Buying Beth – Izzy Sweet

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Buying Beth
288 pages

3 ⭐⭐⭐

Beth sneaks out of her controlling father’s house and goes to a dive bar with her three best friends. While there, she catches the eye of the owner, Johnathan. They flirt with the promise of meeting up again soon, but Beth and her friends are abducted in the parking lot while leaving. Well now someone’s gone and done it. Johnathan’s p-o’ed that not only did someone have the nerve to abduct the girls on his property, but that they dared take something that belongs to him. That something being Beth, the girl he met twenty minutes ago. …just saying.

First things first, the F word or some variation thereof is used 674 times in this book. 674. That’s a lot of F bombs. I’m not the kind of person that gets offended by ‘bad’ words, but I don’t like when words are used to excess, diminishing its effect. And this is an example of that.

Secondly, I love alpha, jealously possessive heroes. They just do it for me. And Johnathan fits that category, but he goes farther than I think’s healthy. For example, *SPOILER* he rescues Beth and Charlie from the auction, brings them to his home, shows a terrified Charlie his room and then expects Beth to bounce on down the hall with him to get down and dirty. BUT, considering there’s a terrified 6y/o boy in the room, and both he and Beth have just been saved from being purchased as sex slaves, she refuses. Phew, thank Go- oh wait, a couple of hours passed and Charlie fell asleep and Johnathan now demands it and she gives it up?

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The story is engaging and it was hard to put down, but since this is the first book I’ve read in the series, I felt a little lost at times. Johnathan and Beth weren’t quite insta-love, but close. They get intense pretty fast and make good use of their bed, but I had a hard time connecting with them. I just wanted a little more real when it came to handling such sensitive situations and a little less bodice ripping. The more Johnathan pushed and pushed, and the more Beth caved, the less I liked the story.

The subject matter is dark, and there are several violently gruesome scenes. Keep that in mind if it’s not your thing.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Mr. Ruin – Maya Hughes

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Mr. Ruin
447 pages

4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Rachel is executive assistant to philanthropic billionaire, Rhys Thayer. When Rhys finds out someone is trying to dechair… dischair?… unchair? Uh, when he finds out someone is trying to get him kicked off the boards of several charities he puts his trusty EA to work at finding out who the culprit is. Rachel discovers it’s a man named Killian Thorne, someone Rhys went to high school with, but he can think of no reason for Killian to be doing this and presses her to find out more. Thanks to Rachel’s 100% incompetence in the stealth department and lacking any sort of investigative background she’s quickly made by Killian because, duh, of course she is. But Killian takes a liking to the determined brunette and offers her information in exchange for playing his game. AKA sex, his game is to have sex with her whenever he wants. Never one to refuse a challenge, she accepts and their ridiculously intense ‘lust-distrust’ relationship begins.

Admittedly, Killian isn’t very likable in Mr. Control, so my expectations weren’t too high. And thank goodness for that, because he starts out a pretty big a-hole. The more interaction he has with Rachel though, the more he starts to doubt his true motivation and he actually starts to exhibit human emotions. And since this story roughly follows the ‘commitment-phobic jerk and innocent Disney princess’ trope, Rachel is a bit door-matty at times. BUT, she thankfully stands up for herself when it really counts, which leads to some serious groveling by Killian that is just, oh so satisfying.

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Mr. Ruin mostly runs concurrent with the timeline of Mr. Control, so a few scenes from that are referenced and breezed over. I don’t personally think it affects the reader’s understanding if read as a standalone, but reading Mr. Control would certainly help.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Ever After – Roxie Noir

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Ever After
464 pages

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*Ever After is the third book in the Dirtshine series, but can be read as a standalone.*

After getting kicked out of his band, drug-addicted and suicidal Liam drunkenly stands on a bridge with the intention of jumping in front of a train. A year later, a familiar face walks into the bar he now works at. He immediately recognizes the woman from that night, the pretty one with the American accent that begged him not to jump. The woman that saved his life.

Frankie’s stuck staying with her stuffy, insulting, aristocratic, soon-to-be in-laws for two weeks. They find everything Frankie is and does to be beneath them, and they don’t try to hide it. So some nights, Frankie escapes to the only pub in town where she can clear her head, feel human again, and find some comfort in the barkeeper, Liam.

Liam and Frankie start out platonically despite their mutual attraction. Neither is willing to disrespect the fact that Frankie’s engaged *Small Spoiler* (too bad I can’t say the same for her fiancé). When things finally, sort of, fall into place, their chemistry is electric and never dwindles.

It’s hard to describe when a writing style catches my eye, so the best I can say is that Noir’s is clever. The banter is funny and comfortable, especially between the band members. It’s impressive how well she writes both Americans and Britons, highlighting their differences without being stereotypical.

Ever After gives a believable portrayal of the daily struggles of addiction and recovery. Liam still has his a-hole ways, but sober Liam is finally aware of how his behavior was destructive to so many. And with Frankie in his life, he has all the more reason to become a better man/friend/person, and it’s both sad and inspiring to watch him evolve.

Everything about this book just felt right and I’m actually sad it’s over.

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I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Rook – Lena Bourne

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Rook
350 pages

2.5 ⭐⭐⭐

Rook and Ines had a passionate relationship that lasted six-months, ten years ago. They were practically engaged to be married when one day Ines left to get breakfast and never returned. After days, weeks, months of searching the streets of Mexico City for Ines, Rook finally gave up and returned to the US, convinced she had left him for something better. So when Rook returns to Mexico on some MC business and finally spots Ines looking quite rich and comfortable, he’s quite surprised. And he demands an explanation.

I just couldn’t get into this book. The plot was slow and often uneventful. The conflicts weren’t very climactic and ended pretty fast. It took me three days to finish because I kept wanting to put it down.

I didn’t feel their connection or love for each other. They were together for six months, ten years ago. The author only provides one scene from that time and it happens to be the scene where Ines disappears. The rest of the book is spent with Ines and Rook alternating back and forth that they were so in love with each other and meant to be, etc. I wanted to be shown why they felt that way, not told.

My biggest peeve with this book was Rook. His love-hate for Ines and her acceptance of it like she deserved his wrath got old, fast. Yes, he was under the impression for ten years that she willingly left him and his resentment just grew and grew, but she needed to stop babying him every time he got irrationally mad at her and let him grow up. She was consistently abused and tortured by some psychopath for ten years while Rook slept with any woman he saw, but oh, he told many of them his sob story of the woman who left him. They both needed to step back and take a look at the situation and re-evaluate their feelings and relationship, because neither of them behaved rationally. It drove me nuts.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Wife Between Us – Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

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The Wife Between Us
352 pages

3.5 ⭐⭐⭐

Vanessa’s life is in shambles. Mid-thirties and newly divorced, she struggles with insomnia and alcoholism. Most days it’s hard for her to get out of bed and go to work. Once she learns of her ex’s new engagement though, her life practically derails.

Nellie’s a Floridian transplant that’s been in NYC since finishing college. A preschool teacher that moonlights as a waitress to make ends meet, she’s having a hard time adjusting to the new lifestyle her fiancé has brought upon her. Not only has his wealth been a big change for her, but it seems he has brought a stalker into her life. Too bad he doesn’t believe her.

The book has three parts. You think you know where the book is going until you get to Part II and the authors throw you for a loop. Problem is, once that loop is revealed, the whole thrill of the story kind of dissolves. If you’ve read almost any other review of this book, you’ll most likely see something along the lines of “I can’t get into the plot too much without giving spoilers”. Well, I’m saying it again.

The plot was engaging and suspenseful, up until a certain point. Then the story just kind of evolved into a sad story of a man with control issues and the women that put up with it. If it had remained on its previous question-riddled track, I think I would’ve been blown away.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Share Me – Derek Masters

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Share Me
131 pages

1 ⭐

A husband and wife are having problems at home when she discovers his secret porn habit involves fantasies of her sleeping with other men.

I don’t get all of the great reviews. It’s not the material that bothers me (a few things did, but I’ll break that down later) as much as the writing style. I couldn’t get immersed in this at all. The dialogue was just one big paragraph after another, no breaks to set the scene or anything. I felt like I was reading a book report as it lacked all subtleties that would help it feel more organic.

*Spoilers* Hotwife is not everyone’s cuppa, but it doesn’t really bother me. However, 1) the book is marketed as an MFM menage and it’s not. There’s one scene towards the end that is breezed over, but that’s it. And the menage is purely on a sexual level, no feelings involved. 2) The fact that she brought a guy home to have sex in her marriage bed without her husband’s prior consent felt too much like cheating to me. The husband didn’t seem to mind, but I just thought it was disrespectful. And here’s the big issue for me. 3) She had sex with the guy with no protection. And from what I recall, there was no prior birth control/STD discussion, and damn that’s just gross. Especially when earlier in the book she was harping on wanting to have kids and be a stay at home mom, the husband said now’s not the time, and then the subject just magically disappeared. I mean, was she on birth control? Were they both safe? She was playing Russian Roulette with her girly bits and I could not get past that.

If the book were properly labeled as a hotwife/share wife situation rather than an MFM, I would’ve added a star. But overall, this was just porn that didn’t even turn me on

Delivering Her Secret – Kira Blakely

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Delivering Her Secret
282 pages

3 ⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to Alexandra M. for enlightening me to the (for me) new term ‘safe’ romance. Super helpful for me and hopefully for some of you readers. And for those of you that are curious, yes, this is a ‘safe’ book.

Charlie visits a local doctor, hoping to get a script for birth control. She’s not sexually promiscuous or anything, and despite being a 23y/o virgin she thinks it’s better safe than sorry. When she meets Dr Houston Pope, a visiting doctor that is set to leave for Alaska the next day, his less than stellar behavior causes her to leave the office before getting the prescription. Oh well, she’ll just go back for it later. It’s not like she’ll lose her virginity that night to a cocky doctor or anything, right?

The book was good and engaging, but it falls under countless clichés that honestly, I’m kind of sick of seeing. They have a whirlwind affair and off he goes, unknowingly leaving her with a little something in her belly. She fails to communicate this to him, he’s less than thrilled when he finds out, but we still get a HEA anyway. I’ve seen this plot countless times and it’s been done better just as many times as it’s been done worse, so Delivering His Secret is a nice go-between.

I do wish Charlie would’ve been more proactive when the mothers in town treated her like shit. I know she couldn’t slap them or anything, but maybe pull their hair a little? There were a few things left unanswered at the end that I, well, wanted answered. Such as *SPOILER* does Charlie ever go back to work or does she go back to school to become a pediatric nurse? I learned about Houston’s job update, but nothing about hers.

Book Release: Rook by Lena Bourne

 

**Review coming soon**

 

Title: Rook (Devil’s Nightmare MC #3)
Author: Lena Bourne 
Genre: MC Romance 
 
 
 

 

 
 
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I only ever loved one woman. I still love her, even though she left to get us breakfast one morning ten years ago and disappeared. I searched for her for months, but she was just gone. Most days it’s all a distant memory of what could’ve been, but I do think of her whenever I wake up next to a strange woman and wish it was her.
 
Then I see her on the sunny Mexico City street one random afternoon, and it’s like no time has passed at all. I still want to grab her and take her to my room, not let her dress for days. Just like it was back when we fell in love.  
 
But she belongs to the cartel boss now. She’s out of my reach. Technically. I’m a calm man, nothing much gets me going. But Ines, she wakes the fire inside me, makes my blood run hot and has done since the day we met.
 
Now that I’ve finally found her, nothing and no one will keep me away from her ever again. Not even all of the Mexican cartel.

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

Lena Bourne is a USA Today and Amazon Bestselling contemporary romance author. She writes about alpha bad boys with a sensitive side and the alpha females who prove to be their match. Hot bedroom scenes and fast-paced, action packed plots are Lena’s specialty. She’s still waiting for her own HEA with the right bad boy, but the searching is lots of fun too. Coffee lover, owner of cats.

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Thirty Days of Hate – Ginger Talbot

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Thirty Days of Hate
227 pages

3 ⭐⭐⭐

*Third book in a three part series. Spoilers if you haven’t read the first two books.*

Thirty Days of Hate picks up eight months after the ending of Thirty Days of Shame. Willow is in Russia working as a volunteer for an organization that’s trying to shut down Cataha and other human traffickers. She doesn’t know whether to believe if Sergei was being honest when he claimed to be a trafficker, so she’s doing everything she can to find out. Despite still loving him, she hates him in equal measure for what he put her through, and she promises herself that if Sergei is a trafficker she will kill him and live with a broken heart.

The plot is just as exciting and anxiety-inducing as the first two, so it flows steadily. There are some really shocking moments that I didn’t see coming, but left me walking away thinking, ‘ooohhhh, now that makes sense’.

Sergei’s evolution wasn’t as impressive as I’d hoped for. Actually, beyond his minor attempts to pretend to have a normal relationship with Willow and promising to stop lying, not much else changes. He still physically punishes her (quite harshly, too) when he perceives she’s misbehaving. What’s ‘misbehaving’ to Sergei, you ask? Well, when he thinks Willow is considering disagreeing with him, but she actually doesn’t. Now she needs a severe punishment for just thinking about speaking her mind. Beyond giving Willow two (usually undesirable) choices for her punishment, she’s not even given the illusion that she’s allowed to make her own decisions.

I like dark romance, but I prefer HEAs where the hero or heroine isn’t still treated like shit. Still physically abusing Willow (yeah, maybe she enjoys it to an extent, but more often than not she screams no and begs and cries) just to break her down and make her ‘behave’; threatening to humiliate her knowing she hates it; forcing her to marry him… yeah, that isn’t my idea of a healthy relationship.

Potential triggers: Emotional and physical abuse, violence (bloody and sometimes gory), rape, and pedophilic rape. There are references to child rape that have some depth and detail that were particularly hard for me to read.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Undone – Amelia Wilde

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Undone
197 pages

3 ⭐⭐⭐

Beau and Anabelle have a less than conventional meeting when he rescues her from being run over by a careless bicyclist. Their attraction is immediate, but Beau is quick to disappear after turning down Ana’s invitation to go get coffee. But running away doesn’t have the affect he was hoping for and he finds himself searching her out so he can hopefully apologize for his behavior.

There wasn’t much to the characters beyond their primary quirks: Ana’s constant need to run away once things get too good and Beau’s emotional distance, harbored by his addiction to his job. They were ok, but I was hoping for more depth and connection.

The plot is slow at times. The drama is low, but when it’s there, it’s typically caused by pride and poor communication. It gets kind of old after a bit.

The heat level is mild to moderate, but their chemistry can be intense at times. Despite some minor plot inconsistencies, it’s a good book. There just wasn’t anything worthy of fireworks.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.