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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%
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.


Play for Me - Celine Keating

Play for Me by Celine Keating is not a novel I generally read. Now and then, I will read a book that brings me outside my comfort zone and I concluded that this book was going to be one for this year. My choice to read this book arose after reading the blurb, which I found fascinating. I was curious to find out what could inspire a woman to leave her husband of 23 years to pursue what she was convinced was a long-lost dream. My feelings on this book are variedI started out liking it, but by the end, it left me feeling disappointed.

The book is about a 49-year-old married woman who is experiencing empty nest syndrome after her only child left for college. Suddenly her life is no longer satisfying. She now has time to reflect on her past choices. She feels she had given up her dreams, which consisted of her passion for music for family. She believes she is living a life of mediocrity and she needed to make changes. To rediscover herself, she got caught up in the world of guitarist John Jackson (JJ) to the point of obsession. Nothing gave her life meaning like JJ and his music did. Therefore, she embarked on a journey that permits her to get more of this soul-stirring music leaving the life she built for 23 years behind.

First, I should warn you that there is cheating, so if this is something that will disturb you then it's best you avoid this book.

I enjoyed the author’s writing style, which I found delightful and entertaining. The manner in which she portrayed Lilly’s journey of self-discovery and her pursuit of purpose was intense. I found myself glued to the pages as my curiosity levels kept spiking. When I first met Lilly, I was drawn to her, and I was interested in discovering what made her tick. Unfortunately, as the story evolved my like for her morphed into annoyance and by the end of the story, I had no sympathy for her. For the life of me, I cannot believe someone could be so stupid. If it were possible to reach into my kindle, hold her, and shake some sense into her I would have done so. Not only was she stupid, she was selfish. Her journey was one of self-gratification. Not once did she give thought to the effect her actions would have on her family. The only thing that mattered was
the fulfilment of her desires through JJ and his music.

I liked that she owned up to her mistakes, even though it was after she realised that JJ was not who she perceived him in her mind to be.
. It was good she took responsibility for her actions and tried to make amends for the hurt she caused, which would not be an easy task. The ending was not what I expected. The manner in which the story wrapped up leaves readers to make their own interpretation.

The story aptly demonstrated the consequences of making poor and selfish choices. It shows how truthful and profound the phrase ‘the grass isn't always greener on the other side’ is. ‘Play for Me’ is a story I will not forget anytime soon and despite it being outside of my norm I found it to be an interesting read


On Edge (Book One - Rough Edges Series) - Kim Cong

I received this book as part of the Quirky Blind Date with a book, so as you can see I was going in to this one blind. In addition, I had no experience with the author. However, when I read the blurb up on receiving the book, it blew me away. It has most of the elements I look for in a romance. Second chances, suspense and wounded heroes.


On Edge, a second chance romance, is the first book in the Rough Edge series and can be read as a standalone. It tells the story of songwriter Jetta Oliver and wounded war veteran Paxton Elliott. Ten years ago, Paxton made a painful decision, which led to him leaving the love of his life on the day she needed him most. The day her parents died leaving her to raise her sister on her own. Forced to grow up fast, as a result, she forged a new path for her life. A life that involved her being a guardian to her younger sister. After ten years of not having any contact with Paxton, she had no expectations of ever seeing him again. However, the emergence of a drug dealer demanding that she pay up her father and sister’s debt would change all that. When Paxton discovered the danger that Jetta faced he was more than happy to assist. This was his chance to make amends for the hurt he caused. The moment they re-connected, it was evident that their feelings for each other never faded.


The story with its engaging writing moved between the past and the present, which I considered a plus. This helped me to understand the choices made by the main characters even though I may not have agreed with most of them. It also helped that we get the story from the POVs of both characters. My problem laid with the pacing of the story. The focus of the story was on Jetta and Paxton’s past and current relationship and no mention was made of the issues surrounding the drug dealer until about 70% into the story.


I related to Paxton and Jetta has individuals, but has a couple I did not find them credible. The fact that they jumped into a relationship so soon after their re-connection did not sit well with me. I say this because they never addressed the issues of their past. These issues affected how they related to each other. Jetta’s behaviour also did not help. Sometimes she displayed shocking levels of immaturity, which was frustrating. In addition, the fact she did not trust him spoke volumes.
The suspense theme, which I thought the author handled well, provided nail-biting moments. It was at this point that the story lived up to its name. Figuring out the mastermind behind the danger surrounding Jetta was simple; however, the shocker laid in the motive.


Verdict
Although not perfect, I enjoyed ‘On Edge’ and look forward to the next book in the series.

Blood Vowed (Blood Ravagers Book 3) - Traci Douglass

The story began with the main character, Reverend (Rev) Walker imprisoned by the Council. The Council is an evil organisation made up of supernatural beings whose main intent is to gain absolute power. To achieve their goal they enslave and imprison supernatural beings who they feel are inferior to them but have powers they can utilise in their quest for power. Reverend a vampire and former assassin for the council, turned leader of the Blood Ravagers gang, was one such supernatural. He is determined to destroy the Council and put an end to their tyranny; however, capture and imprisonment were not a part of his plan.

Claire Devereux is a Dygarian (Shadow Shifter) and the last of her race. She has been a slave to the Council since childhood. Circumstances have led to her being imprisoned, but her determination to escape and take revenge on the Council and the assassin who had destroyed her family gave her the will to survive. To achieve her goal, she sought the help of the vampire Reverend Walker. What she did not know, however, was the man whose help she sought was the one she wanted to destroy.

One thing I noticed that is common to most paranormal romances is the speed in which the main characters falling in love. Blood Vowed was no exception. The moment Claire and Rev their desire for each other was evident. Initially, Rev tried to fight his attraction to Claire because of the guilt and secrets he harboured as it relates to responsibility for her race's extinction. However, this battle would prove his hardest.

The writing pulled me in. The story flowed, and the pacing perfect. The intense action and the gripping suspense made for an exciting read. I enjoyed the banter between Rev and Claire, which I found funny, endearing and sweet. Watching this powerful and deadly vampire brought to his knees by love was a remarkable sight. She brought out feelings in him he thought dead and buried. I found his remorse for his past actions genuine, which, is evident in his attempts tried to make amends with Claire.

I loved Claire. She is self-conscious when it comes to her appearance. This was expected in light of her confinement since childhood. Then if you had green skin and red hair, you may have a reason to be insecure. Anyway, on a serious note, she is not a woman to sit back and wait for things to happen. She will go toe to toe with her enemies. She is a determined woman and once she puts her mind to doing something there is no stopping her as Rev soon discovers.

I liked how the situation between her and Rev was resolved. I loved how the battle scenes unfolded, and I found the outcome epic.

Verdict:
Blood Vowed is a story that I read quickly and with lots of enthusiasm. I cannot wait to see what next the author has in store for her readers.

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Remnants (Brandon Fisher FBI) - Carolyn Arnold

Carolyn Arnold has proven once again that she is good at what she does. That is writing riveting, entertaining and suspenseful police procedurals. ‘Remnants’ is the 6th book in the Brandon Fisher series. There is no need to read the series in order as each story can stand on its own.

The beginning of the story is intense, as the killer is hunting for his next victim. From that moment, the story pulled me in and it proved a difficult book to put down. Has is typical of all serial murders, the FBI is called up on to assist in the investigations. Brandon Fisher and his team flew to Savannah to investigate when multiple body parts were discovered and investigations indicate that they were from different bodies. The hunt is on to capture the killer. Will Brandon and his team be able to figure out his end game before he strikes again?

Before, I proceed to tell you what I enjoyed about this story; I want to warn you that it was not unique. It bears a strong resemblance to a favourite television series of mine, but it in no way diminished the shock factor of the story.

Having read the previous book, Violated, I am familiar with the dynamics of Brandon’s team. They worked well together and had each other’s backs. They were a focused team when it came to the investigation in spite of the personal issues they faced. Brandon is a good agent, but there were moments when he displayed a measure of insecurity when it came to his boss. He would deliberately do or say things that he thinks would impress his boss.

The story gave us the killer’s perspective, which for me is a plus for stories like these. Here we have a killer who feels he has to kill. I found this fascinating along with the way his mind worked and his motives for carrying out his gruesome acts. He had issues, but what these did not come to light until after his identity was revealed. One thing was certain he had a superiority complex. He was looking for infamy and praise. There were moments in the story when I felt empathy for the killer, but I had no sympathy for those who aided and abetted him. They knew of his issues, but instead of getting him the help he needed they enabled him. In my eyes that made them crazier than the villain.

Figuring out the killer’s identity was a difficult task. The suspect pool was large, making it difficult to pinpoint the actual villain. At one point, I thought I had it figured out, but then the author twists things up and once again I was back to figuring out his identity. During this time, my excitement levels increased and my curiosity peaked, as I was eager to discover how it would all unfold. Then there was the jaw-dropping twist near the end when all the clues came together to reveal identity and motive.

As usual, the writing style was impeccable. The manner, in which the story was written, made it easy for me to visualise every event that took place. The scenes were chilling, gruesome and not for the faint of heart.

The switch between POVs was flawless making it easy to follow. Brandon's was in first person, while that of his coworkers and the killer were in third. I find that at times when stories are written this way, they tend to be confusing, however, this was not the case here.

Verdict
‘Remnants’ is a well-written and engaging police procedural I recommend to fans of the genre. If you have read nothing written by this author I encourage you to do so, as I am sure you will have no regrets.

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Source: http://totallyaddictedtoreading.blogspot.com/2017/04/review-remnants.html
Broken Justice, Blind Love - Rena Koontz


This is my first experience reading a story written by Rena Koontz and it will not be my last. The story engaged me from the first paragraph and from that moment, I had difficulty putting it down. The impeccable writing, complex and character driven plot had me devouring the story at each page turn, as I was eager to discover how the events would unfold. 

 

As a fan of romantic suspense, I am always on the lookout for stories from the genre. What I enjoy about these stories is the author's ability to balance the romance and suspense. Rena Koontz accomplished that balance in this book. The romance and suspense did not overshadow each other; instead, they both enhanced and made the story come alive. Although the twists and turns that one would expect with this genre were not present, the suspense and drama coupled with the author's clear and concise writing more than made up for it. 


The story follows patrolman Trish Kleery and gym owner/instructor Bryan Dejwel. These two are as different as night and day, but that made them perfect for each other. Trish believes in doing everything by the book. For her it is black or white, no colouring outside the lines permitted. However, her beliefs came under testing when she became emotionally involved with Bryan. 

 

Bryan knows what it means to make mistakes. After spending time in jail for a crime he did not commit, he is determined not to repeat his mistakes. He turned his life around and he now owns his own business where he has staked a reputation for himself in the fitness world. In addition, his personal life heats when he and Trish became involved, however, someone is determined to destroy his reputation and his budding relationship with Trish. Now he finds himself in a fight to prove his innocence. Will Trish follow her heart and stand by her man or will she go by the book and destroy her newfound happiness? 

 

The romance did not run smooth between these two as expected, given the circumstances. Her tendency to see things as black and white placed a strain on their romance. Trish, despite being a good cop, struggled with self-esteem issues when it came to her personal life. She has difficulty separating her personal life from her professional life, which has tested not only her relationship with Bryan but also with her best friend Kandee. As the story progressed, she evolved and showed that she could put the woman before the cop when necessary. She came to realise she can be both without compromising one for the other. 

 

There were two stories taking place, which at first seem to be unconnected. However, as it progressed, the connection became clear. At first figuring out the killer's identity was not so easy, but as events unfold, I had a suspect who fit the profile well. My early identification of the villain did not affect my enjoyment of the story. I was on the edge of my seat as I tried figuring out what his next move would be. Getting a glimpse into the killer's mind was a scary experience, especially when his actions supported his thoughts. 

 

Verdict: 

 


This story had a lot going on. I am unable to go into details as it may lead to divulging the plot. As such if you love romance and suspense then I recommend you read this book. Well written with developed characters and an engaging story that will keep you entertained to the end.


Review originally posted at




The Romance Review 




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Review: Fighting Attraction

Fighting Attraction - Sarah Castille

From the moment I met Rhampage aka Jack Caldwell in ‘Against the Ropes,’ he intrigued me. His quiet demeanour, his camaraderie with his friends and his propensity to gossip made him an interesting character. A man shrouded in mystery and it made me curious to learn what made him tick. Therefore, you can imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to read and review his story.

When I read the blurb, my excitement dimmed somewhat, as I am not a fan of BDSM. However, I must confess I was pleasantly surprised with the way the story unfolded. Yes, it has BDSM theme, but ‘Fighting Attraction’ was more than that. It is a story of healing, self-discovery, acceptance, trust and love. It tells the story two people who suffered betrayal at the hands of the persons they believed they could trust. Be warned this book touched on some heavy themes such as abuse, suicide, and self-mutilation, so if you have triggers where these issues are concerned then skip this title.

The name of the book is fitting as the main characters who, clearly attracted to each other were determined to fight their feelings for each other. They felt they did not deserve each other. Eventually, though they came to realise that they belonged together. They helped each other to realise they were worthy of love. I enjoyed their interaction with each other, which at times were funny, sexy and emotional.

Connecting to the characters was easy. Penny Worthington is a damaged heroine. She grew up in an abusive environment and was constantly made to believe that no one loved her. Years of hearing this led to her having low self-esteem issues, which I understood. It is my belief this was one of the reasons she attracted the wrong men. Her struggles with the physical and emotional pain were real and watching her overcome them was admirable. She had many layers, which made her a fascinating character. She is a fiery, strong, prim and proper British woman willing to fight for what or who she wants.

Jack an up and coming MMA fighter is a DOM who gets pleasure through pain. He is this way not because he is damaged, but because it was in his nature. His fiancée betrayed him, and his family disowned him and since then he kept this side of him a secret from his friends and counterparts. He is ashamed of what he is as he is as he was made to believe a southern gentleman would never indulge in such behaviour. His attraction to Penny is evident, but he refuses to seek anything but friendship from her, as he was afraid to cause her pain. However, she broke down his barriers and made him feel things he never expected.

Due to them, thinking they did not deserve each other, there was a lot of push and pull especially on Jack’s side. At times, their behavior got a bit frustrating, but eventually, they got their act together. What I liked about their relationship was that they were friends long before they became lovers. There were many great scenes, but the one that put a smile on my face was seeing Jack grovel to win over Penny when he finally came to his senses.

Verdict
‘Fighting Attraction’ was a great read from start to finish and I am eager to know whose story will be next. I recommend this title to persons who love MMA fighter stories, alpha males, and hot romance.
N.B It can be read as a stand-alone

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Full Contact - Sarah Castille

I never remembered that I had received ‘Full Contact’ for review until I received a request to review the fourth book in the Redemption series. Although it was unnecessary to read ‘Full Contact’ prior to reading the fourth book, I decided to read it in order.

Having read and enjoyed the earlier books in the series, my expectations for this instalment was high. I hoped for well-developed characters, strong romance and a great storyline. I got most of what I hoped for except the romance, which was disappointing. What I got was a pull-push relationship and sex that had a touch of BDSM and lots of pain. I found the pain aspect of main characters’ sexual relationship disconcerting, in light of the heroine’s past issues.

Sia O’Donnell, a fan of underground fighting and even bigger fan of the MMA fighter known as ‘The Predator’. Her visits to the club are two-fold. As a tattoo artist, she goes there to get inspiration and ideas for her designs and to view her fantasy in the flesh. Sia has been fantasising about ‘The Predator’ for some time now but was not willing to go beyond fantasy due to the danger that surrounds him. However, when he sets his sights on her, she found that reality proved better than the fantasy.

I admired her resolve to move past her traumatic experience, although I thought the steps taken were drastic. These steps were only a band-aid and not a solution to her problem, which was evident in her interaction with her family, friends, and associates. Her failure to address the root of the problem prevented her from moving on and as result prevented her from having a meaningful relationship. There were times her actions frustrated me. One moment she was confident and sassy and the next she appeared to lack confidence in her abilities to succeed and overcome her past.

Ray Black AKA ‘The Predator’ is a man of mystery and he remained that way even after the story ended. The tragedies from his past shaped him into the man he is today. He has no desire for a committed relationship due to the danger that surrounds him, but Sia would have him breaking his rule. In addition to being an underground fighter, Ray is a PI and by all appearances, he is involved in other activities, which no one is privy to. He is a man of few words, but when he speaks, his words have an impact. Despite his dominant nature, he had a sensitive side, especially when it concerned Sia.

I was not a fan of how Sia and Rays’ relationship developed. It lacked credibility and so I had a hard time connecting to them as a couple. Their knowledge of each was limited. He told her of the tragedies in his past, but she was not that forthcoming. It was around 60% into the story before she disclosed her painful history to him. I found it strange that Sia did not know Ray’s full name until 90% into the story. In addition, what was even more strange is that they have never been on a date. There was no substance to their relationship, as it was not built on a solid foundation. Furthermore, the constant push and pull between them nearly gave me a crick neck. One minute they are into each other, and the next, they are not good for each other. I believe that having the story told from both character’s POV would have enhanced the storyline, as it would have helped the reader understand what makes the characters tick. Unfortunately, we only got Sia’s POV.

The story was well- written, for the most part. There is a scene I could not figure how it fit into the series of events. Someone connected to Ray kidnapped Sia, but the information provided was sketchy. He appeared in the story several times, and it was evident he was up to no good, but I had no idea who he was and why he wanted to get even with Ray. I enjoyed the interaction with the secondary characters which funny and interesting. I am interested in learning more about them, especially Sia’s brother.

Verdict:
This was an average read. Out, of all the books is the series, this is my least favourite. Despite the issues, I had with this instalment, I am not giving up on the series. If you have, an interest in contemporary romances set in underground fight clubs, with a dominant

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ReCAP: A NORMAL Novella - Danielle Pearl

I enjoyed reading 'Normal' by Danielle Pearl, which was told from the heroine’s POV. I thought seeing the events unfold from the hero’s perspective would have made the story that more effective. Therefore, when I discovered that Recap provided Sam's perspective I could not resist acquiring a copy of this instalment.

The title depicts the storyline. It is a recap of some of the events in 'Normal' through Sam's aka Cap's eyes. Seeing these events unfolding through Sam’s eyes was refreshing. This was not a blow-by-blow account of Normal. What the author did was to focus on important scenes where Sam’s voice had an impact.


When I first met Sam, I believed him to be a special guy, and this instalment confirmed my beliefs. He believes that relationships and romance were not his things, but that was before he met Rory. Now he wishes for Rory to reciprocate his feelings. In ‘Normal’ Sam appeared to be in control of emotions, however, in 'Recap' we are privy to his daily struggles with anger. His issues with anger is a product of his abusive past. Growing up, he learned from an early age to protect the women in his life, so his wish to protect Rory is understandable. Here we see that Rory is not the only one who has triggers. Sam has them too, which, is clear from his emotional outbursts whenever he perceives that Rory is in crisis.

‘Recap’ gives insight into who Sam was as an individual. The author aptly portrayed his emotions. I got a firsthand look at the lengths he was willing to take to ensure that Rory was fine and that she would remain in his life.


Verdict
I enjoyed Sam’s perspective of the events in ‘Normal’. If you read the earlier book, then I recommend you read this instalment. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Twist (Dive Bar) - Kylie Scott

This is my first time reading anything written by Kylie Scott. I heard great things about her work, so when the opportunity to read and review her latest release came knocking I could not pass on it. "Twist" is the second book in the Dive Bar series and can be read as a stand-alone.

The story follows Alex Parks and Joe Collins, two people who had nothing in common. They met each other through an online dating service. During this time, they developed a rapport. However, Alex did not know that the man to whom she was baring her soul was not who he portrayed himself as. She discovered the deception when she decided to fly across the country and surprise him for his birthday. However, instead, she got the surprise when she discovered that Eric the man she thought was her online pen pal was actually his brother Joe. She was royally pissed and understandably so. You see she took a big risk when she decided to leave Seattle. She suffered from a mild case of agoraphobia. After the embarrassing meeting, she decided to return home, but her plans got derailed when she became ill after walking to her hotel in the rain. This gave Joe the opportunity to prove to her that he was not the douche bag she thought he was.

I loved how the romance developed. Joe is not Alex’s type at least so she thought, but that was until she got to know him. I loved their banter, which was tinged with humour and a lot of steam. They had me laughing for most of the first half of the book. Theirs was not an insta-love, but a slow burn connection. I enjoyed Joe’s friends’ hilarious attempts to pair them both. Alex’s best friend for me was the life of the story. The way she called out Joe for making Alex believe that he was his brother.

Again, he listened. In fact, he listened for quite a while. “You’re… I… Okay, yes, I’m a raging asshole. I should never have done that to her, you’re right. But…” He paused. Then he took an almighty big breath, letting it out real slow. “Yes. You’re right, there’s no excuse for such a willful act of bastardly and I definitely deserve to be castrated and burn in hell for all eternity. Um. Who did you say you were again?” The man massaged his temple, making the muscles in his upper back move. Nice. “Valerie, Alex’s best friend.

The story started out on a high note. The witty banter along with the steamy scenes made for an interesting read. Things were going well up to this point, but tragedy struck, changing the dynamics of the story. It took on an emotional feel, which was not a problem. My problem was with Joe’s treatment of Alex at this point. He took a shocking 360-degree turn. From that moment, he became my least favourite person. The connection established earlier was damaged. I knew he blamed himself for what happened, but it does not justify what he did to Alex. If I had his POV, I may have understood his actions.

Although I did not agree with Alex’s choices after what transpired I respected her for the decision she made to stick around. If I were in that situation, I may not have stuck around. It is my belief that, she was opening herself for more hurt in light of the events that followed. I could not understand the anger he expressed when she decided that heeding his request would be in her best interest.

I struggled with my decision in rating this book, which is due in part to the issues with the second half of the book. Did I enjoy the story? Yes, it is a well - written story, with lots of snarky and humorous banter. Would I read more of the author’s work? Most definitely. I am planning to continue the series and I hope the other books will meet my expectations. Would I recommend? Yes, I would, especially to fans of romantic comedy.

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REVIEW: BREAK THE RULES

Break the Rules (The Flanagan Sisters, #1) - Claire Boston

When I discovered that Claire Boston wrote this book, I silently wished that I would be able to get my hands on a copy. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it was available for request through The Romance Review, I immediately jumped at the chance to get a copy for review. You are probably wondering why I was so excited. Well, after reading Into the Fire, which I enjoyed, I figured, especially after reading the synopsis, that this would a good read. It proved me right; I enjoyed every moment spent reading this installment. 


The premise is intriguing. The protagonists, Bridget and Jack, met in a nightclub. They immediately hit it off. Jack, after spending three years in Australia, recently returned to Texas, due to a lucrative job opportunity that he could not resist. Bridget is not in a good place. The promotion she was hoping for never materialised, and to add insult to injury, an outsider got the position over her. Having been burned by a previous relationship, she threw herself into her job, which proved to be a waste of time. Therefore, meeting Jack at a time when she felt unworthy seemed like the best thing that could have happened to her.

Bridget is a person who lived by the rules and she had specific ones when it came to dating--never sleep with a man on the first date and do not date a co-worker. When she met Jack she was willing to break the first rule, little did she know that this would lead to her breaking the second rule.

The characters are relatable and realistic. The issues are a replica of real life. Bridget is a responsible person who took life seriously. For her, it was all work and she hardly spent time having fun. She is caring, selfless, determined, industrious, dedicated and passionate. Jack is a lovable person. He liked and respected Bridget. He understood her fears and even though it did not help his case, he did not try to push her. However, keeping to her resolve was not easy as circumstances kept putting them together outside of the work environment. Compromise is the name of the game in this situation. Would breaking her rules bring happiness or will it end in heartache?

The dialogue between the characters is funny and engaging. I especially loved the dialogue between the protagonists as well as their interaction with their families. I did not particularly like Bridget's best friend. She is willing to manipulate anyone to get what she wants, it did not matter who got hurt in the process.

This is a beautiful love story loaded with lots of sexual tension due to its forbidden nature. The writing is solid; it held me captive throughout the entire story. I liked that it did not focus solely on the romance between Jack and Bridget. It spoke also to the discrimination that women face while working in an environment dominated by men and safety in the workplace. Sadly, these issues still plague our society, even after years of fighting for equality and the well-being of employees.

Verdict:
A great start to the series, and one which I recommend. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.