Thursday, November 23, 2017

Acting On Impulse, Thea Dawson

Acting on Impulse (Silverweed Falls Book 2) by [Dawson, Thea]

There was quite a bit of depth to this age gap romance that I wasn't exactly expecting.  I enjoyed the cast of characters but was more drawn to the side characters than the MC's.  They were dynamic in a way that the synopsis promised but didn't completely deliver.  Overall, though, the book was good, it progressed fluidly, the characters grew individually and together, there was passion and forgiveness as well as compassion, and an HEA that was slightly glossed over but effective nonetheless.

Chris was young, immature, and crazy about Joy.  His young man's head and heart couldn't grasp what was growing and acted in a way that embarrassed her, himself, and left him with the egg on his face.  Later, though, he could see what he was feeling and can understand where Joy was coming from.  His barbs hit the mark for her, though, he just didn't know it.  When the opportunity presented itself to help a dying friend and mentor he took the chance and was only a bit apprehensive about the possibility of seeing Joy again.  Meeting in Victor's home was a surprise as well as all kinds of awkward.  But with a mental shake he gets to business and avoids thinking about how well Joy matured and grew into her sensuality, features, and focus.  She could destroy his adult heart if he let her, but it's a good thing he's immune...right?

Joy is thrown for a loop.  Knowing Chris could be involved with her professionally and now together at the behest of Simon and Victor, she does everything she can think of to avoid emotional complications with one very hot, very grown up Chris McPherson.  Getting to know him as a man is a bit of a revelation and try as they might, they can't fight what is between them.

They both have a past to overcome in order to find their HEA together and it'll take a lot of humility, groveling, and letting go of preconceived notions, fears, and regrets.  There are very different circumstances that they have to move beyond but each of them have something that can help the other to do just that, if only they're open to a true partnership where all their cards are on the table.  With a particular event in Joy's college history I was expecting something more with that than just a flashback that gives us background to her being so uptight.  But that's all we get.  Insight.  That can be helpful, but it doesn't really do anything to help us see if she's willing to move beyond that and accept reality for what it is and how that shaping moment is actually a stumbling block now because she took her reaction to it a bit too far.  Then there's Chris' acceptance of his own issue with his past and his success.  Self-sabotage isn't pretty, especially when it negatively affects those he cares about, not just himself.

Eventually they find their way to light and love and the ending is sweet and full of hope for the future.  The MC's work well together once they straighten everything out and get on the same page.  There's passion, compassion, forgiveness, support, and love.  Ultimately, their impulsiveness led to lasting happiness.  I'm very interested in the next story, though, featuring the most compelling of the side characters, Luke and Krystal.

 Acting on Impulse, Thea Dawson

Remember that run-in with Richard at the coffee shop?  Or seeing him with a pretty blonde in the park?
Well, find out his side of the story in Desire by Design, the first book in the Silverweed Falls series.
Desire by Design (Silverweed Falls Book 1) by [Dawson, Thea]
 Desire by Design, Thea Dawson
The Artist
Celia Jackson, widowed mother of three, is re-designing her life. Literally.

With only her talent for art to fall back on, Celia is determined to recreate herself as a graphic designer. To make ends meet while she takes design classes, she accepts a job as nanny to the daughter of Richard Hawkes, professor of engineering at the local university. Richard is infuriating, arrogant and tactless by turns—yet Celia finds herself undeniably attracted to him. 

The Engineer
Richard Hawkes, recently tenured and more recently divorced, lives only for his work and for his young daughter. His ex-wife made his life a nightmare before leaving him for another man, and he has sworn off romance forever—until his spunky, down-to-earth nanny paints a picture of a different kind of love.

But Celia won’t wait forever. Richard will have to put aside his pride and come to terms with his past if he wants to build a better future.

Quick Reads and Quick Reviews...episode, uh, lots.

Hope's Gift: The Winters Family Christmas Novella by [Kelly, Terra] Hunter's Desire (Dragons Of Sin City Book 2) by [Ripley, Meg] Omega Father: A Steamy MM Mpreg Romance (Fated Omegas Book 2) by [Wolfe, James]

Hope's Gift: The Winters Family Christmas Novella by [Kelly, Terra]This was a really sweet story.  I'm a sucker for geeky or overlooked girls and handsome, genuine men who know that true worth isn't always found in a pretty package.  Awkwardness reigns supreme in Annie Jenkins.  Compassion rules Greyson Lane.  Together they find companionship, understanding, partnership, and love.  Hope is Greyson's Down Syndrome sister.  She's high functioning but there's no mistaking what she is.  That's not all she is, though, and Greyson has led a strict life when it comes to dating women based on whether they accept her for all that she is.  Hope wants him to know that dating someone isn't about her but he can't seem to move forward with any woman who can't be comfortable with his sister.  Annie, however, captures both his interest and his respect.  She's genuinely good, hugely awkward, and honestly innocent.  She also adores Hope.  With the help of a storm, a window display competition, and Hope with her cookies, Greyson and Annie find romance and a partnership meant to last.  Such a sweet story that had lots of feels.  4 stars.

 Hope's Gift, Terra Kelly

Hunter's Desire (Dragons Of Sin City Book 2) by [Ripley, Meg]Hunter's Desire is great with a strong, intelligent woman and a dragon who knows what true treasure is.  This was a very short story that featured Claire, an archaeologist who is searching for something specific while doing her best to keep her secrets hidden, especially from the enigmatic and magnetic Noah.  Her mission is simple but the reason behind it is anything but.  Noah is drawn to her beauty as well as her intelligence.  They each have mysterious and magical pasts but what draws them together in the first place is much more elemental, much more based on lust and passion than either is ready to deal with.  Drama surrounds them and there's one person in particular that isn't happy with their attraction.  Damon, Noah's brother, is bound and determined to keep his family's secret, one that he's sure that Claire will learn and reveal.  When he has her cornered Noah discovers that he's anything but willing to let Damon carry out his deadly mission.

These two people are a good match for one another but I wish there were more of them getting to know one another without basing all their interactions on their mutual passion for one another.  They're hot together, there's no argument there, but to base a forever connection on that alone isn't so great.  There's more to recommend Claire than Noah and if the book were longer I'm sure that their relationship would be given enough attention.  Overall, the story was interesting, steamy, and a good addition to what I'm sure is a great series.  3.5 stars.

 Hunter's Desire, Meg Ripley

Omega Father: A Steamy MM Mpreg Romance (Fated Omegas Book 2) by [Wolfe, James]A complicated past keep Edward and Blaine from finding lasting happiness with one another in this enemies to lovers story.  While we only get Edward's POV, we can see that there was a lot of torment from one party to another.  Their youth is the real culprit as well as peer pressure and there's no excuse for being mean and unkind to a true friend, but there is always a way to find redemption.  Blaine was definitely young and fell under the weight of his peer's expectations of alpha behavior leaving Edward bereft, betrayed, and alone.  One moment was all it took to break Edward's trust and his little boy heart.  Realizing later that it was the biggest mistake of his life Blaine attempts to find forgiveness.  Edward is dead set on withholding it though.  With one moment of passion their lives are set to change forever.  Blaine is sure they're mates, Edward is sure they're not.

I found Edward immature and flighty.  He wasn't my favorite.  I truly enjoyed Blaine, though, despite the set-up of him being the worst man on the planet in Edward's opinion.  The outcome of their relationship and the story was more than satisfactory, though, and made me see Edward as someone more.  Not only did he mature when he realized that there was so much more to the demonized Blaine of his memory, but for the sake of their future he is making great strides to become his best self.  Overall this was a good story but without Blaine's POV I was left feeling a little annoyed through most of the book because I didn't like Edward as much.  3 stars.

 Omega Father, James Wolfe

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Six Impossible Things Parts 5-6, Skylar Hill

Six Impossible Things (5 Book Series) by  Skylar Hill

Six Impossible Things: Part Five by [Hill, Skylar]So sweet, supportive, hot, and well on their way to solidifying their own HEA.  I can definitely say I didn't expect to hear from Greg again but he showed up anyway and tried his best to ruin things for Nora.  With one distracted moment Nora found herself swimming in silk, literally and figuratively, and Luke got to play hero.  His fear for her was so sweet, caring, and his concern for her well-being and safety was truly touching.  He knew that there was more to his feelings of the beginnings of love, but protectiveness and comfort was in abundance here.  Nora was absolutely stunning in not just how she was dressed for the evening but in how she stood up to her ex.  She was mature, strong, bold, and not in any way timid and accommodating as she had been previously in their relationship.  I was glad to see him get his comeuppance.  Then there's the surprise visitor on her doorstep at the end of the night that hints at confrontation, confessions, and a bit of conflict.  I'm eagerly anticipating what comes next!

 Six Impossible Things Part 5, Skylar Hill

Six Impossible Things: Part Six by [Hill, Skylar]Learning to fly sounds pretty straightforward, yeah?  I'm sure you're picturing a small plane that Luke either owns or can borrow from a friend to show Nora beautiful views and then lets her hold the joystick thing and fly them around for a bit.  Or maybe they go to a school run by a friend of Luke and they get a chance to learn to fly that way.  Or perhaps they go sky diving with aerial acrobatics or something.  Well I was wrong in all ways I could imagine.  So creative!!  I love getting surprised.  They flying lesson they took was nothing that I would have thought of at all and yet it was so perfect for Nora and for the couple that I was blown away.  With a sense of freedom, exhilaration, and joy they flew.  Genius.

So we knew the conflict was coming.  We knew that there would probably be a discussion and a bit of overreaction and a possible separation until rational minds prevailed.  We knew there might be an unexpected reveal that would cause misunderstandings and feelings of betrayal.  Well, what we thought we knew was only correct in part.  Combining a bit of all of those things we have Luke finding out the truth behind his brother's actions and Nora admitting to crossing invisible lines in their relationship.  The way things were handled, though, was immensely mature, honest, emotional, and ended with a feeling of hope and determination.  I love this couple and how they feel things deeply, react, and then use their heads to reason with their hearts and come out stronger individually and together.

With the last book coming I'm sad that we're getting to the end but I'm so very happy to read about reconciliation, forgiveness, and their own happily ever after.  So excited!!

 Six Impossible Things: Part 6, Skylar Hill

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Hero's Honor, Tessa Layne

A Hero's Honor: Resolution Ranch (Flint Hills Military Heroes Book 1) by [Layne, Tessa]

When disaster strikes the small town of Prairie the community comes together and supports one another. Elaine doesn't think she's included because she hasn't been there all that long and is afraid of both her past coming to demolish her efforts at a new life and that she'll wear out her welcome with how much she needs the good graces of those around her. What she doesn't realize is that they've already adopted her and her son, Dax, as their own. She also doesn't see the interest of a certain police chief who can't seem to untie his tongue around her. For the last two years they've danced around one another and are still oblivious to the other person's interest. With a few well-timed nudges from friends they find a way to get closer.

Getting closer, however, is fraught with all kinds of struggles. Travis and his rules, Elaine's reluctance to take risks, his job, her jobs, his past, her past...all these things swirl around just under the surface that their love will have to fight tooth and nail to find any kind of satisfaction. Their desire is potent and their chemistry draws them back to one another time and time again. When the past is revealed in a less-than-ideal way their faith in each other is tested and they have to decide what they truly want their future to look like and whether there's a place for them in it.

I especially like that Elaine was strong and determined despite her past, or maybe really because of it. With tragedy and such a low place to come from she managed to stay a good woman with a good heart and raise a wonderful boy. Then finding a strong, protective, supportive man? Greatness. Overall this was a wonderful story and I'm really excited for the subsequent books and learning all about the men and their women at Resolution Ranch.

 A Hero's Honor, Tessa Layne

Waking Up: The Omega of His Dreams, Kiki Burrelli

Waking Up: The Omega of His Dreams Mpreg Romance by [Burrelli, Kiki]

I love alpha men who find real strength in love and support and freedom for their omegas and omegas that have personality, wants, and desires of their own outside of mating and procreation. These men both have what I'm looking for in a perfect pairing. Will is playful, creative, and determined. Henry is gentle, understands true strength, and protective without smothering. Together they make such a great pair.

Will is engaged to a high-powered alpha that is more old school in terms of superiority of alphas and might makes right. Henry is employed by the building's owner where Will lives. With a meet-cute in an elevator and a tense first encounter the sparks fly and their draw to one another is unmistakable. They both try to deny what they're feeling but are helpless to ignore it for too long especially when Henry subtly shows his interest in a rather insightful way. He listens and remembers. Will can't help but give in to Henry's gentle strength because it calls to his soul. Through craziness, drama, corporate maneuverings, and supportive side characters Will and Henry find their hard-won HEA.

The side characters are what round out this story and make it feel so much more full of life and complete.  Hazel, the outrageous twin to Henry who has such a strong sense of self that she makes no excuses for how she wants to live her life.  She is powerful and empowered and with the love and support of her family her craziness is tolerated and even celebrated, albeit behind their hands and under their breaths.  Her antics win Will's admiration and friendship and continue to endear her to her brother and parents.  Henry and Hazel's parents, David and Hank, are charming and so sweet to one another.  They show Will another way to be a partnership, a true mating.  They show him love and acceptance from the beginning despite what they can see as significant barriers to his and Henry's relationship.  With their love and support they've created a safe haven for their children and anyone they bring home.  They're warmth and contentment where Will has none of that.  I also love that David knew Will's birth mother and could give him greater insight into where he came from and what his father was like before the loss of his true mate.  His father was annoying in the beginning but with his grief and regret over the situation he put his son in I forgave him rather quickly.

Waking Up is a sweet story full of strong characters, a solid pairing, tenderness, passion, and triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds.  Such a good read.

 Waking Up: The Omega of His Dreams, Kiki Burrelli

Monday, November 20, 2017

Addicted to Six, Kelly Kennedy

Addicted to Six by [Kennedy, Kelly]

Two men who didn't seem to fit found not just a partner but acceptance, challenge, frustration and love.  This story was shallow at first but quickly grew on me as I saw Tyler acting impressively mature.   Jackson seemed like he was older, aloof, and very much in the closet.  That was mostly true, but he was so tender and scared on the inside that Tyler's assurance and devotion was something Jackson needed to find his own emotional confidence.  They were a good match for one another despite Jackson's immaturity and Tyler's cockiness.  Jackson's struggle with accepting both what Tyler was offering as well as his own status was honest and frustrating.  Not everyone has an easy story to tell to themselves and others when they're discovering parts of themselves they never knew were there. 

I wasn't expecting the work drama to be what it was but it was well-written and paved the way for both misunderstandings as well as reconciliation.  With the ending as it was I'm kind of both hoping for and dreading a sequel.  There were hints to bigger and better things and more relationship angst despite Tyler's confidence and determination to stay strong with and for Jackson.   Even with that, though, there was a positive, passionate note to the ending that if there weren't one it would be alright.

I had some issues with how certain things were performed in the bedroom with lack of discussion, lube, and prophylactics more often than not.  There was, however, undeniable connection and loyalty and trust that the issues, while not overlooked, they became less of a militant frustration for me and more of an eye-rolling situation.   Like, I still don't condone spit as lube, skipping condoms without discussions about testing, and minimal prep for back door newbies and I never will, but with this particular couple I merely eye roll at the author's lack of discussion and try to suspend reality for those moments.

Overall this was a really great story that grew on my after the first third.   Such a good story with a really great MC pairing and tons of passion.  Steamy and sweet in equal measure (well, more on the steam side probably) with a satisfying conclusion despite Sam's hints and maneuverings.

*Currently only 99¢!
 Addicted to Six, Kelly Kennedy

The Cabin, Alice Ward

The Cabin by [Ward, Alice]

The original of this story was a short novella contained in a box set called Hot & Sinful Nights.  That collection is no longer on Amazon but this particular story was expanded and made even better.

Gray is isolating himself from his past, Zoe is running from hers. With scars like they both carry, can they overcome their individual history to make a future together?

I like how compassionate Zoe is. She's struggling so much with something that happened to her and isn't sure how to truly heal from it. She also has all kinds of drama in the form of a mother with a rather...interesting profession. The cabin she's borrowing is proving to be just the place she needs to find rest, peace, solitude. Until a blizzard arrives. Unfamiliar with how blizzards escalate in backwoods Montana she soon finds herself in precarious situation.

Gray comes to her rescue and is drawn to more than just her distress, there's something inside her that calls to him, feels so right. But he can't give in for fear of betraying his heart. Or can he? His quiet strength and goodness are balms to her soul. Her soul-deep familiarity is a balm to his. He gives in to his feelings and they find passion, compassion, and so much healing that even though their courtship is fast, they find something lasting. The game of Truth or Dare allows them to bypass the length of time it takes usual couples to get to know one another and they also jump right into the deep stuff. With those two things they find that a foundation can be built on trust and depth and discover that time will only strengthen what they already feel, what they already know.

There is an incredible amount of hotness as well as enough humor and bonding.  Overall this makes the story memorable and moving.  Dealing with issues of rape, murder, incredible loss, porn, tantra, and the healing power of love and compassion Alice Ward seems to, yet again, pack a ton of deep issues into a story without becoming overwhelming.  Pulling the feels right out of you, this is a solid book and a joy to read for the (kind of) second time.

*Currently only 99¢!