brother if she doesn’t. Ricco’s past is about to make a jump into his present because someone is trying to kill him and his family. Ricco knew Mariko was sent to kill him, but he knew she was the love of his life and he didn’t know how to keep her without shibari and knew that they could do shibari together and live out their lives together.
If you haven’t picked up Shadow Rider and want to read Shadow Reaper go ahead, you don’t have to read the first book to read this. You should go ahead and pick up these books and read them! Christine Feehan is simply amazing.

 

Now I quite enjoyed this one as well so I agree that the darkness Ricco is in at the start was disturbing but as we read this story we get the reasons behind it… it will make you fall in love with him as he comes out of the darkness.  Now… to win a copy of the book in paperback… Welcome Rockie to the blog by saying hi and if you have any suggestions for her reading pleasure.  Just post a reply here on the blog by 11:59 pm Central on June 6th to have a chance to win…

five-stars

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Audiobook – If You Hear Her – Shiloh Walker – 4 stars

May 29, 2017 Audiobook, Listened to in 2017 1

Audiobook – If You Hear Her – Shiloh Walker – 4 starsIf You Hear Her by Shiloh Walker
on April 30, 2012
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Contemporary, Thrillers
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

A CRY IN THE WOODS

The scream Lena Riddle hears in the woods behind her house is enough to curdle her blood—she has no doubt that a woman is in real danger. Unfortunately, with no physical evidence, the local law officers in small-town Ash, Kentucky, dismiss her claim. But Lena knows what she heard—and it leaves her filled with fear and frustration.

Ezra King is on leave from the state police, but he can’t escape the guilty memories that haunt his dreams. When he sees Lena, he is immediately drawn to her. He aches to touch her—to be touched by her—but is he too burdened by his tragic past to get close? When Ezra hears her story of an unknown woman’s screams, his instincts tell him that Lena’s life is also at risk—and his desire to protect her is as fierce as his need to possess her.

For those of you who know me… this idea of me listening to books goes against everything I’ve ever said about audiobooks.  I have found a time and place where I can actually stand them now so be prepared to see more reviews of audiobooks.

In this case, I finally got around to the Ash trilogy by Shiloh Walker.  The narrator was fun to listen to and the book flowed well.  I did find that the story was tight and I wasn’t completely invested in Ezra and Lena until closer to the end but the story was fun to follow.

There is something up in the small town of Ash, Kentucky that is sinister and depraved.  We get introduced to most of the main characters of the trilogy in this title but we will have to wait until the last two books to completely flesh out the story.  We see a man at a crossroads with no plans for the future but a mess to resolve from his past.  I admittedly was invested in Ezra as soon as we met him because there is something about a man struggling with injuries and trauma that draws me in.  He’s strong but there is a vulnerability and softness that shines thru as we get to know him.  This is a good man who has had his foundations taken out from under him and he’s smarting from what he thinks is his instincts letting him down.  He’s a curious man though so when things start to happen you aren’t going to see him just ignore them to take the easy path.  I liked how he accepted Lena from the beginning even if he did make some mistakes along the way.

Lena was something else.  I liked her but I did a bit frustrated as she tended to react first when people were trying to help her rather than actually understand where they were coming from.  She had times where that reaction was the right one but it did get me a bit upset a couple of times as I saw her reaction being a bit misguided.  Before anyone takes my head off… yes I get where she was coming from in that others had often taken it upon themselves to talk over her or do things in the interest of her best interests.. I get it… I really do but there are a couple of times where she jumps to that conclusion with people who haven’t done that to her.  I appreciated that she owns up when she overreacts and that the ones who are caught in the fire don’t hold that moment against her.  I also appreciate her calling people out when they do it in the way that is condescending and troubling… see I am capable of seeing where there are issues and love that she speaks up.  She’s strong and her willingness to call Ezra on his shit made me smile.

The overall story arc is awesome so I will just say make sure to put aside time to listen to or read all three titles in a row.  I am happy to say that I figured out who the villain is in the series in book 2 but there are hints in this one that niggled at me but didn’t firm up until book 2.  I can see why people might miss the hints but the stories are interesting with twists one might not see coming.  Take a chance and read or listen to this series… I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

four-stars

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Slow Burn Cowboy – Maisey Yates – 3.5 stars

May 12, 2017 Harlequin, NetGalley 2

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

Slow Burn Cowboy – Maisey Yates – 3.5 starsSlow Burn Cowboy by Maisey Yates
Published by HQN Books on May 1st 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Western, Contemporary, General
Pages: 384
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars

In Copper Ridge, Oregon, a cowboy's best friend might turn out to be the woman of his dreams…

If Finn Donnelly makes a plan, he sticks to it. After his brothers left Copper Ridge, Finn stayed behind, determined to keep their ranch going by himself. And when he realized his feelings for Lane Jensen were more than platonic, he shoved that inconvenient desire away. It was easy…until it wasn't. Suddenly his brothers are coming home to claim their share of the property. And Lane is no longer just in his fantasies. She's in his arms, and their friendship is on the line…

He's been her buddy, her handyman, her rock. But until that one breathtaking kiss, Lane somehow overlooked the most important thing about Finn Donnelly—he's all man. They're right together, no matter how much his volatile past has bruised him. Finn wants to hold Lane's body, but he doesn't want to hold her heart. But Lane is falling fast and now she's got a plan of her own…to show Finn there's nothing hotter than friendship turned to slow-burning love.

Also includes a bonus Copper Ridge novel, Take Me, Cowboy!

Finn Donnelly likes control, so when his entire life is turned upside down he begins to unravel.   Finn has spent the last 20 years working on the Laughing Irish Ranch with his grandfather, so when his grandfather passes away he can’t for the life of him understand why his grandfather didn’t leave the ranch only to him.  Instead the ranch was left in equal shares to Finn and his three brothers.  Finn is at a loss as to why his grandfather did this to him since his brothers haven’t ever been involved in the ranch.  Still, Finn has a plan.  He’s certain his brothers don’t really want to work on the ranch, so he will just buy out their portion and send them on their way.  Well we all know what they say about best-laid plans.

When Finn finds out things aren’t going to go quite the way he planned, he also discovers that his willpower to keep his hands off his best friend Lane Jensen isn’t quite what it used to be.   He’s spent years wanting Lane but kept his desire in check by reminding himself that she was too young for him and it wasn’t worth risking the most important relationship in his life by changing the rules.   Finn’s not cut out for relationships and certainly not marriage material but maybe he and Lane can both get what they need out of their friendship if they add a physical element to it.

 

Lane Jensen came to Copper Ridge at 16 to live with her brother Mark and put her painful past behind her.  She’s built a life she’s happy with and believes she’s moved on until she comes face to face with her past when her ex-boyfriend is suddenly all over the television.  Now every time she turns around she feels like she’s facing reminders of her past and is suddenly questioning the life she’s built.  As if that wasn’t enough, now Finn is trying to change everything about their relationship.  Doesn’t he realize that he’s the most important person in her life?  She isn’t about to let him risk their friendship when she needs him the most.  The problem is that now that she see’s Finn for the hot cowboy that he is, she can’t seem to stop fantasizing about him.

I enjoyed watching both Finn and Lane work through the demons of their past and being forced to reevaluate what they wanted from their futures.  I could relate to struggling with having to evaluate what you were worth or capable of after a less than ideal childhood.  I think this story worked so well because given the issues that both Finn and Lane had, the only way they were going to work through them rather than running away was with each other because nobody else mattered enough that they would stick around when things got uncomfortable.

I am really looking forward to learning more about Finn’s brothers Cain, Alex and Liam.  But then, who doesn’t love a whole new group of sexy cowboys.  I have a feeling the other Donnelly men are going to have some very diverse and emotional backstories.

 

three-half-stars

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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
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

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