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Sep
6

Review: Her Rogue Alpha by Paige Tyler

Review: Her Rogue Alpha by Paige Tyler Her Rogue Alpha Author: Paige Tyler Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: DNF / C What We’re Talking About: This is an odd review to write since only Una finished the book, but we do that we were disappointed with Layla and Jayson’s story. Una finished the novel, but found herself feeling let down.  The connection between Layla and Jayson was forged early in the series.  Their story is one we have waited for: a shifter who just joined the X-Ops and her wounded soldier.  However, Jayson is emotionally abusive.  The abuse is substantial enough to make us feel that there should possibly be trigger warnings for this book.  In the end he does apologize for being selfishly brooding in his disability, but it was long overdue.  He was brash and reckless in the beginning, and Layla accepted that all the pain he caused her was okay because he loves her.  Their reunion in a battlefield was odd and seemed untimely.  The plot of Jayson’s mission was convoluted and far-fetched – especially his abilities.  At the end of the novel, there is a revelation about Jayson that Layla reads and then destroys – without the reader being privy to it.  This carrot dangling was infuriating to Una.  Since this part of the story was told from Layla’s perspective, we should have been privy to the message.  It would have been preferable to have her destroy the note without looking. The plot that kept Una reading was regarding a thief.  This plot line is tied to the search for the enemy within the X-Ops.  Una found this storyline fascinating and intriguing.  And knowing it is not the end of seeing the thief, we hope to see her in a future novel. Gikany did not finish this novel.  The emotional abuse that begins between Layla and Jayson was too much.  By the 25% mark, the urge to have Layla punch Jayson and leave him was too great for Gikany.  She felt that there was no way he could redeem himself, and he just didn’t deserve her love.  Gikany could not stand to read anymore. Although we do agree that this novel did not go altogether well, Una was able to finish it.  Both Gikany and Una were disappointed in this long awaited story.  Una will read the next novel in the series but Gikany will not. Una’s Rating:  C, Finished It – Liked some, didn’t like some Gikany’s Rating:  DNF – Did...
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Sep
6

Review: Silk Scarves and Seduction by Shiloh Walker

Review: Silk Scarves and Seduction by Shiloh Walker Silk Scarves and Seduction + One Night with You Author: Shiloh Walker Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Silk Scarves and Seduction: I don’t even know where to start. I guess I’ll lead with: I wanna be Blush. If you’ve ever had a crush on someone but not known how to tell them, this title is definitely for you! Shiloh Walker packs a lot into this novella—it’s around fifty pages. We get to really delve into Blush’s character and find out what makes her tick—about what makes her uniquely her. We also learn a lot about Marc—because he’s no innocent babe-in-the-woods, either. Neither are without their secrets, and I think that’s what makes Silk Scarves and Seduction all that much more delicious. Be sure you have a cool drink and a fan, because this title will have you on fire! My Rating: A, Loved It One Night with You: Even though this is a short little read (~1 hour), One Night with You packs a punch. As a great friends-to-lovers story, we see a lot of sexy times—the focus of this story is running away from intimacy. As per normal Shiloh Walker rules, I’m was on the edge of my seat as to whether Bo would ultimately succumb to Logan’s super hot sexiness. The perfect read for a quiet Sunday morning on a holiday weekend. My Rating: A, Loved It About the Book: Silk Scarves and Seduction: Marc has a secret admirer…or maybe not so secret. The black and white photographs were the first clue. The silk scarf was the second. Marc didn’t need any other hints. The sensual, secretive gifts were all Blush Taylor. Blush-the girl who had driven him crazy since high school. The question is…why is she taunting him with these sexy gifts? And why now? One Night with You:  Logan knew from the first time he saw Bo Martin that she was the one for him. They were just teenagers then, but he knew. He spent years quietly waiting for her to grow up and when he finally made his move, he moved too fast and scared Bo away. She stayed away for four years but circumstances outside his control kept him from going to her when she finally returned.Now it’s too late. Bo’s engaged to one of Logan’s best friends. But he’ll be damned if he lets that wedding happen. All he needs is a little bit of luck, and one night to...
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Sep
5

Review: Fast Connection by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

Review: Fast Connection by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell Fast Connection Author: Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Unwilling to remain stagnant like the majority of his peers, and lacking other options, Dominic Costigan joined the Army straight out of high school, any “growing up” he had to do being done with a gun in his hands on the front lines of war. Now that he’s back, he’s quickly discovering that the home he knew, and most of those in it, is more foreign and ill-fitting than ever. Lonely and eager to explore his newfound sexual interest in men, he decides that a no-strings, internet-spawned hookup would be a fine place to start over again—especially if it means protecting his already battle-worn heart. Luke Rawlings is done with relationships. Out of the two he’s had that mattered, one ended with two amazing kids and an incredible ex-wife, while the other resulted in his being discharged from the Army and his former boyfriend briefly kidnapping his children. All he wants, or needs, now is to make sure his landscaping business stays profitable, to take care of his teenagers, and keep his sexual engagements as impersonal as possible. Lucky for him, Grindr was made for exactly that. After eagerly anticipating the release of Fast Connection, the second story in the Cyberlove series by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell, I was both pleased and unsurprised to find that it was as fun and thoughtfully written as I imagined it would be. Whereas Strong Signal, the first in the series, didn’t explore the mingling of the virtual world with the “real” one until later in the narrative, Fast Connection takes place amid the interchange of one with the other throughout, handily reaffirming the validity of online relationships along the way. In a testament to the authors’ writing abilities, Dominic transformed from an abrasive, insecure bully with a serious control problem into a thoughtful, insecure survivor who wants a better future for himself and his family. In Fast Connection, that earlier façade is given a degree of substance I hadn’t expected, and appreciated all the more for it. Dominic doesn’t make excuses, which I was glad to see, instead waving his mistakes ahead of him, almost as a warning, lest anyone see too much potential in him. Rather than wallowing, he seemed to want to hope very badly, but couldn’t quite find his way there on his own. Luke, as it happens, is the perfect person...
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Sep
2

Review: Unraveled by Jennifer Estep

Review: Unraveled by Jennifer Estep Unraveled Author: Jennifer Estep Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Picking up after the secret-revealing conclusion of the previous book, Bitter Bite, Gin is determined to discover more about the mysterious Hugh Tucker, the Circle, and the extent to which her mom was involved. When Finn receives notice that his recently departed mother left him the Bullet Pointe resort and amusement park, Gin realizes it’s a trap set by Hugh. But Gin isn’t one to run from a fight, so she and Finn, along with Bria and Owen, head to the quaint resort for fun-filled vacation. Unraveled is yet another exciting, action-packed adventure for Gin and her friends. How Ms. Estep can keep writing fresh and thrilling stories for Gin is beyond me! Yet here we are, the fifteenth book in the Elemental Assassin series, and at just one chapter in, I was not only totally surprised, but utterly hooked. What I liked most about Unraveled, is the almost standalone feel of the story. Gin and her core group travel away from Ashland for a vacation, all the time knowing it would be a trap. The change in setting, along with the smaller cast of her usual characters, gives the book an independent feel and a nice break from the craziness of Ashland. And although Gin’s purpose is to discover more about the secretive and malevolent group, the Circle, the story focuses more on a wild-west themed treasure hunt and showdown. Although, in the end, thanks to Fletcher’s own scavenger-type-hunt for clues, Gin begins to unravel some of the mystery; however, this overall storyline is far from over. Which in its own right is exciting because we haven’t really had a larger, over-arching nemesis for Gin since Mab. The only thing that bugged me, just a wee-little-bit, is the use of dreams to reveal important truths to Gin. While I mostly enjoy the flashbacks that make up Gin’s dreams in the series, sometimes (this being one), the dreams frustrate me because they come off contrived. In this case, Gin discovers that her understanding and the memories of her mother aren’t all she thought them to be… that Gin actually saw Hugh and others in her youth. It irritates me that these memories were buried so deeply, and that in the past weeks, with all the time spent around Hugh and Deidre, that she never once remembered anything. The timing of these dreams is just too convenient....
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Sep
1

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Curse of the Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Curse of the Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: The Curse of the Tenth Grave Author: Darynda Jones Narrator: Lorelei King Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Charley Davidson #10 Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: purchased After spending the previous book lost in Sleepyhollow with no memories, Charley is back at home and working as a private investigator. Meanwhile, she’s trying to learn more about the three gods sent to kill her daughter, and if Reyes, her beloved husband and the son of Satan, knows he was formed from one of those gods. For those who have followed my reviews, you know that I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the Charley Davidson series. I felt the books became too confusing, with too much going on and some huge inconstancies over the course of the series. Another big issue I’ve always had is the lack of personal growth in Charley and the fact that she would make the same mistakes over and over. So I was a bit surprised that I actually really enjoyed The Curse of the Tenth Grave. It didn’t feel as convoluted as several of the previous titles. Charley was back to solving insolvable crimes, and there weren’t a dozen storylines running at once. But the biggest improvement is that there was substantial relationship and character growth for Charley and Reyes. Things like open communication, helping one another, and trust. Things that should have happened books ago. Additionally, this book cleared up a lot of the mythology, as well. What I didn’t care for was the apparent changing of the rules, again. The little inconsistencies that drive me insane about this series. The convenient way the rules and mythology change to suit the current storyline. Details forgotten or adjusted to fit. Which then got me thinking about open storylines that never closed the loop, or if they did, I missed it. This series is far from perfect when it comes to the little details; however, when the story is strong, as this one was, those type of little issues have a way of melting into the background. So I was able to forgive and move on because I was so engrossed in the tale. Once again, humor is central to Charley’s interactions with all she comes into contact. Lorelei King’s performance of Charley only enhances the wit and humor in the story and strengthens Charley’s narrative voice. Ms. King raises the level of the storytelling and also allows me to forgive and move...
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Aug
31

Review + Blog Tour: Looking for Group by Alexis Hall

Review + Blog Tour: Looking for Group by Alexis Hall Looking for Group Author: Alexis Hall Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Beginning with what is essentially a “job listing” in a fictional MMO, Looking for Group is one of the most unique and fun stories about falling in love that I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a very long time. Told exclusively from Drew’s perspective, it’s a noteworthy lesson, not only about accepting others for who they are, but being honest with ourselves, as well. There’s actually much more to it than that, but it’s better to just read it firsthand. One of the most fascinating things about Looking for Group is what felt like a fairly thorough immersion of the reader in the gameplay of the fictional MMO, Heroes of Legend. Though Mr. Hall clearly took as many facets of his audience as possible into consideration when writing the game scenes, I was still thankful for the glossary at the end of the story. If you don’t already speak MMO, this should definitely be read first. Aside from being very helpful in following along in HoL, it’s an extremely entertaining feature in its own right, and, in general, I thought it was a nice touch. As he’s the only narrator, we see the world of the story through Drew’s eyes, and there were several moments when I wished with all my heart that I could derail certain trajectories he’d flung himself along before it was too late. But, Mr. Hall is an excellent storyteller, and that would have been too easy. Instead, we’re given the chance to ask ourselves what the term “real” actually means, and hopefully acknowledge that our definition isn’t likely to be the same as anyone else’s. And that’s okay. Despite Drew’s best intentions, there simply isn’t a universally applicable pie chart for “The Equitable and Acceptable Distribution of Self.” As usual, Mr. Hall has created an entire cast of vivid and engaging personalities in Looking for Group, each unique and “alive,” whether secondary or no. Drew and Kit are each completely wonderful, and witnessing them banter with each other was a real pleasure, although it was Kit who really stole my heart. The other characters are no less remarkable, however, and I appreciated the variations in the ways we get to know them (online vs. “in the flesh”). Looking for Group is a fine story with some delightful twists, and I loved every moment I spent grumbling and gesticulating at...
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Aug
30

Review: Lessons in Gravity by Jessica Peterson

Review: Lessons in Gravity by Jessica Peterson Lessons in Gravity Author: Jessica Peterson Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Everyone deserves love. Everyone. No one can make you feel anything unless you let them. This feeling of empowerment was my take-away from Lessons in Gravity. The second title in Jessica Petersons’s Study Abroad series is packed with even more of the feels than the first. Although reading the first book isn’t necessary to become immersed in this storyline, it’s recommended only because the backstory of the secondary characters in the title make it that much more poignant. While we get to see more of Viv & Rafa, as well as Laura and her hot futballer, I think my favorite supporting cast member was Leo. This Spanish guitar player comes up with some of the funniest stuff, yet, has this insightful down-to-earth side that drew me in. Seriously, I’d like to see a book about Leo in the future. He needs a HEA! The secondary characters definitely take a back seat to the main couple in the story, however. We met Maddie in Ms. Peterson’s first title in this series, Spanish Lessons. The sullen bestie of Vivian, she doesn’t feel she is deserving of love because she feels her parents’ divorce is her fault. Which is BS. But let’s be honest. Many of shoulder responsibility for baggage that really isn’t ours to bear. Some of us more than others. Lessons in Gravity was a great read for me because I am one of those people. I used to worry that everything was my fault—with age and experience, that’s lessened. Watching Maddie’s growth through the title was definitely an experience worth reading, one I could connect with. I’d recommend it to my (grown) daughters, but they’re not smut readers like their mom. 🙂 Which brings me to this: the chemistry and sexytimes with Javi and Maddie. Super. Hot. Like, did my Kindle melt?!? Sometimes, really hot and generic, but when Javier gets his way? Oh. Myyyy. Uncle Pervy. Yup. That’s Maddie’s nickname for Javier—he’s Rafa’s uncle. And I really fell for him mid-way through the title. He’s a smidge older than Maddie and he’s ready, after being a freakin’ rock star, to settle down. Javi has some growth in the title as well, though. It’s not all Maddie. Sometimes, we think we know what’s best for ourselves and don’t simply let life happen. I mean, it’s kind of cheesy, but there are definite benefits (in my...
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Aug
29

Review + Excerpt: Homecoming by Shannon Stacey

Review + Excerpt: Homecoming by Shannon Stacey Homecoming Author: Shannon Stacey Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Homecoming begins immediately following the conclusion of the previous book, where we find several of the Stewart Mills residents in the hospital following the aftermath of Coach McDonnell’s apparent heart attack on the football field. While recovering, Coach wants Sam Leavitt, former Eagles championship quarterback, to come home from Texas and coach the team. Even though Sam agrees, he does so knowing it is temporary because he will never move back to Stewart Mills, the place of his nightmarish childhood. Jen Cooper grew up in Stewart Mills and loves her job as the high school guidance counselor. After her amazing one-time hookup with Sam back in the summer when he was home (for the first time in over a decade) for the football team fundraiser, Jen never wanted to see bad boy Sam again. Yet when he shows up in Stewart Mills to stay for a while, Jen isn’t sure she can deny their strong attraction. Homecoming is the third (and presumably final) chapter in the Boys of Fall series, which features the goings-on of small-town Stewart Mills, NH. The town fell on hard times a while back, and I love how the town finds joy and regains hope through their high school football team. I like that while each book is a standalone, each builds upon the previous as far as character development. By the time we get to this third book, I care about each of the characters. I also like that we see the town mend and grow. The tone of the books progressively become more positive and hopeful because of the changing circumstances. Overall, I loved Jen and Sam individually and as a couple. Both have their heads on straight and don’t tend to do ridiculous things or make silly relationship mistakes. Jen rocks and has her life together, which I appreciate. I love that she’s smart and caring, which is perfect since she is a respected guidance counselor. What I admire most about her character is that she THINKS like a counselor. She isn’t making stupid decisions or letting Sam get away with crap. Ms. Stacey carried her personality through every action and decision. And Sam is also a good, smart guy. While he does have a rocky past, he’s learned to deal with it like an adult. He takes into consideration others and how his actions will impact those closest...
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Aug
25

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: For 100 Days by Lara Adrian

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: For 100 Days by Lara Adrian Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: For 100 Days Author: Lara Adrian Narrator: Summer Morton Audio Speed: 2x Series: 100 Days #1 Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance Source: Tantor Audio Avery is a starving artist living in New York, scraping by as a bartender for a trendy club. She hasn’t sold anything in a year and is being dropped by her gallery. Now with an eviction notice looming, Avery gets a gift when Claire asks her to house sit her uptown condo. It’s at her new, albeit temporary, home that she first runs into the powerful and handsome Dominic “Nick” Baine. When the pair meet again at a gallery showing, sparks fly, and Avery decides to ignore her inner warning signs, jumping into bed with Nick. Now she must balance her feelings and the lies she’s spinning until Nick discovers the truth and dumps her. **WARNING, Mild Spoilers Ahead*** I’m going to be brutally honest here, For 100 Days was not what I thought it would be, nor what I wanted in a book. While the story had promise, it definitely falls into the erotic romance side of contemporary romance, which I wasn’t expecting. There are a number of drawn-out sex scenes, and I got bored with it. Additionally, I took issue with Nick telling Avery she doesn’t need a safe word with him. It was reckless, and considering Avery’s history, frustrating that she didn’t have strong reservations. Had I known all of this before I picked up the book, I probably wouldn’t have read it; but I adore Ms. Adrian’s paranormal work and wanted to give this a try. Another issue I had with the book is that it is highly repetitive. Avery is a self-destructive heroine, making poor decisions based on her lust for Nick. She’s constantly reminding the herself, and the listener, that she doesn’t belong in Nick’s world, that she’s lying to him. It was annoying. I wanted her to get over it and own it, which she does eventually, but by then, I had lost interest. However, my biggest issue is SPOILERS AHEAD… ** ** ** THIS ISN’T AN HEA ROMANCE!! That’s right. I listened to the entire book and then found out at the end that Nick and Avery’s story continues to the next book. Avery weaves her web of lies for the entire book, comes clean in the last chapter, and then lies again. I wasn’t happy at all. On the positive sides, I enjoyed...
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Aug
24

Review: Spanish Lessons by Jessica Peterson

Review: Spanish Lessons by Jessica Peterson Spanish Lessons Author: Jessica Peterson Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Spanish Lessons was good read. I finished the other night and needed to let it marinate. Ms. Peterson’s voice was authentic and engaging. Overall, I enjoyed the characters—especially at the end. Part of the reason I didn’t give this title an A rating is because there’s probably a generational gap or a regional difference, and I was confused by some of the usage. For example, ‘hookup’. Darlings, I graduated from high school in 1986. When we said ‘hook up’, we meant having sexy time. I understood, by context clues and world-building this was not the case. But it bugged me a little. Probably a ‘me’ thing. Because I’m old and set in my ways. Don’t let this little thing discourage you from picking up this title, though! There was a TON I adored about Spanish Lessons, the first title in the Study Abroad series. All the art made me want to die—or visit Spain. I actually used Google Images to peruse paintings by artists mentioned in the story. I’m a geek like that. It was pretty spectacular to read about a character that is almost like the late-80s me, in some ways. Ms. Peterson’s description was vivid—which is important to me, as I’ve never had the opportunity to travel abroad. Even though I really want to, and now Spain is on my list. I liked Vivian well enough, I suppose. She vacillated on her decisions entirely too much; the inner conflict was a little overdone for my taste—but if you like your characters to work for their Happily for Now, then pick up this title. I get the whole inner conflict and the romance formula. It was really nice, however, to see Vivian grow as a person. Which is why, by the end, I felt more connected to her and was much less irritated by her waffling. Maddie, as Viv’s bestie, was distant for a chunk of the story, but we get to read about her next—Lessons in Gravity was released in April! Come back next week for my review. This brings us to Rafa. I was really glad he was depicted as a graduate student and not anything older. Then again, I might be slightly squicked out by the teacher-student relationship thing. There wasn’t as much of an age disparity, and that seemed to work for Viv and Rafa. Also, if I ever travel to...
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