tortured heroine

Tough Enough (Tall, Dark, and Dangerous, #2) by M. Leighton Review

   Tough Enough by M. Leighton 2 Stars 

There was a time when I had everything–a wonderful family, a bright future. Love. But all that was taken away in a single night, torn from me like flesh from bone. Since then, I’ve hidden away in my second-choice job as a makeup artist. But I prefer it that way, actually. I’m comfortable in the shadows, where no one can see my scars.

Kiefer Rogan literally took my breath away the moment I met him. MMA champion-turned-actor, notorious playboy, charming to a fault—he’s everything I vowed to avoid.

But he just wouldn’t stop until I opened up and let him in. Maybe I should’ve tried harder to resist him. Maybe I shouldn’t have fallen in love with him. Because I, of all people, know that everyone has secrets. Scars. And that they’re usually ugly and painful and destructive to the people we love most.

I just never guessed that they could be deadly, too.

 

Review

In order for a romance to work for me, I have to connect with the characters. I don’t always have to like them but I have to think they are interesting.

I didn’t like the hero. He was no attuned to the heroine. I didn’t care for the heroine either as she was really judgmental and I was stuck in her head.

They could have both grown and it would have been a more enjoyable book as the writing is well done but they didn’t do that with any compelling elements and too slow for me.

So, I didn’t care about them in the end.

Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers #4) by Penny Reid Review

   Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers Book 4) by Penny Reid 4 Stars!

All is fair in love and auto maintenance.

Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.

Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.
She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words. Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.

The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity–exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity–and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean losing what matters most.

 

Review

I love Penny Reid’s writing and romance between Shelly and Beau is compelling.

There is a ton going on in this book and it is best read as part of the series to get the most pleasure and impact out of it.

Shelly is a wonderful, capable character who struggles with intense OCD and obsessive thoughts.

Beau is a a very charming man who is polite in a near compulsive way and who is struggling as his twins prepares to move away from him for the first time in their lives.

Beau and Shelly do not get along at first and then they do but being with Shelly means working very hard not to be codependent and being there for her why she does the very hard work of living with her condition. Turns out Beau has his own quirks as well. There is a lovely metaphor that runs through out the book about how to do that.

This is a touching (and hot) romance about loving someone as they are.

There is a pile of series plot in this one and while it was good and interesting (avoiding spoilers), the couple time with Shelly and Beau got taken over a bit. I want more time of them dating and being.

A great addition to the series with all the folks we love and couple you can root for.

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.

The Red Scot (A Curvy Girls Club Novel, #1) by Twyla Turner Review

The Red Scot (A Curvy Girls Club Novel Book 1) by Twyla Turner  2.5 Stars! 

She’ll be the greatest fight of his life…

Bradyn ‘The Red Scot’ MacTavish is the best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world, despite his humble beginnings as the fat kid growing up. A tragedy that befell his life changed him and made sure that he never felt helpless again. He spent years making a name for himself in the octagon as an alpha beast, but when it comes to the ladies he is a fumbling mess. Always feeling like the unpopular kid. The day that Payton Bailey walks into his gym changes everything.

When it comes to men, Payton is as clueless as she is with social cues. She prefers to stick with what she knows: Sci-Fi, comic books, video games and web design. After a heartbreaking incident her freshman year of college, she was never able to look at big muscular men the same way again. So imagine her surprise and absolute fright when she catches the eye of the massive, hulking MMA fighter, who she secretly nicknames The Red Giant.

The computer geek has done her best to avoid, ignore, and even maim Bradyn but the stubborn Scot has no intentions of letting the skittish lass slip through his fingers. And with the help of her three friends, he just might win the fight of his life.

Review

I enjoyed this book a lot but there are writing errors and almost all the tropes of the book are heavy handed.

What saved it was fun dialogue, a great circle of friends, a wonderful sweet hero, and a geeky heroine.

Our hero and heroine are both shy which is fun. The hero is very self aware and kind. The heroine has PTSD from a past attempted rape.

The hero’s lovely wooing of the heroine plus the fact that that he is a super hot Scot let me enjoy the book despite the telling passages, lack of complexity, and typos.

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.

A Mate for the Senator (Brion Brides Book 9) by Vi Voxley Review

A Mate for the Senator (Brion Brides Book 9)  by Vi Voxley 3 Stars!

Eleya has done more with her life than most Brions will. Not only a General, but a High Senator, she’s achieved everything but the love that every Brion seeks. When a twist of fate brings her face to face with her second mate, can she move on from the pain the first one caused, or is he just another challenge to be dealt with?

Xaven as a more than capable Brion Captain wants many things, but being a General is not one of them. However a mate that is one… well, a man can have no objections to that, now can he? Only when it becomes clear that their paths are too divergent to come together must the warrior reconsider his faith in fate. Perhaps some things are not meant to be.

Or maybe they need to be fought for harder than he ever expected?

 

Review

I was so happy to get a bool about a Brion heroine. The High Senator is an amazing woman.

I liked the book a great deal until it seemed a whole section was missing from it when the hero and heroine grew and changed…and healed. Instead of letting us see this character development and letting the reader enjoy the couple falling in love beyond the fated mate bond and becoming more of themselves, we get a cut to a major action.

Too bad. This one was emotionially compelling in exploring the hero and the heroine but it did not do the work to make it a really great book.

As an aside, I really hate it when a writer uses cum instead of come as the action. Cum as a noun doesn’t bother me as much (I am not a huge fan but it doesn’t knock me out the of the story) but cum as in Cum for me and so on makes the book feel more like erotica and less like a romance. I like erotica but this is a romance. Anyway… lol

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.

Here to Stay by Catherine Anderson Review

 Here to Stay by Catherine Anderson  3 Stars 

At twenty-eight, Mandy Pajeck has spent most of her life taking care of others. Since the accident that took her younger brother’s sight, Luke’s complete reliance on Mandy’s care has left both of them feeling trapped. But when Mandy meets handsome Zach Harrigan, she thinks she’s found the ticket to her brother’s happiness.

Of the five Harrigan siblings, Zach was the hellion who partied hard and took nothing seriously. But when his life starts to feel empty, Zach decides to employ his skills as a horseman to train a mini guide horse for the blind–never expecting the project will lead him to beautiful, tender-hearted Mandy.

Even though she’s charmed by Zach’s patience and compassion, Mandy can’t bring herself to fully trust him. And when Zach urges her to confront the truth about her mother’s disappearance, the secrets they uncover are so shocking that even Zach’s steadfast devotion may not be enough to win her heart..

 

Review

I needed way more romance but loved the guide horse so much I kept reading.

The heroine is very messed up from her childhood. I wish she would have sought out professional help much earlier in the book. This would have made for better reader.

I liked the hero though his reaction to a separation they go through is off putting.

So, not my favorite but worth reading for the miniature guide horse, Rosebud.

Until Nico (Until, #4) by Aurora Rose Reynolds Review

  Until Nico (Until Series Book 4)  by Aurora Rose Reynolds 

Sophie Grates has never had it easy, but she’s finding her way through life one step and one day at a time. That is, Until Nico comes in and flips her world upside-down. He forces her to see you cannot live life from the outside looking in, and sometimes you have to step out onto the ledge so you can really enjoy the view.

Nico Mayson knew the moment he saw Sophie Grates that she was the one. His whole life, he has been judged by what’s on the outside, so finding a beautiful woman who sees the real him only makes his feelings that much stronger.

Nico knows the kind of man he is, and the things he is capable of, and he will do everything in his power to help Sophie fight her demons so they can have their happily ever after. Everything in life worth having is worth fighting for.

3 Stars!

 

Review 

This is a lovely, sexy, sweet romance made all the better by the super tough hero’s little puffball of a dog.

I loved the steadfast kind tattooed up hero. Who wouldn’t? The heroine comes into her own as she works through her issues that stem from neglect and trauma.

Nico is a sweet Alpha hero which we don’t get enough of in Romanceland.

The books was really enjoyable.

However, there were lots of little things I wanted to make it a richer feast. The heroine who loves books talking about books much more. More dog antics. I would have liked to know what all those tattoos were. I would have loved to really see the heroine go through therapy a bit and more of the support group she joins.

Very good overall!