Review: The Savior by J.R. Ward

Format: E-Bookthesavior.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, 17
Publisher: Gallery Books
Hero: Murhder
Heroine: Sarah Watkins
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 02, 2019
Started On: April 04, 2019
Finished On: April 09, 2019

At long last, we have come to the story of Murhder, the Brother who was expelled from the Black Dagger Brotherhood for atrocities that were only hinted at, and we as the readers were never totally privy to. The seventeenth book in the series, and I believe we have come to a point where the stories are starting to sound repetitive and cliched – God forbid someone say it though.

Muhrder’s story begins when he decides to end his twenty year self-exile of sorts (since his expulsion from the Brotherhood) and seek an audience with Wrath, the King of the vampire species. Varying degrees of emotions seep through the story when Muhrder makes his first appearance, from disdain and outright hostility on the part of the Brotherhood (very hypocritical of them if you ask me, given the many instances of unforgivable acts committed on their part) to the emotional upheaval that Xhex goes through (I couldn’t believe that she never did tell John about her association with Murhder), and finally the emotions of the vampire himself, that came across as the most genuine of it all.

The heroine Dr. Sarah Watkins comes into the picture when FBI starts to pursue an investigation into the “death” of her fiance which had happened months ago. What Sarah uncovers for herself in the process about her workplace RSK BioMed, is one that puts her life instantly in danger, and brings her into close contact with none other than Murhder.

Circumstances bring both Sarah and Murhder to the Brotherhood compound where the attraction that had simmered under extenuating circumstances upon which Murhder and Sarah had first met, comes to fruition. Contrary to what JR Ward has led readers to believe up till Murhder’s own book, there is zero crazy in him if you ask me. In fact, I found him to be sweeter, kinder, and mellower than the rest of the Brotherhood put together, and that was a bit jarring considering all the buildup to his story.

We have gone through Brothers who had their own issues to varying degrees. For instance, Zsadist (as my favorite Brother), displayed the sort of characteristics that you would expect from someone who had been kept in captivity for so long. His struggles were real. His pain was one we felt. His love for Beth when it came, we as readers understood where he came from. The fact that he struggles even now with his darker side is what makes him one of the most realistic characters in the series.

Then there is Tohr, whose story spanned a couple of books and brought him a measure of peace in his newfound Shellan in his own book. Though at times I feel like hitting Tohr on the head and then some, even his story carries with it elements that makes it believable. Even if I want undying devotion from him on the same level that he feels for his deceased Shellan, I understand where he is coming from when he faces difficult days and goes through an emotional roller-coaster every now and then.

But Murhder? There was none of it. Everything just fell into place with no thought, no drama, no consequence. The Brotherhood books usually packs a punch in the sex scenes they deliver. But this one kinda left me cold on most fronts. Perhaps one reason why Murhder’s story ended up being such a disappointment could the fact that his story is relayed to readers through just one single book instead of the story being carried through several interconnected books in the series. I would have liked to see Murhder in his element, in his zone, being the crazy bastard that he was unrightfully accused of being.

Another thing that really really irked me was Xhex. I have never truly gone gaga over her character for one reason or the other. But over time, I have softened towards her because she makes John happy and she does have her finer points as well. But the “secret” that she had carried when it comes to Murhder and what had actually rendered him unstable was unforgivable in so many ways. She let Murhder carry the burden and guilt for so long for something he probably had no control over at that point in time, given what we have witnessed of the Sympaths and what they are capable of in Lover Avenged.

The only thing that was interesting and a game-changer in my opinion, was the revelation of the new villain that comes to light at the end of the story. I hope that whichever direction that Ward decides to steer the series in, she does this particular arc justice, because it just seems redundant to keep going on and on about the Lessers when things seem to have really died down on that front. I don’t believe that there is anything more to be explored in that sense. But maybe, I could be wrong. Omega could have a ton of tricks up his sleeve that we might not know of.

While John and Xhex was once again a centric part of this story, it makes me go a little crazy with how John’s identity continues to remain a secret even though I partly do get the reason why Ward keeps evading the issue.

One more thing that I keep finding extremely cliched is how Lassiter, upon assuming the role of the Scribe Virgin, has suddenly started giving out eternal life blessings to everyone he comes across. Plus, don’t get me started on the continued tirade against humans as the “lesser” beings who are unworthy in every sense according to vampires. Pick something new to grouch about, that’s all I am asking.

I miss reading about characters such as Rehvenge who potentially have more depth to their characters that remain unexplored, while characters like John, Vishuous, and Rhage have started to bore me. I want fresh insight into the lesser explored characters in the series like Xcor and others who probably have more value to add to the books than the seemingly “favorite” characters of the author.

While I did enjoy bits and pieces of The Savior, as a whole, I don’t think I have a lot of nice things to say about the novel.

Recommended for die-hard fans of the series. Because I am pretty sure I am in the minority when it comes to having being disappointed by the last couple of novels in the series.

Final Verdict: Murhder’s story comes to readers who have anticipated what he would be like for so long. My expectations were unmet in every aspect, and I definitely wished for something different.

Favorite Quotes

When it was over, he closed his eyes and dropped his head into her neck. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
“You won’t.” Sarah cleared her throat. And then tilted her head to the side. “Do you want to …”
“This,” she said as she stroked up her own throat.
As he stared at her in alarm, she said it again. “Do you want this?”
That purr came back, louder, deeper, more urgent. And the sound of it was what put her over the edge again, especially as she imagined those razor-sharp points buried in her vein. Throwing her head back, she moved against his static body, stroking herself on his arousal, riding out the pulses until he started to orgasm along with her.

All things that lived died.
The best that anyone who breathed could do was a skate-by into old age, dodging the slings and arrows of biological failings and accidents, until you could sit back with your aches and pains and mourn the loss of your relevancy, your generation, your place in the population pecking order.

Murhder picked her up and she straddled his hips, his strong arms holding her off the floor. His penetration was a firebrand, nothing slow and gentle this time, his arousal entering her on a one-stroke that went so deep, she nearly orgasmed then and there. Desperate to find a good rhythm, he shuffled them over to a wall, the hard, cool surface hitting her bare back as he braced her against it. Then he pumped into her, his body working hard, churning, dominating.
She held on for dear life.
And only wanted more.

He wanted to track what she was saying and respond appropriately. But she was wriggling around in his hold and that was causing the kind of fiction that males had a hard time focusing through: His cock was hard and ultra-sensitive, her core warm and tight, the slip and slide going right to his head and fritzing out his higher reasoning.
As much as he tried to hold himself back, he started to come, his arousal ejaculating in a series of pumps deep inside of her. He fought it as best he could, gritting his teeth and cursing, and when that got him nowhere, he attempted to pull out—but she squeezed her legs on his hips and arched against him, saying his name in frustration and pleasure.

Kneeling in front of her, he kissed his way down her abdomen, teasing her belly button with his tongue, cupping her breasts as he stared up at her.
“My Sarah …” he groaned as he circled her thigh with his hand. “Give me what I want.”
Lifting her leg, he put it over his shoulder and went in, leading with his tongue, delving into her sex, worshiping her with his mouth. Over the fall of the water, he heard her cry his name and then she fell back into the bench.

Murhder felt Sarah arch as he penetrated her core. He was too rough, he knew he was being too rough … but he couldn’t stop, and she didn’t want him to. She was talking in his ear, begging …
“Harder … do me harder.”
He pulled her leg up, and shifted the angle, going even deeper. And as he pounded into her, the sofa moved across the rug, leaving tracks in the nap. Something fell with a crash. Her hair tangled.
She orgasmed. He did. They did together.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes


Review: Devil’s Cut by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookdevilscut
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Bourbon Kings, #3
Publisher: Ballantine
Hero: Lane/Edward/Samuel
Heroine: Lizzie/Sutton/Gin
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 1, 2017
Started On: September 29, 2016
Finished On: October 05, 2017

The third and final book in The Bourbon Kings trilogy delivered a lackluster read for me in many ways, reasons which I will be detailing about later in the post. JR Ward’s characterization and setting is of course top notch. And even with all the problems I had with the story and its development, I enjoyed the escape it provided when I needed one. 

Devil’s Cut takes off from where things were left off in the second book, The Angels’ Share, where the eldest, Edward Westfork Bradford Baldwine, confesses to the murder of his father. This sets in motion the events that escalate into the culmination of the ending Ward delivered, with Gin and Samuel’s story being given a little bit more attention to tie up the loose ends in their story as well.

Things I loved about the story can be summed up in just one sentence. Gin and Samuel, and their fiery non-relationship relationship. It is not the ideal love affair that they have going, but because of it, their story manages to grab you from the first book onward and not let you go.

One of the things I disliked about the series was that it focused too much on Lizzie and Lane, when it should have been separate novels for each of the lead characters we meet. Secondary characters like Edwin MacAllan (Mack), Master Distiller for the company who meets his match in Beth Lewis who turns up for the position of his assistant was a secondary story that was left without much written about them after the initial introduction. There was so much potential in their story and the readers just got to see them “together” all of a sudden.

While I grew to accept Lizzie and Lane together, I never did love their coming together as much as I should have, especially given the time that Ward invested in writing their characters, by giving them so much presence in all three novels. I could understand why from the viewpoint of Lane being the one responsible for bringing it all together, solving the family issues etc. But, that could have been catered to while letting their stories simmer in the background, making other characters more prominent.

I would have loved to see an expansion of Maxwell’s story, the son who left and didn’t return until at the very last minute. He is labeled as a drifter, a troublemaker, a tattooed bad-ass if you ask me, and he was just sidelined in the series to an extent that it was as if Ward just happened to remember that he also needed to come back. His history with Tanesha Nyce, the preacher’s daughter was one I wanted to read about, and yet that too, never materialized.

That brings me to the couple that gave the series that jolt of electricity, that pulse of life; Gin and Samuel – the lifeline of the series. Yet, they didn’t get to have their own book, and they had the potential to be so much more. Even when Ward did not give them their own book, they made their presence felt throughout, so much so that I wished that I got to read about them and them alone. There is so much history to them, their on and off explosive “relationship”, the secret Gin has been carrying with her for so long, a secret so incendiary that it seems to drive a wedge between Gin and Samuel that could have lasted for a long time. Gin is a character who is extremely flawed, and the way she transforms was the one aspect to the series that I wholeheartedly approved of. But I just wished that Ward had focused more on them than on other paltry characters of the series.

Ward also started a story line where a sort of love triangle could have emerged between Edward, Shelby, and Sutton. I wasn’t that enamored with Sutton at all. Nor was I won over even when everything just seemed to neatly come together with Shelby moving on all of a sudden. There was a vulnerability to Shelby, a down to earth honesty to her character that I fell in love with from the onset. She seemed to see right through to Edward, his pain, and the darkness inside of him unlike Sutton for whom Edward shows a different side of his character. He tries to protect Sutton in a way when with Shelby, he is himself, the version of himself that he became after all the trauma that he had gone through. But of course, it was Sutton he went for all of a sudden, and there was this missing component to their story line that didn’t satisfy me on all fronts.

The ultimate culmination of the main thread of the story was also disappointing to say the least. It focuses on the murder of William Baldwine and the ensuing chaos that brings all siblings “together”. While the “killer” became obvious halfway through, I still hoped that Ward would provide something more explosive than what I knew would be a pitiful ending. Everything of course comes together rather neatly, but there were those potholes in the plot that were left gaping open. Ward is capable of so much more, as her Black Dagger Brotherhood stories testify time and yet again. I know that both series are entirely different in their own manner. But the fact that even with all those things that did not work for me in this one, I was still hooked to Ward’s storytelling tells its own tale.

Final Verdict: Disappointing for the fact that it could have been so much more; I wished for individual stories for all main leads in the series.

Favorite Quotes

In lieu of answering, he dipped down and brushed the side of her throat with his lips. Moving his hands farther up under her skirt, he brushed the tops of her thigh highs—and then kept going until—
“You’re not wearing panties,” he growled.
“Of course not. It’s eighty-five degrees out there and humid as the inside of a shower.”
Samuel T. became unhinged then, his control snapping, his greed for her overtaking everything. With sure fingers, he unbuckled his monogrammed belt and unzipped his slacks—and Gin was clearly as impatient as he was. Moving herself down on the sofa, she brought them together at the very moment he angled his erection forward.
They both shuddered, and then he started moving.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes



ARC Review: Bear Meets Girl by Shelly Laurenston

Format: E-bookbearmeetsgirl
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Series: Pride, #7
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp
Hero: Lou “Crush” Crushek
Heroine: Marcella “Bare Knuckles” Malone
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 27, 2012
Started On: September 23, 2015
Finished On: September 27, 2015

Bear Meets Girl by Shelly Laurenston was a tough read for me to get into. There were those multiple conversation threads that I got lost in and the various characters that appeared out of nowhere which plunged me further into the abyss. I have read a lot of books midway into a series and still managed to get the gist of the characters involved without much of a problem. And those reads have at times even persuaded me to pick up a book that was published before that particular book in the series. But alas, Bear Meets Girl wasn’t one of those reads.

Lou “Crush” Crushek wakes up from a party, not his usual lifestyle mind you, wrapped up in the arms of a woman who instantly puts him on the edge. Marcella “Bare Knuckles” Malone (Cella) can’t help but have a little fun with the uptight polar bear until it all comes to the point where Cella is the one in need of Crush’s help to keep her well meaning family’s ministrations to help find her a “suitable” mate at a minimum.

Amid all this, there is some plot to hurt the bear population, Crush becoming a part of a new police force from his usual undercover work that has him going down in a bit of a spiral towards depression. Crush and Cella are two very contrasting characters, perhaps reason why I was drawn towards the book in the first place after reading the blurb. Cella, while is all out outrageous, Crush is the opposite. Someone who likes to keep to himself, who considers his home the haven of quiet & solitude that he requires after coming home from work. Cella and Crush do make the right fit, but I just couldn’t find myself all that interested in the rest of the story that was happening.

I skimmed through more than half of the story to just read the bits where Crush and Cella are together. Their dialogues with each other were refreshing. Their connection towards each other interesting, something that the author could have worked a bit more on to make the story more enticing. Because the rest of the stuff that was happening in the story just made my head whirl.

So given all the things that didn’t work for me in the book, one might ask, why did I still trudge on through the story? Well, there’s a magic to Shelly Laurenston’s writing that always makes me request her books even though the stories seem to come wrapped in a whole lot of characters and interactions between them, that tends to take away the focus from the main couple in the story. Which I seldom like, if at all. Bear Meets Girl having the exact same problem shouldn’t be a surprise, but then I keep hoping that this would be the time I would be proven wrong. I couldn’t skim through the rest of the chunks of the story fast enough to get to the bits where Crush and Cella were the focus. They make for a great combination. There’s enough spark, charm & adorableness to their coming together that makes it hard not to fall in love with them.

In my opinion, Bear Meets Girl is too seeped in details of all else that’s going on that it detracts the reader from the most alluring factor of the story; the couple in question & how their coming together works. I’m not saying other characters & scenes are not required to make a story more wholesome. No. It’s just that when a story gets bogged down with too much of past characters & extended family & whatnot, the reader who spontaneously picks up a book to read in the middle of a series can get a little lost in the midst of it all.

Recommended for fans of the author & fans of the Pride series.

Final Verdict: Bear Meets Girl; a story worth trudging through only because of Crush and Cella.

Favorite Quotes

She invaded his mouth with her tongue, fingers digging deep into the back of his neck and head, kind of holding him there. Crush’s entire body loosened, his arms falling away from his chest and to his sides, then reaching around her waist and pulling her off the chair. The chair ended up be- tween them, so Crush kicked it out of the way. Keeping a solid grip on her, he returned her kiss. But he wanted more.
Without thought to anything but the demands of his body, Crush pushed her up against his refrigerator, his body pin- ning hers there. He let his hands slip from around her waist and travel up until they could grip her breasts, fingers squeezing while his thumbs circled her nipples through her shirt and bra. Her entire body shook and then her hands were pressed against his chest, pushing him back.

Malone turned, saw them, and ran over. When she was about ten feet from Crush, she launched herself at him, hit- ting him hard, her legs wrapping around his waist, her arms around his neck. “Hi!”
She didn’t let him finish, her mouth pressing against his, arms tightening around his neck. And for those few seconds Crush forgot about everyone else.
When she finally pulled her mouth away, Crush still had his eyes closed.
“I’m glad you came.”
Wait. He had? When?
“I was afraid you were going to bail on me.”
Oh! Came as in attend. Got it. He was there. He was okay.
He could handle this. Her. Whatever.
“I promised.”
“You did.” Still wrapped around him, she leaned back a
bit and gave him a once-over. “You’re kind of overdressed.” “I see that now.”

He wasn’t sure, but then she leaned in, sniffed his neck, and gently scraped a fang across his jugular. The last of Crush’s restraint snapped, his hands tightening around her waist. He lifted her up, pulled her in closer, and while staring into her eyes, slammed her down hard on his cock, at the same time bringing up his hips.
The feline roared, her head dropping back, her arms wrapping around his neck. She held on tight, breathing in deep and taking a moment before she looked at him.
Panting hard, they watched each other.
“Well,” she sighed, “that does feel good.”

She knew what he was doing, the tricky bastard. With every twist and tug and tease of her breast, her pussy tightened around his cock like a vise. His growling grew harsher, louder, and the vibration of it against her flesh had her nearly out of her mind. She panted, she mewled, she might have hissed a few times. Then she was coming. Coming so very hard that she cried out.
The bear lifted his head to gaze at her with those black eyes.
“You all right?” And she wondered if he realized he was still growling at her.
Unable to answer since she was still panting, Cella nod- ded.
“Good.” Remaining inside her, Crush slowly stood, releasing her arms so that he could carefully lift her legs and drape them over his forearms. “ ’Cause I’m not really done yet.”

“I need you to calm down, ma’am.”
Cella’s body began to shake, her knees weakening. “What is this?” he asked, fingers pressing, stroking. “Can
you tell me, ma’am? It’s better you come clean now rather than let me find out later. I can help you now.”
She shook her head, unable to find any words with her body unraveling.
“I don’t think you’re listening to me, ma’am.” He sighed, shook his head. “That’s a real shame.”
Cella didn’t know what he was saying, what was going on. She only knew what she felt and what she felt was that monumental orgasm ripping through her, so strong, she nearly threw the three-hundred-pound bear off her.

While Cella tried to get her breath back, the bear removed the cuffs, his hands rubbing her wrists. He stretched out on the floor and Cella collapsed on top of him. They lay in silence for long minutes until Cella admitted, “You have the biggest cock . . .”
Crush laughed, his hand slipping into her hair, massaging her scalp. “Why, thank you.”
“Just felt I should share that.”
“I have to admit, Cella, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of your after-sex pronouncements.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe | eBookMall | iTunes


ARC Review: Legacy of Fear by Ryshia Kennie

Format: E-booklegacyoffear
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing
Hero: Max True
Heroine: Andra Vandersan
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 21, 2014
Started On: January 4, 2015
Finished On: January 12, 2015

“Find my heart. Find my girl.”

Legacy of Fear by Ryshia Kennie was one of those reads that I had to force myself to finish because I had difficulties in connecting with the main protagonists in the story. Andra Vandersan, an expert code breaker teams up with Max True, a world-class linguist in order to find the clues behind a mysterious message that Max receives, that plunges both their lives in danger.

Set in Hong Kong, which was a unique aspect to the novel, Andra & Max find themselves dodging the criminal elite of Hong Kong in their attempt to see that the lengths to which the person who has sent them the clues had gone would not be in vain. A doll and a cryptic note. An ancient women’s language and the secrets it hides that kills is the reason Max and Andra engage in a race with time, their connection which had begun way before the start of the story forging into something much greater as the danger closes in around them.

While the mystery aspect of the story had intriguing bits to it, as I mentioned earlier, my main complaint lies in being unable to connect with either Max or Andra. Both are okay characters on their own. But the suddenness of which Max turned up at Andra’s doorstep, the fact that there is a history between Andra and Max that is not delved into in a satisfactory manner as the story progressed made it feel like there should be a whole other book in which that aspect of their shared past should be explained. I felt at a loss, unable to fully accept the attraction and the culmination of that desire on both their parts; something that didn’t move me, at all.

Perhaps I am missing something here, but I didn’t see any reference to a book which details the pasts of the characters, nor how they met and how their connection had forged. It’d have been so good to see that aspect of their relationship come to life, even if not in detail.

I found myself more intrigued with a certain lethal force that is part of the story; reminded me of the bad boy, almost irredeemable heroes that Anne Stuart creates. His love for the woman that has held his heart for eons was one that moved me more than Max and Andra’s relationship did, and that is telling in itself.

Recommended for fans who would like to read a romantic suspense set in a different setting.

Final Verdict: Legacy of Fear delivers mystery that intrigues.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe | SmashWords


ARC Review: The Darkest Joy by Marata Eros

Format: E-bookthedarkestjoy
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Series: The Darkest Joy, #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Hero: Chance Taylor
Heroine: Brooke Elizabeth Starr
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 18, 2014
Started On: February 17, 2014
Finished On: February 21, 2014

The Darkest Joy is my second novel by Marata Eros. I absolutely loved what she brought to the table with her novel A Terrible Love, a story that I adored on so many levels. With that in mind, I requested for a galley of The Darkest Joy from netgalley, its premise and setting one that intrigued me when I read the blurb. And everything seemed to go really well, especially with the opening chapter introducing the reader to a wealth of horror when Brooke’s family is slaughtered while she listens in on as the whole nightmare unfolds.

Five months later, the investigation into the brutal killing behind her family’s death still remains to be solved and Brooke is running, running from the darkness of the memories and the guilt that threatens to swallow her as a whole. Moving to Homer, Alaska seems to be a farthest that she can go to bury herself under the cloak of anonymity, where no one would ask her the pressing questions which she needs to get away from, questions that haunt and plague her even as she flees the guilt ravaging her heart and soul.

When Brooke meets her employer Chance Taylor, it is at first the music he strums effortlessly from his guitar that pierces her to her very soul, reaching deep into the frozen cold that has protected her from her baser emotions for the past couple of months. Leaving her prospective future as a pianist, one who has had a future at the Juilliard well behind her had seemed like a wise choice up till the moment Chance invades her soul and etches a place for himself in her heart.

Chance is the love and leave them type personified, his one true and only love being the sea, the passion for which is satisfied by his occupation as a deep sea fisherman. But the minute Brooke enters the picture, everything Chance has believed in up till then ceases to exist until all he can think, feel and want is Brooke in every single way he can have her. But Brooke’s fear and guilt for a past that cannot be changed, together with a killer that seems to be nowhere near to stopping the litter of bodies that keep mounting proves to be the obstacle that seems to stand in the way of the joy that could be theirs if only Brooke were willing to make peace with the past and move on.

The Darkest Joy is a story that disappointed me on many levels. The opening chapter was the only good thing about this novel, the level of detail that went on to showcase Brooke’s life in Alaska in the chapters that followed sometimes getting so tedious to the point that I skim read large chunks of the novel to pick out the story that should have flowed smoothly otherwise. I found the whole thing with Brooke denying herself the closure that was required, especially turning her back on the authorities trying their hardest to keep her up to date on the developments of the case unbelievable at times. I can understand survivor’s guilt, the fact that someone might want to bury themselves right in the ground with their loved ones when tragedy strikes, but I couldn’t understand Brooke not being moved enough to actually WANT to seek justice for the death of her entire family.

I found Chance to be at odds with what his character was portrayed to be at the beginning of the story. Having lived practically most of his life in Homer, Alaska, everyone who knows him attests to his love em’ and leave em’ lifestyle. But throughout the story, Chance seemed too besotted with Brooke to really live up to any of the traits revealed to be the background of his character. I can understand a man changing for the right woman though it seldom happens in real life, but going against every single facet of his character for Brooke that soon just seemed highly unlikely to me.

When the villain was finally revealed, the surprise came from the fact that it all seemed so hard to take in, the fact that there seemed to be several gaps missing in the tale of how the villain had come to be as portrayed in the story. I believe that the novel could have done away with more than half the story and added more relevant chapters to keep the story flowing in a direction that would have captivated the reader rather than just portraying the sense of guilt that plagues Brooke, keeping her bound with an inability to let go and move on.

The only thing positive for me about the novel was the at times beautiful writing that came to light in bits and pieces as the story progressed. The Marata Eros I remember from my one single experience with her prose is one who writes beautifully well and reaches deep into your heart to invoke emotions that cannot be otherwise. And that was practically the only thing that kept me turning the pages even when I wanted to give up and label this a DNF. But all that being said, you just might find this to be your cup of tea while it didn’t meet any or all of my expectations when I picked it up. Recommended for fans of the author and fans of new adult romances.

Favorite Quotes

But those eyes, those haunted eyes, they’re burned into my brain. Her sadness has caught me like the fish I net. I’ve hit her hook without even knowing I’m in the ocean; saving her has reeled me in inextricably.
And I don’t even know her name.

He looks up and our gazes meet. Chance Taylor steals my breath. His open smile melts me.
I walk toward him.
It feels like a death march.

I feel the tip of him at my entrance, and his knees split my legs farther apart even as he enters me slowly, each hot inch sinking deeper, and I let out a hoarse cry, pressing myself back against him. My hips rise and he puts a staying hand on the back of my head and the other at the small of my back, pinning me in place, and I whimper in surrender.

Then he’s fully inside me with a single thrust and I scream my pleasure into his quiet house, absorbed by all that wood and I come until I can’t breathe. The pulses of my orgasm radiate through my tingling body and wash over Chance, grabbing at him as he grows impossibly harder, his own release crashes into him as he pours himself into me.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BookDepo


Requested ARC Review: Snowbound With The Soldier by Jennifer Faye

Format: E-booksnowboundwiththesoldier
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Hero: Jason Smith
Heroine: Kara Jameson
Sensuality: 2
Date of Publication: October 1, 2013
Started On: September 29, 2013
Finished On: October 5, 2013

Jason Smith returns to his hometown of Pleasant Valley as a scarred man, willing to do whatever it takes to put his family legacy that happens to be the Greene Summit Resort to rights. What he doesn’t count on is to find out that Kara Jameson, the woman he had broken off their engagement with seven years back happens to be none other than the go-to person when it comes to handling things at the resort. And on top of that, the ferocious sexual attraction that had been between them that comes zinging back to life not to be denied is not something he contended on dealing with.

Kara still hasn’t forgotten the way Jason had walked away without a second glance. The way he had broken her heart which had eventually led to the conception of her beautiful daughter Samantha and the hard years that had followed plus the sacrifices that she had made along the way. Its not easy for Kara to trust Jason once more and to put her heart and that of her daughter Samantha’s on the line while the past still continues to haunt both of them over the way things had ended.

While Snowbound with the Solder started out on an upbeat note, I found that the story waned a bit towards the middle and managed to lose its wow factor towards the end. At the beginning the sizzling tension between Jason and Kara was alive, something that I felt every time I turned the pages. But towards the middle the story lost its focus on that aspect and moved towards the familial bit where Jason wins over the heart of the adorable Samantha and in the process manages to rekindle the love that had never been totally lost when it had come to Kara and him.

The secret that Jason holds close to his heart, the bitterness of it all which had led him to break off his engagement and enlist in the military was one that touched me. I don’t know what I would have done under the circumstances but I felt my heart go out to him on the burden that Jason had carried on his shoulders all throughout the years, obliterating whatever happy memories that he had had of his childhood. It takes a lot for Jason to forgive and move on and that was one aspect of the story that I liked.

I wanted to see more of Kara and Jason in terms of their emotional intimacy being built up enough for Kara to trust him once again. Jason does go for the grand gesture towards the end but somehow I felt that there was something missing when it comes to the couple in question. I also would have dearly loved to see the dreams Jason had for his resort materialize but the story ended right before any of that could happen.

All in all I would say not a bad read but this story could have turned out into a wonderful one if closure had come to all facets of the story that unfolded.

Final Verdict: A scarred ex-military hero who returns to his hometown to find that when it comes to love, sometimes people do get second chances.

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepo | B&N | Harlequin


ARC Review: Something So Right by Elyse Mady

Format: E-booksomethingsoright.JPG
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Sam Denning
Heroine: Lillian Carver
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 19, 2011
Started On: September 15, 2011
Finished On: September 16, 2011

Something So Right is a novel that is centered around one of my all time favorite tropes in the romance genre. The stories of best friends turning into lovers, the conflict, the sexual tension and their journey towards happily ever after is a theme I would never tire of. That is one reason why I requested for a galley of this title from Netgalley and though I didn’t like some aspects of the story that unfolded, I would still consider this to be an okay read.

30 year old Sam Denning is the hero from the wrong side of town, who grew up with a single mother who barely made ends meet whilst juggling three jobs to provide something better for Sam and his two younger sisters. Now the successful owner of a general contracting business that he builds from ground up, Sam still carries on his shoulder the remnants of his past that makes him feel he is still the little boy from the poor side of town that would never measure up. Though Sam has loved Lily ever since he turned up on her doorstep looking for gardening odd jobs 15 years back, Sam continues to hide his feelings from Lily which becomes harder by the day.

Lillian Carver (Lily) is the owner and operator of the Three Pines Lodge and Resort, an exclusive and wildly successful holiday camp on the shores of Lake Mississing, one of Muskoka’s most sought after holiday destinations. Lily returns home after leaving behind her abusive ex-fiance who does a huge number on her self-esteem and worth as a woman. Shying away from any sort of relationship with the opposite sex is how Lily copes with the trauma of her one serious relationship from the past. And though Lily at times wonders why she and Sam has never gone down the road of finding out whether there could be more to their relationship than just friendship, she stifles those urges as Sam has permanent stamped over his forehead for everyone to see.

When Sam finally takes the chance and plunges their relationship into churning waters filled with uncertainty, it is Lily who comes up with the plan that she and Sam enter into a purely sexual affair and go their separate ways when their two weeks is up. But from the start, Sam’s vulnerability when it comes to Lily pierces through his hard won control and forces Lily to confront the fact that with Sam nothing could ever be casual and that she too is not invulnerable enough to walk away unscathed once their affair runs its course.

Something So Right brings to light the fact that Elyse Mady is an author who definitely has potential in delivering a romance. She writes the sexual tension aspect of the story so well and certainly knows a thing or two when it comes to delivering on that scorching heat generated by her hero and heroine. And she definitely knows her way around a hero who would appeal to the female reading population and in Sam she has seemed to create an all around sexy, charming and endearing hero that makes for a wonderful hero.

My disappointment of the story stems from the heroine Lily whose actions throughout the novel I had a very hard time understanding and relating to. She comes off as selfish and too childish at times, never really understanding the depth of goodness in Sam her best friend for the past fifteeen years. I can totally get on board with the aspects of emotional scars left behind after an abusive relationship, but projecting her ex-fiance’s failures on Sam just rubbed me the wrong way. In the end, I just couldn’t stomach her hot and cold attitude towards their changing relationship and I felt that Lily is a heroine who definitely doesn’t deserve a wonderful man like Sam.

Towards the end I found myself going back and forth between conflicting vibes from the story. There were moments when Lily’s self pity lets her talk about living up to her family’s name, but nowhere in the story did I encounter any reason for her to feel that way about her family.

Though there were many disappointing aspects to the story, I would still give Elyse Mady a go because the tone she sets in her story is one worth delving into. A better heroine who can stand up for the man who has always stood by her side would go a long way into making this one more appealing and I hope Elyse does write a story for Lily’s older sister who seems like she has a story worth telling.

Momentous Scenes

  • The first scorching kiss that Sam and Lily shares. All the ingredients that make up for an out of this world kiss right there!
  • The way Sam comforts the broken Lily when she first leaves her good for nothing ex-fiance behind. Totally sweet and made me fall for Sam’s character like a ton of bricks.

Favorite Quotes

But as the sun slipped even further, his eyes weren’t drawn to the horizon. He watched Lily as she stood on the dock, glorying in the golden ritual, her russet hair slipping free from its ponytail to frame her face with messy abandon.
This is the view I need to be happy, she’d said.
The irony was exquisite. Because that was what he whispered to himself every time he saw her too.
And there wasn’t a damn thing he could ever do about it.

He drew her finger from his mouth, and they simply stood motionless, her small hand in his larger one, their eyes fixed and wide. Then, with a sound that was half grunt, half plea, he hauled her against his ragingly erect body and kissed her.
Kissed her the way he’d kissed her so many times in his dreams.
Only this time it was real. And so much better.

Review: Dangerous Kisses by Trish Milburn

Format: E-bookdangerouskisses
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Jake Radley
Heroine: Sydney Blackburn
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 7, 2011
Started On: July 2, 2011
Finished On: July 2, 2011

I am someone who wants to give in to a good crying jag when I pick up books that do not live up to my expectations. This one stirred my interest and of course along with it my ‘high’ expectations upon seeing the rave 5-star reviews for the book on Amazon. Needing a good romantic suspense with enough scorching passion to light up my world, I trusted the reviews and believed that Dangerous Kisses would deliver a smashing read and sadly I found this to be just an average read, most of the story which I skimmed through to reach the end.

32 year old Sydney Blackburn is the police beat reporter for The Nashville Courier and someone who takes her job of keeping the public informed very seriously. When a girl is found murdered in her town, all her reporter senses go on red-alert knowing that the police would always withhold vital facts that could save someone from stumbling onto a killer’s path.

Jake Radley is the officer in charge of the investigation of the murder of Maggie Field, a murder which brings home the fact that Nashville has a serial killer amongst its midst. Jake is a man who has been burnt badly by a reporter early on on in his career with her ambition to get ahead no matter the consequences. Needless to say, Jake has a deep rooted mistrust for reporters which rears its ugly head when the beautiful reporter from The Nashville Courier is relentless in her efforts to get the details of the investigation from him.

All that Sydney knows is that although Jake’s mere presence makes her feel breathless with longings better left unvoiced, Jake has no such problems when he goes out of his way to be his utmost rudest with her. But when the killer’s unwanted attention focuses on Sydney, Jake pulls out all the stops in his quest to keep her safe from harms way, the result of the ‘forced’ proximity building up a layer of intimacy between the two which makes both Jake and Sydney give into their desire of one another. However, Jake is a man who believes that he is better off alone and goes out of his way to drive home the fact until it might be all too late to let the woman he loves know that he is a man who is ready for the ultimate commitment.

For me, Dangerous Kisses didn’t make that much of an exceptional impression. Yes there was a hot hero and there was a gutsy heroine who didn’t back down but I just didn’t feel that sizzle between the two and didn’t find myself captivated by the chemistry between them. The killer though creepy made for an okay villian and even though he managed to surprise me when his identity was revealed, yet again I wasn’t wowed with the thriller aspect of the novel as well. It just pains me to write reviews such as this one when I am someone who reads for enjoyment, the sizzle and the adventure which provides me with my escape from reality. Though this one didn’t live up to the mark for me, it just might be what the doctor ordered for you.

Recommended for fans of Trish Milburn.

Now I am seriously in need of a story that would deliver me from the funk I find myself in at the moment. Sigh!!!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Smashwords


Review: Passion Becomes You by Michelle Reid

Format: E-book
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents, #1752
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Leon Stephanades
Heroine: Jemma Davis
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 1, 1995
Started On: July 3, 2011
Finished On: July 3, 2011

Passion Becomes You by Michelle Reid is an okay read, that somehow didn’t live up to my expectations. I wanted this novel to captivate me, the hero to dazzle me and of course wanted all my emotions in a tangle because of the hero and somehow I ‘think’ that I just expected too much from this Harlequin.

24 year old Jemma Davis bears the scars of living with two promiscous parents whose lifelong passion it had been to goad one another by sleeping with the next available piece of human flesh of the opposite sex. A determination that she would never let herself become embroiled in passion that could make her vulnerable, Jemma doesn’t know what it is that hits her when Greek tycoon Leon Stephanades strolls into her life and turns it completely upside down.

Jemma says yes to her very first affair with eyes wide open, fully knowing what it is that Leon is offering and just how vulnerable her emotions are when it comes to Leon. Though Leon tries to show otherwise, he is as much besotted with how she makes him feel and throughout their two month long affair during which Jemma keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop, for her fragile happiness to come crashing down in front of her.

When Jemma realizes the consequence of her first night of reckless abandonment with Leon, and knowing that Leon wouldn’t take the news of impending fatherhood lightly, Jemma hides the fact from him until a turn of events once again brings Leon back into her life; this time a determined Leon who wants her in his life once and for all.

What I expected to find from this short story and what I actually did find were two entirely different things. I wanted a ruthless and passionate hero whose desire to possess the woman who ignites him unlike any other woman make him lose his iron-clad control and of course I wanted the angst that would go with a story that includes such a strong hero. But Leon though is a passionate hero, I didn’t find myself overly fascinated with him and neither with the heroine though Jemma is not the type to get on one’s nerves. The story lost its appeal halfway through and I found myself skimming through the bits and pieces to reach the end.

Recommended for fans of Michelle Reid.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Abe Books


Review: The Return by Jan Bowles

Format: E-bookthereturn
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Hero: Robert Tremayne
Heroine: Marielle Stevens
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 1, 2009
Started On: March 22, 2011
Finished On: March 23, 2011

A fan of tortured hero goodness through and through, I picked this book up on a whim because the blurb promised a tortured hero which guarantees a whole lot of emotion wrenching goodness in a story. However, I found myself just a tad disappointed with how the story unfolded, not because it wasn’t an interesting one, but there was something about the character development together with how the story is narrated that just didn’t sit right with me.

The Return is the story of Marielle Stevens whose soul mate Robert Tremayne captured by Islamic Jihadists in Iraq who the British government gave up on returns two years afterwards, a changed man inside and out. Robert who has regretted his trip to war torn Iraq in order to make a name for himself as a journalist comes back home to the devastating news that the woman whose image had pulled him through hell and back in Iraq has gone and married his best friend James.

The story picks up 3 years later when Robert finally returns back home after that fateful night which had literally brought his world crashing down. The news that James had died and left Marielle a widow certainly helps his decision to come back and tie up loose ends back home where memories that are better left alone continue to haunt him upon his return.

The mother of all shocks leaps up when Robert discovers the truth about Marielle’s 3 year old daughter Jemma. The sense of betrayal that he feels on missing out on his daughter’s life for the past couple of years cut deep and Robert is unwilling to forgive and forget what Marielle’s marriage to James had done to their relationship.

But when Robert’s celebrity status brings focus onto Marielle and his daughter Jemma, Robert does what he thinks best to save them from the vicious cycle of their whole life being plastered all over the British tabloids. Robert proposes marriage to Marielle, who professes to have never stopped loving him all throughout the years.

Marielle has her work cut out for her to bring back the caring and loving man Robert was before he left to Iraq, glimpses of the man Marielle yearns for which she sees in Robert’s tormented soul. Marielle knows  that although the heady and scorching hot attraction between them runs deeper than ever, without learning to talk about the past and willing to forgive and forget what the past 5 years have meant to both of them, they would not have a chance of making their marriage work.

Before their happily ever after comes calling, Robert has to learn to slay his demons, the emotional scars left behind by the 2 years he spent in Iraq barely making it day after day and listen to what Marielle went through and hear her side of the story to finally begin to thaw the ice around his heart.

Though the storyline is an interesting one set in the UK, I found myself a bit impatient with both Robert and Marielle. I found myself irritated with Marielle because she professes to love Robert more than anything else in the world but hesitates to give Robert the chance he needs to see what they could be together. Robert on the other hand is a tortured soul yes, but I just couldn’t grasp on the fact that he kept on blaming his emotional trauma suffered in Iraq as the sole reason for his coldness and aloofness when it comes to relationships. In my opinion, the betrayal he suffered at the hands of his best friend served as more of a catalyst to make him completely close himself up to any sort of relationship with the opposite sex apart from just getting together for sex. I wished Marielle would grow up a bit and Robert would try and be an adult for once and listen to what Marielle had to say without running off to wallow in his emotional scars.

Jan Bowles is an author who shows promise and I believe her stories will continue to get better. I would certainly not say no to reading another novel by her. However, I do wish that publishers wouldn’t use the same cover on different books which just most of the time turns me off from buying a book. This cover sports the same cover art as that of the novel Just My Type by Erin Nicholas, which might be the reason why this book caught my eye in the first place.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble