Thursday, May 25, 2017

Blade Bound by Chloe Neill (audiobook)

Title:  Blade Bound
Author: Chloe Neill
My Rating: A
Narrator: Sophie Eastlake

Genre: Urban Fantasy 
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #13
Main Characters: Merit and Ethan
Release Date: April 2017 (audiobook)
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
The thrilling final installment of Chloe Neill’s New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series sees a sinister sorcery advancing across Chicago, and it may usher in the fall of Cadogan House… 

Since the night of her brutal attack and unwilling transformation to vampire, Merit’s stood as Sentinel and protector of Chicago’s Cadogan House. She's saved the Windy City from the forces of darkness time and again with her liege and lover, Ethan Sullivan, by her side.

When the House is infiltrated and Merit is attacked by a vampire seemingly under the sway of dark magic, Merit and Ethan realize the danger is closer than they could have ever imagined. As a malign sorcery spreads throughout the city, Merit must go to war against supernatural powers beyond her comprehension. It’s her last chance to save everything—and everyone—she loves.

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

The end of this series. I've looked forward to this book so much, but at the same time I've dreaded it because I wasn't sure if I was ready for this series to end. But the author really did an amazing job with how she ended the series. 

This series has always had this unspoken character in it...Chicago. And Chicago plays a HUGE roll in this book. And I kind of love that Chloe Neill did that because she took this amazing series and just made it epic for the end. I loved that. 

So this features the wedding. All the good things are happening for Merit and Ethan...and it is good. I love how they've grown and evolved throughout this series. For their relationship, they are in such a GOOD place. They love and respect one another and that comes through in everything. It's everywhere else in their lives that keep having issues. But they stay in a happy place, so I'm okay with whatever happens as long as that continues. Also, there was a HFN resolution for Jonah in this one that I kind of loved, too.

And I really don't want to say anything else about it, because this is the finale. I don't want to spoil anything about it. You need to know it's going to be good. It's a great finale. All the various story lines are taken care of. All the characters show back up. Everything is tied up with neat little bows and where things go in the very end are better than brilliant. I'm happy. 

And note...if you listened to this in audio like me, message me. There is a single page in the back of the physical book that isn't in the audio about things to come and you WANT to know what it says! I promise... 

I'm so excited.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

One Night with Rhodes by Eden Finley

Title: One Night with Rhodes
Author: Eden Finley
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: One Night #4
Main Characters: Blair and Garrett
Release Date: May 2017
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Blair Rhodes considers himself an equal opportunity player. He knew from a young age that he wasn’t entirely straight. Ogling his best friend’s older brother was the first thing that tipped him off. But Garrett Erikson is off limits. Always has been. Garrett is as straight as they come.

Garrett’s reputation as a womaniser precedes him, but it’s not who he is. Not even close. And when Blair turns up on his doorstep, heartbroken over a breakup, Garrett knows it’s a bad idea to go drinking with him.

One night is all it takes for everything to change.

For the past ten years, Garrett’s denied his desires to everyone, including himself.
And as much as Blair wants to be the guy Garrett needs, he needs to protect his own heart. Like his ex-boyfriend always told him: “Never mess with the straight ones. It only leads to trouble.”

My Review:
Wow, I really, really loved this book. I haven't read any of the rest of the series so I had no idea what to expect, but I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I really liked it. 

The story covers six years. The title may say "one night", but the relationship between Garrett and Blair is much more complex and long-lasting than it sounds. See, Blair is bisexual and he's come out, but right after he came out, his boyfriend dumped him and he never dated another guy (at least not that his friends and family knew about) so they all just assumed his bisexuality was only a phase. So, he's out...but not really, because it's not a thing that anyone even talks about and he never mentions it. 

Even deeper in the closet is Garrett. He's terrified about anyone knowing that he's gay. In fact it took many, many years for him to even admit it to himself. The thing that pushed him to even consider it was his attraction and one-night hook-ups with Blair, his little brother's best friend. Yes, that was plural...hook-ups...because Garrett is in a game of give and take with Blair. He has a night of weakness with Blair and then he rebuilds his walls, not wanting to accept reality. 

It's painful to read...for both Garrett, who's in so much denial. And for Blair, who is on an emotional roller-coaster because he really likes Garrett...and is worried for his mental stability. And really, Garrett is not in a good place mentally. 

There is so much emotion to this book. I absolutely love that. I also really love how long the book and relationship covers 6 years in these men's lives. Just because of that depth in time, I could really believe the validity of the HEA when it happened. 

I also have to note just how sexy this book is. For Garrett, this is all new and forbidden. There's a taboo sexiness to the entire book because of that, plus he's a virgin when it comes to men...again, seriously sexy.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story from the very first page until the last. In fact, I was really sad when it ended because the book was so good. The story does cover 6 years and the rest of the romances within this group of friends are happening in the background (all those other romances are m/f) so now I'm really interested in going back and reading the other books in this series...must find some time to do so! 

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Darkest Corner by Liliana Hart

Title: The Darkest Corner
Author: Liliana Hart
My Rating: B+

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Gravediggers #1
Main Characters: Deacon and Tess
Release Date: May 2017
Publisher:  Pocket Books
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Liliana Hart’s first book in her suspenseful Gravediggers series, featuring an elite group of mysterious men who might be dead to the world, but are also tasked with saving it—and no one can ever know.

The Gravediggers aren’t exactly what they seem. They’re the most elite of the world’s fighting forces—and all they have in common is that they’ve been betrayed by the countries they’ve died for. Because they are dead. To their country, their military, and their families.

Sometimes the dead do rise...

Solomon Lange is a dead man walking. A former black ops agent, he was disavowed and stripped of all honor before being recruited as a Gravedigger. But his honor and good name no longer matter, because no one knows he’s alive, and he’ll never get the recognition he deserves. His mission is simple: save the world or die trying. And for God’s sake, don’t ever fall in love. That’s a rule punishable by death. The kind of death a man can’t be brought back from.

Tess Sherman is the only mortician in Last Stop, Texas. She has no idea how Solomon Lange ended up in her funeral home, but she’ll eat her hat if he’s only a funeral home assistant. Solomon is dangerous, deadly, and gorgeous. And she knows her attraction to him can only end in heartache.

Solomon is on a mission to stop the most fatal terror attack the world has ever known—what’s known as The Day of Destiny—a terrorist’s dream. But when he discovers Tess has skills he can use to stop them, he has to decide if he can trust her with secrets worth dying for. And, most important, he has to decide if he can trust her with his heart.

My Review:
This is the first in a new romantic suspense series by Liliana Hart. I thoroughly enjoyed this first book. It's about the Gravediggers. They are a group of 5-6 guys who have been "brought back to life" after being condemned as rogue agents. They are part of a shadow operation to bring down terrorism throughout the world. They just happen to run their operation from the mortuary in this tiny Texas town outside Dallas. 

Okay, straight're going to have to suspend some disbelief on this one. Five burly guys working in a mortuary in a town of 3500 people...yeah, that's not suspicious at all. LOL. So...go into it knowing that some of the details aren't quite realistic.

This first book features Deacon. He was the first gravedigger brought back to life, and Tess, the woman who runs the mortuary. Although these guys have been part of her mortuary operation for two years, Deacon has never given any hint that he wants more. And Tess hasn't really become suspicious until one night an unknown dead body shows up on her embalming table. Suddenly everything is thrown into upheaval. Tess has to be brought into the "know" or else she's become expendable. Something that none of the guys are okay with. Deacon claims her as his to protect and bring in.

The book was interesting and entertaining. There was enough going on in this first book to keep it moving, even though a lot of the story was the complex set-up of how all this organization works. I'm anxious to see how the series plays out. I really like the entire group of guys. They come from all over the world and many different special ops groups. Like I said...interesting and a good start. I'm ready to read more and would definitely recommend this one.

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

Buns by Alice Clayton

Title: Buns
Author: Alice Clayton
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hudson Valley #3
Main Characters: Clara and Archie
Release Date: May 2017
Publisher:  Gallery
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Description:
Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….

Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.

It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.

My Review:
First takeaway from this book...I really want to go to upstate New York and visit an inn like this one. Even with all the issues at the Bryant Mountain House, I still fell in love with it. I loved the author's descriptions of the inn and the entire area. It sounded like heaven. 

Clara has been brought in by the Bryant patriarch to breathe new life into the 150 year old family inn which has been in decline for the last few decades. Clara immediately falls in love with the area and the inn and is brimming with ideas. But there's one HUGE problem...the owner's son, Archie. 

Archie is completely resistant to everything Clara suggests. He's paranoid that she wants to change the very things that make the Bryant Mountain House the independent, unique inn it is. He doesn't want to become like every other chain hotel out there and refuses to hear when Clara assures him that that isn't her goal either. 

This story very much starts out as an enemies to lovers story. From the moment Clara comes onto the scene, Archie fights her. He doesn't want her there and he doesn't do a thing to hide the fact. This book very much fits into the style that Alice Clayton is known for, but the setting really made this book. I loved it all so much...from the inn to the lake to the mountain to the historic details. It's all so good and makes it so much fun to get to visit this setting via the romance. 

The romance is a slow burn and build. These two really are at odds when the story begins, but gradually they begin to realize that maybe the other person isn't the enemy they thought they were. I liked both of them. They really are striving toward the same goal although they don't see that at the beginning. The chemistry was awesome (that's always one of the best things about enemies to lovers).

This entire series has been wonderful, but I think this was my favorite of the group. I truly fell in love with Archie and Clara and the Bryant Mountain House.

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

Surrender the Dark by Tibby Armstrong

Title: Surrender the Dark
Author: Tibby Armstrong
My Rating: B+

Genre: Paranormal Romance (m/m)
Series: Dark #1
Main Characters: Benjamin and Tzadkiel
Release Date: May 2017
Publisher:  Loveswept
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
As a provocative series of paranormal temptation begins, a vampire king seduces the supernaturally gifted man hunting him. But when the stakes are literally life or death, their struggle for control is no game.

Benjamin Fuller is a hunter, born and bred. Blinded as a child by the vampire who slaughtered his family, he’s blessed with a second sight that allows him to catch and kill his quarry. What his gift can’t help him see coming is his fierce, almost carnal attraction to the mystery man who claims to be a fellow hunter and whose touch triggers both lust and revulsion. When he gains the upper hand, Benjamin vows to bring his enemy to his knees.

After many years spent in exile, the only one who can help restore Tzadkiel Dragoumanos to his rightful place as War King is a blind hunter with golden curls, a lithe dancer’s physique, and distinctive facial scars—scars Tzadkiel gave him two decades ago. The mere scent of Benjamin Fuller provokes an unwelcome rush of insatiable desire. Yet to win an all-out supernatural war, Tzadkiel must resist the ravenous hunger to possess his prey—for now.

My Review:
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but I liked it...a lot. 

The book starts when Benjamin was an 8 yo little boy, being trained by his family to be a vampire hunter. His training is beyond barbaric...both from the perspective of the little boy and the vampire. Those first few scenes are pretty rough. Then the book jumps ahead almost 20 years...and once again the vampire and the hunter are facing off, but both their lives have been greatly affected by what happened to them 20 years ago. 

They each see one another as the enemy, but they really don't know the other person, because they're both wrong. 

This is an interesting story and an interesting world. Of course there are vampires, but Benjamin as a hunter has a bit of paranormal abilities too. He's been blinded, but he can still see the glow of paranormal beings auras...that enables him to hunt. It was interesting because when Tzadkiel is around, his aura makes it so that Benjamin can actually see...even if it's by a purple glow. 

The whole conflict between Tzadkiel and Benjamin worked. They are so far on opposite sides, they can't even see that maybe they both need to adjust their way of thinking...until they have no choice. I liked how their relationship developed. It felt natural as things slowly turn around. I loved getting to experience their developing relationship with them. It was a totally engrossing, entertaining read. 

But there are also fae and witches who affect the story...and will definitely come into play in the rest of the series. It should be interesting. There is Benjamin's team in his vampire hunting. Lots of interesting stories happening with them. I'm honestly really excited about where this series could go. This was a great first book, and I'm ready for more...NOW!

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

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pucked by Helena Fielding (audiobook)

Title:  Pucked
Author: Helena Hunting
My Rating: A
Narrator: Nathan Everett and Muffy Newton

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Pucked #1
Main Characters: Violet and Alex
Release Date: February 2016 (audiobook)
Publisher: Audible Studios
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:
Narrated by: Nathan Everett, Muffy Newtown
Length: 10 hrs and 48 mins
Unabridged Audiobook

The first standalone novel in The Pucked Series

With a famous NHL player for a stepbrother, Violet Hall is well acquainted with the playboy reputation of many a hockey star. So of course she isn't interested in legendary team captain Alex Waters or his pretty, beat-up face and rock-hard six-pack abs. But when Alex inadvertently obliterates Violet's misapprehension regarding the inferior intellect of hockey players, he becomes much more than just a hot body with the face to match. Suffering from a complete lapse in judgment, Violet discovers just how good Alex is with the hockey stick in his pants.

Violet believes her night of orgasmic magic with Alex is just that: one night. But Alex starts to call. And text. And email and send extravagant - and quirky - gifts. Suddenly he's too difficult to ignore and nearly impossible not to like. The problem is, the media portrays Alex as a total player, and Violet doesn't want to be part of the game.

My Review:
Overall: 4.5
Performance: 4.5
Story: 4.25

This was my first foray into the Pucked world and I liked it, even if Violet's character is sometimes a little hard to take because she's outspoken, irreverent, and so many times really inappropriate. But at her heart, she's not a bad person. She just loses control of her tongue sometimes. It's really very funny. 

Violet has absolutely NO intention of getting involved with a hockey player. Been there, done that, has the scars on her heart leftover from it. But then Alex comes into her life. He's charming, funny, and actually smart. He's so much more than she ever expected and she finds herself incredibly charmed and nowhere close to turned off. 

This book was so fun and sexy. I loved Alex. Despite his reputation, he's just simply a good guy and deserves to find some happiness...and Violet definitely makes him happy. 

I also really enjoyed the story as an audiobook. I'm so excited that I'm discovering the series now...when I can sit back and devour all the audiobooks back to back. I've already downloaded the second book onto my iPod and can't wait to get started on it. 

A short review, but this book has been very widely read, so I'm sure I can't add anything new to what others have read. Just know I did enjoy it...especially the audiobook version of it. Note: I really loved the male narrator's Canadian accent. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Dangerously Distracted by Angela Evans

Title: Dangerously Distracted
Author: Angela Evans
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Barefoot Bay Kindle Worlds
Main Characters: Leslie and Michael
Release Date: May 2017
Publisher:  Kindle Worlds
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Leslie Manning made the mistake of falling in love once, and other than her two beautiful sons, she has nothing good to show from the experience. She doesn’t need another man in her life now, but being a single mother is anything but easy. When a celebrity wedding brings a hunky security specialist to Barefoot Bay, Leslie is determined to keep him at arm’s length. Except the more she gets to know him, the more she wants to pull him closer.

Michael Duncan has built a business and a career by never leaving anything to chance and never missing a single detail that could put his clients in danger. That legendary focus is threatened any time Leslie is nearby. All too quickly, the only thing he wants to focus on is getting to know the young widow and her two rambunctious boys. 

Michael relies on his skills to keep his clients safe, but no one’s record can be perfect. With all of Michael’s attention focused on keeping his celebrity client safe, and persuading Leslie to open her heart, Michael just might miss the one threat that matters the most.

My Review:
I've only read a few books that take place in the Barefoot Bay world. I like this small little Florida community. It's fun with an interesting tourist draw.

In this novella, we get to meet Michael, a security expert on the island making security preparations for his client's wedding and Leslie works in the bakery making the wedding cake. 

With the briefness of the book this relationship moves pretty quickly. It was a fun set up. Leslie is a single mother left with her two young boys after her first husband died. She doesn't plan on making the mistake of marrying again...but she also doesn't count on meeting and falling for Michael. 

All of this takes place over a few weeks although Michael is only on the island for a day or two at a time every few weeks. There are lots of things that add depth in the background...both Leslie and Michael's back stories which heavily influence how they got to this place. There's also this high profile wedding going on which is key to both of their careers. This isn't the best time to be distracted in any way. 

So, no, they aren't ready for a relationship...especially Leslie who was really unhappy with her first marriage. And that's before they even cross over the issues of the difficulties of having a relationship with their very different geographical locations.

This is a quick, fun read. It's easy and entertaining. There's a lot of story in a few words so the story moves quick, but that makes it simple to stay completely invested with everything that's happening. I liked both the main characters and the way that the story happened around them to keep it all interesting.

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