big and tall hero

Big Bear Daddy (Sweetwater Father Bears, #1) by Anya Nowlan Review

2.5 Stars

Colt Hennessy is a werebear on a mission. The small town sheriff finds himself caring for a baby left at his doorstep and no sooner than it happens does he discover that this little bundle of joy was exactly what he’d been missing. With danger swirling around him and dark forces out to harm the child, he does the only thing he can – goes to search for a safer place. It’s there where his, and baby Lana’s life changes forever.

Jessy Sarli has lost what little she had left – her sister. Desperately searching for her, the fearless woman left everything else behind, only to be led around on a string of confusion. When she finally finds her niece in the protective care of a man who takes her breath away, she’s not sure what to make of it. But she does know what her heart is telling her. That this man is the only one who can help her, and Lana.

When the cause for Jessy’s sister’s disappearance comes out, she will need all the help she can get. And not only her and the baby, but her heart as well…

Review

This is a sweet romance about an sister who won’t give up and a good guy bear shifter. I like the fact that shifters are known.

This is a nice read.

Hail Mary by Nicola Rendell Review

4 Stars!

At a boxing gym in Chicago, Mary Monahan accidentally knocks out the most handsome man she’s ever met. After she wakes him up with a few slaps and some smelling salts, the very first thing he does is ask her out for ribs and beer. His name is Jimmy. He looks like a Gillette model. And he’s just too hunky to resist.

Jimmy “The Falcon” Falconi is mystified that Mary has absolutely no idea who he is. Mystified and refreshed. He is, after all, not your everyday NFL quarterback. He shops at Costco, has a soft spot for Pinterest, and is in the midst of an epic losing streak.

Jimmy falls for Mary fast and hard, the way he does everything—balls out and like it’s fourth and long. And he realizes he’s finally met his match. That stamina he’s so proud of? Doesn’t stand a chance against her Kegels.

But what they don’t know is she’s also his new physical therapist, recently hired by the Bears to work on his rotator cuff…and groin injury. If she can’t help him, he’ll be traded faster than they can say “offensive penetration.”

In spite of the thousands of internet memes featuring Jimmy’s face with captions like: “HEY GIRL, WANT TO TOUCH MY BALLS?” Mary finds herself falling for him and his unrelenting desire to make her his.

Until a toddler shows up at Jimmy’s door.

And throws their lives into total chaos.

Review

I love this hero and I love this heroine and together they are perfect.

We start with a cute meet when she knocks him out. Love it.

The hero, who does keep who is under wraps for a bit, is a wonderful guy. The heroine has a full life and is a little resistant to joining the spotlight but the hero makes it worth it.

Very funny and sweet and sexy. All the good things. Loved it and will reread it with pleasure.

The Unyielding (Call of Crows #3) by Shelly Laurenston Review

4 Stars!

Stieg Engstrom, Angriest Viking Ever, has got big problems. The human Viking Clans of earth are in danger of being obliterated—along with the rest of the world—and the only one who may be able to save them is a super pain-in-the-ass Crow. Most people annoy Stieg, but this is the one woman he really can’t stand…

Erin Amsel loves being a Crow! Why wouldn’t she when the other Viking Clans are so hilariously arrogant and humorless? She’s not about to let all that come to an end! She just didn’t expect to be shoulder to shoulder in battle with Stieg. Then again, he’s so easy to torment—and also kind of cute.

With the future of the world riding on them, Stieg knows he’ll have to put aside his desperate need to kiss the smirk right off Erin’s face. Wait. What? He didn’t mean that—did he? No! They have one goal: To conquer the idiots. Because nothing bugs Stieg more than when idiots win. If only he can keep himself from suddenly acting like one….

Review

This is a wonderful action packed addition to the series. It does a great job closing one plot arc of the Crows and opening up another even more epic one.

We get the whole cast, lots of action, and a goat. It is funny. I love the hero and I love the heroine.

Mean fierce heroines and taciturn heroes are grand. We even get some shifters in this one.

As much as I loved it, it is short on romance in some ways. We get an epic quest so in that way we have lots of couple time but the falling in love intensity isn’t there. This is okay. The romance still works as an off to the side. I mean it is the end of the world after all and I believe and love this couple.

However, there is a down to the soul thing we sometimes get with Laureston that I miss but this is really good stay up all night reading sexy to the max fun.

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

Ravage (Scarred Souls, #3) by Tillie Cole Review

3 Stars!

Is finding one’s true love worth committing the greatest sacrifice of all?

Taken as a teen, prisoner 194 was stripped of his name and freewill, meticulously honed to be a ruthless machine. Even as he tries to fight his captors hold on him he knows that obedience is the only way to save his sister, who is the one person that keeps him from turning into a monster.

As a young girl Zoya Kostava barely escaped the brutal attack that killed her entire family. Now twenty five she lives in secrecy. That is until she hears her brother also survived and is living with their greatest enemy.

Zoya risks her safety and anonymity to find the brother she thought dead and is captured by a beautiful, brutal man. A man who both captivates and scares her, in him she sees a soul as lost as her own.

They both have so much to lose will they be able to save each other…and survive.

Review

This addition to the Scarred Souls series and goes right off the rails as the hero actually hurts the heroine. I will admit to skipping those scenes. I just couldn’t take it.

To be clear, he is drugged and compelled but … ewww.

So, this world still has me watching it and the move forward it the arc of the series is a good one as two brothers trying to save their sisters from this horror show are pitted against each other.

The heroine, Zoya, needed more development to get me to complete buy into why she forgives and loves the way she does but Cole does a good enough job that I hang in there. This is another look at conditioning vs the human spirit.

The hero has been brutalized and is brutal but he is super compelling as more and more of who he is revealed. The revenge in this one is great and we are all set up for the next book.

I am ignoring the mob stuff because except for the very good writing of the two previous heroes working to take their places in the family and the death match awfulness, we don’t really get to see the heroes doing those awful things to anyone we don’t think has earned it.

The last scenes of the book wen Valentin is treated with value are kind of great in a dark dark way.

The Fix Up (First Impressions, #1) by Tawna Fenske Review

Review:

The Fix Up - Tawna Fenske

Uncovering this sexy geek’s charm is easy. Keeping her hands off of him is impossible.

While he may look like the love child of a movie starlet and an NFL linebacker, Ben Langley has the people skills of a half-drowned porcupine. Why socialize when there are chemistry labs and bad sci-fi flicks? If he has any hope of taking the helm as CEO of the family business, Ben needs an image makeover. Pronto.

 

Enter Holly Colvin, owner of First Impressions public relations and branding firm, and the woman who just saved Ben from the clutches of an over-attentive sales clerk. Holly’s rebranded hundreds of companies in her career, but she’s never rebranded a person. The guy clearly needs help, though, and she’s just the woman for the job.

 

With the clock ticking for them both, Holly and Ben face off over wardrobe malfunctions and business jargon that sounds a lot sexier than it should. But can Holly make Ben into the man he thinks he should be without losing the man she’s starting to love?

 

Review

 

l ove me a nerdy hero and Ben is grand.

The cute meet in this book is silly as is the fast dropping of pants but it manages to be a charming sexy read with some added depths as well.

Ben is great. He wants to change his company for the better and is a genius. He knows he needs to smooth his image but likes who he is and isn’t afraid to be who he is. Plus, he is sexually confidant but not it a jerk way.

The heroine clings a bit to self protection and rules she doesn’t obey in the magic of romance novel lust fog but I like her anyway. The turn around that caused her divorce is a bit contrived however, the issues she has that makes her take on Ben as a client is a real one and makes for a good conflict.

What I really loved about this book (beside nerdy dirty talk, sex, and flirting) is how much Ben respects the heroine and the direct address of sexism in corporate culture.

As usual with Fenske (who I like a lot as a writer for all the little details in her characters) the ending comes too soon and we don’t get enough time to enjoy the couple but it is a very good book

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

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Riot (Scarred Souls #4) by Tillie Cole Review

4.5 Stars!

BRUTAL. INTENSE. PASSIONATE. THE WORLD OF THE SCARRED SOULS.

They call me 901. I am a monster, a killer, a champion. In the blood pit I am a god. I have no name, no family, and no identity. When master says fight, I fight…until I am the only one left standing. I have one goal, to fight so well that I am freed. I don’t need friends, I don’t need women. They are weaknesses. I am strong.

Until I see her. She is gorgeous and kind and off-limits to me. She was stolen as a child to be the worst type of slave and now master wants her. What he wants, he gets. With a smile, she melts my brutal heart. I have never wanted anything more.

I need to make a choice. Freedom or Love. I cannot choose wrong.

Review 

Okay, this addition to the Scarred Souls series is crazy dark. Dark. So much sexual violence to the heroine and this has been her life. They drug women to need sex and they are all in the hands of a sadist.

This is an underground death match gladiator slave systems.

Despite the horror of this world and some parts I could barely read, this is by far the best book of the series.

Again, the world building is pitch perfect. The love story is compelling and real. The issues of overcoming conditioning powerful.

Then, there is the sweet revenge and a visit from the other heroes to make this world burn. Good stuff.

This is the couple I most believe in because they are the most lost and then come to see each other.

The epilogue piece is wonderful.

Read the rest of the series first!

I was given this book for my honest review, so there you have it!

Raze (Scarred Souls, #1) by Tillie Cole Review

 

4 Stars!

TO TAKE BACK LIFE, ONE MUST FIRST FACE DEATH…

Conditioned in captivity to maim, to kill and to slaughter, prisoner 818 becomes an unrivaled and unstoppable fighter in the ring. Violence is all he knows. After years of incarceration in an underground hell, only one thought occupies his mind: revenge… bloody, slow and violent revenge. Revenge on the man who wronged him.
Kisa Volkova is the only daughter of Kirill ‘The Silencer’ Volkov, head of the infamous ‘Red’ bosses of New York’s Russian Bratva. Her life is protected. In reality, it’s a virtual prison. Her father’s savage treatment of his rivals and his lucrative and coveted underground gambling ring-The Dungeon-ensures too many enemies lurk at their door. She dreams to be set free. Kisa has known only cruelty and loss in her short life. While working for her church-the only reprieve in her constant surveillance-Kisa stumbles across a tattooed, scarred, but stunningly beautiful homeless man on the streets. Something about him stirs feelings deep within her; familiar yet impossibly forbidden desires. He doesn’t talk. Doesn’t communicate with anyone.

He’s a man beyond saving. But Kisa becomes obsessed with him. Yearns for him. Craves his touch. Needs to possess this mysterious man… … this man they call Raze

Review

I don’t usually read dark romance. I can’t get past the violence and immorality (meaning the lack of value of life and dignity).

However, I have been reading some really dark stuff of late. Maybe as an escape from my own dark days? Not sure.

This book succeeds for me because the world building is excellent. I believe in the horror of this underworld. This is just the ways things are. The “goodness” of the hero is in juxtaposition to the the truely evil slavery that he inhabits.

Usually, I dislike mob romance. Here, the sexual violence to the heroine that goes on outside the world that the hero has been forced to inhabit but in the New York’s Russian Bratva is a horror show. Her father stands by. Everyone stands by, It is not okay. And nothing ever happens about it. I hang in there because the sexual violence is not sexualized (the reader is no expected to aroused) though complexly Cole does show that pleasure can come from even such demeaning and brutal treatment as body do what they do. She also explores how the heroine as been conditioned to think she is saving this insane man she is engaged to (not the hero).

I should not be okay with it and I am not. Yet, I sucked into the world watching because these rules are not rules I agree with but Cole builds a cohesive world. It would make me happier in this book or in the future books that the heroes who know how wrong that kind of treatment is make change in the culture. This doesn’t not happen in this book.

There is a hyper masculinity that is amped up even more with the drugs given to the hero and one of the many villains of the piece. Yet, the hero never acts on the heroine in brutal ways.

It is also clear that she saves him. This might be a kind of fantasy of woman as redeemer but it is clear that he needs her. She rescues him.

The book becomes about conditioned ways of thinking and behaving and love of course.

There is revenge which is very satisfying and hope. I like the hero a great deal. The family dynamics. It is all riveting.

I went on to read the other books in the series and they are all good. They are especially good as a series where every piece falls carefully into place to avenge and overcome and heal yet each couple has a complete story of their own.

I don’t hold to the idea that I am substituting myself for the heroine or that I am in love with the hero so I can enjoy this book as a carefully built exploration of characters, relationships and a world,

Nothing Special (Nothing Special, #1) by A.E. Via Review

   Nothing Special  by A.E. Via 3 Stars! 

Detective Cashel ‘Cash’ Godfrey is big, tattooed and angry so people typically keep their distance. He’s fresh out of the police academy, however, no one is looking to partner with the six foot four beast with a huge chip on his shoulder and an inability to trust. When Cash scans the orientation room he wasn’t expecting to find sexy hazel eyes locked onto him. Eyes of the handsome Detective Leonidis ‘Leo’ Day.

Leo is charming, witty, hilariously sarcastic and the only one that can make Cash smile. He’s proud, out and one bad-ass detective.

Together Cash and Leo become the most revered and successful narcotics detectives Atlanta’s ever seen. Able to communicate and understand each other, without even having to voice it, they quickly climb up the promotional ranks.

When Cash saves Leo’s life in a raid that turns deadly, Leo begins to see something in the big man that no one else does…something special. But Leo fears he’ll never break through the impenetrable wall that protects Cash’s heart.

Review

This book is a bit over the top like a slightly cheesy crime show. I could get behind that.

I was sailing along and then the plot pushed into more in the case of God’s backstory and how he dealt with it in the present.

Then, I could have used more discussion of the change in the relationship status and God’s sexuality. Anything on Day besides his lovely brother would have been nice.

I like the love between the heroes which kept me going.

And then….crazy erotica town instead of romance town and including complete about faces with two characters that were not redeemable so fast nor was this believable in the characters.

Then God’s family stuff has an easy resolution.

So, candy then too off character but fun and tender chemistry between the heroes.

Horse (Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club #6) by Candace Blevins Review

Review:

Horse (Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club Book 6) - Candace Blevins

Horse is one of the first non-wolf shifters to be patched into the RTMC after the rule change. He’s a Grizzly Bear, and his old pawnshop has become the MC’s new gun store in a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Gabby is a rabbit shifter with a complicated history. Rabbits live in Faerie, but her parents chose to escape to the human realm so they could be together. Tragedy struck twice though, and she was taken to The Summerlands at fourteen to be raised by extended family. She’s grown now and has chosen to come back, even though it means she’s alone in this world.

Bears are loners who are used to getting their way. Rabbits are sexual, social creatures who need a wide variety of partners in their lives if they go outside their own species.

And Gabby’s past is on a trajectory to keep her from the future she wants.

 

Review

 

I really didn’t need to discover a new author to read but I did. Bear shift catnip. Also, rabbit shifter. I love me an odd pairing. 

 

In some ways, I want to resist this book because it seems to formulaic and taking advantage of trends rather than be written out of imagination or love of the genre.

We have a motorcycle club. Its erotic. The hero is a bear shifter. He fights.

 

However, even though I think its fair to say there is too much going on in this book and more time could have been spent with the leads, its a great story of crazy sauce that works and is good.

 

The writing is very good and distinct. The characters are will developed with interesting backstories (the heroine more than the hero). The hero is kind and awesome. The heroine comes into her own and we have a wonderful opposites attract trope.

The world and culture building is excellent with a great cast. The plot walks the perfect line of conflict and twists without overstepping.

 

I love the ownership of the rabbit and bear sexuality and the complete comfort with a non monogamous (rooted in DNA and culture) soul mate kind of love.

 

They are wonderful couple and the love story was a super hot and tender delight.

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The Understatement of the Year (Ivy Years #3) by Sarina Bowen Review

Review:

The Understatement of the Year - Sarina Bowen

Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexual orientation from everyone. Including himself.

So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team’s new left wing could destroy Graham’s life as he knows it.

John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it’s worse than usual, because the media has latched onto the story of the only “out” player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused.

And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.

Rikker didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won’t even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former… best friend / boyfriend / whatever isn’t doing so well. He drinks too much and can’t focus during practice.

Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won’t be easy is the Understatement of the Year.

 

Review

I put off reading this entry into the Ivy Years series because I knew it would be heartbreaking in places. However, I also know it would be wonderful and I would get my HEA because this couple is grand in the later books.

 

The couple spends a lot of time apart and the internalized homophobia and external that each hero deals with hurts. The revealing of them as childhood sweethearts and the growth of each of them into men ready for this love story is amazing.

 

Well told, aching, and super hot. Yes, I wanted things to go faster but it couldn’t. I loved all the twists and turns to being in love in public. I would have loved a bit more couple time after all that work to make this book perfect but I get that in the rest of the series.

 

Such a great read!

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