Publisher: Penguin

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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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Homecoming – Shannon Stacey – 4 stars

August 30, 2016 NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

four-stars

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His Royal Favorite – Lilah Pace – 5 stars

August 17, 2016 NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

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

His Royal Favorite – Lilah Pace – 5 starsHis Royal Favorite by Lilah Pace
Published by Penguin on August 16th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, LGBT, Gay, Contemporary
Pages: 182
Source: NetGalley.com
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five-stars

The conclusion of Lilah Pace’s racy, romantic male/male duology following His Royal Secret...

James, Prince of Wales, is making history. He's decided to come out to his subjects—and the world. However, telling the truth means exposing his relationship with lone-wolf reporter Benjamin Dahan. Although Ben never wanted commitment, the unexpected depth of his feelings leads him to join James in the media's harsh spotlight.

When the news story explodes across the globe, Ben can endure the mockery and dirty jokes. But after his tragic past is cruelly revealed, his life begins to implode. Can even his love for James be worth this?

James has it no easier. His revelation divides the country and sparks turmoil within the royal family. He must struggle to defend not only himself and Ben, but also his younger sister, who hovers on the brink of a breakdown that could endanger her life.

Is Ben strong enough to survive the onslaught and stand by James' side? And will James have to make a choice between Ben and the crown?

I was so happy to get my hands on this one as I quite thoroughly enjoyed part one of this story.

At the end of part one we were left with the idea that our boys might’ve hit the limit of their relationship but we all knew that these two could not be kept apart.  Ben is willing to step up to the plate and be there for James even as it threatens to tear him apart.  He’s got his own reasons for not wanting to be in the limelight and his need to be seen as his own person causes him to make mistakes which threaten his happiness with James.  I loved how he was with the family and especially adored the way he figured out how to work with the Queen.  He sees the real truths that are hidden behind the polite masks and stands up for what is right even as it may hurt those he loves.

James was such a sweetheart in this as he tries to do the right thing for everyone even if it means giving up something that is the only real thing he has ever had for himself.  His battles with his uncle to do the right thing, his battles with the Queen…  his battles with everything around him in order to get his sister what she really needs… and the biggest battles…  the ones with himself as he struggles to finally be happy.  I loved seeing him try his damndest to get Ben to feel at home in this new life but I also enjoyed seeing him realize that it wasn’t something he could fix.  He didn’t try to force something that wasn’t there which made him very approachable.  He was scared of what would happen to his sister and what would happen to Ben but he still didn’t try to make it be completely about his wants or needs.

The treatment that his sister’s storyline gets is important on many levels but the main thing I took from it is…  Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness nor should it be avoided..  Mental illness is something that is not shameful..  it isn’t something that can be healed overnight and just by acknowledging that there is an issue that needs help is an immense source of strength.  One should seek assistance even if you are afraid.  Light is available at the end of the tunnel and often the illness LIES to keep you in the dark.

You will enjoy seeing what happens to everyone at the conclusion of this story and I came away from it quite happy.

five-stars

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The Angels’ Share – JR Ward – 4.5 stars

July 27, 2016 Berkley Trade, Read in 2016, Sent 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.

The Angels’ Share – JR Ward – 4.5 starsThe Angels' Share by J.R. Ward
Published by Penguin on July 26th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Sagas
Pages: 432
Source: the publisher
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four-half-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward delivers the second novel in her Bourbon Kings series—a sweeping saga of a Southern dynasty struggling to maintain a façade of privilege and prosperity, while secrets and indiscretions threaten its very foundation…

In Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to look more and more like murder…

No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.

Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior...or the worst of all the sinners?

And now for the continuing saga of the Bradford Family….

I can just see this being made in to an evening soap opera or perhaps a telenovella in the future because it just flows like one of those epic train-wrecks that we see on those shows.  The last book ended on a bit of a surprise note with secrets being exposed and a family undergoing a major change.

The patriarch of the family is dead and has left chaos in his wake by virtue of stealing millions of dollars from his kids along with the Bradford Bourbon holdings.  He’s also left behind a scandal in the form of a pregnant soon-to-be-ex-wife of his son.  Lane finally has the love of his life by his side but is now having to hold together his family in order to right the wrongs perpetrated by his father.  He’s strong but how much can one man take on his shoulders?

There are a lot of twists and turns in this one but I think you’ll enjoy the ride.  We have the pieces coming together for Lane… Gin’s life falling apart around her both of her own making and just in general as she realizes how big of a mess she’s in…. Sutton finally having to face that even though she loves someone she has to let go (Nope nope nope want her and him together)… Edward finally seeming to understand his life and perhaps show some growth…  Samuel T was such a broken man and I loved seeing his inner battle more…

In general there are so many story-lines that are playing out during various points of the book that I really felt like I was watching a TV show and as much as I’d like to say that I hated it…  well…  I’d be lying because…

tumblr_noys8mkgT11s0my1wo1_250

You just can’t look away… I need more more more…

This has:

  1. Slutty ex-wife
  2. Drunk older brother in love with someone he can’t have *thinks he can’t have
  3. Who dun it???
  4. In love couple who actually are happy…
  5. Mother who is drugged up and lives in a fantasy world
  6. Momma who has cancer
  7. Dun dun dun….  the return of the lost brother….
  8. SCANDAL in the fact that millions are missing
  9. Who’s the father x2….
  10. Surprise new characters that I adored
  11. Villains GALORE

I could go on but you get the point…  CRACKTASTIC…

on a side note…  *ahem* Erin and team…  when can I get the next one??? *bats eyelashes*

four-half-stars

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His Royal Secret – Lilah Pace – 4.5 stars

July 19, 2016 NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

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

His Royal Secret – Lilah Pace – 4.5 starsHis Royal Secret by Lilah Pace
Published by Penguin on July 19th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, LGBT, Gay, Contemporary
Pages: 224
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads
four-half-stars

The first in an enchanting new male/male romantic duology from Lilah Pace, author of Asking for More and Begging for It ....
James, the handsome, cosmopolitan Prince of Wales, is used to being in the public eye. But he's keeping a king-sized secret...James, next in line for the throne, is gay.
He’s been able to hide his sexual orientation with the help of his best friend and beard, Lady Cassandra. Sometimes he feels like a coward for not coming out, but he daren’t risk losing the crown. If he did, the succession would fall on his deeply troubled younger sister, Princess Amelia. To protect her, James is willing to live a lie.
While on holiday, he meets Benjamin Dahan—a rugged international reporter with a globe-trotting, unattached life—who catches far more than James's eye. And when Ben is transferred to London, it seems fate may finally be smiling on James.
But what began as a torrid fling grows into something far more intimate and powerful. Soon James will have to decide who he is, what he wants from life and love, and what he’s willing to sacrifice for the truth...

I’m going to start this with the note… Lilah Pace can send me anything and everything…. please…  cause .. LOVE.

Now on to this particular title that had me begging for the next one ASAP.

Imagine if the Prince of Wales was… shhhh…. GAY?!?!?!?!?  I mean what would the impact be on the order of succession?  Who would inherit the throne?  Would they allow him to reign as King and head of the Church of England? Scandal…. Scandal… Scandal…  How could he manage to have a love life or find love if he’s forced to remain in the closet?  Would he have a “beard”?   This is the story that His Royal Secret starts where James is living a lie.  I mean it is a lie he has gotten used to but it is a lie.  He’s got his best friend, Cass, acting as his scandalous lady love but this is getting harder and harder to maintain.  He’s on a trip to Kenya when he meets a man who he’s intensely attracted to and they have a moment that ends up having a major impact on both of their lives from that moment on.  I loved how loyal James is to those who matter to him.  There is such a huge sense of honor to him that results in him being willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of The Firm aka the Royal Family.  His love for his younger sister was something to behold as she struggles with her own inner demons.  I appreciated that he was willing to do whatever it takes to keep her safe and to let Cass have a life of her own.

Ben was something else.  I had moments where I loved him and moments where I wanted to hurt him as he failed to look at things from James’s point of view.  He has such a prejudice against what he perceives to be the life of the Prince that he overlooks the man behind the title.  I think he knows who James is but it isn’t easy for him to let go of those notions.  I loved how he gives James a chance to experience things that a closeted gay man in his position could never have and that he keeps his word.  He truly does honor his word even though he is sitting on the story of the century.  His struggle with his feelings and what James means to him was realistic.

The end of the book will make you whimper as you want to know the rest of the story ASAP but it was such a good read that I’d hate for you to wait until closer to the second title to come out before you read it.  Go ahead and read it now then re-read it before you read part two… *hint – LOVED LOVED LOVED*.  This isn’t everything is pretty sunshine and roses but the men are definitely made for one another with a story that you could see playing out today.

four-half-stars

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Stay Until We Break – Mercy Brown – 3 stars

June 20, 2016 Intermix, NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

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

Stay Until We Break – Mercy Brown – 3 starsStay Until We Break Published by Intermix on June 21, 2016
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-stars
three-flames

What happens on the road stays on the road in the latest New Adult novel from the author of Loud Is How I Love You.

Twenty-one-year-old Sonia Grant, a business major, has big plans for a career in the music industry. So when she’s offered the job of tour manager for her best friend’s band, she jumps at the chance for some real life experience. When her number one crush, bassist Cole McCormack, jumps her the first night on tour, she hopes she’s in for three weeks of some hot backstage action, too. But Cole turns out to have more up his sleeve than she or anyone realized.

Nobody knows that Cole is on the road to party like a rock star one last time before quitting his dream to take a more practical job and settle down. What he hadn’t planned was to fall in love with a girl he believes is out of his league. Will Cole play out the rock star fantasy he thinks Sonia wants from him, or tell her the truth and take the chance that she’ll either break his heart or make an even bigger dream come true?

What happens when you are forced to give up your dreams in order to help your family?  What happens when you follow your dreams against family wishes?  We find out when we get this pairing from Mercy Brown.  I didn’t know exactly what I was getting in to when I started but I am glad I decided to give this one a chance.

We have Sonia who isn’t living up to the expectations of her wealthy parents.  Well we think she isn’t but looking at the ending I think there has been a lot of changes on both sides and while they won’t see eye to eye on everything…  there seems to be a bit of thawing from both sides.  Sonia reminded me a lot of who I was around men and still am in many respects.  She’s shy, self-conscious and not experienced being around the opposite sex but there is something about her connection with Cole that makes her want to be so much more to him than yet another notch in his belt.  I liked how she did stand up for everyone in the band but herself and, when push came to shove, put herself out there to face one of her biggest fears.  She shows how much the band and Cole mean to her by everything she does to make sure they reach their dreams.  Her story with Cole made me happy in many respects because it was never just about their chemistry but more about two people who have so many things going against them but still need each other in order to be free.

Cole was someone that I enjoyed getting to know.  I liked being in his head as he struggled with being the man he thought Sonia wanted but also being the man he knew he needed to be for his family.  He’s so down on what he’s worth that he neglects to see that he is worth so much more than just a paycheck.  His talent shines thru and you’ll love how this turns out.  He’s such a sap when it comes to Sonia but also so certain that he isn’t worthy of her that he almost misses out on something that is so much more than just a tour fling.  You had to appreciate how much he was willing to give up in order to do what was right by his mom and sister but that’s why he’s the man that deserves everything.  I enjoyed seeing him let Sonia in and also seeing her open up to him as they find something we all search for and most of us don’t ever find.

Overall a good read and I can’t wait to see more from this author.

three-stars

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Dating the Guy Upstairs – Amanda Ashby – 3.5 stars

June 19, 2016 Intermix, NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

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

Dating the Guy Upstairs – Amanda Ashby – 3.5 starsDating the Guy Upstairs Published by Intermix Source: NetGalley.com
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three-half-stars
two-flames

From Amanda Ashby, author of the charming contemporary romance Dating the Guy Next Door, comes an all new story of a fake relationship that might not be so fake after all...

LIARS OR LOVERS?

Young librarian Riley Harris has always maintained her independence, leaving the drama of love to anyone silly enough to fall for it. Her Jane Austen novels are as close as she cares to get to “true love.” Luckily, her handsome upstairs neighbor—and landlord—Will Henderson feels the same way.

Since his ex-fiancé crushed his heart, Will devotes himself to charity in an effort to atone for the misdeeds of his wealthy, ruthless father. So when Will needs a date for his brothers high-society wedding, he asks Riley to be his faux girlfriend.

After a spontaneous kiss throws both Riley and Will for a loop, they find themselves fighting their mutual pride and prejudice against love. And when Riley is rocked by something from Will's past, both will need to decide whether to follow their heads or their hearts...

We all know what happens when a story tells you that the main characters don’t believe in the whole happily ever after crap.  Yeah, we get what happens in this story but it was a nice ride to see them proven wrong.

Riley has watched her parents flit from relationship to relationship with disastrous results which has left her being very driven to be self-sufficient.  She’s willing to do anything that her boss requires just to get a chance at the promotion that would help her pay for her mom’s latest mess.  This includes watching a hamster and even going on a “date” with the woman’s nephew.  I felt for her but enjoyed how she was willing to put everything in to her friendship with her landlord, Will.  When she agrees to be his fake girlfriend for his brother’s wedding she realizes that perhaps she isn’t as against the whole happily ever after as she thought but maybe he is the one who will be her other half.  I liked her but did get a bit frustrated with her reluctance to let him in.  She has her reasons but they just began to wear on me towards the end.

Will was another story.  I liked how he opened his eyes to her once he was pushed in to the corner but I also liked how he tried to make her understand that he saw her.  I didn’t like how he was able to turn things on and off based on his perception of things but I did understand why he was the way he was.  It wasn’t easy to watch but overall he made me happier than she did.  He’s got the moves and words for her but some of his actions were not the best.  I loved the way he showed her what she meant to him finally and appreciated that it showed how closely he paid attention to her wants and needs.  He knew her to a level that we all wish someone was there for us but it took him a bit to realize that this was everything.

Cute story with a little bit of fun and smexy times.

three-half-stars

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Fight to the Finish – Jeanette Murray – 3.5 stars

March 9, 2016 NetGalley, Penguin, Read in 2016 1

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

Fight to the Finish – Jeanette Murray – 3.5 starsFight to the Finish by Jeanette Murray
Published by Penguin on 2016-03-01
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Military, Romance, Sports
Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-half-stars

The author of Against the Ropes takes her First to Fight series another round with a novel of a JAG officer who loses his cool, when love delivers a knockout punch...

Kara is a single mom working hard to keep life running smoothly for herself and her son, but a custody battle is wearing her down. When her friend suggests asking a JAG officer for some unofficial advice, Kara agrees—and soon finds herself officially head over heels...

As a Judge Advocate, Graham has seen his share of nasty custody disputes—and he plans on keeping his distance from this one. But this purposeful, passionate woman has a way of drawing him ever closer to the edge. And when Kara’s ex starts to throw his weight around, Graham will have to choose between toeing the line or stepping into the ring...

I admit that I have enjoyed this series because of the sexy boxers and the women who are strong enough to stand beside them.  We get to see strong, sexy men but also see women who do not let themselves be lost while being involved with strong personalities.

Kara is someone we’ve seen around the periphery but getting to know her in this book was fun.  I liked how she has worked so hard to do what she loves but at the same time raise a strong son who has so many things against him.  She’s vulnerable and lonely but is resigned to living a life that isn’t 100% under her own control.  I do understand why she was determined to just deal with the cards she was dealt but loved how her attorney reacted when she finally found her voice.  She’s confused by what she feels for Graham but she can’t seem to let him go.  I loved how she decided to be honest with him and say it wouldn’t work but I hated that she kept the real reasons from him until late in the story.  Her reaction to his cave-ish man moment was a bit off the handle but she owned that which made me happy.  Did he deserve a bit of a dressing down?  Yes but… he really didn’t do anything wrong enough to warrant her knee-jerk reaction.

Graham was something else.  I did adore his acceptance of Kara’s son and all that his life entails.  He really wanted to be able to have her in his life and understood that this was part of it.  His kindness and understanding while being patient for her to finally come around was sweet while also being hot as hell.  I appreciated that he realized what she was to him very quickly and made his mission to be taking some of the load off her shoulders while still letting her be her.  He was also sexy as hell in the bedroom but what I appreciated more than anything was the fact that even in his cave-man moment… he really was trying to do the best thing.  He walked a thin line but walked it well as he tried to free the woman he loved from a life that wasn’t fulfilling to her.

This series was a lot of fun to read and I look forward to more from this author.

three-half-stars

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Begging For It – Lilah Pace – 5 stars

September 1, 2015 NetGalley, Read in 2015 0

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

Begging For It – Lilah Pace – 5 starsBegging for It by Lilah Pace
Published by Penguin on 2015-09-01
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 352
Source: NetGalley.com
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five-stars

Some secrets should only be shared in the dark.

Jonah and Vivienne’s erotic bond—living out raw scenarios of captivity and force—began as no-strings sex between strangers who shared the same desires. Now the intimacy between them is turning into love, but it’s a love built on fantasies so extreme that exploring them makes guilt inescapable. But the risks they're taking are far more dangerous than they'd imagined.

A stalker is terrorizing the city, and one of Jonah’s ex-lovers names him as a potential suspect to the police. Standing by a man under suspicion could cost Vivienne everything. But when Jonah’s stepfather takes advantage of the scandal to seize control of the Marks family fortune, Vivienne is drawn into her lover’s broken family and twisted past. Only then will she learn how dark the truth really is...

It’s over…  *sigh* … It’s really over… unless we can talk her in to letting us see them again Jonah and Vivienne’s story is over..  *SOBS*

As I work to come to terms with the fact that there isn’t another story of theirs coming out I have to share what I thought of this one.  We get more of the people surrounding our pair in this story but we also finally get to see Jonah completely…  YAY!!!

Vivienne still has a messed up family who choose to believe that she went after her rapist and that she wasn’t raped.  I mean who cares as long as the facade is kept.  I mean who cares that you chose to ignore her when she did try to say something and when he basically admitted it when Jonah stood up for her.  She’s not being honest right???  Right???  I mean I wish we didn’t have to deal with them at all in this book but it did help finally let her see that nothing was going to change and as much as she adores her niece there comes a time when she has to do what is healthy for her.  I felt for Vivienne in this story as at the beginning she has to take a stand (I must say BRAVA) and let Jonah know she wants it all or nothing.  She also proves her worth by standing up for him when everything looks bleak and standing up for them when he falters.  She gets her strength completely back in this book and finally comes to terms with something that her therapist has been trying to get to all along.  I enjoyed seeing her grow as the story went on and finding a healthy balance in her mental state.

Jonah…  my dear tortured Jonah.  I adored him in this even when I wanted to scream at him.  He’s such a good man under all of his issues there is a general goodness that the years of torment cannot touch.  I loved seeing his family other than his stepdad and how hard they all work to bring the asshole down.  He’s right when he wants more than just the games with Vivienne and what he does to work towards a completely healthy relationship shows he’s in it for all the right reasons.  He has a long way to go to come to terms with his own past but I think he’s in good hands with Vivienne and her therapist.  This story also underscored how easy it is to take things out of context and twist them in to something that makes someone look evil or depraved.

The side-story of abusive relationships made me sad and I was glad to see him starting to heal from going down that path.  *I’m not saying who cause I think it helps the story not to say who*  This also makes me want his story and see him find his match.  I’d also like to see our loved alcoholic get his one and only but hey I’m greedy…  LOL

five-stars

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The Bourbon Kings – J.R. Ward – 3 stars

July 29, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015 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.

The Bourbon Kings – J.R. Ward – 3 starsThe Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
Published by Penguin on 2015-07-28
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, Romance, Sagas
Pages: 400
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal.... For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.From the Hardcover edition.

I struggled with exactly how to rate this book before landing on a 3 star.  It has some things going for it but a few things going against it.  I can understand why some DNFed the book because it is full of EPIC WTFery but that WTFery was the thing that kept me entertained.  I mean it was like looking at a train wreck and being unable to turn away because you just want to know WTF happened next.

I equate this book to a cross between a telenovela and a traditional US soap opera…  we have the following:

  • Family Empire – come on you know Dallas, Dynasty and The Young and the Restless all have family businesses that are empires.  In this case we have a Kentucky Bourbon dynasty.
  • Sibling Squabbles – well in this case it isn’t so much a squabble as it is dynamics between the 3 children we see and the 4th that is non-existent.
  • Villains – Well in this case we have a bastard of a father, a bitch of an estranged wife and well an amazingly entitled asshole of a suitor (damn if you should call him that cause I’m sorry he’s just a supreme asshole)
  • Unrequited Love Interests – The heroine of this story, rival family’s daughter and the dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild
  • Secret Baby – The dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild that doesn’t know he’s a father….
  • Spoiled Princess – Beleive me when I say this woman is SPOILED…  She wouldn’t know how to live without her money and damn if she doesn’t make the single largest mistake because of this HUGE reliance on the finer things in life

Don’t go in to this story thinking you are reading a romance because to be honest the romance is in many respects the weakest part of this.  I enjoyed Lane and Lizzie but they weren’t the focus.  I also found myself a bit frustrated with Lizzie’s attitude during most of the story.  She’s very quick to jump to conclusions and typically the conclusions she jumps to are the most negative ones you can have.  I also felt the ending to be a bit abrupt and choppy but as much as I hate to admit this…  I’m hooked so give me more.

I am looking forward to the next books in this series because I think like this one I will be most interested in how the family deals with the revelations in this story.  I want to see what happens with the oldest brother and the sister as they find their matches because damn if those stories won’t prove interesting.  The dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild will prove the most interesting when he finds out the secret as he has finally decided he’s done playing the games…  or is he…  tune in for more from this series…  LOL

three-stars

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