Source: NetGalley.com

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Burn For Me – Shiloh Walker – 4 Stars

April 26, 2014 April 2014 Read-A-Thon, NetGalley, Read in 2014, St. Martin's Press 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.

Burn For Me – Shiloh Walker – 4 StarsBreak For Me by Shiloh Walker
Published by Macmillan on 2014-04-22
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 80
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
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four-stars

Jensen Bell had twelve happy years before her mother disappeared and her whole world went to pieces. Since then, she's become a cop—one who takes great pride in her work, and in helping keep others safe. The saving grace in her own life has been Dean West, the only man who can make her burn with desire and help her through her burdens. But when a shocking discovery turns her life upside-down, even being wrapped in Dean’s arms might not be enough to keep her out of harm's way, in Break for Me by Shiloh Walker.

More to the story of a missing woman and the mess that it left behind with her family…

Dean has been lusting after Jensen since he met her but he’s never made his move.  He senses that she wouldn’t handle him moving in on her so has been watching and waiting for a chance.  He’d walk away if it wasn’t for the fact that he has seen the same longing reflected in her eyes at rare moments so he just can’t give up on the one woman who has really sparked his interest in years.  Once he finds out her history he finds a kindred soul in more ways than one as he has a massive source of pain in his own past.  Different but still as life-changing to him as hers was to her path in life.  I loved how he stood for her as she gets the news that part of her needed but the other part of her always dreaded hearing.  He worked so hard to keep strong for her and watching him struggle with what he wanted from her but wasn’t willing to risk what he finally managed to get from her was a bit heartbreaking.  He’s an amazing man and I hope that we get to see more of them together as the other stories release.

Jensen is the strong one.  She channeled the pain of her past in to the career she loves but she’s lonely.  When she sees Dean she’s drawn to him like a moth to a flame but can’t seem to let her guard down enough to take a chance.  As things start to flare between them she gets word that something has come to light which throws her for a loop.  As she struggles with this information she also struggles with the intense passion that Dean has unlocked within her and seeing this strong woman come to terms with this intense need was interesting to read.  She’s strong but I liked that she let herself feel when with Dean even as she wanted to retreat.  She’s good with everyone around her but seeing her get someone who will truly cherish her as much as she deserves made me happy.

A good second part to the story arc which will continue in Long For Me….  Special thanks to NetGalley.com and St.Martin’s Press for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

four-stars

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Break For Me – Shiloh Walker – 5 Stars

April 26, 2014 April 2014 Read-A-Thon, NetGalley, Read in 2014, St. Martin's Press 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.

Break For Me – Shiloh Walker – 5 StarsBurn For Me by Shiloh Walker
Published by Macmillan on 2014-04-01
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 80
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Scarred long ago by the disappearance of his mother, Nichole, Tate Bell aches to spend his days and nights with Ali Holmes, a woman he’s loved for years. But while Ali’s heart pines to be with Tate, her head has reservations... Ali knows that Tate has never forgiven his father for the fight he had with Nichole right before she left the house—and was never heard from again. Ali thinks that Tate's unresolved anger is a force to be reckoned with...even though the heat that blazes between them is undeniable. Now both Tate and Ali are left to wonder: Can love really conquer all? Get lost in a world of secrets and shadows in Burn for Me by Shiloh Walker.

Smoking hot with a hero that really believes himself so damaged and likely to be a monster because of his past.

Ali loves Tate with all her heart but knows this isn’t what he wants to hear.  She’s been willing to be his lover in private but an acquaintance during the day.  I use acquaintance instead of friend because in a lot of respects that is what it felt like.  Did they spend some time together in public?  Yes..  but… there is always a wall up and in many respects that sort of wall would make it seem like a lesser relationship than a friendship would have.  She’s aware of the trauma of his past but if he won’t let her in why should she keep hurting herself by letting him give her so little of himself?  I liked her willingness to push him away even as it hurt her but I loved the fact that when push comes to shove she really does open her arms to help him heal.  She’s smart and someone that I would potentially love to know in real life as she has had a hard time in life but doesn’t let it break her.

Tate…  my dear broody, stubborn as hell Tate.. I loved your depths and wish that you had woken up before you put Ali thru such pain.  Well and put yourself thru the wringer as well as you work thru the pain of your past.  I loved your strength and once you were confronted with the truth that you were honest about what you needed/wanted.  I loved watching you struggle with what you believed was right even as others knew what you were doing to keep yourself hurting.  You will love watching how sexy he is but I think the fact that he’s held on to what he had to in order to function was amazing.  Was he right?  No…  but as you’ll see in the story it made sense even as much as it didn’t.

Overall a very good start to the series and I can’t wait to see more.

five-stars

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Hard Time – Cara McKenna – 4.5 Stars

April 21, 2014 Uncategorized 0

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

Hard Time – Cara McKenna – 4.5 StarsHard Time by Cara McKenna
Published by Penguin on 2014-04-15
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 191
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
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four-half-stars

In this all-new novel from the author of After Hours and Unbound, a woman with a rocky past finds romance in the last place she’d ever expect... Annie Goodhouse doesn’t need to be warned about bad boys; good sense and an abusive ex have given her plenty of reasons to play it safe. But when she steps into her new role as outreach librarian for Cousins Correctional Facility, no amount of good sense can keep her mind—or eyes—off inmate Eric Collier. Eric doesn’t claim to be innocent of the crime that landed him in prison. In fact, he’d do it again if that’s what it took to keep his family safe. Loyalty and force are what he knows. But meeting Annie makes him want to know more. When Eric begins courting Annie through letters, they embark on a reckless, secret romance—a forbidden fantasy that neither imagines could ever be real...until early parole for Eric changes everything, and forces them both to face a past they can’t forget, and a desire they can’t deny. Praise for Cara McKenna and her novels “Cara McKenna is my go-to author for gritty, hot love stories full of honest emotion.”—Victoria Dahl, USA Today bestselling author “McKenna writes dark, lush, erotic romance.”—Heroes and Heartbreakers “Sweet, smoking hot, standout erotic romance.”—Beth Kery, New York Times bestselling author Before becoming a purveyor of smart erotic romance, Cara McKenna worked as a lousy barista, a decent designer, and an over-enthusiastic penguin handler. She loves writing sexy, character-driven stories about strong-willed men and women who keep each other on their toes...and bring one another to their knees. Cara now writes full-time and lives north of Boston with her bearded husband. When she’s not trapped in her own head, she can usually be found in the kitchen, the coffee shop, or jogging around the nearest duck-filled pond.

This book was not 100% comfortable and it isn’t meant to be.  It was raw, thought provoking and sensual as hell.  I found myself torn about how to rate this but I found that while I wasn’t completely comfortable with everything in the story I found it to be honest and made me think about my own prejudices about felons even as I know I personally would gladly commit a felony should I ever meet up with someone from my past that still has an impact on my life more than 20 years later.  I’m going to make this review fairly short and try to keep things as general as possible because I think if one spills to much about the story it ruins some of what made me think hard not only as I read this story but after I read it.

Annie is in many ways a truly naive, innocent woman.  Sure she’s had a relationship or two but even with the abusive last boyfriend she’s still incredibly sheltered.  As she starts to work around inmates once a week the blinders begin to come off but she still falls in to a secretive relationship with an inmate that pushes her boundaries and makes her want something that she isn’t completely prepared for.  I liked her strength but also found her to be a bit too wet behind the ears for me.  I understood her motivation but at the same time there is a part of me that was screaming “WAKE UP GIRLIE!!!!  Grow up and live outside your head!”  Luckily for her she ends up with someone that has good intentions and really does feel something for her.  I think her strongest point in this story is her belief in him and need to see him safe.

Eric was an intriguing character that weaves a masterful spell with his words as raw as they are.  I found myself incredibly drawn to him as we find out more about him but finding out why he was in prison and the details surrounding his crime definitely cemented my understanding of this strong yet sensitive soul.  He’s raw, dirty and at the same time has such a strong sense of duty to people that he really sacrifices everything for.  I appreciated his ownership of what he did but I also wanted to scream at him for putting himself in jeopardy out of a sense of duty to someone who really didn’t comprehend the cost he would endure.  He’s very compelling and you will find yourself drawn to learn more about this complicated man from not only his writings but his choices after he gets out for parole.

Again this isn’t an easy read but I’m glad I took the chance on it.  I was pushed a bit with some of the themes in the story but ultimately it made me think and perhaps look at some things a bit differently.

Special thanks to NetGalley.com and Intermix for giving me the chance to read this one in exchange for my honest review.  I now have a new author to glom so….  😉

four-half-stars

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Taken With You – Shannon Stacey – 4.5 Stars

March 24, 2014 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2014 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.

Taken With You – Shannon Stacey – 4.5 StarsTaken with You by Shannon Stacey
Published by Carina Press on 2014-03-25
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 185
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-half-stars

Hailey Genest has seen most of her friends marry and have babies, and she's happy for them, but it was a lot easier before she hit forty. She's spent her entire life in Whitford, Maine, and if she hasn't found her Prince Charming by now, she has to accept she's probably not going to. When a new friend suggests they go on an adventure and embrace being single, Hailey agrees.Surviving in the woods is game warden Matt Barnett's idea of a relaxing vacation. But when he meets two women in need of help, he leads them back to safety—a task that proves more fun than expected, thanks to a certain hot blonde. He can't resist pushing her buttons, even though she's made it clear that the rugged, outdoorsy type just isn't for her.Hailey is glad to see the back of her tempting-tour-guide-slash-pain-in-the-ass. When he shows up in her life again, she's determined to avoid him, no matter how good he looks in his uniform. But that's easier said than done in Whitford, especially when he's renting the house right next door….74,000 words

What if what you needed in a partner wasn’t what you thought you needed?  This is what both Hailey and Matt find out in this heartwarming story.

Hailey is really starting to feel left out as her friends all seem to be finding the men of their dreams and while she still gets to see them it just reminds her of what she doesn’t have.  She’s agreed to go on an outing with another single lady but she’s not in her element in the great outdoors and when they get rescued by a man with all the qualities she doesn’t want but damn is he hot, other than the beard, old clothes and sloppy presentation, she starts to wonder if she’ll need to move away to find the professional, yuppie man she thinks she needs.  I liked her spirit and spunk but did get frustrated with her inability to see what was right in front of her until it was almost too late.  She’s so set in her attitudes that I wanted to slap her a few times because he was trying except for one instance where he did the same thing to her that she did to him.

Matt is hot hot hot.  He’s always loved being outdoors and in nature so having a job that requires him to be outside and protect the nature he loves is just perfection.  Now if he could find a woman that would be able to tolerate his odd work schedule, smelly clothes and  love of being one with nature he’d be all set.  He’s been burned by a city girl before so he does things to test all of his girlfriends that have driven them all away but he’s drawn to Hailey.  There is something about her that calls to him even though he’s convinced she’ll be like all the rest and want him to change.  When he pulls his stunt with her I wanted to kill him for not being willing to compromise but instead he has his head so messed up from past experiences that he ruins the evening for both of them.  Once he wakes up and finally realizes what he might lose if he doesn’t grow up…. well then we get a sigh-worthy hero.  He’s sigh-worthy during most of the book so the one moment didn’t ruin it for me but when he realizes it he does own his mistake.

They both do a little compromising in this book which is what makes it work.  She opens her eyes to the fact that her heart may know best and he opens up to not every female is the same.  While we all like our men to clean up nice to go out every once in a while most of us just want a partner to share our lives with.  I think the best thing about this story is that both grew up and compromised to make something that was special work.

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Carina Press for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

four-half-stars

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The Billion Dollar Bad Boy – Jackie Ashenden – 4 stars

March 17, 2014 NetGalley, Read in 2014, St. Martin's Press 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.

The Billion Dollar Bad Boy – Jackie Ashenden – 4 starsThe Billion Dollar Bad Boy by Jackie Ashenden
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on 2014-03-11
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Erotica, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 100
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-stars

The Billionaire’s Club: a fabulously sexy contemporary series about some of the world’s wealthiest, most powerful men and the women they claim…and keep. The face of the Morrow company, Donovan Morrow is the ultimate Trojan. But despite his entrepreneurial gifts—in the boardroom and the bedroom—he always comes in second to his big brother, Jax. Until Victoria de Winter, a beautiful and brilliant corporate rival, enters the picture…Victoria has enjoyed great success in her family’s business—and now that she’s engaged, she seems to have her future all figured out. But as soon as she meets Donovan, she is tormented by their mutual desire…and soon she is his to possess. But what is the price of surrendering to the Billion Dollar Bad Boy?Don’t miss Jax’s story in The Billion Dollar Bachelor, available now! And Sean’s story in The Billionaire Biker coming in April 2014.

While overall this was an enjoyable story I can see where there might be some issues for readers.  The heroine is actually engaged at the start of the story and while you know upfront that the relationship is not one of love but convenience please don’t read this if any sort of infidelity bothers you.  In this case I didn’t get too fixated on the engagement but I know many see this as unequivocal cheating and won’t look beyond that to the “arrangement” the two of them have.

Victoria has always wanted one single thing – her father to treat and consider her his own daughter not just the kid he adopted to make his wife happy.  She’s lived most of her life (mom died at 8) wanting to matter to her father but knows that he just sees her as a burden.  She’s desperate to get the land that Morrow is selling in order to maybe just maybe finally be seen as a de Winter and get a bit of her father’s attention/affection.  As she works to get the deal she is forced to deal with Donovan Morrow who is adamant he will not sell the property but plays games with her and causes her to maybe want something real….  She’s so locked up and used to living behind a mask that the fire unleashed by her chemistry with Donovan throws her for a loop.  I liked how she was honest with herself once the walls started to come down and that she stood up for herself in the end.

Donovan just wants to be a real Morrow.  Sure he is related by blood to his family but his father never considered him worth anything, even when he did things that made him deeply ashamed in order to get information for his dad.  He’s so good at putting on the mask everyone expects to see and when Victoria manages to get under his skin he just keeps lying and saying there is nothing there.  I liked how he was so able to see behind the mask with Victoria but hated how he wasn’t willing to give her the chance to show him that her feelings were real.  He needed to have a major wakeup call but I did get that his actions were a direct result of years of damage from his prior lifestyle and not a direct attack on Victoria.

The two of them have a chemistry that burns up the pages but there is a definite amount of heart and angst that play factors in the story.  Donovan just needed someone to show him he was worth everything and Victoria needed someone to show her she belonged.  They find this in one another and I am happy to have read the story.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley.com for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  I really did enjoy it!

four-stars

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Before You Break – Christina Lee – 5 stars

February 26, 2014 Intermix, NetGalley, Read in 2014 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.

Before You Break – Christina Lee – 5 starsBefore You Break by Christina Lee
Published by Penguin on 2014-02-18
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Love & Romance, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 144
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
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five-stars

A sexy, emotional New Adult romance about a bad boy on the edge and a good girl about to lose control... A college baseball star isn’t supposed to have skeletons in his closet. But Daniel Quinn is hiding a guilty past so dark he refuses to let anyone get close. Except there’s something about gorgeous, studious Ella Abrams that goes beyond the electric attraction between them—something that makes him want to open up. Ella has suffered enough heartache and guilt to fill one of her psychology textbooks, but she keeps that part of herself hidden behind a bubbly exterior. Until she receives an anonymous call while working a suicide helpline and the voice on the other end touches something inside of her that she can’t ignore. Soon Ella and Quinn’s physical connection heats up, even as their deep and revealing hotline talks intensify. But by the time Ella realizes that her seductive jock and her sensitive caller are the same guy, it might be too late to save him—or to stop herself from falling too far...

There was something beautiful about this story.  It might have been that both Quinn and Ella have so much pain in their short lives that is abated by the time they spend together or it might be due to the fact that Ms. Lee doesn’t shy away from a very tough topic.

Ella loves the fact that she is in school and around people that she cares about but her relationship with her boyfriend is falling apart which might not be such a bad thing.  She’s starting to notice his frat brother and isn’t quite certain what to think about the fact that he has shown her more kindness and attention than the man who is supposed to be there for her has in quite some time.  She works for a local suicide hotline and when she gets a call from someone needing help she finds herself more interested in the man on the phone than she knows she should be.  As she finally makes some decisions about her love-life she finds herself spending more and more time around Quinn but knows there is something he hasn’t told her but that it is something huge.  She opens up to him about her brother’s suicide and how that has impacted her life in so many ways including the boyfriend she stayed with because of his ties to her brother.  As she and Quinn start to get closer there is a secret that both of them hold which could split them apart or finally bring them the love and sense of being whole that they both crave.  I loved her journey in this and the strength she shows when the truth comes out is amazing to read.  She’s something else and seeing her find what she needed was beautiful.

Quinn…  where do I start with him.  He’s sexy..  well hell that’s a given..  but what you’ll love about him is his heart.  He’s such an amazingly sweet man with this need to belong.  He wants to have someone love him for him but the truth is he doesn’t feel he deserves it.  He made a mistake that cost him dearly and because of that one mistake he’s living a life he doesn’t really want to out of a sense of survivor’s guilt.  We get to see him work through his feelings for Ella and his belief that he doesn’t deserve her plus his sense of responsibility for a horrible accident.  I loved how strong he really is as he works through everything but I especially loved how he tried to take care of her first but was willing to show her his vulnerabilities when he needed to.  There was something special about watching him slowly start to rebuild himself and let people help him when they needed to.  He’s got an amazing soul and seeing it heal on his journey in this book was sigh-worthy.

This was a fairly deep story in that we have a character that is suicidal and one who harbors guilt about what they believe they could have done to stop a suicide.  It could have been a very dark story but instead by seeing their journey it showed that even in the darkest times there can be hope and hope should be what you reach for.

I’d like to thank Intermix and NetGalley.com for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

I’ll also close with this…  If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide or need help coming to terms with someone close to you who has chosen this option please please please get help…  Speak to someone you trust or reach out to your local suicide helpline.  You can also reach out to:

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five-stars

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Second Chance at Passion – Heather Lire – 5 Stars

February 21, 2014 NetGalley, Read in 2014, Sent 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.

Second Chance at Passion – Heather Lire – 5 StarsSecond Chance at Passion Published by Desert Breeze Publishing on February 21, 2014
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads
five-stars

Audrey Rodriguez has escaped her family’s life styles of the rich and famous by moving to the small town of Holiday, Vermont. She settles into her new role as bookstore owner, never expecting to run into her Vegas hook-up.

Ethan Cartwright has been ordered to take a vacation, by his mom no less. The only people he can imagine spending down time with is his family in Holiday. While there he discovers that woman he’d had the best sex of his life was living in this story-brook town.

When Ethan’s family needs help taking down a gold-digging-sperm-stealing-nut-job Ethan and Audrey go undercover giving them more than a second chance at passion.

Any of us that have read this series have been waiting for Ethan to get his happy ending and this book did not disappoint at all.

Ethan is work, work, work and more work with little to no time to relax and perhaps have a life.  While he acts like it is just what he does you had the sense that this is a man who really wants what his twin, Ryan, has with Morgan and the kids.  He put his focus on the two children he and his brother were guardians to and now with Ryan raising them he really is at a loss with what happens now other than work.  When a meeting gets postponed he has a weekend to waste time in Vegas but isn’t sure what to do, maybe a meal and some downtime will be what the doctor ordered?  He ends up meeting a woman at the bar who ends up shaking him to his core.  He’s so convinced that he doesn’t deserve love, happiness or anything other than the life he currently lives so meeting her and wanting more isn’t something he believes he can ever give.  I loved watching him bare his soul in this story and seeing what he’s been keeping to himself and letting fester until it finally comes out in a rush was sad to see but necessary.  He’s a very strong man who loves his family more than anything in the world to the detriment of himself.

Audrey has lived her whole life in the shadows of her more famous family and has never felt comfortable in the public eye.  She’s so used to people using her to get to them that she’s decided to open a bookstore in a small town (hmmmm wonder where) but is in Vegas for a wedding.  When she meets Ethan she’s convinced that he’s too good to be true when he doesn’t seem to care that her brother is a famous footballer or anything at all about her parents.  As they have an amazing weekend she’s finding herself drawn more and more to this man but when the weekend comes to a close and she is set to leave things seem to change.  The man that has been so open in his affections for her has closed down and lets her go without a fight or even a plea for more.  She tries to shrug this off as she starts her new life in Holiday but….

Ok…  Here is where I am going to stop and say that I can’t say more about the story without ruining the fun.  There are moments in this that will make you sniffle or out and out cry but they are very well done.  I can’t say enough about the way you become invested in this entire family so watching another one find what they deserve is just… *sigh*   Now…  the important question for Heather – Ummm when can I have CASE????? I can’t wait for his story to be told!!!

Special thanks to NetGalley.com and Heather Lire for letting me get my hands on this one without any pressure for review.  I loved it and want more from this wonderful series.

five-stars

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Live – Mary Ann Rivers – 5 stars

January 16, 2014 NetGalley, Random House, Read in 2014 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.

Live – Mary Ann Rivers – 5 starsLive (The Burnside Series) by Mary Ann Rivers
Published by Random House LLC on 2014-01-21
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
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five-stars

Mary Ann Rivers kicks off a new contemporary romance series—sure to please readers of Ruthie Knox, Kristan Higgins, and Jill Shalvis—where love can be found unexpectedly.   If there’s an upside to unemployment, Destiny Burnside may have found it. Job searching at her local library in Lakefield, Ohio, gives her plenty of time to ogle the hottest man she has ever laid eyes on: the sexy wood-carver who’s restoring the building. But as the rejection letters pile up, Destiny finds an unexpected shoulder to cry on. With his rich Welsh accent, Hefin Thomas stirs Destiny so completely that, even though he’s leaving soon, she lets herself believe the memory of his scorching kisses will be enough.   Hefin can’t help but notice the slender, confident woman with ginger hair who returns each day, so hopeful and determined. So when the tears start to fall, his silence—penance for a failed marriage—finally cracks. Once he’s touched her, what Hefin wants is to take her back to Wales and hold her forever. But Destiny’s roots run too deep. What they both need is each other—to learn how to live and love again.Praise for Live  “Sizzling, sweet, and superbly written, Live is a marvelous love story.”—New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes“A beautiful, aching exploration of love, family, and loss—highly recommended!”—USA Today bestselling author Ruthie Knox  “Such an elegantly layered story.”—Dear Author“The romance in this book is super hot. . . . Such care is taken to craft the characters’ lives. . . . Just when things get really heavy there is naughtiness in a batting cage and sex in a limo. And Hefin, with his stubble and curls about his ears make things very steamy and put a smile on my face. He is such a good guy, and just what Des needed.”—Smexy Books   “Live blooms with the freshness of thoughtful storytelling carefully tended by beautiful prose. . . . Rivers is actively staking new, lyrical ground in a genre often sidelined as a guilty pleasure. There’s no need to choose between heat and good writing. From this author, readers get a two-for-one deal.”—New York Journal of Books   “Mary Ann Rivers’s debut full-length, Live, will make you curl up with your box of tissues and cry until you’re not even sure whether they count as happy or sad tears. Rivers’s world and characters feel so real, their emotions so raw, that I need the almost poetic beauty of the words to bear so much truth.”—Heroes and Heartbreakers  “This is a rich, tender story, not at all the usual contemporary family series fare. I’m looking forward to seeing where life takes the Burnside siblings next.”—Karen Knows Best   “Rivers has written a remarkable romance novel: beautifully . . . written; tormented as only youth can be; serious as only the un-ironic are.”—Miss Bates Reads Romance“Emotionally enthralling . . . intense, complicated, lyrical, passionate.”—Straight Shootin’ Book Reviews   “A stellar start to a new series that is so compelling and emotional, the characters won’t soon be forgotten.”—The Window Seat on a Rainy DayIncludes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Words cannot express the gem that this story ends up being.  I cannot wait to see the siblings find their loves but this story will tug at your heartstrings.  You will tear up, sniffle, mope and find great joy as two damaged souls finally find themselves while finding each other.

Do not go into this book expecting a happy, everything is roses love story, please go into the story expecting to see two people who are at a major crossroads in their lives and find that by letting someone else in they might just get their true selves back.

Destiny has been floundering since her dad  passed away and she lost her job.  What she’s had is fantasies of The Woodcarver, a man who she has been covertly watching while she does her best to find employment by using the library’s computer system.  When she gets one too many lumps thrown at her and breaks down she is surprised by the fact that the person that comes to pull her out of it is none other than this man she has been wanting to know more about.  Hefin is also surprised by his need to be there for her and cannot stop the impulse to finally talk to the woman who has kept his attention all of this time.  As they start to open up to one another we get glimpses of their pasts, presents and potential futures which lead us on a journey to discovering what it really means to be happy and to just LIVE.  They both put such pressure on themselves to not name what is happening between them and to ignore the brutal fact that he will be leaving for Wales (home) soon but just to live in the moment as if that day will never come.

There was something poignant about watching Destiny finally come in to her own and understand that she needed to do what truly made her happy.  She is stuck so hard in her life and while it isn’t a bad thing I was cheering when her friend, Lacey, finally took the gloves off to make her see what she was doing.  She’s such a strong person but there was also an almost painful amount of need that emanated from her to be seen as a real person that you couldn’t help but struggle with her as she tried to just be something she thought everyone needed.  The only person other than Lacey that I think really saw this was Hefin.  Others in her family were too caught up in their own hells that they didn’t fully understand what was happening under their noses.  Her neighbor also recognized it in many respects but floundered on what to do to help her.

Hefin was another case entirely.  He’s such a contradiction between a strong man and an extremely sensitive soul that reading about his own torments just made me tear up.  I loved how he loved with every fiber of his being even as he was trying hard to deny it.  There is no question in your mind as a reader that both of them really are meant for one another as they begin their courtship and I loved how that made you secure as Ms. Rivers pulls you thru their mutual torments to get to such a wonderfully healthy place.  I really don’t want to completely flesh out the torments that Hefin has or more about him as I enjoyed getting to know him by reading the words that Ms. Rivers puts in place for him and their journey.

Mary Ann has such an amazing way with words and I am glad that I was able to read my first full-length novel from her.  She took my breath away with how masterfully she pulled off The Story Guy and I had high hopes for her in a longer format.  She pulled it off and I think readers will be amazed at how much emotion and heart that this book conveys.  I cannot wait for more of this series and more from her in general.  Special thanks to NetGalley.com and the wonderful people at Random House who were nice enough to let me get my hands on this with no expectations of any particular type of review.

BTW – Mary Ann…. if you happen to read this…  you can stop past any time or send me anything you wish…  Your mastery of how to weave words together to tell these amazingly beautiful, poignant stories has the ability to make me cry and laugh often within the same paragraph.  Thanks for sharing this talent with us!!

five-stars

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Reaver – Larissa Ione – 5 Stars!!!

December 17, 2013 Forever Yours, 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.

Reaver – Larissa Ione – 5 Stars!!!Reaver Published by Forever Yours on December 17, 2013
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
five-stars

WARRIOR OF HEAVEN

Reaver is an angel with a past, a record, and a less-than-heavenly attitude. Powerful enough to fight alongside the fiercest battle angels-and crazy enough to risk his wings on a one-way mission to hell-he's agreed to go where no angel has ever gone before...to steal the most seductive and dangerous prize of Satan himself.

ANGEL OF HELL

Harvester is one of the Fallen, a once-heroic angel who sacrificed her wings to work as an undercover agent in hell. But now her cover has been blown, and she's been doomed to an eternity of agonizing torture. Even if Reaver can snatch her away from Satan's lair, even if they can fight their way out of the underworld's darkest depths, there is one thing Harvester can never escape-her newfound thirst for an angel's blood...

All I can say is HOLY CRAP!!! Well, I want to say more and use different words but I’m editing for language.

This has everything I had hoped for Reaver and more than I saw coming.  Reaver gets his match in Harvester and as you find out more about their pasts you can’t help but mourn for what they’ve had to go through to get to where they are now.

Harvester was someone we all wanted to hate and did actively hate until we found out who she really was.  In this book we find out even more of what makes her tick and find that she’s such a perfect match for Reaver and has been for centuries.  She’s still kick ass and a bit mean but her softer side starts to show more and more even while she tries to hide it.  I find that I adore her spirit and look forward to getting to see more of her in her new role.  She’s never going to be soft, meek or mild but you know what…  I like that she can be a bitch when needed but when the worst happens this is a woman you want on your side.  What she went through to protect the Horsemen and then to protect and defend Reaver is absolutely amazing!  I felt for her as we see what Yenireth put her through and how much she just wanted to be wanted for her not for what she could do for someone.  She’s used to being used and having someone truly cherish her is something that causes her to get her defenses up even as she wants to pull them down.

Reaver…  dear lord…  such a naughty naughty angel.  He’s something else but fans of the series know this and adore him for his smart-ass behavior.  We get to see him in true form as he does things that could not only get him killed but also potentially start the war in earnest between Heaven and Hell.  He takes no prisoners in his fight to find out more about his past but what he ends up finding out is more than he ever could’ve imagined.  His struggle to do what is right is difficult to watch and his pain as he finds out about the major part he plays in Harvester’s decisions and life was breathtaking to read about.  This is a man who at his core fights for what he believes in even when it goes against the rules that are supposed to keep everyone in check.  As we watch him fall in love with his perfect match you get to see the struggle with what he wants and what his mind is telling him he shouldn’t want.  I loved seeing the struggle and have to admit their back-and-forth is part of what makes their relationship smoulder.  There is a lot of time to make up for and I hope we get to see more of them as they move forward.

Now…  I just have to GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR a bit because there are some freaking Archangels I just want to ummmm KILL…  actually KILL is a bit mild for what they deserve (one in particular) but hey… I’ll be good and wait to see if that one gets what is coming to him.  It better be damn well painful…  GRRRRR

Special thanks to NetGalley.com and the amazing team at Grand Central Publishing – Forever – for giving me the chance to get my hands on it early.  I might’ve SQUEEEEEED a bit when I saw the email.  You can send me Revenant any time now…  *HINT HINT*

five-stars

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Gifts of Honor – Stacy Gail/Rebecca Crowley – 4.5 Stars

November 22, 2013 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2013 3

Gifts of Honor – Stacy Gail/Rebecca Crowley – 4.5 StarsGifts of Honor Published by Carina Press on November 21, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
four-half-stars

I'll be home for Christmas…

A batch of special Christmas cookies helps a wounded ex-Ranger remember the love of his life. A surprise phone call reunites a woman with the soldier who once broke her heart. There's no place like home for the holidays, and there's no better way to spend them than with the one you love.

Edited by Angela James, this anthology includes:

Starting from Scratch by Stacy Gail
Hero's Homecoming by Rebecca Crowley

Stories are also available for purchase separately.

69,000 words

A wonderful duo of stories with the ability to make you bawl-

I’m going to start with the second story of the collection first:

Hero’s Homecoming – Rebecca Crowley – 4 stars

In my opinion I would read this story first because the other story in this collection wore me out emotionally and this one just couldn’t quite get me in the same way.  I liked the story but for some reason it didn’t resonate as deeply to me.

Beth met Chris and knew that he was it for her until he breaks things off abruptly with no true reason why.  She’s shocked when she gets a phone call from him asking for her to pick him up from the airport but she decides that this can be when she’ll find out why and maybe get some closure.  What she gets is a man who has lost his sight in Afghanistan and is dealing with his recovery by shutting out those he doesn’t want to burden with what he knows will be a long, hard road to travel.  She’s still hurt by his shutting her out of his life but is also shook to the core by how much he still means to her even though his wounds, mental and physical, scare her.  She isn’t sure she’s strong enough or can believe in him enough to let him in again.  I liked her and liked that she did own up to her fears but still did everything she could to help a man who has been brought to his knees by the trauma in Afghanistan while serving his country.  She gave him hell for his treatment of her but I liked that she didn’t completely hold that over him for long.

Chris is a very proud man and really did have what he thought were her best interests at heart when he broke things off.  He’s not going to be able to be the man he thought she deserved but what he didn’t count on is the fact that loving someone means you take on the good and the bad.  You don’t just get to have all good and that things that are hard are at times the best things you will ever find.  I liked how he was honest with his struggles and faults once the cards were on the table but struggled with how he felt about his actions and what others thought of him.  He doesn’t feel like a hero but with love and time I think he’ll come around.  It did make me sad to see his struggles and know that many people have the same struggles day in and day out because of injuries they’ve suffered.

This was a sweet story with a bit of an emotional punch that is definitely timely and in most respects realistically done.

 

Starting From Scratch – Stacy Gail – 5 stars (Infinity stars truly)

I’m going to try to provide some needed items for you before you read this story:

  1. Don’t read this at work, on the bus/train, out in public or in a house/room with people who will panic when you ugly cry.  Trust me on this you will cry cry cry.
  2. There will be a point in the story where you will either want to throw your ereader or reach thru it to hurt someone…  DON’T.
  3. Kleenex…  trust me on this one…  boatloads of Kleenex
  4. Comfort food – ie chocolate, cookies, ice cream..  or whatever you consider comfort food.
  5. Decompressing time – this story will wipe you out emotionally so a time to rest/recharge is a good idea
  6. Fluids..  did I not mention you will cry?  You’ll need stuff to replenish your liquids….
  7. Comedies to watch or zone out to.  I personally used Monty Python and other mindless TV in the background to come down from this story.
  8. Someone to go OMG with after you read this
  9. Blankie to cuddle with
  10. Kleenex..  oh sorry I already mentioned this but dude trust me…  YOU WILL NEED THEM!

Ok now for the story although I am going to keep this really short because trust me you don’t want anyone to spoil it for you…

Lucy just wants to lick her wounds and try to live again.  You see her former husband (you know the love of her life) is back in town with no real memory of her which is why he ripped her heart out and asked for a divorce.  She’s not happy but when war took him away from her to return him with massive head injuries and a gap in his memory that just happens to be of them, she’s doing what she can to try to live again.  As she and Sully keep running in to one another there is a pull between them that can’t be denied but at what cost?  I adored Lucy and found that her struggles with moving on were spot on and heart-wrenching to read.  She’s such a strong woman who has an amazing support system that knows parts of what happened but not everything.  Her best friend in this is Coe who guards her as much as he can from Sully but is the brother she never really had…  Coe knows everything and feels that Sully didn’t deserve her at the time and especially doesn’t deserve her now.

Sullivan just wants to build a life but knows there is something missing that he just can’t put his finger on.  He’s amazed at the pull he feels for his former wife but doesn’t know why exactly he feels this pull and writes it up to lust.  He starts to spend more time with her but still doesn’t remember their past even though almost everything else in his life is there in his head.  As he starts to pursue her we get to see him struggle with his own issues along with struggling to do the right thing by her.  I liked Sully most of the story and felt for him as he struggled but dammit the man almost made we want to kill  him!!!  Seriously I had to restrain myself and I know I was cursing at one point…  He is just an amazing man that had something horrible happen to him but I think the man he ends up becoming is someone that anyone would be lucky as hell to have in their lives.

Ok..  I’m stopping there because otherwise I will give away too much and to be honest just thinking about their story makes me tear up…  Once you finish the story head out to Stacy’s website to read some deleted stuff from the story…  it’s worth it!  And… maybe soon we will get Coe’s story…  you won’t find a more loyal or amazing friend than him.  🙂

 

Special thanks to Carina Press and NetGalley.com for giving me the chance to read these stories in exchange for a review.  Please note that this did not influence my opinions as these are entirely my own. 

four-half-stars

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