Monday, September 24, 2018

Butterfly Ops by Jen Doyle

Title: Butterfly Ops
Author: Jen Doyle
My Rating: A

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Butterfly Ops #1
Main Characters: Lyndsey and Ian
Release Date: September 2018
Publisher: NYLA
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
What's a superheroine to do when her super soldier ex turns up alive after more than fifteen years? 

Lyndsey doesn't have much time to walk down memory lane before she and Ian find themselves thrown together to investigate the mysterious deaths of ten young men in the Canadian wilderness. How do such seemingly normal, healthy men's hearts just...stop? 

With the hint of an evil spirit in the wind--and a whole lot of butterflies--there's no telling what Lyndsey and Ian are dealing with, including their own extensive baggage. Though seventeen years is a lot of life to live, there's one thing they can't deny: their attraction is as intense as ever. But is it just a spark that will burn itself out, or is it true love bringing them back together? When the force they're hunting turns its sights on them, the leap of faith required far exceeds either of their powers. But worrying about their future might be premature because one wrong move and they might not make it out alive. 

Book One of three in an epic urban fantasy/love story. 

My Review:
I read Jen Doyle's first book and was blown away by her story telling ability. But that book (and every other book she's written since) was contemporary romance, so I had no idea how she would do writing Urban Fantasy/Superhero/Military/Romance. Spoiler alert...she NAILED IT!!

OMG, this book is so good. This world is a paranormal one, but it's unlike anything you've ever read. While there are threads that give it an urban fantasy feel, it definitely has more of a military romantic suspense vibe...you know if military romance had vampires, demons, and real life superheroes in it. Yeah, this book has all of that, but it NEVER has the ethereal quality that you get with most paranormal fiction. This is a world set in the nitty gritty of the military where the military guys have been exploiting and then hunting down the paranormals...like Lyndsey.

Lyndsey is a modern day superhero. Her roots are Amazonian so she's super-strong and super fast. Sixteen years ago, she was in college and completely in love with Ian, an Army guy who was in the same Study as her. They were in love and neither one of them had a clue about what the Study really was. When the reality of all that came out, it tore them apart. Since then, Lyndsey has lived with the reality that Ian died after they had broken up...something that really isn't a reality at all. 

In fact, as the story progresses, layers are revealed of what exactly happened then and in the interim and the depths of which both of them were mislead or made incorrect assumptions. 

This is a book with a ton of emotion. What's obvious from page one is the depth of feelings between these two. And as the reality of what they went through is revealed, my heart just broke for them over and over again. The hardest thing is that neither one can trust any more. While they're there and together to a certain point, they aren't all-in like they once were. Every revelation is another blow though and it hurts to read. Gah...it was so, so good. The emotion that the author wove into the story was brilliant. 

In fact, the whole story and world is brilliant. It's so creative. The author reveals bit by bit and I never once felt confused by this world, although there's so much that isn't explained except in bits and pieces. And every time one of those bits is revealed, it seems like it's a hit to one of the characters. They move forward one pace and then are blown back two more. It's crazy and so intriguing to read. Really an expertly and tightly woven story. 

And there's still so much that hasn't been revealed. They haven't even started their joint mission. I have a few suspicions about where the story might go, but I have even more questions about what all happened in the interim between the Study and present day. This first book in the series goes back and forth in time, but unlike a lot of books that have flashbacks, I never resented these for interrupting the story, because every single one gave a glimpse more into how these two people got to be here. 

This review is already long, and I haven't even talked about the sizzling hot chemistry between Ian and Lyndsey. I'll just leave it at this...Wow, they are so scorching hot together. 

This book was amazing! I NEED the other two books in the series NOW. I highly, highly, highly recommend this one. I LOVED IT!

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

Counterpoint by Anna Zabo

Title: Counterpoint
Author: Anna Zabo
My Rating: B+

Genre: Erotic Romance (m/m)
Series: Twisted Wishes #2
Main Characters: Adrian and Dominic
Release Date: September 2018
Publisher: Carina Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:
Twisted Wishes lead guitarist Dominic “Domino” Bradley is an animal onstage. But behind his tight leather pants and skull-crusher boots lies a different man entirely, one who needs his stage persona not only to perform, but to have the anonymity he craves. A self-imposed exile makes it impossible to get close to anyone outside the band, so he’s forced to get his sexual fix through a few hot nights with a stranger.

When computer programmer Adrian Doran meets Dominic, he’s drawn to the other man’s quiet voice and shy smile. But after a few dirty, demanding nights exploring Dominic’s need to be dominated, Adrian wants more than a casual distraction. He has no idea he’s fallen for Domino Grinder—the outlandish, larger-than-life rock god.

Dominic is reluctant to trust Adrian with his true identity. But when the truth is revealed prematurely, Dominic is forced to reevaluate both his need for Adrian and everything he believes about himself.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!


My Review:
This book was so interesting just in that the whole story with Dominic/Domino is so interesting in how he's learned to get over his stage fright. To his mind, the two characters are completely different sides of his personality. They're separate and don't really cross. See, Dominic in his real skin is nerdy and quiet and bookish. Domino is flamboyant with full makeup and skin exposed. He has no fear and is the life of the party. Domino was created to get Dominic past his total terror of performing on stage. He used to get panic attacks. The creation of Domino ended those for him. 

Up until now this has worked for Dom. The only people who know who he is really is the rest of the band. So, he's free to live his quiet life without the bother of fans and paparazzi always stalking him. 

But that all changes when he meets Adrian. Adrian meets bookish, nerdy Dominic and is immediately intrigued. In fact, they both feel the incredible chemistry and know that this is something more. But Adrian has no clue that Domino even exists. He doesn't listen to modern music, so while he knows Dominic plays in a band, he has no idea about the depths of Dominic's secrets. 

There is a lot of BDSM elements to this. I'll admit that I got to where I was skimming them by the end of the book because I wanted to focus on the romance and the relationship, not the sex. But they were really well-written.

I did love the scenes with Adrian's best friend, Jackson. Those interactions added a lot of depth to the story. For that matter, the same could be said about the interactions with the band. The friendships added so much to this story. 

Overall, it was a good read and I did enjoy the romance so, so much. I loved Dominic's conflict and thought it was really creative and unusual. 

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

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Twisted and Tied by Mary Calmes (audiobook)

Title:  Twisted and Tied
Author: Mary Calmes
My Rating: A
Narrator: Tristan James

Genre: Romantic Suspense (m/m) 
Series: Marshals #4
Main Characters: Ian and Miro
Release Date: July 2018 (audiobook)
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Listening Length: 8 hours and 59 minutes.

Deputy US Marshal Miro Jones finally has everything he ever wanted. He's head-over-heels in love and married to the man of his dreams, his partner Ian Doyle, he's doing well at work, and all his friends are in good places as well. Things are all tied up nicely...until they're not.

Change has never been easy for Miro, and when situations at work force the team he's come to depend on to break apart, and worst of all, his and Ian's individual strengths put them on two separate paths, he's pretty certain everything just went up in smoke.

But before he can even worry about the future, his past comes for a visit, shaking his world up even more. It's hard to tell what road he should truly be on, but as he learns some paths are forged and others are discovered, it might be that where he's going is the right course after all. If he can navigate all the twists and turns, he and Ian might just get their happily ever after.
 

My Review:
Overall: 4.75
Performance: 5.0
Story: 4.5

I've made it no secret from book #1 that I've loved this series. I *think* this is the final book in the series (although I'm seriously hoping for a spinoff series). As such, it ended on a seriously high note, too. This series from book one and throughout has just been phenomenal. And I've read it going back and forth between the audiobook and prints books (that are ALL on my keeper/reread shelf because I love this series). The books are so riveting, I almost always reach a point in the audio where I need to devour the story faster and switch to the print book, but the audiobooks (with Tristan James' narration) are just so perfect, I don't want to stop listening to them either. So, I end up going back and forth.

This is a series that follows one couple...Miro and Ian, who are both US Marshals. As such, it's a series that you need to read from the very beginning. These are not standalone reads. But with that being said, this is easily one of my top ten series that I've EVER read, so I HIGHLY recommend you read it ASAP!!

This book ended the series beautifully. It tied up story lines that have flowed through out the entire four book series and gave a beautiful glimpse into how perfect every aspect of Miro and Ian's lives will continue to work and flow together. 

I loved it so, so much. LOVED IT!

Friday, September 21, 2018

An Escort's Tale by M.J. Edwards

Title: An Escort's Tale
Author: M.J. Edwards
My Rating: A

Genre: Erotic Romance (m/m/f)
Series
Main Characters: Jasper, Nick, and Alethia
Release Date: September 2018
Publisher: 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:
Do you want to spice up your marriage? Or perhaps you have a cuckold fantasy? Whatever your desire or kink, call JD Pierce. 

Under his working name, Jasper has built a solid clientele and reputation. As JD Pierce, high-priced escort, he specializes in bringing bisexual fantasies to life. Sometimes a husband needs to be humiliated. Maybe a couple wants to be naughty and roleplay the seduction of an impressionable boy. Jasper, aka JD, is the man for the job.

When a young woman with a unique problem contacts Jasper, though, he fears he's out of his depth. Alethia's husband Nick suffered a spinal cord injury. He has paraplegia. The couple can no longer have conventional sex, and it's driving a wedge between them. Nick is straight, but Alethia hires Jasper to help them fix things.

Despite his doubts, Jasper throws himself into the challenge. He wants to help sexy Nick reconnect with his beautiful wife. Using imagination and honesty, he unearths hidden fantasies in both of them. What he isn't prepared for is his attraction to these new clients. The feeling grows quickly from desire to friendship and maybe something more. Will Jasper help Nick and Alethia and then move on? Or will they be the couple to bring to life this escort's own fantasy?

The Escort's Tale is a standalone bisexual erotic romance featuring a well-endowed lover-for-hire, a troubled man in a wheelchair, and the determined woman who brings them all together.
 
My Review:
Wow... I truly wasn't sure what to expect with this book. While I've bought a few of this author's books from his other pen-name, I've never actually read any of them. So, I was going into this author's writing style completely blind, but I couldn't resist that story line. A triad mmf, an escort, and a paraplegic injury...everything about this story appealed to me. And I'll note right now...the story did work for me. I really enjoyed reading it. 

Note of warning: the first few pages of the book were a little harsh and jolting on the erotic, gritty side. I was really worried that the style of this book wouldn't work for me. If you find that too, don't stop reading. That 'feel' lasts for just a few pages and then the book gets really, really good!!

So, this story...it starts and end with JD or Jasper, which is his real name. The entire book is told from his point of view. He's an escort, a prostitute, a hooker, a whore...it depends on his attitude of the minute as to what he refers to himself as. He's done this job for seven years and there are definitely a wide share of bad customers and decent ones, but none have affected him like his first appointment with Alethia and Nick. 

Before Nick's accident, Alethia and Nick had a fantastic sex life, but they haven't been able to achieve anything close to that since. Nick's the one who's pushing for their hiring of JD. Nick loves his wife so much, he wants her to be happy, but he truly doesn't expect the outcome. JD is VERY aware he's stepping into a happy marriage, which is an uncomfortable place to be. He wants Nick involved so that no hard feelings happen. Instead a totally different kind of feelings evolve, surprising all three of them.

Seriously, this book was so, so good. I couldn't put it down once I started reading it. The story was riveting and hot and actually romantic. There's love and respect, which is so important for this setup and story line. It worked wonderfully. 

I HIGHLY recommend this book!! It was incredible.

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Got It Bad by Christi Barth

Title: Got It Bad
Author: Christi Barth
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Bad Boys Gone Good #3
Main Characters: Kellan and Delaney
Release Date: September 2018
Publisher: Avon
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Kellan Maguire's on the run from the mob, living a secret life. The only bright spot is his U.S. Marshal handler. Yeah, he wants to handle her....a lot. And in spite of all the rules it would break, Federal Marshal Delaney Evans secretly fears she’d risk everything for one night with Kellan. Even though Delaney’s career, her entire world, could implode if she admits how important he is to her. And all that is before the biggest complication of all hits...

Don't miss the final Bad Boys Gone Good novel!

My Review:
The final book in this series that I've loved. 

Kellan is the final brother, the one who was the legal one. In fact he was on the cusp of earning his law degree when he was whisked away with his brothers and placed into WITSEC. He didn't have much choice or any warning of the matter, and yeah, he remains a little bitter about it all. 

What he's not bitter about is their Marshal handler, Delaney. He's seriously crushed on her from the very beginning, but she's rebuffed his advances at every turn. But that's not from a lack of interest on her part. She's VERY interested, but a relationship between her and one of her protectees is completely forbidden. 

But as the story evolves, the two are thrown together more and more. Eventually they decide to scratch the itch...no harm can come from that, right? Yeah, you can see where this story is going. 

This is the final book, so this is also the book where the trial is inevitable. This gives a certain level of suspense to the entire book that wasn't quite there in the other two books in the series. I really liked that, though. 

Kellan is a great character. He's really been short-changed in this entire situation and this book it seemed like he finally came into his own, instead of staying in the shadow of his two older (bad-boy) brothers.

I've truly enjoyed the entire series and this was a really good ending to it. I loved watching how the guys are finally embracing their small-town, cranberry-filled life now. It's such a change from where they were at the beginning. The whole cranberry, town festival aspect to the story line kept me smiling as I read the book. 

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

Why Not Tonight by Susan Mallery

Title: Why Not Tonight
Author: Susan Mallery
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Happily Inc #3
Main Characters: Natalie and Ronan
Release Date: September 2018
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot




Story Overview
Susan Mallery welcomes you to Happily Inc, where true love isn’t just for fairy tales… 

Natalie Kaleta will do anything for the artists at her gallery, including risk life, limb and the effect of humidity on her naturally curly hair. Braving a downpour to check on reclusive Ronan Mitchell, Natalie gets stranded by a mudslide at his mountain home, where the brooding glass artist reveals his playful side, sending her inconvenient crush from under-the-radar to over-the-top.

After a secret tore apart his family and made him question his sense of self, Ronan fled his hometown for Happily Inc, but the sunny small town can’t fix his damaged heart. He won’t give in to his attraction for beautiful, perpetually cheerful Natalie. She’s untouched by darkness—or so he thinks.

Natalie knows that when a heart goes through the flame, it comes out stronger. Life may not be a fairy tale, but sometimes dreams do come true. Why not this one? Why not tonight?


My Review:
Finally, we get Ronan's book...whoohoo. And it did not disappoint. Ronan is messed up after finding out that he was really an illegitimate child. He didn't have the twin brother he thought he had and his mother wasn't really his mother. It's been no secret that this has all been devastating to Ronin for several books.

The flipside of Ronin's withdrawal from his life and family is Natalie. Natalie is thrilled with her world, although it's far, far, far from ideal. She's a positive, upbeat person and it was really interesting to see how just a difference in attitude there was between her and Ronan. And I LOVED that she eventually let him have it about his bad attitude. He has everything that Natalie would die to have and has just thrown it all away...because of hurt feelings. 

And in the midst of this gorgeous, well-scripted story line is the art...happy sigh. I ADORED the visuals that Susan Mallery created with the art projects. I really just enjoyed the story. The opposites attract aspect to the romance really worked for me, especially since Ronin is so protective of Natalie...even if he has to protect her from him. He doesn't want to tarnish her glow and happiness and he realizes that's a very good possibility. 

It worked for me and I enjoyed it. Susan Mallery has hit her stride with the Happily, Inc series. I've loved them all. 

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

Monday, September 17, 2018

Saddle Up by A.M. Arthur

Title: Saddle Up
Author: A.M. Arthur
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Clean Slate Ranch #3
Main Characters: Reyes and Miles
Release Date: September 2018
Publisher: Carina Press 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Reyes Caldero keeps his past buried deep and his emotions buried deeper. But what he doesn’t say he always makes up for with his actions. When the hot chef he once saved from an abusive ex turns up at Clean Slate Ranch, the quiet cowboy is happy to act on their sizzling chemistry, even if he’s not ready to share his secrets—or his heart. 

Miles Arlington needs to get the hell out of San Francisco, and heading north for a job near Clean Slate Ranch seems like just the thing. It doesn’t hurt that his secret crush slash onetime rescuer happens to work at the ranch. Miles has never been one for the outdoors, but the superhot Reyes has him ready to saddle up. 

Reyes is happy to keep things casual, even though his heart has other ideas. And when Miles is forced to confront his past again, Reyes and Miles will have to put all their trust in each other if they want any chance at building a future together. 

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

This book is approximately 86,000 words

Carina Press acknowledges the editorial services of Alissa Davis
My Review:
This is about two guys with some really messed up pasts, but honestly that's what A.M. Arthur does really well. Angst...these books definitely have it and for the most part it works. Although I will admit that sometimes the dialogue got a bit too schmaltzy for me. I like angst, but not the over-the-top dialogue that sometimes results from it. 

So, this story...Miles is new to working on the ranch although he's been part of the series from the very beginning. He's a cook/chef and takes a job running the saloon kitchen in the new ghost town attraction. But for him, this new job is about escape. He's trying to get away from a scary stalker ex. 

Reyes has also been running from his past...his teenage mistakes and a catastrophe that happened when he was a fireman that left him scarred and injured. The ranch has served as his escape, too. Both guys felt an immediate attraction when they met, but both know that Miles is in no place to even think about anything between them. While Reyes doesn't know what happened to him, it's obvious that something did and he's extremely careful with Miles. 

The relationship is a very slow build, especially considering the guys are roommates who sleep in the same room (it's a ranch with limited space). And I liked that about it. That felt right with Miles' background. 

Overall, I've enjoyed this series. It's been a fun read and the western theme has been different from what's out there in the majority of the market. I've liked watching how the ghost town attraction has been developed and enjoyed the customer aspects of the Clean Slate Ranch. 

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