*Release Day:: Spark by S.L. Scott

 

**Review to come ASAP**

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Goodreads: http://bit.ly/SparkGR

Synopsis:
One break is all The Crow Brothers need and we’re about to get it.

Johnny Outlaw, rock legend and lead singer of The Resistance, is here to watch us play. But he’s not the only familiar face in the crowd—killer little body, heart-shaped face, and drop-dead gorgeous.

Hannah Nichols sitting at the bar makes it hard to concentrate, sparks already reigniting. The beauty was never a groupie and tonight she’s not here to catch our show. She came to drop a bomb. “You have a son.”

She underestimated me. I’ll prove to my son, and her, that I can be the dad he needs.

What is it about musicians? Why are they so damn sexy?

My heart was Jet Crow’s the moment he opened his sexy mouth and sang that first song. One stolen night with that man would never be enough, but I’m not here to fall into his bed. Again. I’m here to fight for custody of a son he’s never known.

There’s just one problem. Those sparks between us have become flames. If we’re not careful we’re both going to get burned.

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Thieving Hearts – Nikita Slater

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Thieving Hearts
238 pages
2 ⭐⭐

It started out so good. I really liked Driven by Desire and this started out strong, but then Roman turned psychotic and Katie got weak. I hate when that happens.

Roman was taken with Katie since he met her when she was 13 and he 20. (He didn’t act on it but ok, a little creepy.) The timeline’s an absolute mess, though. Seventeen years later and she’s only 28 and he 36? Shit like that bothers me.

Anyway. Roman tells Katie on her 18th birthday that she’s his, yadda yadda. She rejects him knowing he’ll just lock her away and keep her for himself. He acquiesces but leaves with a “I will come for you Katerina” or something like that. Then some years later… 8? She marries some other guy but they get divorced like two years later, I don’t know, this book’s timeline was like one long algebra equation and no, I’m still not over it.

My favorite part is that Roman remained celibate since he met Katie… or she was 16. It depends on which chapter you’re reading. Anyway, the hero remains celibate for the heroine for a change and I loved that.

But now Roman’s tired of waiting for Katie so he does the reasonable thing and kidnaps her and keeps her on a boat. While on the boat he discovers Katie used to cut herself a million years ago, so Roman consults a professional via telephone for about 4 minutes and determines that he will give Katie the pain she seeks – pain she apparently hasn’t sought out for years – and cure her demons.

I’m not a psychologist, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how people get cured.

Roman beats and screws her a bit, but Katie’s convinced her job is too dangerous…. even though Roman works for the scariest mob boss on the west coast, and since she’s a stealthy little cat-burglar, of course she gets away.

A year passes and Roman is beyond pissed that Katie dared betray him and leave. So after getting his shit together, maybe by investing in some nice 401ks and mutual funds to convince her they’re good for each other- wait, nope. Sorry, nevermind. He resurrected his family’s old cartel and is now the baddest Mexican cartel boss on these here streets.

Why’d he do this you ask? I really have no fucking clue. He claims he had to be bigger and badder in order to keep her because she was stealing art for some other big bad boss, but that reasoning just convinced me Roman had a brain tumor and needed critical care, STAT.

Now he’s the cartel boss and ready to reclaim Katie so he does the gentlemanly thing and convinces her boss to throw her under the bus in exchange for some info on a hacker no one knows the identity of. Now Katie’s back in his clutches. And he’s just so fricking excited and enraged to have her back that he hangs her from a hook in his kill room and beats her with a whip, drawing blood. It’s just a little though, no biggie. And then he uses the handle of the whip and forces it inside of her despite her protests. But she gets wet! It’s ok people, it’s ok. She was wet while crying, it’s cool. No harm, no foul.

Considering she’s sufficiently scared to shit that Roman no longer even seems to like her much less love her, she’s constantly planning her escape from the specially built tower room that he has constantly guarded, locked, and with barred windows. But not before a forced wedding.

Come onnn. You knew it was coming, right? I did.
Well, she’s not thrilled at the prospect and throws a little tantrum. So Roman screws her into lobotomy territory so she walks down the aisle without a fuss. Now married, Roman still doesn’t trust her and continues to lock Katie in the tower, and Katie’s a world-class art thief with the willpower of a horny teenager so of course she makes another run for it. And now I have a headache and am running out of steam, so I’ll just say Roman hunts her down again, realizes she’s on his level and would make an excellent co-criminal war-lord. HEA. The end.

Unorthodox Chemistry – Lilah E. Noir

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Unorthodox Chemistry
310 pages
4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is the second book of the Unorthodox Trilogy and cannot be read as a standalone.

**Spoilers if you haven’t read Unorthodox Therapy.**

Book one ended with Thomas leaving Lina for – what he considered to be – her own good and help her heal faster after the attack by Seth. Now months later, neither Thomas nor Lina are coping well with the breakup. Lina gets almost no sleep and has become dependent on OCD-like “procedures” that reassure her she’s safe. Thomas has turned to whiskey and, since he left his job at Lina’s company and has no commitments, endless bouts of sleeping. While Thomas has Allie to give him a kick in the rear and help him realize his self-destruction, Lina is more alone. With no one to comfort her or make her feel safe, she accepts a date from a man she meets at a hotel pool and begins a relationship with him. Allie, realizing Thomas is still struggling and that Lina isn’t truly happy in her new relationship, sets up a chance for the two former lovers to finally face each other and find the closure they need. But when Thomas sees Lina on the arm of her new boyfriend, Nate, his true dom comes out and Lina is once again seduced.

Due to their separation, it takes until about 30% in the book for Thomas and Lina to come face to face. But when they do, it’s tense and awkward and I loved it. There’s a side story between Allie and Nate that begins with that encounter and at times I found it more intriguing than Thomas and Lina’s story, so fingers crossed there will be more of that in the next book.

The characters don’t fit the expected clichés. Lina is over a decade older than Thomas and highly successful in her career but still a bit shamed by her sub tendencies. Thomas is a seriously sexy dom, but he’s by no means perfect. He has doubts about himself all the time and constantly fears if there’s something wrong with him since he enjoys hurting Lina. He’s alpha but still has believable vulnerabilities that make him one of my favorite heroes. The book is worth reading just for the deviation from a typical BDSM trope.

Full disclosure: There are scenes that could be construed as cheating (by the h on Nate and by Nate on the h). Thomas, however, has been celibate since he broke up with Lina. It’s a BDSM novel so some sex scenes are graphic and one involves (nonviolent) fisting that had me clenching my girlie bits for minutes after.

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But maybe that’s just me.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Breaking – Imogen Keeper

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The Breaking
454 pages

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

**The sequel to The Bonding , but focuses on a different couple and can be read as a standalone (although I recommend reading them both).**

After caring for the surviving people of Triannon, the Argenti healer, Ajax, quickly fell for one of his patients, Feola. He asked for permission from his superiors and intended on bonding with her, but that option was taken from him when she surprisingly chose to bond with another man, Utto. So months later, heartbroken and hoping to forget the woman he cannot have, Ajax has plans on leaving the Argenti station and going far, far away. Until one day he receives a distressed call from Feola asking for help. Unsure of what’s going on, but convinced she’s at risk from her mate Utto, Ajax does his best to put his hurt feelings aside and do whatever he can for her.

The worlds the author created were relatable but still imaginative and easy to become immersed in. But what I really loved about the book, was how strong Keeper writes her female characters. Feola needed help, yes, but she came to Ajax’s rescue just as many times. After living through her torment with Utto, it’d be so easy for her to be broken, but instead she persevered and was determined to maintain her independence. She deserved so much better than what she’d been handed, and Ajax was the ultimate prize. Strong and alpha, but still sweet and giving. He risked everything – his job, his home, his life – just to help Feola, even though he still thought she chose Utto over him.

The women have all the power in this series, and I love it.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Babyjacked – Sosie Frost

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Babyjackeed
324 pages
3 ⭐⭐⭐

 

Five years ago, Remington Marshall burned down the Payne family’s barn. Despite his love for Cassia Payne, the youngest and only daughter, he chose to run away and live a life of solitude in the Canadian wilderness. But now that his sister is in trouble, he has to go back home to Butterpond to take care of his two young nieces, but he can’t do it alone. Cassia’s the perfect candidate for nanny, and this is the perfect opportunity for Rem to win her back.

The plot went something like this:
Cass tells Rem she won’t fall for his charms.
Rem makes a sexual pun and Cass comes back with her own.
Repeat x3-5.
Cassi pulls away saying she’s leaving Butterpond. Then something (an animal or insect, usually) scares her and she needs Rem to rescue her. OR Rem gets a look at Cass’s butt, makes an advance, then remembers how bad he is for Cass, tells her so, and walks away.
Next day: Repeat.

The attraction between Rem and Cassia was there, but sometimes they acted too much like two kids teasing each other and their chemistry faded. Their banter was cute and clever, but after endless sexually suggestive puns, it began to drag out.

Despite Cass having five older brothers, she was easily the most mature character, but that’s not saying much. The brothers constantly bickered like children and Cass always acquiesced too easily to anything asked of her, be it Rem or her brothers, putting her in doormat territory. Even until the end, Cass was playing referee and putting herself last.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Mr. Wicked – Maya Hughes

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Mr. Wicked
210 pages
2 ⭐⭐

John took Frankie to a dance their senior year of high school and the sparks flew, until something happened that has kept them from being friendly ever since. But with their mutual best friend, Killian, now getting married, they have to share co-best man duties. Attempting to keep the peace for Killian’s sake, they agree to a truce. When the hotel overbooks and leaves John without a room, Frankie is left with no option but to share hers. Maybe just a truce won’t be enough.

I am so disappointed with Mr. Wicked. Ever since Mr. Ruin, I’ve been looking forward to John and Frankie’s story. I was expecting angst, maybe some challenging push-and-pull, and definitely some hot scenes. I didn’t get any of that. Frankie suddenly lost her strength and conviction and gave in a little too easily,. Until I found out the reason why she was mad in the first place and I realized that damn-
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she really over-reacted. And I guess that’s Frankie’s thing: over-reacting.

There was some event in Frankie’s past that left her with scars on her wrists and ankles that she always does her best to hide. Whenever the cause was brought up, she had mini-panic attacks and ran away. And then I found out what happened and yeah,
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again with the over-reacting. I guess it was a little scary, but I would say more embarrassing. Her reactions were extreme and unbelievable.

And that’s my biggest problem with this story: I had to suspend too much reality.

Frankie owns a BDSM club where patrons have sex in the open. Frankie often dons her domme outfit and walks the floor of the club to make sure things are going kosher. So, when John *SPOILER*went to have sex with her the night of the wedding and breaks her 29 year-old hymen?
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I was so excited for a heroine with some actual experience and confidence in the bedroom but, no, of course she’s a virgin because that’s how it’s supposed to be, right? The H gets to sleep with hundreds of women despite secretly loving Frankie all along while the h gets to remain a fucking virgin that is only comfortable giving her v-card to the one that got away.
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A note to authors: STOP. WITH. THE VIRGINAL. HEROINES. 75% of the romances I read have virgin heroines and maybe one of those books will have a virgin hero. And it’s not because that’s what I like, it’s because that’s all that’s being offered. Just because a woman has sex doesn’t mean she’s tainted or broken, just like with men. Keeping women celibate in stories so the hero ends up feeling special and shit is fucking old. It’s a double-standard that has existed for too long and it needs to die.  

The climax of the story is one of the oldest clichés around: she gets pregnant (not really a spoiler since it’s on literally the first page of the book) after having sex only once… ever. Of course she does. And what does Frankie do?
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She over-reacts, again.

Mr. Control and Mr. Ruin are worth the read, but this book was just a giant, disappointing headache. Take a pass.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Bad Wolf – Jo Raven

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Bad Wolf
300+ pages
3.5 ⭐⭐⭐

*Bad Wolf follows Gigi, the sister of the MC from Caveman and Mancave , but can be read as a standalone.*

It’s been a couple years (not sure how many, the plot was confusing about the timeline) since Gigi and her family moved away from Destiny for a better life in the city. Now a student at the local college, she spends a good deal of her time with her ‘bestie’ (do people not say ‘best friend’ anymore?) Sydney. But Sydney seems to be involved in something illicit that keeps putting her at risk, but she refuses to tell Gigi what. One night after Sydney runs off from Gigi at a club, Gigi’s approached by a familiar guy who gets handsy and rough. Gigi’s rescued by Jarrett, adopted brother to handsy guy Sebastian, a boy she would follow home from school back in Destiny as a means of protection from the bullies. Old feelings begin to resurface for them both, but Jarrett makes sure to do whatever he can to keep her away from his new, dangerous lifestyle.

The story was slow at times, mostly because it was repetitive. There was a lot of push and pull – Jarrett pushes away, Gigi tries to save him – that just kept playing over and over again. I really liked Gigi, especially when she interacted with Merc, but she could stand to have a stronger backbone. Jarrett was… confusing. He was this big, tough guy that let everyone push him around. Learning about his past, I understand why he thought he deserved whatever he got, but I wanted him to have a “screw you, I’m worth more than this” moment, and it never came. Some people got what they deserved, but it was never at Jarrett’s hand. It disappointed me.

Parts of this story are sad and depressing, but not too much to prevent a happy ending. Although, the happy ending was very brief and with no epilogue, I was left hanging.

Safety alert: There are almost no references to Gigi’s sexual history other than she’s had sex before, but Jarrett’s tends to be harped on a lot. The morning after Jarrett and Gigi run into each other at the club, a naked women wakes up in Jarrett’s bed. He states they didn’t have sex and that she insisted on getting naked, but it’s implied that he tried to find someone to take his mind off Gigi and it’s not clear how far they went. 

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Teach Me – Piper Lennox

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Teach Me
181 pages
2.5 ⭐⭐⭐

Teach Me pretty much follows the typical teacher-student trope- strong chemistry; initial reluctance that lasts all of 5 minutes; crap, people found out about the relationship; maybe professor loses job; HFN/HEA – but there’s a bit of drama that happens to be unique.

After already sleeping with Teague West, her professor, Breton hears he’s married. She does the expected ‘I can’t face him so I’m going to avoid class forever until the end of time’ routine, but then Teague leaves her little choice but to tell him what’s wrong. Breton accuses him of being married and he claims his wife is ‘gone’, and Breton takes that to mean that she’s dead, and Teague later confirms that yes, his wife is dead and then promptly changes the subject. They continue sleeping together under the radar until Breton finds a bill in Teague’s house addressed to a Jennifer West. Being 19 years-old and rightfully not trusting Teague to give her an honest answer, she and her roommate concoct a plan to find out the truth.

The characters weren’t well-developed, and they came off as shallow and, in Teague’s case, selfish. I never got their attraction. Their chemistry was lukewarm, and they jump at it so fast (within the first 24 hours of knowing each other) that it just seemed like a stupid decision they were making and not a need that they could no longer fight.

The issue with Teague’s wife didn’t endear me to him. *SPOILER* Running away from your young wife because she has early dementia and leaving her in a care facility… no, just… no. I understand he has to move on with his life, but come on, it’s only been a year or two. In sickness and health and all that jazz. I’ve worked with dementia patients for years. There were some younger, but most were older. And I can’t tell you how many patients had wives or husbands that would still visit every day or so, despite not being recognized, just to spend time with them. Because they loved them. I didn’t feel that from Teague.

The pace is slow and unsteady. The plot is rushed when it comes to the important things, and kind of drags on with the unnecessary drama. And then the big to-do happens and after one short conversation, all is fine.

If you’re looking for a teacher-student romance with some steam and passion, I would take a pass on this one. If you want a story with a uniqueness for drama, then read away.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Claimed in Shadows – Luna Danvers & Amanda Adams

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Claimed in Shadows
171 pages
2 ⭐⭐

WTH did I just read?

The story opens with a scene of an unnamed man donning a robe, entering some sort of hidden chamber somewhere in Italy, and then having sex with a woman strapped down to a table while a cult-like audience watches until it’s their turns.

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Soon after it’s revealed that the unnamed man is actually Anthony, an Italian professor working in Boston. Anthony becomes infatuated with one of his grad-students, Lake, but he refuses to give in to temptation and ends up treating her harshly instead. The two soon go to Italy with other students for a session abroad to study art and architecture or whatever. Not long after, Anthony gives in to his feelings for his student and then some strange crap happens.

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The story centers around some secret society that Anthony is practically the head of, but there’s one man with more power than him and Anthony isn’t that guy’s biggest fan. Lake does some investigating and subsequently learns about the secret society, she just doesn’t know that Anthony’s a part of it. That is, until she *SPOILER* sneaks her way into one of their ‘meetings’ and sees that it’s pretty much just one big orgy.

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Well now she’s gone and put a bullseye on her back and the head honcho wants her out of the picture so Anthony will recommit to his orgy duties and Anthony is pissed that Lake put herself in danger. Danger being she’ll become one of the women they use for orgies… I think.

The book is stylistically well written, but I was left feeling like I lost IQ points after reading it. There was so much information left out and unnecessary information thrown in and I don’t know if it was because the authors wanted the secret society to remain obscure or if she simply didn’t know why it existed. Just like I don’t.

In case you haven’t gathered, I have no idea what the secret society’s purpose is. It really just looks like a bunch powerful and intelligent people wanting and having access to submissive women that they can do whatever they like to. And I especially don’t know why the lead guy is so against Anthony having a normal relationship. I just don’t know. I don’t know anything.

Safety alert: aside from the opening scene of the H having graphic sex with OW, there’s another scene where the society’s head tells the H to have sex with one of their submissives in order to prove his loyalty. The scene cuts to black so just know that it’s never verified either way.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Day:: Bad Wolf by Jo Raven

**Review coming soon**
 
This is no fairytale…
Once I fell in love with a gorgeous boy next door.
Years later, he’s back—a total hunk, hot as hell, and bad. So bad.
Rude. Arrogant. Hard.
And I’m dying for a taste.


Jarett was our neighbors’ adopted son.
Handsome, strong, quiet, he was my protector, and my friend.
Now he’s back, and he’s still gorgeous.
Tall, dark and s*xy. All man.
But he’s a bad guy, moving with a dangerous crowd.
So why do I keep winding up in his arms?
On his lap. In his bed.
I know better than this—I’m better than this. I should stop.
Only my heart tells me there’s good inside Jarett.
That I could save him.
Then again, what happens to gullible girls who climb into bed with the big bad wolf?
…Right
 
 
 
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