Captured Memories by Katherine McIntyre

A second chance at love. Can Liv and Zane overcome their troubled pasts to find love with each other, or will it be too heavy a burden to bear?

What’s it About?


After the incident that caused Liv Morozov to drop out of college, years later she’s still trying to pick up the pieces of her life. She’s managed to carve out a career for herself as a photographer, but when it comes to guys? Her issues send them running for the hills, every damn time. Zane Parata has declared himself off-limits for relationships. Between trying to maintain sobriety and the long hours he works as a chef, no one wants to deal with his brand of damage, and he wouldn’t want to burden them in the first place.

When Liv shows up at Cupid’s Café, she never expected to find Zane, her brother’s former best friend who had vanished one day and never returned. The sparks that surged when they were both teens rekindle stronger than ever, and all too fast, Liv and Zane entangle in each other’s lives, breaking their own rules. Except with both struggling with the demons from their past, the love that’s begun to grow is one lapse away from shattering the two of them beyond repair.

First Impressions

I feel like there is one quote from this novel which perfectly encapsulate the power of the love story being told: “I’m never going to be an easy choice.” Here’s why this sentiment, and the tale love presented to us in this book is absolute perfection. Their love is intense, it’s raw, and most importantly, it…is…real. This story shows us how life is full of unexpected challenges, and to be quite frank, it can be an absolute bitch at times. However, while these external forces can sometimes test the relationship of our lead couple, they never break it. This isn’t one of those romance novels where a simple misunderstanding causes an unnecessary amount of drama, and results in our lovers spending time apart. Oh no. These characters fight for each other, and hold the other up if they’re ever at risk of falling down.


These two have also been through hell and back. They are scarred lead characters who have experienced emotional and physical turmoil in their pasts. But they don’t just love each other in spite of these troubled pasts, they love who the other person is because of how these experiences have shaped them into who they are today. “I’m never going to be an easy choice” shows that their lives might be complicated, they might be thrown a couple of curve balls along the way, but in the end they will always choose the other. I’ve got all the goosebumps here people!


An Unbreakable Bond

I think the reason I enjoyed this tale of love between Liv and Zane so much is that the novel primarily just focuses on them. Sure, we are introduced to a few supplemental characters along the way, but for the most part we are encapsulated in a little Liv/Zane bubble that you never want to see burst. They are aware pretty early on in the book when they meet again after so many years that a LOT has happened during that time apart. Liv was raped in college, which impacts the physical relationship these two start up pretty quickly. Zane is a recovering alcoholic who still feels the constant pull of the bottle.


While some would run away from getting romantically involved with another person with such deep-rooted issues, these two refuse to be scared off. Zane does remain convinced for a large portion of the novel that it’s just a matter of time before Liv realizes how messed up he truly is and hightails it out of there, but he’s going to embrace every possible moment he can between now and when that day might come. In addition, he vows to take things at her own pace, refusing to rush her into a physical relationship before she’s ready.


A Tough Road Ahead

I also loved that this novel demonstrates how past experiences such as theirs won’t simply be forgotten and magically healed forever by the power of love. Even after they build up to the point where Liv is ready to have sex with Zane, she asks him to realize that there might be a moment down the road where she could be triggered to flinch or push away from his touch.


At the same time, Zane’s reality is that while he might attend AA meetings multiple times a week, and go for long periods of time without drinking, there will be times where the allure of the alcohol could force him to take a step back from socializing. And they both get it!! They understand when others won’t. They realize that life can be a constant struggle for some people, but they’re there to help and support each other. LOOOVE!

A Step Away From Perfection

At this point I think you can tell I really enjoyed this novel, and while I think the love story described is damn near perfection, I must admit there were a few flaws. The first I consider to be the main flaw, and the one I found to be the most perplexing. The impetus for Live and Zane to reconnect after so many years is that they both receive a cryptic invitation to visit Cupid’s Café where, “an admirer looks forward to meeting you”. Zane is humorously intrigued, and decides why the hell not? Liv is convinced she’s being taunted by her former rapist, and goes to confront him. When they both show up and their eyes lock through the crowded café the rest, as they say, is history.


But that my friends is the flaw. The rest is history. Who the hell sent them these letters?!?! We never find out. There’s no clue or suggestion if it’s one of their friends, a matchmaking café proprietor, or just the cosmos being all funky. I was absolutely shocked that our lead characters never even bother to discuss it with each other. Now, I will say that this is the third book in this Cupid’s Café series, so maybe the one sending invitations is presented in a previous novel? Maybe it will finally be a big reveal when the series comes to a close? I don’t know but give me something!!!!

Waiting for No One

The one other flaw was relatively minor all things considered, and in the end sort of turned into a positive. Our novel opens with Liv on a date from hell, which abruptly ends when she hears the trill of her date’s phone and it immediately reminds her of the night she was raped. When she returns home to find a mystery envelope inviting her to meet someone from her past she’s immediately convinced it can be only one man, her rapist. Her reason for going was decidedly to finally find justice after so many years. Instead, she finds Zane waiting for her.


Throughout the whole novel I kept waiting for the inevitable scene where Liv and Zane would be confronted with this man from her past. So imagine my surprise when it never comes! No glimpse from across the street, or even a more intense confrontation, nothing! Now, in hindsight I’m actually happy we were never presented with a threatening scene between Liv and her rapist. I think that scenario, combined with Zane confronting his own struggle with alcoholism, would have made the whole plot seem too artificially orchestrated. I guess I just would have preferred that it wasn’t implied at the outset that it could have been a possibility. I sort of felt like I was anticipating something I had no need to worry about for the whole book!


*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Cupid’s Café, book 3. I kind of want to go back and read the first few novels from this series to see if I missed out on our mystery letter writer inviting our lovebirds to Cupid’s Café.

Should you read it? This is an emotional roller coaster of a read that shows you just how powerful, yet difficult love can be. While I definitely loved both of these characters, I personally found Liv to be truly inspirational. She survived a trying ordeal, and was brave enough to share what happened with Zane even though she thought it would put distance between them. Then when Zane experiences a relapse with his alcoholism she chooses to stand by him and refuses to give up even when Zane tries to convince her that she’d be better off without him. It’s such a refreshing contrast to your typical romance novel drama.

Smut Level: Liv and Zane recognize that after all these years their bodies still crave each other, though this sparked attraction is put slightly on hold after Liv experiences a trigger from her rape. But Zane sticks by her side and is willing to take things slow. Just because it’s slow, don’t think it isn’t delectable!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.03 Kindle Price. After Glows Publishing. 200 Pages.



Hardpressed by Meredith Wild

“I don’t know what it was about him pinning me up against hard surfaces, but I fucking loved it”. Amen sister!

What’s it About? hardpressed

Despite Blake Landon’s controlling ways, the young and wealthy hacker finally won the trust of the woman he loves. Internet entrepreneur Erica Hathaway broke down the walls that kept her from opening her heart and her business to Blake. Ready to start this new chapter in her life, Erica is determined not to let anything come between them, even if that means giving Blake back some of the control he craves in and out of the bedroom. But when demons from her past threaten their future, Erica makes a decision that could change their lives forever.

First Impressions

If I had to describe this book in three words or less it would be “frustrating as fuuuuuuuuuck”. Apologies, pardon my language, but what can I say? I’m frustrated!!! This is one of those novels where it seems like all of the drama, unhappiness and mayhem could have just disappeared in a poof if Erica had managed to open her mouth and share what was going on with Blake. Now I know, having the drama end all within the span of a chapter doesn’t make for a very exciting read. But in my mind, that means it doesn’t make for a very decent plot when you can resolve it all so quick and easy if the lead character acted in any way like a normal person would. Maybe add another dimension to it so that I don’t constantly want to pull my hair out and scream out loud, “JUST TELL HIM WHAT’S GOING ON!!!!” The fact I listened to this as an audio book primarily on my walks to and from work meant that I was constantly on the verge of looking like a psycho. Nobody wants that people!


Feel the Pressure

One of the minor frustrating aspects of this novel revolved around Blake and Erica’s sexual relationship. It’s basically a continuation of what was presented in book one, with them running in circles like a greyhound chasing a mechanized bunny at the race-track. He’s used to non-vanilla type sex, where domination is the name of the game, and he’s the master of his bedroom. However, Blake is hesitant to fully dominate her since she was raped years before. He’s worried he’ll take things too far and they won’t be able to come back from it. Surprisingly, we see that Erica is actually the one pressuring Blake to take their sexual adventures to the next level. He desires total submission and she wants to give him that.


The problem here is that both are so set on taking things to the extreme. She’s urging him to go all out in the bedroom, and he’s concerned going all out will trigger a panic attack for her. Whatever happened to baby steps people?! Like, you don’t have to go straight from missionary position in unique locations to being blindfolded, handcuffed, and spanked at the same time all in one go. Maybe have a slow and seductive introduction to the d/s lifestyle so that Blake doesn’t have to worry about taking things too far, and Erica can get used to a new side of sex she hasn’t seen before. Slow and steady wins the race folks! You need to learn how to tie the knot before stringing up your lover to the bedpost.


Squashed Potential

The first quarter or so of this book was pretty dull, as it just dealt with Erica setting up her new business, and navigating her sexual relationship with Blake. And then we get a dramatic plot twist that I must admit I did NOT see coming. There was sooooo much potential here for the book to go in an entirely new direction with some depth and suspense thrown in. Unfortunately, this opportunity was pretty much squandered, as Erica draws together almost every stereotype of being a frustrating lead character. Now, I don’t want to give away this plot twist since it was undoubtedly the most interesting part of the novel. However, I will say that with this twist a character demands Erica break up with Blake, or else there is the implication that physical harm will come to him. So what does she do? She keeps her mouth shut about this external threat to Blake, instead choosing to end things between them.


If Blake were just your average Joe Schmoe I miiiiight get why she didn’t want to draw him into her drama. Here’s the problem though. Blake is like, a gazillionaire. If Erica had just said, yo this person is threatening us as a couple, any thoughts? He probably could have hired a swarm of bodyguards, private investigators, and a swat team to resolve the matter. But instead Erica has to go and play the martyr, falling on her sword to give up her happiness with Blake to live in misery. Eventually he does find a way to weasel his way back into her panties, and it took a loooooong time for us to finally get there. And when we do? Blake has not only one option to resolve all her drama, but two! Just goes to show that working together as a couple, and opening up to your partner with the truth can make it so much easier to confront a threat than having to do it all on your own.


Series: Hacker, book 2. This is a pretty meh series so far.

Should you read it? Really the only positive I can give with this one is the early plot twist, but unfortunately it just drags on and on before eventually going nowhere. Erica frustrated me to no end, especially considering how many times she pushed Blake away even though he was begging her to let him in and help. Makes it hard to sympathize with her woes when she’s being so stubborn.

Smut Level: They’re still in the introductory phase of the BDSM lifestyle. Blake enjoys his dirty talk, but you can tell he’s still hesitant to let his hand loose completely.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $6.99 Kindle Price. Hachette Book Group. 312 Pages.

Love Me Only by Hebby Roman

From the elegant ballrooms of Mexico City, to the mosquito-filled swamps of the jungle, this novel takes us on an adventure to discover the wild unknowns in Mexico’s mountains.

What’s it About? 


A stranger in a strange land, her father murdered, Diana McFarland must protect her father’s secret formula, the only legacy she has. One thing stands in her way–darkly handsome Seguin Torres, a man who wants the formula for himself. For Seguin, the formula is a way to avenge himself against the man who stole his birthright, but convincing Diana to part with it will prove almost as difficult as resisting his attraction to her. Betrayed by his family, Seguin doesn’t believe in love and marriage. As Mexico erupts into civil war, Seguin is honor-bound to protect Diana from his unscrupulous stepfather and the ravages of war. But their flight across the war-torn countryside is fraught with danger, as well as the challenge of their growing passion. Can Seguin get Diana to safety and let her go, or will their love overcome all the dangers and change Seguin’s heart?

First Impression

Arriving in a new city where you don’t really speak the language can be a challenge. Arriving in that city to discover that your father has been murdered, and that his scarred killer is still on the loose with some unsavory stalkerish tendencies? Ummmm yeah where the hell can I book the fastest train outta here? Let’s make it snappy people!! Thankfully for everyone, our heroine proves to be braver than I, as she sticks around in Mexico to try and discover what happened to her father. This is when the devilishly handsome former business partner of her father comes into play. Can she trust this man who seems dedicated to protecting her? Or did he have a hand in killing her father to get at his secret silver mining formula? Such intrigue. This historical drama definitely draws you in from the get-go, as we see Diana navigate through this new world which can be lavish yet harsh at the same time. The fact she’s a woman in a man’s world makes her all the braver. By the end of the novel though, we find ourselves venturing into a completely different and uncharted territory. Quite literally.



Murder and Mining Mayhem

Looking at this book as a whole, it almost seems to be two separate books thrown into one. In the first half, we see the immediate repercussions and mystery surrounding the murder of Diana’s father, as well as her attempts to stand up for herself and her mother in the face of the dashing Seguin. He’s intent on purchasing her father’s silver mining formula, and after a series of unfortunate circumstances Diana is the only one who knows her father’s formula by memory. I must say I absolutely adored the scenes where we get to see Diana and Seguin go head to head over the formula. They seem like equals in smarts, tenacity, and their simmering sexual attraction doesn’t hurt things too much either.

Catherine Zeta-Jones And Antonio Banderas In Romantic Mood-720x405

A Stroll Through the Mountains

I must say I did prefer the first half of the novel more than the latter half where we see Seguin, Diana, and a small group of friends wade through the unknown dangers of the jungle in an attempt to escape back to America following an outbreak of war in the city. The fact that the murderer is hot on their heels, not to mention the man who orchestrated the whole thing (Seguin’s stepfather) is also in tow makes their journey all the more desperate. Although this is the part of the novel where Diana and Seguin give in to their lustful inhibitions, it’s also where we get a lot of scenes with a lot of walking. And walking. And having sex on a sacrificial altar in an abandoned ancient city. And more walking.


It was at this point where I even had to think back and ask, wait, how did this story start again? Oh right, father’s murder. While everything does eventually come full circle at the last possible moment of the book, I couldn’t help but feel that as a whole the various story lines at play were a tad disjointed. While I don’t think the book necessarily has to be split into two separate novels completely, I think a few less jungle wandering scenes, and maybe even a distinct marker for Part 1: the City and Part 2: the Wild could have helped things. It may have better prepared the reader for the fact we were switching gears to a vastly different landscape that juxtaposes the comforts and opulence from part one. Just a thought!


Miss Independent

Another surprising feature of this novel which was divided in two was the romance. We don’t get just one love story, but two! The first is obviously between Seguin and Diana. Both try to hold off on delving deeper into their initial attraction to each other. For Diana, not only had her father just died, but she wonders if Seguin has something to do with it. Kind of understandable why she’d be hesitant to try anything more. When it comes to Seguin, well he’s basically distrustful of all women. Normally when we see this in a romance it’s because of a former failed relationship with a lover. In his case, it instead had to do with his failed relationship with his mother, which they were never able to fully mend before her death. Complicated is an understatement.

Lord John Grey Claire Fraser Outlander 312

It’s when we transition to the jungle trek that both Seguin and Diana decide they can’t keep their hands off each other anymore. While I’m always a fan of a good ole romp, I must say I preferred their earlier flirtations in the city. Early on in the novel, Diana has spunk, sass, and the cojones to stand up to Seguin. In the latter half though we see Diana become increasingly dependent on Seguin, and even takes to begging him to “love me only”. Not gonna lie, I missed her tenacity and sense of independence.


Switching Back and Forth

Our second romance is between Diana’s best friend, Sarah, and Seguin’s half-brother, Gilberto. This had more of the feeling of a classic historical romance. They fall quickly for each other after dancing at a ball, and he must prove that he only has eyes for Sarah. Even if it seems every other woman in the city has eyes for him. It’s practically swoon worthy! But here was my problem with it. I can’t say it was entirely necessary. At least, it could have been incorporated more methodically into the story. When the novel starts we are so enraptured with what might develop between Diana and Seguin, but when Diana is forced to bed rest following a rib injury, we suddenly switch gears completely to focusing on Sarah and Gilberto instead. Our other couple essentially disappears from the story completely to the point where I wondered if we’d even see a conclusion to their tale.


When we do eventually switch focus back to Seguin and Diana’s relationship, then we see our other couple get pushed to the background. It’s almost like they couldn’t completely coexist, though I will say the love story between Sarah and Gilberto does have implications on all of our characters, and the progression of the story. However, I think I almost would have preferred if maybe the focus had instead been more on Diana and Seguin, as well as our half-brothers trying to mend their troubled relationship. Then at the end we could have had an insinuation that Sarah and Gilberto were googly eyes for each other. It may have helped to create a more cohesive story, rather than having two love stories taking place in one book.


An Enchanting Landscape

There were two aspects of this novel which completely fascinated me. The first dealt with the historical aspect. This is definitely the first romance novel I’ve ever read which has focused on this time period in history, and it definitely caught my interest. The main reason being, I had zero idea what really came to pass during that time in Mexico’s history, so I had no idea how the historical events could possibly impact the rest of the story. It wasn’t like reading a romance set during the Civil War or WWII, where I know the standard start and end dates, as well as the general progression of the battle timeline. In this case though? It was a total learning process, and one that I’d love to research more fully. Personally I blame my high school’s lack of world history courses. I remember there was only one Global History course offered during my entire high school career, and it conflicted with my French class. Sooooo, yeah, I need to brush up on my history of Mexico.


The other feature of the novel which was described to perfection was the landscape. I could practically taste the champagne of the royal ball, feel the itch of the mosquitoes from the swamp, and feel the exhaustion of climbing through the countryside. It’s easy to get lost in the description of each scene, as you can picture the beauty and harsher aspects of the setting. Hell, when Diana and Seguin come across an abandoned city in the midst of the jungle you can practically feel the cold stone of the sacrificial altar digging into your back when Seguin worships Diana’s body in the physical sense. Oh my, definitely need to fan myself off here a moment.



*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Stand-Alone

Should you read it? While I did prefer the first half of the novel, everything does come together for an exciting climax. The historical period of the book was fascinating, and I’m simply intrigued to learn more. Although I’m definitely a fan of romance, I think I would have preferred one less romantic story line here so that more of a focus was on Diana and Seguin. As it stands, there was almost a conflict of sorts in the middle of the book for who the main characters actually are. Replacing that second romance with a focus on Gilberto and Seguin fixing their strained relationship is something I might have preferred to see.

Smut Level: Sarah and Gilberto have a few passionate kisses, and an eventual quick love scene in a thatched hut. Diana and Seguin definitely heat things up a bit, with a descriptive make-out scene in a mining vault, and even a rough coupling on a sacrificial altar. Proving once and for all that even historical romances can have a slightly raunchy side.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Estrella Publishing. 353 Pages.

Escape from Behruz by Judy Meadows

Rashid will do anything to get the love of his life out of a country about to be ripped apart by rebellion. Little does he know he’s also rescuing his son in the process. And a widdle baby Lhasa Apso puppy!

What’s it About?


Rashid will help Olivia and the baby she’s been caring for escape the violence in Behruz, but he must guard his heart. He can’t risk being hurt by her again. Olivia has her own reasons for keeping her distance from Rashid. If he learns that the baby is actually hers—and his—she will lose everything that matters to her. Their escape involves traveling with nomads across the mountains into Iran. As they trek together by day and sleep beside each other in a nomad tent at night, the attraction that has always drawn them to each other grows ever stronger. Can Olivia survive the trip without revealing her secrets and without losing her heart to Rashid once again?

First Impressions

When Rashid first arrives on the scene to rescue Olivia she is quite hesitant to go with him. After all, this is the man who deserted her two years before to supposedly marry another woman. Her brother-in-law, Abu-Khan, is also insistent that the growing tension in the country will soon be squandered, and rebellion is not a risk, so why leave? Now, I will admit it was kind of easy to see Olivia as…well…exceedingly naive. She seems to be placing more trust in a despot ruler who once tried to take advantage of her rather than the former love of her life. Not to mention the fact that more and more of her American newspapers aren’t being delivered. Maybe the political situation in the country is more distraught than he’d have you believe? However, with time we come to understand the extreme pressure Olivia was under following Rashid’s departure years before.


He left her pregnant (unbeknownst to him), with no word of how to get in touch with him, and it was during this depressing time that Olivia’s sister and brother-in-law convince her to allow them to adopt her son, Jamal, after he’s born. Following her sister’s untimely death, Olivia is left alone with no one but her son, and even then she must pretend as though he’s her nephew. It’s a dynamic web of emotion! Love, betrayal, anger. When Rashid returns and vows to get Olivia and Jamal out of the country by any means necessary, we see how her decision to follow Rashid denotes a level of trust that she could only place in the greatest love of her life. But why did he leave years before? How will he react to discovering Jamal is actually his son? Will they all make it to the border in one piece? And how will they manage to share one tent when all of the lust and passion they’ve suppressed the past two years comes bubbling up to the surface? Should make for an interesting road trip!


A Son in the Shadows and a Missing Villain

There are two characters in this novel who were underutilized. The first is Jamal. I think the main issue here was his age in that he’s only two years old. While he was still an unbelievably adorable child, his young age and lack of speaking ability means that we never get to hear his side of the story upon discovering the true identity of his father. Instead, this emotional connection between father and son is one-sided, as we only get to see Rashid’s opinion on the matter. In addition, Jamal is not really present for a majority of the story. While he is always in the same vicinity as Rashid and Olivia, he’s often passed off to be looked after by one of their nomad friends. I could definitely see the plus side in this as it gives mommy and daddy some sexy alone time, but I just would have liked to see a bit more incorporation of Jamal’s character into the family unit.


Another character who I would have liked to see a bit more from was Abu-Khan. In the beginning, he is presented as our overarching villain. A ruthless and heartless man who has his eyes set on making Olivia his. The threat of his reach is still felt as they all flee into the mountains. Throughout the novel I kept waiting for Abu-Khan to somehow make a reappearance. Perhaps his soldiers will discover them, or he’ll be slyly waiting for them at the border with an evil grin on his face. Turns out…not so much. The final drama doesn’t come about until the last 10% of the novel, and even then unfortunately we aren’t privy to the final standoff between Rashid and Abu-Khan. It all happens “off-screen”, and is seemingly resolved quickly without much issue. It’s almost like there was an attempt to humanize Abu-Khan’s character at the end. I guess I would have preferred to see him go full villain, or for us to at least witness a sensitive side to his personality. As it stands, his character felt too disjointed.


A Beautiful Landscape of People

Two aspects of this novel were above and beyond fantabulous, and those would be the scenery and the people. Firstly, the description of the landscape was indescribably beautiful. You can practically picture the sweeping beauty of the mountains. The second standout feature I really enjoyed was the people who helped our family make their escape. They represent the epitome of kindness, friendship and hospitality. We are provided a glimpse of a nomadic culture that is fascinating to discover, and I wish I could have learned even more. It would have been incredible if we’d had a few panoramic photos of both the landscape, as well as the outfits and living spaces of the people who inhabit this seemingly majestic environment. Look at me, I’m almost 30 and here I am still hoping for pretty pictures in my books. Oh well, nothing a simple Google search can’t fix!


*A copy of this book was presented for an honest review*

Series: Stand-alone

Should you read it? This novel presents us with a troubled country on the brink of rebellion, but the main focus is on Rashid and Olivia rekindling their love for each other. While the description of the mountainous landscape is top notch, I would have liked to see more depth to the dialogue, as well as more attention on the background between Rashid and Olivia. Their love affair years before, in addition to their long-standing friendship, was somewhat glossed over. I think if we had been give more info on how they first met, became friends and fell in love, it could have made their eventual split and reunion all the more emotional. I also would have preferred to see more incorporation of their son into the tale.

Smut Level: This couple has two years of missed moments to make up for, and they want to take advantage of it all. From a small river make out to sharing a sleeping bag on more than one occasion, they are rediscovering each other all over the place. Not an excessive amount of erotic detail though.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 208 Pages.

Beyond the Mist by Casi McLean

Traveling through time with the determination to save one, but the temptation to save thousands.

What’s it About? 


Piper Taylor concedes she’ll never fall in love, until a treacherous storm spirals her into the arms of the handsome Nick Cramer. Unrelenting remorse over a past relationship haunts Nick, but he can’t deny the mysterious connection and hot desire Piper evokes. The allure of a secret portal hidden beneath Atlanta’s Lake Lanier tempts him into seizing the opportunity to change his mistakes. But his time slip triggers consequences beyond his wildest dreams. Can Piper avoid the international espionage and terrorism of 2001 New York, find Nick, and bring him home before he alters the fabric of time, or will the lovers drift forever Beyond the Mist?

First Impressions

We all remember the date. We all remember where we were. For me, it was the end of my 9th grade English class, September 11, 2001 when our class learned that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I remember not knowing what the World Trade Center was, having never heard of it before in my small suburban Ohio town. I remember watching the news on TV during my 3rd period History class, with my classmates talking incessantly behind me as they reveled in the fact that we were skipping the day’s lesson, when the second plane hit. Everyone realized in that moment that history was happening. It’s been over 16 years, and yet this novel made me realize how raw that moment still is.


In this novel we see Nick travel through time to save his former girlfriend, Carly, who was at the Marriott Hotel at ground zero when the towers came crashing down. He feels guilty for fighting with her the day before her death, and never understood why she was there in the end. He’s determined to save her, yet also realizes he can’t save the countless others, or else risk a massive butterfly effect by changing history so dramatically. But once he goes back Nick wonders if he can simply sit by and do nothing. As I became more entrenched in this story I must admit it became increasingly difficult to want to pick up and read. It’s not that the story wasn’t interesting, far from it! It’s just that eventually you realize, whether or not Nick is successful in his quest to save Carly, whether or not he warns the government of events about to unfold, it doesn’t change anything. There’s no way for us to go back and save just one, let alone all. We root for Nick to succeed, yet also must acknowledge the sad truth that it’s something we can never hope for in real life.


Time Traveling from Book One to Two

This is the second book in the Lake Lanier series, and when push comes to shove I’d have to say I enjoyed book one a bit more. It was a less anxiety-induced read than transporting back to the days preceding 9/11, and was all about an accidental trip through time rather than one which was premeditated. I remember enjoying the first book, from the plot to the characters involved, but my goodness did I need a refresher course when it came to the start of book two. It’s been so long since I read it, and seeing as this novel picks up literally where book one finishes off, I’ll admit I was kind of lost. Eventually I could sort of put together all the pieces of the puzzle to remember exactly how book one ended, and understand the dynamics of all the characters. A brief summary of what went down, or maybe a character list at the beginning would have been much appreciated though. You know, for those of us who have an embarrassingly terrible memory!


When comparing the time travel elements of books one and two, I preferred the serendipitousness of Lacey’s fall through time to the 1950s. She not only had to find a way to quickly adapt all on her own, but also try to find a way back home. All while falling in love with a man from the past. The time travel element in this second book was much more orchestrated, and therefore dealt so much more with all the possible consequences of altering the past. Let me put it to you this way, whenever we have a time travel novel which mentions having vast repercussions to the space time continuum, my head kind of starts to hurt. We have the risk of running into a past self, the confusion of alternate realities and changed memories that bring the anxiety level through the roof. Add to the fact that we learn one of the characters introduced in book one has a plethora of powers from telekinesis to teleportation, and it was a lot to keep straight.


A Lost Love and an Uncertain Future

There were two different aspects of this novel which surprised me, dealing with not only the past, but also the future. First, Nick’s motivations for going back in time. You initially assume it must be because Carly was the love of his life, and he’s willing to go to hell and back to try and save her. Well, kind of…but not really. Whilst planning this trip back in time, he falls deeply in love with Piper, and quickly realizes he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. And yet his deep love for Piper doesn’t prevent him from going back for Carly. When he travels back and runs into Carly for the first time, he even admits to himself that being in her presence again doesn’t evoke anywhere near the same feelings he had for Piper. So why does he continue with this mission even though he knows the risks to the space time continuum could be catastrophic, and his feelings for Carly have obviously diminished with time?


Turns out, his determination to save Carly has more to do with feelings of guilt rather than love. Nick feels guilty that his last words with Carly were exchanged in anger, and is convinced their fight drove her to stay at the World Trade Center Marriott at the worst possible moment in history. So what drives Piper to get involved? She initially goes after Nick to, in a word, babysit him and ensure he doesn’t do anything stupid to possibly alter history. As 9/11 approaches though, Piper starts to wonder if maybe Nick’s drive to save Carly, and Piper’s own journey to follow Nick to the past had more to do with fate and destiny than simply wanting to save an ex-girlfriend. Phew, mental mind game right there!!


Another aspect of this novel which I wasn’t expecting was that we don’t merely encounter a trip to the past, but we get one to the future as well. This part of the story was probably the most surprising, as well as intriguing. It becomes a cautionary tale of what could be in store for our future if we don’t change the path we’re currently on. My one complaint though is that we are only given a very brief, cursory introduction to this world. This results in it feeling slightly out of place in the overall scope of the story. At the same time though, it’s practically a guarantee we’re in store for more in the next novel. It’ll be interesting to see how the series might switch gears when dealing with how to possibly change the present to impact the future rather than wondering how an alteration to the past could influence the present.


*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Lake Lanier Mysteries, book 2. All in all I’d have to say I preferred the first novel in the series, but it’ll be interesting to see where things go in book 3!

Should you read it? Not gonna lie, this was a tough book to read at times. We’re dealing with such a momentously tragic event in history, and it’s kind of depressing to see how characters re-live it knowing they can’t do anything to save everyone. Overall still an intriguing read that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I may have fallen off mine a few times.

Smut Level: You had to wait awhile to get it, but eventually we’re privy to a pretty spicy sex scene between Piper and Nick in the doomed World Trade Center Marriott.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 282 Pages.


The Look of Love by Bella Andre

This book explores the idea of love at first sight with two strangers unexpectedly thrown together one cold and rainy night.

What’s it About? 


Chloe Peterson is having a bad night. A really bad night. The large bruise on her cheek can attest to that. And when her car skids off the side of a wet country road straight into a ditch, she’s convinced even the gorgeous guy who rescues her in the middle of the rain storm must be too good to be true. Or is he?

As a successful photographer who frequently travels around the world, Chase Sullivan has his pick of beautiful women, and whenever he’s home in San Francisco, one of his seven siblings is usually up for causing a little fun trouble. Chase thinks his life is great just as it is–until the night he finds Chloe and her totaled car on the side of the road in Napa Valley. Not only has he never met anyone so lovely, both inside and out, but he quickly realizes she has much bigger problems than her damaged car. Soon, he is willing to move mountains to love–and protect–her, but will she let him?

Chloe vows never to make the mistake of trusting a man again. Only, with every loving look Chase gives her–and every sinfully sweet caress–as the attraction between them sparks and sizzles, she can’t help but wonder if she’s met the only exception. And although Chase didn’t realize his life was going to change forever in an instant, amazingly, he isn’t the least bit interested in fighting that change. Instead, he’s gearing up for a different fight altogether…for Chloe’s heart.

First Impressions

How soon is too soon to fall in love? Is there a rule book which dictates how long a couple must wait before not only deciding they love each other, but that they want to spend the rest of their lives together? In this book, we see a couple who seemingly fall hard for each other with just one look. The look of loooooove. Now, do I believe in love at first sight? I’ll never say never, but it’s kind of hard to wrap my head around. Especially considering the couple in this book declare their feelings of love for each other within just four days of knowing each other. Honestly, I think the only thing I’ve ever knowingly loved that quickly was a food item, which probably involved chocolate in some way. However, I must say, even though I may not personally wholeheartedly believe in the concept of love at first sight, this book does a damn fine job of presenting it in a shockingly reasonable way.


What’s Important in Life? 

Whenever I read a whirlwind romance like this I always find myself asking the same questions. How could you decide to spend the rest of your life with a man not knowing what side of the bed he sleeps on? If he prefers Coke or Pepsi? If he can put up with you re-watching Friends or Gilmore Girls for the 15th time and have the ability to reserve judgement?! You know…the important things in life. However, what this novel does so well is it manages to show our lead characters what is truly important to the other, and that is what makes them fall in love so quickly. Yes, there is an obvious physical attraction, but it really goes beyond that.


He comes upon her stranded on the side of the road with a bruise on the side of her face. In four days time he’s willing to protect her, yet also admit that she’s more than capable of taking care of herself with her own personal strength and determination of spirit. They both have creative passions, and are supportive of the other doing whatever is needed to make those passions grow, helping whenever possible along the way. His dedication to his large family is especially noteworthy, not to mention the fact he captures the real her behind his camera lens. Again, for such a short timeframe, you can see how they got to know who the other person truly was without superfluous details getting in the way. It’s the basic foundation of their relationship, and everything else is just the whipped cream on top.


The Benefit of a Player

There was one aspect of their relationship that brought them together which I did find kind of funny. Not necessarily bad, but just something I thought was worth mentioning. Chase is a man of no commitment and one-night stands. He’s had countless women come in and out of his bed, but when he sets his sights on Chloe he knows almost immediately that there’s something different about her. This is one of the things that makes him pursue her so relentlessly without giving up.


And on the flip side, it is because Chase has never had a long term relationship that Chloe knows she can believe him when he says things are different with her, and when he says he loves her it’s definitely true since he’s never uttered those words before. It’s almost like he’s being…rewarded(?) for being a womanizer! I couldn’t help but wonder if his romantic past had been different, if he’d had let’s say just two serious long term monogamous relationships in his adult life, would she have taken his declarations of love less seriously? Would she have even stuck around for four whole days to see if what they had was real? Again, just an interesting little side note.

Series: San Francisco Sullivans, book 1. For sure continuing with this seris. There’s a whole ton of Sullivan siblings in this family, and I can’t wait to meet them all!

Should you read it? A sexy, quick read with an interesting take on love at first sight. Does this book 100% convince me it’s possible? Nah, not really. I still couldn’t help but feel they got together waaaay to fast. I mean, come on, four days??? But that being said it did do a pretty damn good job of demonstrating the plausibility of love in a single look. The side story involving Chloe’s ex-husband was definitely intriguing, though I also felt it was pushed aside too long until the dramatic climactic ending. Would have liked a bit more incorporation on that front.

Smut Level: This book is all about exploring sexual fantasies, and all that Chloe has been missing out in since ending her relationship with her abusive ex-husband. We have a wet and wild bathtub moment, as well as a nighttime balcony sexcapade that’ll have you opening a window to cool off.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 384 Pages.

Omega by Jasinda Wilder

This just might be the first time I’ve heard reference to a “nuclear-powered climax”. Sounds…deadly.

What’s it About?23677656

When you make an enemy of a man like Vitaly Karahalios, there is nowhere on earth you can go to escape his wrath. He’ll find you. He found me, he found Roth. He found Layla. He found us, and now the unthinkable has happened. Someone I love has been kidnapped. Again. This isn’t a fairy tale. Not everyone will get a happily ever after. Sometimes we can’t just walk away from the past. Love doesn’t always save the day. The beast won’t always get his beauty. But maybe, just maybe we can get our happy ending.

First Impressions

I’m on a boat! Or at least, Kyrie and Roth are as they are still on the run from deadly crime lord, Vitaly Karahalios. I personally found it kind of bizarre that when evading the clutches of a ruthless criminal Kyrie chooses to have her best friend, Layla, come on board their luxury yacht for safety, but not her, oh, I don’t know…brother?! Mother?! Significant blood relations?!!!!


Layla herself isn’t too appreciative of having her life so swiftly and inexplicably disrupted. I for one can’t imagine how bitchy I’d be if I was pulled away from everything I knew because my best friend spent the majority of every waking moment screwing a former gun-running criminal, forced to stay on a yacht in the middle of the ocean, never having the opportunity to go off on land, and listening to said friend get her brains screwed out by her lover. Yeah…I’d probably be in a pretty pissy mood too.


I’m From Detroit!

The first half or so of this book is a total waste, and honestly told from the wrong point of view! We are just privy to continuous scenes of Kyrie and Roth going at it, as well as Kyrie commenting on the fact that there is a simmering connection between Layla and Roth’s primary bodyguard, Harris. The fact that we only get to see this through Kyrie’s eyes is unbelievably frustrating. That is, whenever she manages to extricate her head from Roth’s lap.


Another rather ridiculous aspect of the first half of this novel was how the characters seemed to significantly ignore the danger they’re all in. For example, when there’s a potential security breach on their private island in the Caribbean, it sure seems like an appropriate time to have sex, right? Anything to take your mind off it? Can we just get to an actual plot point already?? Layla too just wants to go back to her old life, even if it means she’ll have a target on her back from the violent crime lord “Vitaly”. And OMG the number of times Layla would just brush away this danger by declaring “dude/bitch I’m from Detroit, I can take care of myself!”. Let’s just say it would have made a fabulous drinking game. You also might die of alcohol poisoning, so…something to keep in mind.


Never Been So Happy for a Kidnapping

Finally, FINALLY we get to the actual heart of the story which is when things get interesting with the kidnapping of Layla by said crime lord. Can’t help but admit it’s rather ironic that the book only really gets good when the main characters from books 1 and 2, Kyrie and Roth, disappear completely from the story. This is also when we finally get to hear things form Layla’s point of view, and it lasts for the rest of the book. I just wish we didn’t have to wait so long before we finally got there. It’s at this point that we get to see Layla call on her Detroit roots to be a total bad-ass. She takes it upon herself to escape from the clutches of Vitaly. She even kills a guy by shoving a pen that she’d kept hidden up her hoo-ha through the guy’s eye socket. So…yeah, have fun with that graphic detail.


This is also when we see Layla join forces with my favorite characters of the series, Harris, and boy oh boy do they finally let loose some of that built-up sexual tension. Sometimes, even too much. Like, I get it, escaping from a criminal overlord and his henchmen probably ratchets up the adrenaline and gets ya in the mood. Work some of that off and get you some! But when you wake up the next morning to your highly trained lover rolling you off the bed with a gun in his hand telling you to be quiet because he heard something, maybe don’t go “oh, penis” and start sucking him off. Again, just a suggestion.


Series: Alpha, book 3. I won’t lose any sleep over the fact this series is over. I think you can skip it. It’s pretty disjointed overall when you consider the series as a whole. Kind of going from full erotica in book 1, to Bourne Identity in book 2, and book 3 felt like two separate books shoved into one.

Should you read it? All in all I’d have to say this was probably my favorite book of the series, but that’s not really saying much as there were quite a number of faults throughout. Honestly, the first half of the book was pretty useless and repetitive with everything surrounding Roth and Kyrie. Only when we switched gears to focus on Layla and Harris did the story get suspenseful and interesting. I’d say the end was a combination of climactic, while also disappointing in how the drama is resolved with our crime lord.

Smut Level: Goodness gracious. We have all manner of descriptive detail, some of it even making me blush. This is no clean read.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 483 Pages.