loved forever

Rising Tides: Chesapeake Bay Saga Review

   Rising Tides by Nora Roberts 3.5 Stars! 

Ethan Quinn is a waterman. He wasn’t born to the tradition but has embraced it. He’s a quiet man whose heart runs as deep as the waters he loves. And now, with his father gone, Ethan is determined to make the family boatbuilding business a success. But amidst his achievements lie the most important challenges of his life…

There’s a young boy who needs him, and a woman and child he loves but never believed he could have. To shape his life around them, Ethan must face his own dark past—and accept not only who he is but what he hopes to become.

Review

I am often amazed when I read a Nora Roberts book. The opening of this book is just so lovely in terms of place, feeling, and character. How does she do this so prolifically?

I love that Ethan is a working class hero and so devoted to his family. The loved forever theme is a fun one and Grace is great as well.

Roberts writing shines but I am kept from falling in love with this book because I want to send Ethan to therapy and want what happens at the end of the book to occur in the middle of the book so that we get a love story of acknowledged equals rather than 95% of the story with Ethan doing what he thinks is best instead of evolving.

Quiet Nights (Mangrove Stories #2) by Mary Calmes Review

Review:

Quiet Nights - Mary Calmes

It’s a lovely little life Kelly Seaton leads. He’s got his own landscaping business, a nice little house, and his best friend, Cosimo Renaldi, and Coz’s goofball family who have adopted Kelly as their own. Sure, it’s a little lonely at night, but it’s a sweet deal, and Kelly can’t chance ruining it by letting on that he wants more—has always wanted more—with Coz.

Then Kelly’s past comes to town, bringing bad memories and hurt feelings that start to break Kelly down, and Coz just doesn’t understand why Kelly won’t let him be the support and strength that Kelly’s always been for him. They’ve already been through war, Coz’s devastating injury, and starting new careers in Mangrove, Florida. Why shouldn’t they face their chaotic pasts and build their future of quiet nights… together?

 

Review

 

There is a ton to like in this little novella. Its funny and charming. The family is wonderful. I like small towns and love friends to lovers.

The plot zips along and the heroes both grow and change.

What isn’t that enjoyable as I don’t really understand what held them back I don’t get to enjoy them being together. It is a bit slap dash in this way.

 

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The Queen & the Homo Jock King (At First Sight, #2) by T.J. Klune Review

 The Queen & the Homo Jock King   by T.J. Klune  4 Stars! 

Sanford Stewart sure doesn’t. In fact, he pretty much believes in the exact opposite, thanks to the Homo Jock King. It seems Darren Mayne lives for nothing more than to create chaos in Sandy’s perfectly ordered life, just for the hell of it. Sandy despises him, and nothing will ever change his mind.

Or so he tells himself.

It’s not until the owner of Jack It—the club where Sandy performs as drag queen Helena Handbasket—comes to him with a desperate proposition that Sandy realizes he might have to put his feelings about Darren aside. Because Jack It will close unless someone can convince Andrew Taylor, the mayor of Tucson, to keep it open.

 

Someone like Darren, the mayor’s illegitimate son.

The foolproof plan is this: seduce Darren and push him to convince his father to renew Jack It’s contract with the city.

Simple, right?

Wrong.

Review

This is an over the top romantic comedy with a great enemies to lovers pretend relationship theme.

However, Klune points out the silliness of the plot and that makes it even more funny. Underneath all the shenanigans are powerful friendships and made families and a wonderful love story of taking risks, trying again, and growing up.

The banter is just amazing. A little too non stop at times even. I wish I had gotten to know Darren as well as Sandy but it a great romance and you will want to read whole passages out loud to whoever is near to you!

Project Daddy by Kate Perry Review

   Project Daddy by Kate Perry 2 Stars

Katherine Murphy needs to know. Her obsessive, demanding supervisor has given her an assignment that goes way beyond the call of duty: find her a man. But not just any man—he must have the perfect combination of good looks, job security, and solid genes to make him daddy-worthy. So, with a lofty promotion being dangled in front of her, Katherine dives back into the dating pool to find another woman’s Mr. Right. . .

There is, however, a problem with Katherine’s approach: for some reason, going up to strange guys and asking if they’re ready for fatherhood is getting her nowhere. Which is why she recruits her best friend Luc to help with the man hunt. As he drags her out to gallery openings and bars, Katherine develops a new appreciation for Luc. But when Katherine strikes out in her search and Luc steps up to the plate as her boss’s next date, she realizes he’s perfect. Maybe too perfect to waste on someone else. . .

 

Review

I love me a socially awkward heroine. I love fact spewing as well and friends to lovers and a clueless that he likes her romance but this one was too much of everything, Well, not the fact spewing…I love that.

The level of cluelessness was crazy and then kind of cruel and self involved. I get that she had a real need to achieve but she ended up being stupid instead of clueless and then mean.

The hero and the nieghbor I loved in this book but I have no idea why he why he didn’t just tell her how he felt. This was dumb as well. There was no character of plot base of his choice.

Oh, the Daddy Project plot made me nuts too. LOL. A wall banger for me with some funny moments.

Her Pregnancy Bombshell (Summer at Villa Rosa #1) by Liz Fielding Review

 Her Pregnancy Bombshell (Summer at Villa Rosa)  by Liz Fielding  2.5 Stars

Expecting her boss’s baby! 

Pilot Miranda Marlowe is too sick to fly her plane, and she must face the truth: she’s pregnant! She knows well enough that her boss, Cleve Finch, is still grieving for his late wife, so to think, she heads to her sister’s new inheritance, Villa Rosa.

Despite the spiders and dust, the Mediterranean palazzo is as gorgeous as ever. Until Cleve turns up with a dramatic offer: a convenient marriage as soon as it can be arranged! It may be the sensible answer…but is it enough for Miranda?

 

Review

I was enjoying this romance with its look at grief and comfort between two pilots.

The heroine has been in love with the hero since she was 18. He married another. The book opens with him in deep grief and the heroine comforting him physically.

She gets pregnant. I like very much what a respected pilot and airplane designer the heroine is. I like the setting of the the crumbling Italian Villa the heroine flees to (and the hero follows) to sort out what do to with her life now.

Then, for me the book goes south. The secondary characters don’t work well for me and worse the mystery of why the hero and heroine weren’t together misses the details I want and the details I get make me dislike almost everyone in the book.

Well written but it lost me. 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.

Keeper (Terran Times Second Wave Book 4) by Viola Grace Review

Review:

Keeper (Terran Times Second Wave Book 4) - Viola Grace

Aggie was slotted for life as a Keeper, a woman who put herself between her charges and danger. A genuine crisis of conscience kicks in on her second assignment and ends with her charge in hiding and Aggie in cold sleep for a while.

Ikvaro was Aggie’s instructor on the moon base and his heart broke when she disappeared and was reported dead. Informed that she was alive and needed his help, he resigns his commission as instructor and heads out to the stars to find his woman now that duty no longer stands between them.

She thaws, he looks into her eyes and she is no longer alone in there. She has gone from Keeper to Avatar and there is no protocol for this manoeuvre.

 

 

Review

 

This a wonderful complex loved forever with a well earned happily ever after for a moral heroine and a loyal hero. Good stuff. 

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Thunderclaw (Alien Warrior #2) by Penelope Fletcher Review

4 Stars!

What does this woman want…?

Sìne is a hot mess. A broke single mother who learned alpha men are abusive monsters, she gave up on the fallacy of ‘true love’ long ago. So upon meeting the King of all alphas and the Commander of all bad-asses who profess everlasting adoration, she runs screaming. Literally. Talked into hosting the unusual ‘out-of-town’ visitors by her family, she discovers King Beowyn is overbearing, vain, selfish, and belligerent – just like she suspected! But he makes her laugh, and her troubled daughter sleeps peacefully in his arms. His perpetual shadow Eorik is broody, self-righteous and an annoying know it all. Yet his touch is gentle, he acts as if her word as gospel, and her daughter thinks he’s the second coming. Her broken belief the opposite sex can be strong, caring and trustworthy is reforged, and Sine takes a chance on the beautiful life they promise… then lands on the Verak home planet and faces an ugly surprise six hundred strong.

Who does this warrior King desire…?

Planning to take a quick trip to Earth for a feisty nubile to bed, Beowyn finds himself in a quandary when his chosen human makes it clear he will share her bed and no other. Wanting her for his own, he omits a trifling truth to get her to his home planet. On the journey his vessel is attacked by vengeful L’Odo, and they crash on a forbidden planet. Rescue by his Ra allies is swift, but two of their party remain lost in the dangerous wilds. Beowyn must decide to return to Vayhalun in time to retain the right to be known as the Great Alpha, or stay to lead the search for his missing loved ones, forfeiting a throne his mighty Dyna has held for aeons.

What does this protector dream of…?

Eorik is in love with a male he cannot have. He finds solace in protecting Beowyn and doesn’t complain when he flits off on foolhardy adventures. That is until they travel to Earth and Eorik finds his One – the same female his liege is adamant is his. Struggling with the pain of watching those he loves from a distance, he finds himself stranded on a planet of both paradise and peril, protecting the most innocent of those he cherishes. He and the human babe rush to reunite with their convoy as a nameless terror stalks them through the jungle.

Review

This books reads much better if you read or reread the first in the series first–Venomous.

This is a sage. A big, fat, multi layered sage with a triangle of a poly romance that works for me. ‘

The loved forever theme and the heroine who does not trust adds great tension to this science fiction romance.

I love that the heroine doesn’t just leave. She has family. She is a mother. She is practical.

The layers peal off all the characters (main and secondary). There are huge plot events. They all need to talk more but it is very good anyway.

I am not thrilled with the ending of this one in terms of a big lead up to the next book instead of closing this one fully (we get a nice HEA) but I am looking forward to the next one.

Experienced (A Real Man, #4) by Jenika Snow Review

2 Stars

He’ll show her how a real man treats a woman…

SABINE

I’d never known how good it could feel to be taken care of by a man who knew what he was doing.

Until I was with Hugo…

HUGO

I was older than she was.

She was innocent, hadn’t experienced all that life had to offer.

I could give her that experience.

Sabine consumed my thoughts, made me desire nothing else but her. No other woman compared to her, and because of that, I hadn’t been with a woman for four years, which was also the last time I saw Sabine.

But I was done feeling guilty for what I desired. I wanted Sabine in my life, by my side, and I was about to make that a reality.

I didn’t know if she’d ever been treated the way a female should … but I was going to show her how a real man takes care of a woman.

Review

Despite the lovely cover, this addition to Snow’s contemporary erotic short stories with Happily Ever Afters didn’t work for me.

The much older hero is fine with me and in a larger space with room to explore that conflict it would have worked. It just seemed an add on here.

Snow is a great writer and the love story is sweet and hot but these books are a lot about a quick look into a fantasy with the love mixed in and the really rich guy isn’t my thing–though the Russian was nice.

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,