Icon Tag: Romance

Review: A Taste of Ice by Hanna Martine

Posted March 11, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 14 Comments

Hey guys, I have another lovely review for you today from our Guest Poster Sophia Rose. Sophia reviews A Taste of Ice a spicy paranormal and a second book in The Elementals series.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: A Taste of Ice by Hanna MartineA Taste of Ice (The Elementals, #2) by Hanna Martine
Series: The Elementals #2
Published by Berkley Sensation on December 31st 2012
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:four-flames

There is an untapped world of magic that any man would covet...
Five years ago, Xavier escaped from the Ofarian Plant. Today he calls a Colorado mountain town home. It’s there he buries himself in his work, swearing off magic and relationships—until a woman threatens every promise he’s made to himself.
Cat has always known she is different. Water speaks to her on an uncanny level, and she channels this gift into beautiful painted waterscapes. Now, a gallery is debuting her work in Colorado—and it’ll reveal far more about her than she imagined.
The spark between Cat and Xavier is enough to throw both of them off balance. Every tantalizing moment sends them dangerously close to a rising flood of desire. Dangerous because Xavier comes to suspect that Cat is an Ofarian—his people’s enemy. But they’re both about to discover a far greater, more malicious power at play...

This is one of those ‘why did I wait so long to pick this up and read it?’ moments. Because alien made magical and elemental humans playing up their intrigues amongst the ordinary unsuspecting folks, dark pasts and healing romance in the present is definitely my thing.

I accidentally grabbed book two, but we’re going to ignore that because I did alright. Though that said, I knew I was missing the root of this series and could sense a strong connection to the first book, Liquid Lies from A Taste of Ice.

I enjoyed this refreshing take on the paranormal romance genre as these are heavy hitting magic users who are capable and do some bad stuff and I like action plots paired with romance.

My interest was snagged from the starting line with the set-up of a nearly broken man hiding out in the human world from his past and who he really is just to survive and a bright emerging female artist who has always felt like she is missing part of herself while connecting strongly to water through her paintings.

The coming together of this pair would seem easy since they feel a strong attraction and don’t have some stupid screw-up to come between- no, Cat in particularly handles the landmines of a relationship with a guy like Xavier like a champ. It was an intriguing choice to make a sexual abuse survivor be the male and it was handled well. What ends up being the trouble is a deep and meaningful collection of issues that are valid problems that they try to work out even as crazy and bad stuff interferes. It was an interesting choice to include a third major narrator that is one of those grayish-to-black empathetic villain types.

The build of the plot both action and romance was steady and I enjoyed the anticipation for the big ending which was actually a series of big moments though some were predictable.

So, yes, I will definitely be reaching for the next installment in The Elementals series and heading back for book one. I loved the world building, action and romance plot blend and the attention to the characters. I would definitely recommend it to others who enjoy spicy paranormal romance involving X-Men style magic elementals.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: The Awakening by Amanda Stevens

Posted March 9, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 21 Comments

Review:  The Awakening by Amanda StevensThe Awakening by Amanda Stevens
Series: Graveyard Queen #6
Published by Mira on March 28th 2017
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 416
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Shush…lest she awaken…
My name is Amelia Gray, a cemetery restorer who lives with the dead. An anonymous donor has hired me to restore Woodbine Cemetery, a place where the rich and powerful bury their secrets. Forty years ago, a child disappeared without a trace and now her ghost has awakened, demanding that I find out the truth about her death. Only I know that she was murdered. Only I can bring her killer to justice. But the clues that I follow—a haunting melody and an unnamed baby's grave—lead me to a series of disturbing suspects.
For generations, The Devlins have been members of Charleston's elite. John Devlin once turned his back on the traditions and expectations that came with his birthright, but now he has seemingly accepted his rightful place. His family's secrets make him a questionable ally. When my investigation brings me to the gates of his family's palatial home, I have to wonder if he is about to become my mortal enemy.

Ever since the disturbing events of the last book, I knew I had to get my hands on The Awakening in order to find out what happens next. Luckily, I read the two back to back and was left with a piece of mind.

The Awakening follows in not to distant feature from book five. Amelia is hired by an anonymous donor to restore the Woodbine Cemetery and all its dark and hidden secrets.

This book at times I find was hard to read, it just slowly keeps getting darker and darker. I still feel like book five was a tad bit darker, but things are really starting to hit the fan.

I really missed Devlin in the last book and even thought he was mentioned often, he finally makes a comeback. I really wanted to know what was going on with him and the strange rift that formed between Devlin and Amelia. Luckily for us, we don’t wait too long to find out, and I loved that we don’t have to wait till book seven for everything to get sorted.

In The Awakening, Amelia has to find the secret behind the murder of a little girl. I find children’s death stories one of the hardest to read. It feels so emotional, so uncomfortable at times. For Amelia especially, as we come to learn that this ghost really hits close to home for her. Not only does Amelia ends up discovering some dark secrets of her own family, she also ends up in a mess with Devlin’s secrets.

More is revealed about the secret societies, more death, more progression in the storyline. I loved reading about all the cemetery research and what the symbols in the children’s cemetery mean. The build up was amazing, the end, rushed.

This seems to now be a consistent trend in Stevens book, and one that I am now finding a bit annoying. We get this amazing build up, this amazing story and then everything happens so fast in the end that you can’t wrap your head around anything. It’s rushed, which makes it more than a little disappointing at times. The ending was mind blowing, but it was just so… quick… Even the confrontation was really quick.

I also feel like Amelia could use a little bit more emotion. She loves Devlin, but her grief felt a little robotic? I guess. It could be the fact that she trained herself not to show emotion, but that’s something that I feel is lacking a bit. It is necessary? I guess not, the book is still amazing, even without it. Just an observation, I guess?

Also, the ending? The ending ended with a mind blowing note. I hope there is a book seven because I need it now. There are still so many unanswered questions, even more after book five.

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Review: Starting Over on Blackberry Lane by Sheila Roberts

Posted March 7, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review:  Starting Over on Blackberry Lane by Sheila RobertsStarting Over on Blackberry Lane by Sheila Roberts
Series: Life in Icicle Falls #10
Published by Mira Books on February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 400
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Heat:one-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Time for a Change—or Three! 
Stefanie Stahl has a husband with renovation ADD. He can't seem to finish anything he starts and her house is littered with his "projects." If he doesn't smarten up, she swears she's going to murder him and bury him under the pile of scrounged lumber in the backyard.  
Her friend Griffin James is suddenly single and thinking maybe she needs to sell her fixer-upper and follow her career bliss up the ladder of success, even if that scary ladder is clear across the country. Getting her place ready to sell proves harder than she originally thought. She needs help.  
She's not the only one. Cass Wilkes, their neighbor, has an empty nest—with a leaking roof. When her ceiling crashes in, she knows it's time to do something. When Grant Masters offers his handyman services at a fund-raiser auction, the three women go in together to outbid the competition and win their man. (Cass's friends think she should win Grant in a different way, too!) Now it's time to make some improvements…in their houses and their lives.

Funny story, despite the fact that I have a ton of Sheila Roberts books laying around Starting Over on Blackberry Lane is my first read from this author.

It was interesting. It follows three women in Icicle Falls, and they all happen to live nearby and are really good friends.

Cass is a forty five year old baker who owns her own bakery and most recently her roof collapsed over her dining room table. She is divorced and has a few grown children, but she is feeling very lonely until Grant Master’s shows up in town. He happens to look like George Clooney and a lot of women fawn and mistake him over the actor.

Stef is married, but is having a hard time with her husband who has decided to tear up the house and do some renovations. It is what Stef had wanted, but the problem is that her husband can’t seem to finish anything he has started and her entire house is a big giant mess. Luckily, a bit of Grant’s Honey-Do company is coming up – and Stef is adamant at winning it in hopes the handyman can finish the job.

Griffin is young and is about to get married, but at her bridal shower, she realizes it is no longer what she wants. She and her fiance had somehow grown apart. Steve is more interested in his video games than at her, and now they barely talk let alone spend time together. After breaking off her marriage, Griffin is looking for a fresh start in New York, where she hopes her food photography will take off. Of course she mets Master’s other son Matt, who is coming off his own marriage and sparks fly.

This was cute. I did mostly enjoy this book. It had a lot going on, a lot. It follows the residents of Icicle
Falls and thought this could be read as a standalone, other characters make an appearance regularly. For the most part, it felt like I was reading a show. The three women win the Honey-Do bid and decide to split the handyman in hopes of getting their houses finished.

The characters were fun to follow, for the most part. I could stand Stef though, she was absolutely horrible to her husband at times. I understood her frustration, but she treated him like crap and that wasn’t okay. She kept calling him frustrating and immature, but the only immature person in this book was her. She was difficult to like and I didn’t like her at all. I thought she was horrid and she never really grew on me after that, the damage was done.

Cass and Griffin were easy to like. I loved that Cass was a baker and was curious with all the mention of food in this book if there was going to be some recipes at the end – luckily for me, there are, so excited.

The romance was okay. Because it follows three characters and their relationships and how they are all looking to start over in a different kind of way (for Cass she wants to love again, for Griffin she is moving to a different chapter in her life and for Stef a new start with her marriage) it was hard to really connect with the romance. I connected with the characters, but I never really felt the romance and at times that was frustrating. The most frustrating part besides Stef and her horrible treatment of her husband was Cass and Grant because of their age difference. Grant was about sixteen years old and kept pointing that out through 90% of the book, I was starting to get annoyed, especially since Cass on multiple occasions mentioned she didn’t care. Grant was also quick to keep calling her out on her age and the difference and it was really just getting old – no pun intended.

The other thing that seemed to bother me was the eating and weight issue in this. I wasn’t sure if the author was trying to spin it into a good message or just use the way people act these days, but it was another thing on the list of frustration and gripes with this book.

Cass was a bigger girl and had an issue with her weight, she kept pointing out the fact that she wasn’t skinny and was gaining weight and yada yada yada. As someone who isn’t skinny herself it can get tedious reading about these women and their low self-esteem, it makes me feel like I don’t sit here and bitch and whine about my weight more often (excuse the language) but seriously – Cass does end up doing something about it because apparently people can survive on salads and egg whites alone.

Griffin was the opposite. She used to be fat and no longer eats. Well, she barely eats. Carbs is an enemy and she picks at her food and basically starves herself until Matt the cook comes along and literally forces her to try the food. Ugh, this was such a major issue for me. I get that people like that exist, but when body issues get mentioned over and over again in this book, it makes me feel like I need to fret over my own weight ever breathing minute of the day. It’s annoying.

Overall, I enjoyed it despite all the gripes and the long list of annoyances. I liked the feeling of the read and how there were so many characters and it was just a cozy page turner.

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Review: The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon

Posted March 6, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 19 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review:  The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica LemmonThe Bastard Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Billionaire Bad Boys #3
Published by Forever on February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars
Heat:three-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A BILLIONAIRE BAD BOYS NOVEL
Beauty and the Beastly Billionaire . . . Eli Crane is one tough bastard. After an explosion left him injured and honorably discharged from the Marines, all he wants is to be left alone. Yet his brothers insist he take a greater role in the family business. They've hired him ten personal assistants-and Eli sent each one packing as fast as possible. But when beautiful number eleven walks through the door, Eli will do anything to make her stay. Isabella Sawyer's employment agency can't afford to lose Eli Crane's business. Her plan: to personally take on the role of his PA, and secure her reputation with the wealthy elite in Chicago. But this beauty and her hot billionaire bad boy soon find themselves mixing business with pleasure in the most delicious ways. And passionate, stubborn Isabella won't rest until she tames this wicked beast . . .

Wow, so this one was a doozy. I read and absolutely LOVED the first book in this series, and was naturally curious about Eli the brother serving overseas. I always knew it was coming, since this trilogy features the Crane brothers, so when this one showed up in my mailbox, I had to read it.

Eli is back home from the war after going through a horrific experience. When his two friends die trying to save him from an explosion, Eli not only loses his leg in the incident but himself as well. Now he is back home and Reese, his older brother wants Eli to take over as the COO of Crane hotels – which Eli has no interest in doing.

So Reese hires a company to provide assistants to Eli in hopes of forcing him to do the work, but all the women that show up at his door, go running in terror from the big bad monster holed up in his cave, until of course the owner of the company makes the appearance herself.

Isa doesn’t like that every assistant that she sent over to Eli Crane doesn’t make it past a day or so. Since she has a reputation to uphold the owner decides to do the job herself, if only for a couple of days.

Sparks fly, tempers flare, the two butt heads. Eli has finally met his match.

Guys, let me tell you. I absolutely LOVED the way this book started. I loved Eli and his grumpy bear persona and I loved Isa and her not taking crap attitude. There was a push and pull between them that was so entertaining. I found the entire thing ironic since Isa walked away from her family business and was trying to basically force Eli into his family business. The tension was great and then after they got together everything fell apart for me.

It ended falling flat, a bit boring and overall repetitive. I was expecting more and the way the book started, I thought there would be more. This book had SO much potential, but it almost felt like the author switched gears midway and went back to the comfort of her formula by the end of the book.

There was a plotline in the beginning of the book that was kind of left unexplored. There is a rocky relationship between Isa and her parents, and her parents don’t like the Cranes and how they built their money. Isa’s parents always wanted her to take over the business, but when she didn’t, they gave it to her ex-boyfriend. Well, at the celebration dinner for him, her mother wanted to force the two together, but Isa shows up with Eli to stick it to her parents. I felt like more could have been done here, but there was no more mention of her parents or how disgruntled they are.

I was also surprised where the author decided to take Eli’s future. Eli joined the military and never really had an interest in Crane Hotels, so I didn’t understand nor liked the ending. Eli started his own thing called Refurb and it was a charity for veterans that need help getting around the house. I LOVED that, I was really hoping his future was more focused on that.

And of course, this is where the formula kicked in. Eli doesn’t know what he wants for his future, even though EVERYTHING is going great between him and Isa and like the other book – he ends up hurting her. Big surprise there, I swear I rolled my eyes at that.

I wanted to love this more. The beginning of the book and I started off on a great note, but then it got boring, I started skimming, and some things that actually had potential were left on the sideline and the author went to her safety zone.

Overall, good… Nothing amazing, did not find this mind blowing, but I enjoyed the writing, and the characters and it was a pleasant read for the most part. I enjoyed it well enough to give it 3 stars.

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Double Review: Starlight Bridge and Christmas with an Angel by Debbie Mason

Posted February 27, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 14 Comments

Double Review:  Starlight Bridge and Christmas with an Angel by Debbie MasonStarlight Bridge by Debbie Mason
Series: Harmony Harbor #2
Published by Forever on February 28th 2017
Genres: Romance
Pages: 368
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:one-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A second chance for romance...
Hidden in Graystone Manor is a book containing all the dark secrets of Harmony Harbor, and Ava DiRossi is determined to find it. No one-especially not her ex-husband, Griffin Gallagher-can ever discover what really tore her life apart all those years ago. With Griffin back in town, it's more important than ever that she find the book before someone else does. Because her ex is still angry with her for leaving him. And he still has no idea Ava never stopped loving him...
Ava is no longer the vibrant, happy woman Griffin had once loved and married, and he would do anything to bring back the sparkle to her brilliant green eyes. But what's never changed are the sexy sparks of attraction between Ava and Griffin, and he won't give her up again without a fight. He knows there's the real possibility of a future together... if the truth doesn't burn the bridge between them forever.

I just knew the moment I picked up Starlight Bridge by Debbie Mason that this was going to be the book that will briefly pull me out of my reading slump, and I was right.

We met Ava and Griffin in book one, and ever since then I have wanted to know their story.

Ava and Griffin are divorced. They use to have one of a kind love, but after Griffin get’s deployed, something happens that changes Ava and suddenly she is serving the divorce papers. It didn’t take long for the readers to kind of learn what happened to Ava, but Ava doesn’t want Griffin to find out. The problem is, Colleen, Griffins great-grandmother wrote it down in a journal that now everyone in Graystone Manor and their enemies want to get their hands on.

This book did not disappoint. I was a little worried about how I would feel about it after not liking Sophie in book one, but I totally loved and adored Ava – she had such a big heart when it came to Griffin and her own father no matter the circumstances. I felt for the girl, I really did. What happened to her was horrible and who caused, it was even more heart breaking. But, I enjoyed the simmering attraction and love between Ava and Griffin and I loved watching it unfold through the story. It was sweet, it was wondering and no amount of time took away from the strong hold the two have on each other. Watching them as they worked on staying together despite Griffin’s families opinion on her was endearing and left me cheering them on.

There is so much going on. Outside of battling her attraction for her ex-husband, Graystone Manor is still in trouble and Griffin is one of the siblings that is ready to vote to sell the place. A lot of the Gallagher’s don’t want that, so they hope that Ava can change his mind. Ava is also dealing with her father, who had an accident years ago and now cannot walk. He spends his days chain smoking, watching TV, and drowning his sorrows with liquor. When he isn’t doing that, he is letting his anger explode on Ava and she is suffering, but she loves her father, so she does everything she can to help him.

This really was a great page turner. Another book that I had a hard time putting down and found myself reading at four in the morning. I loved that Colleen is still around as a ghost. I think I had an issue with it in the first book, but once I got passed it, I found that I enjoy that part of the book. It’s different and I am okay with that.

Tons of secondary characters are in book two, so we get to see how Liam and Sophie are doing. I have to admit, I still don’t like her and this book did nothing to change my opinion on her. The way she treated her cousin when things were rough at the Graystone manor with the new cook went uncalled for. I thought Sophie of all people would understand. Rose, the DiRossi grandmother is still funny and great, I loved her character in book one as well as this one.

There was a development between Griffin and Lexi – his second ex-wife that even though at the time I found annoying and unnecessary – I grew to respect when my opinion of Lexi changed by the end of the book.

Overall, I really loved this. The storyline follows what’s been happening in book one with the Manor, so even thought this could be read as a standalone – I feel like the readers would be confused with some of the stuff that happens in this book – so I strongly recommend starting with book one.

Double Review:  Starlight Bridge and Christmas with an Angel by Debbie MasonChristmas with an Angel: A Short Story by Debbie Mason
Series: Harmony Harbor #1.5
Published by Forever Yours on December 6th 2016
Genres: Romance
Pages: 54
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars
Heat:one-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

It's been eight long years since Michael Gallagher has laid eyes on Shay Angel, back when he was a boy from the most prominent family in town and she was a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. But he hadn't cared about their differences - until one bad decision landed her in jail.
That was years ago and now he's back in Harmony Harbor for the holidays. So when Shay goes missing, Michael is intent on finding her - and finding out if their sizzling attraction is still there. But he's now a district attorney, and it looks like Shay is once again on the wrong side of the law.

Honestly, I did not know how to review this novella (?) because I wasn’t really sure what is happening here.

Let me explain. This novella follows immediately the events that happen in book one. Michael has been dumped in the alter so to drown out his sorrow he goes to the bar owned by Shay Angel’s uncle, a girl he once fell in love with but also is partially responsible for sending her to jail.

Well, apparently Shay needs his held – or so her uncle thinks and Michael finds himself trying to get her out of a dangerous situation.

This was a super quick read, maybe like 20 minutes? I felt like I read a few chapters in a book and was left wanting more. We get a brief snip of how Michael is feeling after the wedding being such a big mess, we get to meet Shay. The ending left on a sort of a weird note. There was no HEA between these two, but a promise to meet at the same spot a year later.

It felt like a prologue to a book. At least I hope Michael get’s a book because it sounds like it be fun. Shay and Michael are so completely different with their backgrounds, but we don’t get enough out of this book to really feel neither the connection, nor the characters. Honestly, I didn’t even feel like this needed to be written, but okay?

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Review: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks

Posted February 26, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 5 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review:  How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn SparksHow to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: The Embraced #1
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 7th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 2 Stars
Heat:three-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Luciana grew up on the Isle of Moon, hidden away because of her magical powers. But when her father arrives, he offers her a choice: remain on the island or return with him and marry the Beast of Benwick in order to save their legacy—and her father's life.
Lord Leofric, the Beast of Benwick, has not been touched since he was a child. Born with the power to harness lightning, he is a danger to everyone he touches. When he meets his betrothed, he expects a loveless, lonely marriage...until he discovers she's vastly more powerful than he realized. But is she strong enough to withstand his touch?
If they can survive, their love will alter the future of the kingdom. But will their extraordinary powers cost them everything?

It’s really tough to write bad reviews. Especially bad reviews on books that I end up feeling like the only black sheep.

I picked up How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days because so many of my friends loved it, and I went into the book with a lot of excitement.

It started out great, with an interesting premise, an interesting beginning of the world – but ultimately faltered by half way.

There are a few things I really dislike in my books and it’s like this one hit each one with a nail on the head.

1. Insta-love – The characters fall in love almost right away. She was drawn to him by just seeing him and was already claiming love after only talking to him twice? Five days in, two conversations later and the poor girl Luciana couldn’t live without Leo. She was so terribly in love with the man of her dreams, who happened to be the man she was being forced to marry.

2. Rapid Fire Writing – what else would you call this? umm… Hectic writing? I don’t know how to explain this, but it’s when things happen so quickly and so much at a time it makes your head spin, but things also get resolved within a first few paragraphs and we move on to more really quick scenes, you know what I mean? I hate that. I feel like the author was trying to smash together too many things into one book and it kind of ended up a big giant mess. First, she didn’t have to put so many things in one book. Second, I felt like it left the book with no detail nor substance.

3. Too much drama – seriously, especially near the end. There were just one too many things happening and so quickly, it probably would have been better if one or two big things happened. I felt like I was reading a movie on rewind or cliff notes. A lot of drama was happening in the end there and it was getting resolved so super quickly that my brain was hurting.

4. Plot – Okay this wasn’t all that bad, but I had some issues. First, Luciana is being forced to marry in place of her twin dead sister because if she doesn’t – her father dies. She accepted her faith, way too easily. Next, she must pretend to be her sister Tatiana, and she ends up being really horrible about it because her sister was a complete opposite. People are suppose to believe that she is one in the same person. The two girls grew up in two different places, so even if they were identical (I am assuming?) there would probably be some differences due to their environment and not enough time had passed between the death and Luciana assuming the role that would make up for these discrepancies. Also, I did not expect the book to resolve the problem with the king as fast as it did. I expected this to be ongoing in the series.

5. World Building –  I was really, really, excited about the world at first. There are many different kingdoms and they are at war…but.. why? I wasn’t 100% sure why they kept attacking each other. Maybe I accidentally glazed over that part. There were different regents of the world, but not much is known about any of them, with the exception that the main land does not tolerate the embraced – yet multiple characters are without consequences. I felt the book would be stronger if there was more focus a bit more on world building. I get it, it’s just a paranormal romance so technically there isn’t a need for complete world building. But, since this is also a fantasy, it really would have benefited from more building.

Overall, I was really excited. I came prepared to love it and really wanted a solid paranormal (fantasy?) . Instead, I found myself rather disappointed. It didn’t help that Luciana was the most awkward virgin ever and the love scene made me cringe hard.

I think my favorite part was Brody and the dragon scene. A bit disappointed there wasn’t more of it. Instead, most of the story focused on finding assassins or assassination attacks and just, blah..

And this is just a mild annoyance, but the male lead had a head full of red hair… the cover model, doesn’t.

Now this totally could just be a me kind of thing and not the book, but for me, there was just too many things that I am not a complete fan of when it comes to books. I will probably give this author another chance as I keep hearing wonderful things about her other series.

Rating Report
Plot
2.5 Stars
Characters
1.5 Stars
Writing
2 Stars
Pacing
2 Stars
Cover
2 Stars
Overall: 2 Stars

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Review: Highland Vixen by Mary Wine

Posted February 13, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 7 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review:  Highland Vixen by Mary WineHighland Vixen by Mary Wine
Series: Highland Weddings #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on February 7th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance, Scotland
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:three-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Fierce Highland war chief seeks comely lass for fun, frolic, and marriage
Marcus MacPherson is every inch the fearsome Highlander. He's used to men averting their eyes and women cowering before him. He thinks he'll eventually settle down with a nice, obedient bride. Instead, he gets Helen Grant... Stubborn as the day is long, fearless and dedicated to raising as much hell as possible, Helen is definitely going to challenge Marcus. And challenge him some more. And then some.
It's anyone's guess who'll win this battle of the heart...

I didn’t actually know what to expect from this book. I wanted something Highlander, and Mary Wine’s book jumped out at me. I have not read her before, and she is a new to me author who has pleasantly surprised me.

Highland Vixen jumped into a story leading from book one, so if you haven’t read book one, like me, I strongly suggest starting from there so you don’t have to face the same confusion.

The book opens up with Helen and Brenda Grant escaping the MacPherson Castle and looking for shelter at Court. Helen was a captive in the MacPherson castle because Marcus took her as a prize, but her life wasn’t bad by any means. The last thing Helen wants to do is sit around and wait for the Laird to marry her off.

Helen and Brenda end up at court, where they are immediately called to Earl of Morton’s attention. Morton is a regent of Scotland, and seems to think he can wield power over the Highlanders. So when Marcus shows up at Court in order to bring Helen back, he is stuck under Morton’s claws, who wants Marcus to marry a girl barely 14 to strengthen alliances. Disturbed by the prospect of sleeping with a 14 year old girl, Marcus refuses, ends up in chains and Helen comes to his rescue with the prospect of marriage to her in order to save them.

This was an interesting read. Once I was able to get used to the writing and the dialect, I found myself fully immersed in the story. It did take some time to put the pieces together, since I have not read the first book, but other reviews helped with that.

I really enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t just a romance novel, there was a lot going on, there was a full storyline with the Earl of Morton trying to cause trouble for Helen and Marcus, bringing in other clans into the fold to try and get in their way.

I was confused about why Helen and Brenda went to look for safety in Court, mainly since the two seem to be aware of Earl of Morton and just how despicable and awful the man is. It seems to me the entire situation could have been avoided. I also still am not entirely sure who Brenda is to Helen and how Helen did not come to help her friend after the escape. Especially now that they know what Morton is capable off as he tried to derail Marcus and Helen at every turn.

The romance itself was actually pretty good. I loved that there was some resistance from Helen at first considering the rocky start the two had, but I loved Marcus and his patience. He wasn’t really good at charming his new bride by any means, considering he is the War Chief of clan MacPherson and his wooing skills are zilch next to nothing. The bickering and the growing attraction were a major plus in this book amidst all the danger and excitement thrown their way.

I liked the secondary characters and their storylines and wonder how this series will progress. Well, now I am finding myself invested and hope to learn what will become of them in the future and how it will play out. Especially since the issues with the Earl of Morton have still been unresolved.

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Review: The Billionaire Bachelor by Jessica Lemmon

Posted February 9, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review:  The Billionaire Bachelor by Jessica LemmonThe Billionaire Bachelor by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Billionaire Bad Boys #1
Published by Forever on June 30th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:four-flames

Indecent Proposal
Manwhore. That's what the board of directors-and the tabloids-thinks of billionaire bachelor Reese Crane. Ordinarily he couldn't care less, but his playboy past is preventing the board from naming him CEO of Crane Hotels. Nothing-and no one-will keep him from his life's legacy. They want a settled man to lead the company? Then that's exactly what he'll give them.
Merina Van Heusen will do anything to get her parents' funky boutique hotel back-even marry cold-as-ice-but-sexy-as-hell Reese Crane. It's a simple business contract-six months of marriage, absolute secrecy, and the Van Heusen is all hers again. But when sparks fly between them, their passion quickly moves from the boardroom to the bedroom. And soon Merina is living her worst nightmare: falling in love with her husband . . .

I was looking for something different to read when I came across The Billionaire Bachelor and figured I could give it a shot.

Boy was I rewarded with a fun story, great characters and a romance that sizzles long after the pages are done.

The Plot

Two hotel owners collide when Merina Van Heusen discovers that her precious hotel has been sold off to Crane Hotels.

Reese Crane is on track of making CEO, there is just one problem, the board of directors do not seem him fit to take over his father’s position. Reese has lived and breathed Crane hotels ever since he threw himself fully into his family’s legacy, and now a bunch of old man, who don’t approve of his lifestyle, are standing in the way of him losing everything.

Now, Reese much ditch his playboy lifestyle and settle down, and who do better with than a woman who hates his guts. But, Reese has something that Merina wants, and knows she is perfect to not screw things up.

Oh I loved the plot. It was an enemy to lovers story with a fake marriage that over time succumbs to passion and morphed into something more.

Like a miracle had occurred. Had he grown a conscience? Her eyes narrowed in suspicion. “What’s the catch?”
He smiled, then said two words that made her go temporarily blind in one eye.
“Marry me.”

It was fun, it was exciting and it was something totally different from my recent reads so I was glad to have discovered this. I was totally engrossed with the plot, hooked, line and sinker. I was unable to put this book down and was cranky from the lack of sleep, but it seemed totally worth it.

The plot was totally character driven and I loved both equally with their prickly personalities. I loved that there was a build up and the way things played up, with even a bit (a little bit) of angst thrown in at the end. The story was everything I wanted and more.

The Characters

Merina and Reese were definitely the stars of the show. Thought I love the fact that this is book one in a trilogy of Crane brothers – because I totally adored Tag and cannot wait to read his story.

Reese was passionate, calculating, and a bit detached. He has a story and it consists of heartbreak that left him running for the hills when it comes to relationships. So marrying was equivalent of having a lobotomy, I’m sure.

He likes his women, he doesn’t like emotions or exposing his weak side. Reese does not want to get hurt ever again after that devastating heartbreak, which made him a little frustrating in the end when the possibility of love came pounding on his doorsteps. He get’s closed up, but he opens up with Merina without even trying to show that he actually does care and in turn exposes his heart.

Merina was prickly and I really liked her and her spunk. She really knew how to get under Reese’s skin and the two worked and clicked so well together. There was heat, there was steam, and a romance that absolutely sizzled. The chemistry was explosive, it didn’t feel forced, and kept things completely engrossing and interesting.

I adored these two so much that I am going to miss them.

Overall

Overall, this entire book was a win. I did have one issue and that was at the end where everything Reese has been trying to avoid, catches up to him and he closes down. I did realize that it’s a part of him that kept him protected from heartbreak, so it did make sense that he had responded the way he did, but at the same time Merina was different. I wanted to throttle him for being so stupid.

When the fog cleared, he did redeem himself and the story ended on a touching note. I loved seeing the vulnerable side of him.

The writing was good, the characters were well rounded, raw, real, emotional, sprinkled with humor. It kept me turning the pages, and will keep me coming back to find out what the author has in store for me next!

“Are you capable of being monogamous?” It was easier to needle him than address the gauntlet resting between them like a huge pink elephant.

“I don’t prefer it.”

Which was no answer at all.

“So this is a bribe.”

“It’s a proposal.” One eyebrow lifted slightly. “In this case, literally.”

“When a woman says ‘fine’…,” he started.

“Run.” Tag’s smug expression fell as he sat ramrod straight. “Like you have zombies on your tail. ‘Fine’ is not a term of endearment from a woman.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought.”

Tag’s eyes went to Reese’s phone. “Who gave you the F-word?”

“Merina. In answer to my marriage proposal.” He leaned on his desk, hands folded. “I’m assuming that’s a yes.”

“You should assume the position, man. That does not sound like a good sign.”

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Review: The Christmas Ranch by RaeAnne Thayne

Posted February 7, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review: The Christmas Ranch by RaeAnne ThayneThe Christmas Ranch by RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Cowboys of Cold Creek #13
Published by Harlequin on November 18th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Pages: 224
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:one-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Hope Nichols has never felt as if she belonged anywhere, except her hometown of Pine Gulch. So, when she hears that her family's property, Christmas Ranch, is set to be shut down forever, a determined Hope heads home. She refuses to let the Grinch steal her holiday—this will be the most memorable ranch Christmas ever! And, thanks to hunky former navy SEAL Rafe Santiago and his adorable nephew, she might just pull off that miracle.
Rafe is undeniably drawn to Hope and her passion for rebuilding her family home. But he knows more about Hope's tragic past than even she herself could imagine. And though she doesn't know it, she owes him her life. And all he wants in return is for her to spend it with him…

I think I might be a little obsessed. After finishing the last book in the Nichol’s sister trilogy, I came to a surprising realization that somewhere along the way, I did not read the first book. That was unacceptable, so I had to remedy that quickly. I was pleasantly surprised I already had the book on my kindle and dove right in it.

Guys, I cannot believe I somehow put off reading these books. I am totally kicking myself because I just love them so much. I fell in love with all the characters and I find that I truly am going to miss them. I am glad Thayne wrapped everything up on high note and even gave us a glimpse at what’s in store for the sisters.

The Christmas Ranch is actually the first book in this awesome, romantic and sweet series. It features Hope, the middle sister. Hope watched her father get shot at a rescue mission that went terribly wrong. Rafe Santiago was a rookie, who felt responsible for not being fast enough to save the young girl’s father. The last thing Rafe expected was to end up running into Hope Nichols, the girl he pulled away screaming into the helicopter and the guilt that came attached after. Hope doesn’t remember him, but after his nephew puts a nice hole in her car window with a rock, Hope finds a way into his life.

This was super cute. I loved Rafe in the other books and needed to know how it all began. Rafe is so much different than the other men in this series. He is an ex Navy Seal, he rescued Hope and her sisters from the people that held them hostage, and he carries a lot of guilt.

The romance was just what I expected from Thayne, it was sweet, clean, slow, and just what I needed in the past few gloomy and rainy days.  I just can’t seem to get enough of her writing.

I adored Hope and how she wanted to restore The Christmas Ranch despite the fact that her sister’s at first were so against it. The ranch was failing, there wasn’t much money made out of it and most of it was falling apart. Until Hope comes along, and tries to breath life back into the place that has been a staple in the community. With the help of Rafe and his nephew, it might just happen after all.

Rafe was amazing, and I loved watching him try to become a father figure to his nephew. He doesn’t tell Hope at first who he is and she doesn’t remember him. So it was interesting to see how it would all unfold.

I was confused by Faiths response to him when she sees him. She’s angry, but thankful to him at the same time? It was a bit confusing.

Overall, it’s a great beginning to a wonderful heart-touching, heart-melting, cozy romance series that will stay with me long after.

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Review: The Holiday Gift by RaeAnne Thayne

Posted February 6, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 16 Comments

Review:  The Holiday Gift by RaeAnne ThayneThe Holiday Gift by RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Cowboys of Cold Creek #15
Published by Harlequin on November 22nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Pages: 224
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:one-flame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A COWBOY FOR CHRISTMAS
With two kids and an active life, widow Faith Dustin only wants peace and quiet for Christmas. But her snowy Pine Gulch ranch is nothing but chaotic. All that keeps Faith going is her helpful neighbor, cowboy Chase Brannon. He's always been "good ol' Chase," her faithful friend. Until he kisses her under the mistletoe…
Years ago Chase blew his chance with the woman he's loved since childhood. Now he's determined to step out of the friend zone…and into the role of husband. But the scared and stubborn Faith won't let herself fall. With Christmas just days away, Chase will need all the magic of the season—and the help of her two matchmaking children—to unwrap a second chance at love.

The Holiday Gift is the third and last book in the Nichols sister’s, this time featuring Faith Dustin, who is the oldest of the trio.

Faith has had a rough life. First, her parents die when the girls were really young, than her husband dies in a tragic accident, leaving her with a ranch that was failing and in debt. The only constant in her life, her rock, has been her best friend Chase Brannon.

Chase has always felt like he has been on the sidelines looking in, waiting for the perfect moment to swoop in and tell Faith how he felt about her. In love with her ever since the sisters arrived in town, Chase was never given an opportunity to express his feelings, especially after his best friend married the girl he was in love with.

Now, years after his death, Chase wants the opportunity to show Faith how much she really means to him.

Cute story. I really enjoyed it. I love Thayne books. Every time I pop one open it’s like coming home to curl in next to a warm fire with a cup of chocolate. Her Christmas/Holiday books make me so happy, that I can read them at any time of the year.

I am sad that this trilogy has come to a close. Faith was the oldest sister, and she didn’t know how to deal with the fact that suddenly her best friend wants to take her out on the date when he is the one thing in her life that seemed so there and so solid, is suddenly shaking things up.

I loved Chase. I loved how much he cared for Faith and I was so sad that he got put on the sidelines like that. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard it would be for someone to watch a person you love fall for someone else, get married, have children, be happy. It must have hurt.

I loved that he wanted Faith to see that there is so much more to him than just her friend.

I struggled with Faith at times. It appears that she is the only one in the family that did not know that Chase has been in love with her forever and news of that comes as a shock for her. Plus, she kept trying to force the new girl Elle onto Chase even after she came to know about his feelings. At 80%, I was finding myself annoyed when she made another attempt to push the two together and in the process, hurt the other woman’s feelings because she was so inconsiderate.

I do get it. Her husband dies, she has just learned that the only man in the world that has been her rock and did so much for her, wants a relationship and she doesn’t want to lose him. Plus, she is afraid that something will happen to Chase and she will watch another husband pass away. I get her resistance, it just got a bit much at times.

Otherwise, this was a really charming, slow, clean romance story. Thayne’s writing is just so good, so amazing, I never found a dull moment. I found myself finishing the book in one day, even if it took me almost all night. I was so unable to put down their story.

“I wasn’t even involved with the show and I still have people stop me in town to tell me they hope we’re doing it again,” Faith offered.

“That’s because you’re a Nichols,” Hope said.

“Right. Which to some people automatically means I burp tinsel and have eggnog running through my veins.”

Celeste laughed. “You don’t?”

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