Seismic Crimes by Chrys Fey

It’s hard to tell at times if Mother Nature is throwing everything she has at our main characters in an attempt to crush them, or to bring them closer together.

What’s it About?

29507724._SY475_

An Internal Affairs Investigator was murdered and his brother, Donovan Goldwyn, was framed. Now Donovan is desperate to prove his innocence. And the one person who can do that is the woman who saved him from a deadly hurricane–Beth Kennedy. From the moment their fates intertwined, passion consumed him. He wants her in his arms. More, he wants her by his side in his darkest moments.

Beth Kennedy may not know everything about Donovan, but she can’t deny what she feels for him. It’s her love for him that pushes her to do whatever she has to do to help him get justice, including putting herself in a criminal’s crosshairs.

When a tip reveals the killer’s location, they travel to California, but then an earthquake of catastrophic proportions separates them. As aftershocks roll the land, Beth and Donovan have to endure dangerous conditions while trying to find their way back to one another. Will they reunite and find the killer, or will they lose everything?

First Impressions

This sequel literally picks up right where book one left off, in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane which initially brought our two main characters into each other’s lives. Similar to the first book, we see mystery, intrigue and suspense woven into the plot as Donovan and Beth struggle to bring the corrupt cops who killed Donovan’s brother to justice. While Hurricane Crimes was a quick, action-packed novella at just under 50 pages, this longer sequel provides our characters the opportunity to truly get to know one another in a somewhat slower-paced setting. As the disaster of the hurricane starts to recede, Donovan and Beth are able to connect on a deeper, emotional level as she comforts him in his grief.

brothers-lg

Beth becomes a shoulder to cry on, and a voice of encouragement to Donovan. She had to cope with the death of her parents all by herself years before, and as Donovan struggles with feelings of remorse and guilt following the loss of his brother, Beth is able to offer him comfort in a way she never had. There are moments where Donovan’s strength seeps out of him completely, and it’s through these heart-breakingly tender scenes that we see how Beth draws him back up on his feet. You couldn’t help but wonder at the end of book one whether these two would last beyond the initial drama which brought them together, but as this second story progresses it’s clear that they’re meant to last. It’s not as though one character is always the damsel in distress coming to rescue the other, but rather they manage to find strength in each other in a way which proves their love is the real deal.

source.gif

Hurricane vs. Earthquake

Throughout the first book I was shocked at how the author managed to make the hurricane which blasted against Donovan and Beth feel like a primary character. When I found out this second book would present our lovers with another natural disaster in the form of an earthquake, I couldn’t help but think, “well…that’ll certainly be easier to deal with than a hurricane.” What can I say?! An earthquake seemed like a rather quick disaster compared to the lengthy and thunderous rampage of a hurricane. Boy oh boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong! We once again see Mother Nature referenced as a formidable force that simultaneously seems to have it out for our main characters, yet also manages to save them in their hour of need.

San-Francisco-bridge-1044x700.jpg

At one point Beth compares the calamities which have befallen her and Donovan, and relates how the hurricane was preferable compared to the earthquake in that you can prepare for the former, whereas the latter can unexpectedly hit at any time. Although the earthquake is over in a matter of minutes, the brilliance in the description of this second disaster comes more in the aftermath rather than the event itself. On the one hand, we see the heartlessness of some who take advantage of the hectic nature of the fallout through selfishness and stealing. And yet, in the next scene we’re presented with the juxtaposition of that greed through selfless acts of heroism by some characters. I’ll admit it damn near brought tears to my eyes to see how, in times where all hope appeared lost, there were those who banded together to help complete strangers all in the name of good. No demand for reward or payback, but rather proof that sometimes the beauty of the human spirit can surprise you.

sanandreas2

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

Series: Disaster Crimes, book 2. Technically you don’t have to read book 1 to understand the events of this novel, but I think you still might as well read it. It is only 43 pages after all! This sequel ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, but it isn’t one that will leave you feeling annoyed. Rather, you can’t wait to see what might happen next!

Final Impressions: This was a great follow-up to the Disaster Crimes series. While there was certainly suspense and intrigue as Donovan and Beth chase after his brother’s killer, the first part of the novel slows things down a bit so that our characters have the chance to simply “be” with each other. True, they’re struggling with immense grief and heartache, but it allows them (and us) the opportunity to get to know who the other person truly is. Towards the half-way point we switch gears once again to get back to the suspenseful side of the story, but it was this first part that was the most revealing and poignant in my opinion. Their struggle to combat Donovan’s grief was an intense fight, but it demonstrated that these two are stronger together than they could ever be apart.

Smut Level: In the first novella Donovan and Beth initially explored their desire while hiding out in a bathtub. In this second novel they’re excited to have the chance to take their time getting to know every inch of each other’s bodies, and in a comfy bed no less!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 284 Pages.

Playing for Keeps by Ashlie Knapp

A man with six-pack abs who loves watching the Food Network and cooking Bobby Flay recipes? Oh yeah, I can get behind that!

What’s it About?

34725798._SX318_

To her friends and family, Aria Cook is a sassy, foul-mouthed, not-a-care-in-the-world woman. She dances for the Oklahoma City Thunder and tends bar at her father’s trendy downtown bar, A Shot of Whiskey. What her friends and family don’t know, however, is Aria’s running from a past she can’t escape no matter how hard she tries.

Trevin Anderson is a love ’em and leave ’em kind of guy. He knows most women only want the fame associated with dating an NBA athlete. He doesn’t get attached. He has a job he loves, a sister and mother he adores and friends who have his back. He doesn’t need anything else.

After a failed first date, Trevin can’t walk away. Maybe it’s the thrill of the chase; perhaps it’s something more. She calls him her stalker. He calls her his girlfriend. Which one will be right in the end?

First Impressions

Aria and Trevin both put on an air of something they’re not. Her more-so than him, but essentially they’re both hiding the sensitive side of their nature from the rest of the world. He has the reputation as the ultimate man whore of the Thunder basketball team, always with a different woman on his arm, and never making promises about forever. However, when it comes to his time with Aria he becomes 100% dedicated to her. He’s not afraid to be sweet and affectionate with her, whether it’s renting out an entire animal park to give her an amazing experience with the animals, or constantly asking if he can change his relationship status on Facebook so everyone knows they’re dating.

relationship-status1

Trevin is smitten like a kitten, and he doesn’t care who knows it. As for Aria, she puts on a front of being a sassy, carefree chica who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, and doesn’t let anything phase her. In reality, she’s experienced an intense trauma in her past that she keeps hidden from those closest to her. She doesn’t want others to know her weakness, so she’s essentially overcompensating in an attempt to show strength. Most people accept her facade as truth, but Trevin is the only one who recognizes she’s putting on a mask, and he’s determined to dig deeper than anyone else in an attempt to uncover who the real Aria is. She’s terrified her past will cause him to leave, no matter how much he declares he’s in it for the long haul. You can’t help but fall in love with his determination in the face of her hesitancy.

tumblr_miouqgnCyy1rgdzzmo1_400

“She put on a brave, smartass and carefree facade, but the closer he’d gotten to her the more he’d seen her vulnerability.”

A Long Wait

The development of Trevin and Aria’s relationship is a comedic delight to watch, while also interspersed with moments of emotional connection between the two of them. Throughout it all, we keep waiting for the other shoe to drop that will ultimately test the foundation of their relationship. It’s an inevitability we know is bound to happen! Most of the book involves Trevin convincing Aria to let down her guard, and to trust in them as a couple. Once she finally does, and admits how much she loves him, things are almost going too well for them. Especially after they meet each other’s parents and aren’t fully scared off. We constantly wonder what will cause their perfect bubble to pop.

3673992165_4b0499e39f_b

Will Aria get scared off by his intimate affections and desire to take their relationship to the next level? Will Trevin’s man-whore reputation come back to bite him in the bum? We’re waiting, and waiting….and waiting. It’s not until about the last 10% of the book that we finally witness the drama that threatens to break up their relationship, and I must say I did not see it coming! Definitely a surprise, although it took a bit too long for us to finally get to this climactic moment, and then it was resolved fairly quickly. It was an interesting twist for sure, but it probably could have been fleshed out more fully to take the conclusion to a whole other level.

giphy

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

Series: Playing, book 3. This was probably my favorite book in the series, if not a close tie with book one.

Final Impressions: This was a fantastic addition to the series. Overall it was a funny and cute read with some adorably likable characters. From Tristan’s mother who fully encourages him and Aria to have sex even if she’s staying just down the hall, to the whole cast of female characters from the previous two books. Aria and Tristan both had depth to their personalities that they didn’t always choose to share with others, yet as their love for each other grows they let their shields drop to reveal the softer side hiding just below the surface. The final drama at the end did seem a bit rushed, and could have been incorporated more fully into Aria and Tristan’s story, but nevertheless it was a fun read.

Smut Level: Some intimate make-out sessions, touches and caresses, but normally the sex scenes themselves were ones which faded to black before we witnessed anything too sensual.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 280 Pages.

All of Me by Rose Grey

Charlotte and Jock never thought love was in the cards for them. But when they’re thrown together amidst life-changing surprises, they come to realize that love just might be right in front of them.

What’s it About?

40985674.jpg

Jock Durrell hopes the surprise baby his ex-girlfriend left behind at his office isn’t his. Still, someone has to care for it. So while he waits for DNA test results, he advertises for temporary help. Preferably Mary Poppins. By the time Charlotte Aubin arrives to interview, Jock’s too tired to be choosy. True, Charlotte dresses like a Goth and throws things when she loses her temper. On the other hand, as far as he knows, she’s not an ax murderer. So he gives her a chance. Because at this point he would sell his soul for just one night of unbroken sleep. But Jock isn’t the only one with a complicated life. Charlotte’s past is closing in fast. When danger looms, Jock will have to choose between protecting the safe life he has crafted or risking it all for a woman who has stolen his heart.

First Impressions

When our novel opens I wasn’t even sure if Charlotte and Jock were meant to be the romantic focus of the book. The authors does a great job of presenting us with two people who aren’t looking for love. They’re both so focused on treading their way through life that upon first meeting they seem more determined to be annoyed with each other than to see the possibility of romance. However, it would seem fate had more in store for these two after their initial meet cute, and no matter how much they tried to steer clear of each other, they both eventually acknowledged that they could help one another by sticking together.

screen-shot-2015-09-17-at-12-02-07-pm

The set up of this story was everything. Charlotte and Jock are both dealing with their own problems in life, and yet somehow these distinct issues they’re both confronting prove to be the impetus in bringing them together. Jock is struggling with the fact his ex-girlfriend just dropped off a baby on his doorstep, claiming he’s the father. Charlotte has her own problems in life, from unloving parents to a somewhat sadistic step brother who seems determined to see her fall apart. They were both such independent, selfless characters who never really had the opportunity to enjoy life for themselves. They were always living one day to the next, and yet after fate throws them together both Charlotte and Jock are finally able to live in the moment, and learn how to laugh with each other.

00e00dc1-a34b-41e5-b2ce-60f750fe5979_d

From Baby Jane to Brother Dearest

Jock has always pushed aside his own wants and desires in order to care for his brothers following the death of their parents. No woman has ever really tempted him to put his own wishes first, until he meets Charlotte of course. While his younger brother, Ronan, proves to be a source of humor at certain moments throughout the novel, I would have liked to see his brothers play a larger role in the overall story. We really don’t see much from them in terms of helping him cope with the emotional impact of suddenly having a daughter, and his brother from book one is almost absent entirely.

luke-hemsworth-2-z

“He had spent ten years creating a stable environment for his brothers. Ignoring his own desires had been a crucial part of that and a measure of his self discipline. But he couldn’t seem to summon the same vigor now.”

The drama that Charlotte experienced throughout the book in terms of her unloving parents and creepy step-brother was definitely the most compelling aspect of the story. Her troubled relationship with her family meant she never had a reason to trust others, especially considering those who were meant to love her most in this world continually brushed her aside. Charlotte has never deigned to try loving someone. Jock is the first one to cause her to hope for something better. While her relationship with her step-brother was a fascinating element that held your interest, and overall was carried out very well, I felt it could have been pushed one step further. The ending was fantastic in that it allowed for Charlotte to finally stand up for herself, but I wanted us to see more about the motives and thoughts behind her family in order to more fully understand their actions. This would have provided one more additional push to the book that would have been near perfect in execution.

Capture

“She hadn’t ever fought for what she wanted…What if the reason she didn’t fight for what she loved was because she was afraid of what losing might do to her? She didn’t like thinking of herself as a coward, but it seemed the inescapable conclusion.”

Afraid of Love

Our love story ultimately culminates with some rather big misunderstandings that result in Charlotte running away from her feelings. Both she and Jock were hesitant to voice how they truly felt about each other throughout the entirety of the novel. We see that it wasn’t just their employer/employee relationship that caused them to pause, but also their inability to believe they could devote themselves to someone wholeheartedly. I’ll admit it was kind of frustrating to see them both internalize their anger towards the other for closing themselves off from love, while simultaneously acknowledging their own inability to dive deep into the relationship.

276050-He-Loves-Me...he-Loves-Me-Not...

I was pretty worried this inability to confess their feelings would negatively impact my appreciation for the book up until that point. However, I’m happy to say we do eventually see redemption with how they both are willing to fight and stand up for what they want in life, and their refusal to have others walk all over them. It’s almost as though they both reach a breaking point where they’re fed up with being alone, and even though they’re terrified of being rejected, they’d rather face the music than risk not knowing how the other person feels.

Image455-3325

“…one way or the other, she was done running.”

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

Series: Durrell Brothers Trilogy, Book 2. I may have liked this second book even more than the first book in the series!

Final Impressions: It was interesting to see two such independent characters learn how to finally allow someone else into their lives. It’s a difficult journey full of ups and downs, but they eventually realize that the mere presence of the other person brings joy to their day. Charlotte and Jock have a relationship that isn’t built upon lust or sex, but instead almost a mutual respect for how hardworking and selfless the other is. Incorporating more depth to Jock’s relationship with his brothers, as well as Charlotte’s background with her parents and step-brother could have elevated the emotional side of the plot, but overall it was a compelling read.

Smut Level: We never see anything too sensual in description, but you’ve gotta love the circumstance of being trapped together in a house during a snow storm. I can certainly think of a few ways for them to keep warm.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Simply Romance Press. 272 Pages.

Alaska Night by Daisy Sweeney

A land where the days are short and the nights are long. The arrival of a bad-boy outsider plunges this small Alaska town into rumors, mystery, and for good-girl Jules, a tumultuous romance unlike any she’s ever known before.

What’s it About? 

41bOYLhmPFL

An arrogant stranger with a mysterious past. An innocent girl desperate to heal her broken family. Thrown together by fate, they find themselves fighting a harsh Alaskan winter. Will they ignore their blistering sexual chemistry or will they give in under the skies of an Alaska Night?

Jules Harper knows that no one comes to Bright Bay in the middle of winter. But one January morning, Night Calloway proves her wrong, riding into the wild woods, ready to break hearts with his chiseled body and grass green eyes. He’s there to make fast money and get away from the dark past that’s been chasing him in the lower 48. If he warms the bed of every pretty girl in town while he does it, all the better. He’s scored logging work with the help of the town’s golden boy and he plans on sweating hard, pocketing the cash and moving on.
Then he sees her.

A sweet-faced local girl raising her little sister, begging her alcoholic father to pick life over death, forced to grow up before her time—the first real emotion Night has felt in years is to protect Jules. But she’s heard the rumors. He’s in town to steal the jobs, and the women. Yet somehow, as soon as he locks his tattooed arms around her, she’s ready to stay in them forever. She doesn’t care that she has no idea who he was before he roared into Alaska.

Just as she falls hard, her world is consumed with dangerous accusations, breathless calls and nightly disappearances. Jules wants to jump to Night’s defense, but when he’s accused of terrible crimes, she doesn’t know if Bright Bay is plotting to bring an outsider down or if she’s really in bed with the enemy. Tangled in a web of lust and law-breaking, Jules knows what her real fear is: When winter ends, will Night disappear with it?

First Impressions

Jules is a virginal good-girl who keeps to herself in this small Alaska town. She might just be in her early twenties, but she’s been forced into adulthood early in life. Her mother died when she was little, resulting in her father turning to alcohol and ultimately leaving Jules to take care of her younger sister. She’s never really had time to live her own life, but when bad-boy Night arrives into town, she can’t help but be drawn to this mysterious outsider. While the circumstances of their backgrounds are certainly different, I couldn’t help but compare the romance between Jules and Night to that of Rory and Jess in Gilmore Girls.

jess_and_rory-3556

Their sexual chemistry is off the charts, and they’re both willing to stand up for their connection in the face of criticism from locals who are cautious of this outsider. However, you also can’t help but question if Night is really good for Jules. He’s secretive, has the tendency to disappear for days with no explanation, and doesn’t return her texts or phone calls when she inquires if he’s alright. Surprisingly, it seems that Jules is always the one apologizing to Night, as he’s constantly saying he warned her that he wasn’t the relationship type. Whenever he gets phone calls, glances and come-ons from other women she questions him relentlessly, while he chastises her for not trusting him. Again, Jules is usually the one apologizing to him, but has he really given her any reason to trust his actions considering his inability to open up?

Jess-and-Rory-leyton-and-literati-28063862-296-500.jpg

High School for Adults

While Jules and Night are both in their twenties, I couldn’t help but feel that certain aspects of their romantic relationship were reminiscent of high school drama. Perhaps this is because they both experienced such life-changing events when they were teenagers that they never really had the chance to be young. Some of their actions and reactions to each other were quite frustrating, from Night pushing her pleas to discuss his past to the side, their default of turning to sex instead of using words to connect, and especially Night keeping silent whenever Jules was concerned about his whereabouts after days of absence.

Rory-Pay-Phone-Face-Off-Gilmore-Girls.png

On top of their own interactions with each other, we also see added drama in how the townsfolk respond to their relationship. Essentially, nobody is rooting for them to succeed, and instead are just waiting around for Jules to realize that this outsider is bad news who sleeps around. Throughout the book we see Jules’ cousin, as well as the rest of the ladies in town completely fawn over Night. This constantly causes Jules to question why Night is with her, and worry that he’ll leave her for some other willing woman. Then you have Jules’ ex-boyfriend trying to win her back, cat fights, bro fights, and a lot of theatrics that will make your head spin!

MixedFoolhardyAstarte-size_restricted

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

Series: When I finished this read I was convinced it was part of a series. There were a lot of questions left unanswered, plot points left undeveloped, and we’re left with kind of an open-ended conclusion that makes you wonder what might come next. The fact this is a stand-alone kind of makes me scratch my head wondering why we didn’t see more elements come full-circle.

Final Impressions: The most compelling part of this novel for me was the beginning. We see Jules struggle in her interactions with her alcoholic father, as well as with raising her young sister all by herself. A romance with a bad-boy outsider seems like something she doesn’t have time for, but you’re initially drawn in by their connection. As time goes on though we see Jules’ father and sister kind of disappear from the story once she and Night finally get together, and the focus of the plot switches to them proving their love to the town. We get snippets here and there of a mystery involving Night being set up for a crime he didn’t commit in an attempt to push him out of town. Overall it was kind of a far-fetched scheme, and not fully developed, but it did bring some exciting suspense to the end of the book. Again, I assumed most of this final drama was introduced to set up the events of a sequel, but it looks like that’s not happening?

Smut Level: They certainly like to get busy in her father’s old airplane, and manage to fly high without ever leaving the ground.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 269 Pages.

Entrance by J.J. Sorel

Clarissa has just been granted a dream job working for a mysterious billionaire. She’s determined to keep to herself, but one look at Aidan changes everything.

What’s it About?

51w5WRRphIL

The boss’s name was a mystery. But judging by the opulent surroundings, he was filthy rich, with impeccable tastes. The following day, I moved into his breathtaking Malibu estate and instantly went from impoverished art history grad to living in style. My new boss made my knees weak. Aidan Thornhill was insanely handsome. Then, one night on his yacht I gave him my innocence, and from there it descended into sheet-gripping unbridled lust. I’d been warned not to fall for him, and as secrets and gossip emerged about his shadowy past, I didn’t know who or what to believe. Suddenly I was faced with the hardest decision of my life…. Should I run from this fairytale romance and dream job, or risk my heart by remaining in Aidan Thornhill’s strong arms?

Clarissa Moone took my breath away. With the buttons threatening to pop on that tight shirt she wore, she had the type of curves that kept a man up at night. Innocence was the last thing I expected from someone so beautiful and sensual. I had two golden rules when it came to sex–no employees and no virgins. But rules are meant to be broken, right? Instead of running, I took control. She gave me her innocence, and I unleashed something deliciously dirty in her. I never expected to fall hard. But I’d become addicted. I couldn’t stay away… not even for a night. Then my ugly past entered, threatening to destroy everything I’d built. I was prepared to lose everything… but not Clarissa.

First Impressions

The beginning of this novel almost had a Beauty and the Beast influence to it. Clarissa has come to work for this mysterious billionaire in his huge house. While he might not be scarred physically, he has his mental and emotional wounds which heavily impact his relationships with others. Hell, we even get the introduction of a huge library, although her father is a bit more enamored with it than she is. So maybe not a direct retelling of the classic fairy tale, but it certainly has that aura. For Clarissa there is a constant debate of whether or not to act on the feelings he’s stirred within her. On the one hand, she doesn’t want to risk losing this amazing job by sleeping with the boss, but she also can’t deny her intense attraction to him. For Aidan, there is no debate. He sees, he wants, he acts, he possesses.

1280-dakota-johnson-jamie-dornan-fifty-shades-freed

The Virgin and the Conqueror 

Aidan has never felt this way for a woman before, and that’s saying something. As a reformed sex addict he’s certainly indulged in his fair share of feminine delights. Following his return from Afghanistan he drowned his pain in willing women. It was his way to forget and numb the pain, and also resulted in him developing a reputation as a use ’em and leave ’em kind of guy. It’s a difficult reputation for Clarissa to accept, no matter how many times others remind her of it. He’s always seemed so caring and generous in her presence, and his involvement with multiple charities can only be described as selfless. She struggles with the dichotomy of his reputation as a ladies man and the caring man she feels in her heart he must be. Clarissa defends Aidan whenever his character is called into question, yet each rumor manages to make her question what she actually knows about this man.

10095405_web1_rsz_fifty_shades_freed_22018287403795

Something I appreciated with this read was that apart from one initial instance where Clarissa internalized her doubts by avoiding Aidan, for the most part she was never afraid to confront him with her worries. With every rumor of an ex fiancée, another one-night stand, or his need for a psychologist, she asks him for the truth. And for his part Aidan is pretty open about sharing the complicated details of his past. That’s not to say their relationship is completely without fault though. After all, Aidan has a rather unhealthy obsession of constantly knowing Clarissa’s whereabouts, and a feeling of possessiveness that borders on the shocking. In addition, they have a tendency to resort to sex rather than fully expressing themselves through words.

original

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

Series: Thornhill Trilogy, book 1. Not really a cliffhanger ending, but some things were left unresolved so they can be addressed in a future novel. I personally probably would have liked a more finite ending, as it sort of felt like a mid-scene conclusion.

Final Impressions: A strong start for sure. I enjoyed seeing this shy and sensitive virgin connect with this man who awakens her sexual desires in a way she never imagined possible. After they come together they are able to have an emotional connection over the difficulties of their pasts, although it feels like we’ve only scratched the surface. I will say it didn’t take long before their many sexual escapades started to feel repetitive, both in the language used to describe the scenes, as well as the progression of the scenes themselves. I almost would have preferred to see fewer sex scenes, or perhaps have them spaced out a bit more, and instead bring in more of the mystery component surrounding Aidan’s source of wealth and his gruff army companion who seems hellbent on blackmail.

Smut Level: There are many mentions of Clarissa’s thighs or panties being sticky. Realistic description? Sure, but sooooo much stickiness happening here.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 269 Pages.

Awakening by Kelley Heckart

Sexy actor with a Scottish lilt? Check. Secluded cabin? Check. Snowstorm? Yasssss!

What’s it About?

41OwfwfuHxL

Sometimes, the end is really the beginning. After destroying her successful music career, the close friendship with her bandmates, and her marriage, author Kaitlyn Storm, aka Kate Wolf, former bassist for the all-female rock band Hecate’s Fury, is given a second chance. She receives an offer to turn her book series into three movies, but her troubled rock-star past continues to haunt her. She never expected to find love or a way back. When she is trapped in a haunted cabin during a snowstorm with Kane Devlin, the hot Scottish movie star playing her hero, their rising passion for one another ignites. What they awakened will change their lives, but before she can move on, Kate must let go of the guilt and shame keeping her from claiming her shared destiny. For she may not know it yet, but she and her bandmates are chosen.

First Impressions

Kate is desperate to get her life back on track following the epic decline of her music career, and her failed relationship with her husband. She finally has that chance when her romance book series becomes a huge success, and she’s headed to a secluded cabin to begin working on the script with a team of writers, not to mention the sexy lead actor, Kane Devlin. Kate and Kane are the first to arrive at the cabin, and it’s not long before an intense blizzard traps the two of them before anyone else can arrive. I don’t know about you, but being trapped in a snowy cabin with a Scottish actor in front of a roaring fire with a cup of hot cocoa in hand sounds like a panty-melting party! Too bad they have a couple of party crashers in the form of two lovesick ghosts. One thing’s for sure though, Kane and Kate won’t let some spooky apparitions get in the way of their sexy time.

11

Setting the Mood

Kate and Kane are determined to help these ghosts resolve their unfinished business as quickly as possible, especially considering one of them in particular isn’t the nicest dead soul you’ve ever met. Rooms shake, furniture spins about, there are unexpected bursts of light, and one apparition goes so far as to possess Kane’s body. Kate is particularly determined to hunker down and do some research to discover the identities and untimely ends of these two ghosts. A task made exceedingly difficult considering the power outage caused by the snowstorm, resulting in a lack of internet and the default necessity of using old town newsletters as primary sources.

21a9bb122e562f4e89722c8e12016422

In spite of all this paranormal activity, Kane and Kate aren’t too distracted from exploring each other’s bodies as much as possible. Not gonna lie, it seems like they could have put their sexual attraction on hold for just a few days until they could escape from this haunted dwelling. They definitely have an intense connection drawing them together, but spooky ghosts kind of scream “mood killer” in my humble opinion. We’re not exactly dealing with warm and cuddly Patrick Swayze in Ghost here! While our apparitions don’t necessarily seem to want to cause our couple deathly harm…you never know when they might be sneakily observing some of Kate and Kane’s more amorous activities.

tumblr_novgcgRlTM1rir2g0o6_r1_400

From Paranormal Activity to the Trials of Fame

Surprisingly, even though they lack an internet connection to speed along their research, it doesn’t take too long before Kate and Kane have uncovered the past history of our two ghosts. They even succeed in helping the one ghost find peace, and are well on their way to resolving the issues of the other ghost before the snowstorm eventually breaks, and the rest of the writing team arrives. Unfortunately, this is when things kind of fall flat for our plot in my opinion. After all, our paranormal issues are practically resolved at a third of a way through the book. What could possibly be left? As it turns out, some pretty typical Romancelandia relationship issues. Kane and Kate proceed to experience trust issues galore, from false rumors in the tabloids, to Kane’s jealousy over Kate continuing to work with her ex-husband.

ok_jpg.jpg

While they struggle to navigate the impact of Kane’s fame on their relationship, we almost struggle to remember that there’s still one final unresolved paranormal element for our second ghost simmering in the background. In a way, it felt like we had two different books which had been smashed together into one, and I’m not sure the various stories always meshed well into one cohesive plot. On the one hand we have a contemporary romance detailing the complications of dating someone famous. The other is a suspenseful paranormal tale of ghosts trying to move on in the afterlife. Perhaps there would have been a more balanced progression of events if the story had been told in reverse. We could have started out with Kane and Kate meeting, and after beginning a romance they experience issues of trust related to his fame and her past. They then go to a secluded cabin to be with each other in solitude, but shockingly encounter a couple of ghosts, and through their journey to help these ghosts move on they discover Kate’s supernatural abilities.

iStock-155282261_v1

Shadow-Walkers

It’s not until the very end of the novel that we discover Kate and her former bandmates have supernatural abilities. She’s a shadow-walker, or someone who “can move safely between the realm of the living and that of the supernatural or shadow world”. By this point in the story, all of the major plot points involving Kate and Kane’s relationship, as well as our ghosts, have been resolved. This additional detail of Kate being a shadow-walker, and her bandmates also having special abilities, seemed like an afterthought that was just thrown on at the end of the story. I really wish it had received some more explanation and attention to highlight what this means for Kate, as well as Kane.

The-Dolls-live-2

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

Series: Shadow-walkers, book 1. Consider me intrigued to give the next few books a try.

Final Impressions: This paranormal romance certainly started off with a spooky bang! The time when Kane and Kate were trapped in the snowy cabin with two ghostly apparitions was undoubtedly the highlight of the book. It’s not like they could just escape out into the snow storm to get away. Unfortunately, our lead couple is almost too adept in their role as ghost busters, and the most suspenseful and intriguing aspect of the story is over fairly quickly. The rest of the novel deals with Kane and Kate navigating the pitfalls of his fame with her previous decline as a female rock star, and we only get the briefest mentions here and there of their experiences in the cabin. Overall we needed fuller integration of the different plot lines, specifically the paranormal aspects and the hurdles of establishing their relationship due to their jobs and past loves.

Smut Level: A couple of ghosts don’t stand in the way of these two getting all sudsy in a bath tub. Kane is also happy to take some of the movie-set costumes back to his hotel room for some role-play and cheesy dialogue with Kate.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 220 Pages.

Shadow-walkers-FB-Header-Books-1-3

 

Out Too Far by Andrea K. Stein & Sawyer Stone

An exciting and humorous conclusion to the Love Overboard series!

What’s it About?51D3ROzR7GL

Rania Elsaeid is the brilliant engineer aboard the 115-foot yacht, the Bonnie Blue. She’s also a deadly, well-trained security guard. She keeps her cool when everything around her heats up. Morris “Moj” Johnston, internationally famous music producer, is on a much-needed vacation cruise through the islands of the Indian Ocean. He’s not looking for love but trying to heal a broken heart. When Moj meets Rania, everything changes. Suddenly, they find themselves on the run from pirates, lost on a deserted island, and dangerously close to going…OUT TOO FAR!

First Impressions

It’s always sad to see the end of a series, but this final installment in the Love Overboard trilogy manages to keep you giggling as Rania and Moj navigate their love in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Both characters are dealing with the stresses of life. She’s lying low, trying to keep off the radar so her crazy ex doesn’t find her. As for Moj, he’s keeping busy as a famous music producer, trying to keep his mind off the recent and untimely death of his wife. Neither is looking for love, but once their eyes lock during a crowded music festival, there’s no going back. The connection between them is immediate. While they’re initially hesitant to explore anything physical between them seeing as she’s working on the yacht he’s chartered, it’s not long before fate pushes them to take things to the next level.

Stranded

Funnily enough, the moment when they decide to finally give into the desire which has enveloped them since they first met is not the moment I would have guessed would be the most opportune for sexy fun times. Moj and Rania find themselves stranded on a seemingly deserted island with kidnappers, albeit hilariously incompetent ones, hot on their tail. This is the moment where I’d be freaking out, convinced that starvation and dehydration would soon portend the end of it all. However, Moj and Rania take an entirely different approach, seeing this deserted island as an opportunity to finally get some privacy from all of Moj’s fame. Sure, they need to explore the island for water, food, discover whether or not it actually is deserted, but they first choose to look at the silver lining of the situation. Beautiful beach, just survived an adrenaline inducing escape from kidnappers…seems like the perfect time to get naked, no? Priorities people!

Capture.PNG

“There is maybe one chance in hell we’re going to survive this ordeal. I say we make the most of the time we have left…”

The Need to Stand Aside

Something I really loved about this read, and the series as a whole for that matter, was that we were presented with a strong female lead character. Oftentimes throughout the books we find it is the ladies who are stepping up to protect the gents, or help them out of a sticky situation. This holds true in the character of Rania, a strong woman who can take care of herself, and has been trained by the very best to do so. Moj on the other hand, is a man who was determined to take care of his first wife who died from cancer. Caring wholeheartedly for others is part of his very nature, and the concept of stepping aside to let Rania take care of herself is one he’s struggling with. Where his first wife needed him, Rania doesn’t really need him at all. Even though their time together has been brief, it’s not long before Moj can’t imagine what life would be like to have Rania pulled away from him so suddenly.

https___cdn.cnn.com_cnnnext_dam_assets_190529084145-luther-idris-elba

By the end of the novel, Moj finally accepts that when it comes to attempted kidnappers and matters of international espionage, his interference would probably cause more harm than good. He succeeds in stepping aside to allow Rania to shine in all her bad-assery. The final scene is quite funny even though it’s the climax of everything coming together, and it’s described in such perfect detail I could practically see it playing out in my head like a movie. Moj still worries for Rania’s safety, that’s something that will never go away completely, but he can learn to let her take care of herself when necessary. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t need him at all. She needs his presence in her life, she needs his love and support, but she doesn’t need him to treat her as a damsel in distress. If anything, Moj is the one who needs her protection and strength in certain moments. There are many times where they learn to place their full trust in the other person in order to make it out of a sticky situation, and acknowledge that there are some things they can’t do all by themselves. Sometimes they need a shoulder to lean on.

Naz-headshot-high-res_marquee

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

Series: Love Overboard, book 3. It’s always fun to see the earlier characters from the series come back in the end, although it was kind of disappointing that the couple from book 2 never made a surprise guest appearance.

Final Impressions: This was a sexy, funny read, and a great conclusion to the series. Some scenes were a bit over the top, and other areas could have been explained more fully, such as Rania’s past with her ex. However, it’s still a fun and silly read that’ll have you giggling along. Aside from the delight of having a strong female lead character, my other favorite part would have to be our would-be kidnappers. At the start you worry about how they might cause trouble for Moj and Rania, but as the story progresses you see they are hilariously inept at being criminals, and I was shocked to find myself liking them more and more with each new scene.

Smut Level: The first time Moj and Rania do the deed it’s on the beach of a deserted island they’ve been stranded on. I can’t imagine how much sand must have gotten into some extremely uncomfortable places.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Muirgen Publishing, LLC. 211 Pages.

GettyImages-98108223-58e221015f9b58ef7e35ab16