poverty

Candy Man (Candy Man #1) by Amy Lane Review

   Candy Man (Candy Man #1)  by Amy Lane 3.5 Stars! 

Adam Macias has been thrown a few curve balls in his life, but losing his VA grant because his car broke down and he missed a class was the one that struck him out. One relative away from homelessness, he’s taking the bus to Sacramento, where his cousin has offered a house-sitting job and a new start. He has one goal, and that’s to get his life back on track. Friends, pets, lovers? Need not apply.

Finn Stewart takes one look at Adam as he’s applying to Candy Heaven and decides he’s much too fascinating to leave alone. Finn is bright and shiny—and has never been hurt. Adam is wary of his attention from the very beginning—Finn is dangerous to every sort of peace Adam is forging, and Adam may just be too damaged to let him in at all.

But Finn is tenacious, and Adam’s new boss, Darrin, doesn’t take bullshit for an answer. Adam is going to have to ask himself which is harder—letting Finn in or living without him? With the holidays approaching it seems like an easy question, but Adam knows from experience that life is seldom simple, and the world seldom cooperates with hope, faith, or the plans of cats and men.

Review

I enjoyed this opposites attract romance. Finn is wonderful. The dog is great. Watching Adam find joy is a pleasure. The Candy Man is sill fun.

There are bits and pieces missing here that could add depth to the story but overall is a good read.

Brute by Kim Fielding Review

   Brute by Kim Fielding  3.5 Stars!

Brute leads a lonely life in a world where magic is commonplace. He is seven and a half feet of ugly, and of disreputable descent. No one, including Brute, expects him to be more than a laborer. But heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and when he is maimed while rescuing a prince, Brute’s life changes abruptly. He is summoned to serve at the palace in Tellomer as a guard for a single prisoner. It sounds easy but turns out to be the challenge of his life.

Rumors say the prisoner, Gray Leynham, is a witch and a traitor. What is certain is that he has spent years in misery: blind, chained, and rendered nearly mute by an extreme stutter. And he dreams of people’s deaths—dreams that come true.

As Brute becomes accustomed to palace life and gets to know Gray, he discovers his own worth, first as a friend and a man and then as a lover. But Brute also learns heroes sometimes face difficult choices and that doing what is right can bring danger of its own.

  Review

I like everything this romance very much. You can’t ask for a better hero than Brute. It is a joy to see his life improve. His kindness is is heroic

Gray is a great hero too if a kind of redeemed one.

Their love story is sweet.

What I wanted more of was a better understanding of the world, magic systems, and much more couple time.

Listen to the Moon (Lively St. Lemeston #3) by Rose Lerner Review

Listen To The Moon (Lively St. Lemeston #3)  by Rose Lerner 4.5 Stars!!

John Toogood dreamed of being valet to a great man…before he was laid off and blacklisted. Now he’s stuck in small-town Lively St. Lemeston until London’s Season opens and he can begin his embarrassing job hunt. His instant attraction to happy-go-lucky maid Sukey Grimes couldn’t come at a worse time. Her manners are provincial, her respect for authority nonexistent, and her outdated cleaning methods-well, the less said about them, the better. Behind John’s austere façade, Sukey catches tantalizing glimpses of a lonely man with a gift for laughter. Yet her heart warns her not to fall for a man with one foot out the door, no matter how devastating his kiss. Then he lands a butler job in town-but there’s a catch. His employer, the vicar, insists Toogood be respectably married. Against both their better judgments, he and Sukey come to an arrangement. But the knot is barely tied when Sukey realizes she underestimated just how vexing it can be to be married to the boss… Warning: Contains a butler with a protective streak a mile wide, and a maid who enjoys messing up the bed a whole lot more than making it.

 

Review

Oh this is so good!

A non London set Regency romance about a valet/butler and a maid. The themes are wonderful–opposites attract, marriage of convince to a much older man.

The characters are both lonely and charming with their own complex lives that come together.

The historical detail of holidays, food, class, women’s and servant’s rights in a small village are perfectly explored.

And it is very sexy. The banter and writing fierce and well paced.

There was some needless angst for me that took a little shine of the love story but overall all a really joy for any romance reader.

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

This Guy Kills Me by Anlyn Hansell Review

  This Guy Kills Me  by Anlyn Hansell 3.5 Stars!

She has the face that could launch a thousand ships.

And the personality to sink every last one of them.

He sells his own special brand of life insurance, as in…death.

What happens when the one person you find you can’t live without is the same person that is eventually going to kill you?

Jane Hamilton is one hot mess until she meets the World’s most well-adjusted killer. He needs her help and he’s not above kidnapping her to get it. What he doesn’t expect is a woman who isn’t at all what she seems. Except crazy, that is.
She’s definitely crazy.
But then again, in his world? Crazy is the norm.

Review

This book is a great deal of fun. If I took it seriously, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it. I didn’t and it was wonderful.

The heroine is living in utter poverty and has a psychic gift that makes her blurt out the awful things she see about people.

The hero is a hitman.

This is a mad cap romp with tons of humor and great characters all around. The romance is very sweet as they fall in love with each other despite each other.

It would have had a higher score if had resolved a few issues around the hero’s work and the heroine’s family but it really a hoot.

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.

Starting Over: A Story by Ruthie Knox Review

Jessie Bellin’s business is failing, her house is falling apart, and the mortgage is ninety days overdue. With nothing left to offer, she’ll take what she can get from the handyman who wants nothing but her body. But when Mike Kaminsky suddenly asks for more, Jessie has to figure out exactly what she wants—and if it’s possible for a woman who’s lost everything to learn how to start over.

4 Stars!

Review

This is a an achy dream of a short story.

It is set deep in the recession. The hero and the heroine each are struggling personally and with money. Dreams are dying.

How do you manage love in the middle of this sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness. How do you keep going, trust, and risk yourself again?

This is a romance with the kind of realism that only adds to the truth of power of connection at the heart of the romance genre.

Never Enough by Roxie Noir Review

4.5 Stars!!

It’s a simple enough transaction.
Marisol needs the money, and I need a nice girl to parade in front of the cameras.
No feelings. No strings. No falling for anyone.

I’ve been clean for months, but my record company’s not satisfied. Apparently it isn’t enough to only kick a heroin addiction – they’re insisting that I find a girlfriend as well.

If I don’t, they pull Dirtshine’s massive record deal.

It’s supposed to show that I’ve changed my ways, that I’ve turned over a new leaf, all that rubbish. But I’ve had it with suit-wearing wankers telling me what I’m to do, so I’m on the verge of telling them to go f*ck themselves.

And then she shows up.

Marisol locks me out of my own concert by accident. She’s wearing a suit at a rock show, searching for her lost law school textbook, has no idea who I am…

…and for the first time in years, I’m hooked.

She’s smart, driven, and utterly gorgeous. The sort of girl who earnestly believes in following the rules and hates when others don’t.

I’m a huge rock star, recovering addict, and general f*ckup.

Our relationship is for show, and that’s all. But with every smile, every laugh, and every breathtaking glance at her curves, I want her more.

Two months is all we agreed to. But it’s never going to be enough.

Review

I picked this book up because of my crazy “I can’t get enough Rock Star Romance” problem

It was really, really good. The “oh no I am going to read all this writer’s back list” kind of good.

Noir manages to make me trust her as a Romance writer because she never chooses the easy way out while dealing with fun themes and balance to dark and the light with enough complexity to the characters and the relationship to make for a really satisfying love story worth reading again and again.

The premise of a pretend relationship is silly but I love this troupe because I adore making strangers deal with each other and have to kiss. So sue me. lol

The theme is really well done with the truth of pretend media relationships making if more believable, the hero’s wanting choice in the matter, and the why the heroine agrees. Noir also messes with this theme in inventive ways that make the book a joy.

The Rock Star theme is handled with depth adds realism and conflict and characterization. The hero is in recovery for heroin addiction and it is a struggle. He is newly sober and his past and present and process deeply impact the relationship with the heroine as they would. This is realistic and moving look at what it means to be an addict, the scars of it, and the how it impacts others. I love this part of the book. There are little moments here and there such as Gavin’s relationship with his band mates and something that a new band members does that could have been richer but this aspect of the book is really a treasure.

The heroine, Marisol, is great. I love the nuances of Los Angeles where she as lived all her life (and I have lived there too) that come with her character. The impact of being a child of Guatemalan immigrants, a first generation college/law student, and the complexity of striving is so well done. She is comfortable with her self, very smart, and intellectually and emotionially curious. She often struggles with the right thing to do and does the best she can. I wish her sister and parents were a bit more present in the book and she had a close friend other than the one she is drifting away from but on the whole she is a fully realized person with her own goals and drives and this is why the hero loves her and we do as well.

The book is a slow burn but when they do get together the chemistry is off the hook. It is a super sexy book and yet Noir deals directly with the hero’s sexual past and the conflict around that as well.

There is a well earned happily ever after and I hope we get to stay in this LA World with other books.

Wrecking Ball (Hard to Love, #1) by P. Dangelico Review

4.5 Stars!

Cam DeSantis’ life is a hot, steaming pile. How else would you describe losing your husband, your job, and your money all at once? Desperate times call for desperate measures, so when salvation comes in the form of one intolerable a-hole, who just happens to be the starting quarterback for the vaunted NY Titans, she has no choice but to accept his offer as a live-in nanny slash teacher for his eight year old nephew. Now all she has to do is find a safe place in her mind to hide whenever she feels the need to throat punch him into tomorrow…which is often.

Calvin Shaw has zero interest in women. Wait, wait––let me rephrase that. He loves women, he just doesn’t want anything to do with ‘um. Not since his wife, presently ex-wife, got knocked up by the guy she was cheating on him with. Problem is––there’s one living in his house. And he doesn’t know what’s worse, that he promised to be civil, or that he’s attracted to her.

 

Review

I am so excited. I found an new author to love and a comfort read. I know I will read this one again and again.

The pacing of this book is just excellent. Each section is delicious. I love a slow burn romance and this one is so well done.

The hero and heroine start out not knowing each other or liking each other and then they do and become friends and then we watch them fall in love.

Calvin is gruff and grumpy and yet emotionially intelligent. He raised his siblings and is taking care of his nephew. He is closed off after his divorce and childhood.

Cam is grieving the death of her husband who left her with a scandal.

They each have friends and family. They are complex.

There is a lot of wit to this book as well as charm and ache.

It is full of little details and kindnesses and raw love and hurt.

I love that the hero is far from a man whore. I can’t get enough of the kind of hero who sees women (all women and not just the heroine) as people and not bodies.

The last turn of the book is a little melodramatic but it is still great. The epilogue is good but I wanted more. I am thrilled this is going t0 be series!

Really loved it!

Shadow’s Seduction (The Dacians #2) by Kresley Cole Review

4 Stars!

A night of debauchery . . .
Prince Mirceo Daciano and his new friend, Caspion the Tracker, comb the streets of Dacia, drunkenly seeking out pleasures of the flesh. In what should have been a typical night, they coax a bevy of nymphs to bed. To impress their females, the demon and the vampire kiss on a dare.

Changes them forever . . .
Once they finally break away from their soul-searing kiss, they find themselves alone–and shaken. Had they imagined their explosive chemistry? Obstacles–ranging from a death sentence to exile in a war-torn dimension–threaten to destroy their lives . . . and the vulnerable promise in that one kiss.

How long can they resist the fire that blazes between them?
Even if Mirceo accepts Caspion as his fated mate, the seductive vampire still must convince the stubborn demon that their bond is forever. And any royal Dacian union must receive the blessing of King Lothaire, an unpredictable and savage killer. . . .

 

Review

This is the most scotching hot Kresley Cole book I have read in a long time.

It is lovely novella opposites attract, fated mates, friends to lovers fun with one heck of a resistant hero and another hero who needs to grow to be ready for his mate.

There is cool adventure mixed in with this erotic romance.

Enjoy!

Ghost (Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club Book 8) Candace Blevins Review

4 Stars!

At eight years old, Hailey’s life took a turn for the better when her mom married Darnell, despite the fact she had to put up with his asshole son for a stepbrother. Eight years later — the day after her stepbrother graduated high school — Darnell and his son moved out, and the divorce was final six weeks later. She hasn’t seen either of them since.

Ghost works at the gun store, but one evening the MC is shorthanded and he’s sent to help watch over their stable of working girls. He walks in and smells Hailey, his ex-stepsister, and shortly thereafter drags her out and carries her home.

Brothers and sisters fight. It’s what they do. But when the worst happens, they’re there for each other. They haven’t seen each other in six years, but some things never change.

Review

I always wonder with this series if I am going to get pushed too far. Stepbrother stuff is not my bag. At all. Also, I tend to think that when an author choose to write it combined with the the motorcycle club stuff, they are just looking for a pay day and not also to write a good book.

I am pleased to support someone’s payday but not a bad book.

I read this despite my not loving BDSM and hate of Stepbrother romance.

And as always Blevins wrote a hell of a good book. Things get really dark with the topping but I am able to hang in there for that when it is paranormal in ways I just couldn’t in contemporary romance.

The heroine is fine with where she is at as the book opens but I am really not. It is one of my reservations about the book. I get that she has lots of grief and is likely in a depression over what she is has lost (but the writer doesn’t really detail this fully) but I can not believe as resourceful and self sufficient as this heroine is that she didn’t create different options for herself. I never buy it and think the opening of the book isn’t needed.

The rest of the book is crazy awesome sauce. The age gap and the the years apart take the eww at of the stepbrother thing and then the plot just takes off like a runaway train.

Great world building, steadfast hero, admirable heroine, sweet super hot romance, wonderful series plot arc, all sorts of surprises and action.

Just so very very good. All the little details, cast of characters, and character development add up to a wonderful tale.

This is a long lush never stop book that gives a great Happily Ever After coming out of a dark tunnel into the light.