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Dec
6

Review: Forever Yours by Addison Fox

Review: Forever Yours by Addison Fox Forever Yours Author: Addison Fox Reviewer: Nima Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Forever Yours is the third installment in the Brooklyn Brotherhood series. The brief novella takes advantage of a lengthy history between Jasmine “Jaz” Shane and Cade Rossi. We were introduced to these characters in the last book Just Once. Jasmine is Detective Daphne Rossi’s life long best friend and Cade is Daphne’s older brother, also a member of the NYPD.  Jaz has been in love with Cade since she was nine years old.  Cade knows everything there is to know about Jaz, but has only recently begun to realize she may be the right woman for him. These two have not flirted in the traditional sense as the book description suggests.  Rather they have been sparing like near-siblings in their own form of foreplay. A catalyst incident moves them out of their bickering and into relationship territory, for which they are the only ones who seem surprised.  Because it takes history for granted, it really should be read in order rather than taken as a standalone. Also, because that history is assumed, we can jump from the friend zone into a forever relationship in just 100 or pages. I hope Fox takes on subjects in future books that are brought up in Forever Yours, but not really addressed.  Some of those subjects include racism and sexual assault.  They are too significant to ignore in the lives of her characters given the Brooklyn, New York backdrop.  Book four, Only You, comes out this month. My Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot About the Book: Detective Cade Rossi has spent the majority of his life oblivious to Jasmine Shane. She’s always been his little sister’s best friend, but after coming to her rescue one night, Cade is starting to see the woman behind the lawyerly suits. Since childhood, Jasmine has harbored an embarrassing crush on Cade. She’s seen him work his way through nearly every eligible bachelorette in Park Heights, Brooklyn, and Jasmine’s given up hope of them ever having a chance together. But summer is the perfect time for a fling, and as Cade and Jasmine grow closer, what starts out as an innocent flirtation could turn into so much more… Release Date: June 13, 2017 Publisher: Swerve Series: The Brooklyn Brotherhood #3 Genre: Contemporary Romance, novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher Purchase Info: Amazon Reviews in the Series: At Last by Addison Fox (Brooklyn Brotherhood #1) Just...
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Dec
6

Review: Love on the Tracks by Tamsen Parker

Review: Love on the Tracks by Tamsen Parker Love on the Tracks Author: Tamsen Parker Reviewer: Jen Rating: B/B- What I’m Talking About: At only 20 years old, Rowan Andrews is competing in her second Snow and Ice Games (SIGs). She has dedicated her whole life to training for the sport she loves: luge. Entering the games as a medal contender for the United States, nothing can throw Rowan off her game. That is until she meets her celebrity crush, singer Zane Rivera. Zane Rivera, lead singer for an insanely popular boy band, needs a break from his bandmates and the craziness of his life, so when the opportunity arises to surprise his fan, and SIG superstar, Rowan, he takes an impromptu trip to Denver. Once America gets a taste of Rowan and Zane together, they want more, and the pair fake a few dates, hoping to increase their social media coverage. However, the fake dates are starting to feel like the real deal. Overall, I enjoyed Love on the Tracks, and found it to be a solid, entertaining start to this new series. I enjoyed the descriptions and feel of the games and what it means to be a professional/serious athlete. The author does a fabulous job putting me inside the heart and mind of Rowan, learning the ups and downs of such an intense lifestyle. With that said, Rowan was difficult for me to connect with. I like that her sport comes first and that she goes after what she wants without (much) hesitation. She’s strong and unusually mature beyond her 20 years. Yet, I did struggle a bit with her age and maturity level at the start of the book. I suppose because it’s been way too long since I’ve been that age, it was difficult for me to relate to her. But she stays true to her heart and dreams, which I really liked. Zane is a sweet and caring guy; not the typical Justin Bieber asshole popstar. He’s also pretty young, but at 26, and after a decade of touring, he feels like an old soul. He’s perfect for Rowan because he cares and won’t let his agent dictate all of his moves. He’s loyal to his bandmates, friends, and family, so it’s no surprise that he treats Rowan with utter respect. At first it was hard for me to get into their relationship – they felt so young, especially her, but after I got into the story, that all went away....
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Dec
4

Review: Rogue Affair Anthology

Review: Rogue Affair Anthology Rogue Affair Authors: Tamsen Parker, Ainsley Booth, Olivia Made, Kris Ripper, Amy Jo Cousins, Emma Barry, Adriana Anders, Kelly Maher, Stacey Agdern, Jane Lee Blair. Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: I read three titles in this collection, and I’m really sad I didn’t have time to read more. Go pick this up, you guys. Dedication of a Lifetime by Tamsen Parker: This story totally hit me in the feels. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had THIS convo with Mr. VampBard. And the REALNESS of the relationship between Sean and Isaiah—oh, my. Get thee to a fainting couch, pronto. I loved the interplay between these two guys. School counselor Sean wants to fix the world, or at least he’s willing to bear the weight on his slim shoulders. No social justice slouch himself, Sean’s medical researcher husband Isaiah is exhausted by one assault to decency after another. Their world is crumbling, their marriage is in trouble, and Isaiah suggests they run away from it all but Sean balks. Will they honor the vows they made to one another or will their relationship be another casualty of the world gone mad?  Personal Proposal by Ainsley Booth: Astrid and Brianne. **content sigh** Brianne has balls of steel and is hiding out. Both of these women seem to have strong personalities and what I liked the most about their story was how there seemed to be an instant attraction yet they were so unsure. It was really endearing. I liked seeing Brianne through Astrid’s artist’s eye. New boss. Secret crush. Big problems.  Brianne can’t afford a crush on her new boss. Thanks to a storm of media attention, she’s fled her old life and desperately needs to please the aloof and demanding Astrid Dane. So she ignores the zing of chemistry every time they touch, and the ache inside each night as she tumbles into a cold, lonely bed. But as their work gets harder, and their days longer, boundaries crumble and Astrid finally puts her cards on the table with an unexpected proposal.  Such Great Heights by Adriana Anders: Shut. Up. I’m not crying. This poignant story highlighting an issue that definitely requires more attention felt so real. I felt like I was hiking up a handicapped path. Sleeping (etc.) in a tent. And the torment of someone haunted by his past. Small town reporter O’Neal Jones is a sucker for a good story. Which...
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Dec
4

Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren

Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren Roomies Author: Christina Lauren Reviewer: Jen Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Holland, born in a cab and the youngest of six kids, lives in Manhattan on the support of her doting uncles, who are more like fathers. She has a masters degree in fine arts – an aspiring writing, who isn’t writing. She’s got little direction in her life, but when an accident puts her in contact with the subway busker she’s been crushing on for six months, Holland’s life turns upside down. With a little bit of the 1995 Sandra Bullock movie, While You Were Sleeping, and a little bit of the 1991 film, Green Card, Roomies is a delightful romance about self-discovery and making dreams come true. When Holland finds a way to help her Uncle Robert with his broadway musical by marrying classical guitarist Calvin so he can stay in country, she decides to go for it. It’s a turning point for Holland who realizes she wants to marry Calvin because she never takes risks, and at twenty-five years old, is bored with life. She recognizes that maybe the reason she can’t write is because she’s not really living. Through Holland’s eyes we get to know Calvin, who is charming, sexy, sweet, and kind. He’s humble and gracious, and readers can tell that it’s not just Holland’s rose-colored, lustful glasses that filter how we see Calvin. There are stumbles, and yet, he continues to shine. Holland always puts the needs of others before her own. It’s through the getting-to-know each other process (for the green card application), that Holland recognizes some things about herself; that she’s a supporting character in her own life. And this is what eventually drives Holland to become more than a supporting character. Additionally, Holland doesn’t feel worthy of Calvin’s affection, and as they get to know one another, we experience the range of Holland’s feelings, most of all her uncertainty. The wondering if Calvin’s flirtatious actions are true or for show… my heart was pounding along side of Holland’s. Her flaws make her real and on some level, all of her insecurities are familiar: that piece of Holland that is always trying to help others. Who is unsure of where to go with life. Who doubts she can find true meaning and love in her life. Honestly, my only complaint is I wanted more. Although we get to see a lot of the pair as a couple and falling in...
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Nov
30

Review: Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines

Review: Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines Terminal Alliance Author: Jim C. Hines Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: A What We’re Talking About: Terminal Alliance is a new hilariously witty science-fiction novel by Jim C. Hines.  We loved it! Mr. Hines has blended his characteristic humor, world building, and character development in a science fiction world.  The human race is actually endangered.  Humans destroyed themselves, but are being slowly saved from a devastating virus by an alien race, the Krakau.  The virus takes a thinking, reasoning, rational human being and turns them feral.  Humans have become id driven animals, reacting by instinct and fueled only by baser needs.  However, once rehabilitated by the Krakau into calm beings, humans are physically stronger than they once were and are almost invincible.  Most rehabilitated humans work in military professions for the Krakau. This novel focuses on Mops, the head janitor on the EMC spaceship Pufferfish.  During an operation to save another vessel from a Krakau enemy, the entire human crew, except Mops and her small team, revert to a feral state.  In the panic that ensues, all alien crewmembers, except Grom, are killed.  Command falls to Mops as the most senior member of the crew.  She must find a way to help her feral compatriots and uncover the cause of this mysterious virus. Yes, there is some bathroom humor, but it is tasteful and hilarious.  However, it is the perceptions of the aliens, the interactions between them and humans, as well as the “lost” cultural references that Mops and crew throw around that make this novel wonderful.  We loved how intricate the different alien races were, especially their cultures.  For example, Grom is an alien that is neither male nor female.  So the pronouns used in reference to all members of this species are always “they”.  However, there is another alien race that can change its gender, thus, when referring to them, you must change the gender of the pronoun every other sentence.  It isn’t as confusing as you think, but cleverly funny! The characters that create the core of Mops’ team are varied and wonderful.  Their names, their interactions, and the way their life is structured, are all fascinating, funny, and cleverly woven into the mythology.  One of our favorite characters is Puffy, the onboard ship’s computer assistant.  Puffy is the go to guy when you need to know how to steer the ship, use the tractor beam, or simple things like making a call.  It seems to...
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Nov
29

Review + Giveaway: The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parish

Review + Giveaway: The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parish The Remaking of Corbin Wale Author: Roan Parrish Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Although I’ve read several titles by this author, and have enjoyed each one a great deal, I had a difficult time with both the reading of The Remaking of Corbin Wale, as well as writing this review. Evocative, sensual, and magical—I can’t remember ever reading anything like it, and wanted to love it because of that alone. Each of the five senses is teased into complicity, and the author’s general storytelling abilities are evident throughout. Phrasing such as: “In Alex’s arms, time was measured in breaths and distance in the wrinkles of the clothing between them…” handily caught me up in the narrative are everywhere, seeming almost careless in their delivery, if it weren’t for their undeniable importance. I also thought both Corbin and Alex were wonderful characters, although it was Corbin who repeatedly drew me in and kept the story pleasantly unsteady. Corbin has made a wall of himself, reinforced by a lifetime of inherited hurt and loneliness, and I couldn’t help being fascinated by the increasing fractures along its surface shaped by his wanting of Alex. The two are different in so many ways, but somehow collide at the merging of belief and magic, sensation and desire—the jumble of their pieces sliding together in a cohesiveness that neither is much inclined to refute. Almost a character in and of itself, the Wale curse is an ever-present nemesis, always lurking and threatening, and shaping so much of Corbin’s life that it really does seem to be a tangible thing. At first, I thought the curse begged the familiar question: does it exert a power of its own on those subject to it, or does it derive influence from the strength of their belief in its existence? In Corbin’s case, however, that became irrelevant as soon as Alex joined him in his determination to break it, rather than doubt its actuality. Overall, I found The Remaking of Corbin Wale to be a unique and sweet holiday read. While there were several moments when I was unable to completely immerse myself in the narrative, I’ve decided they are more personal in nature and shouldn’t dissuade anyone else from giving it a try. Additionally, 20% of the proceeds from the sale of this title will be donated to the Russian LGBT Network, which, on initial inspection, seems like a very worthy cause. My Rating:  B+...
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Nov
27

Review: Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Review: Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan Moonlight Over Manhattan Author: Sarah Morgan Reviewer: Jen Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Harriet Knight has always been introverted, relying on her more confident twin, Fliss, to help her navigate the uncomfortable sea of humanity outside their apartment. But now Fliss has moved out to live with her fiancé, and Harriet has decided it’s time to push herself outside her comfort zone in order to seek changes in her life. She’s put herself on a month-long challenge to do something she wouldn’t normally everyday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Dr. Ethan Black works in the ER of a Manhattan hospital. He’s great at this job, knowledgeable, friendly, and able to put aside the overwhelming array of emotions that can spring up in his intense line of work. But when he meets Harriet who simply twisted her ankle and takes his professional advice at face value, he realizes he’s become too cynical. When Ethan agrees to watch his sister’s dog for a short time and Harriet comes as part of the package, Ethan begins to question his own outlooks on life. Moonlight Over Manhattan is another wonderful romance in Ms. Morgan’s enjoyable From Manhattan with Love series. This time, the story focuses on Fliss’s twin, Harriet, the timid sister who lets Daniel and Fliss take care of her. In the previous two books, we’ve gotten glimpses of Harriet, but in Moonlight Over Manhattan, Harriet is allow to develop and grow. Challenge Harriet, the name she calls herself because of her goal to do something outside of her comfort zone for a month, is full of surprises, doing things that would be difficult for Harriet. But what happens over the course of the book is that Challenge Harriet and Harriet become one. She learns how to be comfortable in her own skin and discovers she can trip up, recover, and move ahead. And Ethan’s genuine joy in seeing this transformation in Harriet is contagious. I found myself cheering for Harriet each time she tried something new. While Ethan is an equal partner in this romance, I feel his storyline is overshadowed by Harriet’s. Not only did it seem he had fewer POVs, but because he has given up on love and the messy emotions that get in the way of his job, we don’t get a lot of emotion out of his POVs. Yet, he’s empathetic and kind, with a bedside manner of a saint. And Ethan is freakishly perceptive, in...
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Nov
22

Review: Vampire Fight Club by Larissa Ione

Review: Vampire Fight Club by Larissa Ione Vampire Fight Club Author: Larissa Ione Reviewer: Jen Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Nathan (Nate) Sabine, a rare, daywalker vampire, has worked at an underground fight club for decades hoping to bring it down from the inside, ever since the owner, Fade, killed his wife. But Nate has become apathetic and has lost sight of his need for revenge. He hates himself. Vladlena (Lena) Paskelkov is a nurse at UGH. She’s working when one of the paramedics brings in her brother all torn up. They discover he was killed at an underground fight club. Lena decides to go undercover as a medic for the fight club’s legitimate front, the Vampire nightclub Thirst, to seek revenge for her brother’s murder. Although previously released, Vampire Fight Club is one of the few (only?) Demonic stories I hadn’t read. I absolutely enjoyed diving into the old school Demonica tales. The story is set mid-series, after the original crew have their stories, but before most of the Lords of Deliverance characters are mated. It’s fast, simple, and fun. Nate and Lena share an instant attraction, although it sort of horrifies Lena as she’s not certain if Nate had anything to do with her brother’s death. But their pull is undeniable, and it gives Nate a reason to live again. It also helps Lena fulfill her own shifter needs. Vampire Fight Club is independent of the original series and can be enjoyed as a standalone or introduction to this awesome PNR series. As for fans of Underground General Hospital, this story is an entertaining, sexy addition to the Demonica series. My Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: When a wave of violence that hits too close to home forces shapeshifter and underworld nurse Vladlena Paskelkov to go undercover, her first stop is a haven of vice—with a dangerously sexy vamp in charge…  Legendary, jaded, Nathan Sabine is the manager of Thirst, a wildly popular vampire club—and secret underground blood arena. But Nathan, a rare daywalker, possesses other, even more explosive secrets, as does his beautiful new medic, Vladlena. The one thing they can’t conceal is the lust that simmers between them… Now, in an underworld divided by revelry and violence, debauchery and vengeance, Nate and Lena will discover which risks are worth taking—and which desires demand surrender… Release Date: November 28, 2017 Publisher: Lyrical Press Series: Demonica #6.5, Lords of Deliverance #1.5 Genre: Paranormal Romance, novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: NetGalley Purchase...
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Nov
21

Review: Enchanted by the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall

Review: Enchanted by the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall Enchanted by the Highlander Author: Lecia Cornwall Reviewer: Una Rating: A I absolutely love Ms. Cornwall’s Highland Fairy Tale series.  This latest installment, Enchanted by the Highlander, is another delightfully romantic and compelling tale. In this story, we have a retelling of Cinderella.  But like the other stories in this series, it is a fresh retelling with twists and turns that make it wholly its own fairytale.  Gillian (Gilly) has always gone along with what her sisters and father have wanted, so much so, most of the time they even speak for her.  Gilly may be shy, but she is not unintelligent.  She is actually quite observant, intelligent, and possesses the MacLeod stubborn determination. But she prefers not to make waves, so she bobs along by the directions of her family.  However, in trying to do the right thing, the family decides to marry her off to a far older man.  Sir Douglas would provide a quiet, safe, and low-key home for Gilly while she could be more of an assistant to his writings.  Unfortunately, Gilly had already lost her heart to someone she knows her family would reject. We previously met our hero, English John, in the first novel in this series, Beauty and the Highland Beast.  He was Dair’s captain of the guard and protected Fia and her sister Meggie when the village were about to burn them at the stake (if you haven’t read it yet, do so – it’s great story).  John meets Gilly about a year before she is engaged to Sir Douglas.  She had been returning from Edinburgh after unsuccessfully finding a suitor.  Upon one glance between them, the line was cast and caught.  The problem, besides that John is an Englishman, is that he is disowned by his father.  John’s tale is full of grief and heartache.  He has no plans of marriage as he feels he could not condemn a woman to life bound with a disowned, poor man. The fates of these two are sealed when Gilly, stepping out of her comfort zone, dresses up in a different costume than the one her sister Fia had picked out.  John, stunned by the beautiful and intelligent woman, shares a kiss – the kiss that changes everything.  John does not know the identity of the masked woman, but after that kiss, he desires no other. Fast forward ten months, and we find Gilly preparing for her wedding. However, things do not go...
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Nov
20

Review: Most Eligible Bastard by Annika Martin

Review: Most Eligible Bastard by Annika Martin Most Eligible Bastard Author: Annika Martin Reviewer: Jen Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Vicky works hard to provide for her sister and keep their modest life running smoothly, even when it means pretending to be a dog whisperer for the unpleasant and lonely Bernadette Locke. However, when Bernadette passes away leaving her fortune to her dog Smuckers, and Vicky as his regent, Bernadette’s son Henry accuses Vicky of being a con artist. Although Vicky never asked for any of it, she’s not going to let this sexy, rich man push her around. Let the games begin… Although billed as a romantic comedy, Most Eligible Bastard isn’t light and fluffy. Ms. Martin has a dark, wicked sense of humor that I love, but it may not be for everyone. The humor in the book is off beat, silly, sarcastic, and naughty. I love it! And considering Vicky’s past-the issues she’s had to overcome, there is dark in this story as well. While primarily a romance, there is much more going on in the story. I enjoy how the author gives bits and pieces of what happened to Vicky as a teen. Putting together the parts one at a time adds a bit of heightened tension to the read. I know something awful happened, and that history is somehow repeating itself, but without knowing the whole picture, it put me on edge. And honestly, the opening third of the book took me outside my comfort zone. I struggle with stories where a person telling the truth is railroaded into looking like they lied. When the victim becomes the bad guy. The injustice hurts something deep inside me. And this story has it two-fold. First in the back flashes and memories, but also in present day as things are repeating themselves. However, I realized that somewhere along the way, the maddening panic I felt because of the injustice went away because Henry started believing in Vicky. The story was no longer about her fighting for innocence, rather it becomes about Vicky and Henry getting to know each other and finding happiness with one another. Vicky and Henry make the perfect, unlikely couple: kind of like Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Henry and Vicky are different sides of the same coin. Henry doesn’t recognize that he has a gapping hole in his life, while Vicky knows exactly what’s missing from her life. I enjoy how the pair grow and...
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