Genre: Romance

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Untamed Cowboy – Maisey Yates 4 stars

June 19, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, Harlequin, NetGalley, Read in 2018 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.

Untamed Cowboy – Maisey Yates 4 starsUntamed Cowboy by Maisey Yates
Published by HQN Books on July 1st 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Western, Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

In Gold Valley, Oregon, love might be hiding in plain sight…

Some things are too perfect to mess with. Bennett Dodge’s relationship with Kaylee Capshaw is one of them. They work together at their veterinary clinic and have been best friends for years. When Bennett’s world is rocked by the appearance of a son he didn’t know he had, he needs Kaylee more than ever. And he doesn’t want anything else to change. But then Kaylee kisses him, and nothing will ever be the same…

Kaylee’s done her best to keep her feelings for the man she’s loved since high school hidden away, but one unguarded moment changes everything, and now there’s no more denying the chemistry that burns between them. But the explosion of desire changes all the rules, and what’s left could destroy their bond—or bring them to a love that’s deeper than she ever imagined…

Also includes a bonus Gold Valley novella, Mail Order Cowboy!

I don’t mind admitting that I was excited when I found out that the second book in the Gold Valley series would be Bennett’s and Kaylee’s.  After the glimpses we have gotten to see in previous books, I had no doubt these two would end up together and I was glad we didn’t have to wait until later in the series to have it happen.

In Untamed Cowboy, we find out that Bennett wasn’t always the buttoned up man that we knew him as.  You see, Bennett got his girlfriend pregnant at age 16 and after she told him she lost their baby and moved away, Bennett was determined to never let his emotions get away from him again.  He was going to make responsible logical decisions and ensure that he never put any pressure or stress on his family after everything that they had already been through.  That’s why Bennett prides himself on having a plan for every aspect of his life, even if those plans mean he is settling for a life that can never truly make him happy.  Bennett was prepared to marry Olivia even though he didn’t love her because he didn’t want love or passion in his life.

When a social worker shows up at Bennett’s house with a 15-year-old son named Dallas that Bennett didn’t know he had, all of Bennett’s plans for an uncomplicated life start to unravel at the seams.  Understandably, Bennett is devastated to find out that his high school girlfriend lied to him about losing the baby.  On top of that he discovers that his son’s life has not been at all the life he should have had.  How can he make up for all the time he’s lost and how does a man who has prided himself on guarding his heart convince his son to trust him and let him in when he doesn’t let other people in himself?

The one constant in Bennett’s life has always been Kaylee Capshaw.  From the moment he saw her at school looking shy and lonely, Bennett and Kaylee have been best friends.  With all the chaos in his life, right now more than ever Bennett needs Kaylee to be the source of stability in his life she has always been.

Kaylee Capshaw has been in love with Bennett for as long as she can remember.  She’s stuffed her feelings down through the years knowing that Bennett didn’t feel the same.  After years of having a front row seat to Bennett’s relationships, she’s determined once again to move on and find a relationship for herself, so why can’t anyone else light her up the way Bennett does?

When Bennett tell’s Kaylee that he’s planning to find someone to hook up with, Kaylee can’t take it anymore.  She will be damned if she can sit back and watch him move on with someone else again without ever having a chance to touch Bennett Dodge herself.  Bennett isn’t prepared for Kaylee to suggest that they scratch each other’s itch, but once he agrees he has to face that his feelings for Kaylee have never been as clear-cut as he has convinced himself they were.  With all of his plans obliterated, can Bennet reach for the happiness that is his for the taking?

I related to so strongly to Bennett, Kaylee and Dallas in this story due to my own background.  I saw so much of myself in Kaylee in Dallas.  The inability to trust when your parents, the people you are supposed to be able to count on are the very people who have hurt you the most.  The need to test and push people around you to see if they will abandon you like everyone else.  The knowledge that you aren’t worthy of love and respect even when someone wants to give it to you.  With Bennett you can understand why he feels like he has to be perfect and never be a burden to anyone.  He watched his family go through so much, and he never wanted to feel like he added to it.

It was delightful to see Bennett, Kaylee and Dallas begin to heal the wounds from their past become the family they all deserved.  I hope we will get to see more glimpses of them in future installments of Gold Valley.

 

four-stars

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Knocked Up – Stacey Lynn 3 stars

June 12, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, Uncategorized 1

Knocked Up – Stacey Lynn 3 starsKnocked Up by Stacey Lynn
Series: Crazy Love #2
Published by Random House Publishing Group on June 12, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Contemporary, Contemporary Women
Pages: 250
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars
three-flames

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes baby in a baby carriage. Just not necessarily in that order. . . .   Braxton: I should probably be dead or in jail right now. Instead, thanks to some tough love, I worked my ass off and now I own a string of tattoo parlors throughout the Pacific Northwest. And yet the one thing I’ve always wanted—a family—still seems out of reach. When my best friend gets married, I’m just hoping to blow off some steam with the super-hot maid of honor. But after Cara Thompson tracks me down to tell me she’s pregnant, she’s more surprised than I am when I tell her I’m all in.   Cara: For the first time in my life, I’m living for myself—not for my parents and their ridiculous expectations. I gave up on my MBA, dropped out of the Ivy League, and moved to Portland to pursue my dream of becoming an artist. And what’s the first thing I do? Get knocked up. For a tatted-up sex god, Braxton Henley seems way too eager to “be there for me.” Is this guy serious? Maybe. He sure is patient. Because he won’t back down until I admit what I know in my heart: that our one night stand might’ve led me to the one.   Advance praise for Knocked Up“Stacey Lynn always knows how to perfectly balance sexy and sweet, and has a modern writing style that makes all of her stories feel fresh and fun.”New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne

“A broody alpha hero with heart . . . I fell madly in love with Braxton from the very first page. Prepare to pull and all-nighter with Knocked Up.USA Today bestselling author Stacey Kennedy  “Braxton is your ultimate tattooed father-to-be—sweet and ever so sexy.”—Stina Lindenblatt, author of the Pushing Limits series

The steamy standalone novels in Stacey Lynn’s Crazy Love series can be read together or separately: FAKE WIFE | KNOCKED UP   And don’t miss her passionate Fireside series: HIS TO LOVE | HIS TO PROTECT | HIS TO CHERISH | HIS TO SEDUCE   This standalone ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

I love a good unplanned pregnancy story.  I don’t know if that’s due to my own life experience, or if I just enjoy the premise of two people being thrown together by a pregnancy that they don’t expect.  It’s safe to say this would only be true in the world of Romance where I am guaranteed a HEA.

Knocked Up was mostly an enjoyable read.  I enjoyed the premise of the characters spending a night together after their best friend’s wedding.  I found the heroines reaction of sneaking away the morning after to be realistic and adored that it was the hero whose feelings were hurt when she left.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t happy that he was hurting but it was nice to have the hero acknowledge his feelings out of the gate.  While on the surface Braxton and Cara come from different worlds, they have way more in common than the people around them may realize.  Both of them have experienced less than stellar parenting, although for very different reasons, and both have experienced heartbreaking loss.  The chemistry between Braxton and Cara is palpable, I only wish we had gotten to read about the first night they spent together as it was happening rather than it being in the past by the time we meet them.

There were some elements of the story that I found clunky. When Braxton and Cara go to see her midwife together for the first time, the doctor wants to hear the heartbeat.  The story references the use of an internal ultrasound want for this even which struck me as very odd.  As a mother of five that didn’t sound right, regardless of how early in my pregnancy I was they were always able to check the heartbeat externally.  The internal wand would have made sense if the midwife was doing an ultrasound, but that wasn’t the case here.  Also. Braxton’s reaction to the procedure made me roll my eyes.  He refers to the wand as a dildo cam and makes a comment about not knowing whether to be terrified or turned on.  It just felt immature which was contradictory to everything else we see from him.

Also, Lucy is a rescue pup featured in this story.  For most of the book she is a Bullmastiff, but towards the end she is a pit bull.  Keeping in mind this was an arc, the author may correct this in the final copy.

All in all, I enjoyed  Knocked up and would recommend it to readers that enjoy an unplanned pregnancy.

three-stars

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The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang 4 stars

June 6, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Penguin, Read in 2018 1

The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang 4 starsThe Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Published by Penguin on June 5, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Multicultural & Interracial
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads
four-stars
two-half-flames

"This is such a fun read and it's also quite original and sexy and sensitive."--Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author

"Hoang's writing bursts from the page."--Buzzfeed

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he's making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

I really enjoyed this debut novel by Helen Hoang.   Stella was a delightful heroine who has just as much of a solid understanding of her strengths as she does of her shortcomings.  She is an accomplished professional who has mastered balancing her needs with the expectations of society as a whole.   Her confidence and willingness to communicate in a direct fashion to those around her, even when it related to her insecurities had me cheering for her from the first page.

Michael was a sweetheart of a man who seemed perfect for Stella from their very first meeting.  His patience and communication made him the perfect fit to guide Stella through her practice sessions.  While I didn’t ever find myself really buying into Michael’s dread of being compared to his father since we only ever experienced the concern through his memories, it didn’t detract from the overall story.  I really enjoyed seeing Michael with his family as I felt it set the stage for what a caring individual he was.

You know who I wanted to throat punch throughout the book?  Well yes Phillip her creepy co-worker, but not just him.  I absolutely wanted to throttle Stella’s mom.  Seriously, her approach to her daughter’s love life drove me crazy.  I don’t care whether or not Stella is autistic, pressuring your daughter to date because you want grandchildren is obnoxious.  I struggled to reconcile a woman who raised such a wonderful woman with the same woman who would also treat their daughter that way.

I am not in a position to weigh in on whether or not this book represented autism well due to my limited experience, but I will say one thing nagged at me.  Having Stella end up with a man whose cousin happened to be autistic as well seemed to smooth some situations over that would have required more work between the characters had that not been the case.  I felt like we missed seeing some elements of all of the characters involved by not having this negotiation take place on page.  Certainly Stella and Michael were both strong enough characters to pull this off based on the other serious topics that tackled.

All in all, The Kiss Quotient was a very enjoyable read that I am glad I had the opportunity to review.

four-stars

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The Start of Something Good – Jennifer Probst 4 stars

June 5, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Read in 2018, Uncategorized 1

The Start of Something Good – Jennifer Probst 4 starsThe Start of Something Good by Jennifer Probst
Published by Amazon Publishing on 2018-06
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women
Pages: 301
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
three-flames

An enriching story of family ties, broken hearts, and second chances from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.

When Ethan Bishop returns to the Hudson Valley, his body and spirit are a little worse for wear. As a former Special Forces paratrooper, he saw his fair share of conflict, and he came home with wounds, inside and out. At his sisters' B & B and farm, he can keep all his pain at a safe distance. But quiet time isn't easy when a fiery woman explodes into his life...

It's business--not pleasure--that brings Manhattan PR agent Mia Thrush reluctantly to the farm. Tightly wound and quick tempered, Mia clashes immediately with the brooding Ethan. Everything about him is irritating--from his lean muscles and piercing blue eyes to his scent of sweat and musk.

But as the summer unfolds and temperatures rise, Ethan and Mia discover how much they have in common: their guarded histories, an uncontrollable desire, and a passion for the future that could heal two broken hearts. But will their pasts threaten their fragile chance at a brand-new future?

I’ve really enjoyed some of Jennifer Probst’s series, specifically Marriage to a Billionaire, Searching For and The Billionaire Builders , so I was excited to see she had a new series in the works.

The Start of Something Good is the first book in Probst’s new Stay series, and fans of her work won’t be disappointed.    The story has all the elements that fans of Probst will enjoy.  Close knit family, emotional writing and characters who tug at your heart-strings and great sexual chemistry.

There were lots of elements that made The Start of Something Good an enjoyable read for me.

  • My family loves Disney movies so I loved seeing this incorporated into Ethan’s family
  • Chloe added a wonderful element as a young woman going through her own struggles.  I enjoyed that both Mia and Ethan bonded with Chloe and helped mentor her even though it wasn’t their responsibility.  The interactions that included her added a depth to their relationship that would have been missing without her.
  • I adored Ethan’s sisters and am already looking forward to their stories.  The epilogue tells me Ophelia has quite a history with Kyle.  I wonder how Ethan will deal with the conflict between his childhood friend and his sister.
  • Hei-Hei the chicken, behold his majesty

If you enjoy contemporary romances centered around families and small town settings than The Start of Something Good is for you.

four-stars

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Bayou Born – Hailey Edwards 4 stars

May 30, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Read in 2017, Uncategorized 1

Bayou Born – Hailey Edwards 4 starsBayou Born by Hailey Edwards
Series: Foundling #1
on October 17th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
two-flames

"Edwards [creates] amazing fantasy worlds that the reader becomes completely engrossed in." GoodreadsHer beginning may be our end . . .

Deep in the humid Mississippi bayou, a half-wild child is dragged from the murky waters. She has no memories, no family and is covered in mysterious markings. Adopted by the policeman who rescued her, Luce Boudreau follows him onto the force, determined to prove herself in the eyes of those who are still suspicious.However, there's more of a battle ahead than Luce could possibly imagine. She may be an orphan without a past, but no one - including Luce herself - could ever be prepared for the truth of her dark, powerful destiny . .

"Well-plotted fantasy continues to engage the reader with its intriguing characters, heart-pounding action, suspenseful intrigue and subtle romance." RT Book Reviews

"The world building is fresh ... The characters are well-drawn and easy to root for. And the romance really hits the spot." Red Hot Books

I love all things PNR and UF, and I often have trouble identifying the line between the two genres when a series contains romantic elements, especially when the UF story results in a HEA.  While it’s too early in the Foundling series to know whether I will get that HEA, I’m certainly keeping my fingers crossed.

Bayou Born is an exciting new entry into the UF genre.  I haven’t been as excited about a UF series since I was first introduced to the Mercy Thompson series.  Bayou Born presents reader with a world and magical characters unlike anything else I have ever read.  There are no shifters or vampires here, not that there is anything wrong with either of those.   You would pry my shifter books out of my cold dead hands, but it was nice to read something so unique.  I won’t give any spoilers here, as the discovery of exactly what Luce and the men from White House Security are is an integral part of the story.  My only complaint is that we find out so late in book 1 that I felt like I just had a grasp on the world we were being presented with when the book ended which resulted in months of pining for book 2.

 

Stay tuned for my review of Bone Driven.

four-stars

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Wild Hunger – Suzanne Wright 2.5 stars

May 29, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Read in 2018, Uncategorized 1

Wild Hunger – Suzanne Wright 2.5 starsWild Hunger by Suzanne Wright
Series: Phoenix Pack #7
Published by Montlake Genres: Action & Adventure, Fiction, General, Paranormal, Romance, Shifters
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
two-half-stars
three-half-flames

When half–wolf shifter Frankie Newman receives an e-mail from a family member she didn’t know existed, a secret is revealed: as a child, Frankie witnessed her father killing her mother…and then himself. Frankie was torn from her pack by her mother’s human relatives, and the trauma was erased from her memory. Realizing that she’s been lied to her entire life, she’s never felt more alone. Until she catches the scent of an old friend—warmly familiar and intoxicating.

Trick Hardy, enforcer of the Phoenix Pack, can sense the rush of mutual attraction when he sees Frankie again. He knows immediately that she’s his true mate. But he also knows that, given her fragile state, he needs to tread with care—no matter how fierce his surging desires.

As aroused as Frankie is by Trick’s darkly dominant air and simmering desire, her priority right now is her past—not her future, no matter how tempting. But as more secrets emerge and Frankie’s life is threatened, Trick must do everything he can to keep her close and safe. After all, it’s their destiny.

Like lots of PNR fans, I am a fan of Suzanne Wright’s shifter series.  They are always follow the predictable format that makes them the cracky goodness I enjoy.  Wild Hunger delivered on all of the items readers have come to expect:

  • Fated mates – check
  • Super possessive alpha heroes – check
  • Snarky humor among pack mates, often at the expense of Greta who rightfully deserves it – check
  • Some flavor of bad guy or guys that ultimately threaten the heroine and/or the pack in general but who are ultimately defeated – check
  • Over the top sexual references and the notion of saving your ass for your mate – check

The story had all the elements that I look for in Wright’s books and would have gotten a higher ranking from me if it weren’t for one major problem.

You see, in Wild Hunger we are reminded multiple times that the hero of this story, Trick, has had a past that included sleeping with both men women.  Rock on, bring on the bisexual heroes you say and I agree.  Unfortunately rather than either opting not to specifically state that Trick is bisexual because the label is needed when we know his history or stating that Trick is bisexual, the story seems to make a point to make a statement that Trick isn’t gay.  Below are a couple of examples of this:

  • When a man who Trick has hooked up with in the past attempts to make the heroine question whether she will really be able to give Trick what he needs, she tells him that Trick isn’t gay.  When he doesn’t believe her she says “I’m pretty sure he’s straighter than the pole you dance on every Saturday.”
  • When Frankie (the heroine) is talking to a female member of the pack about the exchange above, the female packmate says “Seeing you and Trick together will have made him face that Trick isn’t gay, wich means he also had to face that you’re able to give Trick something he can’t give him – not unless he’s interested in a sex change anyway.

I just don’t understand why the author opted to address Trick’s sexuality this way when the fact that pack mates have hooked up with each other is openly known and accepted.  Clearly men and women both do it for Trick, why is there any need to make it about being or not being gay?

I hope that we will see this topic handled more appropriately in the future because I would hate to need to stop reading a series that I have enjoyed for years.

two-half-stars

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A Rancher’s Heart – Vivian Arend – 4 stars

May 21, 2018 Read in 2018, Sent, Steph 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.

A Rancher’s Heart – Vivian Arend – 4 starsA Rancher's Heart by Vivian Arend
Published by Arend Publishing Inc. on November 16, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General, Western, Humorous
Pages: 344
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
three-half-flames

This cowboy has given up on love, but the new nanny might just make him change his mind. The first in a brand-new series from New York Times bestselling author Vivian Arend.  

Caleb Stone is wearing too many hats and it’s making him crankier than usual. He’s a cowboy, a father, and the head of his large family—and has been since tragedy claimed his parents over ten years ago. The ranch is struggling, but it's the title of single dad that’s got him tangled up in knots. He needs a full-time, live-in nanny at the Silver Stone homestead in Heart Falls, Alberta, to help with his two little girls, but the woman about to arrive on his doorstep? Tantalizing, tempting, and trouble with capital T’s.

Tamara Coleman doesn’t regret the choices that led to losing her job, but she definitely needs a fresh start. When a friend recommends her for a nanny position in a new town, she swears this time it’ll be different. No more acting on impulse—except sexy, gruff Caleb is exactly the kind of man who pushes all her buttons. And what’s more, it’s so much fun to push his in return. Sparks fly between Tamara and her gorgeous boss, but she can’t risk her position, and he doesn’t dare risk his heart.

With two people fighting their true natures, something’s going to give. Luckily, there’s more than one way to capture a rancher’s heart.

I blame school for how long this took me to read but I am happy that I read this one and was able to jump right in to book two immediately.  We first met Tamara in the Coleman series but this is where we really get to see who she is while also seeing a new family and area.

There is a lot of heart in this one with two girls who need someone to be their advocate while making sure that both of them have their own voice.  Tamara is the right person for the job as she recognizes the behavior and makes sure to gently work on a healthier dynamic.  She also recognizes how badly she wants Caleb while at the same time not wanting to ruin this second chance.  I quite enjoyed her heart and how badly she tried to make up for the girls’ mom (I can’t even with that woman).

Caleb was wonderfully surly but charming… he was so badly burned by his ex and while he tries to avoid what he wants from Tamara…  well we all know how that turns out.  I liked him but didn’t always like his actions even though I understood them.  He really wants to do the best he can for his entire family but he at times goes about it in the worst way.  He is very attentive once he lets his need for Tamara to the surface.  I quite enjoyed how much they wanted one another but also how much they worked together to make sure that the girls were always taken care of.  This is something that I found endearing as they had been thru so much in such a short time.

This is a bit short but I did quite enjoy the introduction to this family and I think you will too.  Go grab this!!

four-stars

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Hot and Badgered – Shelly Laurenston – 5 stars

March 27, 2018 Kensington, NetGalley, Read in 2018, Sent, Steph 1

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

Hot and Badgered – Shelly Laurenston – 5 starsHot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston
Published by Kensington on March 27th 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Shifters, Action & Adventure
Pages: 400
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.   Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up . . .

My reaction once I saw the title for this book and knew it was about HONEY BADGERS:

via GIPHY

This might be one of the ways I imagine our favorite honey badgers:

via GIPHY

But I am torn on how to review this because I loved it so much and don’t want to even partially spoil anything so…  it is LIST TIME!!!

Why do I love this book so much?  Well..

  • We get to see HONEY BADGERS…  I mean come on now who wouldn’t love it just for this alone.
  • A certain character I love gets their ass kicked and… also gets what’s coming to them from another source as well.  When a mama says “I hope you have a kid just like you”, pray this doesn’t happen.
  • Bo!!!!!  Yes Bo is back in all his OCD glory.
  • Kyle!!!!!  We gets lots of psycho Kyle and man oh man did I miss him.
  • The sisters are divine!
  • Lock makes a fun appearance.
  • A certain overly focused older genius makes an appearance.
  • I really hope that one of the sisters ends up with my favorite panda.
  • We get another species that I didn’t expect but should’ve cause he’s just priceless and I can’t wait to see more of him in future books.
  • Another bear shifter so you know what he’s especially good at *waggles eyebrows*
  • A love story that makes sense even as the world around them goes crazy they just work…

Now on to my warnings..

Read this ONLY with people around you that won’t get distracted by snort laughing as you hit some of the funniest parts.

Don’t read this while DRINKING ANYTHING…  Yes I do mean DRINKING ANYTHING…  You will spit take a few times if you do and there is a distinct possibility of laughing hard enough where it will come out your nose.

Be prepared to want MORE NOW as this book reminds you of why you love this series so much and so badly missed the world that Shelly has built for us.

So…. just go ahead..  buy it and prepare to not get anything else done until you’ve read it.  Also…  I might be a WEE bit excited that Shelly will be the keynote speaker at a RWA luncheon this summer.  I will try to contain my fangirling but…  yeah…  I WILL BE IN THE SAME ROOM AS SHELLY… *hyperventilates* I’m cool…  I’m cool…  I’ll be cool….

five-stars

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Hurts to Love You – Alisha Rai – 3.5 stars

March 26, 2018 Avon, Edelweiss, Read in 2018, Steph 1

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

Hurts to Love You – Alisha Rai – 3.5 starsHurts to Love You by Alisha Rai
Published by HarperCollins on March 27th 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Multicultural & Interracial, Contemporary Women
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars
four-flames

Being bad never felt so good, in the third novel in Alisha Rai’s sexy Forbidden Hearts series!

Well-behaved women don’t lust after men who love to misbehave.

Heiress Evangeline Chandler knows how to keep a secret . . . like her life-long crush on the tattooed hottie who just happens to be her big brother’s friend. She’s a Chandler, after all, and Chandlers don’t hook up with the help. Then again, they also don’t disobey their fathers and quit their respectable jobs, so good-girl rules may no longer apply.

Gabriel Hunter hides the pain of his past behind a smile, but he can’t hide his sudden attraction to his friend’s sheltered little sister. Eve is far too sweet to accept anything less than forever and there’s no chance of a future between the son of a housekeeper and the town’s resident princess.

When a wedding party forces Eve and Gabe into tight quarters, keeping their hands off each other will be as hard as keeping their clothes on. The need that draws them together is stronger than the forces that should shove them apart . . . but their sparks may not survive the explosion when long-buried secrets are finally unearthed.

I had such high hopes for this one but it just didn’t completely make me happy.  I liked it but compared to Jackson’s story…  yeah… just not as good as I’d hoped.  I loved seeing the wrap-up but I wanted something bigger from the main pair, Eve and Gabe.  Still was a good read but Jackson just has my heart.

Eve is finally making some strides to stand on her own two feet by quitting the job she hated and starting to avoid her abusive father.  She also is head-over-heels obsessed with Gabe.  She knows he’s not in to her but she can’t help but try to be around him any way she can.  I felt for her as we go thru this book because what she was subjected to as a child was horrible and the damage that was done to her psyche because of her father made me feel for her.  She makes some moves to get Gabe to notice her and boy does it work.  They do take their time getting there but there is no mistaking what she means to him and what he means to her when it finally comes to a head.  I liked how she finally found her voice but also appreciated how much she understood the undercurrents and implications of the major secret that has been under everyone’s noses for decades.  Her open acceptance of the secret made me smile as Gabe needed someone to be there for him.

Gabe is convinced that he’s a love them a few times and leave them kind of guy.  He’s also convinced he’s too old for Eve but man oh man does he want her.  He’s also hiding a huge secret that finally comes to light on the build-up to Livvy and Nico’s wedding.  He also finally lets himself have Eve but isn’t completely honest with her on what he wants from her.  There is a lot of angst with these two but the final bits of the family secrets overshadow the relationship that is being built between he and Eve.  I did adore them together but would have liked more time with them.  He’s so good at making sure people around him are taken care of but seeing him finally get some major answers made me happy.  I appreciated how much he saw of Eve and what he did to help her find her voice.  Having someone silently stand by and provide support without judgement or taking over is what most of us need when fighting the demons of our past.

The story arc wraps up nicely with some twists that I didn’t completely expect but that weren’t completely surprising.  I know that might not make sense but some of what comes out was hinted at previously you just have to have not been distracted by the wonderfulness that is Jackson…  LOL  I am sad to see this series end but hopefully she’ll give us a way to see *HINT* Jackson again in some other story that conveniently needs a chef… *HINT HINT HINT HINT*

three-half-stars

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Wrong to Need You – Alisha Rai – 5 stars

March 26, 2018 Avon, Purchased, Read in 2018, Steph 1

Wrong to Need You – Alisha Rai – 5 starsWrong to Need You by Alisha Rai
Published by HarperCollins on November 28th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Multicultural & Interracial, Contemporary Women
Pages: 368
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
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five-stars
five-flames

A Cosmopolitan Best Book of 2017!

Alisha Rai returns with the second novel in her sizzling Forbidden Hearts series!

He wasn’t supposed to fall in love with his brother’s widow…

Accused of a crime he didn't commit, Jackson Kane fled his home, his name, and his family. Ten years later, he’s come back to town: older, wiser, richer, tougher—and still helpless to turn away the one woman he could never stop loving, even after she married his brother.

Sadia Ahmed can’t deal with the feelings her mysterious former brother-in-law stirs, but she also can’t turn down his offer of help with the cafe she’s inherited. While he heats up her kitchen, she slowly discovers that the boy she adored has grown into a man she’s simply unable to resist.

 An affair is unthinkable, but their desire is undeniable. As secrets and lies are stripped away, Sadia and Jackson must decide if they’re strong enough to face the past...and step into a future together.

Oh dear Lord… Jackson is just my favorite hero of this series.  I love his misunderstood self and how badly he wants his Sadia.  Alisha could give me more of him but I don’t think I’d ever be satisfied.

This continues the story started in Hate to Want you but now we get to focus on Jackson (Livvy’s brother) and Sadia (Livvy’s oldest brother’s widow).  This continues to uncover what really happened a decade ago when tragedy struck the Chandler and Oka-Kane families.  We get a few major bombs dropped during this one but I am going to remain focused on the man who I’d love more of…  Jackson…  He’s such a quiet person and very self-contained but when he loves, he loves fiercely which makes the pain he’s had to go thru for so many years so much more visceral.  He’s always had a thing for Sadia but felt that he would cause her more pain by returning to the town he’s avoided since being accused of something he didn’t do.  He didn’t even come home for his oldest brother’s funeral but wait for the payoff because when you see his grand gesture… *heart melts*  I loved seeing him lower his guards with Sadia and grow in to a relationship with his nephew.  As you go thru the story you get to see him blossom and finally get comfortable with who he is and what he wants.  He’s just amazing even if he comes across as standoffish.

Sadia also had a lot of growing to do in this book.  She’s still struggling with her husband’s death but also what was going on just prior to his death and now her need to be with Jackson.  She has a lot on her plate but the main thing I appreciated was how Alisha captured this need to be perfect and measure up to something that is impossible.  I liked seeing how she finally realized what her role is in her family and her own value even if it isn’t the same as the others in her family.  She’s stronger than she realizes but seeing her finally accept Jackson and what he is to her was my favorite part.  I adored how much she loved her son but also how much she opened up to Jackson even as she tried to keep her distance.

You’ll get to see some major moves towards the families healing and reconciliation but wait until book 3 for the rest of the story behind what actually happened all those years ago…

five-stars

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