ARC Review: Heat Exchange by Shannon Stacey

Format: E-bookheatexchange
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Boston Fire, #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Aidan Hunt
Heroine: Lydia Kincaid
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 25, 2015
Started On: August 14, 2015
Finished On: August 16, 2015

Shannon Stacey graces her readers with a brand new series with the release of Heat Exchange, the debut novel of the Boston Fire series. Lydia Kincaid is forced to return to her hometown, albeit for a little while, when her sister requires her presence back home. Lydia had walked away from the life she had lived after being through it all. The daughter of a fireman and moving onto become the wife of one had taught her the hardships and the stress related to living the life of the one who stays back and worries about the safety of your loved ones.

Aidan Hunt is one of Lydia’s brother’s best friends, a firefighter himself who knows he should stay away from Lydia for more reasons than one. Lydia is the daughter of his mentor and also the ex-wife of a fireman who had worked in their regiment. Yet, the heat that is between Lydia and himself is palpable, strong enough that it makes staying away an impossible feat.

Lydia can’t believe herself when she starts having the hots for her annoying brother’s equally annoying best friend. Being 4 years older than Aidan, Lydia believes she should be able to shrug off the attraction that simmers in the air between them, but finds herself unable to say no and turn her back on what being with Aidan means.

When I picked up Heat Exchange, I expected a novel that would sweep me off my feet, not my fault entirely when Shannon Stacey is an author who has delivered on that countless times with her novels. Sadly, when it came to Heat Exchange, I found that the book was just okay at best. Nothing in particular about the story stood out for me or grabbed me in a way that would be unforgettable.

I found myself a bit annoyed with Lydia at times. Aidan though, was a sweetheart through and through. Perhaps they are ying and yang under the circumstances, each being the direct opposite of one another. There is a little side story happening alongside that with the main story of Aidan and Lydia; that of Lydia’s sister and her husband who hits a rough patch in their marriage. That story line actually had the potential to be an interesting one, but Shannon nipped that right in the bud by resolving everything together with the main story.

Recommended for fans of Shannon Stacey and those who love reading about firefighter heroes.

Final Verdict: Boston Fire series; set to deliver family drama & hot firefighters with a bite of love.

Favorite Quotes

“Aidan?” she whispered against his mouth.
“About a minute and a half left. I need to feel you, Lydia.”
Then his fingertips slid over her clit and she sucked in a breath. His teeth caught her bottom lip and she moaned, shocked by the intensity of her reaction to his touch. She knew it had been a long time, but she was already teetering on the brink. He slid a finger into her and she scraped her fingernails down his back, wanting more.
The heel of his hand pressed against her clit as he buried two fingers deep inside of her. She broke off the kiss, burying her face against his shoulder.
“You have to be quiet,” he whispered against her ear. “You are so fucking hot, Lydia.”

Aidan drove into her, burying his cock so deep within her she almost came immediately. She cried out, but he covered her mouth with his. The muscles of his back worked as he fucked her slowly and with long, deliberate strokes—almost pulling out completely before burying himself deep again. When she moaned his name, hovering on the brink, he quickened his pace.
“Come for me,” he said, his voice raspy.
And she did.

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


ARC Review: Her Holiday Man by Shannon Stacey

Format: E-bookherholidayman
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Will Broughton
Heroine: Christina Forrester
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 3, 2014
Started On: October 29, 2014
Finished On: October 29, 2014

Will Broughton returns to his hometown, this time for good, after a couple of years away from home. The thought that his mother would be all alone during the coming holidays and even though Will knows she would put up a good front to not let anyone know how alone she was feeling is what makes Will’s decision for him. After the tragic death of his wife and unborn child, Will had found it hard to put up with the sympathy and pity of the people he’d known all his life and he’d taken off.

Christina Forrester has basically lost everything that she has known in her life. Coming from a wealthy family and marrying into even a wealthier one, Christina had never had to worry about where her next meal would come from. That is until financial ruin and scandal leaves Christina the sole caretaker of her son, juggling a job to make ends meet. The minute she meets her kindly neighbor’s son Will, Christina knows that the essence of what makes her a woman had not died along with the ashes to which her entire life as she had known it had burned to crisp right in front of her. Will makes her want thing she would rather not, and ignoring the mounting feelings hardly seem to work when the answering light of desire burns in Will’s eyes.

Will doesn’t want to do serious. Will believes that his heart wouldn’t be able to take being torn apart a second time. But even then, Will does find it hard to stay away from Christina and her adorable son. Feelings Will had thought had died along with his wife comes back in full force and it isn’t long before Will is battling his inner needs with more cold showers than he can count. The holiday spirit explored in the story lends a helping hand along the way to make both Will and Christina take a second chance at love and happily ever after.

I liked Her Holiday Man and the story it had to offer though it didn’t make my heart race and pulse pound. This was a slow moving romance, sometimes brought to mind novels of Betty Neels that I used to read a long time back. Will is the type of hero readers would swoon over. He is gentle, giving and handsome. Christina turned out to be a beautiful woman, inside and out. One would expect someone like Christina to be spoilt due to affluent life she had led but turns out Christina had just gone through the motions of her life and had never known that life could be more rewarding when you are surrounded by people who genuinely care about you.

Recommended for fans of Shannon Stacey and those who love feel good holiday romances.

Final Verdict: Slow and sweet!

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo


ARC Review: Taken with You by Shannon Stacey

Format: E-bookEMBARGO
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Kowalski Family, #8
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Matt Charles Barnett
Heroine: Hailey Genest
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 25, 2014
Started On: September 18, 2014
Finished On: September 21, 2014

Taken With You, the 8th book in the Kowalski series by Shannon Stacey offers a humorous, slow moving romance that fans of the series would undoubtedly adore. Hailey Genest, the town librarian is looking for a man to settle down with, a man with a regular hours keeping job, with whom she has shared common interests with.

Going camping with her friend Tori Burns was a way for them to “celebrate” being single, a bad move for someone like Hailey who is not that outdoorsy to begin with. When Hailey and Tori gets lost, it is Matt Barnett who comes to their rescue, looking like a hermit who had just crawled out of his cave. Hailey can’t help but be a little bit repulsed by the unkempt look and Matt though finds Hailey altogether too beautiful for his peace of mind, reminds himself that women like Hailey aren’t for men like him.

Thus begins the tale of opposites attract between the town librarian and its new game warden, an attraction that both try and fight to no avail. Hailey shows a side of herself that Matt finds himself inexplicably drawn towards and Hailey can’t help but moon over her neighbor even though she knows that she shouldn’t crave for someone who is the total opposite of what she is looking for.

Shannon Stacey is one of those few authors who writes contemporary romances like they should be written. Though Taken with You was a tad slow moving for my tastes, it nevertheless delivered a story that was heartwarming. The best bit about the story was the angst that Shannon delivered towards the end, angst of the type that is hard to come by in romances these days with the hero and heroine solving every little problem between them halfway through the book.

Angst is an important factor in any sort of romance; it is one of the reasons why I put myself through reading romances, because nothing can compare with the emotions that a good bout of angst can conjure up.

Recommended for fans of the series and fans of contemporary romances. This can definitely be read as a standalone!

Final Verdict: Slow moving & angsty read with bouts of snort worthy laughter.

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


ARC Review: Yours To Keep by Shannon Stacey

Format: E-bookYourstokeep
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Kowalski Family, Book 3
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Sean Michael Kowalski
Heroine: Emma Shaw
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 6, 2011
Started On: May 28, 2011
Finished On: May 28, 2011

Yours to Keep is the 3rd book in the Kowalski Family series by the very talented Shannon Stacey. Though this is my very first book by Ms. Stacey, I had no trouble identifying with the fact that she can deliver a fantastic romance, and this one definitely makes it into the list of my favorite reads for 2011. This book is going to follow the I-Review format which I introduced earlier and would follow a question and answer format which will hopefully do justice to the wonderful romance this delivered – in spades.

You: What made you pick up Yours to Keep?

MBR: I have always heard good things about Shannon Stacey though I have never had the opportunity to try out her work prior to this. You can always blame it on the hundreds of new books that find their way into my TBR pile (sneaky things these books). And this time when I found Yours to Keep up for grabs on Netgalley I didn’t hesitate to procure a copy and here I am grinning from ear to ear and nearly purring in complete satisfaction at the end. And of course, fellow blogger Pearl’s fantastic 5-star rating of the book helped things along as well.

You: Tell us a little bit about the hero Sean Kowalski.

MBR: Sean Michael Kowalski finally returns home for good after having served the army for the past 12 years. With blue eyes and a smile that can do serious damage to a woman’s insides, the one thing that Sean wants is to have the freedom for the first time in his life to do whatever he wants before even contemplating about settling down.

You: Now tell us a little bit about the heroine Emma Shaw.

MBR: The owner of Landscaping by Emma, Emma Shaw is an only child who was brought up her grandmother Catherine Shaw after the death of her parents at the age of 4. Emma has her roots tied down in New Hampshire, owns a business doing something that she loves and her only discontentment arises from the fact that her grandmother who finally managed to move to Florida still keeps on worrying about Emma. Whilst Emma doesn’t see the harm in conjuring up an imaginary live in boyfriend to keep her grandmother placated, what she doesn’t realize is the fact that it is indeed a tangled web one weaves when they intend to deceive.

You: How does Sean and Emma meet for the first time?

MBR: Sean and Emma’s first meeting is a memorable one in the story. Sean has just arrived at his cousin Kevin’s place where he would be crashing for the duration of his stay when Emma turns up on his doorstep claiming that she is his fiancée and tries enlisting his help in playing make-believe engaged couple with her for the duration of her grandmother’s upcoming visit. Though Sean thinks Emma to be tall, hot and batshit crazy in that very order, that doesn’t stop him wanting to say yes to Emma’s offer or prevent his body from hungering for hers in the worst way possible.

You: What was it that drew you into the story with Yours to Keep?

MBR: Even though I have never sampled Shannon Stacey’s work prior to this, I totally fell for her style of writing which drew me in right from the very beginning. I loved the concept of the story which was one of the reasons that had me saying Yes to Yours to Keep in the first place and it is the way that Ms. Stacey pulls the right emotions from the reader at every turn that had me reading this in one sitting, something that rarely happens these days.

You: What was it that you liked about Yours to Keep?

MBR: I am someone who ALWAYS loves a good contemporary romance. Throw in a hotter than sin ex-military hero whose vocabulary at the moment does not have any room for the word permanence in it, and a heroine who is his match in every way possible; call me fickle but I love the way two people who aren’t looking for love find it in the last place they are looking for.

I loved a lot of things about this delectable contemporary starting from Sean who is definitely hot enough to melt any woman to a puddle of goo in mere seconds. His whole character starting from his sinfully good looks to the way he tries so hard to keep his desire in check where Emma is concerned made him a hero I enjoyed in every way possible.

And then there is Emma, who has her heart set in the right place but doesn’t know what hits her when her “fake” fiancée turns out to be the real thing. Emma is loyal and intense to Sean’s laid-back attitude and the way that she is unafraid to grab whatever it is that is simmering between her and Sean made me root for her even more!

I loved all the side characters, some of whose stories of happily ever afters have already been told, lending Yours to Keep that extra edge which was why in the end it ended up in my list of favorite reads for 2011.

The sexual tension between Emma and Sean was sizzling hot at all times, the combustive culmination of their surrender that much more sweeter because of the fact. And I absolutely fell in love with Sean the moment he started leaving little bits of notes for Emma all around the house and the final scenes in the story just made me want to bawl my eyes out – with happy tears.

You: What if anything would you want to change in Yours to Keep?

MBR: For me, Yours to Keep is just damn perfect as it is!

You: Who would you recommend Yours to Keep to?

MBR: Fans of the Kowalski series should definitely read this one. Its a keeper!

And for fans of Shannon Stacey who haven’t yet delved into the Kowalski world, you definitely ought to, even if it is with this one. Yes, it is that good!

And for fans of contemporary romances, this one should definitely end up on your pile of books that MUST be read!

You: Any memorable scenes/quotes from Yours to Keep that you would like to share?

MBR: I loved the notes that Sean kept leaving for Emma to find. One of my favorites comes from the list he gives her during the final moments in the story:

You don’t take any crap from me.
You make me laugh.
Missionary is my favorite position now because I can see your face.