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Dec
7

Review: In Bounds by Bronwyn Green

Review: In Bounds by Bronwyn Green In Bounds Author: Bronwyn Green Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: After finding out her school principal husband was having an affair with the mother of one of her students, Ivy Wright decided to take an extended vacation helping out her best friend’s family in England. While Ivy enjoys tutoring Charlotte’s children, she hopes that Charlotte’s younger brother doesn’t remember her… the drunken woman with whom he had a hookup in the coat check at Charlotte and Caleb’s wedding reception. Will Darby has been sidelined from his professional soccer (football) career due to a knee injury. With mandatory time off, he’s hoping to re-connect with Ivy, the one woman he hasn’t been able to forget in the past twelve years. And when he sees Ivy again, he knows he needs to explore their mutual attraction… and kinks. In Bounds is another wonderful, sexy romance in the Bound series, a set of loosely connected, standalone BDSM-lite stories from Bronwyn Green and Jessica Jarman. I love that the books, In Bounds included, embrace healthy relationships, focusing on couples that enjoy sex and exploring mutually satisfying kinks. While there may be bumps in the road and issues to overcome, they don’t dominate the pages of the story. Will is a man obsessed. He’s never forgotten Ivy or how much he enjoyed their brief encounter. Twelve years older and wiser, Will has taken the time to learn how to please a woman and what he wants for himself. He’s cocky, but not overly arrogant, and completely direct. He tells Ivy pointblank how much he wants her and what exactly he wants to do to her. Such direct talk is refreshing and thrilling. And while he gives Ivy space to deal with her own issues surrounding her ex-husband’s actions and detrimental attitude, he supports her both emotionally and physically, almost willing her to recover and commit to him. Will is understanding, patient, sexy, and kind… almost too much so. But who doesn’t need a bit of perfection in their lives now and then? Ivy has issues, but she doesn’t dwell. She’s determined to enjoy her time with Charlotte, but as the book progresses, we see how lonely Ivy truly is. She carries her baggage, and Will wants to take it from her. It’s heartwarming to see how much Will gets her to open up and trust again, after some back and forth, of course. While Ivy’s biggest concern during the entire...
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Dec
6

Review: The Hero by Donna Grant

Review: The Hero by Donna Grant The Hero Author: Donna Grant Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Stepping out of my comfort zone, I picked up The Hero by Donna Grant. I don’t read a lot of military romantic suspense—honestly, I only read one series and it’s by an author I know I love. Got me another. I’m excited to come in on the ground floor for Ms. Grant’s Sons of Texas series. I liked her writing style. I’m sure I’ll be over-the-moon for it by the time I read the next book, The Protector, scheduled for release January 3, 2017. I’m all over any story about Russians. Which Rocky movie was it with Dolph Lundgren? I don’t know, either…but there was a Russian dude in this book that made me think of him. But this story wasn’t really about the Russians. Or the contracts (like, pew pew—gun with a silencer—you’re dead contracts). Or even the fact that Owen, our hero, was a SEAL. Not even because Natalie—our heroine—was working at the Russian embassy. Nope. This story was about forgiveness—not just of other people, but forgiving one’s self and being okay with personal demons. In the blurb, we read about Natalie being all torn up about Owen leaving her high and dry back when they were kids (they’re in their early thirties). These two share SERIOUS history. And they’re both horribly broken in different ways. What I liked most about Natalie was her tenacity. The way she didn’t back down from a challenge, and the way she came up with new solutions. She’s a problem-solver. Unless it come to her personal life. And Owen? *sigh* The boy can flip a switch. He’s a trained killer, but some of the scenes? *fans self* Totally hot. Even in the middle of crisis. He’s genuine as well as being hot and deadly. I’m not going to say I fell for him, but heroes like Owen Loughman might sway me over to military romance. There’s three Loughman brothers. And there’s the dad, Orrin, too. I’m wondering whether we’ll get three or four titles from the series. I’m hoping for four. My Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: Owen Loughman is a highly-decorated Navy SEAL who has a thirst for action. But there’s one thing he hasn’t been able to forget: his high school sweetheart, Natalie. After more than a decade away, Owen has returned home to the ranch in Texas for a dangerous new mission that...
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Dec
5

Review: Dark Protector by Katie Reus

Review: Dark Protector by Katie Reus Dark Protector Author: Katie Reus Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: After seeing the connection between Aldric and Natalia in the previous novel, Hunter Reborn, Gikany and Una eagerly anticipated seeing their courtship and conclusion.  Overall we liked this last full novel in the Moon Shifter series. We have to admit, Aldric is a stubborn, overbearing Alpha male.  He stupidly walked away from Natalia, breaking her heart.  However, he redeems himself by: 1) knowing he was an idiot for walking away, 2) apologizing for being said idiot, and 3) working to prove through his actions not only his remorse at hurting Natalia, but winning her back.  We understood that he was previously mated, and that Aldric needed the time to work thorough his feelings and see how his previous mate is different from Natalia.  What makes this work is that he communicates this (finally) to Natalia once he proves himself. We loved Natalia.  She is a strong and intelligent woman.  Her determination to not simply give in and forgive Aldric is awesome.  She makes him work for it…as he needs to.  Just as she needs to not compromise her heart, letting Aldric not only prove to her, but himself what she means to him.  Their journey is both passionate and honest.  We liked how they slowly figured it out despite the demands of the mating instinct. The mystery of the kidnapper was intriguing.  Although for once in the series we were given very little of the adversary’s point of view, it might have been more intriguing to have their identity know.  As Natalia and Aldric investigated, we would have been more attentive as the investigation narrowed down the suspects.  Although it was a bit surprising who the culprit is, we were a bit disappointed that the background of the nemesis’s motive was not fully realized.  We were not truly given the how or the why, which left us a bit frustrated. We have liked this series and are a little sad that this was the last full novel, though we are eager to read the final novella that comes out in a few weeks.  Dark Protector was a passionate and fulfilling romantic journey for Aldric and Natalia. Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: He walked away once; he won’t do it again. Wolf shifter Aldric Kazan is no stranger to pain. Since the loss of his mate a century ago, he won’t allow...
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Dec
5

Review: A Kiss Under The Christmas Lights by Peggy Jaeger

Review: A Kiss Under The Christmas Lights by Peggy Jaeger A Kiss Under The Christmas Lights Author: Peggy Jaeger Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Set to take the CPA exams and start her career, Gia San Valentino is thrown for a loop when she finds herself instantly attracted to and completely taken with the wrong man. Unable to shake her feelings, Gia is emotionally torn because of an unknown, yet simple misunderstanding. Constantly surrounded by her family, Gia is worried the horrible truth will soon come out. A Kiss Under the Christmas Lights is a delightful holiday novella centered on a large Italian family and its traditions. I thoroughly enjoyed the hustle and bustle of Gia’s life. The author invests time developing the San Valentino family, bringing heart to the story, and Gia’s loving, meddling family provides tender moments with a healthy side of humorous embarrassment. Told from Gia’s first person POV, we get to experience every laugh, fear, and joy along side her. While this story isn’t an instalove tale, it is evident right from the start the Gia and Tim share something special. The love-at-first-meeting attraction comes across as right and true. However, due to a misunderstanding, Gia is emotionally wrecked and guilt-ridden over her attraction. After a while, it became stressful for me. It’s obvious to the reader what is going on, but Gia thinks she’s got the hots for an unattainable man. While the author does a great job of keeping Gia’s physical attraction appropriately compartmentalized, after their third meeting, I wanted her to be able to enjoy her feelings for Tim without the guilt. With that said… the author successfully keeps the mood light, even when the book deals with serious situations. And while the romance is a huge part of the story, there are other things going on in Gia’s life, keeping the focus off her guilty conscience. A Kiss Under the Christmas Lights is a sweet, light-hearted read. This holiday novella is a perfect gift to enjoy snuggled on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa. My Rating:  B+ Liked It A Lot About the Book: With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind. Tim Santini...
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Nov
30

Review: Snowed In by Jenna Bayley-Burke

Review: Snowed In by Jenna Bayley-Burke Snowed In Author: Jenna Bailey-Burke Reviewer: Nima Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: There isn’t much to tell you about the plot of Snowed In that’s not in the blurb—or the title for that matter. What I can tell you is that I genuinely liked this story when I had admittedly low expectations. Just a few weeks ago I reviewed a novella, Like Fresh Fallen Snow, with a very similar premise: successful independent woman works hard, goes to a large event at a hotel, gets snowed in with the man of her dreams, tries to remain independent and ignore her feelings. The set-up in both cases feels entirely contrived. Then again, when the title can serve as the description, you can’t fault it for false advertising. So why did I like Snowed In when I was disposed not to? Scott Parker. Scott is the best thing about the book. Even if he weren’t tall, dark, and handsome, there’s nothing so attractive as a man who’s in love and desperate to commit. Bayley-Burke puts it beautifully in her dedication, “For everyone who’s ever been burned by a stupid boy. May you find love with a smart one. Let’s hope he’s gorgeous and rich, tall and sporting a six-pack, with captivating eyes and a penchant for saying, ‘I love you’ at random moments. Bonus points if he does the dishes and has memorized Ian Kerner’s She Comes First.” The female lead as the aggressor isn’t the original twist it once was, but Scott still seems to hold all the cards, even when Marissa is the one coming on to him. Scott doesn’t just want a post wedding fling with Marissa Clark, he wants to keep her for the long haul. Marissa has been hurt in the past and the wedding they’re both attending is all kinds of awkward because of it. When they get snowed in together, Marissa just wants to blow off some stress between the sheets before she goes back to her regularly scheduled life. Scott has other plans and uses the time to make his case. It’s clear to the reader, even if Marissa hasn’t figured it out, that the reason she’s so stubborn when it comes to Scott isn’t because she doesn’t have time for a man in her life, she’s dated since the painful incident, but rather she knows instinctively that Scott matters. She must discover how to integrate the person she was with the one...
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Nov
29

Review: Daring Fate by Megan Erickson

Review: Daring Fate by Megan Erickson Daring Fate Author: Megan Erickson Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Reese and younger brother Jude have escaped their werewolf pack and its sadistic alpha, Xan. However, their sister remains behind, and with the threat that Xan will mate her in a month, the pressure is on Reese to save her. The problem: Dare, the alpha of the Silver Tip Were pack. When his Pack Guard found and rescued two werewolves from the Noweres, the last thing Dare expected was to find his True Mate. But Dare embraces Reese as his mate and over time, the pair form a deeper bond beyond the sex of mating. As Reese learns more about the once-feared Silver Tip Alpha, he is torn between protecting his mate and adopted pack and rescuing his sister. Daring Fate is the first book in Megan Erickson’s new Silver Tip Pack series. Ms. Erickson successfully introduces readers to a twist on the shifter mythology. A century ago, there was a virus that killed all of the humans and two-thirds of the Weres… but those Weres that died became Noweres, an undead version of the warrior Were form. Werewolves and Weres live in isolated packs, remaining fairly solitary and at peace with one another, as long as they leave the one another alone. What remains after the virus are three species: werewolves, who shift between human and a wolf; Weres, who shift between human, wolf, and a huge wolf/human hybrid; and Noweres, the undead monsters. Dare and Reese are a rare True Mated couple. While Reese’s werewolf parents were True Mates and equal lovers, he wasn’t old enough to understand what the bond meant before they were killed before his eyes. Dare knows of no True Mated Weres, and neither know of a cross-species situation. This leaves both men lost, without a clue what is normal or to be expected with True Mates, and I like that both are a bit terrified of doing something wrong. I feel the story was made stronger with both Reese and Dare fully accepting and embracing the mating bond, and that the mating was done right up front, rather than a constant, reluctant pull throughout the story. They are completely sexually compatible, and as time goes on, they discover they are compatible in all important matters of the heart. The True Mate aspect, as well as the complex shifter mythology, give the story a strong sense of a traditional...
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Nov
22

Review: Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

Review: Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan Miracle on 5th Avenue Author: Sarah Morgan Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Eva Jordan LOVES snowflakes, Christmas, and all the holiday hoopla. Although she continues to suffer the loss of her grandmother just over a year ago, Eva owes it to her grandmother to live each day to its fullest. She’s agreed to prepare food for and decorate the apartment of bestselling author Lucas Blade at the request of his grandmother, Mitsy. Eva and Mitsy have become friends over the time Eva and her friends started their event planning and concierge company. Lucas Blade hates snowflakes, Christmas, and all the holiday hoopla. Three years ago, his wife was killed in a car accident on a snowy night. It’s the anniversary of her death. He’s told his family and agent that he’s on a writing retreat in Vermont, but instead, he’s hiding in his Manhattan condo. He hasn’t even started his latest book, which is due Christmas Eve, and no one knows. He’s consumed with grief over Sallyanne, his late wife. Miracle on 5th Avenue is another delightful romance from Sarah Morgan. Her small-town-turned-big-city trio of best friends warmed my heart with their journeys through life as they each find their romantic partners. Eva is no exception. She is sweet and kind; she believes there are happily-ever-afters and sees good in everyone. Meanwhile, Lucas is jaded and cynical; he’s lost in love and deals with the pressures of fame on a daily basis. Although they are complete opposites, something sparks between the pair, and their mutual desires are palpable. Each draws out the best from the other – challenging the other to think outside their individual comfort zones. They are seduced by intellectual and titillating conversation, eventually giving into physical desires. Ms. Morgan does a fabulous job developing Eva and Lucas, giving them strong, realistic personalities and character traits, with actions that stay true to those natures. Overall, the romance is sweet and gentle, with enough bumps in the road to make it gripping. However, I was put off in the start of the book when Eva mistakes Lucas for an intruder. I get this is a light contemporary romance, but there is NO WAY Eva should be ogling and smelling the man who attacked her… She doesn’t know it’s Lucas and honestly fears for her life. She should be mindlessly scared, not noticing his smoldering eyes. Miracle on 5th Avenue is a sweet and uplifting...
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Nov
18

Review: Holiday with a Twist by Shannon Stacey

Review: Holiday with a Twist by Shannon Stacey Holiday with a Twist Author: Shannon Stacey Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Leigh Holloway is back home for the holidays, and she’s hiding a big secret from her family. Not wanting to upset the apple cart at Christmas, Leigh hides the fact that she broke things off with her fiancé and quit her job in Houston two months ago. However, meeting up with childhood friend Croy stirs up all sorts of feelings, and now she’s trying to keep their holiday fling under wraps until she can get back to Houston and get on with her life. Holiday with a Twist is an enjoyable holiday novella, complete with warm fuzzies and family fun. Leigh and Croy share a history, and although their friendship has been on hold for several years, I like that they fell into an easy camaraderie from that first night she walked into his bar. Ms. Stacey builds their shared past through recollection and dialogue, keeping the reader in present day while filling in the missing pieces. Falling for someone who was once a close friend gives the romance more weight and substance within the confines of the shorter space of a novella. While the perceived need for Leigh to keep her relationship status a secret could have grown out of control, it was never overused, with her secrets unraveling before I got annoyed by her lack of honesty. Her reasons for her actions felt very real and relatable, and we all know, once a lie is out there, it’s hard to be forthright. Luckily, this is Christmas in small town New Hampshire, where everything works out as it should! Holiday with a Twist is a wonderful holiday treat. I highly recommend curling up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy this sexy, sweet novella from Ms. Stacey. My Rating: B, Liked It About the Book: After a messy breakup, Leigh Holloway is ready to start her life over. Until her parents put the family home on the market and call her back for one final, memory-making Christmas. The last thing she wants to do is deprive her mom of the perfect holiday, so she’ll lie her way through the visit and worry about her future in the New Year. Too bad the only bar in town is owned by a guy she seriously wronged in high school.  Leigh’s best friend broke Croy Dawson’s heart, and Croy knows it...
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Nov
17

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Score by Elle Kennedy

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Score by Elle Kennedy Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: The Score Author: Elle Kennedy Narrator: Savannah Peachwood & Andrew Eiden Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Off-Campus #3 Genre: NA Contemporary Romance Source: purchased Allie Hayes has had it with her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Sean, and finally breaks it off for good. With her past behavior of giving into Sean’s apologies, she turns to best friend Hannah for help staying away from Sean that first weekend. Unfortunately, Hannah is out of town with her boyfriend, but they insist she hideout at Garrett’s house with his roommates. Hockey stud and all-around player Dean Di-Laurentis knows his best friend’s girlfriend’s best friend Allie is off limits when she shows up looking for a place to hide from the temptation of getting back together with her ex. But isn’t rebound sex the best thing for getting over an ex? However, now that he’s been with Allie, he can’t shake her out of his system. Having absolutely loved the first two books in Ms. Kennedy’s Off-Campus series, I was chomping at the bit waiting for The Score to finally make it to Audible. Although she changed her narrator for this one, overall, the wait was worth it. Ms. Kennedy has a knack for telling humorous, heartfelt stories that make me both laugh and cry. Allie and Dean are well matched. They are both so passionate, and with the freedom of labeling their relationship a fling, they explore each other in open and honest ways. However, they keep the fling a secret, which leads to some hilarious moments, and it places pressure on the pair which I feel helps the relationship in the long run. And while there is a lot of exploration, the pair grows close because of a developing friendship which bolsters each other in surprising ways. While there were times that the overall story was a little predictable, I didn’t care. I was so wrapped up in Dean and Allie’s story that I just listened and enjoyed. I laughed out loud and I got teary eyed. It’s just fun, high-quality storytelling. And I appreciate that the book is really about two young people trying to figure out who they want to be, and be okay with the fact it may not be what they were planning all along. I was disappointed that Lorelei Avalon was replaced as the sole narrator for the series. Savannah Peachwood & Andrew Eiden hold their own and do a respectable...
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Nov
10

Review: One Snowy Night by Jill Shalvis

Review: One Snowy Night by Jill Shalvis One Snowy Night Author: Jill Shalvis Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Picking up from events started in the previous full-length book, it’s Christmas Eve and both Max and Rory want to get home. Rory, who ran away at 17, hasn’t been back to see her family since she’s gotten her life straighten out. Rory’s friend and boss asks Max to drive her from San Francisco to Tahoe, unaware the pair shares a history. Unknown to their friends, Max and Rory went to high school together, and they themselves don’t ever talk about it. While Rory was a quiet kid with a huge crush on big-time jock Max, she remains unaware of the events she triggered just before she left town, changing the course of Max’s life forever. Now the pair must overcome hours in a car together while fighting an undeniable attraction. Rory and Max were adorable in the previous book, The Trouble with Mistletoe, and so I was excited they got their own book. The story was fast-paced and generally lighthearted, with just-a-touch of Christmas romance. However, I felt the entire relationship moved a tad too fast for my liking. I appreciate that Ms. Shalvis built a past for the pair, and seeing them make eyes for each other in the previous book, helped validate their passion. Yet, the couple goes from flirting to forever in a matter of hours. Overall, One Snowy Night is very quick and easy to read, although you may need to suspend reality for a bit. Rory and Max’s story is uncomplicated and breezy, despite their history and the weather. The drama is a bit over the top and the relationship goes from zero to 100 in a very short period. But still, it is an enjoyable, lighthearted story that I finished in one setting. Warning: The digital ARC copy I read had a lot of backend material, with the novella actually ending at the 58% mark. My Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: It’s Christmas Eve and Rory Andrews is desperate to get home to the family she hasn’t seen in years. Problem is, her only ride to Lake Tahoe comes in the form of the annoyingly handsome Max Stranton, and his big, goofy, lovable dog Carl. Hours stuck in a truck with the dead sexy Max sounds like a fate worse than death (not), but Rory’s out of options. She’s had a crush on Max since...
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