Monday, October 23, 2017

Kill Game by Cordelia Kingsbridge

Title: Kill Game
Author: Cordelia Kingsbridge
My Rating: A

Genre: Romantic Suspense (m/m)
Series: Seven of Spades #1
Main Characters: Levi and Dominic
Release Date: October 2017
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Homicide detective Levi Abrams is barely holding his life together. He’s reeling from the fallout of a fatal shooting, and his relationship with his boyfriend is crumbling. The last thing he’s prepared for is a serial killer stalking the streets of Las Vegas. Or how he keeps getting thrown into the path of annoyingly charming bounty hunter Dominic Russo.

Dominic likes his life free of complications. That means no tangling with cops—especially prickly, uptight detectives. But when he stumbles across one of the Seven of Spades’s horrifying crime scenes, he can’t let go, despite Levi’s warnings to stay away.

The Seven of Spades is ruthless and always two moves ahead. Worst of all, they’ve taken a dangerously personal interest in Levi and Dominic. Forced to trust each other, the two men race to discover the killer’s identity, revealing hidden truths along the way and sparking a bond neither man expected. But that may not be enough to protect them.

This killer likes to play games, and the deck is not stacked in Levi and Dominic’s favor.

My Review:
That's it...this is an auto-buy series for me. I LOVED this first book! Wow, it was really incredible. And I think I'm most excited about the fact that there are FOUR more books coming after this much to look forward to. I cannot wait. 

Okay, but right now...we need to concentrate on this book. Dang, it was good! Levi is a detective and he's tracking a new killer in Vegas...a serial killer. 

Dominic is a bounty hunter who goes after the criminals who jump bail. His job leads him to finding body #3 in the serial killer case. The gruesomeness of the scene haunts Dominic so he starts to do some investigating of his own, which throws him and Levi together. 

The thing is...this serial killer is not a normal bad guy. He's truly evil, but also truly intelligent. In fact, he sends messages to both Levi and Dominic coaching them on how they should investigate him.

There is a lot happening in this particular book that will be interesting to see how it all plays out. Levi has a serious boyfriend, but things have been difficult for him ever since he had an incident at work. On the other hand, Dominic has a gambling addiction that he's constantly fighting. 

I adored this first book. There was a ton of action, but it was also balanced with the relationship building. I loved Dominic and Levi so much. They make a great team, both as a possible relationship, but also as investigators. I loved watching the difference between the way they approach investigating. 

I just truly adored this story and I am seriously counting down the months until book #2 is out. I want it yesterday.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Holiday House Call by Jen Doyle

Title: Holiday House Call
Author: Jen Doyle
My Rating: A+

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Calling It #3.5
Main Characters: Karen and Tuck
Release Date: October 2017
Publisher: Carina
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Dr. Karen Carmichael prides herself on being capable, optimistic and always in control. But even neurosurgeons have breaking points, especially as the holidays approach. When Karen finds herself on the side of the road, explaining to a cop that her less-than-stellar driving was due to stress and tears rather than too much booze, it's humiliating. When that cop turns out to be a one-night stand from her past, it's icing on the bad-day cake. 
Officer John "Tuck" Tucker didn't expect to see Karen again after their night together. The circumstances may not be ideal, but convincing this beautiful, stubborn woman to get to know him with his clothes on is more fun than he could have imagined.  
Karen swore she'd never fall for someone who risks his life for his job. She sees enough heartbreak at work without inviting it into her personal life, and she has no interest in becoming involved in the small town Tuck calls home. But despite valiant efforts to keep her walls up, her affection for Tuck is growing into something much stronger. With a life built around work alone looking less appealing by the day, Karen will have to take a leap of faith—and trust that Tuck will leap with her.
My Review:
Wow, this story was fantastic. I absolutely fell in love with every single thing about it. There are so many little details about the story that just melted my heart. 

Tuck is a small town police officer. Karen is a neurosurgeon. Six years before the book they had an extremely hot hook up in a parking lot that neither one has forgotten, but it was just that...a hook up, a one night stand. 

So, they are both in for a few surprises when they meet later and it's really interesting and creative to watch how their relationship develops. 

Karen has a lot of scars. She doesn't have much emotional bandwidth leftover after her job, so she's really protective of herself. She has very strict rules. She can only have sex once every six months. She can only cry every Tuesday. She is NOT made for relationships...and a relationship with a cop? No way, no how! There is WAY too much risk there. 

But Tuck isn't a guy who gives up quickly. Slowly but surely, he wiggles his way into Karen's life. It definitely helps that their chemistry is through the roof. There is so much emotions that flow throughout this book. Neither Tuck nor Karen have easy jobs. They work long hours and so many times it's with very little reward. That's hard and Jen Doyle did an amazing job showing the depths of that throughout this story. Over and over again, I found myself tearing up over the events in the book. 

But at the heart of it all was Karen and Tuck...and I loved them both so much. They are so dang good together. This story is magical and I absolutely fell in love with it as well as Tuck and Karen. 

Highly, HiGhLy, HIGHLY recommend this one. It was a fantastic story!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Delivering Dante by Lucy Lennox (audiobook)

Title:  Delivering Dante
Author: Lucy Lennox
My Rating: A
Narrator: Michael Pauley

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Made Marian #6
Main Characters: AJ and Dante
Release Date: June 2017 (audiobook)
Publisher: -
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
AJ: I know Dante’s story better than anyone. After all, I was the one who rescued him from his homophobic, abusive father eight years ago. Since then, I’ve kept my distance, but when I run into him at the Marian House gala and he doesn’t recognize me, I can’t resist the incredible, sensitive man he’s become.

I would do anything to protect Dante Marian, but what if his past keeps me from being part of his future?

Dante: Every new relationship has obstacles, it just turns out that ours involves my bumbling inexperience (ugh), an octogenarian naughty toy party (don’t ask), and being on the run in an RV with Aunt Tilly (it involves the Secret Service— no really, don’t ask).

When my biological father takes his homophobic views on a national platform, the only way to stand up for what I believe in is to claim my past and confront him. So now it’s time to decide: do I put the past behind me and walk away from AJ for good or face my biggest fear and fight for what’s mine?

Fair warning: Dante and AJ’s story contains frequent detailed scenes of man parts touching, little old ladies being inappropriate (this time with, ah, props), and two hearts finding their HEA when they least expect it.

While it can also be read on its own, Delivering Dante is the sixth in the Made Marian series. Each book tells the story of one of the Marian brothers' search for true love.

Trigger Warning: Delivering Dante includes references to domestic violence and conversion therapy.

My Review:
Overall: 4.75
Performance: 4.5
Story: 4.75

Wow, this was a really powerful story. I think I fall more and more in love with this series with each new book. Problem Dante the last Marion?? I hope not. I'm not ready to let go of this series yet!!

But this book is about the youngest Marion...Dante who used to be Daniel. Like all the Marion's, his backstory is pretty harsh. His preacher father was abusive and brutal. He tried conversion therapy on Dante and when that didn't work, he reverted to good, old-fashioned beatings. But Dante was saved by another kid named Angel. 

He doesn't realize it at the time, but Dante's Angel is actually AJ...and that's where the conflict in the story comes into play. 

I liked this book. Dante has some real fears and phobias that come from his time under his father's thumb. How he overcomes these in this story creates a great character arc for him. I loved getting to watch him find his inner strength to stand up for what was right. 

As always the writing was really interesting and the narration for the audiobook was spot on. I have one problem with these audiobooks...I can't walk away from them, so I always manage to finish them in record time...which isn't good for my productivity in other areas. LOL.

I definitely recommend this one and ALL the Marion books, although each of them works as a standalone. The entire series is fabulous. I've listened to all of them on audio...also highly recommended!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

In Too Deep by Kimberly Kincaid

Title: In Too Deep
Author: Kimberly Kincaid
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense
Series: Station Seventeen #3
Main Characters: Luke and Quinn
Release Date: October 2017
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
As Station Seventeen’s rookie, Luke Slater knows his fire and EMS training will be both rigorous and risky, but he never imagined having to partner up with the one woman he wants to keep at arm’s length most of all. Quinn Copeland is as wide-open as Luke is reserved. He has no interest in letting the sweet and sexy paramedic rock his hard-earned control. But the need for composure becomes the need to survive when they find themselves in the crosshairs of a brutal gang leader on their first shift together.

Paramedic Quinn Copeland’s station mates aren’t just her friends. They’re her family. She’d do anything to keep them safe—including reluctantly trusting her impossible-to-read, impossibly gorgeous new partner with the one thing she holds close. As the passion between Luke and Quinn goes from a slow burn to a sizzle, their steps grow more and more dangerous, both in the fire house and out. Can they outwit a cold-blooded killer and face the fears that could cost them everything? Or are they in too deep?

My Review: 
Wow, I never would have thought you could write a romantic suspense around two threatened paramedics that turned out as good and edge of your seat action packed as this one did. I really did enjoy it. 

So, this story. Luke is the rookie. He hasn't been working at the fire station long, but in that time, he's proven himself to be a hard worker including training to be a paramedic on top of his fireman training. Luke is an interesting character. He's learned to hold himself back from everything. He's a caretaker, and he makes sure that no one needs to worry about him. He stays a step away from everyone, and just doesn't make connections....and that's very much on purpose. BUT...he's had a crush on Quinn ever since he went to work for Seventeen. 

Quinn loves her job as paramedic and her partner is one of the best. But when he gets hurt, the command decides that she could step up to lead and let Luke take the passenger seat. She's been working with him as he studies so they already know that they work well together. 

But when they go out on their first call, everything goes very, VERY wrong...and now they're both in grave danger...and can't tell anyone, so they find out that they're turning to one another for support. I kind of loved how the story played out. It was extremely sexy and seems to flow naturally. Both these characters are paramedics. They chose that career because they want to take care of other people. To watch them take care of one another is a beautiful thing and then to see Luke open himself up and be vulnerable...huge swoony sigh. I loved that aspect of the story!

In fact I liked all the aspects of the story. I didn't realize until I went to write this review, but I've never read Kimberly Kincaid before. This will NOT be my last read of hers. I like her style of writing and fell in love with the guys at this station. It's time to go do some one-clicking through the series!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Joyfully His by Jamie Beck

Title: Joyfully His
Author: Jamie Beck
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Sterling Canyon #3.5
Main Characters: Andy and Nikki
Release Date: October 2017
Publisher: Montlake
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity:  spicy

Story Overview:
Jamie Beck welcomes readers back to Sterling Canyon, Colorado, where a disgraced but charming ski instructor falls in love while trying to redeem himself.

Folks in Sterling Canyon know that small towns have long memories. Two years after the DUI that injured a pedestrian, Andy Randall is still making amends. He hopes the Christmas spirit will help him get rehired as a ski instructor, but that job will come with conditions. He can’t afford another mistake, which is exactly what making a play for his former boss and friend, Nikki Steele, would be.

Nikki races down double black diamonds and hikes mountains better than most guys, unafraid of tumbling down the slopes. But trusting the guy who once shot her down could end in a fall that actually hurts, especially when she’d have to vouch for him with her boss. Still, the resort needs another instructor to handle the holiday tourists, and Andy’s sexy grin and relaxed charisma make him hard to resist.

With both of their reputations now on the line, can Andy convince Nikki that the second chance he wants isn’t only about the job?

My Review:
This is a quick satisfying little holiday read. 

Andy has been a well-known face in the series. He's the guy who drove drunk and almost ruined Grey's life (Grey was the hero in one of the books in the series previously and is now married to Avery, Andy's twin sister.) So, anyway, Andy's been there all along. He's a guy who screwed up...but he's paid for that crime and is trying so hard to get on with his life...not so easy to do in this very small community. But the thing he misses most from his former life is being a ski instructor and working with Nikki. So he goes to her, hoping maybe now that he's served his time, he can get his old job back.

It works, but now Nikki is his boss...something that complicates him trying to pursue a relationship with her even more. For Nikki, she also has issues from that night Andy's life went to hell. She was there. She could have stopped him from driving like a responsible friend should, but she was mired in her own self-recriminations at what she saw as Andy's rejection of her. (She read him wrong...he's very much interested in her, but she'd had too much to drink that night to make sound decisions.)

So, yeah...there are a few lingering issues between the two and that's even before they try to go into any sort of relationship beyond the good friends that they've always been. 

This was a fun little read. It takes place in a ski resort town over the holidays where there is tons of fresh snow and skiing. As a result, the ambience of the book is fantastic. I liked both Nikki and Andy together. The book was short and it could have delved deeper and gone a bit longer because there are some serious conflicts between the two characters that could have been fleshed out more, but this is the perfect novel for a dark, winter night to get  you in the mood for Christmas. It's short. It's sweet. And you only need a couple of hours to read it. 

Overall, I enjoyed it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Burn For You by J.T. Geissinger

Title: Burn For You
Author: J.T. Geissinger
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Slow Burn #1
Main Characters: Jackson and Bianca
Release Date: October 2017
Publisher: Montlake
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
The marriage is fake. But for a sassy chef and an arrogant billionaire, the sparks are real…

Jackson “The Beast” Boudreaux is rich, gorgeous, and unbelievably rude to the staff at Chef Bianca Hardwick’s New Orleans restaurant. Bianca would sooner douse herself in hot sauce than cook for Jackson again, but when he asks her to cater his fund-raiser, Bianca can’t refuse, knowing the cash will help pay her mother’s medical bills. Then Jackson makes another outrageous request: Marry me. The unconventional offer includes an enormous sum—money Bianca desperately needs, even if it does come with a contract—and a stunning ring.

The heir to a family bourbon dynasty, Jackson knows the rumors swirling around him. The truth is even darker. Still, he needs a wife to secure his inheritance, and free-spirited, sassy Bianca would play the part beautifully. Soon, though, their simple business deal evolves into an emotional intimacy he’s built walls to avoid.

As the passion heats up between them, Bianca and Jackson struggle to define which feelings are real and which are for show. Is falling for your fake fiancĂ© the best happy ending…or a recipe for disaster?

My Review:
Ooh, this one was a winner in my book. Jackson and Bianca have a very contentious relationship from the start, but that's mainly because he's rough and gruff and she won't put up with being treated badly. It made for a great dichotomy especially after some of the reasons Jackson is the way he is began to be revealed. 

So Jackson...he's extremely wealthy and is known as the Beast because he's not a very nice man. He growls and scowls and is generally unpleasant to almost everyone. BUT there are reasons he's that way and as those things were revealed, my heart melted for him more and more. Gah...this guy needs love so much and Bianca is just the person to give it to him.

Bianca...OMG, I loved her so much. She calls Jackson on his attitude when he's being rude and unconscionable...which is often. He may be richer than midas, but unlike the rest of the world, that doesn't mean Bianca will bow down to his demands. She is exactly what he needs because he needs someone he can trust. He's NEVER had that and it's heartbreaking. 

I loved this book so much. The relationship between Bianca and Jackson is amazing on its own, but there are so many other details that make this book fantastic. Jackson has one friend...his servant who's known him since birth. His character is awesome and so snarky. Every time he was on the page I was laughing out loud. Also, Bianca is a chef and her food plays heavily into the story. There are about 10 recipes added within the book and they sound as delicious as the romance was in this one. I had to buy the book in print so I would have printed copies of all those. 

I loved this story. There are a lot of highs and lows and a lot of emotion throughout the story. That kind of angst is perfect for my reading preferences. I highly recommend this one. If you like angst and sexy chemistry, this story has it in spades. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review, but then bought a print copy because I wanted the recipes and to be able to reread. 

Once a Charmer by Sharla Lovelace

Title: Once a Charmer
Author: Sharla Lovelace
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Charmed in Texas #3
Main Characters: Allie and Bash
Release Date: October 2017
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Charmed, Texas, is a close-knit small town where people’s dreams of love can come true. That’s not to say that some people aren’t still waiting, and dreaming . . . 
By day, Allie Greene stays busy with her family diner, and keeping tabs on her teenage daughter. What’s really exhausting Allie, however, are the nights. Not that she minds Bash Anderson unbuttoning her naughty desires—if only in her dreams. But what was he doing there at all? He’s her best friend, and a father figure to her girl. Talk about awkward. Talk about OMG-heat-and-fireworks that are flipping fifteen years of normal upside down. And now, when Allie needs him as a friend more than ever, logic doesn’t stand a chance against his lips and irresistible deep-blue eyes . . .
Sure, Bash has fantasized about Allie, but there’s no way he’d act on it. She and her daughter are the closest thing to family he’s ever known. With the exception of one drunken moment fifteen years ago, he and Allie have stayed on this side of the line—until that impulsive kiss of hers knocked him on his butt. That’s just one hurdle. Not only does Allie need Bash’s help to save her diner, but his apiary is in trouble, too. To stir the pot further, they’ve been roped into vying for the town’s Honey King and Queen contest—a sweet event that’s making them closer than ever. Something’s bound to come undone. Bash just hopes it’s not the friendship he’s worked so hard to hold on to.

My Review:
Ooh, I am a sucker for a good friends to lovers story and this one was fantastic. Bash has always been gorgeous and personable. Even in high school, he would have been much to cool for Allie, except they worked at the diner together and became friends. He was the one person who stood by her when she got pregnant at seventeen. He even delivered her baby and they've been best friends ever since. Although they have flirted with something more a couple of times, they both treasure their friendship too much to really pursue a romantic relationship. They both realize their friendship wouldn't survive a romantic heartbreak.

But as this book begins, things are changing. In one of the previous books, Bash was in danger and the relief over him being okay meant Allie kissed him. Ever since then she's been having erotic dreams about him. Those nightly visuals are making it weird between the two of them. But there's a whole heck of a lot of other drama going on in their lives too which is straining their relationship, including Allie's 15 yo daughter who they both love and adore. 

I loved the relationship between Allie and Bash. I love a good friends to lovers story. What I missed in this book though was his point of view. I really would have loved to have seen some of the story and emotions from his perspective. Because that wasn't there, I just didn't feel like I got to know him as well as I wanted to. 

But Allie is awesome on her own, too. Honestly she's a bit of a mess. She's always felt like she's judged in this small town because she got pregnant so young, but I think she has a skewed vision of how the town really sees her. But it does feel like she's constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown. And, well, she may be right about that because pretty much everything in her world that can go wrong is on the precipice of collapsing and she's not dealing with the stress too well.

This is the one thing I love about Sharla Lovelace's heroines...they feel real and vulnerable and so deserving of a break. And most of them haven't had many breaks. 

This has been a great series and I really did love Bash and Allie's story! I highly recommend both it and the entire series. (Note: you can read any of the books as stand alones.)

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.