A Model Engagement by Charlotte O’Shay

Alright, after reading this book I have one very important question that must be answered immediately. Is Maryland actually considered to be part of the South?? Our female lead apparently has a southern accent that comes out when she lets her guard down, and she hails from Maryland. The reason I need this question answered is because as someone who lives in Washington, DC, right on the border with Maryland, I need to know if I should start implementing more “y’alls” into my daily vocabulary.

What’s It About? 

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Lacey Reed jumps at the chance for independence with a career in the big city. But her naivety and ambition blind her to the lure of a blackmailer. With her savings gone, she has nowhere to turn when she literally runs into financier Connor Devlin. Though dazzled by Lacey, Connor sees the desperation she tries to hide. His gut tells him to help, and he hires her as his fake fiancée. Now Lacey has a job, and Connor has put a bandage on a family crisis. When the blackmailer ups the ante, Lacey resolves to face him down—no matter what the consequences. Does that mean Lacey will lose the only man who’s ever seen who she truly is?

First Impressions

A passionate romance at a beach house in Montauk? Count me in! This is the second novel in the City of Dreams series, and something I really do appreciate about these tales of fake fiancées is how the author presents us with characters who truly seem to have no other option. I think it’s safe to assume that not many of us could imagine a scenario in which we would enter into a fake engagement with someone who is a near stranger. Surely there must be some other way to get over whatever hurdle is presented, right? However, I was surprised to find that in both of these novels the female leads clearly had no other choice, and in order to look out for themselves and those that they love they have to do something kind of crazy. Heck, I even found myself wanting to yell at them, “What is there to think over? The solution is right in front of you, just take it already!” Who knew I’d be so supportive of fake engagements?!

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A One Day Fiancée 

In this novel, Lacey agrees to become Connor’s fake fiancée in order to help him care for his mother who would otherwise refuse the help of someone hired to be there. She’s willing to enter into such an absurd arrangement because she’s desperate to pay off a blackmailer who has a video tape of her in a rather compromising situation. As I mentioned earlier, I definitely understand how Lacey’s desperation to prevent this tape from ever being released could push her into accepting this completely unorthodox position. Connor on the other hand?

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Connor has known Lacey for basically just one day. In that short amount of time he can clearly identify she’s desperate for money. But to have him trust her enough to take care of his ailing mother, and also suggest they pretend to be engaged? After just one day? I guess I found it easier to believe her motivations rather than his. I did like that later on Connor admits his suggestion that they enter into this ruse so quickly was one of the dumbest ideas he’d ever had, but in that moment where he first tells Lacey she’ll be his fake fiancée I couldn’t help but think, “Woah, that was fast”.

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Past Deeds Impact the Present

Shockingly, I found myself more enthralled with the story of Lacey’s blackmail rather than her romance with Connor. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved ALL the sexual tension going on with her and the hunky gentleman, but it seemed that Lacey’s growth as a character was more linked to this other story going on with her ass of a blackmailer. To summarize, Lacey used to be a model, and when she started coordinating on a new ad campaign with a man who was highly regarded in the industry, he drugged her and filmed the two of them in some non-consensual sexual scenarios. This man then proceeds to blackmail her, demanding payment which reduces all of her life savings to nothing.

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The absolute best part of this book was seeing Lacey transform herself from a victim into a survivor. She was able to stand up for herself on her own two feet, and face the piece of shit who abused and blackmailed her. Lacey had the courage to say, “no more”. What was even better was that she came to this decision completely on her own. Nobody had to convince her of it, or push her into it. I think her budding relationship with Connor did act as a sort of catalyst, showing her how good her life could be if she just gets rid of the dead weight dragging her down. To see a woman who was at the end of her rope decide to rely on herself to escape the torment of her past was truly admirable.

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Mamma Devlin and Communication

There were two aspects of this novel that I felt could have been more fully accentuated. The first was the character of Connor’s mother. In a way, she is one of the primary factors that brings our main characters together. She is slowly going blind, and Connor wants to find someone who can help her through her day-to-day activities. Enter Lacey and the start of their fake engagement. While it is clear that she and Lacey get along, I simply wanted more scenes of the two of them spending time together. Towards the end of the novel we do get a glimpse of how sassy Connor’s mother can be, and if we had seen more of that side of her throughout the novel it might have added an extra layer of depth to Lacey’s interactions with Connor’s family. I think what I enjoyed so much about the first novel was the incorporation of our female lead’s younger brother into the dynamics between her and our male lead to truly cement their relationship. Connor’s mother could have acted as a similarly crucial supplemental character in this second novel, yet in the end it seemed like we never really got to know her.

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The second aspect revolves around the communication between Lacey and Connor. Throughout the book, we are privy to a lot of inner monologues of these two characters which reveal so much about their personalities. With Lacey, we learn all about how she branched out from her small home town in Maryland, and became a model in the big city as a way to rebel against her parents. We also see how she’s going through so much mental anguish over the issue of being blackmailed. With Connor, we uncover how the discovery of his father’s secret gambling life after his death influenced Connor’s relationship with his family. He had to become the protector and the provider. I just wish that Lacey and Connor had shared more of this with each other, rather than having it seemingly reserved for us to know as the audience. So many of these stories are glimpses into the thought processes of our characters. By having more heart-to-heart conversations throughout the novel rather than saving it all for the end could have acted as a real emotional bonding experience for our main couple, and strengthened their link beyond a basic physical connection.

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

Series: City of Dreams, book 2. I have a hunch over who the male lead of book 3 will be, and if I’m right then I just can’t wait!!!

Should you read it? Overall, I think I preferred book 1, mainly due to the more cohesive link between our main couple and supplemental characters. The story arch involving Lacey’s blackmailer was heartbreaking, yet also captivating. I wish there had been more of a resolution to how Lacey’s family responded to the blackmail. Not gonna lie, I kind of want to give her mom a good talking-to. Or maybe a slap. The ending of this novel was so freakin’ adorable though! After how quick their relationship started I really appreciated the patience Connor employed to go at Lacey’s own pace, so that she didn’t feel pressured into doing anything she wasn’t comfortable with.

Smut Level: These two have some intense make-out scenes that will have you fanning yourself! The one in the barn?! Phew!! My oh me oh my!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 210 Pages.

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Close to the Skin by Zara West

A hardened criminal? Or a loving protector? Bella debates whether she should turn to the intimidating Vernon for help considering his past, but she can’t deny how he looks at her with love in his eyes.

What’s it About?

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Never back down, never turn your back, and never fall in love. Head of a multi-million dollar criminal enterprise, Vernon Newell doesn’t let family ties or misplaced sympathy get in his way. But there is one chink in his armor—Sirena Patras, the beautiful young Greek girl he seduced and deserted eight years ago. When Vernon discovers that Bella Bell, a prospering tattoo artist in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is actually Sirena, he sets out to woo and to win her. Despite her attraction to the fabulously sexy man, Bella wants nothing to do with a hard-headed, ruthless criminal. But when threatening messages start arriving, and Vernon disappears, Bella must choose to abandon the man she loves, as he did her, or risk her life to save him.

First Impressions

This novel presents us with a fascinating debate of whether or not to love a “former” hardened criminal. I think a quote from this book which perfectly encapsulates our heroine’s struggle is “Could a man who touched her with such love, kill over and over again in cold blood, and still have a heart left in him?” It’s basically a question of whether a killer can transform into a passionate lover. However, as the novel progresses we also question if the two personas can coexist at the same time. Such an intriguing dichotomy that doesn’t necessarily have a nice answer.

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Falling for the Criminal

First of all, Vernon is charming as hell. He and Bella have a ton of chemistry, not to mention a passionate past, and he draws on it every chance he gets. He’s intent to marry her, constantly trying to convince her of his worth, and how amazing their lives will be together. On the one hand, you really do want them to be together, as they seem like kindred spirits. At the same time though, you completely understand her hesitancy to get involved with him. It almost reminded me of a mob movie, like Goodfellas, where you almost scream to the woman on the screen, “Why are you risking your life to get involved with this man?”

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The last thing Bella wants is to get mixed up in Vernon’s criminal world. You just never know when his former enemies might come looking for him, or possibly torture her to get to him. Vernon insists he’s given up that world. That he’s gone straight. The fact that he constantly has a bodyguard with him reflects that danger still lurks behind every corner. I will say, he’s so charming and convincing that even I believed him. Unfortunately, we quickly find out that he wasn’t necessarily telling the whole truth.

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Stretching the Truth

Sooooo, Vernon basically straight out lies to Bella regarding his criminal activities. While he’s not necessarily his father’s heinous henchman anymore, he still hasn’t removed himself entirely from that world. Definitely an interesting set up for a main character. When Bella initially pushes Vernon away we want her to overcome her hesitations, and realize he’s the only one for her. However, when we see how he lies to her we also question if she deserves someone better. Probably the most intense up and down of an emotional roller-coaster regarding my opinion towards a main character ever! I didn’t really know as the novel progressed what my final opinion of him would be, or if he could redeem himself in Bella’s eyes. Or mine for that matter! Fascinating progression to be sure.

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Burning Fire

Bella has a fiery personality, which also equates into a burning temper. She’s often quick to pounce on Vernon, and jump to conclusions with those closest to her. We also see how this “quick to assume the worst” attitude carries over into her business life. When she has the opportunity to design tattoos for a new TV show, she’s convinced she doesn’t have the time to draw them all and still maintain her tattoo parlor. But, she does. When she loses those designs she laments over the fact she could never possibly recreate all that hard work in such a short amount of time. All is seemingly lost. But, she does.

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It shows that when she sets her mind to something she can accomplish the most seemingly impossible of tasks. At the same time though, when it occurs repeatedly throughout the novel it also makes us wanna tell her to “calm down girl, have some tea and take a deeeeeep breath”. When Bella also insists that she could never possibly love Vernon because of his violent past, and determinedly swears they’re over it’s easy to question how steadfast she’ll really be.

Some Additional Minor Points

Vernon has a pretty strange relationship with his younger brother. He’s tried to keep him out of the criminal world, but to no avail. Their relationship is almost in limbo as Vernon struggles to acknowledge that his little brother isn’t necessarily sweet and innocent. I don’t want to give away too much of this story line, but I will say it didn’t seem 100% resolved to me by the end of the novel. It does however allow for Vernon to make a choice of what is more important to him: Bella, or his family and extravagant lifestyle.

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Lastly, I’m sorry to admit that I did have some trouble remembering all of the details surrounding Bella and Vernon’s relationship from the previous novel. I read a lot of books, okay?! 87 books to be precise since I read the first one. I think a brief summary at the start of the novel would have been extremely beneficial, especially concerning the dynamic with Vernon’s deceased brother who kidnapped Bella. While the story does eventually come full circle, answering a lot of the question marks from book one, it came together a bit too piece meal for my liking. At one point I even found myself rereading some of the end of the last book to try and remember some of the details.

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

Series: The Skin Quartet, book 2. I am absolutely in love with the supporting characters in this series, specifically our band of graffiti artists. If a future novel features one of them as the lead character I am sooooo reading it.

Should you read it? I did prefer this over book one, even though we do see some of the same themes carry over into this novel as well. Most significantly, our main characters aren’t always 100% likable. They have flaws, just like we all do. However, whereas this feature in book 1 made it difficult for me to relate to said characters, I felt it was developed so much more prominently in book 2. It demonstrates our feelings towards the characters are fluid. One minute you want Bella and Vernon to have a happily ever after. The next you wonder if Bella is right to keep her distance. So interesting that as Bella contemplates her feelings for Vernon, we too can sympathize with her debate.

Smut Level: Nothing like a little hanky panky on the kitchen floor!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 264 Pages.

2016 in Review!

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post everyone! Personally, I blame the holidays, and the fact that I entered into a food coma basically every night for the last week and a half. Who knew home cooking could be such a deterrent to productivity?

After the New Year celebrations officially conclude, I usually provide a wrap-up of some of my favorite books from the previous year, as well as a total count of how many books I read. I’m sorry to say that for the first time in three years I failed my designated reading challenge goal!

At the start of 2016 I had set a reading goal of 150 books, and sadly I only finished reading a total of 108. Such shame and humiliation!! You’d think with all the flying I did to China, Australia and all over the USA that I would have found some more time to read. What can I say though? The free movies always call to me on airplanes. That being said, I’m happy to report that just three days into 2017 I’ve already finished reading a book, and it was freakin’ amazing, so hopefully that’s just a sign of good things to come!

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Alright, let’s take a look back at some of my favorite reads from the past year. If you’d like to read my full review of each one, just click on the title!

Andromeda’s Fall by Abigail Owen: An amazing paranormal romance read that contains cougar shifters, polar bear shifters, and a tantalizing amount of sexual tension that will leave you wanting more. Some other great reads from Ms. Owen I read this past year include Crimson Dahlia, Her Demigod Complex, and the Worse for Were. This woman makes me love paranormal romances!

Breathe for Me by Natalie Anderson: Nothing like experiencing a range of fun sexual fantasies with an ex-lifeguard. It’s a quick read with interesting characters, and there’s a good mix of sweet, sexy and a touch of sadness.

Clingstone by Marti Ziegler: One of the best Civil War romance novels I’ve ever read, with an amazing male hero that I want for myself. Suspense, emotion, war, and awesome character development.

Haunted Souls by Kathryn Knight: I’m not normally one for ghost stories, but this one draws you in and won’t let go. A soldier returns home with PTSD to discover he has a son he never knew existed, and a ghost is haunting the house of the woman he loves. Talk about a stressful homecoming.

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Love in the Light by Laura Kaye: This was definitely one of my top reads of the year. Laura Kaye’s writing is superb. You’ll laugh, cry, and possibly even weep like I did, as we get a glimpse into the world of someone living with depression.

The Marriage Ultimatum by Charlotte O’Shay: Taking the concept of the “marriage contract” to a whole new level! Lovable characters who seem different on the surface find they have more in common than they thought by having survived difficult pasts. They also have some explosive chemistry.

Of Love and Betrayal by Louise Lyndon: This historical read has the perfect mix of intrigue, suspense, lust and romance. Not to mention two lead characters you can’t help but adore.

Seize the Flame by Lynda J. Cox: This novel has everything you could possibly hope for in an exciting western romance: a brooding bounty hunter, a brave woman on the run from an abusive husband, and the two of them trapped together in an isolated cabin during a snow storm. Loving it.

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She Laughs in Pink by Jessica Calla: An emotional read that left me in tears, no matter how hard I tried to keep them at bay. Filled with endearing, yet also imperfect characters, you’ll probably roll your eyes at some of the silly mistakes that all young college kids are bound to make. But if you stick with it, you’ll see the beautiful relationships that can bloom and evolve in Sheridan Hall.

Tangled Vows by Stella Hunter: Definitely one of the better romance novels featuring a love affair between a male celebrity and an average woman that I’ve read in a long time. It’s a quick and sexy read. A little bit of suspense is thrown in at the beginning, and there’s the hint of enough family drama to make your household seem like a haven of serenity!

That One Moment by Amy Daws: In my opinion, this was definitely one of the best of the entire London Lovers/Lost in London series. It covers some intense subjects, but there’s also a decent amount of humor woven in as well. From Vi’s over-protective footballer brothers, to her ball-sniffing dog Bruce. Oh, and did I mention it’s sexy as hell?!

Wedding Day by Erin Bevan: If you’re looking for a light-hearted romance featuring a dashing cowboy, a bit of intrigue, a good handful of sexual innuendos, and not too many detailed sex scenes, then this is definitely the book for you. From single parents to stalkers, bets, a cowboy contemplating his rodeo career, and a virgin heroine torn between two men, it’s all here! Another great read by Ms. Bevan is the delightful Christmas romance, Wrapped Up in You.

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Well there you go! That’s just a small sampling of some of my favorite reads from 2016. Thanks for reading everyone! And here’s to hoping that I actually reach my reading challenge goal in 2017.

Sarai’s Fortune by Abigail Owen

Alright all you paranormal romance fans out there! I will let you have your werewolves, vampires, zombies, demons and pretty much anything else if you’ll just let me keep this polar bear shifter. Please! It just seems like he’d be so gloriously fluffy!!

What’s it About?

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Zac Montclair’s first priority is to protect his people. With the escalating war between factions of shifters over land and resources, he has agreed to an alliance between his polar bears and the Shadowcat Nation of cougar shifters. But the treaty comes with a condition…he must accept one of their Seers into his Timik and put her under his personal protection.

Sarai Bouchard doesn’t need her supernatural gift to know that Kyle Carstairs’s obsession with controlling her ability will eventually result in her misery and demise. Her power is essential to her people’s survival, so when Kyle goes rogue, she’s sent to Zac Montclair to keep her safe. However, her visions reveal that while staying will lead to their becoming lovers, it also leads to his death. Leaving Zac will result in her own. If Sarai can’t find a way to change the future, she will be forced to choose…save her lover or save herself.

First Impressions

When it comes to Sarai, this poor girl has got to be experiencing one of the worst cases of “look, but don’t touch” that I’ve ever seen. There is an obvious pull and connection between her and Zac, and she’s foreseen how hot and heavy they can be in bed together, what with all the thrusting, heaving and sweating going on. Unfortunately, she’s also seen that getting involved with the man will undoubtedly lead to one of their deaths. Oh, and did I mention that he has sworn to protect her by welcoming her into his Timik, and insists on being close to her whenever possible? Gotta love the close proximity here!

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A Little Bit Closer Now

When we were first introduced to Zac Montclair in book one, we were offered just a brief glimpse of the dark and brooding polar bear shifter. In this novel, we get a first-hand account of what makes him tick, and it just so happens to be his undeniable attraction to the mysterious seer who has come under his protection.

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The best scenes of the novel in my opinion were those which brought Sarai and Zac into closer contact, specifically when he was teaching her how to spar with an opponent. Nothing like a little physical contact and rolling around on a gym mat to get you in the mood! But beyond that, we see how committed Zac was to looking out for Sarai and keeping her safe. In his ideal world, he would always be there to fight her battles for her, but he realizes her strength and the need to protect herself should the opportunity arise. I just love that he didn’t treat her like a helpless withering wall flower!

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Melding of Stories

Something I really appreciated about this sequel was that it did incorporate part of the story line and some of the characters from the first novel, yet for the most part the story did stand apart by focusing more attention on how Zac and Sarai were specifically affected be previous events. This helped the book come across as both unique, but still obviously part of the same world as book one. In addition, we are introduced to a few intriguing new characters who will undoubtedly be featured as the leads in a future book. I simply can’t wait!

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

Series: Shadowcat Nation, book 2. Gimme more, gimme more!

Should you read it? This sequel provided great development of the original story! We see a continuation of the struggle from the previous novel, yet also the introduction of some new plot twists and future potential issues. My only complaint is that I wish Zac and Sarai had shifted more often. Each one only does a brief shift, and I really would have loved at least one scene of them running together in their polar bear and cougar forms. Other than that? Fabulous!

Smut Level: My favorite part of this book? Zac may be the one to surprise Sarai with a few kisses here and there, but she’s the one to take full initiative by showing up in his bed one night totally naked!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.82 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 202 Pages.

 

A Witch’s Holiday Wedding by Tena Stetler

And you thought planning your wedding was stressful! Imagine having to accommodate your fiancé‘s werewolf pack members, your own witchy parents, and a gathering of ghostly relatives. And on top of all that, running a wildlife sanctuary for injured animals. I’m starting to understand the immediate need for honeymoons!

What’s it About?

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Elemental witch, Pepper McKay and former Navy SEAL, Lathen Quartz have built Lobster Cove Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center on enchanted McKay land. During a romantic interlude on Halloween night, Pepper happily agrees to become Lathen’s wife. What better day than Winter Solstice for their wedding in a town that loves celebrations and Christmas. However, planning a wedding and operating their wildlife center takes a toll on both Pepper and Lathen.

When the couple takes a much-needed break for Thanksgiving with family in Colorado, a Maine snowstorm fills the center with injured wildlife. Lathen finds himself drawn into a covert military mission, while trying to deal with issues with friends and family. Pepper wants to cancel the wedding. Is she having second thoughts? Will the nosy McKay ghosts, Lathen’s werewolf pack, Pepper’s parents, and her best friend help or hinder the wedding and holiday plans?

First Impressions

This novel is a sweet continuation of A Witch’s Journey, as we get to tag along as Pepper and Lathen put the finishing touches on their wedding plans. The entire novel spans pretty much the whole holiday season, from a family Thanksgiving celebration, to a Christmas wedding, to ringing in the New Year with loved ones. It’s a cute read that demonstrates the importance of family, including the new one you might be marrying into. And every time you get frustrated with family trying to plan the whole blessed event themselves, just take a relaxing dip in the hot tub with your sexy werewolf fiancé. He’s sure to keep you extra warm!

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Smooth Sailing

Although this novel was a cute read, and there was a lot of wedding planning/celebrating going on, I did feel like the majority of the plot was lacking any real struggle. There were moments where some issues could have been expanded upon to create some real drama, but they were all resolved very quickly and without any major problems. Throughout the book I kept expecting there to be some kind of eventual twist or complication, but it was pretty much smooth sailing.

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For example, at one point Lathen’s former SEAL buddies come to recruit him for a secret mission. I thought there might actually be some danger involved, but alas, the mission took one day and just required his computer skills. Little fuss. Who knows if this could possibly be featured again in a future novel, but when it comes to this book the focus is primarily on the holidays and family.

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

Series: Lobster Cove, book 2.

Should you read it? I think some kind of drama would have made the book slightly more engaging. Even the stresses of wedding planning were resolved with very little cause for worry. Almost too smooth of a read at times. But my goodness is Lathen extra yummy!

Smut Level: Overall pretty clean, especially considering family is in the next room, but in some scenes Lathen’s animal side is let out to play. Tee hee!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 318 Pages.

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Andromeda’s Fall by Abigail Owen

YAASSSS! Another addictively gripping series from Abigail Owen that will suck you in and leave you wanting even more!

What’s it About?

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Andromeda Reynolds is being hunted. After witnessing her mother’s violent death at the hands of a pack of wolf shifters, Andie has devoted her life to protecting her community of cougar shifters from a similar fate. But now, a greater threat lies within her own pack, and she must run. If she stays, Kyle Carstairs will force their mating, seeking the added political power their union would provide.

Andie would rather chew off her own foot than end up with Kyle. Though, knowing him, she won’t live long either way. Andie’s only hope of survival is to mate Jaxon Keller, the Alpha of the Keller Dare with which she is seeking asylum. But before she can get to him, Andie must first go through A.J., one of the Alpha’s Protectors. What Andie doesn’t realize is that A.J. has secrets of his own. All Andie knows is that the incredibly frustrating shifter insists on challenging her story, her skills, her trust… and her heart.

First Impressions

I think I could tell from about page 2 that I was going to love this book. The story line kicks off right away with a break-in and a fabulous burst of sexual tension. Sure enough, I couldn’t put this one down, and finished it pretty much in one sitting during a flight from DC to Phoenix. Abigail Owen manages to draw you into her unique world of shifters, bitter rivalries and delightful romance with a sexy male and empowering female lead.

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Ultimate Strength

Abigail Owen never fails to present us with a courageously strong female lead in her novels, and this one definitely knows how to pack a punch. She may be on the run from the leaders of her dare, or cougar pack, but she knows how to survive. She seeks out the leader of another dare, and unbeknownst to her, she meets him upon first entering his compound.

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Jaxon has his reasons for keeping his true identity as alpha of the Keller dare a secret from the bewitching female who literally rolled her way into his compound. However, as they spend more time together he can’t deny the attraction they both feel for one another which extends beyond lust. He’s finally met someone who can hold her own seemingly against anyone, even a powerful cougar alpha such as himself, and he quickly finds himself to be quite the smitten kitten.

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A Little More Please

There were two different aspects of this book where I would have liked just a smidge more substance than what was presented to us. Very minor though. Firstly, some more background info concerning the men Andie was on the run from would have been nice. It’s very clear they are harsh and terrible leaders, but a bit more about their history with the dare, and Andie’s own interactions with them would’ve been good. Although I think this may have been touched upon in a previous anthology that I haven’t read yet!

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The second aspect of the story where I was just hoping for more was the sex! But I’m weird like that, so I could see how others would enjoy the tamer sexual side of this novel. Andie and Jaxon have unbelievable chemistry, and we do get a few passionate details about their exploits beneath the sheets. However, I would have liked at least one scene where we could really see their inner animals let loose. Rawwwr!

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

Series: Shadowcat Nation, book 1. Fabulous set up for book 2 at the end.

Should you read it? One of my favorite things about any book from Abigail Owen are the distinct paranormal elements brought into play, and this novel definitely doesn’t disappoint! From cougar to polar bear shifters, seers and healers, this one is surely unique. I loved the characters, the suspenseful plot, and damn near everything about it!

Smut Level: A bit of licking and rubbing in front of a fireplace during a snowstorm. What’s not to love?

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $0.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 260 Pages.

 

The Marriage Ultimatum by Charlotte O’Shay

This book takes the whole concept of the “marriage contract” romance novel theme to a whole new level!

What’s it About?

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Dead-end job? Dreary apartment? Disastrous love life? Check, check, and check. Toddler who makes it all worthwhile? Absolutely. Juggling work, college, and the care of young Alex was never Sabrina’s plan. But Sabrina’s dreams are bigger than any curve ball life can throw at her. Her top priority is keeping her small family together, no matter what the cost.

Vladimir Grigory doesn’t believe in dreams. He earned his position at the top of New York’s corporate ladder with his own sweat. His empire is his baby, and he’ll destroy anyone who threatens it. Even the sexy employee who challenges him on every level. When the New York tabloids and the world call him the baby daddy of Sabrina’s son, Vlad believes Sabrina is part of a plot to expose the secrets of his past. He threatens to destroy her future. But since Sabrina has secrets of her own, she has no choice but to agree to Vlad’s marriage ultimatum.

First Impressions

I literally finished this book in a day. It’s a quick read that holds your interest, and you can’t wait to find out how everything will come together in the end. I think the primary features of this novel which draw you in are the lovable characters. He’s a billionaire businessman. She was just fired from his company. They seemingly come from completely different worlds. However, it is their troubled backgrounds which have made them into the people they are today. Vlad hails from an orphanage in Russia, while Sabrina struggles to support her brother Alex since the unexpected death of their mother. They are fighters. They are survivors. They strive to move on from their pasts, but it is the fact that they both come from broken homes which links them together.

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Sex vs. Trust

These two have the sex side of things down to a science. No question. They find it difficult to remain within close proximity for any length of time without putting their hands all over each other. The part that they have trouble with is trust. He believes she went to the tabloids in an attempt to disgrace his reputation by claiming he’s the father of her child. Sabrina feels she can’t tell him the truth that the young child in her care is actually her brother, not her son. She’s struggled to care for him all by herself, and fears that Alex will be taken away from her if the truth gets out.

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Who knew that entering into a marriage deal would be the answer to both their problems? But can Vlad still keep his distance from this supposed liar as they spend more time together? Can Sabrina continue to let him think she’s Alex’s mother even as he develops a stronger relationship with the young boy? You’ll just have to read it to find out!

Smallest of Faults

If I had to find one teeny, tiny, little complaint about this novel, it would be that it ended too quickly. The entire book is sort of one big build-up to the final reveal of the true identity of Alex’s father. As I got 90% of the way through the book, I wondered if the truth would ever be revealed. And then bam! It happened.

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Vlad discovers the truth and the matter is seemingly resolved in just a matter of pages. After so much build-up, I think I would have liked a longer climactic scene at the end. Again though, it’s just the teeniest of little itty bitty complaints.

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

Series: City of Dreams, Book 1. I’d definitely read more from this series.

Should you read it? Aside from the ending feeling a bit rushed, I really enjoyed this book! The characters are definitely intriguing, the plot keeps you guessing, and there’s enough sexual tension to keep you fully satisfied.

Smut Level: Oh my! What better way to spend an evening trapped inside during hurricane-type weather than with a Russian sex god and a can of whipped cream?

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 176 Pages.

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