Suspense and Romance and Feels - wrapped up in an attractive package
I was very excited to receive an ARC from NetGalley and Give Me Books Promotions in exchange for an honest review. I love Chantal Fernando. In fact, she’s the author that introduced me to the hot MC world with her Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club books. Let’s just say, since then, I’ve become a bit obsessed with the MC world.
In Fernando’s newest release, Custom Built, a spin off from her Knights of Fury MC series, we meet Bronte. Note, Custom Built can be read as a standalone. I haven’t yet read the Knights books and I didn’t feel lost. The book is from Bronte’s perspective, so when we are missing info, chances are, she is too. But, because there are so many characters from the Knights, I fully intend to go back and read those books next, just to expand my knowledge, and of course, to read about those hot MC boys she writes so well.
Bronte is having probably the worst year of her life. She’s having health problems, she just lost her job, and nothing seems to be going her way. She is lucky enough to get an admin job at a custom motorcycle shop. Sure, she knows nothing about motorcycles, but how hard can it be? The job itself is easy enough, but soon she finds herself at odds with Crow, her boss, and a member of the Knights of Fury MC. Crow, who is of course drop dead gorgeous, is also broody and standoffish - but only to Bronte it seems. She’s not sure what she did to get on his bad side, but it definitely rubs her the wrong way. Soon though, when Bronte finds herself in the centre of a murder conspiracy, much to her surprise, Crow is there for her, along with the rest of the Knights MC and the women who love them.
I really felt for Bronte and everything she goes through. She’s a strong and determined character. The romance between her and Crow was sweet and sexy. He’s such a great character - swoon-worthy for sure. If I was missing anything, I would say it was not seeing a bit from Crow’s perspective. I always like to get in the guy’s head. Unfortunately we only ever see things from Bronte’s point of view. In fact, she should have probably been on the book cover instead of Crow…but looking at it again, maybe I should stop complaining.
This book kept me interested and pulled me in quickly and I look forward to more in the Fury world. Fans of Veronica Mars will like it too since there is the mystery / PI aspect to it. Custom Built releases today - go download it now!
Take out the fans ladies - the sexy times in this book are explosive!
I was so excited to receive an ARC of Lani in exchange for an honest review. I’ve been waiting for this book since Lani and her men were introduced in her brother’s book Techy, and this book did not disappoint. It was so worth the wait. Lani is the 6th instalment of Ashers’ Devil Souls MC series. It can be read as a standalone, but my advice, if you really want to get the whole effect, is to read her books in order of publication date. They all exist in the same universe and there are a ton of cameos by previous characters, so it’s great to experience it the way the author intended. But, if you want to just start with Lani, that’s okay too.
Lani is a plus sized model in LA. She has some trouble with a stalker and so returns home to Texas where her parents live. She is through with modelling and wants to plan out her next step in life. Before she can really make any big decisions, she meets Trey and Vinny, two men in her brother Techy’s MC. It is definitely lust at first sight but there are also some deeper feelings that lead Lani to accept their offer to go home with them - and not just for the night. Hey, why not? Would you really say no if two extremely hot men asked you to be with them? What if they also offered you their protection - from stalkers, from fans, and from rabid religious folk who don’t like the idea of a thrupple? Yes, I used that term - deal with it.
Lani moves to Raleigh where Trey, Vinny and her brother live. What I loved about this book is that, although she faces some resentment and disgust by some of the people she meets who don’t like the idea of a woman with two men, men who also happen to be in a relationship together, Lani’s brother and parents and the other members of the MC are completely accepting. Her brother, who has always been protective of her, doesn’t even question the fact that she goes to live with two of his friends. It was so refreshing to see! I found the romance very sweet as well. It is not just about Lani being adored by two men. The three of them care about each other. We see how protective Trey is in regards to both Lani and Vinny. They are all three great characters. And although there is the element of Lani’s stalker to worry about, we also get into Vinny’s complicated past which causes problems and threats of its own.
I found the book exciting to read - I could hardly put it down. And boy oh boy, is it steamy. As far as I know, this is LeAnn’s first foray into threesome territory and I really hope she writes more! I laughed, I cried, but most of all, I enjoyed this book. I really think you will too. Thank you to @leann_ashers and @heaprmore for the ARC. Lani is set to release on December 8th. Preorder your copy today!
Super Cute Romantsy Manga - What We All Need Right Now
If you like cute, romantic Manga, this is a great choice for you. As expected, the artwork was really cute and the story was sweet. But what really got me in the feels is that the love story is between two girls, and there is the question of misinterpreting friendship and adoration for romantic love. What do you do when you have feelings for someone, but it’s hard to tell if they like you back in the same way? Is it more difficult for two girls because it is more acceptable for girls to hang out and go on “dates” as friends? This Manga explores this question and pulls the reader right in.
In this first volume of Whisper Me a Love Song, we meet Himari, a first year in high school. Himari is cute, bubbly, and enthusiastic - maybe a bit too enthusiastic. She definitely shows her emotions clearly for the world to see. On the first day of school, she sees an older girl singing in a band and becomes enamoured with her. She meets the shy, loner singer, Yori, and basically goes all fangirl on her. Yori thinks that when Himari says she loves her, that she means romantic love. We discover that Yori feels the same way, but then she has to question whether she is mistaking Himari’s feelings.
I was drawn to Yori from the start. She is quiet, shy and nervous about her talent. Himari was a bit too much for me to take - but perhaps that is the point. I think this book is perfect for younger teens, and it may help them answer questions they might be asking themselves about love and friendship. I did find there were some Japanese cultural references that went over my head. Luckily there is a very helpful glossary in the back that explains certain unfamiliar terms. I look forward to continuing the story in the second volume, and I think anyone who reads this will feel the same. Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Lions, and Wolves and Bears...Oh My! Yes...I went there.
I’m not usually one for paranormal romance. I’ve read a few, but I tend to prefer books that are more or less based in reality...even if most of the fictitious males I read are pure fantasy, haha. I decided to try this one out because it is written by LeAnn Ashers, under her pen name Teagan Wilde, and for the past three weeks, I’ve been obsessed with her books. Ashers writes excellent Alpha males and in Damon, we see her most Alpha hero yet. Ashers’ creates a Shifter world that is fascinating and well put together, filled with packs of humans who can turn into a specific animal. In it, shifters can be wolves, bears or feline, as well as coyotes and hyenas. They have a specific mate that is created for them, and only them. They cannot be touched by another without feeling pain. Essentially you’re looking at a bunch of hormonal virgins running around, waiting to be struck by Cupid’s bow so they can find their soulmate. This might not sound great, but the instalove and pheromonal aspect of it all is sexy AF. When they meet their mate, boom - that’s it. They are lost - or found, as it were.
In Damon, we meet Ferran, a shifter wolf who is threatened by a rogue shifter who used to belong to her pack. He wants to mate with her, even though they are not matches for each other. At a loss as to how to protect her, her alpha sends her to a new pack of strong males where her brother is beta, or second in command. Little does Ferran know, when she meets Damon, she will find her mate. Damon is everything that an alpha should be. He is protective and caring and strong and a fighter. He is very powerful and can control his pack completely- but he does it in a fair way. I loved seeing how he treated Ferran as his alpha female. They make a perfect pairing. He vows to protect her from the rogue shifter, and she vows to help him build his pack and bring them to the modern age. Together, they face threats to their pack, and threats specifically to Ferran. They bring others into the fold, and work towards making their pack the strongest it can be.
I really liked the romance of the story, and the action scenes were well done. I liked the inclusivity of the pack - they accept mixed breeds and gay couples which is really interesting. I’m hoping that we get to see more about this group and that Ashers writes more books in the series soon. I was left wanting more, which is exactly what an author strives for. I think I’ll go look deeper into the shifter genre now and see what else is out there. As long as I get to read about more hot alphas, I’m definitely game!
Swept away by this Storm
Okay, you might think I would be turned off by a love interest with a name like Storm - Storm Valentine. And this is his real name mind you, not a nickname or stage name. Well...you’d be wrong! I’m totally feeling it, haha. Of course, it helps that he is a totally hot, badass character. We’re not talking a nerd type like Louis from Ghostbusters (Thank God). No, Storm is big, muscular, tattooed, a musician - in my head I pictured a Jason Mamoa type - but you feel free to change it up to your preference. The other bit of nudge nudge wink wink the author plays with is that the main characters meet by chance in the middle of a snowstorm. I know - a bit on the nose. But if you just let that go, this book really will sweep you away.
This is the first in Cole’s Ashes and Embers series of rockstar romances. We meet Evelyn, who is an anxious, neurotic mess. She gets lost on her way to a work conference, her car gets stuck and Storm finds her in the snow. They go to his truck only to crash and get stuck together for 2 days until the storm passes, their only chaperone - Storm’s dog. Talk about a Meet Cute. I like beginnings like this because the characters are in forced proximity with each other and can’t escape. They are forced to learn about each other and they both have an impact on the other. Storm realizes there’s something about Evelyn - underneath all her complicated layers - and he wants to pursue her. The only problem - she’s been in a long term relationship with someone for 12 years and has no plans to break up with her childhood sweetheart - no matter how drawn to Storm she is, or how much she is starting to notice the flaws in her current relationship.
The author does a really good job of showing us Evelyn’s internal turmoil. She doesn’t just throw caution to the wind and jump into Storm’s muscular, tattooed arms. She torments herself for even thinking of it. And yes, at some points throughout the book, I was shouting at her to “wake the bleep up!” but I think the slow burn between Evelyn and Storm in this case is actually really great. Storm is a complex character, and really, he’s very sweet. At one point he takes care of Evelyn when she is sick and it’s pretty darn swoon-worthy.
I think you should definitely pick up this book. Cole was a new author to me and I will definitely be coming back for more.
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.