Source: NetGalley.com

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Wrath of the Goddess – Lauren Dane 4 stars

June 10, 2019 Boookluvr Reads, Carina Press, NetGalley, Uncategorized 1

Wrath of the Goddess – Lauren Dane 4 starsWrath of the Goddess by Lauren Dane
Published by Carina Press on June 10, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Romance, Paranormal, Vampires, General
Pages: 315
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

Rowan Summerwaite is back—and more than a little pissed off—in Wrath of the Goddess, the fifth installment in New York Times bestselling author Lauren Dane’s Goddess with a Blade series.

You can’t keep a vengeful woman down for long.

Rowan Summerwaite, elite hunter and human vessel to the goddess Brigid, has returned home to Las Vegas—and she’s mad as hell. It seems someone thought they could eliminate Rowan and everyone she holds dear.

That someone was dead wrong.

With tensions between paranormal factions at an all-time high, Rowan and her crew, along with her sexy Vampire Scion husband, Clive Stewart, have their work cut out for them. The Vampire Nation has at least one traitor in their midst, leaving them extremely vulnerable…but if it’s a war they want, Rowan’s prepared to bring the pain like never before.

Rowan knows her duty is to those she’s sworn to protect, but it seems the harder she fights, the more barriers she hits…and the more friends she loses.

With even her closest alliances in question, Rowan will have to accept that sometimes the path toward the greater good means making heartrending sacrifices along the way…

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

And see how Rowan’s fight began in Goddess with a Blade, Blade to the Keep, Blade on the Hunt and At Blade’s Edge, available now!

This book is approximately 82,000 words

I was late to the table reading the Goddess With A Blade series since I didn’t pick it up until 2018. But once I did, it was love at first sight. And while the entire series is amazing, there is one reason that I fell in love with this series and that reason is Rowan Fucking Summerwaite. Rowan is the best kind of heroine in my opinion. She is prickly, sarcastic and a bad-ass that takes no shit from anyone. Bottom line in, she’s my version of heroine catnip.

Wrath of the Goddess has been my favorite installment in the series to date. Not only did I get all the elements of Rowan that I love but there was so much more than that. Rowan has had no shortage of trauma and touch situations in her life, but in this books the situations she encounters target her in a way that makes her realize how vulnerable she has been come in ways she never planned for. No matter how hard Rowan has tried to be a one woman show and how hard she fought emotional entanglements she has found herself surrounded by friends and found family. While these people to keep her safe they are also a source of vulnerability that she didn’t ever want someone to use against her.

I loved that Rowan didn’t fall back on the approach she has taken in the past by trying to deal with things on her own. Even though she was scared that more people she cared about would end up hurt, she relied on her friends and family to help her clean up the mess once and for all. I loved growth that showed in her character especially because it didn’t dilute the elements of her personality that made her who she was.

Wrath of a Goddess was an exhilarating ride with a satisfying conclusion and as always I can’t wait for the next installment.

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The Unhoneymooners – Christina Lauren 3 stars

May 13, 2019 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Uncategorized 1

The Unhoneymooners – Christina Lauren 3 starsThe Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Published by Simon and Schuster on May 14, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Women, General
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime—maybe even love—in this romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling authors of Roomies.

Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.

Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.

Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.

With Christina Lauren’s “uniquely hilarious and touching voice” (Entertainment Weekly), The Unhoneymooners is a romance for anyone who has ever felt unlucky in love.

Deciding on a rating for The Unhoneymooners was tough. I really enjoyed the first 75% of the book. It was a trope I love (forced proximity), the main characters were endearing and it was lighthearted fun. That’s pretty much everything I could ask for from a romantic comedy.

If you don’t want spoilers you will want to skip what’s left of this review. What happened in the last 25% of this book you may ask? Major gaslighting by the people closest to Olive, the heroine in this book. You see, Olive found out that her new brother-in-law has been cheating on her sister for years from his brother who is the hero in this book. He pressured her not to say anything to her sister and Olive intended to honor that request after convincing herself she might not know everything about their relationship. Olive didn’t one want to embarrass her sister or strain the relationships of those she cared the most about so regardless of all of her misgivings she was going to keep her mouth shut.

Here is where my entire opinion of this book changes. We keep getting glimpses into how Dane (the brother-in-law) has been making comments to everyone about how negative Olive is. He has convinced her twin sister and Ethan that she is always looking for problems even where there are none. I am sure you can see where this is going, but it’s worse than you imagine. Dane is so confidence that nobody will believe Olive that he not only pretends there is no issue, but he propositions Olive. At this point Olive realizes that she has to say something to her Ami (her sister). She tells both Ethan and Ami everything and NEITHER OF THEM BELIEVE HER. I wanted to launch my kindle at the wall.

In the end of course, both Ethan and Ami discover that Dane was in fact a scumbag and apologize profusely but you know what? I DON’T CARE! When I look back on the last couple of years and all of the stories of gaslighting that were in the news I just don’t want it in my romance unless it involves a character that you don’t expect me to see as redeemed. Obviously other readers could feel completely differently, but for me reality is hard enough right now. I don’t want to deal with all of it in the same place I am going to find a guaranteed HEA.

The bottom line is, I wish The Unhoneymooners was a choose your own adventure book where I could pick an alternate ending. If the resolution had been handled differently I think I would have loved it.

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American Witch – Thea Harrison 3 1/2 stars

May 5, 2019 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Uncategorized 1

American Witch – Thea Harrison 3 1/2 starsAmerican Witch by Thea Harrison
Published by Teddy Harrison LLC on April 29, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General, Suspense, Fantasy
Pages: 334
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Thea Harrison comes the first in a new spellbinding trilogy…

Power can change a person…

For months Molly Sullivan endures the inexplicable: electrical surges, car breakdowns, visions. She even wonders if she might be the cause… and wonders if she might be crazy. Then she discovers her husband has cheated on her. Again. Now Molly realizes she is a newly awakening witch and a woman pushed over the edge.

Revenge can shape a person…

Josiah Mason is a Powerful witch and the leader of a secret coven with a shared goal: to destroy an ancient enemy who has ruined many lives. Josiah lost years to this man, and his sole focus is revenge. He’s prepared for every contingency—except encountering a beautiful new witch who understands nothing of the immense Power building within her or the attraction she wields over him.

Danger can bring them together…

When divorcing her husband, Molly uncovers a dangerous secret he’s willing to kill to protect. She turns to Josiah for help, and they discover a connection between Molly’s husband and Josiah’s enemy.

As they work together, a spark ignites between them that threatens to become an inferno. But Molly is done compromising herself for any man, and Josiah’s mission is his top priority. And the enemy is cunning, cruel, and drawing ever closer.

As the danger escalates, so does the tension between them. Is a lasting relationship possible? Will either of them live long enough to try?

Can you imagine what it would be like to suddenly come into power as a witch at 40 years old, especially if you didn’t know you were a witch? That’s exactly what happens to Molly Sullivan in American Witch. As if that wasn’t traumatic enough, this discovery comes right on the heals of finding out that her husband has been cheating on her. I don’t know about you, but if I were in her shoes I would likely to torch the bastard with my new powers under those circumstances.

I adored Molly. After coming to terms with everything she was determined to reinvent herself . She developed a spine of steel and took no shit from anyone even though in many instances there was a power imbalance.

I was wary when Molly started dreaming about a woman telling her to come visit because I thought for sure it would be a trap of some sort. But the relationship between Sarah and Molly was the highlight of the book. Sarah was such a kind and nurturing and was exactly the loving presence that Molly needed and frankly deserved in her life. After being raised by a wretched excuse for a mother and marrying a scumbag of a husband she needed a genuine friendship to allow her to heal and find her true self.

There were a couple things I didn’t care for in this book. The first was Josiah. Sure he did a lot of things to help Molly and fell in love with her but he spent a lot of time being an asshole. Even after he acknowledged his feelings for Molly, anytime he got irritated he became an irrational jerk. I’m all about a surly hero but in my opinion he took it too far.

The second thing I didn’t like was the surprise event in the book (I don’t want to spoil it for those that haven’t read it yet). I couldn’t quite tell if I was supposed to see that as a fated moment based on the fact they were meant to be together or whether it was supposed to be a series of random events that resulted in that outcome. If it wasn’t some fated experience it just felt too contrived because I saw it coming a mile away. I get why it was a plot point because I think it was the only thing that was going to convince Josiah to evaluate who he had become, I just found the way it too place a little too convenient.

All in all I think this was a good introduction to a new series by Thea Harrison and I look forward to reading future installments of this series and I hope eventually we will get to see Molly and Josiah interact with characters of the Wyr and Nightkind. Can you imagine Molly and Carling teaming up at some point?

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Unbroken Cowboy, Maisey Yates 4 stars

April 23, 2019 Boookluvr Reads, Uncategorized 0

Unbroken Cowboy, Maisey Yates 4 starsUnbroken Cowboy by Maisey Yates
Published by HQN Books on May 1, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Western, Contemporary
Pages: 384
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

Don’t miss the next Gold Valley Western romance novel, Unbroken Cowboy, from New York Times bestselling author Maisey Yates, available April 30 from HQN Books.

Unbroken Cowboy really threw me for a loop in the best way.  You see, after meeting Beatrix in multiple Gold Valley books I had a very clear picture of who she was.  I didn’t view her as an adult like I should have given her friends, rather more as a very naive teenager.  It wasn’t even about her age as much as her naive and childlike demeanor that made me see her that way.  Because of that I wasn’t sure how the author was going to pull off a pairing with Dane who has clearly been a playboy rodeo cowboy.  I shouldn’t have doubted her, she pulled it off beautifully.

Beatrix who has always seemed extremely simple and loving has been hiding a spine of steel from everyone, even those closest to her.  After all, living this way has allowed her to hide her vulnerable heart from any further heartbreak after she experienced a devastating loss as a teenager.  The image of the naive and fragile girl that she presented to even her closes friends have led them to believe that she is someone who needs to be protected, even from herself.   So when Bea finally sets her sights on heating up her relationship with Dane, her friends are certain that heartbreak lies ahead.

Dane’s life is no longer what he wants it to be.  After a bull-riding accident almost kills him, he has been laid up for months being babied by everyone he comes in contact with.   To say he’s a bit of an ass as a result would be an understatement.  Dane has spent so much of his life chasing being a rodeo star that he no longer knows who he is, all he knows is that he is now stuck in a life he didn’t want.

When Dane inadvertently gets a glimpse of Bea’s body combined with the real her, he realizes how wrong everyone including himself has been about Bea.  She’s determined and rather than battling those around her to make them see her points, she flows around any obstacles she encounters like water. Forceful and fluid the reality is that Bea always ends up accomplishing what she sets her mind to.  Dane quickly realizes that this new life with Bea is almost exactly what he has always needed, if only he can get her to accept one minor tweak with him returning to work in the rodeo circuit as an agent.

Can Bea trust that she will be enough for Dane in the long run when he entire childhood showed her that marriages are anything but permanent?  Or will she walk away breaking not just her own heart, but Dane’s as well in order to stay safe?  Pick up your copy of Unbroken Cowboy to find out.

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A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas – Maisey Yates 4 stars

September 23, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, Harlequin 1

A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas – Maisey Yates 4 starsA Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas by Maisey Yates
Published by HQN Books on October 1, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Western, Holiday, Contemporary
Pages: 384
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

four-stars




It’s Christmas in Gold Valley, and this wounded widower is about to get another shot at love…

Grant Dodge didn’t expect to find a woman sleeping in an abandoned cabin on his family ranch. Or to find her so intriguing. Unlike every other woman in town, McKenna Tate doesn’t know Grant’s a widower. There’s no pity in the looks she gives him. McKenna wants him, and Grant has forgotten what it’s like to feel like a man. A no-strings fling for Christmas might be the kind of holiday cheer Grant needs…

With only a suitcase to her name, McKenna came to Gold Valley to confront her birth father. She didn’t plan to work at the Dodge ranch or fall for the gorgeous cowboy who keeps his heart roped off. But there’s no denying the way their broken pieces fit together. Hope brought her to Gold Valley—but will it be the gift that could finally heal Grant, and McKenna’s own wounded heart?

Also includes a bonus Gold Valley novella, Snowed in with the Cowboy!

Have you ever read a book that you enjoyed and wondered how either you would review it or discuss it with someone else?  A Tall,Dark Cowboy Christmas was like that for me.  There are a few reasons for that which I will explore with you.

First, the fun reason.  Readers of the Gold Valley series have likely been anticipating Grant’s book.  We’ve gotten so many glimpses of him and know his painful background so of course we think we know all there is to know about Grant.  For those of you that haven’t read any of the books in the series yet, Grant married his highschool sweetheart knowing she had a terminal illness, and due to some unwanted media attention he can’t ever escape the imagine of the saintly widower.  Even in the moments where he is able to forget the pain of losing his wife, the well meaning members of the town bring it back up. So like I said, we’ve heard and seen so much of Grant in the other books that we assume we know all there is to know about him.  Well let me tell you, there was a huge reveal in this book and it’s a doozy that I never saw coming.  Here’s the bummer, I can’t tell you about it here even though I REALLY want to.  While I’m not always anti-spoilers when it comes to reviews, I feel like in this case it’s something each reader should come across as the story unfolds.  What I will tell you, is Grant is an even more amazing man than his backstory would lead you to believe.  When you read this book, I’d love to discuss it with you so feel free to pop on over to Twitter and chat with me about it.  (I’m @NE_rom)reader for those of you that don’t already know).

Now for the not so fun reason this review is hard to write.  You see McKenna’s backstory had some elements that mirrored events in my own life.  While that wasn’t readily apparent from the blurb, looking back I realize I should have seen it coming as the story progressed.  You see, McKenna is searching for the paternal side of her family.  They have no idea she exists, so she’s understandably nervous about how they will react whens he approaches them.  I happened to be reading the scene where this reunion took place one morning before getting out of bed to get ready for work and to say that it would rip my heart out unexpectedly would be an understatement.  When Hank turns McKenna away, I was devastated.  I’ve lived that moment, although without someone trying to hand me a check to soften the blow.  I thought I had worked through all of that, but when I read that scene it seemed to pick a scab I didn’t think was still there and I’ll have to figure out what to do with that wound now that it’s feeling raw again.  While it was painful to experience along with McKenna, i think the fact it had such an emotional impact on me as a reader speaks to how well the author described both the event and the associated feelings that McKenna was experiencing.  Luckily for McKenna, thank you romance, she found her HEA so all is well that ends well in Gold Valley.  If only real life followed the same pattern.

If you’re a fan of cowboy romance or holiday romances make sure to pick up A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas.  You won’t be disappointed.

four-stars

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Under Control – Shannon Stacey 4 stars

August 29, 2018 Boookluvr Reads 1

Under Control – Shannon Stacey 4 starsUnder Control by Shannon Stacey
Published by Carina Press on September 1, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women
Pages: 318
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

“Stacey’s gift for writing easily relatable characters will hook readers and leave them eagerly waiting for the next installment.” —Publishers Weekly

From New York Times bestselling author SHANNON STACEY

Meet the tough, dedicated men of BOSTON FIRE—and the women who turn their lives upside down

When faced with the opportunity to change shifts while staying in the same house, veteran firefighter Derek Gilman jumps at the chance. His new schedule means not working Saturdays, which means more time to spend with his two kids. His divorce may have been amicable, but being a firefighter and a single dad is a lot to juggle. And when fate brings a gorgeous, wealthy woman into his life, he’s pretty sure he can’t handle more than he already is.

Olivia McGovern loves plans. She planned to start her own business and planned its growth. It’s earning her seven figures now, but her personal life simply doesn’t exist. Getting trapped in a broken elevator figures in exactly nowhere, and freaking out in front of a sexy firefighter definitely isn’t on the agenda. Especially not one with two kids and an ex.

What would have been a random incident with an attractive stranger becomes something more when a charity event brings them back together. They’re from different sides of the tracks, literally—with friends, family and careers to consider. But as Derek and Olivia are discovering, chemistry doesn’t allow for plans, and love doesn’t bother with logistics.

Don’t miss the entire Boston Fire series by Shannon Stacey! Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Fully Ignited and Hot Response are available now!

Some characters grab you as soon as you dive into a book.  You find yourself immediately invested in their lives, feel their emotions as powerfully as your own and while you don’t want their story to end you can’t help but turn page after page. to find out how their story will turn out.  Derek and Olivia who Under Control is focused on were like that for me.

Derek and Olivia had chemistry from the moment they saw each other and it only intensified as the book went on.  From something as innocent as how Derek rubbed Olivia’s ankle in the elevator when they were trapped, to the first time they were intimate it was hot as hell.  There was an intensity to every interaction between them combined with an emotional connection that took each of those moments beyond just the physical (which was hot as hell on it’s own).

Both Derek and Olivia’s situations were something I think most readers could relate to.  Olivia finds security in her routine and plans is so caught up in doing everything exactly as it’s scheduled forgets that the best things in life can’t be planned.  Derek is so convinced that he and his kids don’t fit in Olivia’s world that he sees problems where they aren’t any which in the end becomes a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy.  In the end my heart ached for each of them because I knew without a doubt they loved each other if they could just take that final step and get out of their own way.

I adored the role that Derek’s ex-wife Amber played in this story.  Without giving any spoilers because it’s a scene you should be able to experience yourself, I cracked up at a certain scene here Amber showed up at Derek’s house.  I’m not sure who I was more mortified for!  Beyond that entertaining scene, I loved that not only did Derek and Amber have an awesome relationship, but Amber was the one to call Derek out on his BS in a way that nobody else would have been able to.  Props to Shannon Stacey on giving us a former couple that we could actually see being friends.

Bottom line, if you like sexy firefighters and a delightfully sexy story, Under Control should be on your TBR pile.

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Magic Triumphs – Ilona Andrews 5 stars

August 28, 2018 Ace, Boookluvr Reads 2

Magic Triumphs – Ilona Andrews 5 starsMagic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews
Published by Penguin on August 28, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Romance, Paranormal, General, Action & Adventure
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

I don’t think I can possibly review Magic Triumphs without telling you a little bit about my journey with the Kate Daniels series as a whole.  You see, Stephanie aka @sac402 for those of you are on twitter, had recommended lots of books to me over the years.  Some I have immediately picked up and devoured while others she had to nag me repeatedly to get me to read.  Hilariously, those books/series that she has to fight me on generally end up being some of my favorites and land on my comfort reread list.

The first book in the Kate Daniels series, Magic Bites, was one of the books that Steph had to badger me about.  She had struggled getting through book one herself but swore the series was amazing after that and insisted that I read it.  I started and stopped Magic Bites five times before I finally finished it because it just wasn’t clicking for me.  I just couldn’t figure out why Steph and so many others that I knew loved the series.  That was until I started reading book two.  From that point on I couldn’t get enough.  I plowed through the rest of the series and couldn’t wait for the next installments to come out.   Additionally, I reread the entire series at least twice a year.  I finally understood the love that everyone had for this series.

Leading up to reading Magic Triumphs, I read the entire series again.  I am always blown away by all the plot points that are in each of the books that played a part in this final book.  I don’t know how they managed, I just imagine their walls are covered with post-it notes.  And while it is sad to that Magic Triumphs is the last chapter in the series, Kate and Curran enjoy their HEA after everything they have been through!

I loved the different sides of Kate that we got to see in this book.  Kate has always been such a badass and ready to take on whatever crisis comes her way, but seeing Kate as a mother brought a whole new element to her character.  I loved seeing her worried about everyday situations like all first time moms and having members of the pack give her grief about it was a hoot!

I was reminded again why there is no better man for Kate than Curran.  I can’t imagine anyone as unflappable as him especially with the chaos that comes with being connected to Kate.  Gods, warlords, dragons, no sweat.  He literally eats all of those challenges for breakfast.

I had pretty big expectations for what Kate and Curran’s child would be like but I didn’t do him justice.  I loved the fact he was just as innocent as you would expect a toddler to be while still being the perfect combination of Kate and Curran.  Can you imagine the trouble that a toddler who can shift into a lion, hold his warrior form and create blood claws is going to get into?  I have my fingers crossed that we will get to see more of him in adjacent series.  If Curran thought Kate drove him nuts forcing him to count to ten, just imagine what Conlan will do!

One thing that I always had trouble imagining with this series was how the Roland story arc would ever be resolved.  The power dynamic was too unbalanced between Kate and Roland for me to ever see her beating Roland in a battle and given that his life force was tied to hers, it isn’t like he could decide to let her win (not that I think he would).  I also couldn’t ever see Kate taking that final step to kill Roland even if it wouldn’t result in her own death.  Kate has struggled with her feelings for Roland sure, but she also loved him and I think she would have always hesitated to take that final step.  I should have known that Ilona would not disappoint. The way they resolved the Roland situation was absolutely perfect.   It allowed the conflict to be resolved while leaving the door open for story arcs in The Iron Covenant and Grey Wolf series.  I don’t want to give anything away so I’ll  leave it at that.

So as is only appropriate, thank you Steph for bring this series into my life and beating me over the head with it until I finally read it.

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Vox – Christina Dalcher – 3.5 stars

August 20, 2018 Uncategorized 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.

Vox – Christina Dalcher – 3.5 starsVox by Christina Dalcher
Published by Penguin on August 21, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Dystopian, Thrillers, Political
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

three-half-stars




"[An] electrifying debut."--O, Oprah Magazine"The real-life parallels will make you shiver."--Cosmopolitan

One of Entertainment Weekly's and SheReads' books to read after The Handmaid's TaleOne of Good Morning America's "Best Books to Bring to the Beach This Summer"One of PopSugar, Refinery29, Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, Real Simple, i09, and Amazon's best books to read in August 2018

Set in a United States in which half the population has been silenced, Vox is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning...

Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard.

...not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

This is not a happy, happy, joy, joy kind of book but one that should make you think and perhaps be a bit frightened.  I did struggle with the timeline presented which lowered the score I decided on but I did appreciate the way the author pulled in items that should sound familiar to many of us as we watch world events.  There are a few things about all the adult characters that you will like but also items that you won’t like.  All are flawed but human and no matter what you think of why they do some of what they do the focus should remain on the world around them.

How does a modern country devolve in to a country where half the population is suddenly out of the workforce?  How does this become acceptable and the prevalent mode of operation in a connected world?  One only needs to look back in recent history with Afghanistan before and after the Taliban to see how the world changed for women.  We can also look at some of the strict religious cults and their treatment of those who aren’t one of them.  The author shows how easy it is to mold the minds of youth and the outliers to become walking, talking puppets of a regime.  The way we see the oldest son drink in the new messages being taught in school while easily devaluing the mom who loves him was scary to see and then realize that this is where we typically see these events start.  One only needs to feed the insecurities and fears to make it possible for repression and regression to happen even in this modern era.

The message that comes out of this for me was a refreshed need to become more vocal and aware of my place in society.  I need to be more active and willing to step up to say when something is wrong even if it results in making others uncomfortable.  I cannot afford to stay quiet and let the world move around me without my participation in protecting those who may not have voices.  Please take a chance on this book in hopes that you will take away a message that no matter what our voices deserve to be heard and we deserve to be considered equals in the world regardless of sex or orientation or culture or color or or or….

three-half-stars

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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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