Review: The Billionaires

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The BillionairesThe Billionaires by Calista Fox
Series: Lover's Triangle #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 336
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I liked this book, but I didn’t want to read more.  It was enough to read it once.  The story set up was good, but I didn’t think that the book truly developed and dealt the complexity of the relationship. I ended the book wondering if this relationship can last.

THE STORY:  Jewel Catalano, Rogen Angelini and Vin D’Angelo were childhood friends.  Rogen was Jewel’s first love until the two ended up in a Romeo and Juliet situation with feuding Wine country families.  Jewel turned to Vin but that also went wrong.  Now Jewel has returned and she still can’t seem to resist either man — and maybe she doesn’t want to.

OPINION:  I wanted to like this book more. I liked the interaction between the characters and the complexity of menage relationship, but I thought that the story did not truly work through the issues with these characters.  Instead, there was a lot of sexual scenes that did not advance the problems these characters have with their relationship.

I liked that there was real tension between these characters including jealously and worries about being the third wheel.  At times those issues were addressed in this book…my complaint is that it wasn’t addressed to the extent that the problem demanded.

I really had a problem with the history of the relationship between Jewel and Vin because the two managed to lie by omission to Rogen.  I just couldn’t respect Vin for taking up with his best friend’s girl when they were teenagers.  The supposedly close friendship and relationship between the characters seems false in light of the lies in the past.

I did think that the actual plot of the book where Jewel is working toward getting a piece of property in order to build an inn was more successful.  I liked how the three traveled around putting together the deal and also having sexy adventures.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is a true menage story with emotional connections between the parties.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE BILLIONAIRES is the first book in the Lover’s Triangle series.

STAR RATING:   I give this book 3 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

three-stars

Review: Somebody’s Baby

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Somebody’s BabySomebody's Baby (Darling, VT #3) by Donna Alward
Series: Darling VT #3
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on April 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Goodreads
four-stars

“What if you were blindsided by something good? Wouldn’t it be a shame to miss out on it because it wasn’t in your plans?”

FINAL DECISION:  The story of two people who have been burned by love before and are afraid to trust themselves or one another with the possibility of love. Genuine nice characters in a small town setting makes this contemporary a real heart warmer.

THE STORY:  Oaklee Collier is known around Darling as the “Social Butterfly” not so much for her personal life as her job running the town’s social media. She is sunny, upbeat and put together — or at least she presents that front to the world.  Actually, she has a disaster of an apartment, is sick of going to bridal and baby showers, and still hasn’t gotten over being left at the altar by her high school sweetheart.  One night, she ends up hitting a dog in the road. She takes him to see Rory Gallagher, veterinarian.  Rory is a serial dater who gets through the first or second date but hasn’t had a real relationship since school when his heart was broken two times over.  A classic friends to lovers story.

OPINION:  The final Gallagher brother is certainly not ready to settle down — especially because he was devastated by the woman he loved while in school.  Now the junior veterinarian spends his time caring for baby kittens and dating a different woman every night.  One night Oaklee comes to him with an injured dog.  The two grew up together as Rory had been best friends with Oaklee’s older brother.  But just as Rory began noticing the Oaklee when they were teenagers, her brother slapped him down and instead demanded that Rory care for Oaklee as if she were his own sister.  No matter how much he tries, however, Rory cannot think of Oaklee in a sisterly fashion.

Oaklee has never forgotten her teenage crush.  She went on to love another man but he broke her heart as well.  Now Oaklee is covering her sadness with a happy face and filling her life with her work.  When she accidentally hits a dog on the way home, she becomes enmeshed in unwanted connections — both with the dog and Rory.  A reluctant foster parent to the injured dog, Oaklee ends up looking outside herself and opening herself up to caring and loving in a way she hasn’t done since she was stood up on her wedding day.

As Rory and Oaklee struggle with their attraction to one another and their fears of being hurt again, they also find themselves being friends in a way they weren’t as children.  Their romance has fits and starts which feels real and difficult.

I loved that these two have small struggles in making a relationship work. These are real people with emotional fears, work problems, and financial constraints. I loved how the injured dog opens Oaklee up.  The dog made me smile and cry. Pet lovers will certainly feel a connection with how Oaklee falls in love with the dog even as he challenges and annoys her.

I have enjoyed all three books in this series (about the Gallagher brothers) and I hope we see more from Darling, VT in the future.  (There are still the Gallagher sisters!!).

WORTH MENTIONING:  The timeline of this book overlaps with the second book in the series SOMEONE TO LOVE.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  SOMEBODY’S BABY is the third book in the Darling, VT series.  Although there are overlapping characters, this book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: My One True Highlander

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: My One True HighlanderMy One True Highlander (No Ordinary Hero, #2) by Suzanne Enoch
Series: No Ordinary Hero #2
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on April 4th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-stars

“My continued well-being would seem to be at your whim, sir,” she returned. “I wouldn’t call that level ground for an argument.”

A slight smile curved his mouth. “Ye do have a point.”

Arrogant man. Smiling at her as if he knew exactly how handsome he was and meant to use that to sway her weak little feminine brain into thinking him charming. Ha. And ha again. “I know I do.”

FINAL DECISION:  My enjoyment of this book grew as the story continued.  By the end, the relationship between Graeme and Ree was so sweet and romantic that I would highly recommend this book especially for lovers of men in kilts!

THE STORY:  Graeme, Viscount Maxton, is in a difficult position.  The Highlander is offered wealth and status if he helps the head of the clan defeat his enemy, the new Duke of Lattimer. Hearing the offer, Graeme’s three young brothers decide the kidnap the sister of the duke, who happens to be passing by.  Now Graeme has to decide what to do with the woman without implicating his brothers.  Lady Marjorie Forrester has recently been raised from a lady’s companion to a lady herself with her brother’s taking of the title.  Ignored in London, she desperately wants respectability but finds herself captivated by the wild land and the Laird of the castle.

OPINION:  This story built page by page until I was entirely enthralled when Graeme finally declares his love to Ree.  One of the best parts of this book is that both characters are so eminently likeable.

Ree is a woman who expected a life of service until the fortunes of her brother changed (he unexpectedly inherited a dukedom) and thus her life changed as well.  Determined to finally gain acceptance from society which had looked down on her despite her having the same education, Ree has lived a lonely life in London in the months since she became Lady Marjorie.  The story really pulls out the tension of Ree wanting to belong and being determined that those who dismissed her will acknowledge her while at the same time making herself miserable.  She isn’t able to accept the idea that she might actually belong in Scotland because it isn’t the future she imagined.

Graeme also has a blindness when it comes to Ree.  He doesn’t see her as a woman he could love — because Graeme is determined never to fall in love.  He has seen a destructive side to love which has made him shy away from that possibility.  Instead, he has been a wonderful brother and substitute father in raising his three younger brothers.  I loved that Graeme is such a responsible and caring man.

The relationship between Graeme and Ree develops with such a wonderful progression.  They start out as combatants as Ree is kidnapped by Graeme’s brothers and she is being held against her will.  The two argue and fight and have all types of their passion raised in the process.  While both have personal reasons for not giving in completely to their passionate attraction, the real issue keeping them apart is external rather than their own demons.  When they both acknowledge their feelings for one another, I really felt the walls coming down between them.  The scenes and language was so romantic and sweet that I could read them again and again.

The resolution satisfied, the characters are truly partners, and there are all kinds of possibilities for future books.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Marjorie’s brother makes a significant appearance for those who have read the first book.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  MY ONE TRUE HIGHLANDER is the second book in the No Ordinary Hero series.  This book can be read as a standalone, but is much better with the background from the first book in the series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: Hurricane

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: HurricaneHurricane (Cutter Cay #5) by Cherry Adair
Series: Cutter Cay #5
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on April 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  A story that perfectly balanced angst, drama, adventure and good old fashioned sexiness.  Two people who haven’t recovered from the failure of their marriage discover that what they really need is one another.

THE STORY:  Rydell Case’s life fell apart just over a year ago when he lost a big salvage to his business enemies the Cutters, his wife left him and things just kept falling apart as his ship was hijacked.  Now, Rydell is determined to salvage silver from another wreck but he needs the boat his wife got in the divorce to do it.  And he intends to get the boat no matter what he needs to do.  Addison D’Marco can’t believe the nerve of Ry to come and take over her ship when he hasn’t spoken to her in over a year.  She is determined to move on perhaps with the man who has asked her to marry him – but how can she do that when Ry is here and sexier than ever.

OPINION:  This book was an exciting ride from the start with a great deal of heart and angst. I really loved it!  Ry and Addy are so perfect for one another from the start that readers are taken on a journey to discovery what destroyed their marriage.  The story is so sad and emotional that it gives this story depth and drama.

Ry is a man who has almost hit bottom. His entire world is falling apart around him and he is determined to stop the slide and recover.  His taking of Addy’s ship allows him to both search for his underwater treasure and also have the possibility of confronting Addison.  Ry was the villain in the prior book but this book gives his side of the story which is more sympathetic than I expected.  In fact, I found his story so persuasive, that I thought that Addy had the wrong side in this one.

Addy begins the book believing that she was the injured party. My one complaint about this book is that she doesn’t really ever acknowledge her part in the disintegration of her marriage.  Honestly, I thought that she was wrong at least as much as Ry was.  While she is angry at him, she really needed to accept that she was the accessory to everything that happened.

At the same time, this book doesn’t wallow in its emotional drama.  There is good dose of actual adventure drama to keep the story hopping.  Just when it seems that the story between Ry and Addison might be resolved, the plot picks up and there is much going on.  Murders, hijackings, danger, shoot outs.  There is plenty here for anyone who wants either emotional drama and depth or action and adventure.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Content warning SPOILER!!

This book deals with SIDS and the death of a child.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  HURRICANE is the fifth book in the Cutter Cay series.  While there are overlapping characters, this book can be read as a complete standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars

Review: Beauty of the Beast

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Beauty of the BeastBeauty of the Beast (Fairy Tale Retellings #1) by Rachel L. Demeter
Series: Fairy Tale Retellings #1
on March 15th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 342
Goodreads
one-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I really wanted to like this one, but I just didn’t.  I found the story too wordy, the characters not interesting enough and I just had to force myself to even finish the book.

THE STORY:  A retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Prince Adam Delacroix has remained secluded since the death of his family.  Scarred both emotionally and physically, Adam rules his castle until a beauty, Isabelle Rose, comes to his castle and offers herself in exchange for her father.  Together the two must overcome the past and the dangers of the present.

OPINION:  A am a huge lover of Beauty and the Beast type stories.  I expected this book to be much better than it was.  I got bored almost immediately and it took far too long for things to happen and too many words to describe just about everything.  As a result, I felt very disconnected from the characters and the story.  If I had gotten this book in another manner (purchase or gift) I would have DNF’d it and moved on.  Because I got it for review purposes, I felt necessary to write a review indicating that I just was not impressed by the book.

The characters did not feel real to me nor did they feel part of a dreamy fairy tale style book.  Instead, the characters felt distant and not particularly intriguing.

The book promises a more sexual, dark telling, I think I expected too much.  In fact, this book wasn’t particularly dark compared to other available romance books and certainly did not have sexual content as explicit as many books these days.  I think that the warning is only in comparison to the Disney fairy tale.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The book contains a sexual assault by the villain.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  This book is the first book in the Fairy Tale Retellings series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 1.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

one-half-stars

Review: Enticing Ian

Review: Enticing IanEnticing Ian (Knight Security 5) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Knight Security #5
Published by Carole Mortimer on March 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I enjoyed this book a great deal.  There was a lot of mystery about what happened between Eve and Ian three years ago.  This was matched with a good plot about Eve wanting to help her brother.  This is more novella length, but felt complete and well paced.

THE STORY:  Three years ago, Ian Knight met, had a relationship with and left a woman he has never forgotten.  When Eve Bishop walks into the casino nightclub where he is acting head of security, he knows that the librarian should not be there.  Eve has come looking for Gregori Markovic, the head of the Russian mafia in London, in order to help her twin brother who has gotten deep into debt with Markovic.  Ian is determined to keep Eve from venturing into dangerous territory while looking for her brother, even if it means confronting what send him running from her three years ago.

OPINION:  I really enjoyed this one.  I thought the pacing of the book was wonderful.  Even with the shorter length, the story did not feel rushed and I felt there was a good balance between the romance and the plot.

The characters in this book were better developed than I expect in a shorter story.  The characters already had a history which helped tremendously with the quick turnaround until these characters got serious.  It was much easier to believe that these characters could be so comfortable with one another immediately.

This story just hit the right spot with me.  It was very sexy and had some drama over the end of the couple’s relationship three years ago.  The way that answer is slowly revealed to the readers worked really well to build tension in the story.  I especially liked that the real focus of this story was the couple — even though the brother’s fate gives some motivation for the characters to interact with one another.

I also really liked Ian and Eve as characters and as a couple.  They were just the right balance between really attracted to one another and fighting that attraction.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Some significant appearances from characters from the ALPHA series were a nice addition.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ENTICING IAN is the fifth book in the Knight Security series but can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars