Source: the publisher

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A Promise of Fire – Amanda Bouchet – 4.5 stars

August 1, 2016 Read in 2016, Snagged at Con, Sourcebooks 1

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

A Promise of Fire – Amanda Bouchet – 4.5 starsA Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
on August 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Epic, Romance, Paranormal
Pages: 448
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Catalia "Cat" Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he's ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

There is only 1 problem when you get an ARC in May for a title that doesn’t release until August…

YOU WANT THE NEXT STORY NOW NOW NOW!!!!

Many of you know that I started reading romance only a few short years ago (*cough* 5ish *cough*) but until then my reading was almost always Sci-Fi/Fantasy or mysteries….  This story made me happy because it weaves some romance in to an interesting High Fantasy world which made my internal younger self so happy.

We have a world ruled by people who wield magic except for in the forgotten kingdom that just experienced something noone thought could ever happen….  They have a warlord without magic who managed to overthrow the tyrants and put his sister in charge of the realm.  This is something that is amazing to the people but as we get in to the story we just really don’t understand how unusual this is and how much of a change this could mean for the people in this entire world.  This is a world of the Gods where dragons exist and power is corrupting.

I found the idea of someone who was more than what she appeared to be fascinating but mainly I was intrigued by trying to figure out exactly who she really is.  Cat is part of a huge puzzle that I just want to solve but enjoy finding out the bits and pieces that the author teases us with as the story unfolds.  She’s powerful, extremely sarcastic and very slow to trust people around her but the thing that drew me to her was the fact that you know she’s so severely hurt that all she really wants is to be loved, cared for and have something she never got growing up…. unconditional acceptance.  She made me laugh at times with her speak/act first then stumble as she realizes she’s not completely in her element around these people.  I also appreciated the sheer honesty (other than her feelings for Griffin) with everyone around her.

Griffin was absolutely mesmerizing to me as you could see that he wanted her from the get-go and not just for her unique power.  He’s an ass at times but as you get to know him it makes sense why he is acting that way but at the same time you want to strangle him as he tries to keep her safe by stifling her.  I enjoyed seeing him struggle with his alternating need to hurt her for her stubbornness and kiss the fight out of her because of his attraction.  He’s also hard to read in some respects as you aren’t certain if he really sees her or her power and what she can give him.  I liked that when he was wrong he admitted it but I also appreciated how he honestly was trying to do what was best.  He’s going to be fun to watch in the future stories and I cannot wait to see what happens as he finds out more about his Cat.

The other people in the story also fascinated me as well as the weaving in of the Gods such as Poseidon and Zeus but seeing things in a different way in this new world.  I enjoyed learning about the kingdoms but mainly am going to enjoy seeing how the world resets itself in this time of change.  I also look forward to seeing more of the Betas and seeing them find their partners or even just getting to know more about them and Griffin’s family.

Now…

When do I get to read book 2?????  Huh…  huh… huh…

four-half-stars

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The Angels’ Share – JR Ward – 4.5 stars

July 27, 2016 Berkley Trade, Read in 2016, Sent 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

tumblr_noys8mkgT11s0my1wo1_250

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

This has:

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

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

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

four-half-stars

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Shadow Rider – Christine Feehan – 4 stars

June 28, 2016 Read in 2016, Snagged at Con 2

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

Shadow Rider – Christine Feehan – 4 starsShadow Rider by Christine Feehan
Published by Penguin Publishing Group on June 28th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Paranormal
Pages: 480
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
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four-stars

The #1 New York Times bestselling “queen of paranormal romance”* is back with a sexy new series starring a Chicago crime family that hides a dark, mystical secret...

Whether it’s fast cars or fast women, Stefano Ferraro gets what he wants. When he’s not fodder for the paparazzi, he commands Ferraro family businesses—both legitimate and illegitimate.

While their criminal activity is simply a rumor yet to be proven, no one knows the real truth. The Ferraros are a family of shadow riders capable of manipulating light and dark, an ability Stefano thought ran in his family alone—until now…

With little left to her name, Francesca Cappello has come to Chicago in hopes of a new life. She wasn’t expecting to attract the attention of a man with primal hunger in his eyes, driven to claim her as his to protect and to please. And if he discovers her secret, it could ruin her...

So at RT in Las Vegas this year I met a fun person, Amy, who was jonesing for this book…  I went to the Feehan event because I had others who I know love her stories but after seeing the trailer and being around people who were so excited..  I knew I wanted to read this.  Imagine my surprise when it ended up being one of the books that Erin and the team at Berkley were nice enough to include in the bags they gave bloggers.  Amy also got lucky enough that Jo (Kindle Jo) had her copy and didn’t need it so…  AMY SCORED ONE!  I have to say that still ranks as my favorite moment of the convention as the look on her face was priceless.

I went in to this with a slight bit of knowledge about the Shadow Riders but still wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy this or not but I have to say I need book 2 NOW because this story drew me in and the fact that I want to know more about the rest of the family.  There is something seriously messed up with the way they were raised but there is such a strong sense of family that you can’t help being curious about who will be their matches.  The good thing for people who get addicted is that there are branches of the family so my guess is that if this goes well there will be a lot of stories to tell.

Francesca was a strong character who was put in a bad spot and truly only wants to be safe.  She doesn’t want to be beholden to anyone but I also adore that even when she gets the windfall from our hero she is stubborn enough to not want to use any of it.  I liked her strength and the fact that she does want to be her own person even as she is offered the world.  She’s also such a generous soul who is so drawn to our hero even when he pulls his caveman stunts but calls him on it then understands it as she gets to know the real him.  I liked how she argued but she wasn’t stupid and knew when to back down.  She doesn’t run stupidly in to trouble which made me happy.

Stefano… dude he was such an ass at the beginning.  He is used to getting things his way and truly struggles with the fact that something he never thought would happen not only has happened but is happening to HIM.  He’s not as huge of an ass as I thought initially because once you get to know him you’ll understand why he is the way he is.  Does he have stalker tendencies?  Yes.  Would you be frightened if someone in real life behaved the way he does with her?  Oh HELL YES.  Did I still love his overbearing self at the end of the story?  Yep Yep Yep…  GIMME MORE…  He’s sexy as hell and instantly devoted to his Francesca as soon as he senses her.  There is something about such a dominant man being brought to his knees by his finding the love of his life that just does it for me.  He’s not a good man by traditional standards but is a good man in so many respects.  You’ll understand when you find out the family business…

I can’t wait for more stories from this series and look forward to reading all of them as soon as possible.

four-stars

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A Midsummer Night’s Fling – Eliza Walker – 3 stars

June 21, 2016 Read in 2016, Sent 1

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

A Midsummer Night’s Fling – Eliza Walker – 3 starsA Midsummer Night's Fling Published by Jack's House on June 21, 2016
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
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three-stars

“A magical, joyful, delightful, sexy contemporary romance by a new star in the making!” — New York Times bestselling author Marie Force

The show must go on, but the price of admission could be her heart.

Sick of her vagabond life in a Broadway touring company, Nicola is ready to settle down. She wants nothing more than to park her suitcase in California, put out feelers for local auditions, and leave her past firmly behind her.

Too bad her past comes knocking on her door her first day home. All six-foot-three, beautiful man of her past named Max. Stupid Max. The mistake Nicola just can’t seem to stop making.

Even before Nicola—fiery, quick-witted, beautiful Nicola—slams the door in his face, Max is in trouble. She will always be the one who got away. Three times. Which makes convincing her to play Titania to his Oberon a bit…awkward.

Though she has zero desire to re-re-rekindle an old flame, Nicola can’t turn down the chance Max is offering: a lead role with the West Coast’s premiere Shakespeare company. But when their first rehearsal kiss disintegrates into a passionate liplock, she’s questioning her sanity and tempted to jump ship—before Max can break her heart again.

Now it’s up to Max to convince her that the torch he’s been carrying is actually an eternal flame.

I struggle a bit to rate this one because, while I enjoyed it, there are things that felt rushed to me and the wishy-washy behavior by the heroine annoyed me.  She wants him…  no she doesn’t…  she’s been hurt by him…  she’s been made to feel like she wasn’t important to him…  she’s too clingy…  she’s..  she’s…  yeah you get the point.  I ended up liking the book because of the hero and the supporting cast.

What we have here is a couple who were so young when they first started seeing one another and all the troubles that can come with this especially if there are underlying trust issues caused by family.  We have Max who has changed so much over the years and in many ways doesn’t believe that he’s as ready to be a full grown-up as he truly is.  He’s struggling to make sure that he keeps his head around Nicola while still exploring if she wants him or not.  He’s also trying to keep up the overall show as the chaos of multiple directors, performers who have their own drama and his own issues with his brother but somehow he keeps his head on straight other than with Nicola.

Nicola has her own hangups with Max and these don’t change as the book moves forward.  She’s so wrapped up in what she wants/needs/thinks that she misses how she really impacts Max plus exactly what her own feelings are towards him.  We see her struggle with this but it honestly takes her being hit over the head with things for her to finally decide where she needs to be.  I liked her but she did annoy me.

Lachlan is someone that I felt for as he was/is a good guy behind the ego but he makes a decision that I saw coming and felt would happen.  I hope that we get to see more of this series as I would like to see how he moves on from this and to see what happens with the rest of the cast we meet.

The storyline is interesting and the characters did make me happy but it took a bit to make it thru the heartache, angst and assumptions to the end.  If you want a quick read with some fun lines, characters and “tactile-phase” you’ll enjoy the ride.

three-stars

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The Undoing – Shelly Laurenston – 5 Stars

March 29, 2016 Kensington, Read in 2016, Sent 1

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

The Undoing – Shelly Laurenston – 5 StarsThe Undoing by Shelly Laurenston
Published by Kensington on 2016-03-29
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy, Fiction, General, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 400
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
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five-stars

A risk worth taking…

No one would ever accuse Jace Berisha of having an easy life—considering her husband…you know…killed her. But that was then! Now she fights for mighty Viking gods with the spectacular and vicious Crows.

But things are turning very bad, very quickly because a vengeful, ancient goddess has come into the world with just one thing on her mind—ending it. And the only way they can hope to stop her is if the Crows join forces with their one-time enemies, the Protectors. A Viking Clan created to do nothing but kill every Crow they see.

Thankfully, Protector Ski Eriksen is a peace loving kind of guy. Because the woman he is desperately trying to get close to is the beautiful and not-very-chatty Jace. Battling Nordic clans? Unkillable goddesses? Jace’s mean-spirited dog? None of these things would ever get in the way of a true Viking!

Ok Vida…  I cannot stress this enough..  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!  You will get hugs and maybe if both our schedules can work out at RT a drink for sending me this ARC.

Now to the book….

Those who know me know that Shelly Laurenston is a drop everything author for me even with the craziness of my job and school.  When this one arrived in  my mailbox I might’ve squealed a bit then jumped right in.  It was so worth having to stay up later to work on homework just because of our lovely Crows and the poor men who fall in love with them.

Jace was someone that most people would have a hard time knowing but I think she and I would fit in just fine together.  I love to just curl up and read while avoiding the world.  The fact that my local grocery store now has delivery just makes it so much easier to get off work on Friday and not leave again until work on Monday.  My cats have gotten used to this fact and I think enjoy it as much as I do.  Jace needs to figure out something to get her away from the other well-meaning Crows so takes advantage of an offer to work with the Protectors.  What she finds is people who get her and truly accept who she is even with her quirks.  She also ends up finding an amazing man who doesn’t think she’s damaged or bizarre but really gets HER.  I loved seeing her open up and become the woman she was meant to be even as the world is in crisis.

Ski… *seriously happy sigh*… this is a man who just understands her once he puts all the pieces together.  He has spent most of his life dealing with the characters that are the Protectors and now he’s found a woman who truly can fit in his world while keeping him on his toes.  He needs someone that is capable of being independent in many ways but still needs him.  He’s also such a fun character to get to know as he manages to balance his own interests with the immense responsibilities that are on his shoulders.  I also couldn’t help but love….

His CAT….  yeah we have a book with animals that are just as funny as the people who own them with their own quirks and awesome mannerisms.  Ski’s cat and Jace’s puppy will keep you giggling at various moments plus..

BRODIE HAWAII!!!!!

Oh and we get CLIPBOARDS… People get to finally start showing why they are critical for the battles to come and I loved how this story continues to build as we see more of the inhabitants of this world….

Also…  The Sisters made me have to sit the book down and laugh for a few minutes…

Yeah ok I am babbling here but this is why Shelly Laurenston is an automatic GIMMEE and I am so happy to have crossed paths with Vida in Kansas City.  I am glad we met and she keeps feeding me with titles that make my book-reading soul happy.

five-stars

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

July 29, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

three-stars

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Under the Lights – Shannon Stacey – 4 stars

May 28, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Sent 0

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

Under the Lights – Shannon Stacey – 4 starsUnder the Lights by Shannon Stacey
Published by Penguin on 2015-05-26
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 304
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
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four-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Kowalski Family novels, a sweet, sexy new series about taking hits, making second chances, and finding love…

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

Chase Sanders’s life has taken a lot of crazy turns lately. But returning to his hometown to help his old coach keep his high school football team afloat might be the craziest thing to happen to him yet. That is, until he starts falling for the last person he should—Coach’s gorgeous daughter…

Kelly McDonnell learned the hard way that cocky, charming men are nothing but trouble, so she knows Chase is bad news. Still, she can’t resist his smile—or the rest of him. But when his loyalty to her father conflicts with their growing attraction, any hope for a relationship might be blocked before it can even begin…

Where do I start?  As most of you know I am a HUGE Shannon Stacey fan and have managed to get my mom and others addicted to her stories over the past few years.  I wanted to love this story as much as I LOVE the Kowalski’s but I must admit I miss my things of DOOM references.  This was a lovely story that I quite enjoyed but I admittedly do miss getting more of the family I adore.

In this book we get to meet a man who is in the process of losing everything to a dishonest partner and has lost a woman he thought he would spend his life with.  We see a broken man who has worked so hard to get to where he is at but now what does he have?  He’s asked to help out a man who believed in him and became a father to him so why not take this time to escape his new reality while trying to figure out what to do…  He’s broken in some ways but strong in so many others that he just doesn’t see and you just want to beat him over the head with it.  You want to yell at him “You are so much more than a broken man…”  I enjoyed how much he was willing to help out those who are in more dire straits than himself while not burdening or whining to others about what he’s going thru.  I didn’t enjoy him keeping it all to himself as it didn’t help him or anything to keep completely quiet.  He’s very honorable and that is part of what makes him almost miss the best thing that could ever happen to him.

We meet a woman who quite honestly wears her heart on her sleeve even as she tries to keep it hidden.  She does so much for so many but struggles with wanting to be seen as someone on her own two feet.  She wants something she believes needs to come from someone safe but what she needs is someone that is also strong.  She wants everything planned to the nth degree and love isn’t something that can be planned.  You find it when you least expect and in packages that at times are completely opposite what you think you wanted.  She has such a good sense of humor when the “boys” get drunk and go wandering but I enjoyed it most when she truly stood up for what she wanted.  She’s tough, honest and while she wants to keep her little “fling” hidden from the town she never lies to our hero about why this is important.  She never expected him to be anything other than a fling and he never promised her anything.

These two do give us a wonderful story and I do look forward to more of this series.  I’m sure they will become just as addictive as the Kowalski clan in their own way…

four-stars

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Last Kiss – Jessica Clare/Jen Frederick – 5 Stars

May 1, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Readathon 2015, Sent 1

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

Last Kiss by Jessica ClareJen Frederick
Published by Penguin on 2015-05-05
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 384
Source: the publisher
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five-stars

From the bestselling authors of Last Hit and Last Breath comes the next dark and sensual tale in the Hitman series that crosses the line between danger and desire...

Naomi: When I was kidnapped I thought only of survival. I don’t thrive well in chaos. That’s why I gave my captors exactly what they wanted: my skill with computers. Making millions for a crime lord who kept me imprisoned in his basement compound kept my family safe. When he was taken out, I thought my ticket to freedom had arrived. Wrong. I traded one keeper for another. This time I’m in the hands of a scarred, dark, demanding Russian who happens to be the head of the Bratva, a Russian crime organization. He wants my brain and my body. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued, but I can’t be a prisoner forever...no matter how good he makes me feel.

Vasily: At a young age, I was taught that a man without power is a puppet for all. I’ve clawed—and killed—my way to the top so that it is my heel on their necks. But to unify the fractured organization into an undefeatable machine, I need a technological genius to help me steal one particular artifact. That she is breathtaking, determined, and vulnerable is making her more dangerous than all of my enemies combined. But only I can keep her safe from the world that she now inhabits. Soon, I must choose between Naomi and Bratva law. But with every day that passes, this becomes a more impossible choice.

I have enjoyed this series and seeing two people who have a lot of issues find the person who understands them…Yeah … I can handle that.

Naomi is different from most people.  She is used to being the outsider but has a tender soul who wants nothing more than to be understood.  She’s got Aspergers Syndrome which makes it difficult for her to relate to most and is misunderstood.  As I see this in the real world I enjoyed the care that was taken to show her struggle with the compulsions and needs that her mind has to have in order to process what of the world she can let in.  Her personality shines through and watching her fall in love with our hero was wonderful.  She’s strong as hell and very open about most things even as she struggles with letting anyone truly see her.  Her comments as they explore the physical side of their relationships often made me giggle and how she responds to what he needs was eye-opening for both of them.

Vasily… yeah I have wanted his story from book one.  I am thrilled that he found a woman who needs him but also pushes him to be more than just a volk.  He’s still a volk and not a good man in the traditional sense but for where he comes from and what he is…  yeah he’s a good man.  It pained me to discover what was behind his hatred of touch but watching him fall for a woman who needs him and isn’t afraid of his job–  WORTH IT!  I loved seeing his struggle with wanting to take her and denying himself out of fear.  I also enjoyed seeing him work thru issues and ultimately fight for what was right for his people even as he didn’t believe they would follow the man that had nothing.  He has himself and Naomi but mainly they follow him because at his core he is what they need and should aspire to.

 

five-stars

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This Gun for Hire – Jo Goodman – 5 stars

April 8, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Sent 1

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

This Gun for Hire – Jo Goodman – 5 starsThis Gun for Hire by Jo Goodman
Published by Penguin on 2015-04-07
Genres: Fiction, General, Historical, Romance, Western
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

"Perfectly crafted"—PW (starred review)

Jo Goodman, a premier writer of western romance and the author of In Want of a Wife, is back with a sensational new novel for fans of Linda Lael Miller and Joan Johnston

He’s got a job to do…

Former army cavalryman Quill McKenna takes pride in protecting the most powerful man in Stonechurch, Colorado: Mr. Ramsey Stonechurch himself. But the mine owner has enemies, and after several threats on his life, mines, and family, Quill decides to hire someone to help guard the boss’s daughter. Only problem is the uncontrollable attraction he feels toward the fiery-haired woman who takes the job.

…but she’s a piece of work.

Calico Nash has more knowledge of scouting and shooting than cross-stitching, but she agrees to pose as Ann’s private tutor while protecting her. But between her growing attraction to Quill and the escalating threats against the Stonechurches, Calico will soon have a choice to make—hang on to her hard-won independence or put her faith in Quill to create the kind of happy ending she never imagined…

I have to say I grabbed a copy of this on a bit of a whim but I am very happy I did.  This one made me laugh and fall for the main pair as there is something honest and unique about them.  The side characters were also well done but the times we see our main pair interact made the book for me.

Calico Nash is infamous…  People don’t know exactly who Calico really is but the exploits are talked about far and wide.  What we get is a woman *gasp* who isn’t traditional for the times.  She’s brash, outspoken, a great shot and above all else INDEPENDENT!  *faints*  I mean for the times she is definitely NOT a typical woman but I enjoyed that about her.  She was raised by her father and learned her bounty-hunting skills from him but honestly she doesn’t hunt just for the money.  She has very clear ideals and is willing to work to right things that aren’t taken seriously by most law enforcement.  She’s also very smart which serves her well when she takes a job pretending to be a teacher for a well-to-do young lady.  I enjoyed her wit and her willingness to own up to mistakes if the times warrant it but I mainly loved her ability to keep our hero on his toes.  She wants someone to love her but doesn’t understand this as it isn’t something she ever thought would be hers.  She is off her game at times with our hero but she recovers well and I think you’ll like her ways of getting him off-kilter.

Quill cannot lie.  I mean seriously he sucks at lying….  really he does…  I enjoyed him for this reason as it causes him some difficulties when he wants to keep Calico from doing something he wants to keep her safe from.  He’s smart and is wise enough to understand he’s not going to be able to keep her from getting her way but he does still try even though he loses.  I enjoyed watching him struggle with his attraction for a woman that should be all wrong for him.  I also quite enjoyed that while he did try to protect her it didn’t come from a place where he thought she was weak.  He really does appreciate her spirit even as it drives him insane.  He also is great at managing his charges even as they battle him every step of the way.

I think the main thing that kept me engaged was this wild ride that Quill and Calico take us on as they battle each other with wit, humor and mutual dislike that evolves in to something fun to see.  They really are well-matched and definitely bring out the best/worst in one another.

five-stars

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Below the Belt – Jeanette Murray – 4 Stars

April 6, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Sent 0

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

Below the Belt – Jeanette Murray – 4 StarsBelow the Belt by Jeanette Murray
Published by Berkley Publishing Group on 2015-04-07
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Military, Romance, Sports
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
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four-stars

FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!

There's more than one way to win in the debut of the First to Fight series...

Athletic trainer Marianne Cook is ready to do whatever it takes to turn the men of the Marine Corps boxing team into fighting machines. After all, her ultimate goal is to land a job training professional athletes. But when she notices a certain hard-bodied marine trying to hide an injury, Marianne realizes that she’ll have to use covert tactics to get him talking.

First Lieutenant Brad Costa has waited years for the chance to fight for a spot on the Marine Corps boxing team, knowing he has to push twice as hard to get half as far as his younger counterparts. Brad tries to downplay his injuries to the attractive trainer who has his dreams in her hands, but Marianne isn’t buying it. Maybe it’s time to deploy some targeted flattery.

As Brad and Marianne’s attraction turns red-hot, there’s more than one person having a hard time keeping their eyes on the prize…

I will admit that I decided to read this book because of its cover and the fact that the blurb didn’t do anything to make me run away from the pretty cover made it easy to go “MINE”.  I ended up with a story I liked quite a bit and a team that I can’t wait to read more about.  The characters are fun and I admit that I’m particularly looking forward to when a certain younger, thinks he’s God’s gift to women, Marine meets his match.  *snicker*

In this story we get to meet a man who is driven to be on the Marine’s boxing team because of a desire to honor his father’s memory.  He’s always wanted this chance but when he injures himself early in the tryout process he’s struggling between what is right and what he needs to do to not be kicked out of the tryouts.  He’s aloof and grumpy but absolutely shocked at his reaction to the team trainer.  He doesn’t want to want her nor does he want the distraction of a relationship but he just can’t resist the way she calls to him.  I enjoyed seeing him struggle with his attraction to her but my favorite part was seeing him start to let people in.  He’s someone to admire other than his secret but I could understand why he took so long to finally admit what was happening to him although I wish he hadn’t gone about it the way he did.  His gesture at the end was funny to read but you knew it came from his heart.  Brad is such a good guy to his core he just needed to see it and understand that while he could be focused on making the team the key is… TEAM.

Our heroine has her own issues with wanting to be seen as the trainer not a woman.  When Brad starts to mess with her preconceived notions of what she wants moving forward she’s resistant.  I enjoyed watching her struggle but also appreciated her willingness to see where they went.  I did get frustrated a bit with her seeing the worst in some situations even as I understood where she was coming from.  She’s strong but is willing to see the other side once she stops to think about it.  I liked how she really just wanted him to open up to her but allowed him to deflect her at times.  I enjoyed seeing her admit to her mom that she had someone but mainly loved seeing her blossom in to her own as she became more comfortable with her job and her relationship with a man who adores her.

Both characters had a lot of waking up to do during this story and needed to accept who they were in order to make a future.  The way Ms. Murray weaves their story was a lot of fun to read and seeing how the rest of the characters interact makes me ready for more from this team.  I look forward to seeing more of the coaches and our pair from this story as the others in the team meet their match!

 

four-stars

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