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totallyaddictedtoreading

TOTALLY ADDICTED TO READING

I am an avid reader who loves sharing the stories I have read with my fellow readers. I enjoy reading Mystery, Legal and Political thrillers, Horror and all types of romance.

  

 

Currently reading

Red Hot Obsessions
Sky Corgan, Olivia Rigal, Ember Casey, Blair Babylon, Molly McLain, V.J. Chambers, Lacey Silks, Daizie Draper, Clarissa Wild, J.C. Valentine
Progress: 80%
Thursday Afternoon - Beth Rinyu


Thursday Afternoon by Beth Rinyu is on my list of favourite reads for 2017. I went into this book not knowing what to expect as the synopsis gave little away. The author is new to me, but I felt confident about my decision to read this title
What the story is about.
Thursday Afternoon tells the story of Aubree Davis, Simon Grace and Hannah. Simon and Aubrey are from different worlds; the odds of their paths crossing seem highly unlikely. However, Simon’s need to move on from the pain of his past led him to seek Aubree’s services. From that moment, Thursday afternoon took on a new meaning for them both.
Hannah’s dream is to write an erotic romance novel, which is unconventional given her choice of career. She needed ideas to incorporate into her novel, which resulted in her meeting Aubree. Despite their differences, they established a friendship, which would change both their lives in ways they least expected.

My Perspective
The story.
I am not sure I can adequately explain the beauty of this story. Stories like these remind me why I enjoy reading. When I read the prologue, I knew at that moment that this would not be an ordinary story. It provided the perfect balance of romance, humour and intense emotions. Thursday Afternoon is a well-written story, with likeable characters that will keep you engaged to the end. This was more than a romance story. It is a beautiful story of acceptance, forgiveness, unconditional love, friendship and second chances. It showed that sometimes life deals out hard blows, which can either make you or break you, which depends on your inner strength.




Main Characters
Aubree
I admired her for strength and determination. She suffered loss, heartache and pain in the past and as a result closed off her heart to the possibility of love. She had no real friends and because of her career choice, her family had little to with her. I felt her turmoil throughout the story. I could not help but feel empathy for her situation. She knows that her choices were not favourable and therefore was willing to live with the consequences. There are persons who judged her for her choices, especially her family, so it was understandable that she would have a hard time accepting that two strangers appreciated her and saw beyond her profession. A profession which she chose because she thought it best after her dreams were shattered. I enjoyed getting to know the real Aubree. She acted tough, but beneath that façade lay vulnerable soul. She is protective of those she cares about, which was demonstrated in this story. It was a pleasure seeing her gaining a friend she never knew she needed and finding love, which she thought possible.


Hannah
Hannah is an amazing character. Never once did she judge Aubree for her choices. Instead, she helped her to realise that she was destined for better things. She encouraged her to be her best self. She is the perfect example of a true friend. I admired her for her courage, which she demonstrated by through her determination to go against convention to pursue her dreams of becoming a romance novelist.

Simon
There is usually a character one can’t help but fall in love with, Simon was such a character. He is handsome, honest and caring. He is a single father to an adorable four-year-old boy. He too had suffered his share of loss and pain. Searching for companionship without strings, he sought out Aubree for her services. Falling in love was not on his agenda. However, spending with her made him realise that he wanted more from her than just Thursday afternoons. If only he could convince her that she is worthy so much more.


Supporting Cast
I believe no story is worth its salt without a great supporting cast. They each played their role in making this story the gem that it is. My least favourite was Aubree’s boss, Margo. Not only is she a manipulator, she is greedy, selfish and downright evil. She acted as if she cared for her employees, but the only person she cared for was herself.

Romance
I enjoyed the romance. It was sweet, passionate and intense. I loved the pace at which it blossomed. At first, I was wary, as I was not sure how the author would pull it off given the circumstances under which they met. She did an excellent job. What started out as a business connection, became something so much more. It was evident that what Aubree and Simon felt for each other was genuine. They were great together and they brought out the best in each other.

Recommendation
If you love slow burn romance and you enjoy stories that will engage your emotions, then this book is for you.


Run to Ground - Katie Ruggle

This is my first Katie Ruggle book and it will not be my last. Run to Ground is the start of a brand new series, which I believe is off to a good start. I must admit that I was sceptical about accepting this book for review as the author was new to me. I had promised myself I would not accept new review requests from authors I did not work with before, but after reading the synopsis, I could not resist. Yeah, I know I am weak, but it was all worth it, in the end.

What the story is about.

Run to Ground tells the story of Juliet Jackson a young woman, who along with her siblings are on the run. Their journey led them to a small mountain town in Colorado where they met a surly K-9 police officer who goes by the name of Theo Basco. His determination to uncover the mysteries of Juliet would place them both on dangerous ground.

My Perspective

The Story

Being a huge fan of this genre, I could not wait to dive into this book. From the moment I began reading, I knew I made the right decision. This story as all the elements I look for in this genre. A fast-paced plot, a slow burning romance, nail-biting moments and draw dropping twists that will have you thinking “What the Hell”. I did not want the story to end and when it did, it left me literally wanting more. There were issues regarding the main characters which, I was expecting to be resolved, unfortunately, this did not happen. Therefore, I was left with many unanswered questions. I guess these will be addressed in the books to come. The story is well written and engaging.

The Main Characters

I admired Juliet for the risks she was willing to take to ensure the safety of her siblings. Her actions aptly demonstrated the true meaning of love. Few people would be willing to give up their cushy life for one which entailed being on the run so that someone else would be safe.

Theo was a complicated character. His mannerisms bordered on being rude and insufferable, which made him seem unlikeable. However, as the story evolved the reasons behind his behaviour became clear. He is having difficulty coping with the loss of his K-9 partner and losing his friend and mentor.

I loved them both together. They complemented each other well. Juliet brought out his softer and protective side. She made him feel alive. The cop in him knew she was running from something, but the man in him did not care about these secrets, He was more interested in getting closer to her. It was a pleasure watching Theo bond with Juliet and her siblings. There was wariness on both sides, but eventually, they managed to move past it and was able to build a semi-solid relationship
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I appreciated how the romance developed in this instance. No insta-love moments here, which I am sure most readers like myself would appreciate. The romance, which was sweet with a hint of spice moved at a normal pace.

Supporting Characters.

I loved how Theo’s friends looked out for him. It would seem on the surface, that he did not like how they hovered out of concern, but deep down he did care. I enjoyed the camaraderie that they shared. It was fun and entertaining.

As it relates to Juliet’s siblings, their love for each other was clear as day. However, I was hoping for more where their stories were concerned. There is a hint of abuse, but this was not explored. I was left to make assumptions about what had transpired.

Conclusion

The ending was satisfactory, in spite of the issues I mentioned earlier. The epilogue hinted at exciting things to come, which makes me eager to get my hands on the next book in the series.


Recommendation

If you love romantic suspense and stories that feature a brooding hero, an adorable dog then you will enjoy Run to Ground.


Book Review: Dark Stranger

Dark Stranger the Dream - I.T. Lucas

Dark Stranger (The Dream) by I. T. Lucas is the first book in the Children of Gods series. I went into the book with high expectations, although my experience with the author was non-existent. However, my fascination with the premise led me to pick up this book.

 

What is the story about?
The story introduces readers to a world where gods inhabit the earth. There are those who are good and seek to protect humanity while there are those whose thirst for power seeks to wage war and create havoc. These are known as Doomers. The protectors are dying out as they cannot procreate with their kind. The ability to protect their clan lies in them gaining access to a dormant strain of their DNA allowing them the ability to carry on their lineage. Amanda Dokani a god and a neuroscientist believed she has found the DNA in her research assistant Syssi. If only she could convince her brother, the head of the North American clan, that Syssi was his soul mate and the future of their clan depends on them both.

My Perspective

The Story
This being the first book in the series, I was expecting an exciting build-up to the events that would follow in the rest of the books. In addition, based on the synopsis, I expected a fast-paced, edge of your seat and steamy read. Unfortunately, I did not receive what I had expected. Instead, I got a story with a slow pace and lots of sexual tension. In spite of the slow pace, I was not bored. This instalment set the pace for the other books to come. It provided background information on these supernatural beings, which I found fascinating. Learning about their origins, their fight for survival and how they blended in with humanity made for an interesting read.

I normally read stories told from at least three (3) POVs. My experience this time around was different a this story was told from multiple third person omniscient POVS. At first, I thought I would have issues, but this was not the case. The story is written in such a way it was easy to follow and the transition between POVs was flawless. I was expecting action and steamy scenes, but it never materialised in this instalment.

The book ended with a cliff-hanger which was not surprising. This is a series of nine books, broken down into three books for each couple.

Main characters

Kian is a 2000-year-old god and the head of the North American clan. He is an alpha in every sense of the word. He is arrogant, dominant, possessive, caring and protective. The author’s portrayal made it easy to like him. Kian is a complex character. He appears tough, but beneath that lays a lonely soul desperate to love and to receive love. However, fears from his past crippled him. He has been that way for 1,976 years.

Syssi is a character that I had a difficult time with, and sad to say I did not connect with her. She was intelligent, funny at times and painfully shy. Her portrayal was contradictory. She is able to sense danger due to her precognitive capabilities. However, these abilities were under-utilised.

Supporting Characters
I found the secondary characters interesting. They each had their story to tell. The author’s decision to give us their POVs helped to make their roles intriguing and piqued my curiosity, which, made me want to know more about them. I am especially intrigued by Amanda, Kian’s sister and Dalhu, one of their sworn enemies. Their past is riddled with mystery, which I am eager to uncover.

The Romance
This was where I had my biggest issue. First and foremost, I did not connect with Kian and Syssi as a couple. Their connection was more physical than emotional. Then to make matters worse, I did not get the hot, scorching and steamy love scenes I was expecting based on the book’s description. Well, I guess my expectations were too high because what I got was nothing to write home about. All of Syssi’s intimate encounters with Kian took place in her dreams and even those were blah. When I thought that, finally her dreams would become a reality they were interrupted by a phone call. I was like “seriously”.

Verdict
Dark Stranger the Dream is not a bad start to the Children of Gods series. There were aspects I enjoyed and some not so much. I am curious to know how the events eventually unfold, so I will be picking up the second book in the series. If you are a fan of serials and paranormal stories, then you will enjoy this book.

White Hot - Ilona Andrews

Wow! After that magnificent ride in Burn for Me, I was expecting my journey in White Hot to be just as amazing. It did not disappoint. This amazing story captured my attention from the first page and held me in its grip to the end. It delivered so much more than I expected. It surprised me in ways I never expected, which was a good thing.

 

What I loved
I cannot say it enough; the characters are awesome. I could not get enough of them. I declare it now and without apology, Mad Rogan is my new book boyfriend. Not only is he powerful, he is also sexy and enigmatic. He is considered a psychopath, but their opinions did not matter. The only person’s opinion that mattered to him was that of Nevada Baylor. He would do anything to have her see him for the man he is and not he was perceived to be. I had fun learning what made him tick. I love the person who he was when he is around Nevada, protective and caring.

Nevada Baylor is not your typical heroine. She is smart, feisty, strong –willed and independent. In this instalment, she discovers that there is more to her powers than she originally believed. I enjoyed watching her growing into her abilities after keeping it a secret for so long.

I appreciated the dynamics of Nevada and Mad Rogans’ relationship. Their attraction is as strong as ever, but obstacles of every size, shape and form are determined to keep them apart. The sexual tension was so intense that it is a wonder my Kindle is still functioning.

The story is packed full of nail-biting action, that kept me eagerly turning the pages as I needed to know what next would happen. This new case they are working on is proving to be more dangerous than the previous one. The danger, the thrills, and the humour made for an exciting read, but what gave it the extra oomph was the romance and the family dynamics.

Verdict
If you have not started this series, then you are missing out on an awesome story. This is a series not to be missed, especially if you are a fan of this genre. Please note, however, that the character development, requires you to read the books in order. I cannot wait to start the next book. Highly recommend.

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Burn for Me - Ilona Andrews

OMG! This book was downright awesome. I cannot believe I took this long to read an Ilona Andrews novel. I have read a few books within the urban fantasy genre which I enjoyed, but this my favourite.


What the book is about

Nevada Baylor is a private investigator with Baylor Investigations, which is run by her family. Unfortunately, the business is facing financial challenges and as a result; it was mortgaged to the hilt. The company who holds the mortgage issued an order for her to take on an assignment, which may or may not lead to her death. She had no choice but to accept the assignment as failure to do so would lead to the loss of the business and her family home.

In the midst of the chaos, she is kidnapped by Mad Rogan, a man who was rich, powerful and feared by all whom he came in contact with. They are both after the same target, so working together seemed the logical thing to do. However, their unexpected partnership will lead to them discovering things about themselves and developing feelings they never thought was possible with each other.

What I enjoyed

Superb Writing: The manner in which the story was presented made me feel as if I was a part of the story. I loved he uniqueness of the setting and the premise. The story is set in a world that is similar to ours, with one main difference, magic. In the 1800s, a serum was developed that gave humans magical powers and since that time magic has reigned supreme. Years later, you have a world where some humans have interesting and unique powers. There were those whose powers were stronger than the norm who are called primes.

Delightful Characters: Nevada is a strong, brave, honest, kick-ass heroine. From the moment I was introduced to her, I knew I would love her. She cares deeply for her family and would do anything to protect them. She is not the type to behave like a damsel in distress. While working on this case she would come to realise that there is more to her powers than she originally believed.

Conner Rogan AKA Mad Rogan is a formidable and complex man. He was former military and a trained killer. He has no qualms about killing when the need arises. However, I soon came to realize that underneath all that craziness lay a heart of compassion. Few were privy to this side of him.

I loved every moment spent with the supporting cast of characters. I loved how Nevada’s family had her back. They had a bond that was stronger than any magic. It is rare for me to like the villain in a story, but this time around, I could not help but like Adam. He was cocky and entitled, but there was something about him that I found endearing.

Fun and entertaining story: There was tons of action, and thrilling moments to keep me on my toes. It moved quickly sparing me no time to be bored. There was humour to help lighten the heavy moments. There was loads of sexual tension permeating the pages of this story, but there was no intimacy and no romance. Not that I am complaining. It is evident that there is an attraction there, but with all what was happening there would have been no to explore their feelings for each other. I am curious to discover how this aspect of the story will eventually play out.

I was happy with the ending. Thankfully, it was not a cliff-hanger. The situation in this instance was adequately wrapped up, however, there was a shocking revelation in the epilogue which left me with questions. Thankfully I am able to proceed to next book in the series right away so my questions will be answered soon.

Verdict
Overall, this is a great read and one, which I highly recommend.

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Review: Found Underneath

Found Underneath (Finding Me Book 2) - KL Kreig

This is the exciting and long-awaited conclusion to the Finding Me series. The story picks up from where book one ended. In the previous book, Shaw Mercer had hired Willow Blackwell to be his fake girlfriend to help bolster his father’s re-election. Along the way the unthinkable happened, they developed feelings for each other. Shaw was not the type of person who believes in monogamous relationships so you can imagine how he struggled when he tries to reconcile his feelings with his beliefs. Willow has experienced pain and her way of dealing with it is to push away those who care for her. This was the reason for her ending her engagement a few years ago. Shaw Mercer stirred up emotions she thought was dead and buried and she did not understand how to handle these feelings. However, one thing was certain, no matter the fears; their love for each other was undeniable. Just as it seems they were both coming to terms with their feelings, a tragedy from the past was determined to derail their relationship.

Shaw is a domineering alpha and is used to getting what he wants. Women fall at his feet every chance they get, however only one woman has the power to bring him to his knees. He will do anything to have her stay in his life, even if it meant keeping the truth from her. I understood his need to protect her, but keeping the truth from her, not a good idea. He would discover the devastating impact that secrets have on relationships. Willow also played her part in keeping secrets in their relationship. I have to admit their actions were frustrating, which made wish I could knock some sense into them. Despite this, I enjoyed their interaction with each other. Their chemistry was undeniable, and they complemented each other perfectly. His patience in the midst of her stubbornness was commendable. It demonstrated the depth of his feelings for her.

Willow is a complex character. I admired her strength in the face of adversity and her willingness to forgive. Even though her actions were frustrating, I understood her unwillingness to trust and give herself completely to Shaw. Trusting your heart to someone can be scary, especially if you have experience loss in the past.

The secondary characters brought their own brand of flavour to the story. Willow’s best friend and roommate was a riot. She speaks her mind without apology. Her acerbic tongue had the power to cut a grown man down to size. I was not a fan of Willow’s ex-fiancée. He is determined to get her back, and he will play dirty to accomplish his wish. What he failed to realise is that such actions have far-reaching repercussions.

It's hard to explain the impact this story had on me. I enjoyed Lost in Between and I expected that Found Underneath would be no less enjoyable. What I did not expect was the emotional wringer I experienced. I read this in one sitting, there was no way I could put this down without finding out how the events would unfold.

The writing was beautiful, which made it easy to connect with the story. The flow was perfect, the pacing ideal and the descriptions vivid. It made me feel as if I were a part of the characters' lives. I felt every emotion that permeated the pages of this beautiful story. The books are lengthy but, it was worth every moment spent reading this story about family, love, healing and forgiveness, which delivered a satisfying and solid ending.

Overall, I enjoyed this conclusion to the Finding Me Series. It is funny, sad and addictive. If you enjoy romance that sizzles and engages your emotions then you will like this series.

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Review: IN Doubt

IN Doubt (An Ivy Nash Thriller, Book 3) (Redemption Thriller Series 9) - John W. Mefford

IN Doubt is the third book in the Ivy Nash series. Some say each book can be read as a stand-alone. However, I believe its best if they are read in order, as this will allow readers to better understand the flow of events relating to Ivy’s past.

The series follows the work of Ivy Nash, a former employee of Child Protective Services. Tired of seeing injustice meted out to children and the failure by CPS to help them, she formed her own business to provide help without having to deal with unnecessary red tape. Being a victim of the same injustice, she carries out her job with zeal and does everything within her power to help those who cannot help themselves.

Ivy has tried to move past her past and to forget the pain that comes with it, however after a recent terrifying experience she discovered that moving on would not be that easy. At the beginning of this instalment, she is trying to come to terms with her recent kidnapping. The memories still haunt her and she knows danger still lurks waiting for that moment to pounce. However, instead of allowing fear to control her she continues to do what she does best, especially now that Emma, (a four-year-old who she rescued) and her protégé Christina needs her expertise.

Emma’s dad faced charges of sexual assault of a minor. He hires Ivy and Christina to protect her at all costs while he dealt with his legal issue. Ivy had her suspicions about the assault charges and began her own investigation. In the midst of this, her friend and protégé Christina became the focus of a murder investigation. Both cases stir up the painful memories she tries to put behind her, but she did not let it prevent from helping Emma and Christina. In her quest to help them, she would discover that all is not what it seems to be.

I went into this story expecting an exciting read, and the author did not disappoint. IN Doubt was fast paced, suspenseful, thrilling and emotional. There was so much going in this story, which kept me on my toes at every page turn. Then there were the twists I never expected although I had my suspicions. I guess I was hoping I would be wrong, so it kind of crept up on me. The story touched on the sensitive topics of child abuse, sexual abuse, and drug abuse and child prostitution.

The cast of characters was delightful as usual. I enjoyed the camaraderie between Ivy and her friends. I loved how they always had each other’s back, which the story highlighted when Christina needed help. Ivy proves to be not only a kick ass heroine but also one who is selfless. She faces danger with every secret she unfolds, but she refuses to give up because the lives of those she cares about were at risk.

The ending left me wanting more. No, the story did not end in a cliff-hanger. The cases were adequately tied up and all questions answered. However, there was a hint of danger at hand for Ivy, which left eagerly anticipating the next instalment.

If you have not started this series and you enjoy mysteries and thrillers, then you need to pick up these books. I highly recommend them.






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The Seer's Lover (The Seven Archangels Series) - Kat de Falla

The Seer’s Lover has been on my TBR for some time, but I did not get the chance to read it before now. My reasons for purchasing this title at the time was twofold. I chose to read this book based on the synopsis and the cover, which I found eerie. I had no experience with the with the author’s work, but because this was a story about the supernatural world, I expected to have a great time.


What is the book about?
Calise Rowe, a pharmacist, has the ability to sense unusual energy from persons she comes in contact with. She did not understand what it meant and her questions went unanswered. However, she would discover the true meaning behind her abilities, when she inadvertently exposed herself to a demon and was saved by a stranger. The stranger directs her to travel to Costa Rica where she would find the answers she desperately seeks.
Lucas Rojas is a seer, with the ability to see demons and angels who walk among humans. He comes from a long line of seers, dating as far back as to the time of the Messiah. He has kept his abilities secret because his kind has been hunted by demons whose intent was to obliterate their lineage.


What I enjoyed.
The story introduces readers to a world where demonic forces desire to control humans where angels protect humans from the wrath of these and seers whose job it is to destroy these evil forces. The beginning was intriguing which, made me eager to uncover the secrets that lay between the pages.

I found the fight scenes between Lucas and the demons exciting and exhilarating. I thought these scenes were well written. The author provided detailed descriptions as it relates to these scenes allowing me to visualise every action that took place at this point.

I enjoyed the way the author conveyed her feelings into the story. Her ability to keep me engaged was on par for the most part. I thought the word building was good. The pacing was good. This along with the writing helped me to get through the story.

The issues I had.

Unfortunately, I had a hard time connecting with the characters. None of them elicited any emotion within me. Have you ever been to an event where you encounter a group of people whom you have never met, but for some reason, their actions prevent you from wanting to get to know them and you can’t wait to leave? Well sad to say this is how I felt about the characters in this book. My least favourite character was Shane, Calise’s ex-boyfriend. I found him to be weak and pathetic. His relationship with Calise ended a long time, but he was still obsessing to the point where he became unstable.

The romance between Lucas and Calise lacked credibility. First, it was an insta-love connection and second at no time did I see where their feelings for each other were allowed to develop. They never got time to know each other, before declaring their love for each other. As a result, I was unable to connect with them as a couple.

The story felt a bit disjointed in some areas. The movement between scenes in some areas did not flow resulting in it appearing unreal. Then there were the many unanswered questions that I was left with at the end of the story. I am still trying to figure out what happened. I am wondering if the answers are in book two, but I am not sure if I am keen to venture there.


Verdict
This book had potential, but it did not work for me. However, even though it didn’t work for me, don’t be discouraged from giving this book a try. If you enjoy paranormal stories about angels and demons and don’t mind insta-love connections, you will love this book

The Darkest Corner  - Liliana Hart

Why I chose to read The Darkest Corner.
·
Intriguing Premise
I found the idea of a secret group made of the most elite of the world’s fighting forces fascinating. What increased my interest was the fact this group of men were considered dead to everyone and as a result was unable to return to their original lives without risking those they love.

The leader of this elite unit, Deacon Tucker, is a former CIA operative. He is the first recruit of this shadowy organisation. His mission is to save the world or die trying, and as long as he does not fall in love all will be well. Falling in love would lead to one thing, certain death. However, Tess Sherman will have him breaking this rule.

Tess is a mortician, who is responsible for the operation of the funeral home in Last Stop, Texas. The funeral home also happens to be the headquarters for the Gravediggers. She has no idea that such an organisation existed. The only thing she was aware of was that she had five hot and sexy men working for her, one of whom she was attracted to.


What I enjoyed.

The Prologue: The story started out on an adrenaline high. It was intense, and I was eager to discover how it would tie into the rest of the story.

The Characters: I found the characters interesting. Some were on the quirky side and some unlikeable. The main characters Tess and Deacon brought out the best in each other. I enjoyed their banter which was at times hilarious, sexy and sweet. I liked how the author went into detail about the characters allowing to me to understand what made them tick.
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The Romance: I thought the romance was well done. I liked that the connection between Tessa and Deacon was not one of insta-lust. Deacon feelings for Tess grew over a span of two years. He never made a move as he was not sure that his feelings were reciprocated. However, the moment he realised that there was a possibility that Tess felt the same way he was determined to be with her regardless of the dangers involved.

·

The author provided detailed information into the operations of The Gravediggers and their purpose which I appreciated, seeing that this was the first book in the series. I got insight into Tess’s role in the set-up and how she would eventually become a part of the operations.

The issues I had.

Pacing: The pacing was painfully slow to the point where I found myself losing interest in the story. I pushed myself to complete it, hoping that it would eventually pick up. It was not until around 50% into the story that it was revealed how the prologue tied into the story it was at this point that things began to take shape. However, it was not until about 70% into the story that pace picked up. By then I had lost interest in the operations. In regards to the prologue, it would have been good to know what happened to the characters that had been mentioned.

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Suspense: The story was classified as a romantic suspense, but it never delivered in that area. At no time in the story did I feel like I was on the edge of my seat.

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Based on the rule which prohibits members of the unit from falling in love which I expected there to be conflict regarding the romance between Tess and Deacon. However, things were tied up too neatly for my liking.
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Verdict
I went into this story with high expectations and ended up being disappointed. It was not a bad read, but personally, I thought it could have been better.

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Allusive Aftershock by Susan Griscom (2014-01-31) - Susan Griscom

This book took me by surprise. It was nothing like I expected. I went in believing that this would be an ordinary young adult romantic story. Man, was I wrong. There is nothing ordinary about this story. This not your typical story of teenage love. It is a story of survival, forgiveness, coming of age, learning tolerance and love.

Courtland Reese has loved Adela Castielle since the fourth grade, but she had no idea how he felt. Considered weird, because of his uncanny ability to communicate with animals, he spent most of his time alone. Adela has no idea what to make of him, especially when her best friend Max (the guy she hopes will become her boyfriend and future husband) continues to spout his hatred of him. However, when a catastrophic earthquake slammed into California and Courtland rescued her not once but three times, she questioned the stories she heard and was eager to uncover the mystery that is Courtland.

I don't read many young adult books, but I found the premise of this title intriguing and could not resist the lure. I am happy to say I had a great time with this story. The story was well written, and it flowed fluidly from start to finish. I never had a chance to be bored. The story was intense and had me on the edge of my seat. I felt nervous for Adela and Court as they traversed earthquake ravaged territory in their quest for survival.

The story told from both the POV of Adela and Courtland, allowed me to develop a connection with them. I got the opportunity to learn the reasons for their actions. It made me privy to their thoughts and feelings, thus allowing me to relate to their pain and fears. I loved that in spite of their fears they were able to keep a level head during times of crisis.

When I first met Adela I was not a fan, as she appeared a judgemental, spoilt and selfish brat. Her treatment of Courtland at the time was unfriendly. Her treatment towards him was no better than that of his other peers. However, when disaster struck, I saw a different side of her. I came to appreciate this version of her, which proved to be sweet, caring and protective. Her actions towards Courtland demonstrated these traits.

Courtland was a sweetheart. He is half Miwok Indian who had to deal with bigotry on many levels. He did not have an easy childhood. He lost his mom at an early age and his dad and the bottle became best friends as a result. However, he remained strong through it all. He is not the type to wallow in self-pity. He is a take charge person, which he proved by his actions after disaster struck. What I liked most about him was he did not allow what people thought of him to change him. Even though Adela treated him with disdain, his love for her never faltered.

Max was the least likable character. His hatred of Courtland was not justified. It was hard to believe that they were ever friends. He is selfish, cowardly and belligerent. In the end, he developed a measure of kindness, but it was too late for it to endear me to him.

There are some areas that I had a bit of a problem with, fortunately, it did not take away from my enjoyment, but it left me with some questions.


*** THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD *** -

I would love to know what transpired with Max after he left Adela and Courtland in his parents' wine cave on the pretense that he was going to get help. Nothing is heard of him again until Courtland and Adela found him on the brink of starvation.

- It would have been good to know what exactly happened to Adela's dad. It was stated that he had not survived, but there was no evidence to indicate this. How did he die?

- I am one of those readers who is all for an epilogue, however, in this case, I was disappointed. It would have been nice if it was geared towards what took place years later, instead of what was expected to happen.

*** END OF SPOILER ***

Verdict

The story demonstrates the value of teamwork, friendships and the dangers of accepting rumours without having the facts. If you are a fan of the young adult genre and looking for a unique story, then you will enjoy this book.

The Romance Review


Just One Touch - Maya Banks

Just One Touch by Maya Banks is the fifth book in the Slow Burn series. Even though characters from the earlier books features extensively in this instalment, it can be read as a stand-alone. It is a romantic suspense with a touch of paranormal. There were some exciting and suspenseful moments, which kept me glued to the pages.

Jenna Wilder grew up in a strict religious cult, with no access to the outside world. Kidnapped for her extraordinary healing powers, she was subjected to abuse, exploitation, and was forced to do their bidding. Believing they had broken her spirit, they underestimated her, giving her the opportunity to plan her escape.

Isaac Washington’s daily routine of purchasing coffee and bagels was interrupted when he caught Jenna trying to steal his SUV. Immediately, he felt the need to protect her. However, this need took a back seat when a hail of bullets almost cut him down, but when Jenna healed and brought him back from the brink of death, his need intensified. As a result, he made it his life’s mission to protect her from the people intent on harming her.

This is not my first foray into the world of Maya Banks. I read a few of her books including the first book in this series. I never had time to read the books that came after prior to reading this instalment, so you understand how appreciative I was of the fact I could read this instalment without feeling I was missing something.

I enjoyed reading about Jenna and Isaac. Jenna’s story was heart breaking. She spent most of her life not knowing what it meant to be loved. She was made to believe she had no value because she was a woman. I cannot imagine the hell she went through but in spite of it all she had experienced, she never allowed it to break her. I understood her need to break out in tears, which I believe would be a natural reaction for someone who experienced such intense trauma. In spite of this, Jenna proved to be a brave person. I admired her strength and her determination to protect Isaac and his friends although I disagreed with the manner in which she did so.

Isaac is an enigma, which made connecting to him difficult. I had no knowledge of who he was prior to him coming to work for the DSS. When Jenna healed him, she had freed from his horrors, but what these were I have no idea, as there was no mention of them. One thing was certain; he was protective of those he cared for to the point of obsession, which was evident in, his behaviour towards Jenna. The blurb indicated that he was the toughest recruit for Devereaux security, but I didn't see a demonstration of this toughness. Most of the time he kept beating upon himself when anything threatened to harm Jenna. In addition to beating up on himself, he tended to act rashly, which is contrary to what one would expect from someone who is trained to prepare for all eventualities.

The story features a strong cast of supporting characters. I loved how they were all willing to put their lives on the line to help Jenna, who was a stranger to them. They perfectly demonstrated the value of family, friendship and teamwork.

The suspense theme was well done and it was my favourite part of the story. This was what motivated me to continue reading, as I was eager to discover the outcome. Then there was that shocking twist near to the end. I could not believe what I was reading. I cannot imagine how Jenna must have felt at that moment. I know I would be devastated if I were in that position.

Unfortunately, the romance did not work for me. Jenna and Isaac fell in love within a week of them meeting, which I found unbelievable, especially given the circumstances under which they met. Furthermore, for someone who spent her whole life in an abusive environment and has no experience of what it meant to love and be loved, her falling for Isaac so quickly was somewhat incredulous.

Another thing that bothered me was the overly sweet expressions of love, which had me rolling my eyes most of the times. It was an established that Isaac loved Jenna, he would sacrifice all to protect her, and he would give her all her heart desired. I did not need to read about it on practically every page in the book.


Verdict
In spite of the issues, I had with the romance and the male protagonist, the suspense was riveting which helped to make my reading experience worthwhile. If you enjoy romantic suspense and do not mind the insta-love theme then you will find this an entertaining read.

Originally posted at

Totally Addicted to Reading

Playing for the Save (Men of Spring, #4) - Rachelle Ayala

I loved this book. It tugged at my heartstrings and left an indelible impression on me. I had high expectations for this book based on my prior experience with the previous books in the series. I was not disappointed. In fact, this was my favourite of the series. It should be noted there is no need to read the books in any specific order as each can be read as a standalone.

 

Playing for the Save tells the story of Ryan Hudson veteran relief pitcher for the Phoenix Rattlers. At 38 years old, he is not looking to retire, even though he had suffered back-to-back injuries. He had no interest in being in a relationship as he feels that women bring noise and chaos and he loves peace and quiet. For him being alone was orderly and predictable, which was what he needed, but then he met Jamie Rush who would have him rethinking his views on women.

Jamie Rush is a thirty-two-year-old single mother of two boys, Ben (7 years old) and Drew (5 years old). Life has not been easy for her. Her five-year-old is autistic, and she alone has to deal with the challenges that come with raising him, as her husband decided that he was not interested in raising a child he considered disabled.

The connection between Jamie and Ryan was intense. From the moment they met, it was clear they had chemistry. Relating to them as a couple was easy as I felt everything they were both going through. They struggled with their feelings for each other. Each time when it appears they were taking a step in the right direction, something makes question their love for each other. Their relationship developed gradually which I appreciated, especially given their circumstances.

I adored Ryan. He is not the athlete to boast of his accomplishments. He is caring and thoughtful, which was demonstrated in his actions towards Jaime and her sons. The connection he established with her sons, especially Drew was captivating. He was keeping a secret, that he had no desire for anyone to discover, especially the media. He was afraid to tell Jaime for fear she may want nothing to do with him. It was not difficult to figure out the secret he was hiding. I was amazed at how he was able to keep it a secret for so long.

Jaime is a contradiction. There were many layers to her character, which when peeled away revealed who she was an individual. When it came to her sons ‘welfare, she would fight with her last breath to protect them. However, she allowed her ex-husband to control every facet of her life. She depended on him for the welfare of her sons and she accepted the poor treatment he dished out to her. She felt the need to control how Drew was cared for, but never once tried to wrest control of her life from her ex-husband. I loved that she evolved and took the steps needed to take charge of her life. It is such a pity it took a neat tragic incident to open her eyes to what was taking place.

The secondary characters were well portrayed. I enjoyed reading about each of them. Their actions were typical of who they were. My least favourite was Jaime’s ex-husband, Andrew. If you have ever imagined, while reading, to which into the book and punch the villain. Well, this how I felt in regards to Andrew. He was pure evil. I was glad to see him receiving what he duly deserved.

The story, which was well written, was mainly writing in the 3rd POV. There were some minor areas where it was written in the first person POV. I had a difficult time putting this one down. This is not just a story of a romance between the main characters. It is a story of unconditional love and embracing each other differences. It touched on issues of abuse and bullying. It highlighted how intolerant persons were towards those who are different from them. This book gave me a brief look into the effects autism not only on the child but on the parents as well. I learnt that it is possible for persons with autism to live normal lives if they receive the necessary help from an early age.

Verdict:

I cannot say it often enough ‘Playing for the Save was a book I absolutely loved. This is by far my favourite book for 2017. I cannot recommend this enough.



The Wright Boss - K.A. Linde

Having had the pleasure of reading The Wright Brother, I was glad for the opportunity to read the Wright Boss. The Wright Boss is a stand-alone contemporary adult romance and the second book in the Wright Brother series.

The Wright Boss is Landon and Heidi’s story. I first met them in The
Wright Brother and since then I eagerly awaited the release of their story. Landon Wright is a pro-golfer, whose career has hit a snag after suffering a severe back injury. His personal life is not worth much these days as his marriage is an epic failure. After several attempts to salvage his marriage, he realised the impossibility of trying to save something that was not worthy of being saved. As a result, he returned to his childhood home to recuperate and restore some order to his messed up life.

Heidi Martin is an engineer with Wright Construction Ltd. She knew Landon from her time in high school when he dated her best friend. Since that time, they have been good friends, but lately, she has come to realise that her feelings for Landon went deeper than friendship. However, giving into her feelings would lead to her breaking three rules she has lived by when it came to relationships.

1. Do not date your co-worker, especially if he is your boss.
2. Do not get involved with your best friend's ex
3. Never get involved with a married man.

Would she break the rules she has lived by or will she continue to deny her feelings?

I enjoyed this instalment. Truth be told I thought it was better than the previous book. From the moment, I began reading I was held captive by beautiful writing. The pacing was fitting and the story never gave me a chance to feel bored.

I enjoyed Heidi and Landon’s interaction with each other. Their attraction was undeniable and their chemistry explosive. Heidi tried to deny her feelings and to keep her distance from the man who held her heart, but this proved difficult. Her situation was made more difficult by the fact that they worked in such proximity to each other. In addition, Landon’s determination to have her in his life tested her resolve and placed the thing she held dear in danger.

The situation regarding their relationship was a bit of a grey area. Technically, Landon was married, but he was actively seeking a divorce. I know there are readers who would have preferred if they got involved after the divorce was final and for some, the fact that he was seeking a divorce was good enough. I guess it all boils down to our own sense of morality, and what we believe is acceptable as against what we consider is unacceptable. Anyway, in spite of the grey area, I enjoyed their romance, which I thought was beautifully written. Heidi and Landon’s connection ran deep. Their love for each other went through many tests, but in the end, it triumphed, which is a testament to the phrase ‘Love conquers all’.

Landon’s soon to be ex-wife is a piece of work. His family never liked her and for good reason. She is not only a gold digger, but she is also the most conniving, selfish and manipulative person I have had the displeasure to meet. No wonder Landon could not get from her fast enough. There were moments when I believe she was delusional in thinking that Landon would never leave her. The measures she took to try to stop Landon from leaving her was pathetic. I had no sympathy for her. I am still at a loss as to why Landon gave her so many chances, but I am glad he finally came to his senses and kicked her to the
kerb.

I admired Heidi for her fighting spirit. She is not the type to wallow in self-pity. She is independent, career-oriented and opinionated. She has been through a lot, but she hid her pain well. She had issues with her dad and as a result, she refused to forgive him. I liked that in the end, she
made the decision to let go of the bitterness and restore her relationship with her dad.

I had some minor issues, and thankfully, these did not hinder my enjoyment of the story. When misfortune befell Heidi because of her relationship with Landon I did not, appreciate how quick she was to blame Landon, yet she accepted her friend’s action without putting up a fight. She also failed to acknowledge her part in the situation.

Verdict
This was an enjoyable read and one that I would recommend to fans of friends to lovers trope. I am counting down the days for the release of the next book in the


Combatting Fear - Sandy Vaile

Combatting Fear is my introduction to the work of Sandy Vaille and I have to say it was not a bad experience.

Neve Botticelli is not your typical kindergarten teacher. A childhood tragedy led to her living with her father a Vietnam veteran who suffered from PTSD. One symptom was paranoia, which led to him training and conditioning her for a battle that most likely will never materialise.

Micah Kincaid, a self-made billionaire, search for his son brought him to Turner’s Gully. His estranged wife had taken their son away from him. His only concern was finding his son hoping to reunite his family. He never counted on having his efforts blocked by a diminutive, feisty and strong-willed kindergarten teacher.

Combatting Fear is a romantic suspense (Heavy on the suspense, light on the romance) that plunges readers into a world of custody woes, motorcycle gangs and kidnapping. This was a suspenseful story that pulled me in from the first page and which I found difficult to put down.
I loved how the story developed for the most part. It started out with Micah finding his son’s location, followed by him meeting Neve, her mistrust of him and refusal to assist him, their getting to know each other and finally, we see them working together to achieve a common goal. What I enjoyed most was the flow of the story. The way the author tied all the events together, to create a nail-biting read.

The romance took a back seat, which did not bother me given the circumstances. Micah was still married even though his wife had abandoned him for a little over a year. Despite the circumstances, he was still hoping for a reconciliation, because he is a man who believes in keeping his family together, as such, he was shocked at his initial reaction to Neve. Eventually, as they got to know each other, they embraced their feelings for each other but they did not act on them, except for the sharing of a fleeting kiss. This was after Micah finally admitted to himself that although he cared for his wife, he was not in love with her. They did eventually get their HEA, but not without going through some difficult moments.

The characters were likeable. I admired Micah for his determination and devotion. I know readers may have a problem with the fact that being a billionaire he would have the available resources to hire a skilled team to rescue his son, instead of taking on the task himself. In some respects, I agree, but I understood why he chose to do it himself. It may not have been a wise move, but I guess he never stopped to think of the consequences as his only focus was securing his rescue. Micah grew up without the love of a father and this was not something he wanted for his son. He was determined to move heaven and earth to ensure that his son knew that he had not abandoned him. His desperation, however, clouded his judgement and he ended up taking serious and careless risks at times.

Neve’s description in the blurb indicated that she was a trained warrior with extreme survival skills" who also happens to be a kindergarten teacher, but this was not the case. Her actions belied the description in the blurb. The kick ass heroine did not materialise. Thankfully, this did not affect build up of the suspense. Where she fell down in the area of fighting she more than made up for in her determination, feistiness and selflessness. I appreciated the bond she had with her father.

The thing that annoyed me was how they allowed their mistrust of each other to get in the way of the mission. She was quick to rush to judgement regarding his monetary status. She believed rich people were snobs and felt they behaved as if they were entitled and far as she was concerned Micah was no different. He believed she was deliberately trying to prevent him from carrying out his mission. Their refusal to trust each other proved an impediment at times.

Another thing I had an issue with was the introduction of a subplot, which the author failed to develop. This was in regards the motorcycle gang and their criminal activities. They were responsible for the theft of motor cars in the area, but the author did not follow through on this thread. In addition, there was a scene, where one of the gang members and a police officer were having an intense conversation. However, I was not privy to the details of the conversation. It added no value to the story.

Verdict
Overall, this was an enjoyable read. It was not perfect, but it was enough to keep me entertained.

The Boy Friend - Mika Jolie

There is an age-old argument that says men and women cannot be friends without crossing the line between friends and lovers. Dean Morello thought whoever came up which such an idea was dead wrong.

Dean’s best friend is a woman named Coriander (Cori) Phillips. They have been friends ever since the day he pulled her pigtails and her response was to punch him in the gut. Twenty-three years later their friendship is as strong as ever, but it is about to face its ultimate test. When Cori announced that she wanted a baby and everything that came with it, Dean knew then that things would never be the same if she is successful in finding the one who could fulfil her desires. It did not help that he found himself having sexual fantasies about her. However, that was one line he was not willing to cross and besides nothing is wrong with having fantasies. Cori is hot, so any red-blooded male would have fantasies about her. He, however, would start to view things differently the night they shared their first kiss. Will they explore this intense attraction and risk their friendship or will they deny their feelings to preserve the very thing they hold dear?

When a story has you laughing from the first page, you know you are in for a treat.
‘OKAY, HERE’S THE DEAL, I’m going to share my story with you. Let’s get a few things out of the way. There’s going to be sex. Some details might be a bit explicit. I curse like a motherfucker. The plot will be a little wonky and will not always follow some forced narrative. Sure, there will be conflict, climax, resolution . . . Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. But don’t expect me to be a fucking Prince Charming. I’m the tall, dark, and handsome Casanova the nuns warned you about. Hearts will be broken. Tears will be shed. Friendship will be tested. Eventually, I’ll realize the mess I’m in isn’t fictional, and I’m the motherfucking star of my own story. With me so far? Okay. Grab a Pinot Grigio, a warm fuzzy blanket, and join me on this wild ride. Explicitly Yours, Dean Conrad Morello.’

With a beginning like that, who would not want to read more? I sure did. The story held me captive and putting it down proved difficult. The more I read, the more entrenched I became in the Dean’s and Cori’s relationship.

The story was told entirely from the Dean’s POV, which I found refreshing and realistic. Seeing everything unfold through his eyes and his reactions, as a result, made it easy to understand to relate to him. At first, he may come off as an unlikeable character due to his man whoring ways, but as the story progresses, his true nature, that of being a devoted and caring individual shines through. However, it would have been nice to get the story from Cori’s perspective as well. Because I only got Dean’s perspective, I never got a handle on how she actually felt.

I enjoyed the banter between the characters; it was fun, sexy heartbreaking and entertaining. The manner in which the author portrayed Dean's struggles with his feelings for Cori made the story seem that more authentic. In addition to the humorous interaction between the characters, I also enjoyed how the romance developed. It was well written and as a result, it made it easy to connect with Dean and Cori as a couple.

This is not my first time reading the author’s work. Therefore, I have some experience with her writing style, which is vivid, thereby making you feel like you are a part of the story. This story was no different. What I enjoyed most is the way the narration was executed. The author had the male protagonist speaking directly to the reader. Her writing had a great balance of wit, sass, and emotion.

I am not a fan of stories that are filled with unnecessary drama. Thankfully, this was not the case in this instance. It had the right amount of drama, humour and angst combine to make for an entertaining read. The pacing was perfect and I never had the chance to be bored. I kept flipping the pages as I was eager to discover how things between Dean and Cori would unfold.

Verdict
'The Boyfriend' is a great story with great characters and a beautiful storyline. If you are looking for a swoony, addictive romance with just the right balance between angst, heartbreak, and hilarity, with light-hearted banter, a sexy love story, then you need to try this book.


Real Dirty - Meghan March

Every time I pick up a book written by Meghan March I know, I am in for a funny, hot and sexy read and ‘Real Dirty’ delivered just that. This is the first book in her new and exciting Real Dirty series.

Boone Thrasher, the star of this series is a hot and successful country music star. I first met him in the Real Duet series. At the end of that series, Boone is waiting for his girlfriend, Amber, as he plans to surprise her with a marriage proposal. Unfortunately, she never showed leaving readers wondering what happened. The answer to this question came to light in this instalment. The reason behind her non-appearance sent Boone into a tailspin, which had him going on a drinking binge.

Ripley Fischer is a bartender at the Fish Bowl. She poured her and soul in its operation in spite of the financial struggles she faced. She refuses to walk away as the bar is the only connection she has to her mother. Due to her dedication to the bar, she has no time for relationships especially one involving a celebrity. She has an unwritten rule for dating celebrities. A rule which she implemented because of a tragedy that struck her family several years ago. They are off-limits, however, that rule was put to the test when Boone Thrasher entered her bar.

The attraction was clear from the moment they laid eyes on each other. However, Boone was busy drowning his sorrows and Ripley wanted nothing to do with him. Their interaction from the outset was fun and witty. Ripley is a woman who gives as good as she gets. She is not one to back down from a challenge. I admired her loyalty and determination. Although I did not like was how she was quick to judge him due to his celebrity status, I understood why she felt that way. However, as she spent more time with him she came to realise how wrong she was in her thinking.

Ripley’s life has never been easy, but since meeting Boone they have escalated. His plans for her bar to earn extra revenue backfired, as a result, he felt compelled to rescue her. Ripley was not eager to accept his help, but what she did not count on was his determination to do the right thing by her. I enjoyed their interaction which was fun, sexy and entertaining.

The supporting cast added their own share of entertainment to the story. There were some likeable ones and some not so much. My favourite was a parrot named Esteban who is a fixture at the Fish Bowl. Each time he speaks I could not help but laugh.

If you have read any of Meghan’s books, then you will be aware that her sex scenes are hot and they leave nothing to the imagination. One thing I can say though is that they are always tastefully written, and this book was no different. It was a funny, entertaining, sexy, and explosive story, which I had a hard time putting down. It was so good that I finished it in one sitting.

I should warn you though, the ending is a huge cliffhanger. I am usually not a fan of this type of ending, but Meghan March is the author so how could I resist. I was aware that there would be a cliffhanger, but what I never saw coming was the explosive ending. Now I am on pins and needles waiting for the conclusion of the series. Thankfully, I will not have a long wait.

Verdict:
This is a great start to the series and I am eager to know what next is store for Boone and Ripley.