Sunday, August 20, 2017

Review: Maybe This Love (Colorado Ice #2)

Maybe This Love (Colorado Ice #2)

by Jennifer Snow

Blurb:
 THE GAME OF HIS LIFE

Hockey player Ben Westmore has some serious skills---on and off the ice---and he's not above indulging in the many perks of NHL stardom. When a night in Vegas ends in disaster, he realizes two things: 1) it's time to lie low for a while, and 2) he needs a lawyer---fast. But the smoking-hot woman who walks into his office immediately tests all his good intentions.
Olivia Davis doesn't need anyone derailing her career---or her dreams of starting a family---least of all a skirt-chasing player like Ben. But soon he's unleashing a full-court press to convince her that he's the real deal. She's slowly falling for his sweet, rugged charm, but with so much on the line, Olivia has to decide whether Ben can truly change---or if he's just playing the game.
Themes:  Contemporary
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
I have slowly fallen in love with this series, revolving around about the only sport I enjoy watching, and I am enjoying getting to know each of these couples and their friends and family as well.  Set mostly in the small town of Glenwood Falls, Colorado, this town seems to be filled with hockey royalty, sexy as hell athletes and sensual and loving women that can steal their hearts. We watched Ben’s younger brother Jackson fall in love in the previous novel and now Ben finds himself in the most crucial time of his life and unprepared for the woman that comes into it.  I really enjoyed this story, even if I was a bit standoffish on the premise to begin with, mainly due to the way that Olivia comes to know Ben, but Jennifer handles it so smoothly and with enough honor that I don’t find myself having an issue with it after all.  Ben is a good guy that has had some shitty moments in his past which left him guarded and scared to fall in love.  The pull he feels to Olivia terrifies him, but it’s so strong and rare that he knows he can’t resist it, so when his divorce finally goes through there is nothing to stop him from going after the woman that has clouded his mind and intrigued his heart from the first time he laid eyes on her. Olivia knows what she wants out of life and will go for those things, even if she has to use an unusual method.  Just when she has given up hope of finding a man to truly love her, Ben crashes into her life and there is no way she can deny the pull she feels.  But he is just the type of egocentric player that she has always avoided…except he’s a lot more than just ego and flirt after all.  It was fascinating to see these two circling one another as adversaries and then when they are free finally giving in to the draw between them, making magic and showing one another the true measure of themselves. Ben was definitely an alpha male, but underneath he is everything we all look for in a man—sweet, loving to his family, honorable, strong, brave and willing to fight for what he wants.  I loved getting to see him courting Olivia and showing her that there was more to him than she originally thought.  Olivia is a woman that knows what she wants, and I respect that, even if I don’t truly get the baby craziness.  But, that said, I could see that Olivia was a woman I could be friends with quite easily.   Her intelligence, sass, sweetness, and vulnerability make her the perfect collection of opposites and give her the depth and range that all heroines a good romance should have.  I was thrilled that they finally found a way to overcome their pasts and hang-ups and share their love, but I was kind of disappointed by the ending.  Thankfully I know another book is already out and I look forward to seeing the relationship between Ben and Olivia bloom in the coming stories, as well as seeing Ash  find his love along with anyone else Jennifer throws into the mix.  A fun, sweet, and enjoyable read with the emotional traumas that make our everyday lives such a challenge, Maybe This Love is the type of story that everyone should read at least once so they can learn more about themselves in order to share their lives and love.

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mini Review: The Unyielding (Call of Crows #3)

Blurb:
Stieg Engstrom, Angriest Viking Ever, has got big problems. The human Viking Clans of earth are in danger of being obliterated—along with the rest of the world—and the only one who may be able to save them is a super pain-in-the-ass Crow. Most people annoy Stieg, but this is the one woman he really can’t stand…
Erin Amsel loves being a Crow! Why wouldn’t she when the other Viking Clans are so hilariously arrogant and humorless? She’s not about to let all that come to an end! She just didn’t expect to be shoulder to shoulder in battle with Stieg. Then again, he’s so easy to torment—and also kind of cute.
With the future of the world riding on them, Stieg knows he’ll have to put aside his desperate need to kiss the smirk right off Erin’s face. Wait. What? He didn’t mean that—did he? No! They have one goal: To conquer the idiots. Because nothing bugs Stieg more than when idiots win. If only he can keep himself from suddenly acting like one…
Themes: Paranormal, Norse Mythology
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
So, Laurenston fans have another amazingly crazy group of people to fall in love with in this newest series by Shelly, revolving around the Norse Gods and the modern warriors that are serving them.  While most stories of Vikings and Norse gods are set in the past, Shelly’s refreshing take on these warriors existing in secret in the modern world gives everything a bright shiny newness that makes the series even better.  Those of us that have read any Laurenston novel understand the craziness of her characters and love them just the way they are… whacked out and homicidal though they might be.  For readers of contemporary or even more mainstream paranormal works, Shelly’s writing style and characters might come as a bit of a shock, but the sass, sarcasm, and homicidal tendencies hide the true sweetness and strength of her heroes and heroines.  Erin is about as crazy as they come, bringing to mind that nutso friend in high school that was always the one asking “I wonder what will happen if we do this…” right before they get the whole group into trouble.  But let’s be honest without those fun troublemakers in our lives most of us would become staid and boring as hell.  So I can say that I LOVED Erin and her story of heroism and falling in love with Stieg was wonderfully zany and lighthearted enough to make my evenings after a long day of work enjoyable.  Stieg has his own speed and style for sure, but he handles Erin beautifully, when she’s not driving him to violence.  While their love might not be as obvious or soft as a lot of people like, sometimes that bizarre passion and wild enjoyment of life is enough to bring two people together that we might not think belong.  The story behind the romance led to some interesting battles and sneaking in lots more fun references to Norse mythology as the warriors of the Nine Clans worked together to defeat their enemy and prevent Ragnarök from being set in motion.  I LOVE everything Shelly writes, but being pagan myself and having lots of firsthand knowledge of these myths makes the stories even more fun.  I mean honestly who wouldn’t fall in love with a woman that could write about the Allfather in such an irreverent way?!?  Cannot wait to see what comes next after that ending, too, because no way does she leave us hanging on that craziness.  Keep the outrageous awesomeness coming, Shelly, and I will continue adding recruits to your fan clubs.

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Review: Love, Always and Forever (Sergeant Joe's Boys #3)

Love, Always and Forever (Sergeant Joe's Boys #3)

by Alexis Morgan 

Blurb:
Sergeant Joe's Boys are back! Bestselling author Alexis Morgan delivers a tender and inspiring novel about Mikhail, a battle-scarred firefighter, and the sensitive young woman who slips inside the walls around his heart.
As a child, Mikhail Wanjek couldn't save his drug-addled mother; as a young man, he left a promising military career because he couldn't defend the innocent victims of war. When Mikhail's feeling like a failure, not even the love of his adoptive parents and loyal brothers can console him. But after he volunteers to help his beautiful brunette neighbor install a fence around her yard, Mikhail begins to heal. He wants to shield her pure, unabashed lust for life from the darkness-including his own.
Successful heart surgery has allowed Amy Short to finally set out on her own, apart from her loving but overprotective family. Now she's experiencing new thrills with the chiseled fireman next door, from riding on the back of Mikhail's Harley to late nights full of passion. Still, he refuses to open up emotionally, and with Amy's history, she's not willing to wait around for Mikhail to change. What she needs to do is show him that together they can build something that will last forever.
Themes: Contemporary
Rating: 4.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
The last of Sergeant Joe’s boys has finally come home and found the woman to complete his life in this heart wrenching and amazing story by Alexis Morgan. I have to admit that I was reluctant to begin this series when I found it, not because I doubted I would enjoy the story, but simply because I understand the greatness of Alexis’s writing and have been broken-hearted in the past when the series I have fallen in love with ended.  First world problems, I know, but it still made me second guess my choice to request ARCs, for about 15 seconds anyway. That is the magic of Alexis Morgan though and I was unwilling to miss the chance to experience it with her newest project.  This series takes us on the journey of three brothers, not of blood but of the heart, who were adopted in their youth by a hard-nosed but loving military man and his sweet but strict wife, giving three boys who so badly needed it, the love of a mother and father.  In the previous two novels Mikhail’s brothers have found the loves of their lives as well as a way to come to terms with the loss of their beloved adopted father and their experiences in the war, and now Mikhail is faced with a woman he doesn’t understand but cannot for the life of him give up. Awoken early one morning by the obnoxious and unrelenting knocking on his door, Mikhail stumbles sleepily into the path of the one woman he is unable to resist.  Amy is determined to exert her independence and make a home for herself out from under the overbearing protection of her family.  But when she meets her new neighbor, she quickly realizes she is in no way ready to handle him. Mikhail brings out a playful side of her and she knows that they could have something amazing together, if only he would accept that he deserves a chance at love and if he would stop pushing her away.  Amy was fragile in a lot of ways, but deep inside where it counted she was a woman I was more than able to understand and appreciate, with an iron will to live her life without barriers or restrictions.  She has been sheltered by her family so long that when she decides to be on her own, she goes all the way and refuses to let them interfere in her life. There is no denying she has had some issues that could have warranted their protectiveness, but I loved seeing her show them that she has moved past that and doesn’t need such close monitoring anymore.  Mikhail has serious issues still to deal with and there is no denying that he is a work in progress still, but there was no way to resist this sweet, sexy former warrior turned fireman, especially after seeing him with his mother and new sisters-in-law.  While there were certainly moments I wanted to slap some sense into Mikhail, there was never any point I wanted to give up on him and his chance at love.  Passion and heat run rampant in this story, even as innocent of the world as Amy was, because when you put two people so naturally passionate about life together there is no way they won’t kick off explosions in one another.  I am interested in seeing that there might be a fourth novel in the series about the hero's friend, also a former warrior that was injured and is in need of the love of a good woman.  But sadly after that there seems to be another sad ending coming for Morgan fans and new readers alike.  Keep dazzling us, Alexis, and I can guarantee you at least one reader for anything you provide until the end of your time writing.

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Review: Wolf Hunt (SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team #6)

Blurb:
A STORM IS BREWING...
Remy Boudreaux is back in his hometown, New Orleans. He's there with three of his fellow Dallas SWAT officers for a week of training with the NOLA PD. On the eve of a tropical storm, Remy and his buddies prowl the French Quarter. One tantalizing scent captures Remy's senses, forcing him to follow until he is face to face with Triana Bellamy—his beautiful high school crush.
After reconnecting, Remy and Triana are close—very. Remy struggles to keep things casual. Ever since his partner—and first love—was killed on the job, he's kept women at a distance.
But when a mysterious wolf pendant ropes them both into danger, Remy's protective instincts kick in. He may have to reveal his true self...and hope Triana accepts him.
Themes: Paranormal
Rating: 4.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
The SWAT guys have hit the road and the steamy passion of New Orleans comes out to play when this sexy wolf finds his mate with a woman he once let get away. Remy and a few of his teammates have come to NOLA on an exchange program to train and train with the SWAT team of the parish, but little do those men know that the Dallas SWAT acronym stands for something a little bit different than it does for them.  These men are all werewolves, using their extra strength, skill, and cunning in order to become the best team in the country.  Remy is on his first night out with the boys when he catches a subtle but teasing scent leading him on a crazy and winding trail through the French Quarter until he comes face to face with the sexiest woman he’s ever seen… a woman he recognizes from his youth and that he is unable to resist. Triana is amazed to find herself face to face with this gorgeous hunk that she crushed on as a girl, but when the passion between them heats up to uncontrollable levels, she decides that maybe having him in her bed would be worth the heartache in the end when he moves on.  But soon they are dealing with a mystery that drags both of them and her mother and late father into a danger that could cost them not only the budding love they are feeling, but also their very lives.  This story was one of my favorite in this series, with just the right amount of drama and danger to make it seem less like a book all about werewolves and more a suspenseful romance where the hero is just that little bit extra special. Remy is beyond hot, but he is also a sweet southern boy (right up my alley, or course) and a man determined to find a way to give Triana the love she deserves.  He was strong, endearing, and loving to her and her mother through the entire story and seeing how sweet he was made me melt like heated sugar.  Triana was perfectly portrayed as a skeptic, but she is a smart woman as well, a woman of science, and once faced with indisputable facts about Remy’s secret she soon learns just how little she really knew about the world around her and even the people she has loved all her life.  The chemistry and connection between Remy and Triana is palpable every moment they are near one another, but more importantly they play off each other’s strengths so well and are better characters for that connection.  I also loved the twists and turns of this story, much more than previous which were mostly about their police cases and the struggles of connecting with their mates. Paige’s series just keeps getting better and better and I cannot wait to see which of the SWAT wolves finds love next and just what type of challenge they will have to work through in order to find their HEA.  A truly masterful work of fiction with all the heart, sensuality, and mystery to make it a top read in any personal library.

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Review: Home at Last (Sanctuary Island #6)

Blurb:
Home is where the heart is...
Marcus Beckett left Sanctuary Island after his mother's funeral, and he hasn't been back since. Until now. Needing a change from the high-risk, high-stakes life of a bodyguard, Marcus makes a solitary life for himself running the neighborhood bar in his hometown. His only mistake? Seducing and then dumping the town's sweetheart, Quinn Harper. Marcus knows he did the right thing—a good girl like Quinn has no business with a broken man like him. But now no one will come to his bar, and he's watching his last chance at a peaceful life go up in smoke. So when Quinn proposes a fake four-week courtship, he can't refuse...even though he knows it's a bad idea.
It's a romantic charade that will buy Quinn time to distract her mother and father from their own martial problems—and will help Marcus welcome back some paying customers besides. But what begins as an engagement of convenience slowly transforms into a deeper connection, one that heals both of their hearts...and ignites the simmering passion between them. Could it be that pretending to be together is just what Quinn and Marcus needed to give their real love a second chance?
Themes: Contemporary
Rating: 3.75 stars
Heat Rating:  
Review:
So the story of the bad boy and most loved girl on Sanctuary Island continues… and this bad boy has to prove that he has changed and can give this woman what she wants and what she needs.  Quinn and Marcus began their story as children, being the only two kids on their little corner of the small island, but once he left the island for a whole new life after the death of his mother, Quinn’s life changed forever.  Now Marcus has returned and they have already had a disastrous affair that left them dealing with town nosiness, hurt feelings, and the awkward relationship of two people so obviously meant to be together but unable to find a way to let go of their pasts to achieve that future.  Marcus knew that getting involved with Quinn would cause him heartache, but he never imagined it would leave him ostracized on the island he grew up on and struggling to make his dream of a pub on the island a success.  When Quinn comes to him offering to help the pub’s success become reality, Marcus knows there will be a catch, and oh boy does it turn out to be a big one.  Quinn has grown up, but those around her have never let her forget her flighty ways and her inability to settle in the past.  She needs his help in order to get her parents back to the loving connected couple they were all her life and she is willing to use his need for the pub to succeed against him. Unable to truly deny her anything, Marcus agrees to pose as her fake fiance, but quickly they find themselves again dealing with the all too real passion they bring out of one another and the emotions Marcus hides from.  I loved seeing Marcus find his way, with Quinn’s help, but I was very sad to see that it took almost losing the love of his life in order for him to wake up and understand that his past might have shaped him, but it doesn’t have to control him going forward.  While he obviously loves Quinn he denies that feeling to her and remains determined to keep her out of his life, and that made me almost as sad and angry as it did Quinn.  Quinn is the kind of woman I have never been able to truly understand, having a simple and loving childhood, she has always been able to move through life from one thing to another without having to really face the consequences most of us do, but when she is confronted with a way to grow up and truly help those she loves she jumps on the chance.  I enjoyed seeing her mature and prove to those around her that she is no longer the irresponsible and capricious girl that most still think she is, but my favorite moment of her growth was her realization that the relationship she could build with Marcus would have to be balanced and equal if they ever had a chance to be together long term.  I loved the heat and sexual chemistry between these two, even if they tried so hard to fight it almost every moment.  I cannot wait to see what comes next for the citizens of Sanctuary Island and the mystical wild horses that make the island so magical and such a great location for this series.  Keep up the magical work Lily!

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Review: Finale- Duke of Desire (Maiden Lane #12)

Duke of Desire (Maiden Lane #12)

by Elizabeth Hoyt 

Blurb:
A LADY OF LIGHT
Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him . . . only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.
A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS
Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.
CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER . . . AND DESIRE
Much to Raphael's irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life-and bed. Soon he's drawn both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael's past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael's own demons?
Themes: historical
Rating: 4.75 stars
Heat Rating:  
Review:
Holy cow what a way to end a series that has taken us all over Victorian England.  This series has recently taken an interesting turn, bringing in a secret society of evil, power-hungry aristocrats that are taking advantage of those that are “lesser” members of society. I have enjoyed this series from the very beginning and seeing it evolve into something so complex with so many little strings between characters from one story to the next has been a wild ride and one that I would take again in a heartbeat.  While I was sad to hear the series was ending this final tale was amazing enough to keep it from being too upsetting for me and I cannot wait to find out what series Elizabeth will come up with next. Lady Jordan finds herself in a terrifying situation with no hope of ever getting out of this jamb, until a sexy as hell member of the Lords of Chaos demands her for himself and whisks her away to his ancestral home.  When she sees who he really is, the even more terrifying truth comes to light, and Raphael is much more dangerous than society always imagined him to be.  Determined to keep her at a distance Raphael never imagines he will come to depend on her to keep him alive, essentially giving her the only chance at a successful escape.  Iris is faced with an impossible decision between death and marrying a man she is terrified of—not because of his physical presence or even the truth of his past, but because he brings out feelings in her that she never imagined she would feel for a man.  The passion between them soon leads to a marriage that could be something magical, if only Raphael would let go of his quest and find a way to be happy with the life they could build together.  Iris is a woman out of time to be sure, unwilling to submit to the men in her life, instead standing up for herself in all things, even when her fears and common sense tell her to run for her life.  I loved seeing her find a way to convince Raphael that they are meant to be together and becoming the true love of his life, more important than any quest for vengeance or suicide mission.  Raphael on the other hand was a truly damaged man, having lived through a trauma as a child that most of us, even in this time, are unable to understand or handle. His past haunts him every moment, except the time he is in Iris’s arms.  He was obviously a strong man, one that has found a way to live with his past, even if he never lets it go, but there were so many times that I wanted him to let go and allow the love that Iris wants to give him to heal him even the smallest bit.  I was amazed by the depth of these two characters and their story and a little bit surprised it got as heavy as it did here at the end, but the story was no less amazing and wonderful for the darkness woven throughout.  I am still sad to know this series is over and definitely plan to reread it someday, but for now the Maiden Lane family that has comes together throughout these stories will be left behind for another new adventure in the wonderful imagination of Ms. Hoyt and her amazing writing skill.  A series that grabs your soul and gives your heart a hard tug with each new couple falling in love has ended, but the best part of books is that the stories are always there for you to return to.

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Review:The Bastard Billionaire (Billionaire Bad Boys #3)

The Bastard Billionaire (Billionaire Bad Boys #3)

by Jessica Lemmon 

Blurb:
Beauty and the Beastly Billionaire . . .
Eli Crane is one tough bastard. After an explosion left him injured and honorably discharged from the Marines, all he wants is to be left alone. Yet his brothers insist he take a greater role in the family business. They've hired him ten personal assistants-and Eli sent each one packing as fast as possible. But when beautiful number eleven walks through the door, Eli will do anything to make her stay.
Isabella Sawyer's employment agency can't afford to lose Eli Crane's business. Her plan: to personally take on the role of his PA, and secure her reputation with the wealthy elite in Chicago. But this beauty and her hot billionaire bad boy soon find themselves mixing business with pleasure in the most delicious ways. And passionate, stubborn Isabella won't rest until she tames this wicked beast . . .
Themes: Contemporary
Rating:  4.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
Review:
The Bastards strike again.  This story was one that I knew going in would cause me some serious sadness and I was reluctant a long time to bite the bullet and read it, but sooner than later the pull to the Crane boys became irresistible. I picked up this series on a lark when I found it on netgalley because the first story looked like a quick and easy read, but boy was I wrong. Eli Crane returned from the war in the previous novel and was obviously damaged both from before the war and the events that led to his early return. While his brothers have both found love, he doesn’t really believe in love and he surely doesn’t need the sexy Isabelle around him every moment, digging into his secrets, and sharing his day to day activities with his brothers.  He has managed to successfully run off all the other personal assistants sent his way by his meddling family, but Isa just won’t give up and leave him in the peace he swears he needs. Isa has never backed down from a task and she isn’t about to let Eli Crane get in the way of her business becoming a booming success. The heat between these two is not something either of them are prepared for but it is certainly undeniable, and when they finally give in to the passion, they quickly discover that the heat might not be the only thing between them.  But they only have a chance at a future if they can both admit that what they really want can’t be found outside of their relationship, only between the two of them can they truly find happiness everlasting.  Let’s face it, the lifestyles of the rich and famous have always given those of us that are nowhere near millionaires, much less billionaires, a special kind of entertainment and these billionaires have become the new trope all over the world of romance.  That being said, the best way that I can relate to these stories is to understand that having money doesn’t make them better or different than us, just gives them a whole different set of problems to deal with day in and day out. I truly loved seeing Eli begin to come out of his shell and show his family and Isabelle just what kind of man he really is and has always been.  If you are looking for an amazing story of two people changing for the better by coming together and finding love, then The Bastard Billionaire is the perfect story for you.  I am looking forward to whatever comes next for Ms. Lemmon and can’t wait to see where she takes us on our next journey.

p.s. I loved Jessica’s take on the challenges that Eli and Isa faced as a couple with the damage done in the war.  So often stories focus only on the challenges faced by the injured warrior, but it never hurts to remember that these things affect everyone in the warrior’s life including anyone they try to bring into their lives after the fact.  Being a proud military brat and a great supporter of our military men and women, I felt a special kind of warmth in reading this story and seeing that Jessica doesn’t shy away from those issues, instead bringing them into the light and allowing her couple to move past them together.

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.