Source: NetGalley.com

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Apple Polisher – Heidi Belleau – 4 stars

August 24, 2013 NetGalley, Read in 2013, Riptide Publishing 0

Apple Polisher – Heidi Belleau – 4 starsApple Polisher Published by Riptide Publishing on July 27, 2013
Pages: 230
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

This straight-A student has a dirty little secret.

Christian Blake dreams of being a kindergarten teacher, but making the grade means maintaining a squeaky clean image: no drinking, no drugs, no swearing, no sex. And definitely no falling for his new roommate—tattooed bad-boy Max, who may or may not be a drug dealer.

Most of all, it means no working at a porn store. But Christian’s aunt has cancer, and her beloved Rear Entrance Video will go bankrupt if Christian doesn’t take over managerial duties. Soon enough, Christian finds himself juggling sticky twenty-five cent peepshow booths, a blackmailing employee, and a demanding professor who likes to make an example of him.

And then there’s Max, who doesn’t know anything about the store, but hates Christian’s preppy sweater vests and the closet Christian forces him into when they’re together. Max just wants Christian to be himself—even though Max is keeping secrets of his own. Christian struggles to find the impossible balance between his real life and the ideal one he thinks a teacher needs to live . . . all while trying to keep his aunt’s dream alive without losing his own.

My Thoughts:

I found myself truly enjoying this book and the ways it brought up how the public perception of a gay man’s behavior colors the choices that they may have for employment.  The images that Ms Belleau brings forth as Christian tries desperately to deny his identity in favor of becoming a kindergarten teacher were heartbreaking as none deserves to have to suppress their inherent nature in hopes of a job.  Unfortunately I do know many instances of having to hide the fact that you are homosexual for a career even today and for me that is fundamentally sad.

Christian is wound up so tight it is even funny but if he wants to be a kindergarten teacher he has to fulfill a certain public image of straight, conservative male even though he is not truly like that.  When he takes a room at an unconventional house he ends up being forced to face up to his life and the choices he is making that deny everything core to his psyche other than his need to teach.  He gets some horrible news about the only person who loved who he truly is and ends up having to take risks to save what she built, Rear Entrance Video… a porn store that also sells some fun extras.  He knows if anyone finds out about him working there it means the loss of his dream but when confronted with his aunt losing her livelihood and passion he just has to do the right thing.  Along the way he ends up having a hidden affair with Max but finds that he isn’t sure if his dream of teaching is worth the damage he is doing to his relationship.  Does he really want to hide who he is (other than the store) or does he want to be accepted as a gay man who wants to teach?

Max is a wild child with many hidden depths.  He ends up with money but no one knows what he does for a living and Christian first guesses drug dealer.  He is open with his sexuality and forces Christian to not only confront the insanity of his suppressing their attraction but also forces him to open his eyes and realize that sometimes taking a risk to help the ones you love is worth it.  Not taking the risk would be more damaging that anything that could come out of helping and the guilt you would have would choke any joy you possibly could have from teaching.  He’s very willing to be open with Christian and gets fed up with being a hidden secret as their relationship heats up.  I liked how he was willing to be patient with Christian initially but then pushed him out of his shell to become the man we loved at the end.  He’s something else and I can’t wait to see more of them as the stories come out.

This is a very good read with some hard moments when you are witness to how much some people are willing to sacrifice just in order to conform.  This makes me sad as I believe people should not be judged by if they love the same-sex or opposite sex but by their actions to the world at large.  I have to thank NetGalley.com and the wonderful people at Riptide Publishing that gave me access to this title with no restrictions on how I chose to review it or if I did.  I really enjoyed the title and am looking forward to more.

four-stars

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Knowing the Score – Kat Latham – 4 stars

August 8, 2013 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2013 0

Knowing the Score – Kat Latham – 4 starsKnowing the Score Published by Carina Press on July 29, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

Rugby player Spencer Bailey is determined to win a spot on England's World Cup team. But with a month break before the selectors start watching him, he's eager to have fun with a woman who knows the score: the relationship will end when rugby season begins. The lovely American Caitlyn Sweeney seems perfect for the role of temporary lover, since her visa will run out soon anyway.

Caitlyn works for an international disaster relief organization and can handle the world's worst crises, but she flinches from her own. Her past has left her with a fear of intimacy so deep that she has trouble getting close to anyone—until she meets sexy Spencer. His hot body and easygoing nature are too much for even her to resist.

Neither Caitlyn nor Spencer expects to fall hard for each other. But with their relationship deadline approaching, the old rules of the game seem less important than before…until past secrets surface, challenging everything they thought they knew about each other.

My Thoughts:

Caitlyn is minding her own business but in a life-changing moment ends up saving a man’s life.  She doesn’t know it at the time but this one moment is going to bring her something she never imagined and a life better than she dreamed possible.  She’s got some major issues in her past with a father that  was extremely abusive and an ex male friend who was grooming her to be his possession.  I liked how even with all this she still was willing to let Spencer in but was not happy with her lack of trust for someone who worked his ass off to make her comfortable.  I understood it but it did get me a bit frustrated.  She’s strong and the fact that she was willing to put herself in harm’s way to help people made her worthy of anything she ever desired but was afraid to hope for.

Spencer is almost back to the top of his game in rugby but his past keeps haunting him.  He was at the pinnacle in his youth but a stupid mistake almost cost him everything and has kept him from being willing to have anything more than off-season flings.  When his grandfather almost dies but is saved by a beautiful woman he is thankful and of course attracted to her.  He decides to pursue her even though once he finds out her secret he wonders can he really do this.  They come to an agreement that this is no-strings and has a definite end date as she is leaving plus his rugby season will start soon.  Of course as they spend more time together he finds himself craving her for more than just sex but for the conversations they have and the way she makes him feel.  He thinks he is finally away from the horror of his past until at the worst possible moment it comes back to haunt him.  I adored his patience and his caring nature hidden behind the rugby player.

I hope that Kat tells us more stories about his teammates as I really enjoyed seeing the interactions between them and the support (hard time) they gave Spencer at key moments.  Thanks to Carina Press and NetGalley.com for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

four-stars

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Ugly Ducklings Finish First – Stacy Gail – 4 stars

August 4, 2013 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2013 0

Ugly Ducklings Finish First – Stacy Gail – 4 starsUgly Ducklings Finish First Published by Carina Press on August 5, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

Metal Mouth. Queen Geek. Dr. Payton Pruitt heard it all growing up. But she's over it, and attending her ten-year high school reunion is the perfect way to prove it to herself. Even if there's only one person she's interested in seeing in Bitterthorn, Texas: Wiley Sharpe.

Now a respected lawyer, Wiley didn't live down to the label Most Likely to Be Slapped with a Paternity Suit. But recent acts of vandalism suggest someone still sees him as a heartbreaker, and the reunion seems a likely place to find the culprit. Instead, Wiley comes face-to-face with his old pal Payton—and is wowed not only by her transformation into a ravishing swan, but by the connection they still share.

Payton is pleased the playboy she used to tutor has grown into an honorable man, but she's too smart to fall for a guy with roots in a place she couldn't wait to leave. But while Payton is an academic genius, Wiley is the one with the PhD in pleasure, and he intends to use it to convince her to stay…

63,000 words

My Thoughts:

Ummm Stacy…  sweetie…  You can breathe again!  You gave me another fun story with two people who are truly meant to be together even with their different backgrounds.  I adored the two of them even when I wanted to yell at the heroine to see him for who he is now not the legend.

Payton didn’t have the best childhood with her mom and dad.  She was definitely a daddy’s girl and when he died the last thing tying her to her hometown was gone.  She’s made a life for herself as a successful pediatrician in Houston but decided to come home for her high school reunion in order to put the ghosts to rest.  Instead we get to see her really take stock of her life and start to want more than what the logical side of her is willing to contemplate she could have.  I liked her ability to see Wiley in a different light from everyone else in most respects but honestly got frustrated with her putting him in the same box as others do when it came to his ability to love.  She tended to judge people fairly quickly which did make sense after what she dealt with growing up but admittedly it did get me a little frustrated.

Wiley was something else.  He really wants to put the high school reputation to rest but when you live in a small town nothing is ever forgotten.  Does he like women?  Yes.  I appreciated that he owned up to his reputation but I also felt that he tended to take too much on the chin and not speak up at how much it was getting to him to those who kept bringing it up.  He’s a great guy and when he realizes who the beautiful woman is at the reunion he just can’t help but want to get to know the grown-up version of the only female outside of family that really got him.  He truly did see behind her mask in high school and when he realized that he hurt her by his teenage behavior he apologized and owned up to it.

Their relationship is quick, hot and filled with a bit of angst as they both realize that they have something special that might be worth holding on to.  I’d love a chance to see them in a few years just to see how things are going so if Stacy wants to write more about Bitterthorn I’d be happy to read it.

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

four-stars

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Love, Technically – Lynne Silver – 3.5 stars

July 28, 2013 Entangled Publishing, NetGalley, Read in 2013 0

Love, Technically – Lynne Silver – 3.5 starsLove, Technically Published by Entangled Publishing, Ever After on July 29, 2013
Pages: 127
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
three-half-stars

Billionaire CEO and computer whiz Noah Frellish is a king among geeks. Women are attracted to his money, but he'd love to meet someone who's actually interested in him. When he helps the sweet and sexy Michelle Kolson with a printing problem, she confuses him for a help desk technician. Noah knows he should clear up this case of mistaken identity, but would she still like him if she knew he was the boss?

Michelle thinks life in Chicago is perfect, as is the whirlwind romance with her smoking-hot coworker. When she unexpectedly finds her job on the chopping block and the man she fell headfirst into bed with running the company, will she abandon her dreams?

Noah must convince the small-town girl to stay in the big city—and that he really is the man she fell for.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this sweet story of a man who wants someone to love him for him and a woman who wants to be someone who matters.

Michelle is not having a good first week.  She’s trying to get her timesheet printed for her boss but for some reason the stupid printer won’t work.  She ends up running in to a guy from the help desk that manages to figure out that she’s pointed to the wrong printer but she also ends up finding herself flirting with him.  She’s very naive and yet has such a great heart that you can’t help but wanting her to find happiness in the big city.  She’s so excited to be working for such a wonderful company that she overlooks quite a few instances where her new boyfriend tries to explain who he really is and where if she’d pay attention the facts would have come out much earlier and in a much better fashion than they did.  I liked her but I found myself wanting to yell at her to quit falling back to the whole I’m just a small-town girl thing when stuff doesn’t go her way.

Noah…  I loved Noah.  Yes he did something sort of shady by not letting her know who he actually was but I understood why he acted the way he did.  It wasn’t anything meant to hurt or embarrass her he just loved being wanted for who he was and not his money.  He really did try to let her know but was always so afraid to come completely clean as he didn’t want the relationship to change.  I loved what he was willing to do to make things right and his true understanding of who she really is and what value she has to him and others around her was refreshing.  He didn’t look down on her for not finishing school but instead loved how her ideas were fresh and truly inspired.  He just had a knack for bringing out the best in people around him and I hope that his next venture really does bring him long-term happiness.

Special thanks to NetGalley.com and Entangled Publishing for giving me the chance to read this sweet story in exchange for my honest review.

three-half-stars

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To the Fifth Power – Shirin Dubbin – 3 stars

July 28, 2013 Entangled Publishing, NetGalley, Read in 2013 0

To the Fifth Power – Shirin Dubbin – 3 starsTo the 5th Power Published by Entangled Publishing, Ever After on July 29, 2013
Pages: 122
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
three-stars

Three years ago, Zola Noite's nemesis killed her sidekick and forced her to watch. The guilt drove her to hang up her cape. Zola knows one thing for certain. She will never be a superhero again.

Psychologist Dr. Arturo "Fort" Forte specializes in super-powered mental health. He’s the only reason Zola can once again call herself sane—although, truth be told, the heat between them is slowly driving her back to mad.

 

When three mega-villains escape the prison Fort oversees, all Zola's best laid plans go up in flames. Fort asks her for help, and she can't turn down the man she's secretly come to love. As battles ensue and clues add up, the one thing Zola trusts is called into question: Fort's true agenda and which side he’s on.

My Thoughts:

This is going to be a very short review as it is a fairly short story.

Zola has gone thru hell and back watching her sidekick get killed in front of her threw her in to a mental breakdown that she still doesn’t feel healed from.  She’s given up being the main planner for the superheroes guild but isn’t really living life yet.  She’s brought back in to the fold when 3 major criminals get loose from the psychiatric facility they’ve been held in but she’s still not convinced she’s really ready to be what people desperately want from her.

Fort was the one who managed to get Zola functional but has his own major secrets that he holds on to until the very end of this story.  He’s sexy but you always get the sense that there is something holding him back from really taking what he wants from Zola.  I liked him and loved what he risked to help her.  He’s very much more than just a doctor but is really a great match for Zola.

This was a very neat take on superheroes and I am looking forward to more from this series.  I can’t say much more because there is a nice twist in this story that deserves to stay hidden until the reader finds it.  Thanks to NetGalley.com and Entangled Publishing for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

three-stars

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Bonds of Desire – Lynda Aicher – 4 stars

July 28, 2013 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2013 0

Bonds of Desire – Lynda Aicher – 4 starsBonds of Desire Published by Carina Press on July 15, 2013
Pages: 229
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

Book three of Wicked Play

Lawyer Allison English never planned to return to The Den--despite her naughty fantasies about being bound by owner Seth Matthews. But when club guest Tyler Wysong is injured in a scene, Seth turns to Allie for help. Aroused by both men, Allie should turn the case down. But she can't...

After his bad experience, Tyler has no interest in being with another Dom. Yet he can't deny his attraction to Master Seth. When Seth offers him a place to stay, Tyler agrees--if Allie will stay too. But what good is a chaperone who adds to his temptation?

Living with two subs brings out Seth's protective instincts, though Allie insists she's not into the lifestyle, and Tyler swears he's done with it. But the chemistry between the trio prompts them to agree to submit to him for one week, and he'll show them both the true pleasure that a Dom can provide.

The intimacy could break them all, or bind them together forever...

For more tales from The Den, check out Bonds of Trust and Bonds of Need, available now!
89,000 words

My Thoughts:

Where do I start with this one?  My heart broke watching three damaged souls find one another as they all in one way or another gave up when things didn’t make sense.  We have a Dom that feels like everyone leaves, a female submissive that buries her own sexuality under what she feels society expects and a switch who is so damaged by his past he feels unworthy of anything good.  Yeah this will make you cry for all of them but man oh man you’ll also find something heartwarming as they find their ways to heal one another and become strong.

Allie is repressed.  She’s successful in her career but she’s got such a narrow view of what is acceptable in love and relationships she’s keeping herself locked down.  She was raised by a very religious household so she has a very puritanical view of sex and relationships that has been tested by watching her friends fall in love with Doms and also her own attraction to Seth and Tyler.  She ends up doing some things to keep herself separate from them but finds that maybe her narrow views aren’t exactly right but how can she make this unconventional thing work unless she’s willing to put herself completely on the line.

Seth has lived his life always trying to take care of others and yet keep his distance.  He’s comfortable in his own sexuality and finds himself drawn to both Allie and Tyler.  When he gets drawn in to stop a horrible scene he gets the chance to have something that could be everything his heart has ever desired.  He finds that directing Tyler and Allie satisfies a deep-seated need to control but also allows him a freedom to just be loved.  He pushes both of them to be everything they can be sexually but there are so many layers of secrets between the trio that as much as he tries to keep it together he finds it falling apart.  He takes responsibility for the mistakes that the three of them all make and for that almost loses everything because of his need to protect.  I loved how much he was willing to do for them but his patience and true caring made me adore him.

Tyler… sigh… He broke my heart in so many ways.  When we first meet him he’s at rock bottom acting as a whore for men and has just been brutalized by a client in The Den.  He’s been told that he’s worthless his whole life and now being an escort/whore has made him really believe that he’s never going to be worth anything more than this.  He’s got a lot of work to do during this and watching him struggle with believing that Seth and Allie really do see him as a human being worthy of love and compassion just made me cry.  He’s also incredibly sexy in both his submission to Seth and his dominance of Allie that I wanted to see more of them loving one another.  There is such an amazing amount of joy when they all three come together that you just feel pouring off the page.  Seeing him spread his wings and heal with the help of therapy was amazing as he has such a huge heart and finding that he was worth love meant everything to him.

I have to thank Carina Press and Netgalley.com for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  I know the review does not do this book justice but go ahead and read it.  I think you’ll melt as you see three people find something they all thought they’d never have.

four-stars

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Twisted – Rebecca Zanetti – 4 stars

July 27, 2013 Kensington, NetGalley, Read in 2013 0

Twisted – Rebecca Zanetti – 4 starsTwisted Published by Kensington on June 20, 2013
Pages: 103
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

In human form, Terrent Vilks is all male animal--dark, ripped, predatory. As wolf, he's unforgettably dangerous, unforgettably hot. Yet Maggie can't remember him. . ..

Not even when she learns she once agreed to mate him. Yeah, that was years ago, before she was kidnapped and tortured, before she lost her memory. Now she knows just one thing about herself--she'll do whatever it takes to bring down the monsters who took her, even trust her ex.

He's got her right where he wants her. . .

My Thoughts:

I’ve only read one other entry in this series when this one caught my eye.  I really need to read the rest of this series as the two I’ve read have been enjoyable.

Maggie is missing huge amounts of her past due to the torture she survived.  She has only recently been able to control her shifts and still isn’t 100% certain exactly who she is.  When she ends up staying with a man who claims to be someone important from her past she balks but finds that as she spends more time around him she’s intrigued.  She ends up finding out more about herself and her past in this short read but I liked that she stood up for herself and wasn’t completely “Woe is me” like others might be in the same situation.

Terrent has lived without his other half for too long and now that he has her back with him he’s determined to get her to remember him.  He’s definitely Alpha but is smart enough to know that the best thing he can do is be there for her and tamp down his need to claim her.  He’s very protective of her but still let her take the lead in a few ways.  His charming ways of getting her to remember him made me smile and man oh man can he turn up the heat.

I’m definitely going to go back and read the rest of the series ASAP because this was enjoyable.  Thanks to NetGalley.com and Kensington for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

four-stars

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The Mistress – Tiffany Reisz – 5 stars

July 27, 2013 Harlequin, NetGalley, Read in 2013 0

The Mistress – Tiffany Reisz – 5 starsThe Mistress Published by Harlequin, Mira on July 30, 2013
Pages: 458
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon

There's punishment—and then there's vengeance.

Nora Sutherlin is in handcuffs, held captive by two men. . Under different circumstances, she would enjoy the situation immensely, but her captors aren't interested in play. Or pity.

As the reality of her impending peril unfolds, Nora becomes Scheherazade, buying each hour of her life with stories—sensual tales of Søren, Kingsley and Wesley, each of whom has tempted and tested and tortured her in his own way. This, Nora realizes, is her life: nothing so simple, so vanilla, as a mere love triangle for her. It's a knot in a silken cord, a tangled mass of longings of the body and the heart and the mind. And it may unravel at any moment.

But in Nora's world, no one is ever truly powerless—a cadre of her friends, protectors and lovers stands ready to do anything to save her, even when the only certainty seems to be sacrifice and heartbreak….

My Thoughts:

I’ve got to admit that getting my hands on an uncorrected proof at the RT Convention has to be one of my best moments.  My partner in crime at the convention was ready to just call it a trip at that point and just read it.  Well she read it while we were still in Kansas City at the expense of sleep and the copy stayed in the room safe when we were wandering the convention.  This review is not based on that copy but is based on the ARC copy I received via NetGalley.com from Harlequin and I must say I adored both versions.  I adore Tiffany and loved being able to not only meet her in Kansas City but to also get to see her again at the Lori Foster event in West Chester.  She’s a wonderfully sweet individual who handles crazy fans very patiently.  I also have to mention that Andrew is such a patient man to deal with those of us crazy fans… 😉

I’ve got to admit struggling a bit with how to write this review without giving away spoilers and I think the only way I can do this is to mention the main players in this story with thoughts I had about their stories.

So on to the main players:

  • Wesley – Sweetheart I adore you but you are too innocent and vanilla to ever completely fit in to or handle the world that Nora thrives in.  While I do understand the depth of your feelings for her and hers for you I’m happy you got to go on a journey to discover exactly what you want and need for your future.  My hopes are that you continue to grow and develop in to the man you are meant to be.  I loved seeing you get to see the truth that you’ve always hidden from and realize exactly who what love can be even behind masks.  You’ve got such potential and hopefully Tiffany will give us a chance to see more of you in the future.
  • Laila – You are a beautiful young woman who got to see how love really is with two strong people.  You gave us such an amazing glimpse in to life between Søren and Nora which I greatly appreciated.  You know what love can be and are willing to risk it even when you aren’t sure it can be returned.  You deserve every bit of happiness that I believe is coming your way and my hope is with the example that you had from Nora and your uncle you will never settle.  You got some great moments in this story and I enjoyed seeing your views of our main characters.
  • Grace – We didn’t really get to know you well in The Siren but you are an amazing woman who is lucky enough to have a husband in Zach that is willing to give you room to fly and spread your own wings.  Your conversations and times spent with Søren have to be some of my favorite moments as you truly saw who he is behind the mask and probably have some of the best insights in to this amazingly complex man.  You held your own against some of the strongest personalities and I admit to cheering when you not only got to experience one of your fantasies but when you got something you truly desired with the man you love.  You are a lucky woman who has an amazingly open heart to accept things not everyone would be capable of.
  • Kingsley – What can I really say other than *sigh*  You proved yourself to be willing to do something that would have brought most other men to their knees but I am glad that circumstances made it where you didn’t have to break yourself to get this resolved.  You got to understand more about how your relationship with Søren evolved and also got to rediscover what you originally saw in Nora.  You had an amazing amount of growth during this story and I’m happy you have finally found the balance you needed in  your life.  The fact you really got to understand what was behind everything that Søren has done through the years I think gave you the things you needed to make your life truly fulfilled and for that I’m grateful to the kidnapper.
  • Nora – I have struggled at times to like you.  I didn’t like the way you played with people’s emotions and needs but as we got to see via the stories you told Marie-Laure there is a depth to your heart that you’ve just kept locked behind the mask.  You like to play and manipulate but you really do love the men in your life to the point of almost having a split personality.  I think you loved the idea of Wesley and the “normal” life you might be able to have with him but Søren feeds your soul in a way that no one else will ever be able to.  You have a clear understanding of wanting what is best for the man you love even if it does tear you apart inside.  I adored hearing more about your relationship with Kingsley and Søren because it also gave me insight in to who you are which gave me what I needed to really adore you.  I had struggled but once we got more of what drives you it made me soften in my feelings towards you to the point where I was happy to see where you ended up.
  • Søren – What a roller-coaster I’ve been on with you since The Siren.  I admit I did not like you originally but as we got to see more of you other than the Dom I will admit to falling for you myself.  Are you still scary?  Yes, I mean let’s be honest here and say anyone would be scared of a sadist who has an amazing ability to see all the way to your soul.  As we started to see you via The Angel and The Prince we got to see a man truly in love with Nora and one that also deeply loves his Kingsley.  What threw me over the edge to complete adoration of you had to be the stories of a younger you with Nora and Kingsley but also your conversations with Grace and Wes.  I think your conversation with Wes in this book was amazingly beautiful but also the fact you were willing to accept his place in her life just amazed me.  You gave her what she wanted at the expense of self and this my dear is just an amazing thing.

Ok…  I’ve tried to be careful with what I’ve stated above to not give away too much but still show how much I adored the stories that Tiffany wove together and the fact that every character gets what they need via this book.  They may not get what they originally thought they would but I can’t imagine any other ending…

Thanks so much to Tiffany Reisz, NetGalley.com and Harlequin for the chance to read this in 2 different formats and I cannot wait until we get more from Tiffany.  I’m looking forward to a young Søren in love so bring it on…

 

 

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Never Deal with Dragons – Lorenda Christensen – 4 stars

July 21, 2013 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2013 0

Never Deal with Dragons – Lorenda Christensen – 4 starsNever Deal with Dragons Published by Carina Press on July 22, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

Consoling a sobbing dragon and serving pig buffets are just part of the job for Myrna Banks. Working for a mediation firm, it's her job to get humans compensated for damages caused by the dragons who now rule. But her "typical" day is interrupted by Trian Chobardan, an old flame who sneaked out of her bed two years ago, taking her heart and a handful of classified documents with him.

Myrna would love to show Trian the door, but he's been sent by North America's reigning dragon lord for help negotiating a truce with a powerful rival to avert war. Myrna agrees to help, even though she'll be stuck with Trian as a partner.

As the two work together, Myrna finds Trian to be surprisingly supportive—and still irresistibly attractive. Though her brain tells her not to forget his betrayal, her body feels differently. When they learn the enemy dragon lord is planning something no one could have imagined, Myrna has to learn who she can trust before she loses not only her heart, but her life.

My Thoughts:

Now this is a  dragon story I can get behind and adore.  I’m excited that there are three titles planned for this series and cannot wait until I can get my greedy little hands on them.  I was lucky enough to read this a few months ago because of the fabulous Angela James and read it again from a NetGalley copy just in case anything changed between then and now.  The story is still as charming as it was then and I can’t wait until more people get to read it.  You’ll laugh at some of the antics that our heroine has to deal with but I hope you’ll fall in love with the world that Lorenda creates.

Myrna is having a crappy year and today just seems to be icing on the cake.  Between having to calm a hysterical pregnant dragon and dealing with an irate farmer she just isn’t in the mood to deal with much more.  She just wants this nightmare to end and time to go back to  when she had a job she loved plus a boyfriend who was on the way to being the love of her life until he disappeared with important documents that she wasn’t supposed to have at home.  She’s forced to become a secretary for the unit she thought she’d be a supervisor at one day and do her bosses job since he’s an incompetent fool.  When she learns that her ex is in the employ of the North American Dragon lord and that she’ll have to work with him on an important job it just is too much to bear.  She’s still struggling with the fact that she wants him even as he continues to keep secrets about what exactly his purpose is and a huge secret about exactly what he is from her.  I liked her spunk and willingness to put herself in harms way in order to get to the truth and that she really did work hard to do what was best even though a part of her just wanted to run away.

Trian knows what he did to Myrna was cruel and awful but he had to do it for reasons he couldn’t share with her.  He’s a good guy and really was caught off-guard by how much he came to care for her but there was more at stake than just a single relationship.  He still wants her once he sees her again but knows it is going to take a lot to get back in her good graces.  I liked how he didn’t want to risk her life but also didn’t seem to completely try to hold her back.  I did get frustrated with how long it took him to actually come clean to her about why he did what he did but I understood how he was caught in a bad spot with information that couldn’t become public.  I especially loved his major secret and cannot wait to see more of how this impacts the world at large.  He’s loyal to a fault but with good reason and you have to give him credit for really feeling like crap about how his actions impacted the woman he loves.

About the only thing I would have liked to see more of was the main pair together and working on their relationship.  There are so many outside forces in this story that they got a bit lost but I still enjoyed it overall.  Thanks to NetGalley.com and Carina Press for giving me this copy for review with no expectations on what my thoughts would be.

A huge thank you to Angela James for giving me a crack at this months ago as it really made my dragon-loving heart happy.  🙂

 

four-stars

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The Winning Season – Alison Packard – 4.5 stars

July 16, 2013 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2013 0

The Winning Season – Alison Packard – 4.5 starsThe Winning Season Published by Carina Press on July 15, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
four-half-stars

Kelly Maxwell has finally landed her dream job as publicist for the San Francisco Blaze. But the team's newest member, handsome bad boy catcher Matt Scanlon, is refusing every interview. She's got to get him to open up before the season ends, or she may not be back next year. And after everything she overcame to achieve her dream, Kelly's not about to let that happen.

Matt Scanlon just wants to be left alone to rebuild his life and his career. After a year of masking the pain of a recent loss with hard partying and fast women, he finally hit rock bottom and was traded to a team he's loathed his entire life—a team with little to no chance at the post-season.

Butting heads is getting Kelly and Matt nowhere but annoyed, and with the team's schedule on the road, they can't avoid close quarters—or their surprising attraction to one another. As the season winds down, Matt finds his growing feelings for Kelly have brought his numbed emotions back to life. But when betrayal shatters their fragile trust, winning it all seems more impossible than ever.

My Thoughts:

Kelly has a dream job as a publicist for the San Francisco Blaze baseball team.  She loves her job but also would love to have a love like her sister has found.  She’s got some major issues with the fact the team brought in a catcher to replace the catcher that is out due to an accident.  This catcher is the same man who insulted her to no end at a dinner with her sister and now she has to work with the train wreck that is Matt.  She also finds herself incredibly attracted to this infuriating man but has her own body image issues to work thru.  She’s strong, feisty and definitely able to stand up to such a strong man.  I loved how much she was wiling to put herself out there to try to help an intern and also to help our damaged Matt heal.  She was such a strong character and I found myself proud of what she had accomplished even as she fell apart at the seams.  I also loved how much she put on the line with Matt even as things got rough.

Matt is such a great hero even when he behaves like an ass.  I adored him as we got to know him and watching him struggle with his past was heartbreaking but seeing him open up to Kelly was lovely.  He’s such a hard person to like initially as we do not know what exactly is causing him to lash out but I liked that the author gave us a chance to see his own inner struggle. Even as he says and does things that are hurtful you got to see that it wasn’t as callous as he was making it seem but that he hated himself even as he was saying or doing those things. I adored when he did let the softer side show and also that he was so amazing when Kelly shared her own struggles.  I understood why he did what he did towards the end of the story even though it pissed me off royally.  He really put his heart out there for Kelly even though he didn’t say the words until it was almost too late but when he does it was just beautiful.

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

 

four-half-stars

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