Genre: Contemporary

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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His Alone – Alexa Riley – 4 stars

March 31, 2017 Carina Press, 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.

His Alone – Alexa Riley – 4 starsHis Alone by Alexa Riley
Published by Carina Press on March 28 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General
Pages: 166
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-stars
five-flames

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR

Ryan Justice may be her boss, but nothing will stop him from making her his. New York Times and #1 ebook bestselling author Alexa Riley entices with a brand-new, full-length novel.

She thinks I'm perfect. A good boss, a good man. She thinks that I play by the rules.

She has no idea who I truly am. Why I'm really here.

Paige Turner is trying to outrun her past, but there it is, tossed back in her face anytime she manages to get two steps ahead.

She has no idea what a man like me will do to get what he wants.

Her need for Ryan got in the way of revenge, took her off course. Redirected her focus. Before she knew it, he'd made his way into her life. Into her heart.

I'm dirtier than she knows. She thinks I'm good to the core, but she doesn't know the things I've done. The things I would do for her.

True love doesn't let secrets as big as these stay buried. And when the truth about Paige's father is finally exposed, Ryan will do anything to fix everything. Paige has always been his—and his alone.

This book is approximately 75,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you're looking for with an HEA/HFN. It's a promise!

I have to say that I was looking forward to this story after reading Everything for Her…  it does not disappoint!  Paige and Ryan definitely have chemistry and when they finally allow it loose it definitely does not dim.

Paige has proven herself to be a great friend (yes, that may have begun as a job but) and is trying to learn how to be a sister but she isn’t quite willing to open her heart or her life up to anyone.  She’s attracted to Captain (Ryan) who happens to be her boss but she thinks he’s too good for her.  She takes on guilt for things that weren’t her fault and is trying to find revenge on someone who deserves it but honestly isn’t worth the damage she is doing to herself.  I liked her and especially liked how she pushed Ryan’s buttons while making sure that once she claimed what was hers she let everyone know it.  She’s not afraid to get dirty but she is terrified of the need she feels to have a true family.  She wants love so badly that she hides from it until forced to admit that is what she craves.  I loved how she ultimately got everything because one man decided that he would make it his mission to give the world to her.

Ryan, aka Captain, isn’t the perfect guy Paige believes and we get to see there is more to him at the beginning of this book.  He’s so damn growly and sweet with Paige that you can’t help but swoon.  Everything he does is to keep her safe even if it means keeping her away from him for years.  I loved how we got to see their first meeting as a bonus chapter from his point of view as this shows us how hard it was for him to be patient.  I also loved how we got to see his struggle with waiting to claim her until she really was his.  I felt for him as his secret was exposed but he knew it might go down the way it did and while it hurt he still did what needed to be done.  I admit his ways of showing his dirty side made me swoon as much if not more than his gentle ways of showing how much she means to him.

The epilogues to this story will make you smile as they show how much these two have gained over their years together and laugh as his protective side does not diminish over time.  He’s definitely growly and possessive but with a heart of gold when it comes to those who mean everything to him.  Paige is his world and seeing that it remains true for years in the future made me smile.

four-stars

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Everything for Her – Alexa Riley – 4 stars

March 30, 2017 Carina Press, 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.

Everything for Her – Alexa Riley – 4 starsEverything for Her by Alexa Riley
Published by Carina Press on January 1st 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General
Pages: 379
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-stars
five-flames

"I devour every single delicious word Alexa Riley writes." —#1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Maya Banks

New York Times bestselling author Alexa Riley's first full-length novel shows just what happens when a strong, possessive man finds the woman of his dreams

I'll never forget the way she looked, so confident and sure of herself. I watched her from a distance. She wasn't ready for me yet. I didn't approach her and I didn't disturb her, but I never once took my eyes off her.

Mallory Sullivan is ready to start her new life. After graduating at the top of her class, she's landed one of the most coveted internships in the United States. Hard work and determination have gotten her to this moment of living the life she only dreamed of growing up in foster care.

From the start, I knew that she would be my greatest achievement, so the day I let her go, I set down a path for her. A path to me.

She never expected Oz to be the greatest culmination of those dreams. But sometimes fate determines who you fall in love with. Who makes you lose control. Who owns your soul.

And then you realize it wasn't fate at all…

I've wanted to care for and protect her since the first moment I saw her. I've constructed everything in our lives so that at the perfect moment, I could have her, could give her the life she deserves.

The time has come.

This book is approximately 97,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you're looking for with an HEA/HFN. It's a promise!

I admit that I am losing my mind a bit but I would’ve sworn that I already posted this earlier in the year.  Yeah ummmm nope I didn’t so here I am getting ready to post this the day before I post my review for book 2.  I swear I cannot wait until next February when I will be done with school and can get back to doing more reading and blogging.

This book was interesting to me as if I had a man do one iota of what Oz does I would be creeped out and run as fast as possible in the other direction.  In this book we meet a man who has been busy plotting revenge on his scumbag of a father when he comes across the one person who would end up mattering more than revenge ever would.  He’s driven to protect her and give her all the perks he can while keeping her away from him until she’s ready and he’s ready to finally make her his.  He moves faster than he expected because he just can’t help himself but as you get to know him you see what drives him to be so obsessive.  He absolutely is not good at expressing his true feelings so this is a barrier when it comes to Mallory and Paige but Mallory gets him to be more open as she works on making him wake up to what is truly important.

Mallory annoyed me a bit with how naive and sheltered she was but I got it.  I really did understand where it came from and liked when we saw the spine that she kept buried during a decent chunk of the book.  She’s definitely a sweet person but she isn’t the wallflower or pushover others have seen in her.  I liked how she just wanted to prove herself and what she was capable of without others paving her way.  I also appreciated how she was hurt by the realization that the internship was not due to merit but due to Oz wanting her to be near him so he could pursue her.  She isn’t willing to just be the pampered princess but really wants to be a valued member of a team who pulls her own weight.  As she processes the secrets that Oz and Paige have kept from her we see a woman emerge who is more aware of what she wants, who she is and what she needs to do.  I liked her and really enjoyed seeing her again as Paige finds her way.

four-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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What It Takes – Shannon Stacey – 4.5 Stars

February 28, 2017 Uncategorized 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.

What It Takes – Shannon Stacey – 4.5 StarsWhat It Takes: A Kowalski Reunion Novel by Shannon Stacey
Published by Carina Press on February 28, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General
Pages: 164
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-half-stars

Revisit all of your Kowalski favorites while falling in love with a brand-new romance in this reunion novel from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey

Laney Caswell is looking for a change. A decade's worth of less-than-happy matrimony behind her, she wants peace—movies, books and, best of all, a new job at the Northern Star Lodge in Whitford, Maine. Spending the summer living in a camper is her chance to rediscover what makes her happy, and a perfect transition to her new life.

Being a paramedic in Whitford is nothing like Ben Rivers's city life, but when Josh Kowalski offers him the job, the lure of his hometown is too much to resist. Also too much to resist: Laney Caswell. Ben always thought he'd have a wife and kids, a happy family like the Kowalskis have all built, but he never made time in his life. Now he's found a woman who draws him like no other and helps him dream again—and the last thing she wants is a husband.

When the annual Kowalski family camping trip is moved to the Northern Star, both Ben and Laney are surrounded by the kind of happiness they've always wanted but never had. It just might be theirs—if they can put aside the past and reach for it together.

I have to say that this is a very bittersweet book to have read but I loved it.  Bitter in the fact that this is the last Kowalski book but sweet in that it shows the reader so many things about how the couples have stuck together and grown as a couple.  I love this series and am sad to see it end but know that Shannon will keep providing us with great stories in the future.

Ben has finally come back home and is ready to settle down with the right woman but he isn’t in a hurry to do it, he just knows he wants it.  He’s struck by how many people around him have found their partners but I appreciated how he really was honest about it to himself and to Laney.  He is a wonderful man though and intuitive enough to know he needs to let things move organically with Laney.  He is so sweet to her and makes sure that she doesn’t feel like he is taking over for her  or that he doesn’t feel that she can do things on her own.  I quite enjoyed his character and the fact that he was honest about what he was looking for even as he worked hard to not put pressure on Laney.  I also fully understood why he got so hurt by some of her reactions but he never really took it out on her.  He just said his piece and let the cards fall where they may.

Laney was a character I understood.  I understood how easy it is to let yourself fall away in order to preserve the peace.  I understood how hard it is to make decisions about what to do with your life when you aren’t certain who you are any more.  I understood it because it is something that I am struggling with in real life.  I also appreciated the fact that while she didn’t want to want Ben… she wanted Ben and was honest with him as to what she was struggling with.  I got why she reacted the way she did in the closing section of the book.  I didn’t like it in a way but I got it.  I also loved how being around the craziness that is the Kowalski family helped her see what she wanted and made it possible for her to finally understand what was important.  She really does fit in with the clan and seeing her embrace life was such a nice feeling.

There are moments with Sean and Emma that will be a bit sniffle worthy but they were appreciated as we see a couple come to terms with their relationship and what matters.  I also loved seeing Rosie and Andy but also just in general getting some glimpses of the family we love.  For fans of the series this is such a wonderful close to a great set of stories.

four-half-stars

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