grief

Softer Than Steel (Love & Steel, #2) by Jessica Topper Review

Review:

Softer Than Steel (A Love & Steel Novel) - Jessica Topper

As rock star “Riff Rotten”, Rick Rottenberg has enjoyed all the perks that fame can offer, especially now that he’s reunited with his former band mate, Adrian “Digger” Graves. But despite his success, Rick is a mess. Still reeling from the death of his wife years ago and terrified his demons will end his career, he agrees to seek help for his anxiety.

Burned by a musician in the past, Sidra Sullivan has closed her heart to love. So when Rick walks into her yoga studio, she wants nothing to do with him–until the bad boy shows an unexpected soft side.

As Sidra and Rick work through their painful pasts, they realize just how strongly opposites can attract. But when a crisis threatens the delicate balance they’ve forged, they’ll discover if their love is strong enough to weather another storm or just too broken to survive…

 

Review

 

I liked so much about this book.

 

Topper’s writing is perfectly pitched with detail, nuance, and insight. Her characters are flawed and lovable just the same.

 

The main characters here are like to stones striking a spark and that spark is this unexpected love story.

 

He is much older than her and changing his life. She is so much herself and yet settling into herself.

 

All the little moments and facets of the characters are what make this a great romance so I don’t want to give those things away.

 

What held the book back for me, were little things, we never really address the hero’s past before he reformed in any real way. We don’t get to meet his kids with any depth. I would like more time in the HEA but this is a goooood book worth your time and money.

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Just Stop Me (Escape to New Zealand #9) by Rosalind James Review

4 Stars!

Lots of young women dream of being a princess. Nina Jones isn’t one of them. After escaping from her palace/prison by burying herself under sacks of fertilizer, she ends up in a beach cottage on New Zealand’s South Island. She’s meant to be looking after a cantankerous widower. Too bad she doesn’t know how to boil an egg.
Iain McCormick may be an All Black, a member of New Zealand’s elite rugby team, and a bona fide celebrity. During the offseason, though, he’s meant to be a regular Kiwi bloke. A good son, a good neighbor, and a good citizen. But civility comes harder when you’ve been dumped at the altar. He doesn’t need anybody he has to look out for. He definitely doesn’t need to fall in love.

Yeah, right.

Review

I had a lot of trouble getting into this book because I really hate the fake royalty theme. I was restless at first.

However, I went back after reading James’ Just Say Yes which is a 5 star read for me and really loved this one.

I will say it is a tear jerker in the secondary romance of the heroes parents and the grief of his grandfather. I loved this part of the book.

The hero is messed up from his wedding that didn’t happen and the heroine is messed up from being controlled by all the people in her life.

It is a lovely book of healing and sexy too.

The hero and heroine both really grow and it is wonderful to see. The heroine could have revealed her secret a bit earlier and there is another something that doesn’t get followed up on that happens to her but overall this is a very good romance.

Gonzo (Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club Book 7) Candace Blevins Review

4 Stars!

Gonzo has not only had to come to terms with the loss of his entire family, but he also barely survived being shot in the chest multiple times while still a human, and was then later turned into a werewolf during a vicious attack while hiking as he tried to put his life back together.

Constance has had her own losses to deal with, and while nowhere near as bad as Gonzo’s, they’ve left a mark on her as well. She’s determined to live her life without a partner though, because her two sexual experiences in college convinced her she’s asexual.

Gonzo’s a biker people cross the road to avoid, while Constance has multiple doctorate degrees and works as a research scientist for a leading pharmaceutical firm. Gonzo doesn’t trust women, Constance has no use for men — and yet they’re going to find themselves working toward the same goals.

Can they form a team to do what needs to be done?

 

Review

At its heart, this is a sweet romance about grief and loss. But on top of that we have all sorts of other crazy themes–wolf shifter, aunt raising her sisters kids, secret baby, motorcycle club, opposites attract–all kinds of fun that make this a really good time.

Gonzo was really dead inside and kind of awful earlier in the series. He hates women and acts like it. We get to know why in this book and Blevins does a great job making him into a wonderful hero.

I like the quiet, fierce, practical heroine a lot. I love an opposites romance so this romance makes me happy.

I wasn’t really thrilled with the asexual angle in the book. Blevins does a great job through out the series presenting and developing a spectrum of sexualities as part of her characters. It turns out Constance wasn’t asexual but needed a bit more kink to get her going which is all good but the idea of asexuality gets a bit mishandled I think also the heroine is a genius. We should see much more of that part of her than we do. Also, Gonzo is a little too callus at times about custody issues.

However, couple time is grand in this book as Gonzo can’t help but fall in love and neither can Constance. They both grow and heal. It is a really lovely romance in that way.

I like kids and I like the kids in this romance and how parent is handled and discussing. Even though this is a erotic romance there is a lot of talking.

The series plot moves forward nicely and all the characters show up in great ways.

A very good read.

Chasing Mayhem (Cyborg Sizzle #6) by Cynthia Sax Review

Review:

Chasing Mayhem (Cyborg Sizzle Book 6) - Cynthia Sax

Wild. Free. Hers.

Mayhem has spent his lengthy lifespan obeying the Humanoid Alliance’s rules. Finally free from their cruel control, the cyborg warrior plans to cause chaos. He infiltrates a remote settlement, provokes the savage locals until they want him dead, and allows himself to be captured by the sexiest little Retriever he has ever laid his mechanically-enhanced eyes on.

Imee’s sole mission in life is to keep her family alive. To do this, she must hunt rebels, returning them to the Humanoid Alliance’s evil clutches where they will be executed. She doesn’t allow herself to feel anything for her targets…until she meets a tall, muscular cyborg with wild hair and even wilder eyes.

With his sure hands, laughing lips and erotic holds, Mayhem makes Imee’s body sizzle and her resistance melt. Their love is doomed. She must deliver the warrior to his death or she’ll place her family’s safety at risk. But she can’t resist him.

Imee soon discovers that Mayhem, life, and love are never predictable.

 

 

Review

 

 

I had a lot of fun with this one despite the darker themes.

 

The hero is a bit nuts and the heroine is a lot locked in and it has the silly erotica elements of have sex at any times.

 

Yet, there is a lot of humanity in the rage of being oppressed and the banter between the couple is silly fun.

 

There are several twists that are good for the series with new characters being introduced as well as new allies for the Cyborgs. Yea!

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The Leopard King (Ars Numina, #1) by Ann Aguirre Review

Review:

The Leopard King (Ars Numina) (Volume 1) - Ann Aguirre

Proud. Imperious. Impassioned.

Until three years ago, those words applied to Dominic Asher, the leader of Ash Valley. His family has ruled the feline branch of the Animari for hundreds of years, guiding the pride through perilous times. Unspeakable loss drove him into seclusion, a feral beast nobody can tame. Now he’s wrecked, a leopard king in exile, and he wants nothing more than to die.

Fierce. Loyal. Determined.

Fortunately for Dom, those words still apply to Pru Bristow, his dead mate’s best friend. She’s had her heart broken too, but she never quits. With the conclave approaching, alliances with the Pine Ridge pack and Burnt Amber clans on the verge of collapse, she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to drag their leader back, before his second can start a war.

At best theirs seems like a desperate alliance, but when their mate bond turns hot and fierce, there’s no end to the questions and the doubts. Neither of them expects to fall in love. But sometimes people don’t know what they’re looking for until they find it.

 

Review

 

This is a great start to a new paranormal series. The action is pretty intense and I really liked the leads.

 

The heroine is everything I adore. She is fierce, flawed, and practical.

 

The hero is coming out of a very dark place but his love, respect, and like of the heroine endear him to me.

 

It is a sexy book with lots of action. Can’t wait to read more in the series.

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Louder Than Love (Love & Steel #1) by Jessica Topper 5 Star!!!!!

Review:

Louder Than Love - Jessica Topper

It’s been over three years since a train accident made a widow of Katrina Lewis, sending her and her young daughter Abbey back to the suburban town of her youth…the only place that still makes sense. Lauder Lake is the perfect place to hide and heal.

Recluse rocker Adrian “Digger” Graves survived the implosion of his music career, but his muse has long lain dormant. Until Kat hires him to play at her library—not on the basis of his hard rock credentials but rather, because of the obscure kids’ TV jingle he wrote years ago. In a case of mistaken identity, Adrian stumbles into the lives of Kat and her comically lovable daughter.

Using tattoos as a timeline, Adrian unfurls his life for Kat. But as the courtship intensifies, it’s unclear whose past looms larger: the widow’s or the rocker’s. Will their demons ever rest, or will they break these soul mates apart?

 

 

Review

 

I discovered this book when someone listed it as a comfort read and I thought I can always take comfort in a rock star.

 

Oh. This book. I love character driven romance and this love story is wonderful in the complexity of the characters and the rich development of who they are apart, together, and with the people in their lives.

 

The book is achey dealing with grief of all kinds, trust, past mistakes, current mistakes with hope and risk pushing the plot forward.

 

The characters are both grown with complete lives, interests, talents, strengths, and failings so the intersection and opportunity of their falling in love is pretty special.

There is just right tension but the heroine does frustrate me a bit when she holds back too long but then so does the hero. They are flawed and yet tactically real and loving.

 

The book is also a love letter to New York City.

 

There could be more reckoning with the addition past of the hero but this is quibble because really a what could be more joyous the an British metal post punk rocker? That accent, oy!

 

I really loved so much about this book and will for sure be keeping on the shelf for when I want to be comforted by a wonderful romance.

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The Baller: A Down and Dirty Football Novel by Vi Keeland Review

Review:

The Baller: A Down and Dirty Football Novel - Vi Keeland

The first time I met Brody Easton was in the men’s locker room.

It was my first interview as a professional sportscaster.
The famed quarterback decided to bare all.
And by all, I don’t mean he told me any of his secrets.
No. The arrogant ass decided to drop his towel, just as I asked the first question. On camera.
The Super Bowl MVP quickly adopted a new hobby–screwing with me.
When I pushed back, he shifted from wanting to screw with me, to wanting to screw me.
But I don’t date players.
And it’s not because I’m one of the few women working in the world of professional football.
I’d date an athlete.
It’s the other kind of player I don’t date.
You know the type. Good looking, strong, cocky, always looking to get laid.

Brody Easton was the ultimate player.
Every woman wanted to be the one to change him.
But the truth was, all he needed was a girl worth changing for.
Turned out, I was that girl.
Simple right?
Let’s face it. It never is.
There’s a story between once upon a time and happily ever after…
And this one is ours.

 

Review

You know the writing is pretty good when I start liking a book where the hero is a fairly largely ego crazy jerk. And, of course, he is and he isn’t.

 

There is a lot of sorrow and goodness in this book and Keeland does a great job with characters that are more than one thing all at once.

 

The romance is sexy and engaging and the intersections with the hero’s and heroine’s past loves are well done though the hero’s is better handled in terms of creating connection for me than the heroine.

 

I can see how some could really dislike this book and never get over the rudeness of the hero early on in the book because it is well over the top and not called for given the heroine’s status in a male dominated profession.

 

There was some odd telling of the story from the hero’s ex love’s viewpoint that might be saying she will get her own book (and that would be good) but those chapters were painful for me.

 

The attraction between the hero and heroine is so physical and while they like each other a great deal too for me the love connection was a touch off.

 

But I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would and I am looking forward to more books by this writer.

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The Milch Bride (Western Wives, #1) by J.R. Biery Review

4 Stars! 

THE MILCH BRIDE
Texas is a harsh land in the 1870’s. Jackson Harper loses his wife in childbirth, but is not willing to lose his son. When the baby sickens, he must find a woman to nurse the boy. Unfortunately, the only woman in the county with milk is Hattie Stoddard, the town slut. Despite the protests of his in-laws and housekeeper, Jackson leaves his wife’s funeral to bring Hattie home.Hattie Stoddard has been a victim of a brutal rape and seen her father beaten and changed forever. By the time she can ride for help, the men who attacked her have told a different story of what happened and the town refuses to believe her. Pregnant and ostracized, she is determined to save her father and the ranch. Then her father and son die.

When Jackson arrives she has nothing left but her shredded pride and the determination not to lose the land. When Jackson tells her she is going with him, she refuses. Finally they strike a bargain, he will pay the taxes and save the ranch if she will nurse and care for his son until J.D. is weaned. But a lot can happen in the milk-year.

ReviewGood Historical Western Romances are hard to find and this is a very good one.

It is gritty and sad. The role greed plays in the book during the range war is just awful. The reality of class difference and women’s lives hurts to but then there is a very sweet romance with new life, healing, and land as well as between the couple.

The heroine is strong and yet not unrealistic in dealing with the aftermath of rape. The hero is a fair man who you will want to take comfort in as well.

There is a lot of baby time and food in this book which works well for me. I love Westerns with lots of cooking, canning, cleaning, sewing and gardening. The work of the time.

There is a bit of mystery which adds to the plot and historical detail to the violence. The secondary characters are interesting though they could have been better develop.

Overall, I am excited at having found this new to me historical romance writer!

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