Genre: Romance

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Slow Burn Cowboy – Maisey Yates – 3.5 stars

May 12, 2017 Harlequin, NetGalley 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

three-half-stars

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Master Professor – Tara Sue Me – 3.5 stars

April 4, 2017 NetGalley, Read in 2017 1

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

Master Professor – Tara Sue Me – 3.5 starsMaster Professor by Tara Sue Me
Published by Penguin on April 4th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General, Contemporary Women
Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-half-stars
four-half-flames

The New York Times bestselling author of the Submissive novels launches a new erotic romance series...

Students are begging to be held after class...

Andie Lincoln is madly in love with Terrence Knight—her childhood friend-turned-Hollywood’s newest golden boy. But he’s a Dominant and wants her trained as a submissive before he’ll consider a relationship with her. He enrolls her at the RACK Academy with strict instructions for her teachers: Do whatever you need to, but don’t take her virginity.

Fulton Matthews, the director of incoming students, is enthralled by Andie. Though he questioned her enrollment at first, watching her discover her submissive nature is hotter than his most intense fantasy. Under his control, her sexual awakening brings him to his knees.

Yet they can go only so far. Andie belongs to another, and Fulton is bound by a contract that strictly forbids relationships between teachers and students. But when Terrence comes to collect his prize, Fulton discovers it’s not easy to let Andie go. . .

I really wanted more from this story… more time with the characters, more details, more about the school, more about the secondary characters…  you get the point.  I am looking forward to more in this series but let’s chat about this first one.

We start this story by meeting Andie who is a virgin and is dating Terrence, a man she’s known forever but only recently made the transition to dating.  He’s a huge star but he has a secret he only recently shared with her…  he’s a Dom.  So we learn that he’s arranged for her to enter this school that teaches the BDSM community and, in particular, Doms/Subs.  She’s unsure but she knows she wants Terrence and as she researched the BDSM community she found that this kicked off a new level of fantasy she never imagined.  She’s a bit of a mystery as we start the story because you wonder why she was so willing to do this and not demand more from the man she supposedly loves.

When we meet Fulton Matthews we don’t get the best impression of him or how he treats others.  He’s very opinionated but he does own up to mistakes and the fact that he judged her before he really gave her a chance.  He’s got his own issues to work through as the story progresses but I did enjoy getting to know him.  I also enjoyed the fact that he was honorable even as he was hoping for things to go his way.  He’s drawn to her even as he knows he shouldn’t be but he really tries to not cross the line.  I also have to admit that he made a lot of valid points with her but mainly he did what was right which was to not interfere when Terrence comes to visit.  He did piss me off in the later stages of the book but that’s to be expected as we have to have the bad to make the good that much sweeter.

I had issues with this whole idea, no matter how presented, of “taking a break” or “granting a pass” in order for your lover to be trained to be perfect for you.  I just don’t think that this is an idea that sits well with me but I did enjoy the book.  I am definitely ready for more of this series and cannot wait until we get more of the others stories… yeah… I want to know more about the lover/best friend and what happened.

three-half-stars

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His Alone – Alexa Riley – 4 stars

March 31, 2017 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2017 1

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

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

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This book is approximately 75,000 words

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

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

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

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

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

four-stars

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Everything for Her – Alexa Riley – 4 stars

March 30, 2017 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2017 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The time has come.

This book is approximately 97,000 words

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

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

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

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

four-stars

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Forever Mine – Erin Nicholas – 3.5 stars

March 29, 2017 Grand Central, NetGalley, Read in 2017 1

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

Forever Mine – Erin Nicholas – 3.5 starsForever Mine by Erin Nicholas
Published by Grand Central Publishing on March 28th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Romantic Comedy
Pages: 352
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-half-stars
three-flames

Maya Goodwin doesn't believe in holding back. Ever. As a cop, she never hesitated to throw herself into harm's way to save someone. Even after an injury on the job forces her to retire, she's not afraid to keep risking it all to get the life she wants. With a new career teaching martial arts to kids already underway, she's looking forward to the future - and taking a chance on the unbelievably hot Dr. Alex Nolan.

Maya - daring and spontaneous - is the exact opposite of what Alex always thought he wanted. But when a nine-year-old daughter he never knew existed shows up on his doorstep, Maya is the one who helps them hold it together. With love on the line, will the guy who's always played it safe be willing to take the biggest risk of all?

I enjoyed this title but I wasn’t happy with the hero in many ways.  I liked him… I just didn’t like him…  yeah I know this is a direct contradiction but you’ll see…

Alex is trying to make up for not being in his daughter’s life for her first 9 years through no fault of his own.  He had a one night stand and the mom didn’t tell him until she needed help managing the disease that both he and his daughter have, hemophilia.  He’s reeling by this intense attraction he feels for the woman who might be able to help him understand the superhero universe his daughter loves.  He wants to be there for his daughter and perhaps try for something with his former fling but this attraction to this woman is hard to ignore.

Maya is just as thrown by her instant attraction and connection to Alex.  This attraction allows her to get distracted in the oddest moments but as with everything else she does…  she rolls with it and jumps in.  She’s not afraid to take risks but is also confused by his hot/cold routine.  I liked her and her openness as it was refreshing compared to Alex’s tendency to keep things compartmentalized.  She also has a wake-up call in this story as she has to confront her own tendency to do things without regard to long term consequences.  You’ll enjoy her personality and what she does for those she cares for.  I really liked her so the way Alex behaved pissed me off even as I liked him.

Alex has a lot to learn about life as he doesn’t share his own diagnosis of hemophilia and this hinders him in so many ways he didn’t realize.  He almost lost something important to him because he is so damn shut down.  This is why I say I liked him but…  I just didn’t like him…  I got it… I really did but I wanted to just hurt him many times in this book.  Maya deserved better than the way he treated her but as always the hero does wake up and I think the epilogue helped me come to terms with him.  He did try but dammit he made me mad…  LOL

I need to go back and read more by Erin as I enjoyed this one plus…  she’s sort of local for me.  Gotta try to support NE/IA writers as much as I can…  😉

three-half-stars

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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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The Night Mark – Tiffany Reisz – 4 stars

March 27, 2017 Mira, 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.

The Night Mark – Tiffany Reisz – 4 starsThe Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz
Published by Mira Books on March 28th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Literary, Romance, 20th Century
Pages: 400
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-stars

From the bestselling author of The Bourbon Thief comes a sweeping tale of loss and courage, where one woman discovers that her destiny is written in sand, not carved in stone.

Faye Barlow is drowning. After the death of her beloved husband, Will, she cannot escape her grief and most days can barely get out of bed. But when she's offered a job photographing South Carolina's storied coast, she accepts. Photography, after all, is the only passion she has left.

In the quaint beach town, Faye falls in love again when she sees the crumbling yet beautiful Bride Island lighthouse and becomes obsessed with the legend surrounding The Lady of the Light—the keeper's daughter who died in a mysterious drowning in 1921. Like a moth to a flame, Faye is drawn to the lighthouse for reasons she can't explain. While visiting it one night, she is struck by a rogue wave and a force impossible to resist drags Faye into the past—and into a love story that is not her own.

Fate is changeable. Broken hearts can mend. But can she love two men separated by a lifetime?

I find myself a bit torn with this book.  I quite enjoyed it but I am struggling with explaining why it resonated with me.  This is definitely a different style of writing by an author who I have enjoyed getting to read and meet but it still resonates as a Tiffany Reisz story even without the sexual content.

We get to see a woman who hasn’t been herself in years.  She’s at a huge crossroads where life is not really something she cares to embrace but at the same time she does have a very strong spirit that pulls her forward no matter how much another part of her wants to let go.  I felt for her as we are introduced to her at a moment where she finally lets some things go.  I found myself intrigued by the idea of having someone that meant so much to you in such a short time.  I also felt for the fact that the man she married out of grief? obligation? comfort?  had to suffer as well.  Neither of them deserved what happened but I will say that the reader can rest assured as the story is told and resolved for them.

The time travel aspect was something I wasn’t certain that I’d enjoy but I found myself comfortably following the story line as we moved from now to then and back again.  There was a sense of continuity in both timelines that wouldn’t exist had we not done the jumps.  I also loved the priest who made me laugh with his humor and candor.  I think the underlying theme is one of hope in the face of adversity and that having the love of your life stolen from you way too soon does not mean life is over.  I think that this story highlights that love can happen again if one is very lucky and open to the chance.

I’m rambling and I know I am but this underscores why I am struggling with explaining this book.  I can just say that I quite enjoyed it and hope that others will give this a chance.  I hope you are drawn in to the story and want to know how it all works out.

four-stars

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Need a new PNR Series/Author – Nikki Winter Book Giveaway!

March 8, 2017 Contest, Need New Glom Author, PNR 4

Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

Hi, my name is Bobbie and I’m a PNR addict.  I’ve been reading PNR for a long time so it sometimes feels like I’ve read everything written in that genre *shoves TBR pile underneath a blanket*,  so when I find a new author or series that I really enjoy I want to shout it from the rooftops!

In February of last year I read an article written by Ericka Brooks from The Book Pushers and one of the books she discussed was Beastly Passions (The Verochka Pride Book 2) by Nikki Winter.  I hadn’t read anything by the author before and I was intrigued by the description of the book so off I went to check out Nikki’s website to find out the name of the first book in the Verochka Pride series and see what other series she had.

I ended up reading every book available in both the Verchka Pride and Wilde Side series over the next week.   Both series featured strong female characters, hot men who adore their women and laugh out loud humor.  The combination has made both of these series an addition to my comfort reads and any future paranormal by Nikki Winter an auto buy for me.

If you enjoy Shelly Laurenston, G. A. Aiken or Darynda Jones should absolutely give either of these series a try!

To get people started I will be giving away 3 digital copies from Amazon of any book by Nikki Winter.  To enter just leave a comment below telling me your favorite PNR series.  Contest ends on 3/14/2017 at 11:59 pm US Central.  

Happy Reading!

 

 

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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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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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