Publisher: Montlake

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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
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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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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
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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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Fierce Obsessions – Suzanne Wright 3 stars

June 14, 2017 NetGalley 1

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

Fierce Obsessions – Suzanne Wright 3 starsFierce obsessions by Suzanne Wright
Published by Montlake on 6/13/17
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-stars

When raven shifter Riley Porter was given sanctuary by the Phoenix Pack, she let them believe she had left her flock. Reluctant to divulge the secrets of her past, she was still embraced as family. Only Tao Lukas, the protective and passionate Head Enforcer of the pack, was resistant to the enigmatic shifter. Until Riley started to arouse in him something other than suspicion.

Tao doesn’t trust lone shifters, especially ones so guarded—and tempting. But the sexual tension between them is making them both come undone, and vulnerable to more than desire. All Tao wants is for Riley to stay with him and to trust him with the truth of her past.

As Riley’s mysteries come to light, so does a danger that threatens not only her life but the safety of the entire pack. For Tao, keeping Riley safe means keeping her close—forever—as his mate.

In case The Phoenix Pack series is new to you, I am going to give you a little background.  Raven shifter Riley Porter left her flock and has been living on own when she ends up at a homeless shelter for shifters.  It is there that Riley meets two orphan shifter children, Savannah who is a viper and Dexter who is a cheetah and becomes their guardian.  When the safety of the homeless shelter is threatened, Riley and the children end up staying with the members of The Phoenix Pack.

Tao Lukas is the Head Enforcer of The Phoenix Pack and body-guard to the alpha’s.  Tao’s focus is always on the protection of his back and ever since Riley arrived he’s been a thorn in her side, accusing her of being trouble and bringing danger to his pack.  To say he isn’t her biggest fan is an understatement.

Now, onto Fierce Obsessions:

When Riley wakes up with a raging hangover after a night of partying with the pack, she finds herself in bed with Tao Lukas.  As if the headache and nausea wasn’t enough, now she has to figure out how to deal with an awkward morning after.  Sure, she’s always been attracted to Tao but she wasn’t going to chase after a man who doesn’t like her no matter what their chemistry was like.  Certain that Tao will want to forget what happened as much as she does, Riley is caught off guard when Tao tells her he has no intention of forgetting what happened.  Not only that, but he has every intention that it happen over and over again.

Tao Lukas wanted Riley the first time that he saw her, but Tao doesn’t do change or trust people easily so he didn’t just accept her joining her back at face value.  Once he realized that Riley wasn’t there to do any harm to his pack, he also realized he had to be sneaky if he was going to have her in his bed.  Tao’s pretty guarded, but Riley is even more so so he has had to wait until she wouldn’t see him coming.  After a night of tequila shots, Tao has finally found himself in her bed and he’ll take whatever approach he needs her to keep her there for the near future.

When Riley goes back to her flock to celebrate her uncle’s anniversary, Tao insists on coming along.  With the relationship between them so new, there’s no way he’s letting her get away from him that easily especially since Riley has never indicated she plans to stay with the pack.  Once events unfold that make it clear there Riley’s emotional health isn’t the only thing that he needs to be worry about Tao wants nothing more than to get her back on pack lands where he knows he can keep her safe.  Riley, stubborn as ever isn’t going anywhere until she gets to the bottom of who is targeting her and her friends and family in the flock.

I enjoyed watching Riley and Tao circle around the reality of the fact that they were in a relationship from the moment they got together.  Each was in denial for their own reasons even when their friends and family could see clear as day that they were meant to be together.  I especially adored the relationships they both had with the Savannah, Dexter and Kye and the fact that the children were given as much emphasis in the relationship building as what happened between Riley and Tao.  Given the personalities of both of them I think it was the only way to make the relationship believable as it built due to how important children were to each of them in different ways.

As always, I enjoyed the most recent glimpse into The Phoenix Pack and I look forward to seeing them again in future installments (fingers crossed).

 

three-stars

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Beneath the Patchwork Moon – Alison Kent – 4.5 Stars

March 4, 2014 Read in 2014, Sent 0

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

Beneath the Patchwork Moon – Alison Kent – 4.5 StarsBeneath the Patchwork Moon Published by Montlake on March 4, 2014
Pages: 282
Format: Paperback
Source: the Author
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four-half-stars

Transforming the old Caffey property into Hope Springs's new community arts center won't be easy for celebrated weaver Luna Meadows, but she sees it as a labor of love. The center will honor Sierra Caffey, the best friend Luna lost years ago in a car crash. But when Angelo Caffey - Sierra's older brother and Luna's first love - returns to his family's former home demanding answers, Luna must also face her long-buried feelings for him.

Angelo left Hope Springs - and Luna - eight years ago. Handsome and headstrong, he suspects the beautiful Luna harbors a secret about the accident. Yet despite his best efforts, he can't resist the heat that still simmers between them.

Will the untold truth shatter their future? Or could a new beginning lie within the tangled threads of their past? Part of the Hope Springs series, this charming romance follows two broken hearts on their long journey home.

I’ve been looking forward to this one since I read The Second Chance Cafe and first met Luna.  She’s an interesting character and I knew her backstory would be interesting.

Luna is embarking on a new phase in her life where she is moving out on her own and starting a center to help those with artistic talents but that don’t have money to completely pursue them.  She’s driven by the loss of her best friend  which not only left her an emotional wreck but left her with major physical injuries to heal and recover from.  Upon losing her friend it also meant that the relationship she was building in secret with Sierra’s older brother came crashing down and she was lost without her friend and her lover.  The most devastating part of this is the secret she still carries regarding her friend and the weight of that secret has threatened to crush her more and more each day.  I loved how much she wanted to keep her promise to her friend but when push finally came to shove I loved that she finally was able to get peace by giving those who needed the information to finally start to heal things that made it possible.  She was placed in a horrible situation and I’m glad that she finally was able to unburden herself and start to truly live again.  Of course I am happy that she finally was able to mend her relationship with the man she’d always loved and start to build something real and beautiful.

Angelo is a hurting mess when we first see him.  He’s drawn to Luna like he always has been but is so hurt by the loss of his sister he can’t see straight.  He constantly pushes Luna to try to get her to break and tell what she knows but finds himself opening up as he spends more and more time in his old house.  He has a lot of open wounds about his childhood and past that Luna doesn’t know about but when he finally opens up and shows her the dark side of his family we get to see the man that Luna deserves.  I didn’t like him at first but as he starts to really pay attention to what his treatment of the woman he kept hidden from his family actually did you start to see a man who has his heart in the right place.  He’s very damaged and by working on cleaning out his old home he finally gets a chance to start healing and begin to live his life fully.

This is a hard story in so many ways but the message in this is – Things aren’t always as they seem but love is worth every single hurt you may have to deal with.

I’m thankful that Alison was willing to send me a copy of this early because I enjoyed the story very much.  I am looking forward to the next one and any others she decides to write.

four-half-stars

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