blonde hero

Someone Else’s Love Story (Shandi Pierce #1) by Joshilyn Jackson Review

  Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson 4 Stars! 

Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up and falling in love with William Ashe, who willingly steps between the robber and her son.

Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his world. But William doesn’t define destiny the way others do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in facts and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.

Review

There is a so much to love about this b0ok. The lyrical writing, amazing characters, details of place and time.

This isn’t a romance really (exactly) as the actual couples (there are two) spend most of the book apart but we do get Happily Ever Afters that are well earned,

Our hero is a brilliant neurodivergent and utterly wrecked with grief and rage. We get his love story in flashback. He is the king of romantic gestures and has an amazing bestie.

The heroine is much younger (and not his heroine it will turn out. Not a spoiler! The title gives this away). You have to read the book to get her story (cause that would be a spoiler) but the writer has a very interesting exploration of a pile of topics with her. You may or may not like it but it will make you think.

I wish her love story had been given more page time and after time. I am a romance reader and I want my romance. lol

It is a great book with a lovely ending.

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!

Shade’s Lady (Reapers MC, #6.5) by Joanna Wylde Review

 Shade’s Lady: A Reapers MC Novella by Joanna Wylde 

Looking back, none of this would’ve happened if I hadn’t dropped my phone in the toilet. I mean, I could’ve walked away from him if I’d had it with me.
Or maybe not.
Maybe it was all over the first time he saw me, and he would’ve found another way. Probably—if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that Shade always gets what he wants, and apparently he wanted me.
Right from the first.

 

Review

Wylde always writes solid books. The basic story and events are intersting as is the hero and the heroine.

It is over the top lust and moves into a possible love.

However, even in this short space, we don’t get enough (excecpt for one great geeky Wonder Woman Bat Man conversation) of either character or the love story to make this great.

A nice quick read. It does make me want to check out the longer books in the series I have not read and I would like Dopey’s story.

Heart Fate (Celta’s Heartmates, #7) by Robin D. Owens Review

 Heart Fate (Celta Series Book 7) by Robin D. Owens 4.5 Stars! 

Wed to a wealthy older man when she was just a girl, Lahsin Yew runs away from her abusive home to find a new life. At seventeen, she?s about to enter her Second Passage, when her Flair?and perhaps her HeartMate?will be revealed.

Lahsin finds sanctuary in a secret garden, where she meets Tinne Holly. Though he is her HeartMate, he cannot tell her, and her troubled past prevents her from trusting any man. Pretending to find her by chance, Tinne helps her through her Second Passage. But when the truth is revealed, can she forgive his deception, and learn to trust in her destiny?

 

Review

This is a tender love story between two young people whose lives have already seen so much suffering.

The hero and the heroine are fated to mates but the heroine’s family marries her off at 14 to an abusive older man. The hero marries someone else and is suffering the effects of a miscarriage an the very rare ending of that marriage.

Tinne and Lashin hurt, heal, and love together. If you have been reading the series, you will be so happy the Tinne’s gets his own book but even if you haven’t this book stands alone as a great romance where respect and care overcomes abuse.

The world building as always is sport on with cultural and magic systems details of the highest order. The dog and the cat and a lonely house are perfect additions and the villain suffers.

A comfort reread for me. Adored.

To Woo A Warrior (Southern Sanctuary, #1) by Jane Cousins Review

   To Woo A Warrior (Southern Sanctuary Book 1)  by Jane Cousins  3.5 Stars!

t was common knowledge that Hadleigh Valhalla was a complete failure when it came to men. Too blood thirsty. Too tall at 6.6ft and without a coy bone in her too voluptuous body. If there had been a ‘fun, flirty and feminine’ test she would have failed it hands down.
Thankfully she was much more suited to her role as an Enforcer, protecting her magically enhanced eccentric extended family on a daily basis from all kinds of nasties. It was a job she loved, much preferring to be out there beheading the baddies than dating any day of the week … much less stressful.
Except now there’s a new threat in town. Great Aunt Alma, the family match maker has returned to the fold and set her sights squarely on all the singletons. Hadleigh will do anything she has to in order to avoid Alma’s matchmaking manoeuvres even if that means signing on as the newest member of the hit reality TV show ‘Paranormal Exterminators.’

Vaughn, Captain of the Goddess Maat’s elite warriors has a mission, to find and annihilate any and all magical beings that threaten to tilt the scales of justice into chaos.
A paranormal reality TV show provides the perfect cover. But there’s trouble on set. Their only female cast member has gone missing and they need a replacement fast. Enter Hadleigh Valhalla, the most luscious thing on two legs he’s seen in a century. From the moment he sets eyes on her he’s determined to make her his.
There’s only one problem, Hadleigh insists she has a strict no dating policy. Claiming she’d rather be fighting than flirting.
A series of mishaps means it’s a race against time for Vaughn and Hadleigh to discover just who is targeting the show and stop them before someone gets seriously hurt or dead. While doing so Vaughn intends to teach Hadleigh to break all the rules and prove to her she is just as much woman as she is warrior.
His warrior. His woman.

Review

I was promised a light hearted fun paranormal romp in an interesting magic system and that is exactly what I got.

I am looking forward to the frothy reading of this series with a matchmaking great aunt on the loose.

I loved the steadfast hero and the kickass warrior heroine. I wish her self esteem issues weren’t such and issue and we got more depth in the world and with each of their relationships.

However, I am sure each of these factor will build through out the series making each book more and more rich.

Chase Me (Paris Nights Book 2) by Laura Florand Review

Chase Me (Paris Nights Book 2) by Laura Florand 4 Stars!!

A Michelin two-star chef at twenty-eight, Violette Lenoir could handle anything, including a cocky burglar who broke into her restaurant in the middle of the night.

Or so she thought.

Elite counterterrorist operative Chase “Smith” had been through things that made Hell Week look easy. But nothing had prepared him for a leather-clad blonde who held him at bay at knifepoint and dared him to take her on.

Now if only saving the world didn’t require he ruin her life.

Two people who thought they could handle anything now have to take on each other.
It’s a battle neither one expected. But with their futures on the line, they have nothing to lose…but their hearts.

Warning: This book contains one arrogant Navy SEAL, nights of Paris passion, and a woman who wants to have it all

Review

This is a wonderful book with tones of old Hollywood Caper Romances in such a delightful way!

It took me a long time to read this book because like the author whose writing was effected by the terrorist attacks in Paris where this book is set and the action takes place around a black ops team working to prevent such horrors, my reading was also disturbed by too many such events too close to the plot of this book.

Laura Florand is one of my favorite writers and she does an amazing job weaving in the current events and realities of Paris into this lovely caper of a romance. As a result, the is an ache in the book as well as a joy which makes it all the better for a tale of love and resilience.

We get a sunny natured special forces hero who is so very charming and a hard as nails chef heroine who will not stand down.

This is a face paced romance with tones of action and exuberance as well as tenderness.

You will be charmed and comforted by the fierceness of human bravery.

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

A Rational Arrangement (Arranging Paradise Book 1) in by L. Rowyn Review

  A Rational Arrangement (Arranging Paradise Book 1) by L. Rowyn

But these are vital aspects of marriage. If one cannot discuss them, what’s the use in meeting at all? It’s like trying to decide what you’ll have for dinner without mentioning food.”

Wisteria Vasilver does wish to marry. Truly. But though she lives in Paradise, arranging a match is full of traps and pitfalls for the unwary … or perhaps just for her.

Nikola Striker, Lord of Fireholt, expects he’ll wed — someday. But not now, and never to a rich icicle of a woman like Miss Vasilver. No matter how much his parents might want the match, or his house might need her dowry. Besides, he has his own problems — most of them people who need his help as a mind-healer.

Lord Justin Comfrey, Viscount of Comfrey, would be more than happy to help Striker with his financial troubles, and not just to ensure that Miss Vasilver’s dowry doesn’t tempt Striker into marriage. If only he could find some way to make his proud, stubborn friend accept the money!

Can three people of such different temperaments ever find their way to a more perfect Paradise?

 

Review 

This book is such a pleasure of a romance. In a Regency flavored culture set after the fall of another world in a new “Paradise,”  Rowyn meticulously builds cultures, history, religions,  a wider world, and a magic systems with as much beauty as the plot, characters, and love story.

I stayed up all night reading.

The heroine, Wisteria, is going right on my favorite heroines list. Wisteria brave, kind, moral, and with the keenest of minds. She falters and is big hearted.  She is somewhere on the  autism spectrum and thus able to see past cultural norms and mores and be baffled by them. Thus, she is socially awkward and misread as cold.  The hero/s come to adore her because of who she is and this romance explores the range of what is “normal” on so many levels and compellingly.

The hero, Nik, is burdened with responsibilities and in love with someone else that he can’t have publicly and thinks doesn’t really want him out of the bedroom.   Nik is a Blessed with gift of mind healing.  As he sees Wisteria more clearly, he comes to see himself more fully as well.  Their love story is one of honesty and have a safe place. It is sexy as all get out as well.

Our third lead is Justin. He is a charmer who really has to learn to trust, risk and talk to get his HEA with both the heroine and the hero and release old ideas about himself as well as the world.  He is loyal and brave.

This is a polyamorous romance that does a wonderful job thinking about the cultural aspects of marriage and sex and human nature. The writer makes you believe in the Happily Ever After because she doesn’t pretend it isn’t complicated.

The book takes on sex, religion, faith, ability gender roles, and marriage  from a global anthropological point of view as well as a biological one (though magic based as Nik can see minds). Wisteria’s analytical nature, Justin’s realism and Nik’s humanitarianism  all come together in a moving exploration of all these topics.

All all the while, we have sexy times, conflicts of all kinds, sexual tension, banter, carriage and Great Cats who talk!

Excellent.

I so hope there are more books in this world.

The Dragon King (Chattanooga Supernaturals, #1) by Candace Blevins Review

4 Stars

Aaron Drake is nine thousand years old and one of the last remaining European were-dragons. With no female Dragons, his only hope of children lies in his grandmother’s dying words. “The Swan Princesses may be the Dragons’ only hope.”

Sophia Siyanko is the first Swan Princess without at least one brother to take the throne in Aaron’s long memory. However, her father chooses her husband when she’s twelve, and sets the date for her twenty-fifth birthday. She is sequestered in her father’s mansion, raised by governesses and tutors to be the future King’s arm candy, and Aaron’s options are limited.

But then Sophia escapes her father’s compound a few weeks before her twenty-fifth birthday. Determined to escape or die trying, she comes to Aaron for help.

To protect her, he’ll have to fight every Swan and Eagle on the planet, most of the Wolves, and all of Faerie.

Review

This is a pretty epic romance and book. It twists and turns and tells the whole tale which is refreshing when too many romances end to soon.

What I love about it is that we know almost from the start that they want to be together. No messing around. So, we get oodles of couple time and lots of real conflicts internal and external that they need to overcome to make a love story that can last.

This world is rough. We have a cast of others and this book is gory as hell and the punishments for crossing the lines of power are violently detailed that uses sexual cruelty. This book may not be your gig. It manages to stay just this side of I can handle it for me because the world building is good enough that I accept that the torture is cultural and there wasn’t an arousal expected to come from it on the part of the reader. However, I would have liked the book better if these sections were far less graphic and gleeful on the part on the punisher.

The character development of the heroine and heroine are as good as the world building. The struggle to become equals is well done and the love between them true.

Very good and compelling read.

Hero (Galactic Gladiators #3) by Anna Hackett Review

3 Stars!

One moment, Rory Fraser was an engineer on a space station circling Jupiter and the next, she is abducted by evil alien slavers. After suffering at the hands of the Thraxians, she is rescued by her friends–with the help of the tough gladiators of the House of Galen. Rory finds herself outrageously attracted to straight-laced Kace. He is a skilled fighter, ultra-disciplined, and a hero at heart–but she knows passion beats within him, if only he’ll let it loose.

Rory is obsessed with finding another fellow abducted female from Earth, but as she asks questions, she finds herself ducking bullets and explosions. Someone wants Rory dead. Kace steps in as her protector, and together, they embark on a dangerous mission that will take them deep into the bowels of the arena, and deep into a scorching desire…both of which could lead them to lose not only their guarded hearts, but their lives as well.

Review

I have really enjoyed this series so far. The heroine is a very cool engineer on a quest to find the other abducted human women and the hero is a gladiator on the planet to improve his fighting skills.

The series plot arc advances nicely and the world building is good but the romance needs to be more in balance with the action to make me completely happy.

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!