Tag Archives: 5 Hearts

Still Air (Portland ME #4)

By Freya Barker

Synopsis

Deprival haunted her…

Regret troubled her…

Silence left her detached…

A life in the service of others is both penance and a blessing. She soothes her personal hell by pulling victims from theirs, helping them on their path to survival; never finding her own.

When a crippling blow finally evaporates her last hope, the temptation to give up is strong. Still, she can’t find it in her to turn her back on those who need her: the innocent, whose rescue is her perpetual goal.

He was blind, but now he sees how his family has sifted through his fingers. The reality hits hard when his son becomes a stranger, slipping deeper into transgression. Concern has him call on the one person he fears will see his own failures all too clearly. A woman he’s kept his distance from for his own protection.

What appeared to be an incompatible pairing, turns out the unyielding bond needed to heal them all.

Review

Still Air out of all the books in the Portland ME series has really surprised me as it was so much more than just about Pam.  This book is about how you reap what you sow and both Pam and Dino were highly deserving of how all the past characters assisted these two.  I savoured the change of pace that Freya wove into the final book of this series.

Dino is one character that has been with each of the other three women in books 1 to 3 being Syd, Viv & Ruby who all had Dino’s help and this was fantastic to see him get his second chance.

Pam’s story was sad and so many things about her past made sense in how she dealt with the three girls from the first three books.  I also loved how they stepped up and helped Pam in her time of need, friends are the family you choose.

The Portland ME series is just one of those groups of books I will read again and again and each book had an important part to share with the reader about second chances, new beginnings, family and love.

Still Air (Portland ME #4)

My Rating:  

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Jilted (Love Hurts # 2)

By Sawyer Bennett

Synopsis

Eden Goodnight went to Los Angeles to make it big, not to be publicly humiliated by her cheating fiancé at a red-carpet premiere. But when Eden returns to her hometown to put the scandal behind her, she can barely find a sympathetic shoulder to cry on. Turns out the locals are worse than the paparazzi, and they all think she’s turned into a spoiled brat. But in a strange twist of fate, the one person who seems to understand what Eden’s going through is Cooper Mayfield . . . the boy she left behind.

Small-town charm is no match for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. At least that’s what Coop’s been telling himself all these years. As Eden’s old flame—and the landscaper for her family’s historic home—Coop feels some responsibility for getting her out of her funk. But as soon as he sees that million-dollar smile, he’s a goner. Soon they’re making out like teenagers again. But when a life-changing role falls into Eden’s lap, Coop just hopes she doesn’t give up on a love that’s meant to be.

Review

JILTED is the second book in the Love Hurts series, and while I get the feeling this is supposed to be a light and easy read, I found myself surprisingly emotional at times.  That’s not a bad thing, it’s just something I thought I should point out.

Eden is a lovely woman and I really liked her.  My heart broke for her in the very first chapter, and then again when she returns to her home town only to realise that she’s being shunned by everyone.  She is a woman who wears her heart on her sleeve, but that doesn’t mean she’s not strong because when she’s pushed, she pushes back just as hard.

Cooper is a good guy, but it’s hard to see that at the beginning because of how harsh he is to Eden.  Obviously he has his reasons, and you will find out what those reasons are, but for a man who says he’s doesn’t care, he was certainly holding on to some bitterness.  But when he learns the truth and starts treating Eden better, that’s when we see the real Cooper, and he’s a keeper.

As much as I loved JILTED and would happily read it again, there were a few things that bothered me.  Firstly, the synopsis doesn’t exactly match the events in the story, which is odd.  Secondly, Brad makes an sudden appearance in the middle of the book and then we never hear from or about him again.  Third and finally, what happened with Brad’s movie that Eden was supposed to cameo in?  There was talk of a lawsuit, but just like Brad, we never heard anything further with that.  These things might not be a big deal to some people, but for me, points two and three gave those parts of the story an unfinished feel.

JILTED is told in dual POVs and, while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  JILTED is set in a different location and involves a completely different set of characters from the previous book.  I’m not sure if there’ll be a third book in this series, but if there will be, I’ll definitely be reading it.

Jilted (Love Hurts # 2)

My Rating:  

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Love Hurts Series

Some Kind Of Hero (Troubleshooters # 19)

By Suzanne Brockmann

Synopsis

Navy men don’t come tougher than Lieutenant Peter Greene. Every day he whips hotshot SEAL wannabes into elite fighters. So why can’t he handle one fifteen-year-old girl? His ex’s death left him a single dad overnight, and very unprepared. Though he can’t relate to an angsty teen, he can at least keep Maddie safe—until the day she disappears. Though Pete’s lacking in fatherly intuition, his instinct for detecting danger is razor sharp. Maddie’s in trouble. Now he needs the Troubleshooters team at his back, along with an unconventional ally.

Romance writer Shayla Whitman never expected to be drawn into a real-world thriller—or to meet a hero who makes her pulse pound. Action on the page is one thing. Actually living it is another story. Shay’s not as bold as her heroines, but she’s a mother. She sees the panic in her new neighbor’s usually fearless blue eyes—and knows there’s no greater terror for a parent than having a child at risk. It’s an ordeal Shay won’t let Pete face alone. She’s no highly trained operative, but she’s smart, resourceful, and knows what makes teenagers tick.

Still, working alongside Pete has its own perils—like letting the heat between them rise out of control. Intimate emotions could mean dangerous, even deadly, consequences for their mission. No matter what, they must be on top of their game, and playing for keeps . . . or else Pete’s daughter may be gone for good.

Review

SOME KIND OF HERO is the first book I’ve read from Suzanne Brockmann.  It was an amazing blend of humour, suspense and romance, and you step right into the action at the very first page.

Shayla is a divorced romance writer and a mother of two teenaged boys.  She’s been ogling the hot Navy SEAL who moved in across the street for months now, so when he flags her down asking for her help, who is she to refuse.  Shayla is a very likeable character because she’s funny, kind and smart.  The only thing about her that irked me was Harry, the imaginary voice of her favourite character in her head.  I eventually accepted the fact that it was just one of her quirks and tried to ignore he was there.

Peter is the hot Navy SEAL Shayla’s been fantasising about for months.  He’s also a newly single father to a teenaged daughter he can’t seem to connect with, no matter how hard he tries.  Regardless of how Maddie feels about him, he loves her, which is proven by how far he’s willing to go to get her back safely.  I loved the emails he sent to Maddie while she was missing; they were so sweet and really allowed her to see that her father was not the bad guy she thought he was.

The story (with exception of the epilogue) takes place in just four days, so I would definitely call this an insta-love.  The epilogue was short and sweet, and the perfect way to end their story.  While this is part of a series, and couples/characters from previous books make their appearances here, it can be read as a stand-alone.  SOME KIND OF HERO is not only told in Peter and Shayla’s POVs, but also in several other characters POVs as well.  This did make it a little confusing, but it didn’t happen too often and it was good to sneak inside the minds of the other characters for certain scenes.

Some Kind Of Hero (Troubleshooters # 19)

My Rating:  

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Troubleshooters Series

The Sweetest Burn (A Broken Destiny Novel #2)

By Jeaniene Frost

Synopsis

Conquering a supernatural realm turned out to be easier than getting over a broken heart. But her initial victory has made Ivy a target for revenge, forcing her to reunite with the dangerous—and dangerously sexy—Adrian. Ivy isn’t sure which will be harder: finding the hallowed weapon that will repair the crumbling walls between the demon and human realms, or resisting Adrian, who’s decided that come hell or high water, he will make Ivy his.

At first, Adrian tried to resist his feelings for Ivy. Now, determined to break the curse that dooms their love, he’s vowed to save her and to have her. If only he can persuade her to forgive his past sins. But defying destiny—and surrendering to the smoldering desire between them—will bring consequences and sacrifices they never imagined…

Review

In this second novel of A Broken Destiny series, we find Ivy is looking for Brutus.  He hasn’t come home yet and it is almost dawn.  While looking for him, she manages to find a demon gateway on the beach.  With demons coming through to this plane.  She is on the run and guess who saves her, Adrian.  Ivy is blown away by having him back but she isn’t going to make it easy for him.

The Sweetest Burn is a fantastic follow up to Beautiful Ashes.  In this second book we see that Ivy is different now.  She is no longer naive to the world.  Ivy now knows that demons and Archons are real and they are at war.  She knows her lineage and what her destiny is.  But she also knows Adrian’s destiny and they are focused on changing it.

In this second book, I saw Zach in a new light (especially near the end). Jasmine and Costa are finding their roles in this new reality.  And secrets about Adrian are revealed.  Adrian must prove to Ivy that he has decided to fight his destiny.  Ivy doesn’t know how to deal with him.  She has feelings for him but they have a huge task in front of them and the human plane hangs in the balance.

I really enjoyed the dynamics of this relationship.  They had so much thrown at them.  Everyone is against them, even their destinies are against them.  In parts, it almost has a Romeo and Juliet feel to the story.  I also loved Zach’s role in this story.  He really makes you think about Angels and how they consider us humans.

There is so much action, emotion and mystery in this story.  And a grumpy gargoyle. (I will never look at a seagull the same). I can’t wait for book three!!!

The Sweetest Burn

My Rating:  

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Benn (Demons After Dark Book 2)

By Laurie Olerich

Synopsis

A former shrink in the SuperMax prison, Benn’s positive he’s lost his damn mind when he wakes up in the body of an uptight antiquities professor. One glance in the mirror and he knows he’s not in Hell anymore. After he’s brought into Expat Security, the archangel Raphael hands him a mission he can’t refuse if he wants to get home again. Live in Rome, raft into jungles, and risk life and brand new limbs? Oh, hell, yeah! To this rush-loving extreme athlete ex-demon, this sounds like his idea of Heaven! There’s only one problem. He can’t do the job without the help of a beautiful grad student who can’t stand the sight of him. He may not remember their past, but he’s ready to make their present a whole helluva lot more fun.

Grad student Lainey Hayes has done everything she can to escape her mother’s embarrassing world of psychics and palm readers. Throwing herself into her studies, she’s perfectly happy until she’s assigned to a special project with the egotistical, narrow-minded, and condescending Professor Daniels. The smug academic discounts anything and everything related to the paranormal–including her mother. The idea of spending months tramping through ruins with him sounds like her vision of Hell, but she’s shocked to discover this adrenaline junkie with a zest for life is nothing like the jackass she remembered.

Review

Hell is under attack. There is an ancient artifact that is out there that can kill Lucifer.  Vanek and his team need to find it first in order to save Hell and stop a civil war from breaking out and spilling over to the human plane.

Benn is a psychiatrist for Hell (who knew there are psychiatrists in Hell). He has be given a task from Raphael to find the artifact because his transporter is a specialist in artifacts.  He needs help because he didn’t get any memories from professor Daniels.

Lainey is a research assistant that has a history with Professor Daniels.  She doesn’t know that Daniels has turned into Benn.  She still thinks that he is the jerk she met a long time ago.  Lainey also has the ability to sense when someone is telling the truth or not and it doesn’t help that Benn has to lie to her.

Book 2 takes this series to the next level.  I love how Benn is slightly awkward and tries to fix his relationship with Lainey even though it was Daniels that wronged her. I also found that Lainey was adorable.  She is head strong and willing to do what it takes to achieve her dreams.  I also really like the interactions between all the demons.  They know what is at stake for the world but they still manage to show that they are more than coworkers that they are family.  I really love where Laurie is taking this series and can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

Benn

My Rating:  

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Wicked Kiss (Realm Enforcers #4)

By Rebecca Zanetti

Synopsis

Working as an informant for the DEA, Victoria Monzelle is used to living on the edge. But she’s not a big fan of getting kidnapped. And definitely not by a bunch of bad boy witches with fancy-colored fire to shoot at people. So when Adam Dunne shows up and claims to be a witch enforcer, she’s not going to put her life in his hands based on his word, no matter how smooth and smart and beautifully Irish his words sound. But on the run from a tribunal of witches, she isn’t going to make it far . . .

Before she knows it, Adam’s word is all that stands between her and execution. Sophisticated, just-gotta-ruffle-him Adam has vowed to make her his one eternal mate, wild and unpredictable as she is-to save her from a sentence of certain death. But Tori isn’t interested in being anyone’s pity date. And if they think she’s unpredictable now, they should see what’s coming next . . .

Review

In Wicked Kiss we are taken on an adrenaline ride from beginning to end.  Rebecca Zanetti gave us a treat with Adam Dunne.  We were given some insight into Adam in Wicked Burn when he came to help Nikolaj Veis and Simone Brightston.  Tori was kidnapped with Bear and brought to Ireland.  She was thrown into a world that she didn’t know existed and now she is given a death sentence by the head of the Council for the things that she has seen unless she mates Adam Dunne.

I adored Adam.  He is in a tough position trying to stay an enforcer while his family is in hiding plus keeping Tori safe.  He knows that she is special but he doesn’t know in what way.  He is also working undercover trying to find out who is making Apollo.

Tori has no idea what’s going on.  She has been taken and now she has to figure out how to get out of a bad situation.  Tori is head strong and will not be forced into anything.  She also has secrets of her own.  She has a gift that no one else knows about.

I had so much fun with this story.  It has everything that I have come to love about this series in the perfect balance.  Including Humour, tons of action and a little heartache with a romance. Adam and Tori are perfect for each other but getting these two together is challenging.  I especially liked Tori.  She knew she was different and realized that made her special. There is a lot that goes on in this story and I don’t want to give any spoilers away.  I can’t wait for Bear’s story.

Wicked Kiss

My Rating: 5 Hearts

Buy links: Amazon

Visit Author: Rebecca Zanetti

 

Catching The Cowgirl (Cotton Creek # 3)

By Jennie Marts

Synopsis

California video game designer Adam Clark knows that, in his business, authenticity is the key. So, for their newest Western adventure game, he and his partners decide to try out Cowboy Camp. Only Adam’s friends never arrive, leaving him a bit—okay, a lot—preoccupied, trying to resist the gorgeous cowgirl who owns the ranch.

Single mom Skye Hawkins is too busy trying to keep her family’s dude ranch out of the red to even think about romance. But she’s having trouble avoiding Adam. He’s smart, he’s sweet, he’s funny…and he’s hot! Maybe it’s the mountain air, but she finds herself letting down her guard. And the fireworks are definitely worth it. 

The only problem—they live in totally different worlds. Still, Adam is nothing if not resourceful. Sure, he wants to catch the cowgirl. But more importantly, he needs to find a way to keep her.

Review

CATCHING THE COWGIRL was a sweet and funny romantic read, and I loved Adam and Skye.  Skye is hardworking, strong and independent, but that also means she can be very stubborn at times.  Adam is so easy to like because he’s sweet, geeky and a little bit awkward, but in an endearing way.  He always knows exactly what to say to Skye to make her heart melt, because everything he says comes from the heart.

CATCHING THE COWGIRL is the third book in the Cotton Creek series and, while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  It is told in dual POVs and comes with a lovely HEA for Adam and Skye.  If you’re after a steamy romance with lots of hot sex, you won’t find it here, because other than some foreplay, everything happens behind closed doors.  But even without the sex, I really enjoyed this story.

Catching The Cowgirl (Cotton Creek # 3)

My Rating:  

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Cotton Creek Series

Through Fire (Portland ME #3)

By Freya Barker

Synopsis

Violence corroded her…

Obedience defiled her…

Fear kept her chained…

Freedom is hard to embrace when she’s never learned to trust. Yet in the span of a second, she grabs a single opportunity and runs toward it. Straight into the sanctuary of a pub at the end of a wharf.

She doesn’t understand the concept of friendship. She’s never felt the connection of a relationship. She’s as innocent as the driven snow and yet tainted with corruption. Still, she finds herself surrounded by people who accept her, without even knowing the first thing about her. But one of them is determined to dig deeper.

He treasures his friends, yet he’s steered clear of committed relationships. He likes his life comfortably predictable and entirely controlled. Until it isn’t. For months he’s avoided interacting with The Skipper’s newest addition. Perhaps realizing that once he looked deeply into those liquid brown eyes, he wouldn’t be able to turn away.

When his present and her past puts them both on the brink of change, they are forged through fire as one.

Review

Through Fire has been the hardest of this series so far for me to read.  I now have to try and attempt to explain how I feel about Ruby & Tim.  There was always something about Tim that made me want a story on him as he was so closed off and at times aloof in the first two books of this series.  Tim definitely acted as a Batchelor and was very set in his ways and of course it was going to take an exceptional woman for him to break down that barrier as even Viv could not do that.  Now Ruby or as Tim calls her “Boop” – which I adored by the way – is another strong woman but also has her soul and heart that needs filling with the love and security of a strong man and Tim for me did that perfectly.  Their journey is not easy and there are some detours so be prepared as Ruby needs to fight her way through so many barriers to trust Tim.

When Ruby asks Tim to teach her to “make love” well I had to put my book down and take a moment to realise how much has been taken from this woman.

Ruby’s story is really hard to stomach and my heart hurt for this woman who has had half of her life stolen from her at the hands of barbaric men.  Without giving too much away there were two scenes that stand out for me and cement the fact these two characters have a hard road ahead.  When Ruby falls to her knees in the kitchen at Tim’s and then also when she first locks herself in the bathroom, these were pivotal moments and I still think of them now.

Through Fire is not all dark and gloomy though, the author introduces Tim’s family, his parents provide such great moments of humour with strong bonds of the love of a great family, they gave not only Ruby hope but myself too for a HEA.  When Nina came into the story I could not turn those pages fast enough as I needed to know if my dream would come true and it did and it brought tears to my eyes and I was pretty happy for Tim’s brother with the doctor.

The ending is just perfect, it gives you a glimpse into the future and it makes all the darkness worthwhile and we of course get to see more of all the gang from the Skipper and it gives us a glimpse into the life that is Dino – his story is next!

Through Fire (Portland ME #3)

My Rating:  

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Twist of Fate

By Anna Reilly

Synopsis

Alyson Fisher can’t stop living in the past. She is certain a vital part of her died when her husband, Joe, was killed in a tragic car accident two years ago. She can’t find the will to move on and is becoming increasingly reclusive. Her family and friends have been suffocating her with their good intentions and matchmaking ploys. A few months ago she made the bold decision to move across the country, far away from them and all reminders of her past with Joe. She is desperate for a fresh start but when she finds herself injured and alone in the middle of a deadly storm, she realizes that it might be too late.

John Smith can’t remember his past; even his present is muddled at times. He has a sense that he is running from something so he keeps moving from town to town, rarely settling down for longer than a few months. People make him nervous so he avoids human contact as much as possible. He has no identity, no home, no past, and often it seems, no future. He definitely has no hope.

A chance encounter between Alyson and John changes the course of both their lives. As they forge a tentative friendship, they can’t help but wonder if his past will reveal some horrible secret to threaten the tenuous progress they’ve made.

Review

Twist of Fate kept me fully engaged and I could not put this down as the two main characters had such incredible stories to tell of events outside their control impacting their current way of life.  As Alyson and John meet, engage with each other, share moments but then forge their own paths to repairing their lives was simply thought provoking.

It is a highly emotional read, it is more than just romance and when the characters share emotional and physical interactions in caring for each other during the storm it starts to open other possibilities and more importantly John taking those first steps of finding out who he is.

John’s story was my favourite part of this whole book and it is such a surprise and then the flow on effects, well I was beside myself. When Alyson realised she truly wanted to live was a magical moment for me after simply existing since her husbands death. The author detailed her grief that gripped my heart and I just wanted her to have some happiness. There is a great cast of supporting characters from the small town who help John and I loved Nellie for Alyson.

Twist of Fate is a wonderful debut novel, I love the cover and the ending gives you closure for these characters.

Twist of Fate

My Rating:  

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Phantom (Phoebe Reede: The Untold Story # 5)

By Michelle Irwin

Synopsis

When she came home she had nothing left, but now she wants it all.

After fighting her way back from tragedy, Phoebe Reede is ready to claim the life she deserves. With Beau at her side, she thinks it might be possible. Only, the things she wants are out of her reach. 

Can Phoebe find joy in what she has, or will she destroy her own happiness chasing a phantom?

Review

Phoebe and Beau’s story is one that has captivated me since the very first page; it’s been a real page turner and has kept me on the edge of my seat.  While I give PHANTOM 5❤️, I have to say that this was my least favourite book in the series.  Phoebe had to fight several more battles, and I think I’ve just gotten to the point where I’m like, “She’s been through enough already.  Leave her alone and let her have some happiness.”  Because if anyone deserves peace and joy in her life, it’s Phoebe.

Phoebe has come a long way, but she still has a ways to go.  A dream that once meant everything to her now means nothing, and without it, she’s not sure what to do with her life anymore.  Because of that, I felt she made some huge life-changing decisions for the wrong reasons.  These decisions were giant red flags for me; flags that Beau and her parents couldn’t⎯or didn’t want to⎯see.

Beau is still an absolute sweetheart, but in regards to one situation, maybe he was too much of a sweetheart.  His willingness to sacrifice his happiness for Phoebe is admirable, but also a little dangerous.  While I respect he wants to make her happy, he has to think about his own happiness⎯and sanity⎯as well.  Honestly, I think both Phoebe and Beau would benefit greatly from going back into therapy.

In regards to other characters, I wasn’t a fan of the whole Angel situation, and that’s all I’ll say about that.  Veronica was an interesting addition to the story, but sadly one that was not explored enough.  Will we get more of her in the next story?  Only time will tell.  Finally, Declan.  Well Declan is still awesome.

“What happened to my protective Daddy who was certain no one would ever be good enough for his little girl?”
“He met a guy that proved him wrong time and time again.”

PHANTOM is told only in Phoebe’s POV and, as with the previous story, it doesn’t end in a cliffhanger.  In fact, it actually comes with a nice HFN ending.  That being said, this is not the end for Phoebe and Beau, whose story will conclude in BEACON, which comes out in August.

Phantom (Phoebe Reede: The Untold Story # 5)

My Rating:  

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Phoebe Reede: The Untold Story Series