chronic illness

Dance With Me (Dancing, #1) by Heidi Cullinan 4 Star Review

Review:

Dance With Me - Heidi Cullinan

Sometimes life requires a partner.

Ed Maurer has bounced back, more or less, from the neck injury that permanently benched his semipro football career. He hates his soul-killing office job, but he loves volunteering at a local community center. The only fly in his ointment is the dance instructor, Laurie Parker, who can’t seem to stay out of his way.

Laurie was once one of the most celebrated ballet dancers in the world, but now he volunteers at Halcyon Center to avoid his society mother’s machinations. It would be a perfect escape, except for the oaf of a football player cutting him glares from across the room.

When Laurie has a ballroom dancing emergency and Ed stands in as his partner, their perceptions of each other turn upside down. Dancing leads to friendship, being friends leads to becoming lovers, but most important of all, their partnership shows them how to heal the pain of their pasts. Because with every turn across the floor, Ed and Laurie realize the only escape from their personal demons is to keep dancing—together.

 

Review

 

This book hovers between 3 Stars and 4 Stars for me but keeps sneaking back up to a 4 Star read.

This book does a relationship really well.

Laurie and Ed have a lot of stuff they need to work out in their own heads and yet they are able to make a wonderful space for each other to have a loving relationship while they heal and grown as individuals. This dynamic makes for a very good romance.

The cover is amazing as is all the dancing in the book. The thinking about failure and self and career is engaging. Ed’s struggle with his new identity as a disable person is powerful. There is a really moving scene about life goals that is so tender and wonderful example of seeing oneself through the eyes of love.

What makes the book less successful isn’t the love story but some dangling threads and just some weirdness.

We get hints that Laurie struggles with sex (its messiness for example but other things as well) and this doesn’t really get addressed or worked through in a way that would be up to the rest of the work Instead, we get a very out of character moment with another couple (not cheating) and really its has an eww factor (on several levels) that really knocked me out of the book. I am not sure why this scene survived the editing of the book.

The Mom stuff Laurie has going on as well as the Dad stuff and business partner stuff is left a mess and maybe it just stays a mess but it felt unfinished.

There other little irritants like that that keep the book from being flat out wonderful.

However, I am glad I read it and enjoyed it overall.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1577820/dance-with-me-dancing-1-by-heidi-cullinan-review

Govern by Viola Grace Review

Review:

Govern - Viola Grace

A woman, with a foul temper and her own spaceship, ends up an escort for a stunned ambassador. Her perfect mate.

Leo runs her ship with precision and an attitude shaped by pain. Gathering an ambassador in stasis, she is surprised to find his ability to match her innermost desires, and he is surprised to find that she wants him in his own form and not the one she craves.

Ambassador Wikkio is a Beholder. Born to a race that can change to match any other species right down to venom or scales, he is an ideal representative for races who are skittish around strangers. Meeting Govern surprises him. He had not thought to meet the woman of his dreams when he woke from cold sleep and never had he imaged that he would enjoy his woman sharpening her wit on his hide.

The Gold Fairy brought them together, and now, she is determined to keep them that way.

 

Review

 

 

Yea! Such a great cranky heroine (she has good reason) with a cool shapeshifting hero.

 

This heroine really needs and deserves love so this romance is particularly compelling.

 

We also get a ship with a mind of her own. Fun! 

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1455035/govern-by-viola-grace-review

Wake Up Married Serial, Episodes 1 – 6 by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths

4.5 Stars!!!

Episode One: Will & Patrick Wake Up Married

After a drunken night of hot sex in Vegas, strangers Will Patterson and Dr. Patrick McCloud wake up married. A quickie divorce is the most obvious way out—unless you’re the heir of a staunchly Catholic mafia boss with a draconian position on the sanctity of marriage. Throw their simmering attraction into the mix and all bets are off!

Episode Two: Will & Patrick Meet the Family

Meeting the family is challenging for every new couple. But for Will and Patrick, the awkward family moments only grow more hilarious–and painful–when they must hide the truth of their predicament from the people they care about most. Throw in the sexual tension flaring between them and you’ve got a recipe for madcap laughs and surprisingly heartwarming feels.

Episode Three: Will & Patrick Do the Holidays

A couple’s first holiday season is always a special time. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are magical when you’re in love. Too bad Will and Patrick’s marriage is a sham and they’re only faking their affection for each other. Or are they? Sparks fly in this episode of the Wake Up Married serial. Will the sexual tension between Will and Patrick finally explode in a needy night of passion? Or will they continue to deny their feelings?

Episode Four: Will & Patrick Fight Their Feelings

Will and Patrick have embraced adding hot sexy-times to their fake marriage, but as their emotions deepen, they confront whether or not they want to be more than friends-with-benefits. The heat is high (and occasionally kinky) as Will and Patrick struggle to accept their mutual affection.

Episode Five: Will & Patrick Meet the Mob

Patrick has finally accepted that he’s in love with Will, but his newfound determination to do something about that runs up against his father-in-law’s mobster plans. Will must face the truth about his family before he can fully come to terms with his feelings for Patrick. And Patrick has to decide if this whackadoodle world is something he truly wants to be part of forever.

Episode Six: Will & Patrick’s Happy Ending

Sure, Will and Patrick are in love now, but they weren’t when they got married in Vegas. For Patrick, that’s no problem, but Will can’t shake his doubts that a relationship started through coercion can ever become the real deal. Since the Molinaro crime family has reversed their position on divorce, Will and Patrick have a chance to rectify their drunken mistake. But is divorce the right choice for them?

Review

This book has all the cat nip. It is a sheer joy to read as it plays with tropes through hyperbole and reversals while mixing in powerful psychological depth.

It is at once silly and moving with a grand love story at its heart.

It would have been a 5 Star read for me but its a Serial (I hate them with all my heart) and there is some sex aftermath body stuff that happens repeatedly and is just a bit ewww for me in the way that it is described.

There is a lot of silly here that makes it fun. We have a strangers marry Vegas while drunk fun with opposites attract joy through in. They have to stay married because of an inheritance clause from the Mob family of Will who is much younger than the Patrick. Fun!

And yet each of these standard (and great in my opinion) is explored at the same time with emotionial truths. Will was drunk that night because he was relapsing in his alcoholism after getting dumped by his long time boyfriend via a phone call. The book does a beautiful job with addiction, recovery, and family made more compelling because Patrick is a neurosurgeon and looks at addiction biologically.

The mob family stuff show layers of recklessness and disfunction of Will’s family. Will has diabetes and the book details the daily life of such a disease. Will’s last relationship was awful and Patrick’s gruff but steadfast treatment and care and eventual love of will is a wonderful display what love should be. He respects and treasures Will.

Patrick is his own gruff, arrogant, funny mess. I don’t want to give to many spoilers as to why but he has a hard time with so much feeling and yet…he is the very best. The friendships he develops are their own awesome love story.

There is a joy in this book too that while internalized homophobia does come up they fact that gay marriage is legal means that everyone in the book simply looks at their marriage as a marriage.  The end.

This is just such a wonderful read with so much healing and love. Read it.

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.

The Demon Prince (Ars Numina Book 2) by Ann Aguirre 5 Star Review

   The Demon Prince (Ars Numina Book 2) by Ann Aguirre

Charming. Irreverent. Haunted.
Alastor Vega is the sole challenger in a brutal battle for succession. Against all odds, he must stop his power-mad brother, Tycho, before he destroys the Numina. Though he never wanted to rule, he must claim the throne and liberate his people, or the consequences will be calamitous. Yet only the surprising support of a beautiful Animari doctor gives him the fortitude to fight.

Focused. Analytical. Solitary.
Dr. Sheyla Halek has always been more interested in research than personal contact, but family ties—and the needs of her pride—keep her in Ash Valley, deferring her dreams. Brusque and abrasive at the best of times, she never expected to bond with anyone, let alone Golgoth royalty. Strangely, Alastor seems to need her as no one has before, and not only for her medical skills.

Their attraction is forbidden, likely doomed beyond the wildness of wartime, but these fires burn too hot and sweet to be contained…

Review

I really loved the first book in this series but this one is even better.

The heroine… The hero… The plot… The world building…. The series arc… The romance…

Spot on.

This love story takes place during the start of what will be a long war where the paranormal species must unite and fight together to defeat a cruel enemy.

Our hero is a prince of the demon shifters who must rally the exiles and his people against his brother who is the tyrant who wants more power and to the cull the weak. The hero has suffered a horrible illness his entire life and his out of his meds.

Thus, our heroine, a doctor and researcher, is assigned to him and choses to follow him to the front lines. She is a cat shifter, on the spectrum, and fierce as hell.

The hero is a charmer and burdened with his too large task.

Their love story is epic and so hot. I don’t want to spoil with the details but our heroine give the hero a safe place to just be and it is amazing.

The culture building is grand as are all the secondary characters.

This is just top notch story telling. If you like Paranormal Romance, this book is a must read for you.

I was given this book for my honest review (Though I would have bought it anyway), So, there you have it!