Tortured hero

Off Campus (Bend or Break, #1) by Amy Jo Cousins Review

     Off Campus   by Amy Jo Cousins 4 Stars! 

Everyone’s got secrets. Some are just harder to hide.

With his father’s ponzi scheme assets frozen, Tom Worthington believes finishing college is impossible unless he can pay his own way. After months sleeping in his car and gypsy-cabbing for cash, he’s ready to do just that.

But his new, older-student housing comes with an unapologetically gay roommate. Tom doesn’t ask why Reese Anders has been separated from the rest of the student population. He’s just happy to be sleeping in a bed.

Reese isn’t about to share his brutal story with his gruff new roommate. You’ve seen one homophobic jock, you’ve seen ’em all. He plans to drag every twink on campus into his bed until Tom moves out. But soon it becomes clear Tom isn’t budging.

Tom isn’t going to let some late-night sex noise scare him off, especially when it’s turning him on. But he doesn’t want any drama either. He’ll keep his hands, if not his eyes, to himself. Boundaries have a way of blurring when you start sharing truths, though. And if Tom and Reese cross too many lines, they may need to find out just how far they can bend…before they break.

Review

If you like New Adult angst, you will love this book. It is New Adult in the best ways

The problems our heroes have a real ones with have to do with owning sexuality, still being tied to parents for good and bad, and healing.

This is a hot read with heroes who fall in love with each other hard.

There is a lot of pain to get through but you will root for them.

I like less drama in my love stories but I still really liked this book even though I wanted a richer HEA,

Cousins is a really good writer!

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.

Training Season (Training Season, #1) by Leta Blake Review

  Training Season by Leta Blake  3 Stars!

Unquestionably talented figure skater Matty Marcus is willing to sacrifice everything for his Olympic dream, but his lack of discipline cost him the gold once before. Now the pressure’s on. He needs a coach who can keep him in line, but top coaches don’t come cheap, and Matty can’t afford to stay in the game no matter how badly he wants to win.

When a lucrative house-sitting gig brings him to rural Montana, Matty does his best to maintain his training regimen. Local residents turn out to be surprisingly tolerant of his flamboyant style, especially handsome young rancher Rob Lovely, who proves to be much more than a cowboy stereotype. Just as Matty requires a firm hand to perform his best on the ice, Rob shows him how strong he can be when he relinquishes control in the bedroom. With new-found self-assurance, he drives himself harder to go straight to the top.

But competition has a timetable, and to achieve his Olympic dream, Matty will have to join his new coach in New York City, leaving Rob behind. Now he must face the ultimate test. Has he truly learned how to win—on and off the ice—during his training season?

 

 

Review

I have mixed feelings about this book. If you like angsty romance, you will love this one. If you like BDSM well done, you will like it as well.

Rob is a wonderful complex character with all kinds of intersting pockets of who he is.

Matty is super messed up. I have trouble setting into a book when the lead needs therapy and does not get it nor is it really talked about. He is messed up in intersting ways though.

It is very rough road for this couple and because the other book I had read by Blake was so funny, I longed for more light at least in parts.

Until You Loved Me (Silver Springs, #3) by Brenda Novak Review

   Until You Loved Me by Brenda Novak  3 Stars!

After catching her fiancé cheating—with another man—usually straitlaced, workaholic scientist Ellie Fisher liberates her wild side just long enough to indulge in a passionate one-night stand with a tall, dark stranger she meets at a trendy Miami bar. Embarrassed by her recklessness, she ducks out the following morning without learning the guy’s full name, something that shouldn’t have been a problem…until a pregnancy test turns positive.

Being a professional football player, Hudson King has always been cautious around women. But this one had been different—so disinterested in his celebrity, so convincingly into him. When Ellie tracks him down, claiming she’s carrying his baby, he’s stunned. And more than a little betrayed.

But after growing up as an orphan, he’ll do anything to stay involved in his child’s life, so he urges Ellie to move to Silver Springs, where they can co-parent. Hudson has a lot of love to give, certainly enough for his child, and when their initial spark reignites, perhaps for Ellie, too…

 

Review

I like the heart of this novel very much. A one night stand leads to a pregnancy between a scientist heroine and a football player hero.

The hero has major trust issues and the heroine is just trying to do the right thing,

I like watching them fall in love.

The heroine’s ex is really a non subtle bad guy. And I really hate the my ex was gay and cheating on me with a dude horror show. And this one takes it all the way home Sad face.

The mystery around the hero is intersting. I am interested in the other books in this series.

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

Shadowbound (Dark Arts #1) by Bec McMaster Review

    Shadowbound (The Dark Arts Book 1) by Bec McMaster  3 Stars! 

A stolen relic. A pair of enemies forced to work together. And a demon who must be stopped before it destroys London itself…

When a powerful relic goes missing from a secret society that dabbles in the occult, Miss Ianthe Martin is charged with finding it at all costs. She needs help, but all clues point to someone on the inside being the thief. The only sorcerer she knows that can’t possibly be involved is the very man she saw locked in Bedlam a year ago…

The mad, bad, dangerous Earl of Rathbourne.

When the seductive Miss Martin appears in his Bedlam cell, Rathbourne fears he’s finally lost his mind. The devilish sorceress played a hand in his incarceration, and now she comes asking for help? Perhaps she should begin by begging for mercy…

But Ianthe’s offer of freedom is one he can’t refuse, although he has a clause of his own to add. She may bind him with her power–the only way to still the demons haunting him–but for every day spent under her command, the nights will be his… to wreak delicious revenge on her willing flesh.

 

Review

As always McMaster created a vivid world with engrossing characters and an intersting plot.

I just couldn’t like anyone that much so I didn’t enjoy spending time with them nor did I root for the romance.

It may be that I was just not in the right mood for this kind of second chance secret everything angst.

Didn’t work for me on the love story level.

Back Piece (Skin Deep Inc., #1) by L.A. Witt Review

Review:

Back Piece (Skin Deep Inc.) - L.A. Witt

4.5 Stars 

 

Colin Spencer is a tattoo artist with a past he’d prefer to keep a secret. Actually, he has a few secrets that he’d rather people didn’t know about, which is why Colin doesn’t do commitment. But when a shy sailor approaches him at the gym, Colin finds this guy pushing all his buttons.

 

Growing up in a conservative family, then escaping with the Navy, Daniel Moore is an unsure virgin who feels like he can’t share his true self with anyone. Seeing Colin—and his tattoos—at the gym are the sign Daniel needs to finally get those tattoos he’s always wanted, and maybe try his hand at flirting.

 

As Colin and Daniel spend more time together, their awkward hesitations turn into a deep passion neither expected. But with both men harboring secrets, will their relationship be able to survive their insecurities and become something beautiful?

 

Review

This is a slow careful romance that really lets you fall in love with both heroes.

Both heroes have a ton of baggage and Witt allows both of them wonderful individual journeys as well as sexy sweet journey as a couple. The blurb gives a number of the details of who they are away but it doesn’t tell just what great real people they are.

This is an angsty read but no one does anything stupid or out of characters and I want so much for them to find the happiness they deserve and they do.

We get lots of couple time and while some might feel the book a bit slow in the middle, I loved the lingering over details and time together.

A great romance!

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

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Champion (Galactic Gladiators, #5) by Anna Hackett Review

Champion: A Scifi Alien Romance (Galactic Gladiators Book 5)  by Anna Hackett 3 Stars!

Space marine Blaine Strong enjoyed being a composed, controlled member of space station security…until he was abducted by alien slavers. Forced into underground fight rings and pumped full of drugs, he’s now seething with anger and out for revenge.

Rescued by gladiators and fellow humans on the desert world of Carthago, Blaine is fighting to be the man he once was. But when the House of Galen is attacked, he must focus on joining the gladiators to fight back. That means teaming up with a tough, competitive female gladiator who not only challenges him at every turn, awakens a fierce desire he’s never felt before, but a woman who can sense the churning emotions inside him.

Gladiator Saff Essikani is the best net fighter in the Kor Magna Arena. Raised from young to fight, she bows to no man and uses her empathic abilities to win at whatever cost. With her House targeted and people under their care threatened, she’ll stop at nothing to find those responsible. But then she finds herself face to face with a big, tortured man from Earth who affects her like no man before. As Saff and Blaine head into the desert to uncover a conspiracy, their incendiary desire flares hotter than the desert suns. But as Blaine’s angry emotions rage out of control, Saff knows that unless he learns to embrace the man he is now, he has no chance of survival.

Review

Happy to see a human male get matched with an alien female. The fact that they are both amazing warriors is great as well.

I like the romance between them as the hero heals from his emotionial wounds from being a captive.

The action is fast paced but it sometimes out balanced the love story and wasn’t as interesting as it repeated some events in the earlier books.

However, new characters that I am interested in do get introduced. I will keep reading

Pursued (Brides of the Kindred, #6) by Evangeline Anderson Review

  Pursued (Brides of the Kindred Book 6) by Evangeline Anderson 2.5 Stars

Elise is fractured inside, stained by a past she refuses to remember.
Merrick is scarred both inside and out, a half-breed with a brutal background, at home nowhere in the universe.

Now they are tied together by an unstable bond which could kill them both.
Their journey will take them to the lawless planet of Rageron—the wildest of all the Kindred worlds. There, in the deep blue jungles of an alien world, Elise must bare her soul and relive the horror that nearly killed her. Can she and Merrick make each other whole or will Elise run from her pain?

If she does, Merrick cannot help but chase her…Elise is being Pursued.

 

Review

The basic romance here between two very wounded people is engaging. I like the heroine doesn’t just magically get over her past.

However, she does a lot of stupid stuff.

The book gets a bit tedious after a while when the characters stagnate.

There are also too many characters that don’t have meaningful contributions to the story.

So, I want to like this series but it isn’t working for me.

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.

All These Pieces of Me (The Stables, #1) by C.E. Kilgore Review

All These Pieces Of Me (The Stables Book 1) by C.E. Kilgore

Emma sees the world inside out and looks right past the physical scars that Brandon had begun to think would be the only thing the world would ever see. Set in Dallas, Texas, this is a mature adult Contemporary Romance series with BDSM elements and atypical themes, including physical disfigurement, Autism, and OCD. Each book will be a complete story, no cliffhangers.
Brandon
To say that I’m ugly is like saying a cemetery is quiet. Okay, maybe parts of me are attractive, sure. I’d gotten more than my share of second, hungry glances from women at clubs. Then I’d turn to the other side and they’d get a nice big glimpse of Quasimodo. Only the desperately drunk or the ‘I can fix you’ chicks took a third look. Not Emma, though. She looked right at my scars and didn’t miss a beat. The typical stares from folks noticing my face just blend into the background noise as I try to comprehend this odd little woman. She’s still and quiet, clutching her teddy bear like it’s nobody’s business. And maybe it’s not. Maybe least of all mine.

There’s more there, I’m sure. Way more. And for the first time, I think I’m going to actually put in the effort to find out what, because I think it may just completely blow my sorry world apart.

Emma
The guy walking in front of me is seriously massive. I’d heard that everything is bigger in Texas, but this is absolutely ridiculous. There’s also the matter of his face. He has me both ready to swoon and run screaming in the same crazy second. I’m still not sure which of those options my body has decided on. I think the jury is still out on a lot of things to do with my current state of affairs. I wish I could talk the way that I think instead of stammering through life like a little girl who holds onto a damn teddy bear and continues to obsess over the color pink. I can’t, though. My brain just doesn’t work that way. His gentle brown eyes put me at ease for some reason I haven’t quite worked out yet, and I really want to know his story.

Scars are just part of life and we all have them. Most of us are lucky, though, and have scars we can hide deep down inside. Most of us aren’t forced to wear them on our face.

Review

I like the parts of the book that are Contemporary Romance and the Erotic BDSM Romance parts are way less intersting.

The heroine and hero are pretty tortured in different ways and the heroine’s autism plus their backstory make enough of a conflict.

A crazy unrealistic BDSM club and interfering friends make what was an interesting romance about two people who need self acceptance and to trust tank for me.