Genre: Military

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Ashwin – Kit Rocha – 5 stars

March 7, 2017 Read in 2017, Self Published 1

Ashwin – Kit Rocha – 5 starsAshwin by Kit Rocha
Series: ,
Published by Kit Rocha on March 7th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Military, Science Fiction, Action & Adventure
Pages: 380
Source: the Author
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five-stars
five-flames

The first book in the follow-up to Kit Rocha's bestselling BEYOND series...

Gideon's Riders, Book One

Lieutenant Ashwin Malhotra is a Makhai soldier—genetically engineered to be cold, ruthless. Unfeeling. His commanding officers consider him the perfect operative, and they’re right. Now, he has a simple mission: to infiltrate Gideon’s Riders, the infamous sect of holy warriors that protects the people of Sector One.

He’s never failed to execute an objective, but there’s one thing he didn’t anticipate—running into Dr. Kora Bellamy, the only woman to ever break through his icy exterior.

When Kora fled her life as a military doctor for the Makhai Project, all she wanted was peace—a quiet life where she could heal the sick and injured. The royal Rios family welcomed her like a sister, but she could never forget Ashwin. His sudden reappearance is a second chance—if she can manage to touch his heart.

When the simmering tension between them finally ignites, Kora doesn't realize she's playing with fire. Because she’s not just falling in love with a man who may not be able to love her back. Ashwin has too many secrets—and one of them could destroy her.

So… be honest…  how many of you have wanted this book since you first met Ashwin???

I mean come on!!!  Admit it… he’s lean, mean, scary as hell but damn damn damn does he read hot when  you meet him.  And let me tell you… it was worth every damn minute of waiting to get this book.  He’s hot.  He’s obsessed.  He’s only got eyes for Kora… and damn if she isn’t one lucky woman.

I quite enjoyed seeing this machine (or so he and his handlers believe) realize what it means to find family and a place where he belongs.  Kora plays a huge role in it but honestly Ashwin needed to finally find somewhere that he was looked on as human.  Are they still guarded with him initially?  Yes but there is still a sense of honor in the Riders that make this group a perfect place for him to break down the training and brainwashing to become more than anyone imagined.  Is he still lethal and scary?  Yes but there is now a sense of peace to him that was missing when you saw him before.  He’s amazing as he starts to feel things and accept them as the new normal.  His innocence when it comes to this is fascinating but his willingness to try in order to be what Kora needs says volumes.  He’s not perfect but what he is means more than the perfection that is expected of his genetics.  I loved watching him navigate parties and group settings where he was expected to just be… relaxed and having fun.  Ashwin made me proud as he is forced to realize that an apology… a sincere apology… can undo so many mistakes and give him what he needs to survive.

Kora is so damn strong that you instantly understand why she fascinated Ashwin beyond just the secrets he knows about her.  She is honestly worried about the fate of the engineered soldiers to the point that she gets in trouble with command as she tries to treat them with humanity.  Behind this strong exterior is a woman who cares deeply and mourns each loss as a failure on her shoulders even when she performs miracles for so many.  She’s finally starting to grasp Sector One as her home and the fact that they truly consider her family even as she mourns the man she believes is dead.  Her joy at Ashwin’s arrival to the Sector is tempered by her concern that this man will never believe himself to be capable of human interaction and love.  She reads him so well and can see that behind this mask is a man who truly wants to be free.  Their coming together is both hot as hell and tender as they both realize what it means to be a part of a whole.

We get to see more of the Riders and I must say that Ana/Deacon will be fun to read about but I am very intrigued by the views we get of Gideon.  He’s a hard read but underneath this seems to be a man who loves deeply while still being able to be ruthless to protect his people.  I also enjoyed seeing Ace and Cruz as protective dads but Cruz shines as he is one of the first to push Ashwin to realize what is happening to him.  There are other pushes but Cruz is the one who could hit him hardest in so many ways because of their shared history.

Now…  when’s the next one going to be ready… huh huh huh I mean…

five-stars

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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
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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

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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
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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

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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
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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

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Below the Belt – Jeanette Murray – 4 Stars

April 6, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Sent 0

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

Below the Belt – Jeanette Murray – 4 StarsBelow the Belt by Jeanette Murray
Published by Berkley Publishing Group on 2015-04-07
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Military, Romance, Sports
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
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four-stars

FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!

There's more than one way to win in the debut of the First to Fight series...

Athletic trainer Marianne Cook is ready to do whatever it takes to turn the men of the Marine Corps boxing team into fighting machines. After all, her ultimate goal is to land a job training professional athletes. But when she notices a certain hard-bodied marine trying to hide an injury, Marianne realizes that she’ll have to use covert tactics to get him talking.

First Lieutenant Brad Costa has waited years for the chance to fight for a spot on the Marine Corps boxing team, knowing he has to push twice as hard to get half as far as his younger counterparts. Brad tries to downplay his injuries to the attractive trainer who has his dreams in her hands, but Marianne isn’t buying it. Maybe it’s time to deploy some targeted flattery.

As Brad and Marianne’s attraction turns red-hot, there’s more than one person having a hard time keeping their eyes on the prize…

I will admit that I decided to read this book because of its cover and the fact that the blurb didn’t do anything to make me run away from the pretty cover made it easy to go “MINE”.  I ended up with a story I liked quite a bit and a team that I can’t wait to read more about.  The characters are fun and I admit that I’m particularly looking forward to when a certain younger, thinks he’s God’s gift to women, Marine meets his match.  *snicker*

In this story we get to meet a man who is driven to be on the Marine’s boxing team because of a desire to honor his father’s memory.  He’s always wanted this chance but when he injures himself early in the tryout process he’s struggling between what is right and what he needs to do to not be kicked out of the tryouts.  He’s aloof and grumpy but absolutely shocked at his reaction to the team trainer.  He doesn’t want to want her nor does he want the distraction of a relationship but he just can’t resist the way she calls to him.  I enjoyed seeing him struggle with his attraction to her but my favorite part was seeing him start to let people in.  He’s someone to admire other than his secret but I could understand why he took so long to finally admit what was happening to him although I wish he hadn’t gone about it the way he did.  His gesture at the end was funny to read but you knew it came from his heart.  Brad is such a good guy to his core he just needed to see it and understand that while he could be focused on making the team the key is… TEAM.

Our heroine has her own issues with wanting to be seen as the trainer not a woman.  When Brad starts to mess with her preconceived notions of what she wants moving forward she’s resistant.  I enjoyed watching her struggle but also appreciated her willingness to see where they went.  I did get frustrated a bit with her seeing the worst in some situations even as I understood where she was coming from.  She’s strong but is willing to see the other side once she stops to think about it.  I liked how she really just wanted him to open up to her but allowed him to deflect her at times.  I enjoyed seeing her admit to her mom that she had someone but mainly loved seeing her blossom in to her own as she became more comfortable with her job and her relationship with a man who adores her.

Both characters had a lot of waking up to do during this story and needed to accept who they were in order to make a future.  The way Ms. Murray weaves their story was a lot of fun to read and seeing how the rest of the characters interact makes me ready for more from this team.  I look forward to seeing more of the coaches and our pair from this story as the others in the team meet their match!

 

four-stars

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Hard To Hold On To – Laura Kaye – 4.5 Stars – Sponsored Contest

September 4, 2014 Contest, Read in 2014, Tours 2

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

Hard To Hold On To – Laura Kaye – 4.5 Stars – Sponsored ContestHard to Hold On To by Laura Kaye
Published by Harper Collins on 2014-08-19
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Military, Multicultural & Interracial, Romance, Suspense, War & Military
Pages: 200
Source: the publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Edward "Easy" Cantrell knows better than most the pain of not being able to save those he loves—which is why he is not going to let Jenna Dean out of his sight.  He may have just met her, but Jenna's the first person to make him feel alive since that devastating day in the desert more than a year ago. 

Jenna has never met anyone like Easy. She can't describe how he makes her feel--and not just because he saved her life. No, the stirrings inside her reach far beyond gratitude.

As the pair are thrust together while chaos reigns around them, they both know one thing: the things in life most worth having are the hardest to hold on to. 

Buy at Amazon | Amazon.ca | Amazon UK | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

 

My thoughts:

I adored this entry in the series because of how much both of our pair have to lose but also how much they have to gain if they give in to what they want.

Jenna has just made it thru an ordeal that no one should ever have to experience.  She’s coming out from under the drugs that her kidnappers gave her and dealing with the nightmare of what happened while in their custody.  She finds herself drawn to a soldier that should be frightening to her but he gives her peace.  As she spends more time around him she finds herself wanting to be more to him than just a friend but is unsure of herself.  She’s felt like such a burden to her sister for so many years so doubts if the connection she feels for him and that he seems to have for her is anything more than an illusion.  I loved her strength and especially adored how much she helped our hero by just being there and not running when he shares his burden.

Easy… my dear sweet, strong soul….  He’s in so much pain all the time since the loss of his best friend but amazingly finds a sense of peace when he is around Jenna.  He’s so convinced that he isn’t the right man for anyone and is struggling with PTSD/depression as a result of the incident that resulted in the death of his friend and others in his unit.  Being kicked out of the military was the final straw and since then he’s just been going thru the motions pretending to live.  You see our Easy has a secret that he’s keeping from his team and that secret is devastating.  I was happy that he found someone who wanted him for him even with his secret.  His struggle is palpable and realistic as you don’t want him to become one of the 22.  He deserves so much happiness and seeing him work so hard to protect Jenna and himself from his demons were amazing.

This story does get under your skin but I appreciate that Laura didn’t whitewash what he was dealing with and I hope that his struggles will result in some additional awareness of the struggles faced by those who witness or are part of violent acts or the stressors of combat.  The struggles result in an unacceptable body count as these people struggle with the demons in their heads and should be treated with all the resources we can muster.  While we can’t save all of them it is unacceptable to not try as 22 is not a count that should be considered an acceptable cost of these actions.

Please take the time to read this wonderful story with a powerful message even with the sparks that fly between our pair.  It is worth it!

 

Special thanks to the team at HarperCollins for giving me access to this title as part of a tour.  I really love this entire series and am looking forward to all of them still to come.  I do have a special request —- Can we get more of Easy and Jenna??????

a Rafflecopter giveaway

four-half-stars

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