Sunday, March 31, 2013

See the Light by Cassandra Carr

Title:  See the Light
Author: Cassandra Carr
My Rating: B+ 

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series:  -
Main Characters: Jason and Patrick
Release Date: February 2013 

Publisher: Loose ID

Links to Purchase:

Amazon  
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Hockey player Jason Monroe lives a double life—star defenseman and soon-to-be Olympian on the ice and closeted gay man outside the rink. A serious relationship is out of the question, and Jason makes do with anonymous sex in barroom bathrooms, not willing to take the chance on coming out as gay in a decidedly macho sport.

Advisor to the US Olympic hockey team Patrick Parker knows a thing or two about being a professional hockey player who’s not out. He’s fifteen years older than Jason, and when he senses the sexy younger man is interested, he knows he shouldn’t give in to the attraction.

The two men can’t keep their hands off each other, though, and with each heated encounter it gets harder to hide their relationship. When their world blows up around them, forcing them into the limelight, though, will their love survive or be put on ice?

My Review:


Sports book...check.
m/m...check
Cougar romance (can guys be cougars?)....check

Hmm, I did like this book! In the world of hockey, although there is tons of "talk" of acceptance, being gay just isn't something that's comfortable so both Patrick and Jason are very much in the closet. 

Jason is twenty-two and going into his second year in the NHL. He's also been chosen for the Olympic team where he finds himself incredibly drawn to Patrick, an advisor on the team who is fifteen years older than Jason. At first, Jason has no clue Patrick is also gay...that's how far in the closet these guys are. A relationship between them is seriously taboo...first, because they're gay, but also because of their places on the Olympic team.


But a relationship does develop....one works in NJ and the other in Philadelphia so they can manage to see each other for a few hours every few weeks throughout the season. I liked how that portion of the story developed. This starts out as a one-time thing...to scratch an itch, but quickly develops into more as their hearts quickly become involved.


I won't post any spoilers, but I LOVED the way the story came to a climax...PERFECTION! I couldn't see how things were going to be tied up in a good way, but Cassandra Carr did it and I truly love the way she ended the story. It was beautiful and romantic. I loved these two guys. Just a fun, beautiful book!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Fix by Anne Tenino

Title:  The Fix
Author: Anne Tenino
My Rating: A 

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series:  Whitetail Rock #2
Main Characters: Nik and Jurgen
Release Date: December 2011

Links to Purchase:

Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:

Confident almost to the point of arrogance, Jurgen never worried about his boyfriend leaving him until he overheard Nik telling his best friend he wants to move out of town. That's when the macho cop realizes that maybe asking Nik to move back to tiny Whitetail Rock—where he was tormented when he was younger for being gay and looking different—wasn't Jurgen's most brilliant idea. Now he's on a mission to find a way to fix things so Nik will stay. Which should be no problem because he's good at fixing stuff, right?

Nik isn't sure what he was thinking, moving back to his hometown after graduating with his MFA. Jobs in his field are non-existent and reminders of some of the worst times in his life are abundant. But Jurgen lives in Whitetail Rock, and Nik is willing to put up with a hell of a lot to be with him. Except maybe Jurgen's own efforts to "fix" something that's not broken...


My Review:

I loved this novella. Jurgen and Nik are in a committed relationship. In fact, Nik has moved back home to Whitetail Rock to move in with Jurgen, but Jurgen overhears Nik on the phone with Sam. Nik is telling Sam that he regrets the move back to his hometown, so Jurgen takes it upon himself to fix the situation.

The book switches back and forth between Jurgen and Nik's POV and I loved that. Poor Jurgen is in a panic over the fact that he thinks Nik is leaving him. I loved how much he's committed to their relationship and willing to do to "fix" things for Nik. 


As far as Nik's character goes....I liked him so much better in this book than I did the first novella. His empathy for Miller is awesome and I loved how he helped Jurgen see the wrong in what he was doing. 


I love these two characters together. I loved them in Too Stupid to Live, but now that I know their backstory, I love them even more. I need to reread that book with this new perspective on their characters. 


All of Anne Tenino's books are written with such a fun sense of humor as well as being super sexy...LOVE that combination. She writes great character-driven books and these two novellas are no exception to that. 

Whitetail Rock by Anne Tenino

Title:  Whitetail Rock
Author: Anne Tenino
My Rating: B+ 

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series:  Whitetail #1
Main Characters: Nik and Jurgen
Release Date: July 2011

Links to Purchase:

Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview

Nikhil “Nik” Larson is a snarky, dark-skinned adoptee from India who grew up in the Whitest Town in America. Back to visit his parents Nik meets Trooper Jurgen Dammerung, a blond, butch motorcycle cop who’s so hot he leaves a con trail wherever he goes.

Jurgen is the epitome of everything Nik hated about growing up the lone Indian boy among a town of white people. But Jurgen surprises him rather (ahem) pleasantly, in spite of — or because of — Nik’s attempts to needle him. By the end of his visit, Nik realizes he likes Jurgen. But Jurgen’s so not the relationship type.

Right?


My Review:


Shirley from Creative Deeds told me about these two novellas available for free on Anne Tenino's blog. They tell the story of how Nik and Jurgen get together...and I loved these two guys in Too Stupid to Live...so I immediately grabbed them up to read. This is one of those times where FREE does NOT mean bad...Both of these novellas were wonderful. 

This is the first of the two. It's told entirely from Nik's POV and he has some issues with Jurgen's attraction to him. Jurgen is a cop in his small hometown where people tend to be a little narrow-minded. Being someone with darker skin tones, Nik has always stood out in this small town and unfortunately, that's usually meant bad things for him. So he doesn't trust Jurgen or his motives.


I liked Jurgen a lot and loved how truly befuddled he was a lot of the time by Nik's concerns. He's not exactly mainstream...he's a gay man who's also a cop so he understands about harrassment, but for him, Nik's skin color is just so not an issue. He just knows that he really likes the guy.


I loved seeing Nik and his insecurities and I especially loved the glimpses of him and his friend Sam, one of the characters from Too Stupid to Live. It was a fun novella. Definitely entertaining and definitely worth the read.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Cover Reveal: Stormy Surrender by Nicole Andrews Moore



Stormy Surrender
By Nicole Andrews Moore

Blurb 
Sometimes the life you planned isn’t the one you get to live.  Sometimes the pain of the past overshadows the future.  And sometimes to start over you have to go back to where it all began.  That’s how it was for Joe Masters.  That’s how he ended up back in New Hope.  And that’s why he was in his thirties and had nothing to show for his life.  He needed a complete overhaul, just like his father’s old house.  Instead of a fast track, he had slowed down and was on a ten year plan.  These days that was more his speed.  And as much as he tried to fight the inevitable, he was learning to accept and surrender.
Martha had weathered her fair share of storms in Vermont, was accustomed to the cold, both the chill in the air and the cold shoulder in her marriage, but after the miscarriage she felt like she would never get warm again.  So she did the research from the laptop while sitting in front of the fireplace.  She knew what she needed when she Googled hope, she just never imagined that it would bring her to New Hope, South Carolina.  She never imagined that her husband would trick her into leaving and never follow.  She never imagined that a southern storm with all its force and fury could be so destructive.  But after the storm, the land is washed clean.  It’s perfect for a fresh start, a clean slate, and a new love.

Author Info
Nicki has lived in Charlotte, North Carolina with her children for the past eleven years and her husband for the past three years.  Her journey has barely begun and she loves every minute of it.  Every day of her life seems to bring new adventures, some bigger, better, shinier and prettier than others.  She's still getting used to that new life smell she's experiencing, a combination of hope, love, and happiness.  (The perfect scents to build a new life on...)
For fun, she spends time with those she cares about, cooks, reads, writes, and especially lives to travel.  The current travel goal: visit every Margaritaville.  Two down!  (Eleven to go?)
In addition to writing on Suddenly Single Journey, Nicki is a contributor for Project Underblog.  Her writing can also be found on Shine, where she is a Shine Parenting Guru and an award winning Yahoo! Contributor on YourWisdom as the relationship and dating expert.  And she has been published by McClatchy News in their syndicated papers.

Author Links

Eternally Devoted by Stacey Kennedy



Title:  Eternally Devoted
Author: Stacey Kennedy
My Rating: A-


Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Frostbite #4
Main Characters: Tess and Kipp
Release Date: April 2013
ISBN: e-book
Publisher: self-pub
Links to Purchase:
Amazon  
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:

Tess Jennings, who has been gifted with the ability to see ghosts, struggles to help the Grand Master of the Animus, Alexander, cross over. She might even have discovered who murdered him, but she has no way to prove it.
Adding to her pile of failures, Tess must accept a harsh reality—she has officially run out of time. The closer she gets to an answer to save her ghost lover, Kipp McGowen, the more she’s realizing she’s been searching for an answer she didn’t want to find.
Tess will have to make difficult choices, and her decisions will lead to consequences she cannot predict. Will Kipp finally take a living breath again, or will Tess take her last and join him in the Netherworld forever?

My Review:
The final book in this series. As I was reading the book, I honestly didn't think it was going to happen, but I was wrong....I cried. Finally, the happy ending we've been waiting for through the four books in this series....and it was good. Everything I hoped for and even a bit more. *sigh* I love Kipp....he's even better alive.

This was the final installment in the book and as such, I knew what was coming. Honestly, that made this book such a hard read...simply because I wanted "that" moment that I knew was coming. We did finally get there, but it was a journey filled with a lot of introspection by Tess about her abilities, fate, and how exactly she got to this point.

At the beginning of the series, Tess hated her ability...to the point where she flat out ignored the ghosts around her...until Kipp. He wouldn't allow her to ignore him. This book delved in to how exactly she got that gift and what happened to her family at the same time. Poor girl...I can't imagine facing such extreme loss AND having to deal with a new ability like this at the same time. She didn't necessarily handle it well, but she did the best she could without anyone there to guide her.

This book was a lot about family...the one she lost, the one she gained with Kipp and the cops, and her new one...the Animus, who can help to support her with her gift. It brought the entire series full-circle and those ending chapters were AMAZING. I had a hard time staying patient through the first 75% of the book, but the last 25% made all of that waiting worth it. The book ended the series perfectly. I'm going to miss these characters. It was definitely a series that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Too Hot to Handle by Victoria Dahl



Title: Too Hot to Handle
Author: Victoria Dahl
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Jackson #2
Main Characters: Grace and Cole
Release Date: March 2013
Publisher: Harlequin

Links to Purchase:
Amazon  
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
This good girl's going bad….Merry Kade has always been the good girl. The best friend. The one who patiently waits for the guy to notice her. Well, no more. Merry has just scored her dream job, and it's time for her life to change. As the new curator of a museum in Wyoming, she'll supervise a lot of restoration work. Luckily she's found the perfect contractor for the job.

Shane Harcourt can't believe that someone wants to turn a beat-up ghost town into a museum attraction. After all, the last thing he needs is the site of his dream ranch turning into a tourist trap. He'll work on the project, if only to hasten its failure …until the beautiful, quirky woman in charge starts to change his mind.

For the first time ever, Merry has a gorgeous stud hot on her heels. But can she trust this strong, silent man, even if he is a force of nature in bed? When Shane's ulterior motives come out, he'll need to prove to Merry that a love like theirs may be too hot to handle, but it's impossible to resist.

My Review:
There was a lot of story packed into this one book and these two characters. For that reason, there were times when the story seemed to be rambling and meandering slowly through...and getting a bit bogged down with it all.

Shane and Merry both have issues. Shane's issues date back to the men in his family which have a hard time committing. Merry's issues date back to a father who was never there and a mother who's a bit on the flighty side. But they've taken those issues and dealt with them completely differently in their lives. For Shane, he's used them as an excuse to never commit or get close. For Merry, she's used them as a further reason to embrace life and happiness. For both of them, they've left them with scars that make relationships really difficult, if not impossible.

There were times in this book when I had a hard time with both characters. Normally in romance novels, you want your H/h to be super-strong...that is NOT these two. Shane is fighting his family over the wrong things. In fact, I had a hard time understanding just why he was fighting them besides pure greed...not something you want in a hero. Merry has self-image issues. She doesn't see herself as someone who another person would want. The best part of the entire book was when she FINALLY stood up for herself. I wanted to stand up and cheer for her!

But with all of that, this is still a Victoria Dahl novel and I still enjoyed the actual reading of it. She has a humorous voice that I love in contemporary novels. I wasn't completely sold on these two characters, but there was enough good there that I still enjoyed the actual reading of the book. I liked the ghost town setting and what Merry was working to create there. It wasn't my favorite of hers, but it made for an entertaining read.

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

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Love Shack by Christie Ridgway

Title: The Love Shack
Author: Christie Ridgway
My Rating: B+



Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Beach House #3
Main Characters: Gage and Skye
Release Date: March 2013

ISBN: 9780373777150
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Globe-trotting photojournalist Gage Lowell spent carefree childhood summers in Crescent Cove. Now that he desperately needs some R & R, he books a vacation at Beach House No. 9—ready to soak up some sun and surprise old friend and property manager Skye Alexander. Their long-distance letters got him through a dangerous time he can’t otherwise talk about. But when
he arrives, the tightly wound beauty isn’t exactly happy to see him.

Skye knows any red-blooded woman would be thrilled to spend time with gorgeous, sexy Gage. But she harbors secrets of her own, including that she might just be a little bit in love with him. And she’s convinced the restless wanderer won’t stay long enough for her to dare share her past—or dream of a future together. Luckily for them both, summer at Crescent Cove has a way of making the impossible happen…


My Review:
I have really, really enjoyed this series...even more so than I expected to. I've been intrigued by Gage and Skye from book #1, mainly because it's been obvious that both of them are keeping secrets. 

Gage is Griffin's (hero book #1) twin brother. He's a war photographer and recently went mysteriously MIA while out on assignment. He rented out Beach house #9 incognito, but Griffin recognized the name that the two of them always use when trying to hide. 

Skye and Gage have been writing back and forth for months, but she's been hiding something from him and all her friends. They've noted a change in her and how much jumpier she is now, but no one's been able to get to the bottom of what exactly has changed. 

They both have secrets that are haunting them and I love how they worked through those together in this book. I also really enjoyed the fact that they have a friendship first which slowly builds up to something explosive between them, even though they both know it's temporary.

Then there's the side story of Teague and Polly. OMG, I loved Skye and Gage's story, but I loved Teague and Polly even more I think. Teague is a firefighter and he's been in all three of the stories...pretty much as background firefighter eyecandy (and I was happy with that). He's also been in love with Tess (Gage & Griffin's MARRIED sister) since book #1. Polly is hands-down his best friend. They've been that way for YEARS, but she's been in love with him that whole time. The guy is clueless. He had no idea and the shock of it all for him kept me giggling. I love him and just how much of a guy he is. He has no idea what's staring him in the face, even after Polly hits him over the head with it. I LOVED their story. 

This has been a great series and I've loved the stories that have taken place in Beach House #9. The characters have been great and the setting has been perfect. I definitely recommend this entire series.

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Wanderer by Robyn Carr

Title: The Wanderer
Author: Robyn Carr
My Rating: B


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Thunder Point #1
Main Characters: Cooper and Sarah
Release Date: March 2013
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase:
Amazon  
Sexual Intensity: spicy



Story Overview:
From Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Virgin River novels, comes Thunder Point-the highly anticipated new series that will make you laugh, make you sigh, and make you fall in love with a small town filled with people you'll never forget. Nestled on the Oregon coast is a small town of rocky beaches and rugged charm. Locals love the land's unspoiled beauty. Developers see it as a potential gold mine. When newcomer Hank Cooper learns he's been left an old friend's entire beachfront property, he finds himself with a community's destiny in his hands. 

Cooper has never been a man to settle in one place, and Thunder Point was supposed to be just another quick stop. But Cooper finds himself getting involved with the town. And with Sarah Dupre, a woman as complicated as she is beautiful. 

With the whole town watching for his next move, Cooper has to choose between his old life and a place full of new possibilities. A place that just might be home.

www.robyncarr.com


My Review:
I'm a huge fan of Robyn Carr's Virgin River series so I was thrilled to hear that she's starting a new one. This book is definitely a setting up book for the series. You get to meet a ton of new characters in this Oregon coastal town of Thundering Point. 

But the main characters you meet in this book are:
*Coop/Cooper- He's the "wanderer" for whom the book is made. He comes into town after his old Army buddy dies and leaves him his ocean front bar and bait shack. He lives in a toy hauler, is a helicopter pilot, and doesn't have any roots anywhere. He doesn't plan to stay.
*Sarah- A coast guard helicopter pilot raising her 16 year old brother after their parents died 10 years ago. She's recently divorced from a guy who doesn't believe in monogamy and she NEVER plans to fall in love or get involved in a serious relationship again.
*Mac- the town law...he's a deputy with the sheriff's department and got a girl pregnant when he was 19 year's old. Now he's a single parent to that teenage daughter and two others.
*Gina- best friends with Mac, although she's had a crush on him for years. They've bonded over their teenage daughters who are best friends. Gina got pregnant when she was fifteen and has truly done hardly anything but be a mom since. I hurt for her.

This book definitely does not follow your typical romance novel outline. The hero and heroine in the book don't even meet until the 47% although there is a lot of setting up for their relationship through Sarah's little brother. As well as a lot of development and set up for the town and the series. 

I did enjoy Sarah and Coop's romance once it began, but I will admit that I was much more intrigued about the teen/town story. That's the beauty of Robyn's books...they have the many layers of small town life and I love that. This one even had a small little mystery/suspense story line and I really liked that. I'm excited about this new series and can't wait to hear Mac and Gina's full story. They got a LOT of page time in this book and I'm definitely already emotionally invested in them.

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