Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Finding Holland by Grace Ryles


Finding Holland (Grand Oak Springs, #3)Finding Holland by Grace Ryles

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Holy crap that was hot! Finding Holland is definitely my favorite of the Grand Oak Springs series. Mind you it had a serious advantage over books one and two – Adrian and Oliver are not related and they are bisexual!!! So while Finding Holland had more errors than Claiming Her Temporary Men, but fewer than Second Chance at Love, I didn’t care because I got so caught up in Holland, Adrian, and Oliver’s story that their emotional drama and scorching hot sex scenes consumed my attention.

Even though the Prologue lets the reader know that something devastating happened to Holland that caused her to flee her hometown of Tucson and the men she loved, we don’t find out what it was that occurred until we are well into the book. While I could understand the conclusions she drew at the time considering her youth and inexperience, I was right there with Emma in wondering why Holland couldn’t use her experiences of the intervening six years to look at the situation then and now in order to realize that she had misread what had happened and what Adrian and Oliver’s intentions were now that they had found her again. Because of her… Shortsightedness? Bullheadedness? Pride? Whatever you want to call it, Holland spends a lot of the book refusing to let Adrian and Oliver back into her life. Thankfully her body and heart overrule her mind several times and Ms. Ryles delivers some freaking hot sex scenes – MF, MM, and MFM. And because all three parties love each other deeply – even if Holland refuses to admit it out loud – the sex scenes are filled with love and intimacy, which is what made Holland’s drama and angst palatable for me.

I relished watching the romance play out between the trio. I enjoyed the BDSM elements of the relationship, particularly Oliver’s status as a switch; even if the author didn’t use that term, I can only think of a few characters within a ménage relationship that I have found believable in their submission to one partner and dominance over the other partner. That fans of the series were given the opportunity to catch up with the trios and characters from the previous books was a nice touch. My only confusion with Finding Holland was with Mitch. Considering the suspense elements included in the first two books, I kept waiting for Mitch to reappear and wreak havoc on Holland’s life; when this didn’t happen, it left me feeling like the author dropped the ball on that particular storyline. Ultimately, Finding Holland was a thoroughly enjoyable read for me and I absolutely loved the final scene … HAWT!!! I do so hope that Ms. Ryles has more books planned for the series as I cannot wait to spend more time in Grand Oak Springs, Arizona.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the Finding Holland (Grand Oak Springs #3) by Grace Ryles blog post at Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Monday, June 29, 2015

Mark of Cain by Kate Sherwood


Mark of CainMark of Cain by Kate Sherwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Mark of Cain was a very compelling read for me. The struggles that both Lucas and Mark faced throughout the book were emotionally intense and I enjoyed how Ms. Sherwood took care in illustrating the different challenges that were faced as their relationship changed over the course of the story. Both men faced individual personal issues upon Lucas’s release from prison. For Mark, the brother of the man that Lucas killed, there was a huge sense of injustice as Lucas had only served three years of his sentence – a sentence the family felt was woefully short due to his pleading down to manslaughter. For Lucas, he had to learn to survive in a world that pretended to offer him more freedom than being in prison did, yet had just as many restrictions and more dangers than what he faced in prison. Their situation was complicated by the fact that when Lucas is released, he returns to his hometown which is far too small for either to have any hope of avoiding each other very long.

As fate would have it, their first encounter would occur less than 24 hours after Lucas’s release. While Lucas does not see Mark (nor would he have recognized him if he had), Mark does see Lucas… sitting in a bar... celebrating his release… with a beer in one hand and a girl in the other. Understandably, the injustice of Mark seeing his brother’s killer “living large” while his brother is not, incenses Mark. Rather than lashing out, Mark calls in the suspected parole violation and the series of events that follow are realistic, frustrating, controversial, and serve to highlight just how little control Lucas actually has over his life. When Lucas is thrust into Mark’s path – repeatedly – Mark is forced to tolerate Lucas. As he has the opportunity to observe Lucas, work with him, and get to know him, Mark revises his opinion of Lucas and gradually Lucas goes from being the object of Mark’s hate, to becoming an ally, a friend, and eventually, a lover. While this may seem like a rather straightforward plot, the fact that they are linked by the death of Mark’s brother prevents it from being so. Their journey is fraught with so many reasons why they should not be together – both internal and external reasons – that I found myself tearing up more than once as they dealt with blow after blow (as individuals and as a couple). I just have to say, thank goodness for Alex or the book could have gone off in an entirely different direction.

Ms. Sherwood’s talent lies with her ability to make me feel morally outraged on the behalf of both Lucas and Mark, while feeling sympathetic to each man’s plight. Did Lucas do wrong? Without question. But because he accepts responsibility for his actions and expresses extreme remorse for not only the death of the another, but for how that death impacted the man’s family, it is hard not to being to root for Lucas as he tries to find his place in the world he now lives in. Especially when he keeps getting knocked back down. While it is the sins of the past that Lucas is dealing with, it is the sins of the present that Mark must answer for. I actually liked that Mark’s personal feelings impacted his interactions regarding Lucas so thoroughly in the beginning. It added a level of fallibility to his character that could have easily been negated by his being a priest. I appreciated that the author worked into the storyline more than once, the fact that Mark was an Anglican priest, not Catholic, and the differences between the two. Because of their different situations, both Mark and Lucas were given the opportunity to show how much the other had come to mean them and both did so spectacularly. I found myself sucked right in the story and read the book in one sitting. I absolutely loved Mark of Cain and look forward to reading more of Ms. Sherwood’s writing.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the Mark of Cain by Kate Sherwood blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Sunday, June 28, 2015

In from the Cold by Bailey Bradford


In from the Cold (Coyote’s Call #2)In from the Cold by Bailey Bradford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Although In from the Cold is the second book in the Coyote’s Call series, it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone – well, at least I was able to. Because of the way that Ms. Bradford presents Gael and Iker’s story, the reader is provided the necessary background from the first book in regards to the series storyline without losing sight of the developing relationship between the two men. For me, this meant I was able to pick up on the shifter community’s ordeals and how Gael’s past was intertwined with what had been (apparently) revealed in the first book.

In from the Cold has a rather depressing beginning as we meet Gael at an extremely low point in his life – a point at which he’s unsure if he has the will to live much longer. No, he’s not injured, at least no physically. As his story unfolds, we learn that Gael’s life took a tragic turn when he was sixteen and he’s spent the last two decades barely surviving. The sense of hopelessness that he exudes is palpable and his despair at continuing to live the life he has now is understandable. Gael learned far too early that life is not fair, nor is it easy, but with each additional tidbit the author revealed, I understood why he felt like it was too hard to continue on. So it was no surprise that he reacted the way he did when confronted by members from his old den. What was surprising was how he found Iker’s presence calming even as his instinct to fight remained in control. I found the conflicting animal and human instincts that Gael faced in Iker’s presence intriguing. Even more interesting was learning about Iker’s deceased mate (who was female) and that as a wolf shifter he shouldn’t have found a second mate. And yet it was clear from their reactions that Iker and Gael were fated mates.

Although I expect relationships to develop quicker in shifter books than in contemporary romances, I was still surprised at how fast Gael initiated intimacy with Iker. All things considered, I was surprised that Gael actually made any move, much less the first move. However, I was not surprised that he was the sexually dominant one of the two and both Iker and I were pleased with just how dominant Gael turned out to be. Whew! The sex scenes were hot and contained far more BDSM elements than I expected (and that’s not a complaint). While most of the book focused on the relationship between the two men and Gael’s adjusting to his return to Del Rey, Ms. Bradford did not drop the ball at all when it came to revisiting why Gael left in the first place. I must admit that I was caught off guard when Gael was forced to face his past demons because I didn’t see it coming. Even though I enjoyed In from the Cold without having read Off Course first, I hope to be able to go back and read book one before the next book in the series is released as I want to know more about Gideon and Miller’s relationship.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the In from the Cold (Coyote’s Call #2) by Bailey Bradford blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ever Lasting Hope by Maggie Ryan


Ever Lasting Hope (Corbin's Bend Season Three, #3)Ever Lasting Hope by Maggie Ryan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Oh yes, Season Three is shaping up to be a very good one for the residents of Corbin’s Bend, both new and old. Having met Everleigh in A Brush of Violet, reading Ever Lasting Hope felt a lot like meeting up with and hanging out with an old friend. In fact, I felt so comfortable with Ever’s character that I did something I don’t normally do when reading a book – I read Ever Lasting Hope while reading other books. I would read a couple of chapters, put it down for a day or two to read a book that was due on my review schedule, come back and read another chapter or two, read another book, rinse and repeat. This is not something I can normally do. Unless I am reading two entirely different genres, I generally finish a book before starting the next one. But because of how well I remembered Ever, I was able to stretch out my time with her and I enjoyed that immensely.

I really liked this addition to Corbin’s Bend. As Ever and Rob’s wedding grows near, Ever finds herself missing Rob and becoming more anxious about his return and their upcoming nuptials. While six weeks may not seem like a very long separation for most people, being the Taken in Hand to an HoH who is out of town on business for six weeks has limited Ever’s access to the firm hand she needs to feel centered. It’s not surprising that Rob has to provide consequences for broken rules upon his return home and while the spanking was unpleasant for Ever as she received it, it was obvious how much she needed it afterwards. Unfortunately for Ever (but fortunately for the reader), the spanking was not quite enough to remind her of the rules or to help her keep her temper in check and Rob and Ever agree upon introducing maintenance spankings. Yikes! That was my initial reaction to the first maintenance spanking. While it wasn’t anything I would have agreed to, its positive effects on Ever were not missed by me, especially as her stress levels increased as the wedding date neared. I loved the chemistry between Rob and Ever. It was obvious how much he loved her (and not just because of the spankings) and their connection was palpable – which definitely translated to some hot bedroom scenes!

My only actual complaint about the book is due to my real-world professional training trying to rear its ugly head in Corbin’s Bend. One of the biggest issues between Ever and Ben is her failure to eat regularly when she gets caught up in a project. I understood how easy it was for Ever to get engrossed in her activities and forget to eat – as someone who spends hours online every day, I am very aware of how easy it is the lose track of time. I completely understood Ben’s concerns and that he felt it important to implement rules regarding the behavior. The implementation of punishment for Ever’s failure to take care of her health and for not telling Rob about it was consistent with the Domestic Discipline lifestyle. But because of my training, I kept wanting to yell at them, “Would someone set a freaking alarm or timer to remind the woman to eat? Please.” Did this issue ruin the reading experience for me? Absolutely not. This was a personal sticking point for me because of my profession and something that I doubt the majority of readers will notice. In fact, I am already looking forward to reading Ever Lasting Hope again as well as more of Ms. Ryan’s writing. I’m also looking forward to the next book in Corbin’s Bend Season Three as well.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the Ever Lasting Hope (Corbin’s Bend Season Three #3) by Maggie Ryan blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Friday, June 26, 2015

The Virgin's Night Out by Shiloh Walker


The Virgin's Night OutThe Virgin's Night Out by Shiloh Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



The first thing you should know is that The Virgin’s Night Out encompasses about 60% of the book; the “bonus story,” Tempt Me accounts for the other 40%. So rather than getting a novel and a short story (which is what I expected), I got two novellas – but I’m not complaining. In true Shiloh Walker style, both novellas provided a satisfactory resolution to their respective (and unrelated) storylines while leaving me wanting to know more about each of the couples featured.

The Virgin’s Night Out is exactly that – Sloane Redding’s last night out as a virgin. Granted she didn’t go out that night with the intent of losing her virginity. Rather she went out to show her ex-fiancé what he missed out on by dumping her right before their wedding. I am pleased to report that she did so splendidly and did the jilted ladies of the world proud when she gave him what he deserved after he refused to accept her brush-off. Equally enjoyable was Boone’s reaction to Sloane’s ability to put her ex in his place. As the reader, already knowing that Boone and Sloane hook up without telling one another their names and that they are destined to meet the next day as members of Sloane’s brother’s wedding party did not diminish the entertainment value of those scenes one iota. The chemistry between Sloane and Boone was intense and made Sloane’s reactions toward the unpleasantness that became Boone’s life feel real. The twists and turns that Ms. Walker included kept the novella moving forward and left me wanting more of Sloane and Boone’s story (hint, hint).

The bonus story, Tempt Me, is a tasty little BBW romance that left me wishing I owned a corset. The fact that the “mean girl” gets her comeuppance merely added to my enjoyments of the steamy little novella that left me jealous of Rocki’s creativity, self-confidence, and man. Much like in The Virgin’s Night Out, Ms. Walker gives readers a few twists and turns that kept me glued to my Kindle as I raced to the end to find out how it was going to play out. As much as I enjoyed Rocki and Cole’s story, I WANT MORE! Well done Ms. Walker. I loved both of these novellas and look forward to reading them both again.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out The Virgin’s Night Out by Shiloh Walker blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Desire Me Now by Tiffany Clare


Desire Me Now (Desire Me, #1)Desire Me Now by Tiffany Clare

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I feel it important to begin my review by stating unequivocally that I enjoyed Desire Me Now and consider it to be a solid 3-star read. Ms. Clare does a very nice job of combining historical romance with erotic elements in the first book of her Desire Me series. Why do I feel the need to clarify my enjoyment of the book from the onset? Because I fear that much of my review is going to sound like a litany of complaints, which may distract a potential reader from the fact that I did find Desire Me Now to be well worth the read.

Ms. Clare wastes no time in revealing our hero’s sexual appetite as the first scene of the book is between Nick and his longtime lover, Victoria. The scene is sensual in its intensity, yet it is clearly the end of their arrangement as Nick has no intention of offering Victoria what she has apparently begun angling for – marriage. Similarly the second chapter gives us a tiny glimpse into Amelia’s past based upon her reaction to her employer’s attempt to molest her, after drugging her. It is no surprise that she leaves her post without notice, nor is it a surprise that as a young single female alone in the streets of London at the wrong time of night that she finds herself yet again the victim – fortunately it was only that of a pickpocket. As providence would have it, Amelia stumbles into Nick’s life quite literally and as a collector of strays, he finds himself immediately taken by and protective of Amelia, whisking her away to his home so that he can have her injuries seen to. While I found the sequence of events believable, I had a hard time staying immersed within the story as the author seemed to be trying a bit too hard with the historical elements. By this I mean that the story would flow along smoothly and then suddenly there was too much of a formal tone to the book. It actually took me a while to figure out why I kept getting yanked out of the story and I think (because I did not go back and reread the book to confirm it) that much of the formality occurred during the characters’ internal monologues, a time at which I would expect thoughts to be more free flowing rather than stiff. Fortunately as the book progressed this seemed to occur less and less, so I am hopeful that it will be a non-issue in book two.

My other issue with the book is the speed at which Nick and Amelia’s relationship became sexual. I am a reader of historical romances, erotic romances, and erotic historical romances and I enjoy them all. While I do not pretend to be an expert in historical periods, I am well read enough to know what was expected of a woman in the late 1800s. Taking into consideration the era and Amelia’s upbringing, there was nothing revealed about her character that would indicate that she would succumb to Nick’s advances as quickly as she did. The mere fact that her brother had allowed men to grope her is not enough to override her being raised as a proper Earl’s daughter. As such, it was unrealistic to expect her to allow herself to be seduced within what seemed to be less than a two-week period (if that long). The rush to bedding seemed inauthentic, especially in light of how hard the author seemed to be trying to maintain the formality of the era. And even though Amelia’s sense of propriety should have had her putting a stop to Nick’s advances, the seduction and subsequent sex scenes themselves were scorching. Ms. Clare can clearly handle the erotic elements of the genre and I doubt readers looking for an erotic historical romance will be disappointed with the aspect of the book – I know I’m not complaining about it. Given that this is the first of a series about the couple, I would have preferred to see their personal relationship develop more before their sexual relationship commenced. That said, and in spite of my review sounding like one big complaint, I am actually looking forward to reading Desire Me More to find out what the author has in store for the couple and how much Amelia’s past will affect them – especially as it seems to be ratcheting up the danger around them.

I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.
Check out the Desire Me Now by Tiffany Clare Blog Tour post on Wicked Reads.


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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lawless In Leather by Melanie Scott


Lawless In Leather (New York Saints, #3)Lawless In Leather by Melanie Scott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



It seems as those Ms. Scott has saved the best of the terrible trio for last. In Lawless in Leather, Malachi Coulter gets his girl – whether he has time for her or not. As a former army-man turned security consultant, Mal is in charge of beefing up security at Deacon field to insure the safety of players and fans alike. If you have read the earlier books in the series, then you know that Mal’s past makes this task of the upmost importance and because of it he’s been putting everything he has into making Deacon as safe as humanly possible by the start of baseball season. Now if you haven’t read The Devil in Denim and Angel in Armani, don’t fret because you can read Lawless in Leather as a standalone thanks to the way Ms. Scott presents Mal and Raina’s story.

Cheerleaders?!?!? There’s no cheerleaders in baseball. Okay, so I’m (badly) ripping off Tom Hanks’s crying spiel from A League of Their Own, but that doesn’t keep Alex from using every marketing idea he has to pack the seats for the New York Saints in order to gain some attention for the worst team in the league. Despite the fact that I am not a sports fan and thought it was nuts, I figured at least it would pull the attention off the team’s dismal record. Enter Raina Easton. Dancer, singer, owner/operator of a burlesque club, and the woman responsible for bringing to life Alex’s vision – the Fallen Angels. Even though she’s out-blonded and horizontally challenged in the presence of the Fallen Angels, there is something about the red-headed firecracker that proves to be irresistible for Mal. Although both Mal and Raina put up one heck of an entertaining effort to resist one another, thank the good lord in heaven that chemistry overrides fears and logic because these two together is positively sinful.

As it has several months since reading the other books in the series, I cannot say with complete certainty, but it felt as though Ms. Scott has ratcheted up the suspense factor in this installment. Admittedly, Mal’s profession makes this an option that will flow with the storyline without feeling forced. So not only did Raina’s stalker situation prove to be a realistic addition to the story, but the author was able to use the series of incidents to create conflict, demonstrate character growth, and heighten tensions between the two. And she does so beautifully, making Lawless in Leather my favorite book in the New York Saints series. While Mal is the last of the mighty to fall, I do hope that Ms. Scott plans to continue the series as she does have an entire baseball team to pick from (Ollie anyone?) and I would love to see how Mal and Raina and the rest of the couples are faring – we do have weddings and proposals waiting to occur.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the Lawless In Leather (New York Saints #3) by Melanie Scott blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

There You Stand by Christina Lee


There You Stand (Between Breaths, #5)There You Stand by Christina Lee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Although There You Stand is the fifth book in the series, it can easily be read and enjoyed as a standalone. I know this because that’s what I did. I have not read any of the other books in the series, nor have I read any of Ms. Lee’s other work, but I had no problem reading this installment out of order and would not have known that it was part of a series were it not listed as such.

Cory Easton is suffering from a bad case of unrequited lust. For a straight man. Or so he assumes. And because aloof and stand-offish don’t even begin to accurately describe how much distance Jude puts between himself and others, Jude’s heterosexuality is a fair assumption on Cory’s part. Thankfully, it was the wrong one. While both Cory and Jude have some serious baggage from their pasts, as Ms. Lee reveals the tidbits about Jude’s past, his distance is understandable. But thanks to one seriously unmindful dog, Cory finds himself thrust into Jude’s life repeatedly – despite Jude’s best intentions. While the sex is intense, it is the actual development of the relationship between Cory and Jude that I enjoyed the most. Watching Cory navigate the waters of Jude’s past and present proved to be an interesting combination of entertaining and frustrating.

Speaking of frustrating (terrible segue, I know), I’ll be honest – I wasn’t quite sure how to rate this book. I kept wavering between three and four stars and as I rarely give a half-star rating because none of the reviews sites I post on allow it, I was unsure of what to do. However, as I wrote this review I realized why I was so indecisive (me? indecisive? I know!). I often found myself as frustrated with the book as Cory found himself frustrated with Jude. But once I realized that my frustration mirrored that of Cory’s and suspected that that was the author’s intent, the decision was easy. Although I did find it harder to connect with the characters than normal, coming to the understanding that it wasn’t the writing but rather the manner in which the storyline played out made the 4-star rating a no-brainer because even though I was often as frustrated as could be while reading the book, it was Cory’s frustration I was channeling. I really enjoyed There You Stand and look forward to checking out more of Ms. Lee’s writing.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the There You Stand (Between Breaths #5) by Christina Lee blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fevered Hearts by Em Petrova


Fevered HeartsFevered Hearts by Em Petrova

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Wow! Fevered Hearts was really freaking good. I already knew that Ms. Petrova could write unbelievably hot ménage romances as I have read several of them. What I did not know was how good she was at writing romantic suspense. And she is GOOOOOOD!

I loved that the book opened with Ward seeing Ivy for the first time and experiencing an immediate attraction for her before knowing who she was. Their natural sexual attraction actually went a long way in cementing the realism of the arrangement Liam proposes and the eventual relationship they all enter into because it showed that Ward wanted Ivy for Ivy and not just because of Liam and the history the two men shared. But it’s that history that makes it possible for Liam to ask Ward to help him show his wife that she is beautiful and sexy and important. Liam not only trusted Ward with Ivy, but he also trusted Ward with his pride and his heart. After the initial shock, it was their mutual trust that made the relationship possible – Ivy trusted Liam to have her best interest in heart when inviting Ward into their relationship, Ward trusted Liam not to let his presence interfere with Liam and Ivy’s marriage, and Liam trusted Ivy to fall in love with Ward and still love him – oh yeah, our boy Liam had a long-term plan whether he realized it or not. There were so many places for jealousy to emerge and ruin the budding relationship, yet it did not. Liam could have easily become resentful of Ward’s physical abilities and that Ward could please Ivy in ways he no longer could, but he didn’t; instead he used the visions of Ivy and Ward as motivation to commit to his physical rehab so that he could join the two people he loved the most and make theirs a true ménage relationship. No matter when the couplings occurred, each and every sex scene in the book was HAWT!!! It didn’t matter what the combination was either – MF, MFM, or MMF – they were all scorchingly hot.

As if the relationship development and super-hot sex scenes were not enough, Ms. Petrova weaves it all within a rather gripping romantic suspense plot. Initially, the trouble that Liam’s family is having with environmentalists seems to be par for the course in the life of an owner of a logging company, especially with the recent bad press they suffered when the company contracted to replant after an area that was harvested failed to fulfill their contract and disappeared with their money. But as the story progresses, things begin to heat up as property is vandalized and death threats are made. What I enjoyed about the suspense element is that I learned the facts at the same time the characters did, so while I knew something was going on, I was no more aware of who the culprit was than they were. This ratcheted up the suspense and made the reveal that much more shocking. I loved Fevered Hearts and am excited to add yet another Em Petrova novel to my re-read shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the Fevered Hearts by Em Petrova blog post at Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Monday, June 22, 2015

Welcome to Lobster Cove by Carol Lynne


Welcome to Lobster Cove (Lobster Cove #1)Welcome to Lobster Cove by Carol Lynne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



I do believe Ms. Lynn has a hit on her hands and a stellar start to a new series. Welcome to Lobster Cove not only serves as an introduction to the new LGBT-friendly community, it also gives us a look into the lives of two very different men with seemingly nothing in common but who find themselves drawn to one another despite their best intentions to stay focused on starting their lives anew in Lobster Cove.

Boone moved to Lobster Cove for work and in hopes of finding a safe place for his brother to live. Because his partner of three years dumped him when he gained custody of Laddy, his teenage brother with Downs’ Syndrome, Boone has no interest in romance. That is, until he meets his new boss, Dante. Although not recently dumped, Dante has had his trust shattered just as badly when his best friend and longtime business partner Scott left town with most of his money, forcing Dante to close his extremely successful New York restaurant. Adding insult to injury, Scott was cheating on Dante’s sister and he felt guilty for introducing Scott to Ava. Fortunately, Ava forced her way into Dante’s relocation to Lobster Cove and her smart mouth kept me entertained as I never knew what to expect from her. I will admit that I was surprised by how she took to Laddy almost immediately and both she and Dante showed no hesitation in accepting him. Not only did she serve as a buffer/sitter when Boone and Dante got the chance to be alone, but she proved to be vital to the success of Boone’s pursuit of Dante.

For the most part, the story flowed smoothly. There was a time or two where I felt as though I had missed a transition between scenes, but that ultimately had little effect on my overall enjoyment of the novella. The chemistry between Dante and Boone was great and made for some intense sexual interactions, especially when time was not on their side. Their relationship reservations were justified and fell in line with their pasts, especially when Ava provided Boone with her insight into Dante. And while I am looking forward to finding out whether or not Ava accepts the date request she received at the end of the book, what sold me on the Lobster Cove series was the way the community came together in Laddy and Boone’s time of need. I hope that future installments will allow readers to catch up with Boone and Dante and I look forward to meeting more of the residents of the Lobster Cove community.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the Welcome to Lobster Cove (Lobster Cove #1) by Carol Lynne blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Texas Family by R.J. Scott


Texas Family (Texas, #4)Texas Family by R.J. Scott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



The boys are back and looking to expand the Campbell-Hayes family even more. Now that their respective business ventures are doing well and Hayley has moved seamlessly into their lives, Riley and Jack decide that they want to make their family of three just a bit bigger. But you know what they say about Texas, right? Everything’s bigger in Texas. And when these two guys decide that they want a bigger family, they don’t shy away from the opportunities they encounter on their journey.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the last two books, Texas Family gave me that little something extra that I needed. Perhaps it was because Riley and Jack were committed to their new family goal and had to lean on one another emotionally more so this time around, but I felt like their already strong bond just got stronger. There is no doubt that these two men love one another and would do anything they could for each other, but some of the situations they faced in Texas Family were such that there was nothing they could actually DO, so they had to rely on one another for support and comfort. The chemistry between the two is just as intense and even though they’ve been married now for 3 years, their sex life hasn’t waned a bit – maybe gotten hotter. The fantasy Jack came up with while at the doctor’s office to make the necessary donation for fertility checks was HAWT!!! But it paled in comparison to when they made it a reality. Good grief! My Kindle needed a cigarette after that scene. As much as I love Riley and Jack’s sex life, it is their easy affection and loving PDAs that I enjoy most of all. They speak to the love the men share.

I will admit that I was right there with Riley and Jack in waiting for the other shoe to drop. Nothing in their union has been easy, so the idea that two gay men in Texas could have a baby (via surrogacy) and do so without conflict was ludicrous. And yet, that’s what happened. Like them, I kept waiting for the roadblocks to pop up and the obstacles to be thrown in their path, but for the most part the entire process was pretty much drama-free. Finding a compatible surrogate proved easier than they expected as did choosing the egg donor. The procedure went well and took the first time. This left Jack and Riley having to deal with the “typical” trials of becoming parents. My heart was so full when, during the course of the surrogacy, they met a child that they wanted to adopt. Granted, Riley’s wealth makes it easier for them to obtain their family goals (especially being as they are two gay men in Texas), but there was no second guessing as to whether or not bringing a child into their home that wasn’t blood-related to either of them and had special needs was a good idea. This made me love the guys even more than I already did. I loved Texas Family and am looking forward to Texas Christmas to find out what Ms. Scott has in store for the Campbell-Hayes clan and the Double D ranch next.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the Texas Family (Texas #4) by R.J. Scott blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Shadows in the Night by M.A. Church


Shadows in the NightShadows in the Night by M.A. Church

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Shadows in the Night was an enjoyable shifter novel. I loved the way Ms. Church opened the book with a scene from Chip’s past. Not only did we get to see the bond that young Chip had with the black panther (sorry, I’m a Florida girl and that’s what we call them) but also the bond the cat had with Chip’s grandmother. This introduction served as a nice foundation for the story and goes a long way in explaining why Jason seems to move so fast when Chip returns to town to take up residence in his recently deceased grandmother’s home.

Because she helped raise him and was an influential person in his life, Chip loved his grandmother immensely and her death was an unexpected blow. That it came so close after losing his job due to downsizing turned out to be an unwanted blessing in disguise as it gave him a place to live, a much needed change of scenery, and a sense of purpose as he was able to focus on fixing up the house a bit. I will admit that even knowing that this was a shifter book, I was a little thrown by Chip’s reaction toward some of the side characters – well, except for his reaction to Garon because that dude just screamed bad news. But none of that compared to his reaction to Jason – now THAT man sounds like sex on a stick and I was right there with Chip in wanting to tangle my fingers in Jason’s hair. Yummy!

Being privy to Jason’s true nature made watching their courtship unfold rather entertaining. On one hand you’ve got Chip who feels a stronger attraction to Jason than he has ever felt for anyone before and who is trying hard the rein in his inner slut (his words). On the other hand you’ve got Jason who we know is a shifter and we assume from the opening chapter that he recognized Chip as his mate when Chip was a child (not as gross as it sounds, just think Renesmee and Jacob and you’ll get over it). So while Chip feels as though he’s just met Jason and doesn’t want to move too fast, Jason has been waiting more than 20 years for Chip to become an adult so that Jason could claim his mate. Fun times, fun times. Jason’s slow seduction over several dates made for some steamy foreplay encounters, I particularly enjoyed the drive-in movie scene. But Chip’s life has never been easy and the manner in which he learns Jason’s secret was no exception. The threat to Chip’s life makes Jason want to speed up the claiming of his mate, while Chip merely wants to catch the first train out of Freaksville (again, Chip’s word – the man did make me laugh a lot). As the remainder of the story plays out, Ms. Church treats readers to the fascinating tale of Jason’s history and how it converged with Chip’s ancestors, Chip finding himself in a whole lotta danger as someone uses him as a means to seek revenge on Jason, a snazzy little hummingbird, and a seriously hot bout of mating sex. Yep, I thoroughly enjoyed Shadows in the Night and have added its sequel, To Touch the Sky, to my to-be read list so that I can enjoy Simon and Hawk’s story.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the #Throwback: Shadows in the Night blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Nobody's Hero by Kallypso Masters


Nobody's Hero (Rescue Me Saga, #2)Nobody's Hero by Kallypso Masters

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Even though this is not the first, second, or even third time that I have read Nobody’s Hero, I still forget how much happens during the course of Adam and Karla’s story. This installment picks up where Nobody’s Angel ended, with Adam in the hospital recovering from the cougar attack. Of course Adam can’t wake up from a coma like a normal patient. Nope, the master sergeant wakes up dropping the f-bomb because he discovers Karla in his bed. Not, where am I? Not, what happened? Nope. It’s why the eff are you in my bed? That opening line still makes me laugh every time I read it. I suppose it was a good way for Ms. Masters to start the book off because as Adam resists Karla and her love, a large prat of the rest of the book is filled with heartache, heartbreak, and angst because of Adam’s single-minded foolishness. And let’s not forget the seriously hot BDSM sex that Adam introduces Karla too. Lucky girl!

If you read Masters At Arms like you should have, then you know that Adam first met Karla when she was 16. Fast forward nine years, and 25 year old Karla is now singing in Adam’s BDSM club and trying to convince the bullheaded man that he is not too old for her, that he’s not too damaged for a relationship, and that he is worthy of love. While Adam is attracted to Karla, the fact that there is a 25 year age difference makes him feel like a pervy old man often. But that is just one of the myriad of reasons that he gives for avoiding her attempts to move them past being just friends. The master sergeant may have patience honed from years in the Marines and as a Dom, but his patience and resistance have nothing on Karla’s persistence and determination. The fact that Adam underestimates her determination – especially considering the circumstances under which they first met – leads them both into an M/s relationship that works for neither of them and nearly destroys the Karla that Adam knows and loves. Although it is Adam who safewords out of that devastating arrangement, ultimately it is Karla who must decide how much of Adam is enough for her to be happy.

I absolutely love this series and Nobody’s Hero is probably my favorite book of the four I have read. Yep, I’m behind on the series, which is one of the reasons I wanted to reread them; the other being that I absolutely love Ms. Masters’s writing and want to share it with others. I like how we get to see how Marc and Angie are faring, as well as how Damian is doing and how the events that impact his life in this book set the stage for the next book in the series, Nobody’s Perfect. That Ms. Masters does not make the road to happiness for Adam and Karla smooth and obstacle-free is why I enjoy her writing so much. Before finding their way to a future together, Adam and Karla must first come to terms with who they are as individuals and their personal journeys of self-discovery are fraught with ghosts from their pasts (almost literally). The wedding ceremony that occurs is at the top of my list of favorite book weddings and I still tear up during the couple’s exit. There is so much more to Nobody’s Hero that I love and that I’m sure I’ve forgotten to mention, but ultimately it comes down to the fact that I absolutely love the book and I’m already looking forward to my reread of Nobody’s Perfect.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the #Throwback: Nobody’s Hero blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Friday, June 19, 2015

Okay by Danielle Pearl


OKAY (Something More, #2)Okay by Danielle Pearl

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



As it has been almost six months since I read Normal, I did two things before I began Okay: (1) I put my box of tissues right next to me, and (2) I reread the final chapter of Normal to reorient myself to the story. Thankfully for my sinuses, I only needed one tissue and my decision to reread the final chapter was invaluable because it not only put me back in Rory’s mindset and the helplessness/hopelessness of her situation, but Okay picks up right where Normal ended – it opens with the note Rory left to break things off with Sam.

Now don’t assume that because I used far fewer tissues while reading Okay that it was not an emotional of a journey. It was. But because we’re already aware of what Rory suffered and this book focuses on how Rory and Sam move on after the events in Miami, the emotions are more of a positive nature than the devastating ripping-your-heart out ones I experienced as we learned of Rory’s past during Normal. But it’s not all sunshine and roses either because in their course to protect one another, Rory and Sam nearly destroy their relationship and it’s not an easy thing to watch.

Still harboring the guilt over Cam’s death and the misconception that she’s to blame for her abuse at Robin’s hands, Rory tells Sam she cannot handle a relationship with him after all. By trying to protect Sam from Robin and the chaos that is her life, she pushes him away because she decides it’s better to have him alive as her friend than dead as her boyfriend. This is the level of fear that Robin and his threats continue to instill in her. And because Sam loves her so much, he attempts to return to being just friends and it’s not an easy thing for him to do (or me to watch as his heart breaks). But because Sam is a natural-born protector, he continues to do what he can to watch out for her. Even knowing just how much Sam loves Rory, I was still stunned by the lengths to which he was willing to go to protect her. I never expected him to call the person he hated the most in order to insure that Robin got what he deserved. But even that didn’t compare to the gut-punch Sam got when he followed that person after their first meeting. Poor Sam had his world turned upside down so many times in this book it’s a wonder the man stayed sane.

As I said earlier, Okay was just as emotional of a read as Normal, but thankfully it didn’t hurt my heart as deeply. Because this installment is told from both Rory and Sam’s points of view, the heartache they both experience in their attempts to protect one another is front and center. It is painful to see, yet inspiring to watch two people who are young in years (but sadly not in life experiences) willing to sacrifice their personal happiness to insure the safety of the person they love. There were a couple of times when Sam’s reactions to Rory’s actions seemed out of character, but when I sat back and thought about it they were actually perfect reactions for a man his age – especially a man who had never been in an actual relationship. It was a reminder that Sam wasn’t perfect. What Sam was though, was perfect for Rory. We also got to see Rory begin to heal more emotionally. THE phone call and THE box are what made me cry and I was so happy for Rory that she received them. That she was able to reconnect with some people from her hometown and learn that they never stopped believing her, supporting her, or loving her was vital to her and shored up her defenses in ways she never expected. Even though I may have hurt for both Rory and Sam as they found their way to their “okay,” I am so glad that I got to take this journey with them because despite the pain, the sadness, and the heartbreak, there was far more happiness, healing, and laughter. Rory and Sam are a couple that I have enjoyed spending time with, even if theirs wasn’t the happiest of stories to read. I do hope to go back and read ReCap as this is one of those times that I would really like to see how the story played out from the other person’s perspective – Sam’s. As I understand it, Ms. Pearl plans to continue the series, so I look forward to catching up with Sam and Rory again even if they aren’t the focus of the next book.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the Okay (Something More #2) by Danielle Pearl blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ravage Me by Ryan Michele


Ravage Me (Ravage MC, #1)Ravage Me by Ryan Michele

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ravage Me is not the best MC book I've ever read and it's by no means the grittiest, but it was enjoyable. It was a very fast-paced book and I'm not sure if it was because it was so action-packed or if the writing was just hurried. I did appreciate that the author added headings to show how much time had passed since the previous event (ie, 3 months later) and because of that, I'm leaning more toward the action-packed theory.

Although the action kept the story moving and the pages turning, it didn't allow for enough character development. While this was Harlow & Cruz's story, I feel like I only really got to know Harlow and that's mainly because she seemed to spend a lot of time proving herself to the men around her (most of whom have know her since she was a child). She manages to be a badass without being a bitch (kudos to the author for walking that line so very well) and she presents as a very loyal and loving character; I couldn't help but like her.

The only thing I feel like I know about Cruz is that once he makes his mind up he sticks to his decision, which is why he lays claim to Princess (Harlow) within hours of meeting her. I'm good with instant connections in books as a means of moving a relationship forward, but this was a bit too fast in my opinion. He went from the "I want you under me" mentality to the "I want you as my old lady" mindset within hours. Even more mind-boggling for me was the fact that Princess is the daughter of the MC's VP and Cruz's behavior toward her would be considered a clear sign of disrespect and a violation of protocol in every other MC book I've read. Not to mention, it doesn't seem like the behavior of a man who is former military and was raised by a single mother, but rather that of someone who was raised in the MC lifestyle (which was not the case). But that's my problem because Ravage MC is the author's creation and Ryan Michelle is free to run it however she chooses.

That said, I enjoyed the book and it was certainly worth the 99¢ I paid for it as I bought it on sale. I will keep my eye out for the next book in the series.


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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Claiming Her Temporary Men by Grace Ryles


Claiming Her Temporary Men
Claiming Her Temporary Men by Grace Ryles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Ms. Ryles takes us back to Grand Oak Springs, Arizona in Claiming Her Temporary Men. This time around, brothers Ryder and Chase get a second chance at happiness when they enter into a one-month fling with a visitor to their small town, Emma Daniels. Recently divorced, Emma has no intention of entering into a relationship with another man, let alone two men. But that doesn’t mean she’s not open to a month of no-strings-attached ménage sex, especially when the brothers offer to teach her about domination and submission – a secret desire sparked by her reading of erotic novels.

I found Claiming Her Temporary Men to be more believable and, hence, more enjoyable than the first book in the series. Perhaps because none of the three involved were looking for love and were, in fact, opposed to it, there were no immediate declarations of love. Even though the characters began to admit to themselves that their feelings might be entering love territory after two-weeks, there were no outward declarations. Being as Emma had only planned to spend a month in Grand Oak Springs, the trio spent as much time together as possible and as they were together daily and spent that time getting to know one another in and out of bed, the progression of their feelings for one another felt right rather than rushed. With the way that events unfolded in the book, the timing of their declarations of love felt appropriate given the situation.

I saw a definite improvement in the author’s writing style from Second Chance at Love to this book and I did not notice nearly as many occurrences of a word being used incorrectly as I did in book one. Ms. Ryles also struck a much more enjoyable balance between the romance, freaking hot sex, and suspense elements this time around. I found myself more invested in Emma’s story than I was in Kylie’s (with far less eye-rolling occurring on my part). I also liked that when Emma informed Chase and Ryder that her knowledge of D/s was based strictly on her reading of erotic novels, they seemed to exercise more patience and provide guidance to her than I often see in similar novels. Claiming Her Temporary Men was an enjoyable read for me and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Finding Holland.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the Claiming Her Temporary Men (Grand Oak Springs #2) by Grace Ryles blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Monday, June 15, 2015

Hollywood Bound by Morticia Knight


Hollywood Bound
Hollywood Bound by Morticia Knight

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



That was not a very nice way to end the book Ms. Knight. Sweet, sweet Jack did not deserve that bitch-slap from the universe, thank you very much. Hollywood Bound is the first of the Gin & Jazz series and introduces the reader to Jack and Nick. We learn almost immediately that Jack is gay and there is no disputing the fact that the world was not a safe place for a 19 year-old gay man in the 1920s. Fortunately for Jack, Nick took a shine to him almost immediately, assuming the role of his protector and has looked out for Jack as if he were his younger brother. A mixture of hero worship and unrequited love means that Jack is grateful for all that Nick does for him and he’s happy to have Nick in his life, even if Nick never recognizes or returns his feelings.

Despite the fact that the era is not one that typically interests me, Ms. Knight does an outstanding job of creating scenes and settings that felt authentic to me – both in New York and Hollywood. I enjoyed the way that Nick looked out for Jack, doing whatever he had to in order to preserve Jack’s innocence as long as he could. While I hated that Nick fell victim to one of Hollywood’s alternative casting couches, I appreciated that it started a chain of events that eventually enabled Nick to come to Jack’s rescue, or rather their rescue. The author’s inclusion of the seedier side of Hollywood, including the speakeasies, the sordid parties, and the backroom deals, added to the realistic feel of the novel.

Of course, the part of Hollywood Bound I enjoyed the most was the relationship between Jack and Nick and how it evolved over the course of the novel. As Nick had never been attracted to anyone before, let alone another man, his was a journey of self-discovery and the choices he made resulted in some major hits to his feelings of self-worth. Because Nick is portrayed as the stoic male typical of the era, he keeps his emotions closed down tight – even during his internal monologues – and the reader is left to infer much of what he feels from his actions. This often leads to episodes of insecurity on Jack’s part, which made those times when Nick opened up that much sweeter. Because this is the first real relationship either man has had, we get to play voyeur to some seriously hot and equally sweet sex scenes as they find out together what it means to be in love with another man. As the book drew to a close, it was easy to see how life in Hollywood was negatively impacting their relationship. Despite knowing what was coming, I wasn’t prepared for the heartbreak or the cliffhanger that Ms. Knight delivered. As this is only the first book in the series, one can only hope that Jack and Nick find happiness in the next installment.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the #Throwback: Hollywood Bound blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Lights, Camera, Cupid: A Bluewater Bay Valentine's Day Anthology


Lights, Camera, Cupid
Lights, Camera, Cupid: A Bluewater Bay Valentine's Day Anthology

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Just Another Day by L.A. Witt
LOVED IT!!! It may be because they were the first couple featured in the Bluewater Bay series, but Levi and Carter hold a special place in my heart, so I was really excited to get another glimpse into their life together. Despite his failure to explain to Carter why he detests Valentine’s Day, Levi and Carter know one another well enough that Levi knows better to follow Carter when he storms off after their fight about the holiday. After Levi comes clean about why he hates the holiday, he and Carter proceed to show us the best part of fighting with your partner… Makeup Sex! But it isn’t the seriously hot makeup sex that makes the story, it’s how Levi goes about making sure that Valentine’s Day will always be their day. #BestBoyfriendEver

Nascha by Amy Lane
Well that made me cry. A LOT! Nascha is an old man living in Bluewater Bay with his grandnephews. While he suffers from Alzheimer’s and is lucid less and less often, in this story he purposefully takes a trip down memory lane, recalling the family he had and lost. There are some really hot ménage scenes between Nascha and the couple he was in love with – i.e., the family he made. I’m not sure what was more heartbreaking for me – when Kitten and Rawlins moved to Bluewater Bay, Kitten's funeral, or realizing the plan that Nascha set into action while he was lucid. Regardless, this was a touching short story that was well worth the tears.

No Easy Way by S.E. Jakes
Dylan is back in town and Cary doesn't know whether to be happy, sad, or angry. Six years without a word, after Dylan left him without a warning or a goodbye, yet Cary still loves him. This is an intense story because there are a lot of secrets that had to be revealed so that Cary could move past the feelings of being deserted. The sex was HOT. I would have loved a scene with Cary reading to Dylan to see how that heated up their bedroom activities.

Helping Hand by Anne Tenino
I really hope that this was an introduction to characters who will get their own book later in the series. As much as felt for Lucas and the situation he found himself in, I think that he misjudged Gabe and his intentions and that made me sad for both Lucas and Gabe. The story itself was a good coming of age tale as Lucas has to face his family – especially his father – and tell them about the educational opportunity he has. I was shocked by all that came out during that conversation and was both proud of and scared for Lucas. I loved the resolution that Ms. Tenino wrote for Lucas and his parents. I just wish there had been more to the Gabe angle and it’s why I hope that their story will be fleshed out more at a later date.

I’ll Be There by Z.A. Maxfield
This story made me so very happy because I got to catch up with Nash and Spencer, and Nash’s brother Healey. If you’re hoping to peek in on some more sexy fun times between Nash and Spencer, it ain’t happening. But you won’t be disappointed for long because Nash proves just how well he knows Spencer and just how far he’s willing to go for the man he loves. The help he receives from his brother and Healey’s merry band of geeks add some comic relief to a stressful situation. This is a completely romantic short story and gave me a huge case of the warm fuzzies.

I loved this collection of Valentine’s Day themed stories and I am so glad that the anthology’s editors opted to begin and end it with stories about characters we’ve already met in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the Lights, Camera, Cupid (Bluewater Bay #6) Anthology blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Prey by Alaska Angelini


Prey (Marko Delacroix, #1)Prey by Alaska Angelini

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This may be one of the most contradictory reviews I’ve written in a while. Although I enjoyed Prey, I really didn’t get sucked into the story until I was probably 75% into the book. It’s not that the early parts of the book weren’t interesting, because they were. Perhaps I wasn’t in the mood to read a vampire book today, but Ms. Angelini’s writing is so smooth that I had no choice but to read on once I began the book. I felt compelled to read the next page and the next until I reached the end. Prey flows well and the inner and outer turmoil that Tessa and Marko experience kept me reading on to see what happened next. At this point you’re wondering why I said I didn’t get sucked in from the beginning because it certainly sounds like I did. I did warn you that I was going to be contradictory.

What I mean is that while I enjoyed the story and how everything unfolded between Marko, Tessa, and Hunter, I wasn’t sure if I was interested in reading the second book in the series. Prey entertained me and kept me engaged, but did I want more? While the action was intense, the struggle real, and the sex hot, until the end neared there was no resounding yes, but rather a “hmmm… I’ll put in on my to-be read list for the next time I’m in a vampire mood,” which is a noncommittal maybe at best. But the closer I got to the end, the more I wanted to read on. I became more and more intrigued with why those around Marko were willing to take possession of Tessa despite knowing that her blood would not taste pleasant to them due to Marko’s claiming. I wanted to know what Julius’s vision was as he seemed to be playing Marko off of Tessa and vice versa. I wanted to know if Marie’s vision regarding Hunter would come to pass. I wanted to know if Tessa would survive Marko as he stalked her on that final fateful night. If she did, did he? If they both did, what would that mean for Tessa? Of course it helps none that my two sides are warring with themselves – the romantic who wants to see if Tessa can get through to Marko’s humanity and the action/adventure lover who wants to see the war commence between humans and vampires. But these two seemingly conflicting sides are what left me wanting Blood Bound, the next book in the series, because I need to know what the author has in store for Tessa, Marko, and Hunter and what their future brings for humanity. Well done Ms. Angelini, well done.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the Prey (Marko Delacroix #1) by Alaska Angelini on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Courted by Experience by Bree Cariad


Courted by Experience (In Hyacinth, #5)Courted by Experience by Bree Cariad

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



I’ve gotta get it out of the way right up front – I was surprised by how judgmental Celie’s grandmother was considering that she was part of the Domestic Discipline lifestyle that Hyacinth was founded on. I totally get her wanting the best for her granddaughter, but to summarily dismiss a man as a potential suitor just because he was a widower and had a child just rubbed me the wrong way. Granted, it gave Celie the opportunity to prove her mettle when it came to following her own path to happiness rather than her grandmother’s when the opportunity to do so arose, which is ultimately what elevated Courted by Experience to a 5-star read for me. But that doesn’t mean I had to like her grandmother’s negativity before she took the time to get to know Marcus and his daughter Vanna.

Celie has returned to Hyacinth to spend the year with her grandparents and to enter the courting system now that she is 18 – a fact she has kept from her mother, who was so opposed to the Domestic Discipline lifestyle that she took Celie and left Hyacinth when her husband died in a car accident over a decade ago. Celie’s childhood memories of Hyacinth and her father, as well as her research into Domestic Discipline have left her longing for her very own suitor and head of household. Unfortunately, the first several dinners are a bust despite her grandmother’s preference for the potential suitors. Fortunately for Celie, her grandfather listens to the things she says and accepts a dinner request from Marcus; he also has no problem taking her grandmother in hand when she lets her best intentions run amok.

I loved watching Celie get to know Marcus and Vanna, appreciating rather accepting that they were a package deal. Because Courted by Experience is an In Hyacinth book and the courting system is designed to lead to a marriage between the two parties, I don’t think it’s really a spoiler to say how much I loved Marcus’s proposal to Celie at the end, especially the exchange between Celie and Vanna that was so freaking sweet that I teared up. Ms. Cariad has given fans another great addition to the series and I’m looking forward to reading Courted by a Knight later this week.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the Courted by Experience (In Hyacinth #5) by Bree Cariad blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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Friday, June 12, 2015

Uncovering Ray by Edie Danford


Uncovering Ray
Uncovering Ray by Edie Danford

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



This is the first book I have read by Ms. Danford and I am impressed. I began Uncovering Ray with my preconceived notion regarding the androgynous main character Ray and his or her gender. I won’t tell you what it was because if I slip up and say whether I was right or wrong, I don’t want to be the reviewer who lets the cat out of the bag on this one. What do I mean by this? Ms. Danford does such a wonderful job in building the story that the reader does not find out for certain as to whether Ray is “a chick or a dude” until 46% in when Wyatt sticks his hand down Ray’s pants. I know what you’re thinking, surely Wyatt’s character, specifically Wyatt’s sexuality, would give some hint as to what Ray’s gender is, but no he does not. In fact, when Ray attempts to call Wyatt out on his attraction, he says “I know what attraction is. I know when I’m feeling it and I know when someone else is attracted to me.” There is absolutely nothing in Wyatt’s actions toward Ray that reveal Ray’s gender until that moment, but when Wyatt goes in it is clear by his actions that he knew whether Ray was “a chick or a dude” and wasted no time in making the opportunity count. Both before and after the reveal, the chemistry between Ray and Wyatt is apparent and lends a very sensual nature to their moments of intimacy.

While Ray’s androgyny is obviously a large part of the story, Uncovering Ray is a stunning coming of age tale. Ray is floundering in life and is unsure of what path to pursue. Despite Wyatt’s best attempts to learn more about Ray as he attempts to befriend Ray, we don’t know much more about Ray’s parents other than that they’re not all that involved in Ray’s life, especially since Ray dropped out of college. The most stable force in Ray’s life is Dave, the pseudo-stepbrother belonging to Ray’s mother’s second husband, Tom, from Tom’s marriage after Ray’s mom. Confusing – only in writing this review because in the book Ms. Danford does a much better job of laying out the relationship and while it doesn’t look like it in the beginning (think tough love parenting), Tom is the other stable presence in Ray’s life. Slowly and persistently, Wyatt works his way into Ray’s life as he intends to become yet another source of stability tor Ray. But Ray has a terrible track record with relationships and doesn’t plan on Wyatt coming back around after summer break. Ray’s motto seems to be no plans = no disappointment. But coming of age requires growth and with growth comes growing pains. And Ray’s growing pains are harsh, terribly timed, and nearly devastating. But this is when Ray finds out who it is that can be counted on to have Ray’s back and there are far more people vying for that position than Ray ever anticipated. Uncovering Ray was a beautiful story and I look forward to Ms. Danford’s next book to see what she has in store for the students of Ellery College.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!

Check out the Uncovering Ray (Ellery College #1) by Edie Danford blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.


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