Category Archives: Read by Lulu

Behind the Bars

By Brittany C. Cherry

Synopsis

When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.

I was the awkward musician, and she was the high school queen.
The only things we had in common were our music and our loneliness.

Something in her eyes told me her smile wasn’t always the truth.
Something in her voice gave me a hope I always wished to find.
And in a flash, she was gone.

Years later, she was standing in front of me on a street in New Orleans.
She was different, but so was I. Life made us colder. Harder. Isolated.

Caged.

Even though we were different, the broken pieces of me recognized the sadness in her.
Now she was back, and I wouldn’t make the mistake of letting her go again.

When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.
When we met again, I became her darkest storm. 

Review

Behind the Bars is an extremely intense emotional read that revolves around two people being bullied in different ways.  Jasmine by her mother and then Elliott by students at their school.  They have a bond through music and singing.

This is my first book by this author and I have struggled with the pace and to me, there was so much darkness and not enough hope or lightness.  I admit I really struggle with stories around bullying and this was extreme with severe outcomes that broke my heart.  This story brought tears to my eyes and at times I didn’t  know if I was strong enough to finish with these characters.  I admit if I had not been given an ARC I may have put it down as it upset me so much.

One character they gave me hope and helped me was Ray, he was a shining angel in this story for me.

I also loved the Epilogue, it does give you the happy ever after which I desperately needed for Elliott and Jasmine.

Quote:  “You are the lyrics, the harmony, and the melody. You were, are, and always will be my favorite song.”

Behind the Bars

My Rating:  

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The Charmer’s Gambit (Mershano Empire #2)

By Lexi C Foss

Synopsis

He set his sights on the wrong girl.
Me.

Law school taught me a lot of things, but nothing prepared me to deal with this determined, hotter-than-Hell millionaire. Don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered. But resisting Will Mershano is harder than passing the bar. He’s everything: sexy, confident, intelligent. And he wants me.

When he hires my firm to represent Mershano Vineyards, I’m left with no choice but to work right alongside him—or forfeit my job. There’s only one problem. He doesn’t know about my past or how it stalks me at every turn. All he wants is a little flirtatious fun, but Will’s playing a dangerous game.

And there’s more at stake than just my heart. . .

**Although this book is part of a series, it is a standalone novel that can be enjoyed without reading the other Mershano Empire books**

Review

I have not read the first book and you do not need to, this is standalone. Will Mershano hooked me from the first chapter. He has this remarkable strength and integrity and when you meet Rachel you know he will be her warrior in the end.

The build-up with Ryan playing his games is intense and I was simply so stressed as each chapter progresses as you know there is going to be some explosive moments in this story.

Chapter 16 is a standout when the dynamic changes between Will and Rachel and his perceptiveness that something is amiss in Rachel’s life.

The author wove a tale of taking a chance on new love despite barriers no woman wants to endure.  The first half of this book I was on tenterhooks waiting for the past to collide with her future.

Will was perfect for her, his ability to read her body language and slowly bring her to the belief she could face her demons with his trust was brilliant.

So many moments of happiness in this book but also despair that made you appreciate the light.  Rachel was so intelligent and her banter with Will in the professional sense was integral to this story and their growth as a couple.

Towards the end when her brother and his friend join the story it definitely made me want to continue the journey with all these characters. Upon finishing I immediately went and added the next two books in this series along with a new story on Kincaid.

Charmer’s Gambit (Mershano Emire #2)

My Rating:  

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Hour of the Lion (The Wild Hunt Legacy #1)

By Cherise Sinclair

Synopsis

As a dedicated covert ops agent, Victoria Morgan follows two rules: accomplish the mission and protect the innocent. When bitten by a werecat—yeah, that was a sucky day—she must investigate beings that shouldn’t exist and are hard as hell to identify. Just how can she tell if a person is human–or an animal-shifter who enjoys Bambi-sized snacks?

During her investigation, she finds a real home and friends for the first time. Sweet, right? But there’s a flip-side: the bad guys are waiting for her to turn into something four-legged with a tail, the shifters suspect her of spying, and she has fallen in love with a pair of Thumper-eating werecougar brothers.

Her duty is to expose their existence. Or she could follow her heart and protect them with all of her deadly skills. 

Review

Hour of the Lion was a fast-paced read with lots of mystery and action.  However, it also included moments of emotion and deep connection between characters that helped to build a wonderful romance story.

Vic was headstrong, bold, determined and an honorable woman who was very easy to connect with.  Her emotional detachment was explained well and it was really full-filing to watch her find her own family.

Alec and Calum are great shifter characters and independent of each other but when they tag team – the sparks definitely flew.  The sex scenes both individually and together with Vic were off the charts hot and steamy.  The gatherings and traveling to the mountain helped provide history and explanation for me.  Callum’s daughter was another highlight especially her interactions with Vic and also when they first shift.

My only complaint was the character being Wells as it felt a bit rushed towards the end for him and how quickly he changed his perspective.

In conclusion, I am looking forward to the next installment in this series as I would love to hopefully see Vic pregnant by these two incredible alpha men.

Hour of the Lion (The Wild Hunt Legacy #1)

My Rating:  

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Marked for Death

By J C Valentine

Synopsis

Tiffany
Leading a nomadic life, I’ve been on the run from my rich ex-husband for years. I’ve learned every trick in the book, staying one step ahead of him and his trackers. He’s taken everything from me, and despite everything, I’ve managed to carve out a life. But he’s getting close again. It’s time to hit the road, to start over…but it looks like the universe has other plans.

Ryder
As Sargent at Arms, stalking the crazy man trying to kill my MC brothers is part of my job description. Protecting the club is what I live for. Unfortunately, today I’m the loser in our never ending game of cat and mouse. The last thing I remember before waking up in the emergency room is staring up at the sky while bleeding out onto the cold, hard pavement. Then the pretty nurse walks in and turns my world sideways, and those soft hands know just how to handle a big, angry biker like me. With a psycho on my tail, the stakes couldn’t be higher. I know I should walk away, but self-preservation has never been much of a strong suit. As my enemy closes in, I’ve got no gun, three bullet holes, and absolutely zero patience left. The question is, who will be the one to sign my death warrant—the crazy-ass biker who’s gunning for me…or the sexy-as-sin nurse I’ve got a hard-on for?

Review

A quick read that held me captive from the first page.  It ended far too soon for my liking.  I read this story in a day and could not put it down.

The chemistry between the two main characters provides moments of humour, passion, and friendship.  From their initial meeting to moving forward together covers around five or so days so it is intense.  Due to individual circumstances, they are both wanderers.  It was interesting for them both to realize they had found someone to have their back and heart.

Ryder owned every scene and he was such a strong presence particularly in his interactions with Tiffany.  Their time at the hospital and then, in particular, the cabin was highly entertaining.

Firstly there are two stories within this, one for Ryder and one for Tiffany.  The author neatly tied up Ryder’s story.  However, I am left slightly disappointed that Tiffany’s personal story is not fully explained.

In conclusion, I am so intrigued by her background that I will be waiting with baited breathe for her past and future to clash.

Marked for Death

My Rating:  

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Daddy’s Home

By Zoe Blake

Synopsis

No one escapes their past.
Two years ago she ran, but now he has found her.
He will make her pay for her past mistakes.
Trapped alone in a cabin with him, there is no hope for rescue or redemption.
He wants information and refuses to believe she doesn’t have the answers he seeks.
He’s willing to do anything…anything…to break her.
And he will get what he wants.

Review

Daddy’s Home is a quick and very decadent read, a bit longer than a normal novella.  By saying that it means we got much more of a story along with the instant attraction.

Logan manipulates and controls Chloe in a dark and very sensual way.  It definitely hits all the right spots.

Due to having a hard life growing up, Chloe is very young at heart.  Despite her love of all things youthful, she had a darkness and strong sensuality.

Chloe’s past connections in her short life have been dangerous and they provide the drama and mystery.

Also, I really connected to Chloe from the first few pages, she was a loner for so long she needed to be cared for and Logan was perfect.

Finally, Daddy’s Home is finished off nicely and I was satisfied and could have read so much more on this couple.

Daddy’s Home

My Rating:  

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Max (House of Payne #6)

By Stacy Gail

Synopsis

Chicago’s premiere tattoo studio, House Of Payne, is across the street from the Mad Cow diner, but it might as well be on another planet as far as waitress Paradise Simone is concerned. She’s a good girl from Waukegan with a past she’d rather forget, and a future that goes only as far as the next day. What does she know about superstars and paparazzi?

But Pari does know danger when she sees it, and tattooist Max Kulagin has it written all over him. A proper Waukegan girl should know to steer well clear, but she can’t resist Max when he leaves beautiful, intimate art sketched out on cheap diner napkins.

Beautiful, intimate art…of her.

Max knows ugliness. He was born in it. Raised in it. Had it shoved down his throat every goddamn day. So when he stumbles across true beauty, he worships it. There’s a deep sensuality in the waitress who likes to suck on her pen whenever he’s around, and he’s just the man to bring that beauty out in her. She might be a lady in the street, but one look at Pari tells him she’s going to be a freak in the bed.

And in the shower.

And while he’s driving with her head going to town in his lap.

The life Max leads might be in the spotlight, but it’s Pari who gets caught in the glare. When her past catches up to her, it’s her life that holds all the excitement, and not in a good way. But there’s no force on earth that can take Max’s beautiful Paradise away now that he’s finally found it.

Review

Max is book 6 of the House of Payne series and is a stand-alone. I have not read the other books as yet. You do not have to read the others to enjoy this, House of Payne provides merely a backdrop to Pari and Max’s love story.

Pari is a beautiful character and her relationship with her sister is portrayed in an honest and realistic way.  The sister’s complicated history is what has brought Pari’s to her current life in hiding.

Maxi is wonderful, he is protective yet brash in the way he eventually gets Pari to soften her armour.  He persists with his desire for her and allows her to find her heart and hope again.

There is actually plenty of humour in this story which is surprising.  It is placed at moments that are perfect to the flow of the story.

Max and Pari’s sex scenes are aplenty and they are varied and very enjoyable to read, he is definitely dominant in that respect.

This story is concluded as all readers wish, you get to see them into the future and they are simply a wonderful couple to read about.

Quote:  “Happiness. Belonging. Family” “I see forever in you”

Max (House of Payne #6)

My Rating:  

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Complicated

By Kristen Ashley

Synopsis

When small town Nebraska sheriff Hixon Drake meets Greta Dare, the connection couldn’t be stronger, but the timing couldn’t be worse.
Dealing with the fallout of a divorce he never wanted and setting up a new home for his kids, Hix becomes that guy, that one he never wanted to be, and puts a stop to things before they can even start. Protecting his kids, and himself, is his only priority.
Greta, on the other hand, has found the place for her and the brother she adores that’s perfect for them—a sleepy little town in Nebraska. She’s learned from life that there are no hopes and dreams. The only thing to look forward to is peace. And that’s what she works hard to build for herself and her brother. Right up until Hix walks into her life.
Hix can’t fight the pull and stay away from Greta for long. And Greta’s finding it hard not to hope for something more with all the promise that is Hix.
But when the first murder that’s happened in over five decades rocks his small, sleepy county, Hix has got to learn to trust again, convince Greta to take a shot with him, and at the same time catch a killer.
In other words, things are definitely…Complicated.
 

Review

Complicated was definitely full of many different scenarios in life that make you ask if they are worth the risk.

Whilst not my favourite story by this author, it was still enjoyable.  My favourite parts involved Hix’s children along with Andy and Greta who was simply beautiful.

I admit I struggled to connect with Hix.  It was probably his first few interactions with Greta that shattered me.  I kept waiting for him to do it again however after Greta’s incident in her kitchen well he began to grow on me slowly.

One character Hope was simply childish and a pain in this story. She simply created so much drama it just wore me down.

Greta’s ex-husband was a character that I would have loved to have seen more of.  He would have filled in more gaps for Greta and my understanding of how she ticked.  It was not until she spoke of Andy and her life growing up that her desire for no children made sense.

My main complaint in this story is actually about Greta and her mother.  As their final moments as mother and daughter were being played out it left me unfulfilled and still upset.   Not making entire sense was the murder story. Perhaps if it was somehow linked to other characters in this story and not the way it was portrayed it would have made sense.

Finally, I was praying for a life-changing moment for Greta to happen to give her a wonderful complication but alas no.

Quote:  I’d finally found it. Something worth fighting for. And if I had to, I was going to fight for it. Because I was falling in love with complicated. 

Complicated

My Rating:  

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Savage

By L.A. Fiore

Synopsis

They call him a monster.
Pale blue eyes as cold as ice that see right through you.
He’s hard.
He’s damaged.
He’s dangerous.
He lives in a castle fit for a fairy tale, but he’s no prince.
He’s savage.
He’s brutal.
He’s a killer.
By an act of fate, our worlds collide.
They call him a monster, but he is my salvation.

Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18. 

Review

Firstly, I loved Savage, it was a fantastic story of romance, darkness, traumatic events and redemption.  It was imperative to know both characters history as their connection made total sense.

Savage has a strong and solid mystery element to it’s story which I loved along with all the connections that are revealed at the end. Consequently, I could not stop turning the pages of this story, the pacing for me was good.

Lizzie was simply an amazing character.  The storyline around her painting and how it provided her source of strength and beauty in her life was soothing. She had an ability to break down barriers and she did that with Brogan. As a result, she gave him love and he became the wolf at her door.

A favourite supporting character who became a warrior was Lizzie’s father. Further, when her father and Brogan joined forces to stand strong for her, he redeemed himself in my eyes.

Brogan was perfection in my eyes, alpha protective and so smart. While Brogan was dominant, his interactions with supporting characters showed he had empathy and love to give.

Finally, this story has it all, romance, mystery, suspense and passionate scenes. I was not ready to leave these characters and the author’s epilogue allows us to see their happy ever after.

Quote:  “You’re scary, intimidating too, but I know a kindred spirit when I see one. Life hasn’t been very kind to either of us.”

Savage

My Rating:  

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Bulletproof Butterfly

By Anna Brooks

Synopsis

I wasn’t a rookie, but I made a mistake because I was selfish, impulsive, and headstrong.

I was also in love.

My desire for her overwhelmed me. Consumed me. Distracted me.

To protect her, I stood motionless as my partner pried her from the security of my arms. I watched as she fought his hold. I even listened when she screamed that she hated me.

For years I’ve been patient, I’ve been smart, and I’ve gone by the book. But now… it’s finally over.

It’s time to get my girl back.

Review

Firstly, I love the cover of Bulletproof Butterfly, it is so Jay and I could imagine this guy throughout the whole story.

Livvie’s journey is highly confronting, her depth of despair will have you questioning how you would cope, she was inspiring to me.

Jay I fell in and out of love with as this story progressed, he did lose me in the middle of the story.  I cannot pinpoint why, however i was emotionally invested in Livvie and she was hurting and I blamed Jay when I should not have.

I have to say I struggled with the pace until around chapter 10 and then I was hooked and could not put this down.  Livvie was an amazing character and her emotional strength kept me turning the pages.  To be able to follow her process her immense feelings of loneliness, anger and fear broke my heart many times.  At times I became frustrated with the story continually returning to before Livvie was forced to leave Jay, in hindsight, it was probably because I was eager for them to reunite.

I am very much looking forward to reading Opal and Ryan’s story, that was a lovely addition.

Quote:  I feel betrayed, lonely, scared. Just …. all the things. I have never been this mad before.

Bulletproof Butterfly

My Rating:  

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Double Trouble

By Sierra Cartwright

Synopsis

One love. One obsession. Double the trouble.

This time, he won’t take no for an answer.

For three years, Daniel Armstrong has wanted the beautiful, fiery Bridget Kelly. But when he sees her at Houston’s premier BDSM club and realizes she has an interest in submission, his determination reignites. A charity auction provides a means for him to possess her and do good at the same time. Who could resist? Focused solely on Bridget and the decadent delights he intends for her, he outbids everyone to claim her.

Helpless, trapped by the glare of a spotlight at an auction she never agreed to participate in, Bridget is stunned when bidding for a weekend with her goes higher and higher.

She’s frantic when she realizes the gorgeous, successful Daniel Armstrong has won her. For years, she’s been attracted to the renowned heartbreaker, but she’s kept him at a distance to protect herself.

Then one night, she sees him at a BDSM club, and there’s no doubt he recognizes her submissive tendencies. Now that the devastating Dom knows her naughty desires, she’s doubly determined to avoid him.

When he claims her, she believes things can’t get worse. Then he introduces her to his identical twin, Jacob. Suddenly, she’s faced with not one, but two men determined to make her every fantasy come true and take her to the heights of submission.

Review

Double Trouble I thought had everything that would make a hot, steamy and highly connected menage romance. Twin brothers and a stubborn and independent woman having a wild weekend away together.

Whilst I enjoyed the overall story I have to admit that I found it hard to connect to the leading lady, Bridget. There was a moment in chapter 11 where she showed her depth of emotion and feeling for the guys and I was thought we were finally turning a corner. She was devastated with the way Daniel ended the weekend and I too felt incredibly sad for her.

The guys Jacob and Daniel were characters easy to connect with and their brotherly banter was a favourite part.

The story flowed very quickly, perhaps too much towards the end as it did feel slightly rushed. I would have enjoyed seeing how these three business people moved forward in their lives together juggling their BDSM lifestyle.

Being a BDSM story there was plenty of intense erotic scenes however I felt there was not enough after care. Perhaps that is where we may have seen more emotional connection between the characters. I really wanted Daniel and Jacob to show more loving care to Bridget and not all the time their Dom tendencies.

If you are looking for a quick and easy BDSm read you will enjoy Double Trouble.

Double Trouble

My Rating:  

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