Review: Fighting Redemption by Kate McCarthy

Format: E-bookfightingredemption
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Ryan Kendall
Heroine: Finlay Louise Tanner
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 02, 2013
Started On: February 15, 2016
Finished On: February 15, 2016

Fighting Redemption by Kate McCarthy is a book that came to my notice because it was featured quite prominently in the list of Goodreads Reader Choice award for 2014. I have this tendency to keep delaying reading certain books; God knows why. Finally, this February, I took the plunge and started reading, and I have to say even though I wasn’t as wowed like most readers who have voted for this book have proclaimed to be, I could definitely see where the appeal lies.

Fighting Redemption begins in a way that makes the reader believes that the ultimate worst has happened. But trust me, that is so not the case. From the moment Ryan Kendall returns home, having spent six years in the Australian Army, one look is all it takes for him to know deep in his heart that he needs Finlay Tanner like the very air he breathes.

Fin and Ryan’s story is one that goes way back into their entwined childhood. Ryan getting the short end of the stick when it had come to his childhood. Ryan had always held the dream of getting away from everything and forging his own path. But it comes at the cost of leaving Fin behind, the only woman who has ever mattered and who ever will.

While I could get the whole pain of his childhood that made Ryan the way he is, determined to leave it all behind even when he knew he would never be able to let go of Fin, I always have a problem with heroes and heroines who are willing to go the whole nine yards and beyond with the self sacrificial behavior. I mean, don’t get me wrong; I do get where most of them come from. But putting both their selves in pain that could have been avoided otherwise, and in the meantime ending up with the wrong people because of that and regretting it for a lifetime, those are things that makes me wonder whether the two of them even deserves to be together.

The pain of the separation and the angst of it all might add to the story. But just like certain tropes like heroines getting pregnant and not letting the hero know gets on some readers’ nerves, I guess this particular tidbit in romance novels raises my ire.

While I was not all that moved by how Ryan continued to oscillate between letting Fin be and wanting her for himself, I could certainly see why the story is highly readable in all aspects of it. My problem lay with how I felt watching Fin just give and give until she pretty much had nothing left to give, while Ryan continued to play yo-yo with her feelings.

In my view, Ryan seemed to love the army more – which was perhaps the reason why I had such a hard time loving him like most readers did. Fin was courageous, the kind of woman we call as strong, because they stand up for themselves even when the going is tough and do what needs to be done. For me, Fin was the reason I kept going. Fin in the end made the story!

Recommended for those who love strong heroines and military heroes.

Final Verdict: A soldier’s fight with forgiveness for himself; tugs at the heart!

Favorite Quotes

“Maybe you don’t, but I don’t get it. He was violent towards you.”
She huffed, her exasperation clear. “He wasn’t. We had an argument. You punched him.”
Ryan nodded, drawing in a deep breath of satisfaction. “I did, and I won’t apologise. Not for that, because I’d do it again.”
She stood in front of the armchair Jake vacated earlier that evening and sank into it. “We’re just going around in circles,” she muttered wearily.
He looked at her, drowning in the desolate green depths of her eyes. “I want you, Fin,” he finally admitted. “So damn much I can’t sleep from it. I lie in bed at night and I dream of my lips on yours, my mouth tasting every inch you. I want to fuck you until I go blind from it and even then I don’t think it would ever be enough.”

“Are you happy now?” she hissed as she grabbed a pair of jeans from the shelves.
His eyes on her ass, he muttered, “What?”
She threw the jeans at him and he caught them when they hit him square in the chest. “This. Us. Yes, okay? I want you. Is that what you want to hear? That I dream of you too?” she choked out. “Your hands on me, inside of me, and I ache too.”
Ryan took a step towards her.
“Don’t.” She snatched the jeans out of his hands and tugged them on.
“I’m sorry,” he murmured.
Fin turned, rummaging for a top. She pulled one off a hanger and tugged it on furiously. “You’re sorry. I’m sorry. Everybody’s sorry. Well it’s just one sad, fucking sorry situation, isn’t it?”

“Don’t say his name. Tonight you’re mine. If Ian wanted you as much as he fucking claims he does, he’d be here right now where I am, dragging out every last minute he could get with you.” Ryan’s hands slid down the small of her back and underneath the elastic of her panties until his hands gripped her ass. “He’d be the one touching you.” He leaned in and bit her earlobe sharply before licking it better and she shivered. “He’d be the one tasting you,” he breathed in her ear. “But he’s not here. I am. I’m the one touching you. I’m the one holding you, because you’ve never been his.”

She shook her head and wrapped her legs around his hips, squeezing him. “Fuck me, Ryan.”
Ryan drew back and looking into her eyes, slammed in again. “Nothing, Fin …” he breathed.
“Nothing?”
“Nothing…” he slammed in again “…has ever felt more beautiful than you do right now.”
Christ. He didn’t just love her, he fucking adored her. He’d give his life for her if he had to.

“I forced you to have sex with me,” she whispered.
He froze.
Straightening his back, he looked down at her, his eyes searching her face. “Is that what you think?”
Fin nodded mutely.
“That’s so far from the truth I can’t believe you’d even think it. I have a thick skin, baby,” he told her, his wide shoulders crowding her back against the cool tiles, “but you’re under it. You’re buried in there so deep it’s like I was born with you in my soul.” His eyes slowly ignited as he slid soapy hands over her hips. “When I’m near you I’m consumed by you—your smile, your eyes, your heart. Even though we’ve never been together, you’ve always been mine, and even if I never get to keep you, you’ll still be mine.”

He pulled away. “Turn around.”
She turned blindly, giving him her back.
“Brace your hands against the wall and lean forward.”
“Ryan?”
“You can trust me, Fin.”
Fin nodded. She’d never trusted anyone more than she did Ryan. When she did as he asked, he grabbed her hips, yanking her back further. One hand fell away, and then he was there and pushing inside her. A moan broke free and she didn’t even know if it was him or her.
With both hands back on her hips, he slid all the way in. “Oh fuck,” he breathed. “My beautiful Fin.”

Ducking his head, Ryan took her lips hard, his tongue thrusting inside her mouth and tasting her wildly. Tearing away, he looked at her for a long moment, his chest rising and falling heavily against her own. “I want to say I love you too, but it doesn’t seem enough.”
With a shaky hand, she brushed away the silky strands of hair that caressed his forehead. “Say it anyway,” she whispered.
“I love you, Fin. I’ve always loved you. Right from the moment you walked up those steps at school, you tripped your way right into my heart. I won’t ever stop. I’ll love you longer than the stars that live in the sky.”

“If you keep looking at me like that, we won’t be going anywhere except inside where I can fuck you hard enough to block out the entire world.”
Fin’s mouth went dry. The soft streetlight cast Ryan half in shadow, adding a dark intensity to the hard planes of his face. His wide shoulders and the tanned muscles roping his arms and chest were illuminated flawlessly. Her eyes fell to the waistband of his jeans, and her hands, now on his hips, eased the hem up slightly on his fitted shirt, baring a small sliver of skin. She skimmed her hand across his warm, taut stomach, letting her hand slide around his torso and glide up and over his back.
Fin looked up at him from beneath her lashes as Ryan shuddered beneath her touch. “I want you.”
He exhaled audibly, dipping his head and sweeping her lips up in his, their pressure hard and wild as her heart thumped madly. She dug her fingers into his bare skin and he groaned. “I want you too. All the damn time.”

Oh God, what this man made her feel. Even as her legs trembled, aching from their straddled position over his hips, Fin felt she could keep moving like that forever.
Ryan scraped his teeth over her skin, biting the tender skin before pulling free. Both hands now on her hips, he slammed inside her, her body jolting with the force as pleasure shattered her apart.
“Fuck,” she heard him mutter as her body clenched around him. Her eyes fluttered open to find him watching her intently. His lips were parted, his cheeks flushed, and when he came, all his muscles pulled tight as he ground his body inside her, growling her name wildly.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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ARC Review: Hour of Need by Melinda Leigh

Format: E-bookhourofneed
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Scarlet Falls, #1
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Hero: Grant Barrett
Heroine: Ellie Ross
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 9, 2014
Started On: December 7, 2014
Finished On: December 9, 2014

Hour of Need by Melinda Leigh is her debut book in the Scarlet Falls series. Featuring a military hero and a heroine who finds herself in the midst of a mess because she’d just been in the opportune place, Hour of Need is a story that captivated me from start to end. Though I have a bit more time to spare than before these days, I seldom have the urge to stay up late up till dawn, just because I HAD to know how a story ended. Hour of Need did that to me. And that itself tells a story.

Major Grant Barrett is the oldest of the four Garrett siblings. Having spent more than half his life training to become a soldier and dedicating his life to moving up the ranks, Grant is in Afghanistan when he gets the news of the murders of his brother Lee and his wife Kate. Reeling from the impact, Grant makes it home to sort out Lee’s affairs, to determine what to do with their two kids and perhaps find out why Lee and Kate had been killed.

Set in the small town of Scarlet Falls, Melinda weaves a tale that is highly readable, that compels you to turn the pages. Ellie Ross lives next door to Kate and Lee with her daughter Julia and her grandmother. While Ellie and Grant’s paths had crossed before when he’d been on leave the last time, Ellie and Grant both ignore the flare of attraction that is between them, Ellie because she has been burnt before by living in the moment and has no intention of doing it ever again and Grant because he has nothing to offer towards a family life when he is all about the army and making General.

The various characters that you meet in the story just makes it more intriguing. The web of mystery in the story is finely wrought and it has been a while since the villain turned out to be a surprise for me and Hour of Need managed to do just that. There are multiple threads in the story that takes the story to its ultimate conclusion. There is the Barrett family reunion, the siblings having drifted apart as each had sought to live lives of their choosing. Then there is the aspect of the story that deals with looking after Lee’s children, not an easy job given that no one in the Barrett family has much experience in dealing with kids and babies. It was heartwarming to see how it all came together and I felt this warm glow inside of me because Hour of Need, though it deals with a disturbing subject, somehow managed to make me feel good too.

Like I said above, Hour of Need is a story that deals with a disturbing subject. Bullying and its effect on the young ones, how it can go so wrong that there is absolutely no going back. I liked the fact that Ms. Leigh portrayed the aspects related to bullying in a way that it drove home a message and also delivered that edge to the story which made the heart pound. It’s like you know that the only way down is by jumping and by jumping the only inevitability is a terrifying death that awaits you.

Now lets talk about Major Grant Barrett *rubs hands together in glee*. From the moment you meet Grant, he holds every cell of yours attentive to him and him alone. There are heroes who are sexy without making an effort; Grant is one of those. He walks in, the room feels charged and that is because Ms. Leigh does a fantastic job out of creating and keeping the sexual tension between Ellie and Grant in pace with the rest of the story. Ellie’s tendency to mistrust Grant at first was definitely in line with her character, and realistic if you ask me. All in all, I would have to say, both Ellie and Grant are characters that you’d love.

With a beautiful ending of the heartwarming variety, Hour of Need leaves me with just one question. Are Hannah and Detective McNamara going to get their own happily ever after? The evil person that I am, I would love to explore the tension that is between them.

Final Verdict: Disturbing, spine tingling & heartwarming! Definitely recommended.

Favorite Quotes

A small shudder passed through him, followed by a wave of need he couldn’t explain or deny, except that his soul was an empty shell. He pressed his lips to hers and let the taste of her fill the void inside him. Instead of resisting, she clutched his shirt and let him in. What started out tender and innocent shifted. desire warmed him and pooled low in his groin. A hungry groan eased out of her throat.

“We shouldn’t do this.” With an answering groan, he slid his hands under her shirt. his rough palms scraped up her rib cage.
But it wasn’t enough.
“Definitely not.” She pushed him away and ripped her shirt over her head, flinging it over her shoulder. her bra followed. Cool air rushed across hot skin. Her nipples budded as if he’d touched them. She’d been holding back on her impulses her entire life. Baring her body to him was liberating.

“You know I’m not staying in town. I have to go back. This isn’t a good idea.”
“I know.” But Ellie cupped her own breast and raised a playful eyebrow at him. She brushed a thumb across her nipple and reveled as grant’s mouth dropped open. She’d never been a bad girl, not even in high school. She’d simply made one mistake. But now she felt positively wicked.
It felt wonderful. Freeing. exhilarating.

Hands clutching the backs of her thighs, he lifted her and entered her with one steady, wet slide. The fit of their bodies was perfect, combining to make one whole being.
“Yes.” This was what she needed. him. She clutched his shoulders. “Grant.”
The heat of his skin fused with hers. His mouth was on the side of her neck, his lips near her ear. he retreated and surged into her again. Her body responded with an electric wave of pleasure that started in her center and spread outward through her limbs.
“Ellie.”

He nudged inside her, intending to be gentle. But pleasure flooded him, and his body surged into her without input from his brain. She bowed backward.
“I’m sorry.”
“Why did you stop?” She arched, her heels digging into his ass, pulling him even deeper.
“I thought I’d hurt you.” he panted, his muscles shaking with the effort of holding still.
“Obviously not.” her hips moved beneath him. “Now stop thinking. That’s an order.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Review: Special Gifts by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookspecialgifts
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Sam Oliver
Heroine: Elizabeth Hardy
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 1, 1990
Started On: May 9, 2014
Finished On: May 16, 2014

I tend to get overly dramatic every time I finish a book from my pile of books to be read by Anne Stuart. Even the romances that she has written way earlier tends to hold a magic that hasn’t died out even today. The depression that I feel because there are a handful of books left in this treasure of mine tends to grow exponentially as well. I came across Special Gifts while browsing through Goodreads or rather stalking through book shelves of readers who share a similar penchant for books by Anne Stuart and I certainly was not disappointed.

29 year old Elizabeth Hardy moves to Colorado for one reason. To lick her wounds in private and resign herself to the fate of a lonesome life for the rest of her days. But one thing that prevents her from not seeking the company of other people, mainly that of Police Detective Phil Grayson is because of her visions, the visions that render her as cold as ice from deep within; visions of horror, evilness and blood red murders. It is one such vision that propels Phil to contact his ex-Army Intelligence buddy Colonel Sam Oliver who turns Elizabeth’s world upside down in more than one way.

A killer known as the Colorado Slasher incites fear in the heart of the people and a coldness inside of Elizabeth the likes of which she has never experienced before. While Oliver with his cynical beliefs about people like her makes her want to scream in frustration, it is the hot fire of attraction that sizzles her nerve endings and warms her from deep within that disturbs her more than anything else.

While the public and law enforcement at large may treat the “Colorado Slasher” as the average serial killer, what propels Phil to contact Oliver is the fear that the killings are related to something way beyond that. Oliver who has had his emotions washed out of him a long time back finds himself in a dilemma when his body doesn’t pay heed to what his mind tells him when it comes to Elizabeth; that tangling with the likes of her is not for hardened and world weary men like him.

Anne Stuart does a swell job out of the attraction and the romance that buds into life between Elizabeth and Oliver. Though certain aspects of the suspense aspect didn’t make much of a sense to me, perhaps because I was more interested in finding out when Elizabeth and Oliver would reach that point of no return; I still loved this book and the story it had to offer. Elizabeth might want to be a recluse but her heart yearns for the impossible; for Oliver to sweep her away true to her visions of the two of them together.

Oliver resists at first, as of course most stubborn headed men do so, and finally give in, oh so deliciously when the time arrives. Oliver has this take charge attitude that is so very sexy and I found myself totally hooked to his character. His reluctant feelings for Elizabeth certainly made this a delicious read to savor. And oh boy, the shared vision of Elizabeth in her red dress with Oliver wearing nothing more than a sexy pair of jeans, taking them both to heights of pleasure unexplored before certainly made for a very enticing picture. And Anne Stuart unlike some authors who leave readers hanging on that aspect definitely delivers on that score!

Recommended.

Final Verdict: Elizabeth, Oliver and danger. Certainly a combination you ought not miss!

Favorite Quotes

His heart was racing when he stormed into the bedroom. In the darkness he could see the huddled bundle of humanity in the middle of his bed, and for a moment he, who didn’t know the meaning of fear, was terrified to move. She was covered with the quilt from head to toe, and he knew that if he pulled that cover aside he’d be looking into her lifeless brown eyes, her cut throat a second red smile beneath her mouth.
He moved slowly, kneeling on the bed, and began to pull at the quilt. She didn’t move, didn’t make a sound, as he uncovered her still, pale, lifeless face. And then her eyes fluttered open, focusing on his face, and she smiled at him.

She made it as far as the door. She’d forgotten he could move so fast. One moment he was lying stretched out on his huge bed, covered with the flowing red material, a few seconds later he’d caught her by the front door. Caught her with his large, strong hands, imprisoning her arms. Caught her with his big body, pressing her smaller, frailer one up against the heavy door. Caught her with his mouth on hers, hot and wet and demanding.

She brought her hands up between them to push him away, but once again her fingers touched his bare skin, his smoothly muscled chest, and she was lost. She tipped her head to one side, to give him better access, and let him kiss her.
He lifted his head and stared down at her in the darkness of the hallway, his eyes glittering and strangely savage. “Kiss me back, damn it,” he said harshly, setting his mouth back on hers. And she did, opening her mouth to his, sliding her arms up and around his neck, pulling him down to her.

This was no gentle wooing. This was demand, pure and simple. And to his mingled surprise and satisfaction it was a demand she answered, sliding her arms around his waist and softening her mouth for his searing kiss.
She was all soft and shivery in his arms. The more he kissed her, the more he wanted. He wanted to drown in her mouth; he wanted to devour her; he wanted everything to disappear but the wet, hungry texture of his mouth and hers.

He didn’t know where to start. He didn’t know if he could touch her without terrifying her; he didn’t know if he could take that white cotton nightgown with its row of tiny buttons off her without tearing it from her. He didn’t know if he could stroke her, arouse her, bring her pleasure, before the raging demands of his own body overwhelmed him and he buried himself in her. For the first time in his life, his woman’s pleasure mattered more than his. He just wasn’t sure if his body realized it.

The skirt was up to her hips, and his fullness pressed against her, ready to explode.
“Wait,” he groaned against her mouth. “You’re not…”
“Yes,” she said, pulling him against the cradle of her thighs, until he rested against her, throbbing, waiting. “Yes, I am,” she whispered.
With a muffled moan he slid into her, hard and full and deep, and for a moment he thought he might explode with the wonder of it.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Abe Books | B&N

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ARC Review: A SEAL’s Kiss by Tawny Weber

Format: E-bookasealskiss
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Uniformly Hot, #4
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Aiden Masters
Heroine: Sage Taylor
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 18, 2014
Started On: March 18, 2014
Finished On: March 18, 2014

A SEAL’s Kiss by Tawny Weber is one of the best Harlequin romances that I have read in a long while. And I believe this to be my very first Tawny Weber as well. I found myself impressed with the way Tawny drew me into the story right from the very beginning, entertaining me with a wit that I found irresistible, a hero that I could have drooled over forever and a heroine that spoke to me at every single level.

Sage Taylor is a free spirit if ever there was one. A single child, Sage has always been confident of her wanderings that it would someday lead her to the contentment and bliss that she has been seeking for her whole life. One by one her friends get hitched and Sage who shivers at the mere thought of tying herself down to one man much less settling down somewhere, finds herself at odds with her matchmaking friend when her friend’s determination to find Sage someone makes her blurt out that she is already engaged, and to none other than her lifelong friend, Chief Petty Officer Aiden Masters.

Aiden is a Navy SEAL to his very core, discipline stamped on every noble piece of his soul. Highly intelligent, Aiden had been Sage’s college professor father’s protege until Aiden’s career choice had meant that he lived long periods of time away from home. A man who seldom finds any logic to emotion, Aiden finds himself continually surprised by just how much Sage has always disturbed him on a level that he would rather not acknowledge. And suddenly with a fake engagement to the woman he has always held at an arm’s length starting to feel more and more real by the minute, Aiden knows that his control being shattered is a foregone conclusion with the fire burning hotter and brighter between him and Sage than he has ever felt it with anyone else.

Two equal opposites finding out that there had always existed between them a fire of the sort that can never ever completely burn out, finds more than they bargained for in a fake engagement that brings forth emotions and feelings all too real that they both cannot just brush aside. Each with their own versions of cold feet and hangups to deal with, Aiden and Sage provides two very well rounded characters that made the story that much more appealing.

I so so loved Aiden. He is broody, a little bit grumpy and a helluva lot sexy that I didn’t know whether to sigh or just start whimpering in agony over the fact that he would never materialize from the book itself and just sweep me off of my feet. Yes, Tawny did a splendid job out of breathing him into life, a character that practically leaped out of the pages and straight into my heart and certain other unmentionable zones of the body too! As you can guess, I just flat-out adored him to pieces.

Sage too turned out to be the exact version of heroines that I tend to love. Giving, courageous and sassy which is a combination that I find hard to resist, Sage was exactly what Aiden needed to snap out of that rigid control of his and take a breather every now and then. Sage might be the one that comes off as flaky with no direction in life, but her courage is an unwavering factor to her character that allows her to take chances that could bring even someone like the big and tough Aiden to his very knees. Without each other, Aiden and Sage makes for two halves that are enticing in their own right, put together they are combustible in every single way that makes them hard to resist.

I loved the sensuality interwoven into the story, not too much but just the right amount, that sizzling sexual vibe between Aiden and Sage kept alive throughout. Though the lack of an epilogue was sorely felt, especially when I loved both Aiden and Sage so much, A SEAL’s Kiss nevertheless turned out to be a beautiful read that put a huge smile on my face. Recommended!

Final Verdict: A little bit of grumpy, a whole lot of hot with just the dash of sweet; Aiden is one sexy SEAL to fall in love with!

Favorite Quotes

Then, before he could push her away or even demand an explanation for the crazy public behavior, she planted that full, usually babbling mouth on his.
And Aiden forgot everything.
His demand for information.
His reasonable argument.
Her tongue slid, hot and tempting, over the seam of his lips.
And he straight-up forgot his own name.

Always willing to give her body what it wanted, she curled her fingers tighter around the back of Aiden’s neck. She slid her tongue along the crease of his lips, tasting.
Testing.
He tasted damned good.
For a second, she thought he was going to just stand there. Stoic and sweet, simply tolerating the move but not rejecting her so as not to hurt her feelings.
Then he gave a low growl.
The sound sent those tingles into high gear. Sage’s heart sped up. His mouth opened over hers.
Hot and swift, his tongue swept in. Took over.

His hand shifted. It only needed to move an inch, and he had her breast beneath his fingers.
God, she felt good.
Full, soft, her nipple beaded and hardened against his palm.
Their kiss exploded.
Hot, wild, it went over the edge, taking Aiden with it.

Still holding her, he carefully, as if she were precious treasure, laid her on the edge of the bed.
His eyes met hers.
She was so damned beautiful.
He slid into her wet heat, her body gripping him so tight he almost cried with the intensity of the pleasure.
This, he realized as he plunged, was home.He’d finally come home.

Aiden exploded.
His body. His mind.
His heart.
Every piece of him blew to bits as he lost himself in her body. He lost track of time. Black edged his vision but he never lost sight of her face. Of those eyes.
He loved her. Dammit.

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

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ARC Review: The Way Home by Cindy Gerard

Format: E-bookthewayhome
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: One-Eyed Jacks, #2
Publisher: Gallery Books
Hero: Tyler Brown, Jeffery Robert Albert
Heroine: Jess Albert, Rabia
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 29, 2013
Started On: October 28, 2013
Finished On: November 6, 2013

If only he knew where home was.

The Way Home by Cindy Gerard is my very first read by the author. Book 2 in the One-Eyed Jacks series, book 1 of which I didn’t know that even existed until I delved into the story; The Way Home can be read as a standalone though there were bits in the story that makes you feel a teensy bit like you should have read the first book before venturing down the road of The Way Home.

The Way Home is a story that takes place in one of the rural villages of Afghanistan where a woman named Rabia tends to a wounded American soldier, harboring him in the secluded safety of her own home which puts her and her father in grave danger. Simultaneously, the story continues in Northern Minnesota where a woman who has lost her husband while fighting a war that had made little sense to her to begin with, takes those first tentative steps towards moving on with her life, falling in love all anew and embracing the joys of life.

For Rabia, taking care of one of the “enemy”, though had started out as a sense of obligation, changes with the depth of emotion that unfurls deep inside of her for a man whose sheer bravery makes her admire him in ways she had never admired any other. A man with no memory of who he was or what he had been through, even though the countless scars on his body and the ravaged state in which he is in speaks volumes about the kind of torture that he had undergone.

For Jess, finding the man who had made an impression on her during one chance encounter standing on her very doorstep makes her cautious and wary and yet exhilarated with a sense of excitement that has been missing from her life for far too long. Ty awakens in Jess the woman she has lost a long time back, rekindles the spark that had been blown out by too many disappointments that life had turned out to be. And in Ty, Jess meets a man whose sheer determination to win her over is a match for her stubbornness and the walls that she tries to keep between them tumbles down under that relentlessness of his. And then, with the happily ever after just within arms reach, trouble comes calling.

For Jeff, returning home means facing a life that he no longer remembers being a part of, embracing a family that he no longer remembers. The only person that he wants by his side cannot be a  part of his life and that breaks his heart more than anything else. The heartache and pain that seeps through the last couple of pages in this story would make even the strongest of persons weep. The longing to be elsewhere but where each of the 4 protagonists find themselves in is almost tangible and that is what makes The Way Home such a darn good read!

I absolutely loved the bits of the story that took place in Afghanistan, the reined in longing that blinds both Rabia and Jeff. The constant danger that surrounds them is one that cannot be denied, and even then, under the canopy of stars, in the deepest and darkest hours of the night, Rabia and Jeff come together, defying convention, the accepted norms and cultural differences not to mention the religious beliefs that Rabia holds close to her heart. All of that is no match for the love that grows and strengthens inside of both of them and that was in essence what kept me glued to the pages of this story.

Jess and Ty’s story were equally appealing in the sense that I loved how easy it was to fall in love with Ty. He doesn’t make it difficult, not at all. There are no false pretenses to be had, no backing down from what he feels for Jess; it is all too evident from all that he does for Jess and more. It takes an indefinable kind of strength for a man to walk away from the woman who holds his heart because he wants to do right by her and that ladies, makes it near impossible for you to not fall in love with Ty!

Recommended for fans of Cindy Gerard, fans of romances with military aspects to it and fans of the series. And of course those who love tearjerkers. This one’s definitely for you!

Final Verdict: Cindy Gerard brings forth a tale of immense pain, heartbreak and joy – not to be missed!

Favorite Quotes

And then she moved. Taking him in. Taking him deep, until his hips rose to meet hers, and his hands covered her breasts, finessing her nipples into aching, hard peaks, and she became as caught up as he was.
“Jess.” Her name eased out on a whisper, a curse, and finally a plea as he gripped her hips and slammed her down over him one final time, coming on a low, throaty groan and tipping her over the edge with him.

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepository | B&N

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ARC Review: Cutest Couple by Kate Davies

Format: E-bookcutestcouple.jpg
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Girls Most Likely To… #2
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Marc
Heroine: Bree Oliver
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 29, 2013
Started On: May 4, 2013
Finished On: May 10, 2013

Hero: Marc, finishes high school and acts out on his duty to his country to and joins the military to do his part for the war on terror.

Heroine: Bree Oliver, becomes a single mom right out of high school.

Storyline: Its the ten year high school reunion of Bree’s and Marc’s class. Marc being based nearby decides to come and find out how Bree had faired only to receive the shock of his lifetime; that he is the father of a little boy who looks just like him.

Time period: Cutest Couple is set in the present time and is told from both Bree and Marc’s points of view.

Likes: I loved Marc, for being the standup guy he is. His inherent good character manages to shine through even though this is a very short novella and focus on him is just a tad less than that compared with Bree. And on the hottie side, I am certain Marc in military garb would be enough to fuel a couple of fantasies for long cold nights.

Dislikes: I am disappointed to say that I didn’t like Bree’s character overly much. I found her to be a bit shallow and selfish and I say this with reason. Though I understood that Bree’s fears of commitment with Marc stemmed from valid reasons owing to her childhood, I still was irked by how little of a chance she gave to the guy she dated and knew inside out during the last couple of years of their high school together. It just seemed unfair to say the least that she never really put in much of an effort to reach out to Marc, at least just to let him know that he is the father of their child.

And I certainly would have loved to know more about Marc and his history which I know is asking for an impossibility in a novel of this length.

Recommended for: Fans of the series, fans of reunion romances and fans of author Kate Davies.

Final Verdict: A good 2nd installment for the Most Likely to series.

Favorite Quotes

He tugged her closer, wrapping his free arm around her back, and teased her mouth open with his tongue. She didn’t respond, not at first, but right as he was about to pull away, she whimpered softly and kissed him back.
It had been ten years since he’d tasted her, ten years during which he should have forgotten her mouth, her tongue, her white teeth nipping at his lip. It was an intoxicating mix of the familiar and the new, and he delved in again, wanting more, wanting it all.

Turning her, he backed her blindly into the locker bank. Urging her leg up, he wrapped it around his waist, rocking into her in a steady rhythm that built and built. Her head dropped back, banging against the metal locker with a hollow thunk.
He ripped his mouth away from hers, sliding his lips down her cheek to her jawline, feathering over the column of her neck, until he reached the sensitive spot where her pulse raced right under her skin. He mouthed over it, grimly satisfied with her gasping cry. Then he latched on and sucked.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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Short & Sweet Review: The Lady’s Scandalous Night by Jeannie Lin

Format: E-booktheladysscandalousnight
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Tang Dynasty, #2.5
Publisher: Harlequin Historical Undone
Hero: Wei Chen
Heroine: Yao Ru Jiang
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 1, 2011
Started On: February 19, 2013
Finished On: February 20, 2013

Hero: Wei Chen, no longer a common soldier of General Li’s army, is a trained swordsman and a trusted bodyguard.

Heroine: Yao Ru Jiang, known as River. She is the younger sister of Yao Ru Shan who served in the army alongside with Wei Chen.

Storyline: Both Wei Chen and River have known each other for a long time – through their mutual acquaintance who happens to be River’s brother. Though both have never laid eyes on each other, they have spun dreams about each other & fantasized about the day they would finally meet.

First Meeting: Wei Chen and River meet each other when Wei Chen turns up at River’s village seeking them out, to notify them that he is bound by duty to kill River’s brother.

Time Period: Story is set in Tang Dynasty, China in 759 AD. Story is told from both River and Wei Chen’s points of view.

Awareness between Wei Chen and River: Jeannie Lin is a true master in creating sexual tension and delivering beautifully vivid scenes to complement all of that. And though novella is really short, Jeannie still manages to make the connection & awareness that exists between Wei Chen and River right from the very start believable.

Likes: As always, a book by Jeannie Lin is a treat to read. I love her writing style. And I know I always say that in my reviews. But that is one reason why I keep going back where she is concerned.

Dislikes: I wanted more! Much more than a novella is capable of offering. Story’s ending seemed rushed.

Recommended for: Fans of the Tang Dynasty series by Jeannie Lin. And of course for anyone who loves historical romances Jeannie Lin is definitely a treat. If you love books by Courtney Milan or Sherry Thomas, you should definitely try out Jeannie Lin.

Favorite Quotes

The pleasure rose and took him over until he could think of nothing but thrusting deeper into River’s welcoming body. He tangled a hand into her hair. Her legs curved and locked about his hips. They became nothing but shapes and sensation in the darkness.
River. His River. The reason why he’d come all this way. One final, fierce thrust and he spent himself into her.
Afterward, they lay together unmoving, skin flushed and damp with sweat.
“I dreamed of this,” he murmured, letting his head sink onto the curve of her shoulder. “I dreamed of you.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Harlequin

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