villain into hero

Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell Review

Review:

Fast Connection (Cyberlove) (Volume 2) - Megan Erickson, Santino Hassell

 

 

After a decade of serving in the Army, everyone still expects me to be Dominic ‘Nicky’ Costigan–the skirt-chasing player. They don’t know I’ve been spending my days trying to figure out my post-military life. Including how to pick up guys.

When I meet Luke on a hookup app, he makes it clear it’s for one-night only. That’s fine with me, because I’m down to see what this silver fox can do. But after I arrive at his doorstep, it doesn’t take long to realize we have serious chemistry, and we end up meeting again.

He’s got more walls around his heart than a military base, but I think he’s as addicted to me as I am to him. He can’t resist me for long. I mean, who can? Except Luke’s rules exist for a reason, and when I test his limits, things get complicated. Maybe too complicated

 

Review

 

This is a great book with an unlikely hero in Nick.

This book tackles a lot of crazy topics and it comes out on top. What is it like to be a working class guy in all the ways who discovers he is bisexual? How do you readjust to leaving the service? How do you come home when the messy family life you left behind is still there and you have grown up but no one else has? How do you balance your needs and wants against your kin’s?

Nick is brash and rude and a real jerk in the first book in the series but we see that he is a heart of gold character who really risks himself in all ways and loves deeply. He is charming and silly and intense.

Lucas has been burned in relationships and is raising his teens. He doesn’t see Nick coming and has to learn to love and trust again to really have joy.

Oh, and it is all hot as hell.

Wonderful!

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Out of Nowhere by Roan Parrish Review

 Out of Nowhere by Roan Parrish  4 Stars! 

The only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So does running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone.

Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lie the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.

 

Review

Oh boy. Colin is a hot mess. Internalized homophobia, anger management, self harm, alcohol abuse, cruelty, clueless…

And yet I root for him anyway. I would advise Rafe against dating him (Rafe is a wonderful social justice crusader with humility and self awareness. He is sexy as hell.) but this ain’t my romance.

Roan Parrish is a wonderful writer. This book takes on issues of social justice in terms of LGTBQ kids and the prison pipeline for men of color. The setting and exploration of working class life is excellent.

I may not always like Colin but he is real. Made of a place, time and neglect. I want him to have love and healing.

I would have liked more healing to happen in the book. That man needs to get clean and to find a therapist and support group. The lack of these elements make me worry for him and Rafe long term but Colin changed and grew and settled into himself and its a really good book.

Shadows Fall (The Dems Trilogy, #3) by Devi Mara Review

Review:

Shadows Fall: (The Dems Trilogy #3) - Devi Mara

Where it begins. How it ends.
It is the beginning and the ending of everything. Shadows Fall.

Ambassador to the Dems, Aya Berk, has many reasons to resent King Baraz. She has thousands of them. He is a stubborn, hateful man who drags the rest of the universe into his misery. Some may fear him, but she never has and certainly will not start now.

King Baraz has hated humans so long the reason has become secondary. They are devious, plotting, and not to be trusted. He is certain of himself and his place in the universe. That is, until the one person he never expected to see again re-enters his life.

Aya and Baraz are two people separated by time and choices. But when an ancient evil threatens to destroy everything they have built, they are forced to set aside their differences. In the battle to hold on to what they love, can they find some spark of what once was? Or will it all fall into shadow?

 

 

 

Review

While I appreciated how complete the world was by this book in the series, I could never get over the crimes of the hero.

 

He never redeems himself to me and this makes the whole book impossible to enjoy.

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Ravage (Scarred Souls, #3) by Tillie Cole Review

3 Stars!

Is finding one’s true love worth committing the greatest sacrifice of all?

Taken as a teen, prisoner 194 was stripped of his name and freewill, meticulously honed to be a ruthless machine. Even as he tries to fight his captors hold on him he knows that obedience is the only way to save his sister, who is the one person that keeps him from turning into a monster.

As a young girl Zoya Kostava barely escaped the brutal attack that killed her entire family. Now twenty five she lives in secrecy. That is until she hears her brother also survived and is living with their greatest enemy.

Zoya risks her safety and anonymity to find the brother she thought dead and is captured by a beautiful, brutal man. A man who both captivates and scares her, in him she sees a soul as lost as her own.

They both have so much to lose will they be able to save each other…and survive.

Review

This addition to the Scarred Souls series and goes right off the rails as the hero actually hurts the heroine. I will admit to skipping those scenes. I just couldn’t take it.

To be clear, he is drugged and compelled but … ewww.

So, this world still has me watching it and the move forward it the arc of the series is a good one as two brothers trying to save their sisters from this horror show are pitted against each other.

The heroine, Zoya, needed more development to get me to complete buy into why she forgives and loves the way she does but Cole does a good enough job that I hang in there. This is another look at conditioning vs the human spirit.

The hero has been brutalized and is brutal but he is super compelling as more and more of who he is revealed. The revenge in this one is great and we are all set up for the next book.

I am ignoring the mob stuff because except for the very good writing of the two previous heroes working to take their places in the family and the death match awfulness, we don’t really get to see the heroes doing those awful things to anyone we don’t think has earned it.

The last scenes of the book wen Valentin is treated with value are kind of great in a dark dark way.

Madly (New York #2) by Ruthie Knox 5 Star Review!

5 Stars!

Allie Fredericks isn’t supposed to be in Manhattan, hiding in the darkest corner of a hip bar, spying on her own mother—who’s flirting with a man who’s definitely not Allie’s father. Allie’s supposed to be in Wisconsin, planning her parents’ milestone anniversary party. Then Winston Chamberlain walks through the door, with his tailored suit, British accent, and gorgeous eyes, and Allie’s strange mission goes truly sideways.

Winston doesn’t do messy. But after a pretty stranger ropes him into her ridiculous family drama with a fake kiss that gets a little too real, he finds out that messy can be fun. Maybe even a little addicting. And as the night grows longer, Allie and Winston make a list of other wild things they could do together—and what seems like a mismatch leads to a genuine connection. But can their relationship survive as their real lives implode just outside the bedroom door?

Review 

A wonderful romance with such a lovely twist into a Happily Ever After for every kind of love: sister love, brother love, father-adult child love, romantic love.

Ruthie Knox is one of my favorite writers. Her characters are complex and engaging with quirks, flaws, and beauty of the soul. The plots have all these little details which are grand.

Here we get New York City, a dip into the art world, and business. Mainly, we get the heartache of divorce and family with the hope of change and love.

I loved Truely (I am going to read it again) and I love this story of the sister.

Our heroine is a (well I won’t tell you her age cause that is a fun part of the story) impulsive and clever woman who comes to New York on a mission.

The hero is older, British and and open to her adventure. He lets the light in. He is the older not so nice brother from another wonderful Knox romance About Last Night.(which I will be rereading
too).

There is a wonderful mystery in this book and so achey family dynamics. The psychological aspects of the story are superb but you will stay for the love between Winston and Allie…the acceptance….the passion.

It is hot and it is real. It is great and will leave you happy.

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

Rise (Rock Solid, #1) by Karina Bliss Review

4 Stars!

Acclaimed literary biographer Elizabeth Winston writes about long-dead heroes.
So bad-boy rock icon Zander Freedman couldn’t possibly tempt her to write his memoir.
Except the man is a mass of fascinating contradictions–manipulative, honest, gifted, charismatic and morally ambiguous.
In short, everything she seeks in a biography subject.
When in her life will she get another chance to work with a living legend? But saying yes to one temptation soon leads to another.
Suddenly she’s having heated fantasies about her subject, fantasies this blue-eyed devil is only too willing to stoke.
She thought self-control was in her DNA; after all, she grew up a minister’s daughter.
She thought wrong.

Rock star Zander Freedman has been an outlier–many would say an outcast–for most of his life.
But there’s no disaster he can’t overcome, from the breakup of his band to the inevitable damage to his reputation.
His Resurrection Tour is shaping up to be his greatest triumph–if his golden voice holds out.
Contracting a respected biographer is simply about creating more buzz. Elizabeth’s integrity is the key to consolidating his legacy as one of rock’s greats.
All the damn woman has to do is write down what he tells her. Not force him to think.
Or encourage the good guy struggling to get out.
And certainly not make him fall in love for the first time in his life.
Turns out he is scared of something: being known.

 

Review

If you like watching a rake reform Rock Star style, you will really adore this book.

Karina Bliss is a great write who creates complex characters and engaging plots.

The hero, Zander, is not thoughtful. He is driven and single minded. However, he changes and it is as he changes that the heroine falls in love with him.

There is the couple that center of the storm of this book with wonderful developing characters surrounding them.

The heroine and heroine are full adults with all the baggage and layers that entails. This makes the love story and sexual tension delicious.

The unlikeable characters become likable and the seemingly simple ones complex. Good stuff!

Alien Indiscretions (Clans of Kalquor, #9) by Tracy St. John Review

Review:

Alien Indiscretions (Clans of Kalquor) (Volume 9) by Tracy St. John (2015-03-25) - Tracy St. John

 Cissy Salter is more than ready to shed Earth’s repression when she moves to the planet Kalquor. She leaps headlong into drinking, partying, and liaisons with young alien men. She would be having the time of her life if not for the disapproval of a certain rich, gorgeous Dramok she can’t avoid. She’d love to despise him, but her heart has other ideas.

Dramok Diltan sees the bawdy, unrefined Cissy as a thorn in his side. The last thing he needs is a woman who drives him crazy every time they meet. Yet the spark in her eyes kindles a fire he can’t ignore. His enthralled clanmates Wal and Rolat are determined to get the two to stop fighting, at least long enough to explore the possibility of making Cissy part of their clan. When they discover Diltan’s past misdeeds, Wal and Rolat issue an ultimatum: help them seduce the Earth woman or face punishment.

As Cissy and Clan Diltan discover each other’s true nature and love blooms, the long-hidden secrets of Kalquor’s leadership are revealed. An old conspiracy brought to light shatters Kalquor’s peace, driving the Empire apart … and tearing Cissy from the arms of the three men she can no longer live without.

This book contains mild BDSM including discipline, Domination/submission, and bondage.

 

Review

 

This is a really interesting romance.

 

At its heart, it a love story that shows that you don’t have to be perfect or overcome all of your flaws to be deeply loved.

 

One hero is ambitious and a bit stuck up. He tends to push hard for what he wants and judge quickly. He makes errors for judgement. But he has regret and sees his mistakes even if he keeps making them. The reasons he makes them come from a good place.

The other heroes are much more straight forward though the more passive judge is a lot of dirty fun.

 

The heroine is defensive and crass and really not self reflective. But she is super protective, fun and loving.

 

I don’t really adore the characters but I don’t have to do so to enjoy the book.

The series plot arc takes up a lot of space in the the book as does the BDSM erotic elements which leaves less time for the love story than I would like especially in a poly relationship where there is a lot to negotiate.

 

I was also sad that we get no time on the part of the hero’s sexuality that is bisexual and focused on each other. It is weird that after many years together that would be absent in the sexy play.

 

So, interesting.

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