All I can say is...Yes Please!
I stumbled on this book while I was perusing the Goodreads romance book lists. Hmmm, I wonder what caught my attention? Haha, I do find it funny how new contemporary romance covers are all about the abs. But I'm definitely not complaining. Anyway, I may have picked this book up based on the eye-candy cover, but I was quickly swept up in the lives of Irish boxer O'Connell and shy waitress Emily. They are such likeable characters and you instantly feel for them, and root for their love story. The poor kids have so much standing in their way that you can't help but cross your fingers and pray for the best.
Emily is a waitress working her way through school. She's smart but fragile - she's on the run from her abusive step-father and her past haunts her. She doesn't trust or let people in easily, and with good reason. O'Connell hasn't had it easy either. He basically had to raise himself because of his alcoholic mother. The one thing that saved him was getting into boxing. But he never really believed in himself enough that he thought of actually working towards a professional career. When he meets Emily, that all changes. She makes him want to better himself and he soon starts taking his training seriously. O'Connell knows that he wants Emily, but he really has to work to get past her defences. When he finally does, they still have so many issues to get past but as a reader, I kept flipping the pages with bated breath - I really wanted to see what happened.
Another thing that makes this book great are the fun secondary characters - O'Connell's ragtag team of friends, and his trainer, Danny. They all embrace Emily and welcome her into the family. I think it will be fun to continue the series and read about what happens to them. I've already started The Aftermath, which is the sequel, and I can't wait to get back to it. In fact, I'm going to do that now, but before I do, I'll encourage you to go read this book. O'Connell and Emily will fight their way into your heart and you won't want to let them leave.
Read these books!
I am currently obsessed with MC romances - I have been for about a year. I even started watching Sons of Anarchy - and okay, I get the hype. Some MC romances I've read are great...others, not so much. Some you could tell the author was just writing Sons of Anarchy fan fictions - insert eye roll here. But Megan O'Brien's Ride series, which consists of five books, and then continues in her second generation books, are just...A-MA-ZING. I started with Cole (as you definitely should) and read all five in one week. True, they are easy, quick reads, but I really couldn't put them down.
Each book centers on a new couple, but as you continue through the series, you get to see how the previous couples are doing, and how many kids they're having. I love that - there is no better gift to a reader then getting to see past the HEA and seeing that things are still great. The men in these books are so alpha and swoon-worthy. And what's great is they know they love and want the woman pretty much from the beginning. There is no lamenting the loss of their "singledom". They know what they want, and once they make that choice there is no looking back. I also loved how the women were strong, capable characters, but that they were also respectful of their men and their alpha tendencies. They knew when to argue and when to listen. They knew how to keep their men in line, but also knew when to let them do their thing.
If you're into this trope then these are the perfect books for you. They were exactly what I needed during a particularly difficult week. Now I've moved on to her Talon Security series, and dare I say they are just as good. I'm so glad to have discovered a new author to binge. Read these books - you won't regret it.
A great end to the McCabe trilogy
I was lucky enough to be one of Julie's beta readers on what is the third and final instalment in her McCabe trilogy, Gage's story. This was so exciting for me because I've been looking forward to this one for awhile now - even though when we first meet Gage in My Hero, Caleb's story, I really didn't like him. He is, at the start of his journey, an arrogant bastard - hey...I see what Julie did there....
On a random, inconvenient trip to Key West, Gage happens upon a seaside restaurant and bar and overhears a conversation between the owners - one of them is desperate for money and needs to sell her majority share. For some reason, Gage is captivated by Luna, the owner who is being left behind. She's certainly beautiful, but he is also intrigued by the way she barely gives him the time of day. So this is what rejection feels like...hm...interesting. Going against his better judgement, he buys the place and just like that, Luna, the woman staring daggers at him whenever he is in the room, is his business partner.
Gage, more so than his brothers, has a long way to fall. He is what he is and makes no apologies for it. He is open about it and lives his life in a way that makes him happy. Or so he thinks. Really, he doesn't know what happiness is. He doesn't realize that he is kind of miserable. That is until he meets Luna and is drawn to her. Oh, he fights it, but finally, after a lot of reflection and back and forth, he acknowledges what he needs. Luna is what has been missing in his life. So, although his brothers really succumbed to insta-love, I think Gage had more of a shield built up around his heart. It took more than a look for him to fall, and going through his journey with him made for a fantastic book. Now he just has to convince Luna - who has walls of her own built up.
I think the best part of this book is Gage's inner dialogue. It is so honest and true, and makes the reader really feel for him and his struggle. He is a deep character, tailored by the tragic events of his past - more so than his brothers I think. Luna has faced nothing but obstacles in her young life - and at first, that's what Gage is, another obstacle to shove out of her way. But soon, she is starting to realize that maybe there is more to him than meets the eye.
This was a wonderful read and a great addition to Julie's McCabe series. And I can't wait to see more of her Nashville brothers, the McCabe cousins, coming soon.
Pretty Much a Perfect Romance
I listened to the audiobook of this, the sixth book in the Billionaire Boys Club series by Jessica Clare. First, let me congratulate myself for making it to book six in a series - not because this series isn't great, but because I have such ADD when it comes to reading! My attention always jumps to something else and I rarely finish a series. So Yay me! Now that that is out of the way, let me say that when it got to the second half of this book, I couldn't stop listening. In fact, I listened until 1:30 in the morning - and when I sleepily rolled out of bed a few hours later and got ready for work, I couldn't regret the fact. Because this book was so good!
In One Night with a Billionaire, we finish up Cade and Daphne's story, characters we have met before in the previous books in the series (so please do not go into this book hoping that it is a standalone, because it really isn't). But wait - Cade can't get with his childhood friend Daphne, the drugged out horrible popstar from previous books can he? Well, there's the rub. Does he or doesn't he? What if he has a one night stand with Daphne's make up artist, Kylie, and falls head over heels for her instead? Wouldn't that cause major complications? Well of course. But the story was worth the roller coaster of a ride.
We finally get to really know Cade in this book. He steps away from being the good, easy, placating guy he has always been in the past, and finally reaches for what he wants. He finally understands that sometimes you have to be a bit ruthless, you have to take charge, and if you really want something, you have to go after it. The good guy can win, but only if he acts a bit bad now and then. Kylie is such a sweet character, but boy is she damaged. Her insecurities really struck a cord with me. Cade has to chase her, and chase her, and chase her again. But the fact that he does, is so, so thrilling. It made me want to cheer.
The whole series of books in Clare's Billionaire Boys Club are good, including the two novellas, His Royal Princess and Beauty and the Billionaire: The Wedding. They are great escape stories about rich guys and the girls that win them over. They are happy stories and stress reducers for sure. Read them in order for a break from this world and you'll end up with a smile on your face. You'll be tired the next morning, but sometimes, it's worth it.
Anyone who has ever battled with mental illness - and yes, it can be a battle - knows how difficult it can be to talk about your struggles. It can be excruciatingly brutal to sit in a room and bare your soul to one stranger - and usually that stranger is licensed and trained and knows how to deal with your particular brand of crazy. But to go out on a limb, and release a book that details the darkest and most vulnerable parts of your soul, is incredibly, and awe-inspiringly brave. That is what Tessa James is with this book - astonishingly brave.
That being said, this book is definitely not for everyone. In fact the author herself warns this on the first page. The book contains triggers and can be difficult to get through. I myself, who suffer from anxiety and major depressive disorder, found it a challenge - first to pick up, then to finish. It is raw and exposes James, like a beating heart that is pulled out of the chest cavity. What I found more telling than the stories and the poetry, which were revealing in different ways, was the artwork that was scattered throughout. Very personal - some of it macabre and deeply unsettling, but it really added to the overall feel of the book.
From a technical standpoint, some of the book was a bit rough around the edges - it could have used a bit of a refining hand. But, if you look at this as the published pages of a personal journal, the roughness does lend a more authentic feel. And I think that those who will get the most out of this book won't mind a few editorial snubs.
Tessa, thank you for having the gumption to release such a piece of work - for those of us who have not yet found our voices. You let us know that we are not alone and in fact, there is hope after all.
Seeking Perfect was such a great find on Kindle Unlimited. We all know that KU is like the Winners of Amazon - you go to the big store and scour the sales racks hoping to find the real gems among the rhinestones. Sometimes you get lucky. Other times, not so much. But in this case, I was pleasantly surprised at finding and loving Bronson's debut novel. It handles tough topics with maturity and tact, and shows the consequences and effects that they can have on people. It's a sweet Cinderella-esque story, but it doesn't fall into the tired category. I really enjoyed this book, and I hope to see more from this author soon.
Seeking Perfect tells the story of 17 year old Jesse who lives a rather horrible existence with her alcoholic mother, and her mother's latest boyfriend, in a rundown trailer park on the outskirts of a small town. Jesse does her best to stay invisible in life. She doesn't make friends and doesn't do any type of relationship because she's so afraid of people finding out about her tragic home life. The only exception is her boss Charlotte and Charlotte's family - and they are only close to Jesse because they kind of wore her down over time. Jesse has some serious trust issues and baggage - she knows it, and everyone else does too. But one boy, popular basketball star Derek, can't seem to stay away from Jesse. He is drawn to her, and he wants to know more about her. He starts sitting with her at lunch and very slowly, he starts to break down the walls she has erected. Jesse and Derek embark on a sweet romance - but they have a lot of obstacles that stand in their way. Jesse's mom, rivals at high school, and even Jesse herself are determined to prove that their love story can't have a happy ending.
What I liked about this story was that Jesse's insecurities and trust issues truly plague her throughout the book - they aren't just brushed aside because the handsome boy pays attention to her. The reader is as frustrated with Jesse at times as Derek is. Derek is a realistic character. He has doubts as to how much he can handle from Jesse. While the romantic in me didn't want him to have any doubts, the realist appreciated the fact that a 17 year old boy probably would have a lot of worries and questions. I appreciated that Bronson did not shy away from this, even though it took a bit away from his Prince Charming pedigree.
All in all I was very satisfied with this book and the story that Bronson told. I read it quickly because I just couldn't put it down - which is the ultimate compliment I can give to a new author. Keep writing, Ms. Bronson because I really look forward to the next story you have to tell.
I think I have become obsessed with MC romances, and it is books like this one that have left me in this state. Running Hot is book 2 in J.L Sheppard's Hell Ryder's MC series - and you should really read book 1 - Running Wild - before you read this one. (Personally I feel you should always read a series in order, and that if a book is part of a series, it is never really "a standalone", but what do I know?)
In Running Hot, we get up close and oh-so-personal with Thomas "Cuss" Layne, the sapphire-eyed biker we met, and let's be honest, crushed on, in book 1. Cuss has been in love with Tiffany for seven years, ever since he first saw her when she was in high school. Since then he has been looking out for her, but he's never done more than that because he considers himself biker trash, and doesn't think he is good enough for her. Little does he know that Tiffany is head over heels in love with him too. Cuss finally decides to make a move and make Tiffany his after her father hires him to scare off a stalker she's been having trouble with. He realizes that he can't live without her. But how hard will it be to go from friends to something more? And will Cuss be able to convince himself that he's good enough for Tiffany?
Let me just say that the main draw for this book is that Cuss is just swoon worthy. He's a total badass, but when it comes to his girl, he is such a softie. There is a lot of will-they-won't-they, and misinterpretation between the two that does get a bit aggravating, but their love story is still so worth it to read. J.L. Sheppard writes men with such brimming emotion that as a reader, I was just captured. She also does a great job of introducing other plot elements that make you want to keep reading the series. So far there are four books about the Hell Ryders. I can only hope that she intends to write more.
Julie has done it again. She has taken characters we thought we were finished with, and brought them back into our hearts. In this short, but satisfying, epilogue to the I Love You series, we are reunited with Lexi and Rafe exactly one year after they said I Do. Rafe is still obsessed and overprotective and completely addicted to Lexi, and Lexi can't get enough of him either - although she does know how to handle him in her own way. Their obsessiveness only escalates when they decide to start trying for a baby. Rafe makes it his new mission to get her pregnant and Lexi is only too happy to let him try. And without spoiling anything, with the way those two go at it - it's only a matter of time before they start hearing the pitter patter of little feet.
This epilogue is like Lexi and Rafe's Hawaii paradise - it's perfect. It's long enough to give readers a healthy dose of the characters, it's sexy and steamy, it's heartwarming, and - quite frankly - it made me jealous - but in a good way. Who wouldn't want to catch a glimpse inside a Happily Ever After, only to discover that it is indeed happy? I also loved the mention of Max and Peach and their twins, and also the introduction to the Tucker brothers. Here's hoping we will get to read more on them soon.
Thank you Julie for being so kind to your fans. You know what we want and you give it to us. I can't wait to read more...so get writing!
Chantal Fernando really knows how to write bad boys. There is always more to her men than meets the eye, which is why I keep coming back to her books again and again.
In See No Evil, part one, we meet Sylar and the girl who sees through his rough exterior to the good man within, Bree. Bree has been hurt before, and she's not looking to get hurt again. But there is something about Sylar that draws her in. When he starts coming into her coffee shop looking a little the worse for wear, she finds herself curious about him - not only because his appearance tends to draw people's stares, but because of his eyes, and the way he looks at her. Sylar knows he is dangerous for Bree - not only because of his past, but because he truly does not believe that he is good enough for her. He believes that his soul is tainted, and he is tortured by this. He wants Bree, but he doesn't want to soil her. Despite this, the two start spending time together, and they fall hard. But can Sylar keep his dark past from catching up with him and from destroying his and Bree's newfound happiness? Can Sylar get out of his head and admit that he deserves happiness too, so that he doesn't try to push Bree away?
I read parts one and two of this story back to back, mainly because part one ends on a cliffhanger. Both parts are really short too, so it was basically like reading two novellas. I really enjoyed the story as a whole, although I wish that we could have learned a bit more about Sylar's past. When he has to go back to handle some business at one point, it's very glossed over, which is a shame because the story was getting very interesting. I understand that Fernando wanted to focus on the romance, but I think we could have had a bit of both, and still been happy. Still, Sylar and Bree's story is a sweet one, and one I think you should check out.
My Hero by Julie Capulet is the second book in the McCabe brothers trilogy of novellas. I reviewed an ARC of My Hero in exchange for an honest review.
Now, while I loved Hopeless Romantic, Bo’s story – I LOVED Caleb’s story. Like, insert all the capital letters here. All of them. Once again, we have a love and lust at first site between the two characters. But I felt like Caleb and Violet had more intense obstacles to overcome, mainly Caleb’s PTSD. A returning soldier, Caleb is suffering intense guilt and trauma over surviving, whereas several of his fellow soldiers, including his best friend, did not. He suffers from nightmares and depression and worries that he’ll hurt Violet without meaning to. I loved the attention paid to this serious problem in this story. I feel as though PTSD is often ignored, even today – when there is not as much of a stigma with mental illness. We need to pay more attention and get victims of PTSD the help they need.
I found Caleb to be such a sincere and meaningful character. Sure, he’s a swoon-worthy hunk, there’s no denying that. But there is so much more to him than that. Capulet creates a deep and intense character in just a short time. I also liked that we got to meet the third McCabe brother, Gage, which sets us up for his story, which is coming next. I think the only thing I can say is, I’m sorry there are only three McCabe brothers. If there were more…we’d get more stories.
I really recommend this story, and the series on a whole. Instead of 5 stars, I’m giving it 5 hearts. Yup. I went there.