His to Seduce Review

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His to Seduce is the 4th book in the series and can be read as a standalone although I think after reading it (I didn’t read the previous books yet) it would be more enjoyable if you’d read the books before this one.

This book centered around Camden and David who had obviously had some interactions in previous books. Both characters have some issues although Camden’s are much greater. Camden had something happen to her when she was twelve that made her protect herself. She wanted control of everything that happened in her life and so she turned to lists and organizations. She worked hard to be successful and never have to worry about financial security and vowed to never have a boyfriend who didn’t offer security. I had a really hard time connecting with Camden. She was so closed off and when I discovered what happened to her I found myself surprised that it wasn’t more severe (not that I am saying she didn’t go through a horrible situation but the lead up led me to believe it would be worse). Camden wanted security above all else and she was quick to judge other people based on what job they had not on who they were. Camden knew that David was very loyal to his friends who he’d known since childhood and would do anything for them so her “excuse” of it wasn’t that he didn’t make money but that he could leave at the drop of a hat because he worked as a bartender just made no sense to me. Since this was the driving conflict in the book I had a hard time with it.

I really enjoyed David. He saw his father die as a young man and decided to become a doctor. Unfortunately his need to save people conflicted with an ER doctor’s ability to save everyone and when he had a difficult case where he couldn’t he decided to take a break. David is in a place where he isn’t sure which direction he wants to go in and so in a state of flux he works in his friends bar and has been pursuing Camden for several months (I assume in the previous books we actually see some of this).

Camden and David get together at the beginning of this book at a wedding for their friends. Camden decides to just let go and have some fun but still doesn’t want anything serious with David do to her trust issues with him. David really likes Camden and wants more so he continues to pursue her and hopes that she will realize that they really have something together. Of course when Camden finds out David hasn’t been open about his past she sees it as betrayal. Although I understand that she was upset Camden hadn’t been open and honest about her past with David so it bothered me a bit that David had to do all the groveling for forgiveness.

Although I liked this book my issues and inability to connect with Camden made this a 3 charm read. I will however go back and read the previous books in this series.

M/M Monday: Blood Stained Tea by Amy Tasukada

Blood Stained Tea by Amy Tasukada

Amy Tasukada’s Blood Stained Tea is an interesting book. Frankly, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked it up, but in the end I’m very happy I read it.

This is not your everyday romance, not even close.

Nao, a former yakuza and member of the Matsukawa family, is broken inside. Memories of the past and memories of a past lover haunt him. The only peace and quiet he has had in years is when he’s making tea. The process soothes him and centers him.

Saehyun is a fast-rising member of the Korean mafia trying to overtake the Matsukawa and to take over Kyoto. His past is as seedy and violent as his present.

The story begins when Nao is on one of his walks. It’s something he does to calm his mind, something he needs to stay sane. This walk turns out different from the others, though, as he comes across a man in the river. The stranger doesn’t want to be taken to a hospital so Nao takes him home.

From there begins a relationship between the two that is filled with longing to be with one another, but one that is also filled with lies and half truths. Neither man dares to be really truthful with each other. Sometimes not even with themselves.

Saehyun and Nao juggle their relationship with each other and both their own lives. In their case, love is blind. Or at least very choosy. There are so many opportunities for both men to really catch on to just who the other one is that it seems impossible they’re able to keep their façades up for as long as they can.

But in the end it’s all revealed. The rivalry between the yakuza and the Korean mafia comes to a head, and Nao and Saehyun learn who the other one really is.

The end is violent. Blood flows and lives are lost. There is no happy ending for these two. In fact, for Nao, it’s not so much an end as it is a return to the past.

A new beginning.

I’m actually very surprised at how much I enjoyed this story. It doesn’t really fit in to what I like to read. But I was drawn to it for two main reasons:

  1. The cover. Look at it! What is there to not like?
  2. The yakuza. I probably understand very little about the yakuza, all my information comes from (mostly romance) novels, but I’m always intrigued by it.

There are moments of pure naiveté in this story, moments when I wanted to shake my head and/or slap Nao or Saehyun for being so stupid to not see what’s right in front of them. But I never wanted to not continue reading. I was pulled in from the start and had to keep going until the end. And as firm believer in happy endings as I am, the fact that there isn’t one for these two didn’t bother me at all.

I guess that’s partly because I didn’t really feel the connection between them. It wasn’t natural, not even if you think of them as star-crossed lovers, two people from the different side of the tracks trying to make a future for themselves. And that’s all right, maybe it was the intention even.

Amy Tasukada is a new author to me but one I will be keeping a close eye on for in the future.

The next book in the series, Better than Suicide, is released this spring. Cannot wait!

Blood Stained Tea gets four charms on the Book Charmers’ scale from me.

Visit Amy Tasukada | Buy Blood Stained Tea from Amazon

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Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions above are my own and have not been influenced by anything other than my reading experience.

True Colors Review

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True Colors is a friends to enemies back to friends and more story that is moving and sweet at times and hard to read at other times. This book is written in first person by Marco and it’s really his story about how he learns to forgive and let go of past hurts. Marco and Oskar were the best of friends until Oskar betrayed him in a horribly awful way. We as the reader don’t know exactly what it is Oskar did to Marco through a good portion of the book but we do know that Marco is horribly hurt and angry over it and has never gotten past it. Marco has burn scars and feels unattractive. He’s hiding his sexuality and his pain. He is very good friends with Oskar’s little sister and he’s never told anyone what really happened between the two of them. When Oskar moves back to town he’s forced to interact with him and face those feelings. It’s obvious that Oskar feels guilt over his actions and wants Marco’s friendship back. When Marco sees Oskar kissing another man he is hit with even more hurt. From Marco’s perspective Oskar has been able to admit his sexuality and have and have a relationship when Marco hasn’t been able to be physically intimate with anyone. Everyone wants Marco to forgive and renew his friendship with Oskar including Oskar but it isn’t that easy for Marco. He sees people as colors (something he does to honor his mother who died) and Oskar was his first color. The secondary characters add depth to the story and I loved both Ben who is pinning away for Sebastian and Elana who wants to draw Marco. This is a sweet and poignant story of first love and how hate is really just the other side of love and all it takes is the ability to forgive to find your way back. It’s about friendship and not just Marco and Oskars. It’s moving, sweet, heartfelt and brought a tear to my eye a time or two. It shows us how in one frightened, careless moment everything can change but with effort, time and forgiveness all is not lost.  I give this book 4 charms!

 

Claiming Grace Review

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This book is really well written it’s just that the style of heroine just isn’t for me. She isn’t weak but she is certainly submissive and I just like my female characters to be a bit less submissive then Grace was. I really loved certain parts of the book in spite of that and the letters were a wonderful part of the book. I liked the secondary characters and I loved the relationship between the brothers. I loved that Logan had to come to an understanding about emotional abuse and see what was happening to Grace. It was understandable given his physically abusive background that he wouldn’t necessarily have noticed it when he was younger and that he wouldn’t understand it at first. I thought the author did a great job of writing Grace’s character and showing that although she was submissive and that her parents were controlling and abusive she still had an inner strength that wasn’t broken. So while this book isn’t right for me it’s excellently written and I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

Tease Me, Baby Review

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For a very short book this has a lot of story and a fun and steamy romance. I love books about small town sheriff’s so I was already on board with Brad. I was a little worried that there would be too much push/pull for a really short book when I first started but it turned out there wasn’t. Yes Fallon isn’t sure she wants to get involved with Brad but it doesn’t take long before their chemistry between them takes over! Both Fallon and Brad were very likable characters and I really enjoyed this quick and fun story. Looking forward to the next book in the series!  I give this 4 charms.

M/M Monday

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I really enjoyed this very emotional and sweet M/M story!  Yes there were a few things that drove me a little crazy but it wasn’t enough to detract from my overall reading experience.  I loved Xander and Chris and the relationship that they had.  It was fun to see them form high school through college and then as adults.  It was interesting to read about their lives as career sports figures and the pressures that came with that.

Xander and Chris came from completely different backgrounds.  Xander’s mother is a drug addict and the only thing he has going for him is basketball until he meets Chris.  Then it’s basketball and Chris.  Chris has a loving family but he immediately bonds with Xander when he meets him one night on the basketball court.  Chris is determined to help Xander and the two are inseparable.  The beginning of the book read like a YA book and the relationship between the two of them was so sweet.  I loved how we got to see them meet, grow to be good friends and then discover they felt more.

Once they became adults the plot was a little bit more unbelievable and if you are a sports fan you’ll just have to accept the story because inside you’re screaming “that would never happen!”  I also thought that the whole 3rd home game plan was crazy given the money they had I’m sure they could have come up with a better plan but it added the angst to the book.  I love that their commitment to each other never changed no matter what was going on in their lives.  I also loved Xander’s roommates in the last part of the book.

Other than a couple of unrealistic plot points this book was a fantastic read and I really enjoyed it.  I give it 4.5 charms rounded up to 5!

 

How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days Review

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This was an easy, fun and light paranormal set in a somewhat historical setting. I enjoyed the book and the characters. I didn’t have to think much and it had some funny, light hearted scenes. The characters were likable and there was a small suspense plot although it was easy to figure out how everything would progress. A spirited and tough heroine and a wounded alpha male who had a difficult past. The romance was a slow progression on the physical side although the “I love yous” came very early. Still if you are looking for a lighthearted, fun and easy PNR this one fits the bill!

I give this book 3 charms.

One Wild Night Review

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This book was just all over the place for me. I didn’t particularly feel the chemistry between the two main characters and I didn’t particularly like Sky or Gentry. I didn’t dislike them but they aren’t characters I’ll remember. The biggest issue was that this book tried to do too much IMO. You had a character with a “Strong religious” belief at least we are told but then there is a very erotic, public, sex scene that just didn’t fit the character. Then there was the love spell that apparently worked, Sky dealing with the loss of her baby in her first marriage, Gentry coming to grips with the changes in his career and what he wanted from life, his conversion to Catholicism and it was just overwhelming. Too much to make any of it believable.  Only Two Charms for this one.

Falling Hard Review

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4.5 Charms! I really loved this book and the writing was phenomenal. The characters were lovable and the chemistry was amazing! The only reason it lost 1/2 a charm for me was because in the last month I’ve read two other books with almost the exact same plot. (Pregnant woman’s husband dies in combat leaving her alone to cope until she meets another military guy who doesn’t think he should get involved with her because of the military brotherhood but can’t resist). Although I will say that Pamela Clare’s was my favorite of the three!

Jesse was an amazing character who you can’t help but love (and want one of your own). He was hot, sexy, caring and the scenes with the twins were just heartwarming. He also had some hot sex scenes with Ellie. I also loved Ellie and I really loved the way the author wrote her love for both her husband and Jesse. She didn’t diminish her love for her husband but I truly believed that she loved Jesse. Each relationship was different and meaningful (I don’t like it when the author diminishes the relationship between the first husband so that the heroine can move on). This book brought Ellie to a place where she could have closure in her first relationship but knowing that a part of her would always love him and yet still make her love and relationship with Jesse very believable, real and deep.

The book made me laugh a couple of times and it made me cry. I couldn’t help but root for the two of the them to make it work. I enjoyed watching Jesse work through his feelings and his past which gave him that wonderful wounded and edgy feel to go with his softer side. I also loved Ellie. She was strong and after her initial hesitation she knew what she wanted and went after it.

This was a wonderfully well written romance with great character depth and a relationship that was built throughout the book with plenty of steam and heartfelt moments. I love this series and can’t wait for the next one!

4.5 Charms rounded up to 5!

Edge of Power Review

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Edge of Power is the 4th book in Megan Crane’s The Edge and my favorite so far. I really hope there is more to come in this series! This book takes place right after the events of the 3rd book. I suppose you could read it as a stand alone by why would you when the whole series is really good and you get so much more out of knowing the characters in this book from the earlier books.

This book centers around Wulf who is the King of the Raiders and his mission to kill the King of the Western Mainland and get the power turned back on in the world. Wulf walks right into the kingdom in order to get information and serve as a distraction while the rest of his raiders prepare for the assault. Although it turns out Wulf may be distracting the King of the West but his daughter is distracting Wulf in a completely different way.

In the previous book we met Kathlyn the daughter of the King of the West. She’s lived a life that is hard to imagine. She’s been almost brainwashed to accept her role in life which is to remain a virgin until her father sells her off to loose her virginity in a disturbing public fashion called a mounting ceremony. Her father is ruthless and cruel and Kathlyn survives in the only way she knows how by masking her feelings and showing the world a serene and accepting face. However, she has a core of steel that we saw in the third book when she warned the raiders of her father’s plan. She decides not to sit back and let her life be planned out for her and instead takes action by sneaking into Wulf’s cell. She wants him to take her virginity but she isn’t nearly ready for the reaction she has to Wulf and Wulf certainly doesn’t expect the reaction he has to her.

This book was a little slower on the action then the previous books and more about the character growth of both Wulf and Kathlyn and their relationship. The sex wasn’t quite as dirty, plentiful or filthy but the scenes between the two still burnt up the pages and were still dirty and scorching hot!

Wulf was still the big, bad Alpha warrior king I came to know and love in the first three books and watching him rein in his temper and savage nature while he waited for the time to be right was entertaining and fun. He’s still the same in your face warrior who knows just how lethal and bad he is and Kathlyn can’t believe she’s the only one who truly notices just how dangerous he is.

I loved Kathlyn and Wulf together – they were a perfect match. The chemistry leapt off the pages and this book had by far the best character development. Kathlyn brought out a softer side to Wulf and he helped her find her courage and bring out the strength she already had. When the book was finished I was completely satisfied and yet still hoping for more of them!

If you haven’t started this series and you like an edgy, dark, dirty romance then start now! If you’re a fan of the series this one won’t let you down and will leave you hungry for more. I hope to see a lot more of this world!

I give this book 5 charms and highly recommend it!