Genre: Contemporary

Divider

Everywhere and Every Way – Jennifer Probst – 4 stars

June 3, 2016 Gallery Books 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

four-stars

Divider

Mr. and Mr. Smith – HelenKay Dimon – 5 stars

May 26, 2016 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.

Mr. and Mr. Smith – HelenKay Dimon – 5 starsMr. and Mr. Smith by HelenKay Dimon
Published by Random House Publishing Group on May 24th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Military, LGBT, Gay
Pages: 210
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars
five-flames

Secrets and seduction make for an explosive combination in HelenKay Dimon’s edgy, thrilling new series, which kicks off with a novel about two men who can handle any threat—except the one posed by desire.

Fisher Braun knows how to keep a secret. As a covert paramilitary operative, his job—and his life—depends on it. He’s at the top of his game, ready for action and always in control. No enemy has ever brought him to his knees, but one lover has: Zachary Allen, the man currently sharing his bed. The perfect package of brains and brawn, Zach is someone worth coming home to, and Fisher hates keeping him in the dark about what he does. But the lies keep Zach safe. Until the day Fisher loses everything. . . .

Zachary Allen is no innocent civilian. Although he plays the tech geek, in reality he’s deep undercover for the CIA. In a horrible twist of fate, the criminal enterprise he’s infiltrated has set its sights on the man whose touch drives him wild. Zach would do anything for Fisher—except blow his own cover. Now, in order to save him, Zach must betray him first. And he needs Fisher to trust him with all his heart if they want to make it out alive.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

What do you get when you have two men who have an abundance of chemistry?  You get this book and all the sexy man on sexy man action that it contains.  All I have to say is “MORE MORE MORE CAN I HAZ MORE????”

We start by getting to see Fisher in the middle of his worst nightmare come to life.  He’s going to find out that what he thought was bad is infinitely so much worse than he could’ve ever imagined.  He’s such a hard soul to get to know but what this is hiding is a man who needs someone to just STAY.  He needs someone to love him for everything that he thinks he isn’t but is and show him that he can be their everything.  I loved how much he struggled with what happens but loved that HelenKay didn’t make him fold immediately.  We get to see someone truly struggle with what he feels, thinks he knows and projects on others around him because of his history.  His angst and struggle made everything hard on both men but honestly there wasn’t another way for this to play out.  If the struggle didn’t happen then nothing else would’ve worked.

Zach is having to do the one thing he never wanted to do but, like Fisher, he is struggling with his past.  He’s also struggling because he made a choice that has led to this breaking point even though there really wasn’t another way for this to go with who he is at his core.  You can feel how hard he just wants Fisher to listen to him, to believe him and to accept him but there’s also an undercurrent that he expects the worst.  His interactions with the team and Fisher will have you turning pages quickly because you want to know how this plays out.

The sexual tension between the men has a tendency to explode on the page which will keep you fanning yourself as you try to cool down but keep reading.  I also loved the storyline outside of the love story and need more about this especially H&W. *HINT HINT*  I mean if that gets told it’ll be something else because I think there is going to be an interesting twist there.  The whole idea of this organization existing even in its damaged state is something that will cause some havoc and seeing the team flush all of the rot out would be fun to read about.

Thank you to HelenKay and to her agent Laura Bradford because if Fisher and Zach didn’t make it to the page it would’ve been a great loss to readers.  These two were amazing to read!

five-stars

Divider

Fight to the Finish – Jeanette Murray – 3.5 stars

March 9, 2016 NetGalley, Penguin, 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.

Fight to the Finish – Jeanette Murray – 3.5 starsFight to the Finish by Jeanette Murray
Published by Penguin on 2016-03-01
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Military, Romance, Sports
Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars

The author of Against the Ropes takes her First to Fight series another round with a novel of a JAG officer who loses his cool, when love delivers a knockout punch...

Kara is a single mom working hard to keep life running smoothly for herself and her son, but a custody battle is wearing her down. When her friend suggests asking a JAG officer for some unofficial advice, Kara agrees—and soon finds herself officially head over heels...

As a Judge Advocate, Graham has seen his share of nasty custody disputes—and he plans on keeping his distance from this one. But this purposeful, passionate woman has a way of drawing him ever closer to the edge. And when Kara’s ex starts to throw his weight around, Graham will have to choose between toeing the line or stepping into the ring...

I admit that I have enjoyed this series because of the sexy boxers and the women who are strong enough to stand beside them.  We get to see strong, sexy men but also see women who do not let themselves be lost while being involved with strong personalities.

Kara is someone we’ve seen around the periphery but getting to know her in this book was fun.  I liked how she has worked so hard to do what she loves but at the same time raise a strong son who has so many things against him.  She’s vulnerable and lonely but is resigned to living a life that isn’t 100% under her own control.  I do understand why she was determined to just deal with the cards she was dealt but loved how her attorney reacted when she finally found her voice.  She’s confused by what she feels for Graham but she can’t seem to let him go.  I loved how she decided to be honest with him and say it wouldn’t work but I hated that she kept the real reasons from him until late in the story.  Her reaction to his cave-ish man moment was a bit off the handle but she owned that which made me happy.  Did he deserve a bit of a dressing down?  Yes but… he really didn’t do anything wrong enough to warrant her knee-jerk reaction.

Graham was something else.  I did adore his acceptance of Kara’s son and all that his life entails.  He really wanted to be able to have her in his life and understood that this was part of it.  His kindness and understanding while being patient for her to finally come around was sweet while also being hot as hell.  I appreciated that he realized what she was to him very quickly and made his mission to be taking some of the load off her shoulders while still letting her be her.  He was also sexy as hell in the bedroom but what I appreciated more than anything was the fact that even in his cave-man moment… he really was trying to do the best thing.  He walked a thin line but walked it well as he tried to free the woman he loved from a life that wasn’t fulfilling to her.

This series was a lot of fun to read and I look forward to more from this author.

three-half-stars

Divider

Kidnapped By The Billionaire – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 stars

March 8, 2016 Macmillan, 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.

Kidnapped By The Billionaire – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 starsKidnapped by the Billionaire by Jackie Ashenden
Published by Macmillan on 2016-03-01
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 400
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Get lost in the deeply passionate, darkly sensual new novel from Jackie Ashenden, Kidnapped by the Billionaire.
He kissed her the way he’d run her down, conquering her, taking her…

A priceless plan. An illicit attraction.
Seven years ago, billionaire-turned-bodyguard Elijah Hunt lost everything he had—his family, his future—and now he wants revenge. But when he decides to kidnap the daughter of the man who ruined his life, Elijah gets a lot more than he bargained for. Violet Fitzgerald is nothing like her corrupt wealthy father. In fact, she’s so disarmingly independent—and irresistible—that she just might be dangerous…

And a love that’s too good to be true.
Violet never thought she’d feel a connection to her captor. But there’s something beneath Elijah’s steel-bodied exterior that makes her want to know him more deeply…and surrender to his every demand. But once Elijah’s erotic fantasies become a reality—and he and Violet develop a real romantic connection—he finds himself in a quandary: Is he still the one in control? Or has Violet imprisoned him—body and soul?

Jackie Ashenden's novels are:
"Sexy, emotional." -Laurelin Paige, New York Times bestselling author
"Tantalizing . . . explosive."-Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Mine to Take
"Not to be missed."-RT Book Reviews

Ok, Jackie is a master at making you want to hate the hero but then love him as you get to understand more about their demons and what has driven them to be the damaged men you meet.  Elijah is no exception as he is driven to a desperate act in order to complete his mission.  You’ll sort of hate him but he’s someone that was given one of the hardest moments that anyone could ever survive and came out the other side a different man.

We’ve seen Elijah in the previous books as he seemingly thwarts our other leads in their pursuit of their own revenge and answers but as we discover in this story he had his own ax to grind with our bad guys.  He’s now having to scramble to complete what he believes to be the best revenge for his loss but, as he discovers when he meets our heroine, perhaps what he needs has been standing right in front of him in the guise of a spoiled princess.  I loved how severely he lived his life because of his trauma but as we saw the walls tumble down around his inner self there is a man with such a deep heart and feelings that just needed to find a new mate.

I LOVED VIOLET *ahem* I really loved Violet and how she surprised everyone with how strong she is.  She really got to come in to her own true self and find out that she was ready to be seen as the strong person she was.  She really surprised me as she let go of her dreads which allowed her to hide and accepted that she couldn’t escape Elijah.  She tried but was smart enough to wake up quickly and embrace what she was stuck with.  As she opens her eyes and heart to a man that is not what he seems, she also has to realize who her family truly is and accept that her biological ties may not be what she should focus on.  I also appreciated that she pushed Elijah and accepted his dark side while working to make sure he saw the light side that deserved to live.  She’s insightful and isn’t willing to just take the easy ride if push comes to shove she can and will push hard.

This series has been so wonderful to read and I look forward to much more from Jackie.  I know she will push me to the dark side but then deliver heroes that love their partners with no reserve once they accept that this is truly theirs.

four-half-stars

Divider

Beyond Ruin – Kit Rocha – 5 Stars

March 7, 2016 Read in 2016, Self Published, Sent 1

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

Beyond Ruin – Kit Rocha – 5 StarsBeyond Ruin by Kit Rocha
Published by NLA Digital Books LLC on 2016-02-23
Genres: Contemporary, Dark Fantasy, Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 334
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

The explosive 7th book in the bestselling BEYOND series. The sectors will never be the same.

Adrian Maddox fled his royal life--and tragic past--in Sector One, choosing instead to join up with the O'Kanes. For years, he's lived by one rule: love fast, love hard, and always be willing to walk away. He's managed to guard his heart, keep it whole and untouched--until now.

They couldn't be more different--Dylan, the brilliant, burned-out doctor from Eden who drowns his pain with drugs and self-destruction. Scarlet, the sensuous, sexy rocker from Three, a woman unafraid to embrace the world. And Jade, the whore turned spy from Sector Two, who battled addiction and came out stronger than anyone he's ever met.

Separately, they make Mad long to open his heart, to tumble head-first into a sea of possibilities and wild love. Together, they make him burn, inside and out, with lust and unbearable, unimaginable pleasure.

Then one fateful moment shakes their world to its foundations--and leaves the sectors on the verge of all-out war with Eden. It's the biggest fight the O'Kanes have ever faced, and Mad and his lovers are at the dead center of it. They could end up with everything they never knew they wanted--or lose it all. Including their lives.

Ok…  I don’t know if I can adequately state how awesome this book is and where it is taking us in the future!  I can’t give away spoilers but let’s see if I can come up with a list of my top 10 things (no particular order) that made me love this story so much:

 

  1. Glimpses of Dallas and Lex that show how much they really care about everyone and solidify them as my favorite in power couple.  The heart is what keeps the sector going and is shown here as they face major changes.
  2. The views of Sector One and how Mad became the man we all love.  He’s something else but seeing the powerful moments that made him who he is were heartbreaking.
  3. Seeing Jade become who she really is and watching her kick-ass as she gains back her core self.  She’s powerful and needs people around her that let her live as her true self.
  4. Dylan… oh dear lord…  I knew he would be something else but the depth to him surprised me as he finally understood who he was and what he wanted to be.
  5. Scarlet made me quite happy as I saw her finally realize her own self-worth.  She’s got such an amazing heart but has a difficult time realizing that she is worth everything.  I really enjoyed watching her gain confidence from partners that made her finally realize she mattered.
  6. Sector 2… This was something else to read about and will make everyone think thru the future for those we care about.
  7. Gideon and Mad’s family….  I enjoyed seeing them and understanding what they feel for Mad.  He’s something important to them but they truly do love him even if they struggle to understand why he walked away.
  8. Hints of Ashwin… Dude… I CANNOT WAIT FOR HIS STORY!!!!!!
  9. Glimpses of Cruz, Rachel and Ace… *happy sigh* we don’t see them much but dammit if it isn’t powerful as hell.  Love my trio!!!
  10. Hawk and Jeni will be AMAZING to see navigate thru the changing world as they find their path to each other.  Loved the hints of this story…

So I know I kept my hints short on this but you really need to read this story so you can see how this all played out.  I loved seeing the heat between them all but most of all the heart that is core to making this foursome such a powerful thing to watch.

five-stars

Divider

The Queen – Tiffany Reisz – 5 stars

November 2, 2015 Harlequin, NetGalley, Read in 2015 0

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

The Queen – Tiffany Reisz – 5 starsThe Queen by Tiffany Reisz
Published by Mira on 2015-11-01
Genres: BDSM, Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 448
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Once upon a time, Nora and Søren made a fateful deal—if he gave her everything, she would give him forever. 

The time has finally come to keep their promises. 

Out of money and out of options after her yearlong exile, Eleanor Schreiber agrees to join forces with Kingsley Edge, the king of kink. After her first taste of power as a Dominant, Eleanor buries her old submissive self and transforms into Mistress Nora, the Red Queen. With the help of a mysterious young man with a job even more illicit than her own, Nora squares off against a cunning rival in her quest to become the most respected, the most feared Dominatrix in the Underground.

While new lovers and the sweet taste of freedom intoxicate Nora, she is tempted time and time again by Søren, her only love and the one man who refuses to bow to her. But when Søren accepts a new church assignment in a dangerous country, she must make an agonizing choice—will the queen keep her throne and let her lover go, or trade in her crown for Søren's collar?

With a shattering final confession, the last link in the chain is forged in The Original Sinners saga. It's the closing chapter in a story of salvation, sacrifice and the multitude of scars we collect in the name of ecstasy—and love.

Ok I am going to do a rare thing and use gifs to help a bit with summing up my thoughts going in to this book…

This was me as I processed the end of the Original Sinners series…

Which was closely followed by:

You see like many others I DID NOT want to let these characters go but Tiffany gives us a great story that ends in a way that made me very happy even as I was sobbing because it was over.

I can’t say much without possibly spoiling some of it but we get:

  • Confessional Sex – not a spoiler because Tiffany promised us this and YEP she delivered.
  • Kingsley being his usual self with all the personality in the world and such a deep love for our beloved priest even when he was at odds with him.
  • A sense of the gamesmanship between the trio and how that impacts those around them.
  • A better idea of the dynamics between Nora and Søren as they struggled to understand what they were to one another.
  • Did I mention confessional sex???  Cause…  if not…  CONFESSIONAL SEX….  yes I went there… *fans self*
  • An amazing scene that made me all sentimental and was such a great way to address certain items.  (Can I be any more vague? *cue evil laugh*)

All in all this was a story of a woman finally coming in to her own, a man who is driven to do things because of his need to punish that which he loves the most, a man who loves but won’t open his eyes and mind to what his love really needs or who they are, and a glimpse at the incredible people they have become after so many years near and with one another.

I hate that we are done with the series but Tiffany hasn’t completely closed the door to additional stories with these characters but instead has closed the door, for now, to longer glimpses at their lives.  We may still see them popping up in other places but for now I must accept that Søren is taking a small break from us to continue being with those he loves the most and  I can always go back and read those stories again.

I must say thank you so much to Tiffany and all the people who worked so hard on this series.  You’ve made me more comfortable with experimenting with things that seem outside my comfort zone which means I have expanded my horizons in reading and life.  I cannot thank you enough for opening these doors for me.

five-stars

Divider

Begging For It – Lilah Pace – 5 stars

September 1, 2015 NetGalley, Read in 2015 0

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

Begging For It – Lilah Pace – 5 starsBegging for It by Lilah Pace
Published by Penguin on 2015-09-01
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 352
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Some secrets should only be shared in the dark.

Jonah and Vivienne’s erotic bond—living out raw scenarios of captivity and force—began as no-strings sex between strangers who shared the same desires. Now the intimacy between them is turning into love, but it’s a love built on fantasies so extreme that exploring them makes guilt inescapable. But the risks they're taking are far more dangerous than they'd imagined.

A stalker is terrorizing the city, and one of Jonah’s ex-lovers names him as a potential suspect to the police. Standing by a man under suspicion could cost Vivienne everything. But when Jonah’s stepfather takes advantage of the scandal to seize control of the Marks family fortune, Vivienne is drawn into her lover’s broken family and twisted past. Only then will she learn how dark the truth really is...

It’s over…  *sigh* … It’s really over… unless we can talk her in to letting us see them again Jonah and Vivienne’s story is over..  *SOBS*

As I work to come to terms with the fact that there isn’t another story of theirs coming out I have to share what I thought of this one.  We get more of the people surrounding our pair in this story but we also finally get to see Jonah completely…  YAY!!!

Vivienne still has a messed up family who choose to believe that she went after her rapist and that she wasn’t raped.  I mean who cares as long as the facade is kept.  I mean who cares that you chose to ignore her when she did try to say something and when he basically admitted it when Jonah stood up for her.  She’s not being honest right???  Right???  I mean I wish we didn’t have to deal with them at all in this book but it did help finally let her see that nothing was going to change and as much as she adores her niece there comes a time when she has to do what is healthy for her.  I felt for Vivienne in this story as at the beginning she has to take a stand (I must say BRAVA) and let Jonah know she wants it all or nothing.  She also proves her worth by standing up for him when everything looks bleak and standing up for them when he falters.  She gets her strength completely back in this book and finally comes to terms with something that her therapist has been trying to get to all along.  I enjoyed seeing her grow as the story went on and finding a healthy balance in her mental state.

Jonah…  my dear tortured Jonah.  I adored him in this even when I wanted to scream at him.  He’s such a good man under all of his issues there is a general goodness that the years of torment cannot touch.  I loved seeing his family other than his stepdad and how hard they all work to bring the asshole down.  He’s right when he wants more than just the games with Vivienne and what he does to work towards a completely healthy relationship shows he’s in it for all the right reasons.  He has a long way to go to come to terms with his own past but I think he’s in good hands with Vivienne and her therapist.  This story also underscored how easy it is to take things out of context and twist them in to something that makes someone look evil or depraved.

The side-story of abusive relationships made me sad and I was glad to see him starting to heal from going down that path.  *I’m not saying who cause I think it helps the story not to say who*  This also makes me want his story and see him find his match.  I’d also like to see our loved alcoholic get his one and only but hey I’m greedy…  LOL

five-stars

Divider

30 Days – Christine d’Abo – 3 stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

three-stars

Divider

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

July 29, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

three-stars

Divider

Deadly Strain – Julie Rowe – 3.5 stars

June 15, 2015 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2015 0

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

Deadly Strain – Julie Rowe – 3.5 starsDeadly Strain by Julie Rowe
Published by Carina Press on 2015-06-15
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary, Fiction, General, Military, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 242
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Book one of Biological Response Team

Major Grace Samuels, a trauma surgeon deployed to Afghanistan, spends her life helping her fellow soldiers overcome disease and combat injuries. But her own wounds are harder to heal. Wracked with guilt over the death of a fellow soldier, she finds comfort in her only friend and appointed bodyguard, weapons sergeant Jacob "Sharp" Foster.

Sharp feels more for Grace than a soldier should, more than he wants to admit. When the team discovers a new, quick-to-kill strain of anthrax, he tries to focus on the mission to find its source. He knows he can help Grace defeat her demons, but first they must defeat the deadly outbreak.

Sharp is Grace's most loyal ally, but in close quarters, he starts to feel like more. She can't watch someone else she cares about die—but she might not have a choice. The closer they get to finding the source of the strain, the closer it gets to finding them.

79,830 words

Interesting story about modern day biological warfare and those who work to keep us safe.  I look forward to more from this series as the work that went in to researching the biological weapon and special forces personnel showed in a believable threat with action that kept me interested during the story.

Grace just wants to do her job and do it well.  She wants nothing more than to save lives and make a difference to those she works with but she’s also haunted.  She will never forget people she’s served with and lost but one loss haunts her more than any other.  When they get a call to go check out a suspicious set of deaths at a relatively remote outpost, she has to come to terms with not only her past but the man who wants to be there for her future in order for any of them to have a future.  She’s driven and damn good at what she does which shines thru even as she doubts herself because of survivor’s guilt.  I liked how she would work herself to the bone in order to get answers but mainly liked that she does what she has to in order to survive and complete the mission.  She is someone that I would want in my corner should the worst happen as you know that she will sacrifice herself if it means more survive.

Jacob..  *swoon*…  he’s something else but I would expect him to be all that and a bag of chips.  He’s Special Forces but he’s also a man who has discovered the woman that makes him a bit crazy.  He’s driven to protect Grace from not only outside threats but also herself as he discovers more about how driven she is.  When he pushes her you understand her frustration with him but you also see why he pushes her to let go.  She needs someone who will act as a relatively neutral voice of reason in order to get her to eat and take care of what her body needs.  She really does need a babysitter in some respects but the way Jacob goes about it occasionally made me laugh.  He was someone that while driven to defend his woman also realized that she was quite capable of holding her own.  He didn’t coddle her but instead worked to make her see his side even as much as she hated that.

Overall this was an interesting story with some information that will frighten those who haven’t kept up with modern or heck even old-school biological warfare.  The weapon described is frightening in nature made more so by how much of a possibility this is.  I hope that we never see something like this created but one never knows what evil is out there.

 

three-half-stars

Divider