Vengeance by Shana Figueroa

What makes this female private investigator different than any other? Well…her magical vagina for one.

What’s it About? 

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Corruption. Greed. Illicit sex. Murder. Private investigator Valentine Shepherd thinks she’s seen it all, and her strange ability to glimpse the future gives her an edge no one else in the world has. But when her fiancé is killed trying to exonerate his client, billionaire Max Carressa, Val makes it her personal mission to bring the people responsible to justice, no matter the cost. Convinced the two men are linked by more than attorney-client privilege, she enlists Max’s help in her investigation and gets more than she bargained for. On the run, Val and Max must uncover who wants them dead and why. The answer leads them to a conspiracy that has Val herself at its center. She doesn’t understand how or why, but time is running out to expose the truth and escape the danger she knows is coming . . .

First Impressions

Mkay, you just know that when a book starts off with a magical vagina it’s gonna be unique. And when we find out that Val isn’t the only with supernatural genitals? Well, stand back ladies and gentlemen. How exactly are Val’s lady bits special? She has visions of the future whilst getting it on. Definitely a party trick you don’t see very often. The one downside to this “gift” is that Val never really gets to experience the pleasure of an orgasm. She gets the build up, and the aftermath, but the boom moment causes her to pass out in a vision. Not sure how I’d feel about that to be honest. Especially considering her visions usually involve seeing someone’s death.

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On the Run

While Val’s visions can sometimes prove useful, she discovers they aren’t always accurate. Case in point, when she envisions her lawyer fiancé question a possible witness who could help with one of his cases, she never saw him get run down and killed by an unknown assailant. In an effort to uncover the truth about his death, she eventually crosses paths with Max Carressa, a mysterious billionaire accused of murdering his own father.

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Needless to say, it’s been a rather stressful week for Val Shepherd! Not only is she witness to her fiancé’s murder, but she’s trying to avoid being killed herself as she attempts to solve his murder. All of this is further complicated by the fact that, in a way, Max is someone she’s been searching for for a large portion of her life. Or someone like him anyway. He’s the first person she’s ever met who has the same abilities that she does. Val does put up a valiant effort to fight her growing attraction to Max, but when they discover they both share the same sexual gift, we know it’s just a matter of time before they get busy seeing visions together. With an ability grounded in sex, it seems meeting someone else with the same gift heightens their feelings of arousal. Poor girl didn’t stand a chance!

Magical Genitals Collide

As the novel progresses I was curious to find out if Max and Val’s eventual first time together would be out of necessity to find out key information in a vision, or from a development of real feelings for each other. Interestingly enough, it’s sort of a combination of both. Val senses a growing attraction to Max that can no longer be ignored, so she kind of uses her gift as an excuse to finally get physically close to him.

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Something I did find particularly interesting about their supernatural power is how it influenced their sexual dynamic. In most romance novels, we often see a male lead who wants to make himself last as long as possible, while giving his woman as many orgasms as possible. However, for Max and Val they both try to delay the inevitable in order to prolong their pleasure. The fact is, they each only have one shot before they literally pass out in a vision. In their efforts to make it last, they often talk about other topics to keep their mind off it. In addition, they can’t necessarily come together, or else risk passing out on top of each other and squishing some rather important bits and pieces. Like a true gentleman, Max lets Val come first before taking his own pleasure with a desperate attempt to try and pass out beside her.

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One benefit to their strong libido is that although they can only come once at a time, they can quickly regroup after their visions and go at it again. Seeing as Val often foresees death of some kind you’d think it would kind of spoil the mood, but nope! They are ready and raring to go pretty quickly.

Building Suspense and Leading Characters

While Val and Max explore their visions together we also have the underlying story line of her fiancé’s murder, and uncovering a conspiracy rooted in politics and greed. There’s quite a lot of suspense towards the end which lasts for a good chunk of the novel. Definitely nice that it wasn’t a wam, bam, thank you ma’am kind of deal. I was also initially worried that their ability to see the future might make the end of the book less exciting, but that wasn’t the case either as both Val and Max desperately try to alter the course of events which could lead to their deaths.

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I will say there are a LOT of moving pieces in this novel, including a plethora of different characters, motives, and a seemingly endless number of interconnecting story lines. At times it was tricky to keep everything straight, and you can tell some aspects weren’t fully explored so that they can be featured more prominently in a future novel. While I definitely understand the appeal of this for certain plot points, I felt it sort of detracted from us getting to know our main leading lady on a deeper level.

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Considering Val was a former sergeant in the army it means she’s literally a bad ass, and one woman I would never want to cross. Unfortunately, it was also a smidge difficult to like her at times, or connect with her on an emotional level. After mourning the loss of her fiancé it seemed like Val sort of shut off her emotions in order to move on and focus on finding his killer. In a way this also closes herself off to us as the audience. Honestly, I couldn’t help but see Max as a more compelling character due to the fact that we uncover a significant portion of his back story, and get a good glimpse of his hardships and inner turmoil. I wish we had been offered the same for Val, specifically in relation to the impact of her sister’s untimely death, and her developing relationship with Max. It’s definitely possible we’ll see more of this in future novels, but I think a brief window into her personality would have helped us connect with her.

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

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Series: Valentine Shepherd, book 1. There’s an unexpected twist at the end which sets things up for a sequel. Not a cliffhanger per se, but it will leave you wondering what happens next.

Should you read it? The ending of the novel was definitely my favorite, as we see all the various plot points come together for one climactic finish. It does take a while for the story to develop, and with there being so many different characters and interwoven plots it sort of feels like you’re being unwillingly pulled in a multitude of different directions. In addition to the magical genitals, there is also a larger supernatural connection which is briefly touched upon towards the end of the novel. Not really sure how I feel about it at this point.

Smut Level: This book has pretty much every combination you can imagine under the sun. We’ve got m/f, f/f, m/m and m/m/f. I guess the only version missing is f/f/m?

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Forever Yours Publishing. 336 Pages.

 

To Win Her Smile by Mackenzie Crowne

A contemporary romance featuring a quarterback football star who eventually dons a kilt by the end of the novel. Ummm, yes please!

What’s it About? 

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When sultry British Baroness Piper Darrow falls on desperate times, she needs a diversion—and cash. As a talented photographer, she jumps at the chance to travel to the U.S. for a Manhattan Marauders football event. But she gets more than she bargained for when buff quarterback Wyatt Hunter’s errant pass lands . . . in her face. And when it results in Wyatt’s comeback of a lifetime, the superstitious athlete is convinced Piper is his good luck charm . . .

With his sights on the Super Bowl, Wyatt will do anything necessary to keep Piper close. The fact that she’s a feast for the eyes is a bonus. And as they get closer, he discovers that beneath her proper English surface is a sweet, sexy seductress. Soon the notorious playboy finds himself genuinely smitten, and surprisingly open to love—until his powerful family uncovers something about Piper that threatens to shatter his trust. Now he’ll have to decide whether to team up with his fears, or his heart.

First Impressions

I’ll admit, when this novel first started I was initially quite concerned. Our opening scene features a football game, and the stakes are high as Wyatt plays our lead quarterback competing to hopefully set the gears in motion to advance his team to their fourth Super Bowl win. So why did this concern me? I don’t do sports! Least of all football. Believe me, growing up in a Midwestern state that was all about sports rivalries I’ve more than had my fill. At the start there was quite a lot of detail involving passes, end zones, and lines of scrimmage that had me cringing in a kind of PTSD sports haze. But alas! I ended up loving this one! Our lead football star proceeds to throw his ball 60mph directly into the face of a stunning British photographer on the sidelines, and things simply go up from there!! Filled with humor, drama, sexy kitchen and elevator fun times, as well as family issues for both parties. What’s not to like?

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A British Baroness and Good Luck Charm

Piper might be a baroness, but she’s in desperate need of money to get an annoying cousin off her back who’s seeking a half million dollar inheritance. Piper risks losing her family home if she can’t pony up the pounds, but along comes a flying football to her nose to change things up. Wyatt sees her as his good luck charm, seeing as his team won a close game after the minor nose accident, and he’s willing to pay her a pretty penny to have her attend the rest of his games for the season.

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He also commissions her to photograph a calendar featuring him and his hunky teammates to raise money for Down syndrome research. However, Wyatt also makes it clear that he’s burning with lust to take the gorgeous redhead to bed, and he’ll do anything to convince her to take a chance on their blatant sexual chemistry. I must say I was rather surprised there was no initial hesitancy on Piper’s part with a possible comparison to…well…prostitution. After all, he is paying her with the intention of eventually getting her into bed, and his claims for her photography services sort of blur the lines on what exactly it is he’s paying for. To get a chance to photograph that beautiful man though? Mmm mmm mmmmm.

Secret Former Flings

For Wyatt, he’s definitely got a type in his attraction to redheads, and Piper fits the bill to perfection. As they get to know each other however, we see that his connection to her goes far beyond the physical. Wyatt is comfortable around Piper to a degree that he’s never had with another woman, and he’s willing to share things with her about his life that he’s never opened up to anyone else about. His family secrets, his home, and even his love.

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For Piper, she’s concerned entering into a relationship with Wyatt seeing as her last foray with a professional athlete ended so terribly, with the British gossip rags dragging her name and reputation through the dirt. I will say I was mildly disappointed that Piper didn’t choose to share any of this background with Wyatt until pretty late in the game. True, they initially agreed to keep things casual with no strings attached. However, as they get closer, and Piper sees the true Wyatt through her camera lens, I wanted her to willingly share more of herself with him beyond just her body. Only when he asks her to does she open up to him.

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

Series: Players, book 5. I shockingly really enjoyed this one, even with it being steeped in the world of sports. I also kind of want to go back and read the other novels in the series too!

Should you read it? A fun story, albeit with a somewhat cheesy ending. When you’ve got a hottie in a kilt declaring his love though I’m 100% in. I also found Wyatt to be a highly admirable character. His father is running for president, and he knows it’s only a matter of time before his staff uncovers the history of Piper’s appearances in the press. Even though their relationship is new, and it could be so much easier to break ties, Wyatt instead chooses to stand by her. Sigh.

Smut Level: Give me a passionate scene in an elevator any day.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Lyrical Shine. 232 Pages.

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Until Sage by Aurora Rose Reynolds

Sage might be adopted, but this man is a Mayson through and through. He too experiences the “boom” which clearly designates Kim as his one and only.

What’s it About?

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Sage Mayson had Kimberly Cullen once, and the memory of that brief encounter has tortured him since the moment he pushed her away. He should have followed his gut, but he didn’t, and now he’s left watching the woman he wants more than anything from afar. Kimberly vowed to protect her heart from Sage, but when her sister is murdered and her world starts to fall apart, he’s the one person she finds herself leaning on. Getting a second chance is something Sage knows is rare. He’s not going to squander the one he’s been given, and he won’t take no for an answer when it comes to making Kim his. But what Sage doesn’t know is Kim has a secret that could leave them both devastated and heartbroken

First Impressions

One thing’s for sure, you need to be extremely careful with how you read the books in both the Until Him and Until Her series. In my opinion, it’s really best to go back and forth between the two and read them in the order of their release date. Not gonna lie, pretty annoying tactic, but also important as one of the main plot points of this novel was both presented and basically resolved in the novel “Until Ashlyn”. While I do enjoy having the alternate focus between the male and female children of the Mayson clan, I believe that for continuity and sanity’s sake, it would have been better to combine both of these series into one. Call it the Until Descendants or something.

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Nature vs. Nurture

You know, I kind of feel bad for twins. When it comes to literary representations it seems that 9 times out of 10 we are always presented with a good twin and an evil twin. And that’s basically what we’re presented with in this novel. Not a very promising outlook in romance novel land. Kim is the good twin. She’s an upstanding citizen, successful hair stylist, and a compassionate friend. Then there’s her twin sister Kelly who is a regular visitor to a sex fetish website, and tries to date rape Sage upon first meeting. Awkwardly for Sage he didn’t know Kim was a twin, and it kind of introduced a speed bump in the road of their budding relationship when he mistakenly thought the girl he was smitten with just wanted to drug and rob him. Oh, to be a twin in a literary romance.

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This twin focus introduces some of the main conflict of the story. On the one hand, Kim has an emotional struggle with herself. She wonders how different her and her sister’s lives could have been if their upbringings were reversed. While Kim was put up for adoption and raised in a loving home, Kelly remained in the arms of her drugged out and abusive mother. It presents the classic debate of nature vs. nurture, and Kim often wonders if she would have ended up as screwed up as her sister if she had remained with her mother instead.

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The other point of contention which this twin story line introduces to the plot is the mix-up with Sage. When he believes that Kim was the one to attempt to drug him, he confronts her the next day and calls her a bitch, ultimately dismissing her from his life. However, while this does add a sense of “so what happens now”, Kim and Sage still have an obvious sexual attraction for one another, and we know it’s just a matter of time before the truth comes out and they’re eventually knockin boots.

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Side-by-Side Series

Aside from their initial kerfuffle which delays their sexual fun time, there’s really only one other main element of drama throughout the whole book, and it’s definitely presented in a rather odd manner. When read in conjunction with the Until Her series, we find that we’ve actually already been introduced to the suspenseful plot point of the novel. As if that wasn’t enough, we even know how the whole matter comes to fruition after reading Until Ashlyn. By reading these series side-by-side, it makes this novel pretty…well…uneventful when all is said and done. Aside from taking their relationship status from on the rocks to living together not much else happens during the rest of the book. Kind of disappointing. There is one other minor issue involving Kim’s health that I thought would become a more prominent feature of the book, but it’s ultimately resolved without as much attention as I thought it deserved.

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Series: Until Him, book 2.

Should you read it? This book was just ok. Definitely a letdown that the primary feature of suspense and mystery was given away in its entirety during the last book. Still a sweet read.

Smut Level: Sage experiences his “boom” when he meets Kim, and Kim too experiences some rather booming orgasms on multiple surfaces of both her and Sage’s homes.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 229 Pages.

West of Forgotten by Lynda J. Cox

A secluded Wyoming ranch set in the middle of nowhere. Sounds like the ideal place for romance to bloom. I seriously need to take a trip to Wyoming.

What’s it About? 

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Banished from civilization to the Wyoming Territory, U.S. Marshal Harrison Taylor holds a deed to half the Lazy L. He isn’t sure why his beautiful new partner, Rachel Leonard, doesn’t trust him. He has to convince her he is nothing like the man who abused her and must earn her trust before the escalating attacks at the Lazy L turn deadly. For six years, Rachel has worked to repair a shattered life. Caring for her son and invalid father leaves little time to keep the Lazy L profitable. She doesn’t want a business partner simply because her father gambled away half of her beloved ranch and most certainly doesn’t desire a husband. Unfortunately, she’s stuck with the former and can’t trust Harrison as the latter. Unless she can learn to trust Harrison, everything and everyone Rachel loves will be lost.

First Impressions

The first half of this novel is all about Rachel and Harrison developing trust in their relationship. She’s been hurt before, and anyone who comes into both her and her son’s lives needs to earn her trust. Harrison is just the man to exhibit the necessary patience to win her over. Upon meeting the tantalizingly beautiful single mother, Harrison is determined that rather than take over the ranch completely, he wants to help her see it thrive again. To do so he determines their best option is to marry. Not only will it silence the gossips in town to see a man living with Rachel, but it also ensures she’ll get the entire ranch should something ever happen to him.

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Beyond just trusting him from a business partner standpoint, Rachel must also learn to trust him physically. She shies away from his every touch with fear in her eyes over what happened at the hands of his brother years before. Although their trust comes slowly, I must say it was built unbelievably well, with a hint of reality to it. It’s not like one day Rachel is wary of the stranger on her front porch, and the next she simply decides her fate is sealed and she’ll throw caution to the wind by trusting him completely. By developing it slowly over time their relationship is stronger for it, as it is built on something more stable and important than physical desire.

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A Troubled Past

I definitely appreciated this story emphasizing the importance of trust in a relationship, but in my opinion there was something which stood out even more. This is also a tale of survival. Rachel survived a horrific rape and abuse at the hands of a man who had the ability to charm an entire city into believing his version of events over hers. It was truly frightening to see how people treated her in the aftermath, as though she were the one to blame. That she led him on. How nobody believed her save a select few.

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What sickened me even more was to consider that this still happens today. This story might be set in the bygone era of the Wild West, yet it’s underlying horrors are still present. Rachel was ostracized from the community, but the one shining light throughout it all were those select few who believed in her. Although not related by blood, they were her family, and were willing to do anything to protect her and her son from the dangers of the world. Rachel is a strong, admirable lead character who drew on the love of her friends to help raise her son, and she could stand up to anyone who dared cross their path. Including a sexy U.S. Marshal.

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

Series: Stand-alone

Should you read it? Yes! This novel isn’t just a tale of blossoming love. As Rachel receives threatening notes, and her ranch is plagued by arson, we discover that her abuser has returned. She must face her fears all over again, but this time she has Harrison by her side. An intense finish that will have you holding your breath and clenching your toes in anticipation. At least…that’s what I do when I get anxious reading a book!

Smut Level: Harrison is the ideal. He helps Rachel live her life again. He pushes her, but not too much. Harrison lets her make her own decisions, but helps to nudge her in the right direction. He also helps her explore her sexuality, and learn that there’s no shame in pleasure. They take things slow, but Harrison manages to seduce her with words, and holy hell is that man a smooth talker and sexy grinner extraordinaire!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 318 Pages.

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Maybe Matt’s Miracle by Tammy Falkner

This family has one of the best house rules ever: if a woman punches you in the face, you have to marry her.

What’s it About? 

maybe matt's miracle

What he needed was a miracle…Matthew Reed has seen his share of problems. But he’s a Reed and Reeds can overcome anything. Matt is content working in his family’s tattoo parlor with his brothers surrounding him. The only thing he’s lacking is the ability to have a family of his own. Then his battle with cancer leads him to meet a woman who just might need him as much as he needs her.

She didn’t need anything…Skylar Morgan is happy. She has a boyfriend. Sure, he doesn’t make her heart pound faster and he really doesn’t support her when she needs it. But she doesn’t need much. Does she? She’s happy to be self-sufficient and she’s happy that she doesn’t have a tremendous amount of responsibility. She’s educated, has a great job, and she has enough money for a lifetime. But what she lacks, she doesn’t even realize until she meets him. And them. The ones who change her life forever.

First Impressions

Within just the first few pages of the novel you can tell it’s going to have all the feels. We’ve got cancer, secret families, orphans, and absentee fathers trying to make up for lost time. I mean…pretty much the only thing missing was a love triangle or a stalker to really mix things up. The book begins with the funeral of Skylar’s half-sister, whose children are now under her care.

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Honestly, I was surprised there was no real adjustment period upon her getting three children dumped on her when she’s so used to being on her own. It really distinguishes it from your typical Kate Hudson rom com with shenanigans in abundance. On the one hand I found it remarkably refreshing to have such a strong lead female character who could still function as an adult even though her life has just been turned upside down. That being said, it was still kind of surprising that there was no big issue there from a story standpoint.

All the Cards are Played

There are two people who really help Skylar as she’s thrust into motherhood. This includes the eldest child of the three, Seth, stepping up to the plate. The other is Matt. Our charmingly sexy male lead. Pretty much from the get-go, Skylar and Matt lay all their cards out on the table in regards to what they’re expecting out of this relationship they have decided to explore.

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While I couldn’t help but feel it was markedly bizarre that he’s declaring she’ll fall in love with him and want to marry him before they’ve even gone out on a first date, you also feel a sense of admiration at the both of them for being upfront right away about what’s really important to them. Matt acknowledges that the chances of them being able to have a baby together are extremely slim due to the after effects of his chemo. Skylar admits that her nieces and nephew are now a package deal when it comes to dating her, and she wants to know if Matt will be bothered by being seen with them in public because they aren’t white. Her ex-boyfriend openly admitted he had a problem with people making assumptions about their mixed race, which I think we can all admit makes him the ultimate uber jackass of the year.

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Past Flames

I was surprised that the main point of conflict in this story really didn’t involve Skylar’s parenting, or the boyfriend who was mentioned in the synopsis. I’m not a huge fan of love triangles, or questionable starts to relationships when one of the players is already involved with someone else. However, this novel did a grand job of making us immediately detest Skylar’s boyfriend, and see that their relationship was already starting to fizzle out. In addition, Matt doesn’t attempt to make any move on his feelings for Skylar when she’s dating someone else, and it’s Skylar who ultimately makes the decision to drop the douche-hole all on her own with no interference from Matt whatsoever.

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Instead, our conflict doesn’t really come until the very end of the novel when both Matt and Skylar attend the wedding of his ex who cheated on him with his best friend. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it was right around the time when Matt was first diagnosed with cancer. His family convinces him to attend the wedding as a form of closure. Now, I couldn’t help but draw an immediate parallel connection to Friends, and question whether or not he should have gone. Just like when Rachel debated going to London to attend Ross and Emily’s wedding. Personally, I found it rather weird that Matt chose to go. He doesn’t hide how much he hates these two people, and even though it’s no secret to them they still invited him to their wedding. Honestly, I think it would have been a better night for him to stay at home with Skylar and bang it out all night. So what exactly is the conflict? Matt forgot to mention the minor fact to Sky that they were attending his ex’s wedding. Can we say blindsided?!

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Series: The Reed Brothers, book 4. Happy to finally see Matt get his happily ever after.

Should you read it? The drama at the end with Matt confronting his ex was interesting, but I would have liked some more descriptions of Skylar’s adjustment to suddenly being a mother to three children. Something which surprised me was that my favorite moments in the book weren’t actually between Sky and Matt, though they did have some sexy scenes together. Instead, the heart-to-heart discussions between Skylar and her nephew Seth were outstanding. His difficulty adjusting to life without his mother, having to say goodbye to her for one last time as she dies from cancer…that tugs at the heartstrings right there.

Smut Level: We have a scintillating phone sex conversation, as well as a frenzied and passionate sex scene in a storage closet. Oh, and did I mention Matt’s one eyed snake is pierced?

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Night Shift Publishing. 316 Pages.

Dark Instincts by Suzanne Wright

Goodness gracious golly gee, this book definitely starts off with a bang! Nothing like an attempted kidnapping and an overturned car to get your juices flowing.

What’s it About? 

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It happens whenever wolf shifter Roni Axton is near Marcus Fuller: a crackle of sexual awareness that’s intoxicating…and deeply annoying. Marcus is a pack enforcer who oozes power, but Roni is lethal in her own right—nothing like the flirty females who flock around him. Even still, his possessive gaze makes one thing clear. Marcus has singled her out for seduction, and he wants to make her sit up and beg.

No matter how aloof and unfazed Roni acts, Marcus can tell she wants him. When a brutal attack by a jackal pack forces them to work together, it’s the perfect opportunity for Marcus to chip away at her defenses—until he falls into his own trap, completely unprepared for the intensity of their connection. Roni is the only one who’s ever seen past his shifter charm and discovered the man hiding beneath it. And for Marcus, claiming Roni once will mean needing her forever.

First Impressions

I’m now four books into this Phoenix Pack series, and I’m starting to notice that each novel follows a very particular arch from start to finish. At the start we are always presented with some kind of interesting conflict or suspense, and this novel in particular had probably the most dramatic opening scene of any book in the series so far. Roni is trapped in an overturned car, and is desperately struggling to fight off a pack of jackal shifters from kidnapping the child of the alpha and beta of the Phoenix Pack. Nail biting start that draws you in, guaranteed.

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Then things slow down a bit story wise as we have a male and female lead who start to explore their sexual attraction for one another. They are undoubtedly mates, even if they can’t admit it to themselves yet. Fast forward through all the sexy times, and in the last 10% of each novel we always see the resurgence of our main conflict point, which is resolved in a fabulous display of pack strength. Voilà. There you go. Not gonna lie, this was probably the most disappointing book in the series so far for me, as it followed this arch to the letter, with very little deviation. Quite predictable.

Pack Combos and Ignored Villains

This novel has character overload! Not only do we have our two main leads, but we also have the mates from the previous three novels of the series, the blending of both the Phoenix and Mercury packs, human extremists and jackal shifters. It was honestly very difficult to keep them all straight, as well as understand the dynamics between all the pairs. This novel started off so strong, but then unfortunately just tapered off into nothing. Look, I get we have a romance novel here, and we need to focus on the development of Roni and Marcus’ relationship. However, to have such an intense start with a dramatic kidnapping attempt, and then switch to basically no mention of it for a large portion of the book was a total let down.

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Especially considering I was really excited to see that we were dealing with jackals. I was hoping to learn more about a different species within the series, but it’s not really touched upon all that much. As is a theme with most of the books in this series, we never really get to know our villain either. We are just aware that they’re lurking in the background plotting dastardly deeds, but there’s no real character introduction before the villain ultimately reappears for one final battle. Having more than just a surface level look at the enemy could really enhance the sense of struggle throughout the entire series.

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From Bad-ass to Damsel

The biggest disappointment for me in regards to this novel was the ending, and the stagnation of Roni’s womanly independence. Throughout this book, and even in the last book for that matter, Roni is portrayed as the ultimate bad-ass. She is a dominant female who can stand up for herself, sucking on a lollipop the whole time. Roni acknowledges that it’s ok if she’s dominated in the bedroom, but the girl knows how to give as good as she gets. She was actually the one to mark Marcus first, but Roni manages to distinguish very early on in their relationship the difference between possession and control. While she’s fine with Marcus doing the former in bed, she won’t stand if he does the latter in their day to day life.

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Fast forward to the end of the novel, where everything has been building up to one final confrontation between Roni and our jackal leader villain. Warning: spoilers ahead. I’m telling you guys, I was totally pumped for this ultimate showdown. Unleash the girl power Roni, and kick his ass to the curb!! Unfortunately, when push comes to shove we find that she actually can’t do it by herself. Marcus has to come along and rescue her. Now, I totally would have been ok with this if they had done like, a back-to-back teamwork fight off of jackals, but that’s not the case here. Roni is literally lying on the floor dying, and Marcus has to come and finish the job for her. Where she failed in her confrontation with evil, Marcus succeeds and saves the day. While this might be a victory for our Phoenix pack, I was really keeping my fingers crossed that Roni could have been the hero in the end.

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Series: Phoenix Pack, book 4.

Should you read it? I just wasn’t impressed with this one. It felt like the focus wasn’t always on Marcus and Roni, as there were all the other characters from the previous novels making an appearance. In the end though, the disjointed mix of suspense and romantic story lines was the main factor of why this book didn’t do it for me like the others.

Smut Level: We’re dealing with wolf shifters here. Undoubtedly we’ll deal with some animalistic urges and…mounting.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Montlake Romance. 322 Pages.

Loving Mason by Ruby Molloy

When your ultimate crush starts to show you attention, will you take what he’s offering?

What’s it About? loving mason

The moment twenty year old Frankie Finnegan saw bad boy Mason Zannuto she gave him a piece of her heart. Too bad he chose her friend, Nora. But that didn’t exactly work out and now he wants her, Frankie. Their chemistry is instantaneous and fiery, but when Frankie’s had a lifetime of second hand, can she settle for being second best? Loving Mason is part of the Imperfect Love series but can be read as a stand-alone novel.

First Impressions

How best to describe Mason and Frankie’s relationship? I like to think of it as a roller coaster that one rides in the dark. It has its ups and downs, and constant twists and turns that you never see coming, let alone can prepare for. It’s bumpy, somewhat painful, and at times you kind of wonder when it’s finally going to be over already. These two are drawn to each other, and their physical connection is off the charts sexy. However, they are also constantly bickering over something or other.

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From his lack of commitment to drama with both of their exes, his nephew’s presence in his life, her partying with friends, his job, the list seemingly goes on and on. Just when they would overcome one disagreement, it seems another would rise up to cause another bout of bickering between them. I’ll admit, after a while it did get kind of tiring to have so many highs and lows to their relationship interspersed with some steamy sex scenes. Perhaps shortening the book slightly to have a tad fewer arguments between our lead couple could have helped the flow of the book. That being said, everything does come together towards the end for a remarkably intense and emotional ending that both brings our characters together, yet also threatens to tear them apart.

Second Best or Leading Lady?

Frankie has had a crush on Mason since she first met him in a bar. Unfortunately, Frankie sees herself as second best considering he pursued her close friend, Nora, instead of her. Even though nothing intimate or physical happened between Mason and Nora, once he ultimately turns his attentions to Frankie she can’t help but feel that she’s a runner up in this competition. This lower opinion of herself continues when Mason’s ex girlfriend comes into the picture, as Frankie always feels inferior when compared to the other female figures in his life.

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While you can definitely understand Frankie’s initial hesitation to get involved with Mason considering his original pursuit of Nora, after a while you almost want to yell, “oh just get over it already!”. After all, this is Frankie’s ultimate crush, and he’s finally expressing an interest in her. Forget your inhibitions and get yourself some man love girlfriend! However, we then discover that feeling second best is a familiar theme in Frankie’s life, related to her relationship with her mother who chose alcohol over her own daughter. Although Frankie grew up in a loving home with her grandma and grandpa, there were still intermittent appearances from her hateful mother who would hail abuse on her before leaving once again for the bottle. My initial opinion of Frankie definitely changed after seeing how this complicated history with her mother could impact her current relationship with Mason.

Grandmothers and Sisters

Both Frankie and Mason definitely have their faults, but the supporting characters in this novel were EVERYTHING! From Frankie’s eccentric yet lovable gran, Ivy, to Mason’s no nonsense sister Carolyn, you couldn’t help but love their moxie. What made these characters so special was that they were always the kick in the pants that both Mason and Frankie needed to stop their wallowing and figure out what was really important in life. Turns out, both Ivy and Carolyn liked to employ the same tactic. Whenever Frankie and Mason were experiencing a low point of bickering over some issue or another, our supporting ladies would say, “So you two are arguing over this little inconsequential issue? Not talking to each other? Mkay, well that’s too bad! Time to move on. It’s not like you love ’em or anything.” Well hello little wake up call!! So nice to see you. Ivy and Carolyn were masters at helping Frankie and Mason realize that their feelings of love for each other were worth sticking around for, and putting up with everything else.

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

Series: Imperfect Love, book 2. A wonderfully apt title for this series. I hadn’t read the first book in this series, but I think I’ll continue on with the third to see how some of their friends carry on.

Should you read it? At times their constant arguing did get kind of old. I also felt like some issues were left unresolved, or rushed through, such as an extremely important issue with one of their exes. All in all though, it shows that relationships aren’t always a walk in the park. They push you and test you, but if you truly love the other person you can’t just walk away. Sometimes you have to stick around and fight for what you love.

Smut Level: These two have perfected the art of make up sex. Considering how often they got into verbal sparring matches, let’s just say they were experts by the end of it all!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.84 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 265 Pages.