Beta Hero

Thrall (Deridia, #3) by Catherine Miller Review

    Thrall (Deridia Book 3) by Catherine Miller 3 Stars!

Slow.
Useless.
Failure.

Ness had always tried to do as the masters told her, tried to fulfil her expected purpose within the time allowed. She was a thrall and nothing more. Every pain was a lesson, every hurt was for her betterment. And someday, perhaps, she could earn honour enough to serve the Narada in a household.

But when the masters tire of her repeated failures to produce the allotment required of her, she is chosen, not for the death she expects, but to serve as payment to a people she has never seen, whose ways are strange and utterly impossible for her to accept.

Taken in by a man who claims that he is not her new master, she is troubled when he does not comprehend the defective nature of the thrall he has been given, and how unworthy she is to be in his service.

And, perhaps even more concerning, his persistent belief that she is no slave at all.

Review

I am a fan of this series and was happy to read another slow burning romance in this world.

Our heroine is Ness. We are deep in her point of view. We slowly see her get acculturated to being not a slave and having a self and value.

The hero is kind and he has to adjust as well.

This is a very sweet romance. I like the pace. However, more details of the non humans and the culture would have made of a stronger read but overall a pleasure.

Beautiful Secret (Beautiful Bastard, #4) by Christina Lauren Review

 Beautiful Secret (The Beautiful Series) by Christina Lauren 3.5 Stars! 

When Ruby Miller’s boss announces he’s sending her on an extended business trip to New York City, she’s shocked. As one of the best and brightest young engineers in London, she knows she’s professionally up to the task. The part that’s throwing her is where she’ll be spending a month up close and personal working alongside—and staying in a hotel with—Niall Stella, her firm’s top urban planning executive and The Hottest Man Alive. Despite her ongoing crush, Ruby is certain Niall barely knows she’s alive…until their flirty overnight flight makes him sit up and take notice.

Not one for letting loose and breaking rules, recently divorced Niall would describe himself as hopeless when it comes to women. But even he knows outgoing California-girl Ruby is a breath of fresh air. Once she makes it her mission to help the sexy Brit loosen his tie, there’s no turning back. Thousands of miles from London, it’s easy for the lovers to play pretend. But when the trip is over, will the relationship they’ve built up fall down?

 

Review

I liked a great deal about this romance. Being in Ruby’s head was fun. I loved her sexual confidence. Playing in a STEM field is always a good time. Her crazy crush was great.

The hero is wonderful, fair, and smoking hot.

The parts of the romance driven by their personalities and experience were great.

What I didn’t like were the outside forces (the ex, the evil partner) that made them both act out of character, added in drama that push them away from each other rather than solving problems together.

He Completes Me (Home #2) by Cardeno C. Review

Review:

He Completes Me (Home Collection Book 1) - Cardeno C.

Not even his mother’s funeral can convince self-proclaimed party boy Zach Johnson to tone down his snark or think about settling down. He is who he is, and he refuses to change for anyone. When straight-laced, compassionate Aaron Paulson claims he’s falling for him, Zach is certain Aaron sees him as another project, one more lost soul for the idealistic Aaron to save. But Zach doesn’t need to be fixed and he refuses to be with someone who sees him as broken.

Patience is one of Aaron’s many virtues. He has waited years for a man who can share his heart and complete his life and he insists Zach is the one. Pride, fear, and old hurts wither in the wake of Aaron’s adoring loyalty, and as Zach reevaluates his perceptions of love and family, he finds himself tempted to believe in the impossible: a happily-ever-after.

 

Review

 

I really, really enjoyed this book. It is a super sweet romance and it just soaks in the couple time and we get so many phases of the relationship. Agh. Love it.

 

Aaron is completely sweet and well a wish fulfillment hero for someone as hurt and angry as Zack. Zack’s voice in wonderful with great asides to the read and wry self reflection.

 

Aaron is a bit of a doormat but there is some nice conflict around making sure Zach and Aaron are partners in this relationship.

 

As much as I liked it, and I did, there are issues with the writing in terms of unresolved stuff,.

 

Aaron’s relationship with Zach’s brother and wife need to be discussed. There is so much co dependency in Aaron.

 

Zach needs therapy for his childhood trauma.

 

The plot pacing is sluggish so while even though I enjoyed it, others will be driven batty.

Aaron has no pets. He is a vet. We never get to see his love of animals.

 

And there is other weird stuff but I liked it anyway, A lot. lol.

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Ruck Me (A Play On series short) by C.D. Brennan Review

    Ruck Me by C.D. Brennan  3.5 Series 

Dependable and hard-working Dave Marsden is the loose-head prop for the Traverse City Blues. A big man with an even bigger heart, Dave doesn’t let the other players’ ribbing bother him about owning the premier flower shop in town. In fact, little in life bothers him…that is until his world collides with Sierra Richards, a teammate’s sister.

Now Dave is questioning everything. Thanks to their fierce physical attraction, his world has gone askew. Could a sexy siren like Sierra really fall in love with a big oaf like him? Sierra challenges Dick’s concept of normal with her slightly criminal attitude. With her computer hacking skills, she constantly pushes the boundaries of the law. And when Sierra’s hacking finally catches up to her, will Dave rescue her from her own misdeeds?

Because there is a right and there is a wrong, right?

Review

Dave is a wonderful hero. He is thoughtful, kind, respectful, appreciative, and sexy. He has a great deal of complexity to him as he loves rugby and loves running his flower business.

It is fun to be in this rugby world again. This love story is on the hotter end of the scale and Brennan is again exploring characters with some pretty serious flaws which I like.

The heroine is kind of Dave’s opposite but for the sexy part. She has reason for being suspicious and rude. I think if I had had a better idea of her age I might have warmed up to her faster.

Here is the thing though the novella and the set up for the romance don’t give her the room she needs to grow up, heal, and become less reactive and more her best self.

Dave loves her because she is hot, fierce, bold, smart, and protective which are all good qualities but she is also co dependent, enabling, angry, and has some issues with selfhood (which all makes total sense).

I want her to evolve and to really see her and David in a relationship with its day to day struggles after the first weeks.

We spend a good amount of time with another character who even though we are suppose to have some empathy for I still find repulsive. lol

I will keep reading in this series but hope great character like Dave get more of a love story than this novella offers.

I was given this book for my honest review. So there you have it!

Big in Japan: Accidental Sumo by Jennifer Griffith Review

Big in Japan: Accidental Sumo by Jennifer Griffith 3.5 Stars! 

Buck Cooper is big.

So big, in fact, that people don’t see him anymore—not at work, not in his love life. He’s become 300+ pounds of invisible. But when a family situation shanghais this Texan to Tokyo, suddenly being big makes him a spectacle—in a good way, especially when the spotlight at a sporting match lands on Buck and forces him into the sumo ring. Will this accident of fate be Buck’s chance of a lifetime, making him Big in Japan?

 

 

 

Review

The parts of this book that are good are so good that it warrant this high rating. I completely loved the book while I was reading it. However, as I have mulled over the book my enjoyment dims a bit because of some truncated elements of the plot that make it less fulfilling and silly in places.

What I loved: This book takes a deep dive into Sumo culture. I show up for this kind of detailed exploration in my romance novels. Clap my hands and give me a cool drink, I settle in.

Sumo hazing is crazy. I love me some Sumo (yeah not a sentence that most Westerns say but there it is) and was thrilled to to seek out this book based in the world of Sumo. It was really wonderful. The story showcases the sport, the athleticism and the culture.

The setting in Japan through our hero Buck’s (clearly and American) eyes well done. I got very hungry reading this story. All the senses are used to tell the tale of living in a vastly different place than he is use to and it is well done.

His hero’s journey is lovely to trace. Buck is the best person. His motivation are human and he is good without being saccharine. He does the right thing because that is his nature but the writer is gifted at showcasing how hard these choices can be for so many reasons.

The body issues that are explored here are powerfully rendered looking at culture, self worth masculinity, bullying and other nuances.

Buck works hard and is open minded. Love him!

When he falls in love, it is sweet. (FYI this book never gets past kisses which is a nice break from hotter fare).

However, the romance could have been way more developed, They are hardly ever together. We needed more couple time, I really would have liked some of the book from the heroine’s point of view. She remains pretty idolized.

There is crazy side plots of all kinds that are way over the top. Those are sort of fun but need to be balanced with more relationship development.

So, 3.5!

Heart Dance (Celta’s Heartmates, #6) by Robin D. Owens Review

 Heart Dance (Celta Series Book 6) by Robin D. Owens 4.5 Stars!

Dufleur Thyme knows that emotion has no place in scientific experiments, and she cannot abide distractions in her own surreptitious quest to redeem her father’s time reversal studies. For Saille T’Willow, time is running out—the premiere matchmaker of Celta, he himself has yet to HeartBond and form the family he yearns for. Knowing that Dufleur is his HeartMate, he has sent his HeartGift out to circulate, hoping it will find its way to her and enable him to make his claim.
Instead, Dufleur keeps tossing it out—she wants nothing to do with a Willow, the family that destroyed her father’s good name. But Saille is determined, and the attraction between them is undeniable. When one of her experiments imperils Saille’s position, Dufleur must make a choice—she can retreat to the solitude of her lab, or stand with the descendant of her enemy as his HeartMate…


Review

I just did a reread of this book—I have read it more than 4 times.

I love the world of Celta. This is hands down one my my favorite series and what I would take on a desert island.

This book is a treasure of a heroine who everyone thinks of as plain but who is a great power. I love that she isn’t always likable but so loyal.

The hero is wonderful as he wants his love. His pursuit is lovely.

There is so much healing an finding of value in Robin Owen’s work which is balanced with the charm of talking cats and really moving love stories.

A great book especially if you love a best hero with a will of iron.

In Time (Play On Book 2) by Cd Brennan Review

 In Time (Play On Book 2) by  Cd Brennan 

Rory Cameron is all about rugby. He’s been playing since he was a wee bairn in Edinburgh. By now, he should be a powerhouse with his single-minded dedication to the Traverse City Blues Rugby Club. But something is missing. With his dad breathing down his neck to make a big club, the last thing he needs is a sassy country girl distracting him.

Grace making the men’s team? Improbable. Rory coaching a women’s rugby team? Unbelievable. Falling for the girl? Absolutely.

Grace Bowman moves to Michigan to forge a new life without her family’s constant mothering. She refuses to let her diabetes keep her from the life she craves. Time to live big and take chances—carpe diem and all that. Still, the last thing she expects is for things to heat up with the coach of the women’s rugby team. If her new lifestyle doesn’t kill her, rugby just might. But Grace is willing to take the chance for a winning try with Rory.

3 Stars

 

Review

This book irritates me because it is close to being a great book but falls short.

Everything that is here is very good but truncated.

For example, there is a point where Rory freaks out but it is really not explored, processed, or integrated.

The heroine is reckless with her health and this is a key and compelling element of the story but we don’t get to see her growing and changing. The book just ends.

Rory makes a big personal change and again we barely get a taste of his new life.

The love story is stunted which makes sense given the character but we don’t get to see it bloom.

This has a more Happy for Now ending which is not my favorite.

I love the rugby and the psychology in the book The characters are really human and the pairing is good but it all needs more depth and completion.

I am hoping the third book in the series will move in this direction.

ABDUCTED, AUCTIONED, & STOLEN BY AN ALIEN by Amanda Milo Review

Review:

ABDUCTED, AUCTIONED, & STOLEN BY AN ALIEN: An Alien Mate Romance - Amanda Milo

 

AROKH
I broke the rules and stole an auction item from her buyers.
Because somehow, they’d managed to abduct a Gryfala princess.
Though… she doesn’t look, or act, or sound quite like I thought one of her kind would.
But I’m merely a Rakhii gladiator; this is the closest I’ve actually ever been to a princess.
I’d be considered lucky indeed if she chose me to guard her.
Instead, I want more.
I need her to claim me.
Because she doesn’t know it, but now I can’t let her go.

ANGIE
Woke up in a freaking auction pen.
With no coffee.
But there were aliens.  And they didn’t bid on me out of the goodness of their hearts.
FML.
Then this nice alien showed up in the nick of time, but he keeps referring to me as “Princess” and I’m starting to worry what he’ll do when he finds out that there’s been a little case of mistaken identity, that I’m not royalty – see, I’m not even whatever alien he mistook me for…
I’m just a human.

 

Review

 

 

If you are a fan of the sub genre of Science Fiction Romance that features abducted humans adjusting to aliening cultures, this book will be your jam.

 

The title is awful. Why is it awful? Impossible to remember as unique and makes the book about a kind genre erotic fetish (not that there is anything wrong with that) than about the romance, plot, characters, and fun of the themes of the sub genre.

 

If this book hadn’t been recommended to me and on Kindle Unlimited. I would never had taken the chance of picking it up.

 

Having read and really enjoyed it, I will try to follow the writer (social media and website aren’t up yet) and hope Milo puts out more books in this series and world.

 

The world building is really good with fully realized culture of the hero and the people that he assumes the heroine is from.

 

There are hints that other cultures and HEAs will be explored like cat like aliens and amphibious aliens. A poly love set of space pirates. Woo hoo!

 

Our hero is a super thoughtful, protective, respectful, brave loving warrior elephant/rhino dragon humanoid alien. Yea! He was great.

 

The heroine is great too though she could be much more developed. Sometimes, we suddenly just find out stuff about her like we knew it all along. She is funny and practical.

 

The couple is on the run and the hero is dealing with all his cultural norms and bonding. The heroine is just adjusting. There is a language barrier for a while that is well done.

 

They just like each other and so their falling in love makes sense and make me happy.

 

Okay, so…need that website and news of the next book….

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Wild Embrace (Psy-Changeling, #15.5) by Nalini Singh Review

Review:

Wild Embrace: A Psy-Changeling (A Psy/Changeling Novel) - Nalini Singh

Echo of Silence
In a deep-sea station, Tazia Nerif has found her life’s work as an engineer, keeping things running smoothly. But she wants nothing more than to break down the barrier of silence between her and her telekinetic Psy station commander…
 
Dorian
A changeling who can never shift lives a life of quiet frustration—until he learns how to let his leopard come out and play…
 
Partners in Persuasion
Still raw from being burned by a dominant female, wolf changeling Felix will never again risk being a plaything. But for dominant leopard Dezi, he’s the most fascinating man she’s ever met. She just has to convince this gun-shy wolf that he can trust the dangerous cat who wants to take a slow, sexy bite out of him…
 
Flirtation of Fate
Seven years ago, Kenji broke Garnet’s heart. Now the wolf packmates have to investigate the shocking murder of one of their own. And the more Kenji sees of the woman Garnet has become, the deeper he begins to fall once more. But even his primal instincts are no match for the dark secret he carries…

Review

These short stories are all wonderful little romps into the Changeling World.

 

“Echo of Silence” has a wonderful Psy hero and a heroine of middle eastern origin. The love story is a lovely balance of honoring cultural traditions, becoming a fuller version of the self, and skin hunger.

 

I was a little sadden we didn’t get Sea Shifter as the heroine or hero but I adored who we got.

 

“Dorian” was the least interesting to me not because it wasn’t good but because I really would have loved another full romance and this little tidbit as a bonus. Dorian is grand.

 

“Partners in Persuasion” captures the play of power in a relationship and how many ways there are to fit together. I love me a beta hero so Felix is my man. He is cool. The heroine was a little low on eq at times but the love story was well earned in the end.

 

“Flirtation of Fate” had a lot of angst but the hero and the heroine were both vibrant. The conflict that kept them apart needed more time to really be worked through but I was happy for them and the mystery plot was nice.

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Mercy (Deridia #1) by Catherine Miller Review

Review:

Mercy (Deridia Book 1) - Catherine Miller

Dishonourable.
Unwanted.
Outsider.

Such are the slurs cast upon Rykkon, however undeserved. As the only village healer, his people cannot cast him out entirely, but there is little comfort in such a life when he has long known that no mate from his clan would willingly join with him. It is a lonely fate, but one Rykkon has learned to accept. That is, until one tense exchange between his people and the humans brings him an offer he simply cannot ignore.

The humans are not their slaves. Nor their property. Nor of any great concern. But neither are they free. It is by the provisions of the Arterians they scrape out a sorry existence in the Wastes, and by their goodwill alone that they continue to survive. Scavenging for hasart beetles under the two suns is the only life the desperate colonists have known since their ancestors first landed on the desolate planet. It was all they knew. It was all they hoped for.

Until one day, a young female dares to ask for more.

“Wait.”
The entire group stilled, staring at him as he continued to regard the female.
She glanced up sharply, her brow furrowed and her gaze cautious. As right it should be.
“I will take you for a mate.”

 

 

Review

 

This is a lovely slow paced, character driven science fiction romance.

 

The hero is a healer and an outcast. He is beta to his bones and exactly what the heroine needs to trust and heal. Hard choices are carefully explored making the internal conflicts engaging.

 

The heroine is resilient, practical, and brave. They are both a product of how they have been treated and the romance is sweet and real.

 

The hero keeps secrets a bit too long but that is my only complaint.

 

Good world building and they save each other in so many ways.

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