Tag Archives: ARC

Falling Hard (Colorado High Country # 3)

By Pamela Clare

Synopsis

A Gold Star wife alone…

Ellie Meeks promised her pilot husband that if he was killed in combat, she would live her life to the fullest. Three years later, she is still alone, raising the twins he never met. She has no interest in dating or meeting men—until one snowy night when a stranger helps her get her sick kids safely home. That stranger turns out to be a former Army Ranger and a member of the elite Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. He’s also tall, rugged… and irresistibly sexy. 

All it takes is one kiss…

Jesse Moretti came to Colorado to get Iraq out of his head, using the adrenaline of extreme sports and high-risk mountain rescues to keep his mind off the past. But getting involved with Ellie might be the riskiest thing he’s ever done. It’s not just their explosive chemistry. There’s something about Ellie that gets inside him, opening him to feelings he’s tried hard to ignore. 

When passion ignites…

Ellie feels alive in Jesse’s arms and happier than she ever thought she’d feel again. But their relationship comes at a price for him, and soon Ellie sees that she must help Jesse fight the demons of his past to protect the love of a lifetime—and save the heart of a hero.

Review

Ellie is a single mother to soon-to-be three-year-old twins (Daniel & Daisy) after her husband died in Iraq while she was pregnant.  She has a wonderful support system not only in her family, but in the small town where she lives.  I liked her a lot and thought her hesitations about dating again were realistic, though I did feel that her reaction to Jesse’s “secret” was a little irrational.  In fact, her reaction was the only part of the entire story that I didn’t like.

Jesse is an incredibly nice guy and I really enjoyed getting to know him.  He’s been living next door to Ellie for over two years and although they have never met, he knew about her husband and helped her out anonymously whenever he could.  He has saved many lives throughout his careers, but he focuses on the ones he couldn’t save, which affects him badly.  While he willingly jumps into frozen lakes without any hesitation, he hates the spotlight and doesn’t think of himself as a hero, which of course only makes him more likeable.

I have read all three books released in this series so far, and I have to say that this is the first time I’ve really gotten a feel for the small town.  When tragedy strikes, everyone in the community comes together to do and give whatever they can to help.  I don’t remember having that feeling in the first two books, but in this book that feeling was front and centre.

FALLING HARD is told in dual POVs, and quite often the POV would switch several times within a chapter.  While I did find that slightly annoying, I was grateful that the switch was marked by a symbol which made the change easily identifiable.  While FALLING HARD is part of a series, it can most definitely be read as a stand-alone.  The HEA is beautiful and sweet, but also achingly sad.  The final chapter took me the longest to read because I had to keep stopping to wipe my eyes.  Even re-reading it while I composed this review had me tearing up again.

FALLING HARD is the third book in the Colorado High Country series and is my favourite.  Any book that can draw out my emotions like this one did deserves the highest rating.

Falling Hard (Colorado High Country # 3)

My Rating:  

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Colorado High Country Series

Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye # 1)

By Sarina Bowen

Synopsis

Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home. 

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world. 

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves. 

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires. 

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels? 

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.

Review

GOODBYE PARADISE is an amazing read with plenty of heartwarming scenes and beautiful characters.

Josh is an absolute sweetheart; one with a very kind and gentle soul.  Having been treated badly at the farm, he feels worthless and like nothing he does is ever good enough and, because of their religious upbringing, he also feels ashamed of his feelings towards Caleb.  But over time, and with reassurances from Caleb and their new friends, he slowly begins to let go of everything that was drilled into his head his whole life to find peace and happiness within himself.

“They think God doesn’t like it when you curse?  But god is just fine with throwing you out by the side of the road?  Do you hear how messed up that is?”

Caleb is the more confident, skilled and dominant of the two; he wasn’t bullied like Josh was because he held some rank at the farm.  He’s also a natural protector and spent most of his days at the farm shielding Josh.  I would go so far as to say he has a slight hero complex, because his need to protect sometimes went too far and he often felt responsible for things he had no control over.

“A real man does what needs doing.  He takes care of the people he loves.  You know this instinctively, even though every man in your own life treated you like shit.”

I not only loved Josh and Caleb, but almost everyone else in this story too.  Washington was their saviour when they needed one and seemed to become a father figure of sorts.  Maggie (a farm runaway from years before) was a lovely young woman who helped them adjust to life outside the farm.  Maggie’s husband, Daniel, was a cool guy who had no problem opening up his home to strangers in need.

GOODBYE PARADISE has loose ties to the True North series, but you don’t have to read those books to understand and enjoy this one.  GOODBYE PARADISE is told in dual POVs and comes with a lovely HEA for Josh and Caleb.  I truly hope we’ll be seeing more of them in the future, and I’d also like to see a book about Maggie’s sister, Miriam, because that young woman needs some happiness in her life after what she endured at the farm.

Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye # 1)

My Rating:  

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Perfect Imperfections

By J & L Wells

Synopsis

At the age of 27, Natasha is just a few months away from marrying her long-term boyfriend, Josh. Suddenly, he is called out of the country to take over the running of his father’s business. While he’s away, Natasha arranges a surprise wedding present for him – a portrait of herself.

The handsome artist who agrees to paint the portrait is Gabriel Owens, a gifted painter who is partially sighted. He is sarcastic and brash, and Natasha finds herself always saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

It turns out that Josh isn’t the perfect fiancé that Natasha believed him to be and she is left reeling, her life in free fall. Does Gabriel have the tenacity and inner strength to pick up the pieces when he himself has so many insecurities and his own life is far from perfect?

Perfect Imperfections is the first book in the Moments series. It’s an emotional story, which can be read as a standalone novel. You won’t find a cliffhanger here, but instead a heartfelt ending that definitely won’t disappoint.

Review

My thoughts are torn on this book, the first half I found slow and dragged for me and yet the second half I loved and thank god for Gabriel as he saved this story for me.

During the first half I did not feel a connection with Tash, her sister was annoying and then her relationship with her fiancé Josh for me was very immature and lacked depth when they had been together for 10 years.  Her thoughts on marriage I did not understand until later on after her moment with her mother so for her to one minute say she felt smothered then be all sulking and missing Josh when he was away on business, I kind of found her annoying.

The story picked up for me when Gabriel enters but I think his time should have been fleshed out more and have less of Tash and her family dramatics which got annoying. Some chapters just did not flow well for me and the speed of the story was not constant it had real dips where I felt I was getting no where in the story having to deal with her sisters drama, her mothers drinking and her dad’s gardening and then we are all of a sudden going too fast and I wanted more detail of Gabriel, Josh and Michelle.  This was Tash’s story and yet all these other characters were to me highjacking the story.

Did not feel an emotional connection to Tash until Josh’s work party where his double cross was revealed and then when she meets Josh that day in her parents house and her secret is revealed. Now onto the time line for that, I was really upset it jumped so far ahead and then her whole story was lightly mentioned in her memory of what happened while she was on the cruise – again I wanted a bit more detail.

Now one section I found riveting was Michelle’s disclosure to Tash at the wedding and then the realisation by Tash of how Josh really acted during her relationship, again I felt this was really pivotal and she does not have a confrontation with Josh?

The Christmas chapter after the wedding was beautiful and very emotional and the recollection with her Nan and her moment of opening her eyes was truly beautiful and well written.  Her family bringing Christmas to her with Gabriel was lovely.

Honestly I think some chapters from Gabriel POV would have helped at significant moments in this story, when she is sitting for wedding portrait, when dad visits him and he races to find her in park, the Christmas after the wedding, I mean it was all Tash and her family drama and it wore me down in the end.  

I loved the ending and it does tie everything up for this stage of their lives. 

Perfect Imperfections

My Rating: 

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Below the Surface (Witness #5)

By Heather D’Agostino

Synopsis

Things aren’t always as they seem…

I’ve lived by that motto for most of my life. I’ve hid who I am, who I used to be, and what I’ve done from anyone who dares to get close to me. At nineteen I lost my parents. I thought nothing in the world could be more painful. I was wrong.

When I met Leo, my world seemed brighter. I felt hope for the first time in months. He promised me a life of luxury, but things aren’t always as they seem. Leo had a dark side, one that he hid from me. He pulled me under and held me captive, making death seem like the only way out.

It took me two years to escape. I ran never looking back until now. My life is finally coming together. I have people I trust, a job, and a safe place to call home, but things aren’t always as they seem.

One night, one phone call, one moment causes it to all crash down. Leo has my sister, and he wants to trade her for me. The one person I can trust is the only one who could also tear me apart… Detective Jeff Horn. He’s got secrets just like me, and seems to understand me better than I do myself.

How do I tell him my darkest secrets? How do I go back to a place that nearly broke me? How do I let him see Below the Surface?sert Synopsis Here

Review

Below the Surface was an amazing read, the leading character for me was Lena and she simply grabbed my heart from the first few pages.  As a reader I thoroughly enjoyed watching her journey from a survivor living Below the Surface of life from a horrific situation to finally breaking through and taking the amazing step of trusting another human being with her life and heart.

To watch Jeff and Lena make their way through so many obstacles, some very scary especially when she had to return to save her sister to them finally connecting on an intimate level was just beautiful story telling.

When Jeff and Lena are finally intimate I took a deep breath, it was just perfect in my eyes, the build up and emotional connection was just so worth the wait and did not disappoint.  I was with them every step of the way and Jeff’s handling of her was just so endearing but also forceful at the right moments for her recovery.

Below the Surface leads you through the story of her traumatic past however I appreciated we were not given too much detail as your own imagination can take you there to that dark place.  As soon as we were going dark the author turns and gives you light to make your way out of this part of the story, it is still sad but done really well in my opinion.

The supporting characters are very funny and help create a family of sorts and I have not read any of the other stories in the witness series, in my opinion you do not have to as this is definitely a standalone.

I could have read so many more chapters on Lena and Jeff and their love story – they were an amazing couple that had so much chemistry, passion and companionship – he was her warrior and brought her back from the darkness that she thought she would live with forever.

Below the Surface (Witness #5)

My Rating: 

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Dirty Doctor (Steamy Coffee Collection # 2)

By Whitney G.

Synopsis

“Lean back on the table and spread your legs for me …”

Being a doctor in New York City has never been easy. Especially for someone like me, who has a private practice and an incompetent staff who insists on leaving me to fill in for them. 

Over the past six months, I’ve performed one too many pap smears, three too many “breast exams,” and scrubbed in on several reconstructive surgeries. (This would be acceptable, if I was still interested in general medicine, but I’m not. I’m supposed to be a goddamn therapist …)

When my team finally came to their senses and decided to bring someone more competent into the practice last month, I was actually elated. 

Until I realized that our new “doctor” was none other than the woman I was supposed to meet for dinner two weeks ago. The same woman who stood me up with nothing more than an “I can’t meet you anymore, sorry,” after we agreed to move our online talks into reality. 

I haven’t forgotten any of the filthy fantasies she told me about, and I never deleted our dirty messages. And if she thinks that I’m going to act like a “professional” and pretend like that shit never happened, she has another thing coming …

Review

“What are you doing two Fridays from now?”
“Nothing that I know of.”
“Wrong answer.  You’ll be fucking me.”

DIRTY DOCTOR is a stand-alone novella that was a quick and entertaining read.  There’s not really any drama or conflict, unless you include Garrett trying to make Natalie’s work-life hell as punishment for standing him up on the night they were supposed to meet.  I know it’s a novella, but to be honest, I was hoping for a little more substance.  Everything moves at a very fast pace and, unless you include the oral scene in the exam room, there was only one sex scene.  For a man whose nickname is Dirty Doctor, I was expecting him to be…well…dirty.  DIRTY DOCTOR is told in dual POVs and comes with a nice HEA.

Dirty Doctor (Steamy Coffee Collection # 2)

My Rating:  

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Steamy Coffee Collection

Claiming Grace (Ace Security # 1)

By Susan Stoker

Synopsis

For Logan Anderson, moving on from a traumatic past means moving back to his hometown of Castle Rock, Colorado, to start a personal-security business with his brothers. But it’s not long before Logan runs into Grace Mason, his best friend from high school…and the woman who never answered his letters during his Army years.

Grace was pleasantly surprised to see Logan return to Castle Rock, despite their falling-out ten years ago. Everyone always assumed they would end up together, including Grace, who had eyes only for him. But as Logan eventually escaped their town, Grace got pulled further into her family’s controlling grasp—and farther away from the man she loved.

Now, united by scars both visible and not, the two must fight to free Grace from the suffocating hold of her family. But the Masons won’t let go easily—and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the couple apart.

Review

CLAIMING GRACE is the first book in the Ace Security series and is also the first book I’ve read from Susan Stoker.  It is a second-chance romance between Logan and Grace, who had feelings for each other in high school, but never acted on them before Logan left for the Army.  Thanks to the actions of others, they both believed the other had led them on and therefore haven’t seen or spoken to each other in ten years.

Ace Security is owned and run by triplet brothers Logan, Blake and Nathan, who created the security firm after their father was killed by their abusive mother, and their primary goal is to provide help and security for abused men.  At the time of writing this review, I read this story over a week ago and I don’t remember much about Logan at all, other than I thought his idea of creating a security company for abused men was brilliant.

Grace stood out more than Logan, but in her case that’s not a good thing.  She’s a nice woman and I was rooting for her to get her HEA with Logan, but I couldn’t relate to her.  I couldn’t understand why she didn’t just tell people what had been going on and then get in her car and go far, far away from her parents.  She’s been mentally and emotionally abused her entire life and yet, at the age of thirty, is still clinging to the hope that some day soon her parents will love her and let her go to live her own life.  As much as I hate to say this, sometimes she was a little too stupid to live.  She would acknowledge that she needed to be careful around her parents, but would then meet them alone in private places.

I have to say that as much as I hated them, her parents are the most memorable characters in this story.  They are so horrible, despicable and cruel that they deserve to be skinned alive for not only how they treated Grace, but how they treated everyone in the community.

CLAIMING GRACE is told in dual POVs and comes with a HEA that I will say was a little cheesy and unrealistic.  The ending also leads us into the second book which will be about Blake and Alexis.

Claiming Grace (Ace Security # 1)

My Rating:  

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Ace Security Series

Riot (Scarred Souls #4)

By Tillie Cole

Synopsis

Stolen by the Arziani Georgian crime mob as a child, 152 was raised and conditioned to be a Mona—the most subservient of the Arziani Blood Pit slaves.

Gorgeous and kind, she has been and under the imprisoning influence of the Type B drug and under the command of the Blood Pit Master’s sister, Mistress Arziani, for most of her life, until the Master calls her back home to Georgia.

He wants her under his total control, and Master always gets what he wants.

But when 152 is gifted to the Blood Pit’s fearsome champion death match fighter as a prize, 152 suddenly finds out that the men who appear most brutal, may just own the kindest hearts. And love may be found, even when living in hell.

Freedom, family, love, 152 will have to fight for what she wants and ultimately make an impossible choice.

Review

Riot is one dark, intense and highly emotional read and at times I had to place this book down and regroup as some scenes are truly horrific and soul destroying.  In saying that the way the characters determination for finding their way from darkness to freedom made me devour this book.

I have not read the other books in the series but could easily follow the past and current storylines.  The author paced this book well and jumped time at parts to keep the story flowing and make sure the reader is not stuck in the darkness at highly emotional scenes for too long so I was thankful for that.

152 and 901 both broke my heart at times and I had such sadness for them and the last quarter of the book well hang on as it is a truly spine tingling read full of action and suspense.  I LOVED the ending as you are given hope, love and family and you definitely need it after the journey you go on.

I would love to read a story on Maya and Maxim as Maya was one of the lights of this book as she gave me hope for 152.

I am not a blood and guts type of girl but even I wanted to jump into the blood pit and slice Master’s head off and another part of this anatomy!  Master has to be one of the cruelest characters I have had to endure and he made my skin tingle with fear for the crazy and twisted man he was and I could never pick his next course of action throughout the book.

Quote: “You are the Arziani Pit Bull You are feared. But to me, you are safety”

Riot (Scarred Souls #4)

My Rating: 

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The Wingman

By Natasha Anders

Synopsis

She was supposed to be his one-night distraction. But their attraction is undeniable.

Introverted Daisy McGregor is used to being a wallflower, but what she lacks in style, she makes up for with an acerbic wit, a passion for life, and a deep devotion to her family. So she’ll suffer through her sister Dahlia’s bachelorette party and accept the cloud of pity for going stag to the wedding.

Out at the pub, sexy bad boy Mason Carlisle is a reluctant wingman tasked with entertaining Daisy while his brother flirts with her oldest sister, Daffodil. When the plan fails and Mason’s true intent is revealed, he feels intense guilt—and a sensual spark of desire for the unlikeliest of women.

Daisy decides to use this unfortunate encounter to her advantage: to make it up to her, Mason will be another kind of wingman, playing the role of her boyfriend and wedding date. Will their ruse unravel completely—or will Mason and Daisy’s undeniable attraction ignite a scorching love affair that knows no rules?

Review

THE WINGMAN is the second book I’ve read from Natasha Anders, the first one being THE UNWANTED WIFE which was amazing.  This story was less intense and angsty than that one, but still enjoyable.

I liked both Mason and Daisy, who are very nice people, but they also frustrated me a little with how sensitive and how easily offended they were.  They both also lack confidence, but Daisy more so than Mason.  All her life her sisters, Dahlia & Daffodil, have been called the pretty one and the cute one respectively, while Daisy has always been referred to as the other one, so I can understand her lack of confidence.

I couldn’t figure out why Mason didn’t think he was good enough for a relationship because he was a nice guy.  Unfortunately, this belief has him pulling Daisy in, only to push her away over and over, which got tiresome.  What I liked most about him was that right from the start, he was disgusted by the things people said about Daisy and defended her at every opportunity.  My favourite scene was when he defended her against those pigs on the golf course.

THE WINGMAN is told in dual POVs, with Daff getting some chapters in her POV as well.  At the time of writing this review, this book appears to be a stand-alone, but I get the feeling that Daisy’s two sisters will also get a story of their own.  There’s not much sex to be found in this story, with the first sex scene not coming (no pun intended) until almost the 80% mark.  Until that point, Mason and Daisy spent their time getting to know each other and slowly falling in love.  Would I read the next book in the series?  Yes, I would.

The Wingman

My Rating:  

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Brighter Than the Sun (KGI #11)

By Maya Banks

Synopsis

Searing action and passion ignite the latest KGI novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Darkest Before Dawn.

The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super-elite, top secret, family-run business.
Qualifications: High intelligence, rock-hard body, military background.
Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering.
Handling jobs the U.S. government can’t…

As the last unattached member of the Kelly clan, Joe is more than ready to risk life and limb on any mission he’s assigned to, but when it comes to love, he’ll keep his distance. He’s content to watch his brothers become thoroughly domesticated.

Zoe’s had nothing but heartbreak in her life, and she’s determined to start over with a completely new identity, thanks to her college friend, Rusty Kelly. But it’s the gorgeous smile and tender words of Joe Kelly that begin to weaken her resolve to never risk her heart again. And Joe will have to put everything on the line to save Zoe, when secrets of her past resurface—and threaten to tear them apart…

Review

Brighter than the Sun has returned me to the KGI series I adore and ultimately into the fold that is the Kelly family. Maya made me cry for the last 1/4 of this book and when the letter was read I sobbed – just breathtaking and beautiful – Marlene and her love for Rusty I cannot wait for this story to play out.  Now back to Joe and Zoe’s story of love which is going to be another one I will cherish as I knew in my heart his would be as special.  Like his twin Nathan’s was, their connection as brothers and then to include Nathan’s wife also completing the connection with Zoe as the awesome foursome – I was so happy for them all.

Joe’s story gave us a slow build up of romance through multiple dates and then also Rusty playing her part as the match making friend. The friendship moments between Rusty and Zoe I really enjoyed as Rusty to me always felt lonely so I am so happy she has a friend like Zoe.  The second half picks up a quick pace for the mystery & suspense part and I look forward to seeing these two charcters in the upcoming KGI books to see the little pitter patter of feet as these Kelly families breed like rabbits. When Joe and Zoe finally had their night of passion well Maya definately gave us lots of hot and steamy moments.

One of my favourite couples in this story was Steele and Maren and how they cared for Zoe after her ordeal, it makes me want to go back and read their love story again as he is like hard nut on the outside but all soft and gooey on the inside.  Maren has been one of my favourite ladies in KGI and also Sophie – her story is my favourites of the series.

Now onto the big surprise that is Rusty’s part in this whole story and from about the last quarter of this story I had endless watery eyes and upon the time I had to read her letter I sobbed for what she is losing, I am so angry right now for Rusty, like poke in the eye angry, I want her to come back to the fold with some hot shot boyfriend to rub salt in the wounds of these men, I want not only Sean to be slapped in the face but some of her so called brothers to freakin stand up for her – no judgements. I am so sad for Rusty, she has such issues with trust and being accepted and these brothers of hers jump down her throat and I find them some times very condescending to her. The shining light in her life are Frank and Marlene and heaven help these boys when Marlene finally makes them stand up and be accountable for her girl taking the course of action she did at the end of this book – I am so sad right now.

Only one part I found a bit tiresome was the big War Room scene, so many names thrown about I admit I became a bit confused and spent time thinking ok they are with that team, who are they again and trying to recall all of the players in each group.

Overall I loved this story and cannot believe how emotional I was for Rusty and I know her story will be that last book of this series and I can honestly say I will probably cry through most of her book!

Brighter Than the Sun

My Rating: 

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The Boxer (Modern Love # 2)

By Piper Rayne

Synopsis

Who knew a bad boy could mend a broken heart?”

What does a girl do after she discovers her fiancé is a cheating bastard?

In my case, I performed the ritual implosion of all scorned women. I drowned my sorrows in cases of white wine, wallowed in gallons of ice cream, and ignited a bonfire to burn away every damn remnant of his existence. Six months later, the only result was a permanent impression of my ass on the couch.

Adventure Dating my friends dared.
A new and exciting opportunity they said.

I thought they were crazy, but I’m not one to back down from a challenge, so I signed up for the entire four-week deal.
That’s where I saw HIM. Lucas Cummings. He isn’t the classic rich boy I usually end up with. The one whose idea of working up a sweat is waiting for his margarita to be served beachside. Nope. He’s a rough and tough bad boy that all fathers warn their daughters about. You know the type. Cocky swagger, chiseled jaw—the ‘V’.

SOLD, I said to myself, until I discovered he was so much more than just a BOXER.

Left Hook.
Right to the heart.

Review

THE BOXER is the second book in the Modern Love series and it begins with Tahlia still reeling six months after learning that her fiancé had been cheating on her.  I liked Tahlia and couldn’t wait for her to meet and fall in love with a nice man, and despite Lucas being a boxer who has no problem throwing her around in the bedroom, he really is a nice guy.  He’s friendly and easy-going and he will do whatever he can to help a friend out of a jam.  I thought their relationship was easy and sweet, but smoking hot in the bedroom.

There are a couple of things that did bother me with this story.  There are three characters that I felt served absolutely no purpose at all, and if they were wiped from the story completely, nothing would have changed.  Those three characters are: Chase (Tahlia’s ex); Quinn (Tahlia’s enemy); and Aaron (an Adventure Dater vying for Tahlia’s attention).  I also didn’t like the sibling rivalry between Tahlia and her younger sister, and even though the reason behind it was explained, I still thought it was weird and a little cruel.

THE BOXER is told only in Tahlia’s POV and while it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone.  That being said, I think you’d enjoy it more if you read THE BARTENDER first.  It’s a very quick and easy read that comes with a HFN ending for Tahlia and Lucas, as well as an intro for Lennon’s book, THE BANKER, which comes out in April.

The Boxer (Modern Love # 2)

My Rating:  

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Modern Love Series