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A is for Alpha (Homefront: The Sheridans # 4)

By Kate Aster

Synopsis

Who put the “O” in Aloha?

Yeah, that’s me. Camden Sheridan.
A guy who will bring you to “O” faster than you can text it.
Former Army Ranger with the standard issue 8-pack.
And now, a bartender who’ll get you safely back to your hotel after too many margaritas… and you won’t want me to leave.
Believe me, you won’t.

I live life by my rules in my bachelor pad paradise here on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Until a Ranger brother needs me to take care of his little girl while he deploys.
A four-year-old cockblock in pigtails.
My sex life comes to a screeching halt.
Then the babysitter shows up.

Annie.
Smart, principled, good with kids. All the things I don’t look for in a woman.
I want her anyway.
Annie’s got a fortress of secrets surrounding her. But I’ll break it down and claim her as mine.

If this kid will just take a nap.

Review

So I thought FAKING IT would be the last book in the Homefront: The Sheridans series, but it turns out I was wrong. In A IS FOR ALHPA, we meet three of the Sheridans’ cousins: Camden, Fenway and Dodger. Yes, their parents named them after baseball stadiums. Sick of being known as the “other” Sheridans, they moved to the Big Island to get away from the rich and successful side of their family.

A IS FOR ALPHA was an easy and average read for me. Both Camden and Annie are likable characters, but there isn’t anything about them that stands out. The same could be said for the story, because even though it’s only been a few days since I read it, I’m struggling to remember what happened. What I remember most is how often Annie alluded to something that happened to her on the mainland. Something so bad it forced her into hiding on the Big Island. I remember it because I was already annoyed by the repeated teasing at the 35% mark, before the incident was finally revealed at the 60% mark. 

A IS FOR ALPHA is told in dual POVs, comes with a sweet HEA for Camden and Annie, and while it is part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. Will Fenway and Dodger get their own stories? I’m not sure. Would I read them? Yeah, I think I would.

A is for Alpha (Homefront: The Sheridans # 4)

My Rating:  

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Homefront: The Sheridans Series

Atticus: A Woman’s Journey with the World’s Worst Behaved Dog

By Sawyer Bennett

Synopsis

A heart-warming and deliciously funny story about the world’s worst behaved dog and how he trained his human how to love herself again.

Through the haze of vodka and self-loathing, Hazel Roundtree saw the poor creature lying in a ditch.

One brown eye. One blue.
Covered in mud and crying from pain, the puppy was desperately trying to free itself from a hopeless situation.

She almost kept walking by. She had her own problems and besides… no one had ever stopped to help her.

Who we’re ultimately meant to be is a journey without end, but there’s always a defined start…

Hazel had no idea the dog would be her beginning, her second chance, the miracle she never saw coming. She named him Atticus. He grew up to be a very bad–and completely awesome–dog. He took Hazel on a life-changing journey filled with mischievous adventure and painful heartbreak. In the end, Hazel grew up to be completely awesome, too.

Review

Wow!
Seriously…just WOW!
Beautiful.
Emotional.
Heartwarming.
Gratifying.
An absolute must read.

ATTICUS is a story about love, friendship and forgiveness, but is it a love story? I’d say yes, but not in the way you might be expecting. Told in the POV of Hazel and Atticus, it’s about the unconditional love that forms between a dog and his human. It’s about Hazel learning to love herself and that she is someone worthy of being loved. There is a sliver of romance towards the end, but romance is not the focus of this story, and the story is beyond amazing without it.

I want to say so much more about ATTICUS, but I’m really struggling with words because I feel as though no matter what I say, I just can’t do this book justice. So I will simply say this:

I could not put this book down.
I laughed.
I cried.
I was deeply moved.
This is the best book I have read this year, and I strongly recommend you read it.

Atticus: A Woman’s Journey with the World’s Worst Behaved Dog

My Rating:  

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My Defender (Bewitched and Bewildered # 8)

By Alanea Alder

Synopsis

When a mysterious illness begins to sweep through Noctem Falls affecting the children, Eleanor Kimball is called to the city to see if she can determine what is wrong. As a pediatrician Eleanor loves children and desires many of her own, however, after several dating disasters she has not only sworn off men, but has given up her dream of a family, and the promise of a destined mate.

After discovering Grant in Noctem Falls she is faced with her own insecurities and finds it hard to believe in his love.

Grant Douglas is a man of few words and doesn’t do well surrounded by others. He is scared to death of finding a mate. He believes the harshness of his past, where he struggled to survive, didn’t cultivate a gentle heart. After a series of terrifying nightmares where his mate is at risk, Grant has decided he doesn’t want a mate at all.

When he meets Ellie, he realizes there are some things worth fighting for. Even if it means putting himself out there by becoming the Alpha he was born to be and facing the power he desperately tries to hide.

As Ellie starts to believe in Grant’s love it will take every ounce their combined strength to discover why the shifter children are suddenly falling ill before it’s too late.

Review

MY DEFENDER is the eighth book in the Bewitched and Bewildered series and was another enjoyable read. The story continues on from MY CHAMPION and follows the mating of Grant (wolf shifter) and Ellie (elephant shifter), and we’re still in Noctem Falls.

As I’ve said in my reviews of the last couple of books, the romance and relationship side of the story is lacking, but that doesn’t really bother me anymore. Instead, I choose to focus on everything else that is going on in this paranormal world that connects these books together.

I don’t remember much about Ellie, other than she’s a really sweet, caring and loving woman. I don’t even remember Grant from the previous two books, even though he’s one of the top Unit Warriors at Noctem Falls, and I assume readers have met before. But while I might not have remembered him at the start, I don’t think I’ll be forgetting about him any time soon. From how he comforts children, to hearing about everything he went through between the ages of twenty and fifty, you can’t help but admire his strength, his compassion and his ability to adapt and survive.

MY DEFENDER is told in dual POVs, with the epilogue being told in Etain’s POV as he’ll get the next book. While each book is about a different couple, the books in this series cannot be read as a stand-alone and must be read in order.

My Defender (Bewitched and Bewildered # 8)

My Rating:  

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Bewitched & Bewildered Series

Trouble (Made & Broken #3)

By Nora Ash

Synopsis

I share everything with my twin—every man I kill, every woman I fuck. But once my sight is set on her… she’s all mine.

Audrey

If there is one thing I don’t have time for, it’s men. Especially not men six years my junior, with a wicked smile and abs for days. No self-respecting woman with career goals and bills to pay would fall for a guy like Liam Steel—he’s everything I never wanted, with his easy laugh and complete disregard for rules.

He’s not the man for me, I know he isn’t. He’s got secrets, and if I get too close they’ll end up burning me alive.

So why can’t I stay away?

Liam

It was meant to be a harmless fling—she was supposed to be just another quick fuck before I was out the door. But Audrey Waits is so much more than I ever thought she’d be.

She’s the one.

I should be happy I’ve found the woman I want to marry. After all, isn’t that what everyone spends their entire life searching for? Their one true love.

Too bad I’ll never get my Happy Ever After.

How can I, when being with me means she’s marked for death?

Louis

It was always Liam and me. Through every hit we’ve done, every woman we’ve fucked and every loss we’ve suffered, we’ve been left standing because we had each other’s backs.

Then she showed up. The prissy little bird who’s wrapped my twin around her finger, making him careless. Making him vulnerable.

In our business, you have a weakness, you’re dead. And if there’s one thing I won’t survive, it’s losing Liam.

So I’ll protect him—even from himself, if I have to.

I’ll make her think I’m him.

And then I’ll break her.

She’ll regret they day she fell in love with a Steel.

Review

I admit I have loved the Made & Broken Series, the first two were five heart reads.  This final installment had an action-packed second half with emotion and spine-tingling moments.  I felt the emotional connection between Liam, Louis, and Audrey.

Liam and Audrey’s romantic journey felt slow for me.  Louis played a sneaky game of the heart and it felt too quick within the storyline.  Trouble in some parts just felt rushed.  I could not feel the three characters connection as deeply as I did other couples in this series.

The author created tense and exciting final moments for the mob family drama and secrets were well played.  Can I say I really loved the Russian when he dealt with Audrey, it provided humour at a dark moment.  Also, my favourite brother being Marcus returns so I was very happy.

.  The author neatly tied up all the family with a great Epilgoue.  This series had a great trio of strong female characters who all balanced these mafia brothers, I would have loved to have met Ellie.

Trouble (Made & Broken #3)

My Rating:  

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Speakeasy (True North # 5)

By Sarina Bowen

Synopsis

Sometimes you fall for Mr. Right. And sometimes for Mr. Right Now…

May

Did you hear the one about the girl who walks into a bar and catches her live-in lover kissing someone else? No? You’re the only one in town who missed it.
Luckily Alec is there to wrap me up in strong arms and carry me out the door before things get too ugly. And that’s not all Alec is good at. Our unexpected chemistry makes him the perfect rebound guy.

Alec

I should know better than to hook up with my rival’s little sister, but the fiery look in May’s eyes really turns my crank. She needs cheering up, and I’m just the guy for the job.
It’s not like I’ll fall in love. Not even after a string of scorching hot trysts, and the realization that we’re good at the same things: wild nights and familial disappointment. I don’t do love, never have, never will. So this is the perfect arrangement, for both of us.

Nobody would approve, but nobody has to know…

Review

SPEAKEASY is the fifth book in the True North series, and I’m sorry to say it was my least enjoyable read from this series.

I liked Alec, who was fun to be around and who treated May like she hung the moon. I liked May, who battled her alcoholic demons every day, and while the struggle at times was immense, she won that battle every day too. I think Sarina did a great job of getting her readers inside the mind of a recovering alcoholic. Not only did I like them as individuals, I liked them as a couple as well. I also liked that we got to see how three of the previous four couples were doing in their lives and how their relationships were progressing.

While I liked the characters and their story, there were two things I wasn’t a fan of. I didn’t like the lesbian fantasy scenes that I felt Alec pushed May into talking about, which he did so purely to satisfy his own sexual curiosity. I also didn’t like how down on themselves Alec and May were throughout the story. I got to a point where I just could not handle their “I’m not good enough” thoughts anymore.

SPEAKEASY is told in dual POVs and comes with a HEA for Alec and May. While it’s part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. As per Goodreads, there will be at least one more book in the True North series, but at the time of writing this review, book 6 is currently untitled, makes no mention of a release date and doesn’t mention who it’s about. I’m thinking it might be about one of Alec’s brothers.

Speakeasy (True North # 5)

My Rating:  

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True North Series

Unhinged (The Amado Brothers #3)

By Natasha Knight

Synopsis

Eve

Two years ago, I made a deal with the devil. That night, I lost everything. That night, I thought he died.

But he’s back. Risen, like Lazarus, from the dead. And he’s dark. Darker than he was before. More dangerous. Unhinged. A scarred, tattooed savage.

The way he looks at me should terrify me, but I’m drawn to him, to his intensity. Consumed by it. By him. Even though I know if I’m not careful, his obsession will destroy me.

Zach

I should have died that night two years ago. My mistake cost my men their lives. It should have cost me mine. But I survived. And the day I learned she did too, I made it my mission to find her.

I sought her out. Tracked her. Shadowed her every move. I’ve been inside her home. Eaten her food. Drank her liquor.

I’ve stood beside her bed and watched her sleep.

She has so many secrets, and I know one of them. It’s the one where our pasts collided. The one that destroyed me.

And it’s the reason I’ve come for her.

I never intended to touch her, but I did. And now that I’ve had a taste, I want more. I want her. But that won’t change why I’m here. It won’t change why I came for her.

Review

Unhinged had me hooked from the first few pages, upon finishing the Prequel I immediately wanted to know how Eve and Zach survived. Personally, the Prequel gives you the background to the deception that Zach believes and explains the isolation for Eve.

I love the cover of this book, it is easy to imagine Zach and believe the tension and his need for answers and revenge.

There were so many secrets in this story and questions that are all answered, I never guessed or saw the double-crossing.  This is definitely standalone within the series, I could easily follow the entire story and have no questions at the conclusion.  There are some dark and violent moments but they are relevant to the story, nothing is unnecessary.

Eve was strong and Zach was very conflicted.  Their passionate scenes were well placed within the flow of the fast-paced story.  Their moments were frantic at times in line with the story but also sensual and romantic and healing for them both.

Unhinged is another dark and dangerous read. This author knows how to give us a tortured alpha with whom we follow their path to finding that strongwilled woman to heal their heart.

Unhinged (The Amado Brothers #3)

My Rating:  

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Stronger Than This

By Abby McCarthy

Synopsis

Marie:
I married a monster — a member of a motorcycle club. I was okay with him blurring the lines until the lines he crossed turned against me. He wasn’t always a monster, or he hid it well. I wouldn’t have married him if I’d known. By the time his true colors showed, I was pregnant with no way out. Until one day, years of planning paid off, and I was able to run away with my daughter.
I found my footing in the foothills of Pennsylvania, thinking I would be far from any MC. I was wrong.

Mickey:
As a member of The Devil’s Crusaders, not much escapes me in Wakeman. Especially not the tiny, fiery redhead who strolled into town, so obviously hiding from something. She made my blood boil in the best way possible. I’d avoided taking an old lady, instead, choosing to spend my years raising my daughter. Not anymore. Not since Marie. I was ready, and she was it for me. I just had to find out what she was hiding from before it finally catches up to her

Review

Stronger Than This started perfectly and drew me in from the first few chapters.  After knowing where we are headed you have a continual feeling of waiting for Marie’s future and past to collide.

Mickey was just a perfect male character and once I got used to his accent it flowed well.  I had not read any other books by this author and could easily follow the supporting characters.  The sense of family amongst these characters provide light and laughter to an at times dark and sad story.

There was no unnecessary drama in this story and considering some of the topics covered it was welcomed as a reader to just follow Marie’s journey.  The beautiful way other women were woven into becoming Marie’s tribe was refreshing.

Talon was a realistic character in her honest expression of changing her life.  It was lovely to follow this mother and daughter rebuild their connection to each other after living in lies and deceit.  Drake was a frightening character and towards the end, I was beside myself with fear.

The last few chapters of this story are at times hard to read as I had forged such a strong connection to Marie and Talon.  The journey is worth it as we are given a wonderful happy ever after.

Stronger Than This

My Rating:  

Buy Links:  Amazon

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Sweet Redemption (Sweet Duet #2)

By Ellie Jean

Synopsis

Powerfully romantic, sexually charged and full of emotional angst, the sequel to Sweet Deception will enrapture your heart.

Dreaming of a future with Alex Raven was foolish and dangerous… For us both.

My past defined who I was until Alex Raven found me that fateful night. The hot chemistry, passion and protective love he showed me made me want things I could never have. Risking everything, purging my sins, determined to free myself from the clutches of Dimitri Sokolov, I had to accept the ultimate consequence: my life without Alex.

But no one saw what was coming.

How could I have known?

Will I be able to save myself from my past errors? Will redemption ever happen for me with the one man who made me want to risk everything?

Review

 

Sweet Redemption was a frantic and soul-destroying yet also stunning completion of this riveting mob suspense romance duet.  My heart was shattered for Isla but I also held such hope that Alex would be her savior and we are given a wonderful ending, it was so worth the journey.

Their story picks up right where Sweep Deception ended and I found it very easy to immerse myself back into this sinister world.  Isla is so fragile yet incredibly strong and in the first few chapters has to find her inner strength again as she battles for freedom.

Alex and his friends again provided so many favourite moments for me. The story flows well, family secrets are revealed and plot twists change that will leave you relieved and also distraught at points in time.

Alex and Isla’s connection is beautiful and passionate however I would have loved more tender moments especially as we reached the end of this story.    There is one moment where I personally believe a more soft and sensual interaction would have healed both their hearts and injuries.

All in all, I love this mafia romance, it had drama, deceit, secrets and ultimately unsuspecting hero’s who returns to save the day.

Sweet Redemption (Sweet Duet #2)

My Rating:  

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Sergio

By Natasha Knight

Synopsis

Dark Mafia Romance

I’m the first born son of the mafia king. The favorite. Destined to rule, I’m a dangerous man, a ruthless one. But in my world, you have to be.

Then Natalie stumbles into my life. Wrong place. Wrong time.

Twice, fate put her in my path.
Twice, fate placed the innocent lamb at the mercy of the monster.

I gave her a chance to walk away. Told her it would be better for her if she did.
But she didn’t listen.
And now it’s too late.
Because I’m not good. I never wanted to be. And I won’t let her go anymore. See, I’m not the hero. When I touch her, it’s with dirty hands.

I know my reckoning is coming though. I know I’ll burn for the things I’ve done, the sins I’ve committed. And I don’t deny hell is where I belong, but I want my time first. I want my time with her.

She’s mine.
Forever.
No matter what.

Review

Sergio has blown my mind, I knew going in it was going to be intense, dangerous and an emotional read.  This is my fourth book by this author and again she delivers such a diverse and decadent path for the reader.

Sergio and Natalie’s story is mentioned in both Salvatore and Dominic’s story from the Benedetti Brothers Series.  Both these stories were 5 Heart Reads for me and I could not wait to go back and learn about the oldest Benedetti.

Natasha Knight knows how to write great Mob Romance stories that are dark and gritty but also honest and hopeful.  She can make you love and then forgive the character.  She will make you want to have his babies, fall in love with the brutal man and yet want to stand alongside him and face the darkness and enemies.

Natalie is an amazing and strong female character who has a strength that radiates throughout this entire love story.  She was a favourite character for me in Salvatore so I was thrilled to learn her history.

Enjoyed having both characters thoughts reflected throughout this story and it has made me want to pick up Salvatore and return to this mob family again.

Sergio is brutal for your heart however it ends perfectly in time just before Salvatore’s life is about to change.

Quote:  She is breath. She is life. She is everything.

Sergio

My Rating:  

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Slap Shot (Aces Hockey # 5)

By Kelly Jamieson

Synopsis

My name’s Max Hall, and I need to f***. As a pro hockey player who’s been away from the game for over a year, my libido has picked one hell of an inconvenient time to come roaring back to life.

After my wife died from a rare form of cancer, sex was the last thing on my mind. Same with hockey, the other love of my life. Now, after fifteen months of eating too much, drinking too much, and generally just feeling sorry for myself, I’m facing a steep uphill battle to get my ass in shape and play my way back onto the Chicago Aces.

So I’m not looking for a relationship. Just sex. Yeah, I know how that makes me sound. But the truth is, I’ll never love another woman the way I loved my wife. When I meet a sexy bridesmaid at my teammate’s wedding, I decide to scratch that itch. A fling with Kendra Armstrong in her posh hotel room could be just what the trainer ordered.

Not only is Kendra smokin’ hot, she’s dynamite in bed—one of the perks of being a sex toy designer. Since she lives in New York anyway, we agree to keep things casual, no strings attached. The arrangement is perfect . . . until one of us falls in love. And it’s not me.

Review

I hate to say it, but I struggled with SLAP SHOT. It did not engage me and despite skimming through several chapters towards the end, it still took me four days to finish reading this book.

Character wise, I can’t say much about Kendra other than she was nice and was way too good for someone like Max. I can however say quite a bit about Max, and not for good reasons. This is a man who lost the love of his life, yet I found I didn’t like him and felt no sympathy towards him at all. He constantly blurred the line of his sex-only relationship with Kendra, yet she was the one who ruined a good thing when she thought he’d be willing to take what they had to the next level. And for a man who claimed he’d never love another woman as much as he did his wife, he certainly had no problem making unflattering comments about her when comparing her to Kendra.

Story wise, I found it quite repetitive, with most of the story being made up of three things:
1 – Max discussing his training, his diet, and listing all the food he eats;
2 – Max and Kendra meeting up, having a copious amount of sex and then parting ways; and
3 – Max consumed by guilt for spending time with Kendra and being happy with her.

I really wanted to like this story. I really did. But not liking Max and finding the story too repetitive prevented me from doing so. SLAP SHOT is told in Max’s POV, except for the epilogue which is told in Kendra’s POV. While it is part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone, though I did have trouble keeping up with the scenes that involved all the previous couples from this series.

Slap Shot (Aces Hockey # 5)

My Rating:  

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Aces Hockey Series