Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Untamed Cowboy by Maisey Yates

Title: Untamed Cowboy
Author: Maisey Yates
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Gold Valley #2
Main Characters: Bennett and Kaylee
Release Date: June 2018
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
In Gold Valley, Oregon, love might be hiding in plain sight…

Some things are too perfect to mess with. Bennett Dodge’s relationship with Kaylee Capshaw is one of them. They work together at their veterinary clinic and have been best friends for years. When Bennett’s world is rocked by the appearance of a son he didn’t know he had, he needs Kaylee more than ever. And he doesn’t want anything else to change. But then Kaylee kisses him, and nothing will ever be the same…

Kaylee’s done her best to keep her feelings for the man she’s loved since high school hidden away, but one unguarded moment changes everything, and now there’s no more denying the chemistry that burns between them. But the explosion of desire changes all the rules, and what’s left could destroy their bond—or bring them to a love that’s deeper than she ever imagined…
My Review:
OMG, I loved this story so, so much. But then again, I'm a HUGE sucker for a friends to lovers story and this was a fantastic example of one done well.

Bennett and Kaylee have been best friends since junior high, and almost that entire time, Kaylee has been in love with Bennett, but he's never seen her as anything more than his friend. While she'd love for there to be something more between them, it's not worth the risk of their friendship which means everything to her. 

This book has a slow build just because Bennett is a true guy...he doesn't see what's right in front of his face. At the beginning of this book, he truly doesn't even see Kaylee as a female. She's simply his best friend...end of story. But as the story evolves so does Bennett's ability to see her as something more. I loved watching that evolution. It's a great character arc. 

Because they've been friends for so long, there are tons of little things tying these two characters together. The main thing though is that they run a veterinary practice together. I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes that took place between them in the clinic and in their various roles they play in the community through their vet clinic. It provided a GREAT setup for the story. 

I also loved, loved, LOVED the addition of Dallas to the story. He was awesome. Every single time he was on the page, I'd end up smiling. I loved his sarcasm and wit. He was the perfectly written, screwed up teenager. The scenes between him and Kaylee melted my heart every time. There was so much honesty to him and I loved the way both Kaylee and Bennett handled him even when they had no clue what they were doing. 

Then there's Bennett's whole extended family. I love them so much. This is a great series and I'm so excited to read more books featuring them!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest and voluntary review.

The Cottages on Silver Beach by RaeAnne Thayne

Title: The Cottages on Silver Beach
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Haven Point #8
Main Characters: Megan and Elliot
Release Date: June 2018
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: mild

Story Overview:
Years after betraying her, he’s back in Haven Point…and ready to learn the truth.

Megan Hamilton never really liked Elliot Bailey. He turned his back on her family when they needed him the most and it almost tore them all apart. So she’s shocked when Elliot arrives at her family’s inn, needing a place to stay and asking questions that dredge up the past. Megan will rent him a cottage, but that’s where it ends—no matter how gorgeous Elliot has become. 

Coming back home to Haven Point was the last thing bestselling writer Elliot Bailey thought he’d ever do. But the book he’s writing now is his most personal one yet and it’s drawn him back to the woman he can’t get out of his mind. Seeing Megan again is harder than he expected and it brings up feelings he’d thought were long buried. Could this be his chance to win over his first love?
My Review:
I forget between books just how much I enjoy RaeAnne Thayne's stories. I think the covers of her books throw me off because they're sweeter looking than I normally like to read. But then I jump into the story and find myself enthralled quickly. She always writes great characters. 

So, this book. Elliot and Megan have a history. She grew up with him being one of her brother's best friends. And then she dated Elliot's brother until he tragically died. Although both of them have felt a certain draw and chemistry to the other throughout that time, neither of them have ever been in a place where they could act on it. As a result, they've actually spent a lot of years actively avoiding one another. 

But when Elliot comes to town to finish writing his book, he ends up staying in the cabin next to Megan's and things develop from there. 

Like I mentioned before, I really enjoyed this story. These two characters were everything I love in characters. Megan is an artistic photographer who's always dreamed of a bigger life, but never been free of her obligations where she could follow those dreams. She's actually right now on the cusp of gaining some acclaim for her photography and the pressure is getting to her. Elliot is an FBI agent, who's been put on mandatory leave after he screwed up a mission. But he's not only a tough law enforcement officer, he's also a best-selling author. Yes! And they've known one another for years, so there's a familiarity between them that creates a bond that's already there even if they really don't know the adult versions of one another. 

There were also some great sub-plots in the book...the upcoming wedding, Megan's gallery showing, Elliot's book deadline, and the whole mystery of what happened to Luke's (Megan's brother) missing wife. Overall, it was a riveting read and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute that I spent inhaling it. It was great and I definitely recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest and voluntary review.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Damage Control by Kate McMurray


Title: Damage Control 
Author: Kate McMurray
My Rating: A

Genre: Romantic Suspense (m/m)
Series: Laws of Attraction #1
Main Characters: Parker and Jackson
Release Date: June 2018
Publisher: Carina Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Senate candidate Parker Livingston chose his political dreams over a future with the man he loved. He lives with constant regret about not having Jackson Kane in his life. Or his bed. And when a strange woman is found murdered in Parker’s apartment, Jackson is the only person Parker trusts to help clear his name.

Jackson never forgave Parker for the way their relationship ended. He moved on, built a name for himself as a criminal defense attorney and swore he’d never let heartbreak back in. But when Parker shows up on his doorstep, wild-eyed and handsome and desperate for his help, Jackson can’t say no. Parker is a lot of things, but he’s no murderer.

Forced back together, searching for answers, their attraction returns with a vengeance. Any distraction—personal or professional—could be deadly. The murderer is still at large, and he’s made it clear one of them is his next victim.


This book is approximately 74,000 words

My Review:
This was a new-to-me author and the first book in a series and I'm thrilled that I took a chance on it because I loved this story. It was entertaining and riveting and I didn't hardly put the book down once I started reading it. 

This is a second chance at love story. Parker and Jackson were exclusive for 8 years, but Parker dumped Jackson for his career. See, Parker has political aspirations that don't fit with him being gay. He's a republican.

*gasps heard round the m/m world*...I know, I know. Parker is sometimes a hard character to like. First of all, because he totally dumped Jackson for the wrong reasons, but also because of his politics. (Don't worry...Jackson doesn't necessarily agree with Parker's politics either.)

But love should ascend political beliefs, shouldn't it? It's a difficult call because a person's politics say a lot about who they truly are. But all that aside, for this review, I'm going to focus on the romantic relationship...

Because for these guys, neither one of them ever really got over their love for one another. They learned how to carry on, but once they get around one another again, those same emotions flare up. 

So, what brings them together? Parker is running for Senate, but he's also the prime suspect in a murder. Jackson just happens to be the best defense lawyer Parker knows, so he turns to him for help and suddenly they're doing everything together again.

Like I said, I really liked this one...and I'm definitely looking forward to more. The author gave hints at who the next couple might be and I am so excited about the possibilities that story line might entail. 

I definitely recommend this one in the meantime!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest and voluntary review.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Where I Belong by J. Daniels (audiobook)

Title: Where I Belong
Author: J. Daniels
My Rating: B
Narrator: Eric Michael Summerer and Stella Bloom

Genre: New Adult Romance 
Series: Alabama Summer #1
Main Characters: Mia and Ben
Release Date: June 2015 (audiobook)
Publisher: Audible
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
A New York Times bestselling enemies to lovers STANDALONE
romance.

When Mia Corelli returns to Alabama for a summer of fun with her childhood best friend, Tessa, there's only one thing keeping her on edge. One person that she’d do anything to avoid.

Benjamin Kelly. World’s biggest dickhead.

Mia hates him with a fury and has no desire to ever see him again. When she decides to start her summer off with a bang and finally give away her v-card, she unknowingly hands it over to the one guy that excelled at making her life miserable, learning a valuable lesson in the process.

Always get the name of the guy you’re going home with.

Ben can’t get the girl he spent one night with out of his head. When she leaves him the next morning, he thinks he’ll never see her again. Until he sees her lounging by the pool with his sister.

Mia is determined to hate Ben, even though she can’t forget him.

Ben is determined to prove he’s not the same guy he used to be.

What happens when the one person you wish never existed becomes the one person you can’t imagine being without?
 
My Review:
Overall: 3.5
Performance: 3.75
Story: 3.0

I need to preface this review with a disclaimer. I listened to the audiobook version of this book. THIS AUDIO did not work for me...at all. But honestly, I don't think it was the author or even the narrators faults. I've noticed an interesting phenomena with my personal tastes and audio. ***I cannot handle extreme dirty or sweet talk in audio.*** They drive me nuts. I can read a book with over the top dialogue and be just fine with it. In fact, a lot of times I really love it. 

But there's just something about listening to it that drives home and cheesy and schmaltzy the dialogue can sound. That was my issue with this book. The dialogue just hit me all wrong...the cutesy pet names and then turning around with the dirty talk. *shudder* It did NOT work for me. 

But to be honest, I don't think it would have bothered me near as much if I'd been reading the book myself. In fact, I think I would have really enjoyed the book. 

So...my recommendation...if you want to read this book, read it. Don't listen to it if you have the same little pet peeves that I do. And again, this was not a narrator issue. There are just some words and phrasing that sound like too much when listening to them aloud.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Take a Shot by Samantha Wayland

Title: Take A Shot
Author: Samantha Wayland
My Rating: A

Genre: Sports Romance (m/m)
Series
Main Characters: Chris and Tim
Release Date: June 2018
Publisher: 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
If you want to score, you have to take the shot. 

Chris Kimball is good at keeping things to himself, but when he breaks his leg during a hockey game, he quickly realizes his biggest secret might be impossible to keep. It was hard enough being in love with his best friend and teammate, Tim Robineau, but when Tim takes care of him as he recovers, Chris’s feelings only grow stronger. 

Tim is aware that some people think he’s dumb, but they’re wrong. He’s just an easy-going guy who enjoys spending time with his team and friends—especially Chris. Tim has dated a lot of women who couldn’t understand that, and figures he’s cursed when it comes to love—but he’s not. He just doesn’t know it. 

Yet. 

***This story previously appeared in the Changing on the Fly Anthology*** 

My Review:

Ooh, this is a quick read, but I loved reading it. It's a great friends to lovers story, and because it's friends to lovers, the quick build-up works. These two guys have been best friends forever so when the romance happens, it's believable.

There is an extraordinary event that pushes them to this point of becoming something more. Chris and Tim play for the same hockey team, but when Chris takes a bad hit, it breaks his leg leaving him so he has to rely on Tim for everything. That brings them closer together...a lot closer together since Tim is sleeping with Chris to keep an eye on him. 

The thing is...Tim is straight, even though Chris has just been pretending not to have feelings for Tim. But remarkably, Tim is the more open of the two about a relationship developing. 

I really enjoyed this book. Both Tim and Chris were fun characters. They were awesome together. I am a sucker for a wounded hero, so I liked the setup with Chris needing Tim to take care of him.

Pretty much everything in the story worked for me. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It was fast and the end was a tiny bit abrupt, but I loved the story and totally fell in love with these two guys. I loved getting to watch them fall in love with one another. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Cursed Wolves by Kelly Apple

Title: Cursed Wolves 
Author: Kelly Apple
My Rating: A

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Grimwood #2
Main Characters: Lucy and Connor
Release Date: August 2015
Publisher: 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot



Story Overview:
Lucy Grimm knows what it’s like to be on the outside. Ever since her curse kicked in on her 18th birthday, she’s lived in the woods on her own, cut off from everyone but the other cursed and slave to the cycles of the moon. Her one joy in life is spying on hunky Connor Redfield while he works at his grandmother’s inn.

Connor knows someone’s out there watching him, but he can never get close enough to catch them in the act. When he decides to take matters into his own hands and lay down a trap for the peeping tom, he doesn’t expect to end up with a bundle of nervous woman who runs every chance she gets.

He certainly doesn’t believe she’s one of the legendary cursed wolves that roam the woods.

For all that she’s fighting against herself, Lucy can’t help but like the burly lumberjack with a heart of gold. With the moon coming up on full, Lucy doesn’t dare trust herself when her wolf takes control. But Connor remains unconvinced and the more time Lucy spends with him, the more she longs to stay.

Can a cursed wolf find love with a mortal man? Or will her beastly side destroy her heart’s desire?
My Review:

This series is all things fun...fairy tales with a twist...LOVE that! The premise of the series is that the Grimm family is cursed. In this particular tale, we get the story of Lucy, a Grimm family member who is a wolf shifter. The problem with that was she had no idea about the fact until she shifted the first time and she was terrified. In that terror, she hurt her mother. After that, she fled and has pretty much kept to herself ever since. She doesn't trust herself not to hurt someone again, so she stays away.

But then she runs into Connor and she can't seem to stay away. He intrigues her. He calms her. Her wolf wants him, too. 

Connor has no idea who Lucy is. He just knows someone has been stalking him, so he sets a trap and catches this intriguing, almost-feral woman. He can see how skittish she is, but all he wants to do is take care of her and protect her. 

This was a really fun read. I enjoyed the story and the twists on the original fairy tales...there were hints at the huntsman, but also the big bad wolf and the grandmother. I loved watching Connor and Lucy interact. They're definitely explosive (and HOT) together. There was also a lot of little details about the Grimm family that make me even more intrigued. I can't wait to read more from this series. Luckily, I have it all waiting for me on my kindle. Yippee!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Julien by Ella Frank

Title: Julien
Author: Ella Frank
My Rating: A

Genre: Erotic Romance (mmm)
Series: Confessions #2
Main Characters: Julian, Priest and Robbie
Release Date: June 2018
Publisher: 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:
People are complex. 
Love a double-edged sword. 
And when it comes to a broken heart, there are no rules, only time… 

For the past eight years, Julien Thornton has been living with a secret. One that only a handful of people know about. 

To the outside world, he has it all. 
A thriving career. A loving husband. And a face that the American public fell for by the millions, on a reality show that inadvertently saved his life. 

But behind the shine of celebrity, behind the easygoing nature, a crippling truth fills Julien with pain and self-loathing. It’s a truth that he fights to overcome daily with the help of his husband, Joel Priestley, and now their boyfriend, Robbie Bianchi. 

But unlike Priest, Robbie doesn’t know what he’s helping Julien to fight. He doesn’t know what Julien did all those years ago. And with the anniversary of his sister’s death fast approaching, the time for explanations is running out. 

And thus the question: will the princess be able to forgive the prick as the priest once did? 

Only time will tell. 

******** 

Please note this book contains sensitive situations regarding drug use.

My Review:
ahh, this book could not come fast enough, but it was worth the wait. I love these three characters and Ella Frank has crafted a romantic, perfect story. I love them all so much.

As the name hints at, this book focuses more on Julien's story. All three of these men are broken on certain levels, even though they each remain strong, alpha men...in their own ways. Julien has secrets and ghosts that have haunted him for years. While his husband, Priest, knows all the details, their new boyfriend Robbie does not. So, this book is an exploration of that and this new level of depth in the triad relationship.

I love getting to watch Robbie fit in so perfectly between Julien and Priest. He really does level them out with his light and fun and it's really fun to read, even in the middle of really heavy, deep scenes. He brings a lightness to the story and the relationship that I love. 

It was pure pleasure to get to read another part of this trio's journey toward what I'm assuming will eventually be blissful happiness together. I love the three of them so much. 

This is a series that's definitely meant to be read together, but to be honest, I think you could jump in at book #2 and be fine reading it (i.e. not confused at all), but I think you would miss some of the depths of emotional attachment to the way these three work together. 

The series is amazing and I'm dying to read Priest's story next. The whole series is just so good.