Wilde Horses Review

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4.5 Stars. Wilde Horses is the 4th book in the Born to Be Wilde Series but can easily be read as a stand alone. In fact, this is my favorite of the series and I really enjoyed the characters, the romance and although the villain was obvious to me I did enjoy the suspense as well.

Both Eden and Blake are wonderful characters with great chemistry! I LOVED that this couple actually communicated with each other and they trusted each other. No silly relationship drama but two mature characters who were realistic and likable. Eden and Blake come from very different worlds so the author kept me wondering how they would make everything work out. The suspense (although I thought the villain was obvious from the beginning) was done well and there were a few other suspects thrown in to keep things interesting and to add some drama to the plot.

The pace of this book kept me engrossed reading from one situation to the next with the perfect amount of action, tension, and romance. Overall, a very enjoyable and entertaining book that I recommend!  I’m going to round up and give this book 5 charms.

 

Beyond Reason Review

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Beyond Reason is the first book in the Texas Trilogy and there were some things I really liked about and a few things that were just okay. The premise of the book was interesting and I liked Carly. I liked Linc as well although I wanted more of his personality to relate to his time in prison and misspent youth. Instead he seemed more of a typical billionaire without the edge I wanted him to have given his background. Don’t get me wrong I liked Linc but I wanted more from his character.

I really liked the RS portion of the book for the first half but once the bad guy was really introduced it went a little of the rails for me. It just seemed a little silly that he thought he could bribe/threaten anyone without any consequences. I can understand thinking he could intimidate Carly but why he thought he could intimidate Linc made no sense. The man is rich and powerful so one would think that the bad guy would pick someone a little more easily pushed around (he is obviously not going to just accept the orders given by the bad guy without fighting back) and yet the villain expects him to do exactly that. I had to completely suspend my belief for the final climax with the villain of this book.

The romance also seemed a little rushed maybe because the suspense took up a big chunk of the book so I wasn’t as invested in Carly and Linc as a couple as I wanted to be. I did really like the secondary characters and so I will probably give the second book a chance. So while enjoyable it isn’t a book that will remain with me.

I give this book 3 charms.

 

One Book, Two Views – May

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One Book Two Views this month brings together cloudberry and Serenity to read A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet, the first book in the Kingmaker Chronicles.

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I first came across this book sometime last year and the cover hooked me right away. But with my track record with anything else but contemporary romance in the recent years, I was hesitant; I didn’t want to get suckered by a fabulous cover only to find out the story doesn’t match.

Let me tell you, it does.

There isn’t that much world building in the story, it throws you right in the middle of things. Normally I would complain about this—I want to know what to expect, sort of—but with A Promise of Fire, I don’t. Yes, I would like to have a clear image of the world in my head, but this is an extremely character-driven story, and it all unfurls through the characters. They make the world, not the other way around.

The female main character, Cat, is the kind of character I’m actually very, very surprised I liked. She keeps coming up with powers that always save the day. She’s snarky and headstrong, and hiding secrets. So many secrets. The moment Griffin, or Beta Sinta, approaches her, he knows she’s the Kingmaker, and he needs her.

[One of the reasons I never got past the second or third book (see how much I care, not even enough to know which books I’ve read…) in the Night Huntress series is the female MC, also Cat, who I think is just obnoxious and too full of herself. There are a lot of the same traits in the Cat in this story but it’s toned down—a lot. Well, at least I think so. Maybe they’re both just as obnoxious but this Cat is GREAT whereas the other one is, well, not.]

Griffin coerces Cat to leave with him and his soldiers. To ensure Cat doesn’t escape, he ties her to himself with a magical rope that only he can untie. (I know, he sounds obnoxious too, right? He’s not.)

An uneasy alliance forms between Cat and Griffin and his soldiers. She hates them, especially Griffin, and wants to escape. But when it comes down to it, she takes their side. And little by little, she learns to trust they have her back too, and becomes friends with them. Not Griffin so much as the others, but this is for obvious reasons; Cat is trying so hard to fight her growing feelings for Griffin that she doesn’t allow herself to like him. (Spoiler alert: She does, she’s just lying to herself.)

In a world where one becomes Alpha by killing their opponent, Sinta surprises Cat. Not only is Griffin, the strongest, not Alpha, but all his siblings and both of his parents are still alive. The family doesn’t rule by fear and terror. They’re nice. Totally clueless about proper royal etiquette, but nice.

Cat prepares the family for a realm dinner, teaching them about who the people who will attend, and in the process becomes friends with them. She grows closer to Griffin and it becomes harder and harder to fight the bond between them, until at last she doesn’t. But she’s still terrified of what will happen to him once her past catches up to them.

In this book, it doesn’t. That surprised me a little. I was expecting a great big show-down at the end of the book. But when I think about it a little, it makes sense. This book is about Cat finding her place, realizing she isn’t destined to be alone, and forming a bond and an alliance. Finding family.

That family is what will help her when her past finally does catch up with her.

A Promise of Fire gets a solid four charms from me. It’s a damn good book, great story and great characters.

And now I’m saddled with a huge problem: I have the next book, Breath of Fire, ready next to my bed. But the third book, Heart on Fire, won’t be released until January 2018. Do I read the next book now or do I wait until I can dive straight into the last book, or do I try to pace myself and wait a few months so that it’s close to equal amount of time between the first and the last book in the series? Tough decision, very tough, but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how patient I can be. (From experience, not very…)

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Serenity

I’ve been reading a lot of heavy novels lately, so I was very excited to finally get back to a fantasy based story. Fantasy is just my favorite genre, and that all combined to probably artificially raise my rating on this book. But more on that in a minute.

The story is not a slow build like some fantasy worlds. You’re pretty much dumped right in the middle but with only about a half info dump. That was my biggest complaint here. Do an info dump or take the time to build your world, but please don’t try both. I was able to just go with it and piece things together as I read because I liked the characters so much, but not every reader will like that.

The characters, though, that’s what made this story. Cat is so fun, and I LOVE her snarky mouth. Very Kate Daniels at points. I also like how the author doesn’t just gloss over Cat’s past in her relationships with others. When you’ve gone through the torture and abuse that Cat has, you’re going to resist connections. Honestly, the fact that she makes connections at all is probably stretching the reality of her past, but it is a story and I for one want to see the characters grow and overcome their pasts.

So, characters: 5 stars, story: 3 stars. I ended with a bit of a generous 4 stars. The story wasn’t BAD, it just needed more development. And it didn’t hurt that I love this genre.

Serenity

Our overall rating: four charms!

Visit Amanda Bouchet

Devil’s Own Review

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I’m hit or miss with MC books but I’m a fan of Megan Crane and her characters plus I enjoyed the earlier books in this series. Although I did enjoy this one there were some issues that I think if addressed better would have made this a 4 or 5 star read.

My biggest issue was with Lara. She grew up in a biker club and had some very legitimate issues with the biker lifestyle. She had some bad experiences with the club she was born into and abandoned by. She felt that the Club/brothers always came first above any women or family and that women can only be old ladies or club whores and very few end up as old ladies. She spends a lot of the book referring to her lust/need for Chaser as an addiction and yet she never really tries to fight the attraction. In fact she ends up having sex with Chaser within 15 minutes of a parent/teacher conference. Even if we assume that she just got carried away it basically continues to happen again and yet she never really comes to a resolution with her issues. In fact, she really doesn’t act like an Old Lady but more like a club whore (although she isn’t with anyone other than Chaser) they really don’t have a relationship outside of lots of hot sex. I really loved the opening scenes where she didn’t back down from Chaser and the verbal sparring was excellent. So I REALLY wish she would have held out longer and developed more of a relationship with Chaser before it became all about sex.

While I liked Chaser I can’t help but think that the whole question of can you be an outlaw biker and still a good father wasn’t answered in a really positive way. It was obvious that Chaser loved his daughter and would protect her with all he had but he certainly wasn’t paying enough attention to her. The fact that he left her with his psycho sister for weeks at a time and then spent more time having sex with Lara when he knew his daughter was having issues didn’t highlight great parenting skills.

This book had a lot of potential and if there was more relationship building to go along with the sex I would have liked it a lot more. Instead, we got a ton of sex and instant love which just wasn’t believable. I’m still not sure what it was about Lara that Chaser fell so hard for other than the first scene where she really stood up to him for his daughter’s well being. I would have loved if Chaser and Lara worked together to help his daughter and figure out what was going on to enhance all the sex.

I was also curious as to the overall plot with what Digger was up to within the club and towards the very end we did get some movement/answers on that issue but it didn’t seem to be a very complex plot point. I hope there is more to it in the next book. So while there were some disappointing aspects of this book I still enjoyed it and if you want some hot sex scenes Megan Crane always delivers.  I give this book 3 charms.

 

 

Lethal Lies Review

32188414Lethal Lies is the second book in Zanetti’s Blood Brothers but could be read as a stand alone although I think you’ll get more enjoyment if you’ve read the first book. I love Rebecca Zanetti and I loved the Sin Brothers and the first book in this series. I really liked this one but there were a few things that just weren’t quite as good as the other books. I went back and forth on my rating and finally settled on 4 charms because I did really enjoy this even with the few things that didn’t work as well for me. My expectations for a Zanetti book are very high and this one didn’t quite hit them.

This book centered around Heath who has always been the protector in the group which is saying a lot since both his brothers are also very protective. He is the brother who takes in stray animals and helps them and has a lot of triggers when it comes to abused women due to his mother who was killed by an abusive boyfriend. While I really liked Heath he didn’t feel as well developed as her heroes normally are. IMO too much time was spent on his “triggers” and not enough fleshing the rest of Heath out.

Anya is the target of a serial killer who’s story started in book 1. Heath and his brothers were hired by an earlier victim’s family and they have continued to work on this case. Health sees Anya as a wounded woman and wants to protect her. However, Anya is much stronger than Heath gives her credit for in the beginning. She will do anything to stop this killer and so she sets herself and Heath up as bait (although she is already a target since the killer was always after her).

I thought the suspense was very well done but the romance suffered a little. I didn’t necessarily believe the chemistry between Heath and Anya. The first half of the book there really isn’t much to the relationship between the two other than Anya lusting after Heath and him trying to protect her. It didn’t really feel like a build to me so when they end up together it just fizzled for me. I did like both characters a lot I just didn’t believe that they fell in love with each other.

I loved the interactions between the brothers and the overall plot with Dr. Madison and Sheriff Cobb. I saw at least some of the twist coming at about the 1/2 way point but there were definitely parts of it that surprised me. I think the last thing that really bothered me was Anya’s sudden ability to get away from the dangerous situation she was in at the end. It seemed completely unrealistic given the rest of the book and I had a hard time with it.

I’m glad the Copper killer plot was wrapped up in this book as I’m much more caught up in the Dr. Madison and Sheriff Cobb aspects and expect a big finale with Denver’s book which I am very much looking forward to.

So while this was my least favorite of the Sin Brothers/Blood Brothers books it was still very enjoyable. The suspense was excellent, the brothers’ relationships were touching and sweet and the ongoing plot interesting. The romance was the only part that was a bit lacking for me but still definitely worth reading.

Teaser Tuesday

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Teaser Tuesday is originally hosted by MizB over at Books and a Beat.

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The book I chose for this particular edition of Teaser Tuesday is The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace, which is #3.5 in Bec McMaster‘s London Steampunk series.

 

“Life is meant to be laughed at. How else can you keep smiling in this kind of world?”

 

 

I came across this series by chance – the first book is Kiss of Steel – and I enjoyed it tremendously. The series is mainly steampunk, but then, there is also a romance element, and a mystery element, and a very interesting overarching plot that spans the entire series despite every book focusing on a different couple. Most of the characters make appearances throughout the series though, so you don’t lose sight of them entirely. The characters are well developed and the writing had me firmly in its grip from the very first few pages onward.

Seeing that the book I chose is taken from the middle of the series (because I’m currently reading it), I decided to use a quote from the very first book Kiss of Steel as my second quote for this post to give you a bit of a taste.

“I am tempted to incapacitate him with the hemlock and then castrate him.”
Lena paled. “I don’t think that would be very wise,” she said. “And the only knife we own is what I use for the cooking. You’re not using that.”
“I was planning on using a spoon,” Honoria replied.”

Happy reading!

Cocktail Phoenix

 

The Doctor’s Redemption Review

35063321I hate to give this book 3 charms because I LOVED Book 1 and 2 in this series and both were 5 charm reads for me. However, this book just fell short for me. I had been looking forward to Gwen’s story with her muffin man but it just didn’t connect for me the way the previous books did.

I think there were a couple of reasons for this. One was Gwen herself. She spent a lot of the book flip flopping between the desire to change her life and wallowing in self pity about how her life had turned out. She also spent a lot of time thinking she wasn’t very attractive and how she wanted love so much and how she’d spent her life putting everyone else first. It ended up feeling like she wanted a relationship more than she wanted a relationship with Luke. Then there was the fact that Luke flat out tells her that he will never get married again and that he doesn’t want children both of which are very important to Gwen. I really dislike when books have a woman chase a man who says he doesn’t want any of those things thinking he’ll change his mind or he doesn’t really mean it! Of course in a romance he will change his mind but it isn’t realistic and I really dislike that theme. Luke is full of angst and spends most of his time thinking about how much he wants Gwen but can’t have her because he doesn’t deserve her. The big secret is really obvious and IMO is kept entirely too long. By the time he reveals it the secret it just sort of fell flat. I really enjoy Victoria James and although this book didn’t really work for me I am still looking forward to more books in Shadow Creek. I did really enjoy catching up with the characters from the first two books.

M/M Monday

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Action is the second book in Murmur Inc but can easily be read as a stand alone (I haven’t read the first book yet). I have to admit when I read the MC’s were porn stars I wasn’t sure how that would work for me. I don’t like cheating or MC’s with open relationships but I decided to give this one a try and I’m so glad I did. It was fun, humorous, entertaining and sweet (yes a sweet book with porn stars).

This book centers around Jaden (Pete) who has been doing porn for about a year but he’s not feeling inspired anymore. Pete is actually pretty much a computer geek and very shy with only a few friends in his “normal” life. He’s going to college, lives at home with his mom and works part-time at a coffee shop to explain to his mom how he gets his money to help pay the bills. He wanted porn to help him come out of his shell some and be more adventurous. He’s worried if he can’t get his inspiration back he’ll lose his job and won’t be able to pay for school. This changes when he is introduced to Kyle Darko (Evan) who is a rising star in the porn world. Evan is the opposite of Pete, in that he is out-going, confident and sexy. Pete is immediately drawn to Evan and the chemistry is mutual and sizzling between the two.

I really loved both Evan and Pete and the connection between the two of them. There is very little angst in this book other than a little bit of uncertainty about how he really feels about me and the fact that Evan is out with his porn star status and Pete is not. There isn’t any cheating and the story makes that believable (you’ll have to read to see how that works). There is plenty of spicy sex scenes, humorous dialogue and sweet moments between the guys.

There are also some really great secondary characters that add to the book and made me laugh. The relationship is a bit instant but it didn’t bother me.

I ended up really enjoying this book and I will be going back and reading the first book in this series. I’m new to Quinn Anderson but after this book I’m a fan! If you’re looking for a hot, fun, humorous and low angst M/M book then look no further than Action!  I give this book 4 charms.

It’s Me Again Baby Review

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I really loved the first two books in this series but this one just wasn’t quite as good IMO. I like a good second chance romance but I found this one a little bit less believable then I wanted to. I think maybe if Sam and Maguire had been together for more than one week the first time I would have been more on board when they immediately jumped into a serious, sexual relationship. I also would have believed the fact that they both remained celibate a little easier to believe.

However, I still enjoyed the book. I like the writing style and the characters were likable. The book moved quickly and there was plenty of steam. I’m enjoying this series and although this one jumped into a sexual relationship a bit quickly and lacked a good foundation for the romance I still enjoyed the book and look forward to the continuation of this series.  3.5 Charms for this one.

 

Forbidden Promises Review

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3.5 charms – This would have probably been a 4 charm book if I had read the previous books in this series but I haven’t and there was a lot of backstory that took place in these books that was referred to. I wasn’t lost but I did feel like I was missing some pieces of the puzzle and that I would have had a deeper understanding of some of the characters had I read the previous books. Although you can read this as a stand alone I don’t think I’d recommend that since I believe the enjoyment level would be higher if you read the previous books.

This book centers around Sloan who is the quieter and usually obedient sibling in an Irish Mafia family. Sloan knows that she is to be married off to another Family for the purpose of an alliance and so with the help of one of her brother’s and his wife she disappears. She just wants a fresh start and to be able to do some of the things she’s never been able to previously. Sloan is staying in a cabin that belongs to her sister in law’s aunt and working for the first time as a waitress at a diner. Her next door neighbor is a gorgeous, mysterious man who has made it obvious he doesn’t want to get to know her but she can’t help but be intrigued.

Jude MacNamara is pretending to be a writer but he’s really there for vengeance and he has no time for the innocent woman who is staying next door. Jude is the last surviving MacNamara and he wants revenge on the family who ordered the slaughter of his father and brothers. His mother raised him to seek retribution and that is his only goal in life. Jude knows that the cabin Sloan is staying at is connected to the family he wants vengeance on but he doesn’t know who she is or how she fits into the picture.

The background of three Irish Mafia families who have ruled the underworld of Boston for generations is fascinating. Things have started to change recently though with the mixing of the families through marriage and the new Russian Family that is trying to move in. Sloan’s family is in a state of flux dealing with the rapid changes of marriage, family members in prison and different goals between siblings.

The dynamic changes once again when Jude discovers who Sloan is. He has a lot of tough decisions to make and forces from varied places pushing him in different directions. He wants Sloan but can he give up his need for revenge in order to keep her safe? I really enjoyed both Sloan and Jude and the chemistry was intense. Jude and Sloan had some hot sex scenes and Jude’s dirty talk was explosive. Sloan was able to go from quiet, obedient good girl to a woman who knew what she wanted and who was willing to go after it. I loved watching her come out of her shell during this story. She has very complicated but loving relationships with her siblings and this book kept me on the edge of my seat to see how it would all play out in the end.

The typical forbidden romance trope took on a new and fresh life in this book and the secondary characters have me wanting to go back and read the previous books. An intense, suspenseful story with complex characters and motivations!