Genre: General

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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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The Unyielding – Shelly Laurenston – 5 stars

March 28, 2017 Kensington, Read in 2017, Sent 1

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

The Unyielding – Shelly Laurenston – 5 starsThe Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston
Published by Kensington on March 28th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General, Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Pages: 400
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five-stars
five-flames

Stieg Engstrom, Angriest Viking Ever, has got big problems. The human Viking Clans of earth are in danger of being obliterated—along with the rest of the world—and the only one who may be able to save them is a super pain-in-the-ass Crow. Most people annoy Stieg, but this is the one woman he really can’t stand…

Erin Amsel loves being a Crow! Why wouldn’t she when the other Viking Clans are so hilariously arrogant and humorless? She’s not about to let all that come to an end! She just didn’t expect to be shoulder to shoulder in battle with Stieg. Then again, he’s so easy to torment—and also kind of cute.

With the future of the world riding on them, Stieg knows he’ll have to put aside his desperate need to kiss the smirk right off Erin’s face. Wait. What? He didn’t mean that—did he? No! They have one goal: To conquer the idiots. Because nothing bugs Stieg more than when idiots win. If only he can keep himself from suddenly acting like one…

Are you ready for more Crow craziness?  Are you sure?  Are you really, really sure?

Well, buckle up for some more fun with the ladies and men who are trying to keep the world safe from some really insane deities.

Erin is up to something…  ok..  so she’s always up to something but this time she’s REALLY up to something.  She’s caught by someone that she honestly can’t stand at a moment when she really did need help (soooooooooooooooo not liking admitting that) but who she gets is someone that she can’t easily manipulate or ignore.  I loved getting to know more about her and understanding where the personality traits that drive everyone else insane came from.  She’s not willing to admit what Stieg comes to mean to her but he knows and accepts her for who she is.  I love her smart mouth but also found that behind this is someone who cares deeply for those around her and is willing to do what it takes to keep people safe.  There are moments when you just want to strangle her but the moments are broken up by laughter as she even knows that she’s doing it on purpose.

Stieg was so much fun to watch.  He’s driven but the way he tries to tell her not to do something in the beginning made me put down the book for a bit to laugh.  He’s not what he seems either which is why their pairing makes so much sense.  His relationships with others including shifters made me smile but it was the damn goat that made me almost lose it.  You’ll love meeting her but also love the way that he struggles to come to terms with what Erin starts to mean to him.  I will admit there is a part of me that wanted a more overt claiming but honestly these two are perfect for one another.  The way that the relationship just is… not forced… just natural made me smile.

Now… when is the next one?  I really wanna see how this new threat plays out cause…  DAMN MAN.

Also, Shelly…  if you ever decide to make more totes…  yeah… I NEED ONE… also… Vida…  thanks again!!!  I won’t see you this year at RT but thank you for letting me continue to share the love of these stories.

five-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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The Protector – Jodi Ellen Malpas – 4 Stars

September 6, 2016 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 Protector – Jodi Ellen Malpas – 4 StarsThe Protector by Jodi Ellen Malpas
Published by Grand Central Publishing on September 6th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Erotica, General
Pages: 384
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-stars
four-flames

THE NEW NOVEL FROM THE #1 BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE THIS MAN TRILOGY AND ONE NIGHT TRILOGY!
People think they have Camille Logan nailed: daddy's girl; beautiful, spoiled young woman with her father's bank balance to fund her lifestyle. But Camille is determined to have a life free from his strings. Out on her own, she's made mistakes, including one that found her clawing her way back after a stint in rehab and plenty of bad press. Now, after fighting so hard to be independent and happy, she finds her life threatened as a result of her father's ruthless business dealings. Caught between resentment and fear, Camille prepares herself for the measures her father will take to protect her. But nothing could prepare her for the ex-SAS sniper who crashes into her life.
Jake Sharp resides in his own personal hell. He was distracted from duty once before, and the consequences were devastating--both personally and professionally. He vowed never to let that happen again. Accepting the job of bodyguard to Camille Logan isn't the kind of distraction from his demons he should take. Women and Jake don't mix well, yet protecting the heiress seems the lesser of two evils. But Jake soon discovers that she isn't the woman she's perceived to be. She's warm, compassionate, her presence settling, and his duty to protect her soon goes deeper than a well-paid job, no matter how hard he fights it. He needs absolution. He comes to need Camille. But he knows he can't have both.

This book was a slow build for me but overall the main characters kept me interested with the heat between them palpable and honest.  There is something about two people who don’t completely match what is expected of them.  I also enjoyed that there isn’t a single moment that brings them together but is more a series of things that force them outside the boundaries they attempt to set on themselves.

Camile was a fun character as she doesn’t back down easily but isn’t completely stupid when it comes to her own safety.  She does some stupid stuff at first but I can completely understand this as she’s fighting back at the restrictions from her father without the full picture of the threat.  She’s very independent while still remaining close to family and her true friends.  I loved seeing her make decisions based on loyalty vs money which is unexpected given her family ties.  She’s also very drawn to our hero even as she tries to ignore it.  As she gets to know him she realizes that he is hiding a lot of secrets which she’s willing to wait to uncover but…  She won’t wait forever for him to fully let her in.  Cami made me happy as she fought for what she wanted and wasn’t willing to accept anything less than all of him.

Jake was a mess… understandable as you get to uncover the secrets he hides from everyone…  but a mess all the same.  He’s hired to protect a woman that he believes will be a insufferable princess but when he meets her there is something that draws him to her.  He’s drawn to her in a way that he fights against but as we all know this can’t stay unrequited for long.  He’s going to break and when he does it was so hot.  There are quite a few scenes where we see the build-up but those scenes were fun to read and react to.  Cami tortures him as much as she can but he gets his own version of torture in against her.  This sexy play back and forth made me happy as it showed that both of them were feeling the same things which led to some great tension.  I adored the end of the book and while I did have issues staying with it at the beginning but I’m glad I stuck with it.

You’ll enjoy the tension while still trying to figure out what the exact threat is and when it comes out you will want to KILL someone.  They are a piece of work who deserves more than what they got but hey …. what they got was bad enough.

four-stars

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An Indecent Proposal – Katee Robert – 4 stars

August 31, 2016 NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

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

An Indecent Proposal – Katee Robert – 4 starsAn Indecent Proposal by Katee Robert
on August 30th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General, Contemporary
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-stars

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katee Robert continues her smoking-hot series about the O'Malleys-wealthy, powerful, and full of scandalous family secrets.

Greed. Ambition. Violence. Those are the "values" Olivia Rashidi learned from her Russian mob family-and the values she must leave behind for the sake of her daughter. When she meets Cillian O'Malley, she recognizes the red flag of his family name . . . yet she still can't stop herself from seeing the smoldering, tortured man. To save her family, Olivia sets out to discover Cillian's own secrets, but the real revelation is how fast-and how hard-she's falling for him.

Plagued by a violent past, Cillian is more vulnerable than anyone realizes. Anyone except Olivia, whose beauty, compassion, and pride have him at "hello," even if she's more inclined to say good-bye to an O'Malley. While his proposal of sex with no strings seems simple, what he feels for her isn't, especially after he learns that she belongs to a rival crime family. Cillian knows that there is no escape from the life, but Olivia may be worth trying-and dying-for .

So I sort of entered in to a series on book 3…  AGAIN… which I keep saying I won’t do but then keep doing over..  over.. and over again….  Yeah, well in this case I quite enjoyed the book and didn’t feel like I was lost so am glad that I did it!

Olivia isn’t looking for a man nor does she want any trouble but she is drawn to a man that embodies trouble by virtue of his last name.  She’s hiding from her past and wants nothing more than to raise her daughter away from the family business but she can’t quite escape.  She’s drawn to a man who she should dislike, perhaps even hate, but the chemistry between them cannot be denied.  She tells herself only this one time nothing more but there is something about the way he behaves that makes her crave more of him.  I liked her even as she was fighting her attraction for him but especially liked that she listened to her heart and mind versus trying to take everything on herself.  She’s smart and that is something that isn’t the norm with heroines of many mob related rom-susp books.  I appreciated that she struggled but also appreciated that she trusted him even though she barely knew him.

Cillian was something else.  He’s at a huge crossroads in his life after the death of one of his brothers.  He’s still struggling with what happened and that has led him to make many changes in his life which includes giving up alcohol and partying like he used to.  He finds himself drawn to Olivia and after their first scorching encounter he can’t seem to shake the need to be with her.  He proves himself so quickly to be there for her even at the expense of his family but this is a good thing.  I loved how growly he could get but also his ability to just be there for the woman that he knows is his.

The story moves quickly but it kept me interested as I enjoyed seeing two damaged people find one another.

four-stars

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Homecoming – Shannon Stacey – 4 stars

August 30, 2016 NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

four-stars

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The Darling Songbirds – Rachael Herron – 3.5 stars

August 22, 2016 Read in 2016, 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.

The Darling Songbirds by Rachael Herron
Published by HGA Publishing on March 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General
Pages: 375
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars

From international bestseller Rachael Herron, comes a book too delightful to put down:

The saloon had always looked old-fashioned, but now it resembled a set in a ghost town. The problem was that Adele wasn't in an old western, or a ghost town. Darling Bay was the sleepy gold-rush town her great-grandfather had given his name to.

The town she'd left for good a long time ago.

The building is a ruin, the business is broke and customers are scarce. Add into the mix Nate Houston - the handsome, guitar-playing bartender who had always believed he would be the next owner - and Adele has one potent cocktail on her hands.

Can a rundown saloon in a sleepy town finally offer Adele a way into love?

Relationships are at the heart of women's fiction, and Herron could teach a master class on creating them. Chicklit Central

This heartwarming, hilarious, and red-hot contemporary romance will leave you wishing for a marina view of your very own. From sisters to second chances, this small-town romance will make you laugh and cry. Herron's characters are grounded and relatable, but her twists and turns leave you satisfied as a reader. For a good time, pack this beach read on your vacation! You'll love this book.

Rachael Herron seamlessly blends romance, friendship, and laughter. Barbara Bretton, USA Today Bestselling Author

A FULL-LENGTH STANDALONE, a great entry into the world of Rachael Herron's sexy and hilarious books.

Occasionally I get review requests from fellow bloggers who also work as author’s assistants, these have consistently been good finds and this trend has continued with a “new-to-me” author.  This particular title is the first one in a new series about a trio of sisters who rose to fame as singers until everything changed when tragedy struck.  The trio split up and now don’t even really talk to one another or see each other.  The bitterness and issues are not ones that will be easily overcome because they have roots in the fundamental differences between the personalities so it will take effort to get past the past.

Adele has always been the fixer, the people pleaser and the one who makes sure everything goes correctly.  She’s now at a point in her life where everything seems to be working against her but she’s determined to get the bar/hotel/cafe that her uncle left to the sisters sold and start rebuilding her life away from painful memories.  She’s not expecting the place to be in ruins nor the man who runs the bar.  As she starts to clean up the bar and work on her uncle’s apartment, she realizes that perhaps this is where she needs to be for the life she deserves to have.  I loved how she started to open up as she finally embraced the town and Nate.  I enjoyed seeing her fall for a man who has his own secrets but mainly the fact that she owned her mistakes without any fake apologies or excuses.  She’s finally realized what part she played in driving the sisters apart and is working on the personality trait that brought it about.  The estrangement isn’t entirely hers to fix or take blame for but she does make the gesture to repair the rift.

Nate was someone that I quite enjoyed.  He’s not a man to run away from a problem but is a man who has his own demons to slay.  I enjoyed his stubborn streak but also loved the fact that he does so much for so many.  He wants to make a go of the property and attempted to buy it from her uncle so harbors a bit of resentment for the woman he believes is stealing what should be his.  He thinks she’s callous and unfeeling because none of the sisters showed up for their uncle’s funeral but in reality the memories were to painful along with her being off the grid when he passed.  Nate has some major issues he has to work thru and his attraction to Adele isn’t something he ever planned.  He made me laugh, sniffle and then happy as he works thru his issues and in to a life that really is perfect for him.  A good man with a heart of gold describes him well and his naughty side would make me quite happy..  *grin*

So take a chance and start this series..  book 2 releases next week so keep an eye on this page for my review of book 2.

three-half-stars

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