Review: Wait for Dark

Review: Wait for DarkWait for Dark (Bishop/Special Crimes Unit #17) by Kay Hooper
Series: Bishop/Special Crimes Unit #17
Published by Berkley on March 7th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 304
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  This is a weird and creepy story (a good thing in this series!) but what I love best is getting more character development from Hollis and more about her relationship with Reese.

THE STORY:  Hollis Templeton has progressed from being a victim to now becoming a team leader for the SCU.  She and her partner Reese DeMarco come to Clarity, North Carolina in order to investigate a series of deaths that appear to be accidents and yet seem like something much more sinister when the sheriff discovers that each victim received a text message stating “Wait for Dark” before their deaths.  Not only is the team investigating strange crimes but Hollis’s paranormal senses are continuing to evolve as she has to confront her own past as a victim.

OPINION:  I really liked this one because while the focus was appropriately on the suspense story and the investigation, there was quite a bit about Hollis’s own struggles.  I have loved reading about Hollis’s development throughout the series and this book takes her development to another level.  Just a warning though — things are not completely resolved and I expect we will get more Hollis books in the future.

What I like best about this book is that there is a real question about what is going on for a good portion of the book.  That builds drama and interest.  This is not a mystery book. You are not going to be able to gather suspects and evidence and find out what is happening.  This story is just creepy and strange and filled with scary images and possibilities.

WORTH MENTIONING:  I was glad to see Bishop and Miranda.  I keep wishing for another book with the two as the focus.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  WAIT FOR DARK is the seventeenth book in the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series.  This book really needs to be read in context of other books in the series to truly appreciate it.  It is not necessary to read all the books in the series first, but I recommend reading TOUCHING EVIL, SENSE OF EVIL, BLOOD DREAMS, BLOOD SINS, BLOOD TIES, HAVEN, HOSTAGE, and HAUNTED first.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: When All The Girls Have Gone

Review: When All The Girls Have GoneWhen All The Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz
Published by Berkley on November 29th 2016
Genres: Commentary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 304
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: This is a nice romantic suspense but not spectacular.  I liked the characters and there was good action but I probably wouldn’t pick it up again.

THE STORY:  Charlotte Sawyer is a social director for a retirement community.  Charlotte is careful, caution and risk adverse. She was just ditched by her “perfect” fiance. She receives a key and a note from a friend of her stepsister and finds out that her stepsister’s friend just died under somewhat strange circumstances.  Her own stepsister is unreachable at a “tech-less” retreat and when Charlotte comes to see what the note and key are for, she meets Max Cutler.  Max is a private investigator and former-profiler who has come to Seattle after his divorce to build a new life. Max is looking into the death. He and Charlotte partner up to investigate what is going on. The two find themselves in danger.

OPINION:  I enjoyed this book while reading it, but I didn’t feel that it had the power and memorability of many of Krentz’s books.  The romance was good and the suspense aspect was interesting with lots of twists, but I didn’t walk away thinking I would want to read this book again.

I liked the characters of Max and Charlotte.  They are grounded people who are both rebuilding their lives.  I thought that they had a good rapport.  I did feel the relationship between them grew naturally out of their interactions. I also enjoyed that they are both flawed and there isn’t any big drama between them.

The suspense story was twisty and although much of the story was revealed during the book, there were still surprises.  Things were not what they seemed to be. As I mentioned, I enjoyed this book but it wasn’t a story that I loved so much I would return to it again.

WORTH MENTIONING:  I think this book appears to be the beginning of a series.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  WHERE ALL THE GIRLS HAVE GONE is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Ruled

Review: RuledRuled (Outlaws, #3) by Elle Kennedy
Series: Outlaws #3
Published by Berkley on November 1st 2016
Genres: Futuristic
Pages: 368
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“Life was so much easier when there was nobody around you to give a damn about.”

FINAL DECISION:  I think this might be the best menage book I’ve read.  There is a relationship between all three characters and I truly felt that these three had a real relationship by the end of the book.

THE STORY:  Rylan has done everything he can think of to attract Reese, the leader of a group of outlaws.  Despite an outlaw society that has no problem with meaningless sex, Reese won’t have anything to do with Rylan.  Rylan realizes that the key to Reese might be her second in command, Sloan.  Reese won’t give into her attraction to Rylan because she wants him too much and doesn’t trust her instincts with him.  Reese knows from experience the dangers of an attractive magnetic man.  She prefers to concentrate on her people and get her sex from meaningless encounters.  Sloan has stood by Reese’s side for years.  Although he has always wanted her, he knows that any hint of sex between them would destroy their relationship.  As Rylan, Reese and Sloan work to defeat the Enforcers that threaten the lives of the Outlaws, they are also drawn into a relationship that might destroy all that already exists between them.

OPINION:  Boy, this book is hot!  And even better, this book has a great emotional connection with all three of the menage partners.  Unlike the previous menages in the Outlaws series, this is not merely an extra sexual partner.  No, indeed, these three characters have an emotional connection to one another that leads to a true relationship between all three of them.

Reese was my favorite character.  She is a strong and dominant leader but her strength comes from her caring nature.  Reese is the matriarch of her people.  Reese puts her people above her own needs, which is one reason she has refused Rylan for so long.  Part of Reese’s journey is this book is finding out that she can be a whole person with relationships without it threatening her leadership.  In reality, her being whole can enhance her leadership.

Rylan initially seems like a happy-go-lucky fellow.  But he, as is true with all the Outlaws, has a darkness in his past.  Rylan is important in the story as the catalyst who changes the relationship between Reese and Sloan.  He is funny and sexy and the most outwardly emotional of the trio.  While he starts out wanting some good times, Sloan and Reese bring some needed stability and purpose to Rylan’s life. He’s a man who has hidden his caring under his devil may care attitude.

Sloan is the quiet rock of the trio.  He has stood by Reese being her right hand man while desperately wanting her.  He knows that any hint of sex between then would destroy their relationship. Sloan is not willing to risk what he has.  He is self-sacrificing, willing to do anything to help Reese even if that means denying what he wants most.

This book does a great job of balancing all the relationships.  Most menage books I have read focus on one couple or the woman’s relationship with each of the men.   This book is a perfectly balanced triangle.  Rylan’s introduction into the group allows the relationship between Reese and Sloan to develop even as Rylan creates his own relationship with Reese and Sloan.  The emotional and sexual relationship develops between all three of these characters — there is no emphasis on one part of the trio.  I got the real sense that these three need all of them in order to work.

The hotness of this book just keeps on:  Reese with Rylan (Hot!), Reese with Sloan (Hot!), Rylan with Sloan (even hotter!), Reese and Rylan and Sloan (blistering hot!).  What I liked best was that all the hot sex was really grounded in the emotions that developed between these characters.  All three of these characters have experienced pain and loss but in their relationship, they find happiness and completeness.

I loved this book and can’t wait for more Outlaws books.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is a true menage relationship with both an emotional and sexual relationship between all three of the participants.  This book has MFM, MM and MF.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  RULED is the third book in the Outlaws series.  The book can be read as a standalone but there is an overarching story that is richer if you have read the other books in the series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book 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: Archangel’s Heart

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: Archangel’s HeartArchangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9) by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #9
Published by Berkley on November 1st 2016
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“He was hers. She was his. And together, they were something far better than either one of them was alone.”

FINAL DECISION:  Goes deeper into Elena’s background in unexpected ways.  This book is a tightly drawn suspense story, political thriller and a very human story about surviving and rising above the past.  Plus, there is a very settled and sexy couple: Elena and Raphael.

THE STORY: This book continues the focus on guild hunter turned angel Elena and her archangel lover Raphael.  Things have been quiet since the disappearance of Lijuan, the Archangel of China (who also happens to be crazy dangerous).  A year has passed and because no one knows whether she lives or has withdrawn from the world and is sleeping, there is uncertainty.  An ancient order of angels called the Luminata calls the Cadre together to make a determination of what to do with Lijuan’s territory.

Attending the Luminata requires Raphael and Elena to travel near the place of her grandmother’s birth.  There, Raphael and Elena must deal with dangerous archangels, mysterious threats, strange events surrounding the Luminata. Elena also hopes to find out more about her past and that of her family.

OPINION: The Guild Hunter series returns to focus on Elena and Raphael.  I have to admit that I love the Elena and Raphael books most in the series.  This book, thankfully, doesn’t involve problems in the relationship between Elena and Raphael (that remains increasingly strong) but rather Elena’s own history.

This book continues the overarching series story regarding the Cascade, Lijuan and the possible end of the world.  While this book doesn’t have a romance as its organizing feature, it doesn’t need one.  This book delves into the adventure and politics of the Guild Hunter world — but reserves its emotional core for Elena’s discovery of her own family’s past.

There is a dark suspense story involving the Illuminata who are a mysterious addition to the series.  Elena ends up investigating what is going on with this mysterious group and their connection with her own family.  That story keeps the pace of this book quick and the pages turning.

While the suspense story keeps the books hopping, the theme explored in this book is about how the past makes us who we are and how one can overcome the pain of the past to go forward.  Multiple characters in the book have to deal with their past — the question is how will they respond.  This is most present in Aodhan who is recovering himself after years of separating himself from those he loves.  The events in this book challenge his recovery and he must make a choice.  The series has been an increasing interaction between those of Raphael’s world and Elena.  In this book, we see the developing relationship between Elena and Aodhan, which has its own contours.

Singh goes deep into the emotions of her characters and even as the events feel dark and dangerous, her characters possess a lightness and beauty that gives the book heart.  I always love reading Singh’s books because even when things seem bad for her characters, they maintain a likeability and a lightness of spirit that overcomes all the darkness.

The events of this series appear to be approaching a crescendo and this book provides a little breather that allows the exploration of character and relationships.  Elena finds out the truth about her mother’s family which has been shrouded in mystery.  I’m glad I didn’t know where this book was going because I enjoyed the resolution which provided a happy ending in an unexpected arena.

Without giving away the secrets of this book, I can say that this book is about survival and overcoming darkness.  So many characters express this theme and it leaves such a good feeling that I dread that more darkness is on the horizon for these characters.

For fans of the series, this book gives more background on the characters you love and gets everyone in the right place for the next stage in this series.  There are no new romances but much happens in this book that illuminates where the characters are now and where they have come from.

WORTH MENTIONING:  We learn more about Aodhan.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ARCHANGEL’S HEART is the ninth book in the Guild Hunter series.  This series builds upon each of the prior books in the series and thus should be read in order.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Apprentice in Death

Review: Apprentice in DeathApprentice in Death by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death #43
Published by Berkley on September 6th 2016
Genres: Futuristic, Mystery
Pages: 375
Goodreads
four-stars

“It would be the first kill.”

FINAL DECISION:  Eve Dallas and her band of friends and investigators take on a sniper killing in New York.  This book fits the pattern of the most recent books which focuses more on a crime.  Eve is more balanced and well adjusted and as such there is not much drama there.  An interesting story although there is not much drama in the whodunnit rather it is a “how do we capture the killer” book.

THE STORY: In January 2061, four people are shot at an ice rink in Central Park.  Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas is called to the scene.  She quickly realizes that the murders were committed by a sniper and fears that this is just the beginning.  With the help of her fellow officers and her billionaire husband Roarke, Eve must find the motive and the murderer and stop any further killings.

OPINION:  This is a fast paced mystery story.  The action in the book takes place over only a few days and as a result, the book constantly feels in motion.  I prefer the slower paced, whodunnit type stories, but this one is a quick paced suspense story.

On the positive side, I like the reappearance and reliance upon relationships.  Eve has changed tremendously over this series and this book shows how her development actually aids her ability to do her job.  She is clearly a more effective detective and a more well balanced person now.  While the angst has been reduced, the humor has been retained.

This book allows us to return to the wacky and brilliant way that Eve’s mind works as she solves the crime.  I especially enjoy how Eve is able to place herself in the varying positions of criminal and victim.  She understands and that is her talent.  What has changed in these books is that Eve is able to have a space for her own life.

I don’t want to give anything away, but the mastermind of this case is frightening to consider.  The story is creepy in its own way and fascinating.

If you like the In Death books, this one follows much of the pattern of the recent books and so if you liked them, you should like this one as well.  For a new reader, I still recommend that you start with the first book in the series NAKED IN DEATH which is simply fabulous.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Bella’s first birthday party and redecorating.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  APPRENTICE IN DEATH is the forty-third book in the In Death series.  While the mystery in the book is a complete standalone, there are relationships and overarching stories for the series.  While these do not prevent a new reader from starting here, new readers must recognize that there is a history behind this book.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Guardian’s Mate

Review: Guardian’s MateGuardian's Mate (Shifters Unbound, #9) by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Shifters Unbound #9
Published by Berkley on September 6th 2016
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-stars

“Rae looked across the tossing water at Zander Moncrieff and couldn’t decide whether she should jump overboard of leap onto his boat and smack him.”

FINAL DECISION:  Lovely story with lots of action and characters I liked and cared about.  My only negative was that the emotional connection between these characters happened so fast and only the circumstances of the plot kept them apart.

THE STORY:  Wolf shifter Rae Lyall is the chosen Guardian (the shifter who can send shifters to “heaven” at their death).  Her choosing by the Goddess causes unrest because a female has never been chosen from that position.  Now subject to suspicion and derision, Rae’s father sends her to polar bear shifter and healer Zander Moncrieff for protection and training.  Zander is Goddess touched himself and understands the challenges of the “gift”.

There is a reluctant attraction between the two but the threats that surround them keep Rae and Zander focused on working together while falling for one another.

OPINION:  I’m a big fan of Ashley’s shifter series. The series has a lot to say about issues of the day in an entertaining fashion.  I also enjoy how the Shifters have managed to retain their own traditions and identity despite the onerous restrictions placed upon them by humans.

In this book, Zander is a free spirit.  Seen as “crazy” by many, Zander suffers with his gift of healing.  Not only does he suffer by healing, he also knows that he cannot help everyone.  By making himself inaccessible, he limits the demands on his gift. Despite his behavior, Zander cares tremendously about others.

Rae is an orphan wolf shifter adopted by felines.  She loves her family but still feels the loneliness of being different.  Her choosing as Guardian further separates her from others.  She is strong and mouthy and just amazing although she is young and is still developing herself.

The interaction between Rae and Zander is funny and spicy and sometimes adorable.  The two banter and argue and have some hot scenes together.  They both have a core of not belonging that unites them.  Their gifts have separated them from others and this allows for true understanding between them.

The book is a roller coaster with lots of action with different storylines merging and weaving together in sometimes unexpected ways.  The resolution of the plot is surprising and yet completely in line with the story.  I loved how things came together.  Appearances by characters both new and old (Tiger!) never lets the reader forget that there is a larger world and story that these characters are a part of.

I love learning about new types of shifters and I look forward to their stories being told as well.

WORTH MENTIONING:  For readers of the series there are some reveals as to what the Fae are up to (with apparently some human allies).

CONNECTED BOOKS: GUARDIAN’S MATE is the ninth book in the Shifters Unbound series.  This book can be read as a standalone although there may be some learning curve as to the shifter world that this book resides in.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Wild Embrace

Review: Wild EmbraceWild Embrace (Psy-Changeling, #15.5) by Nalini Singh
Series: , , ,
Published by Berkley on August 23rd 2016
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 400
Goodreads
four-half-stars

WILD EMBRACE consists of four novellas in the Psy-Changling series.  They vary in length and complexity and while none reach the quality of the awesome novels in the series, these novellas are a great introduction to the series or a wonderful chance for fans to revel in some secondary characters.  The events take place at various times in the Psy-Changling universe (although there is no reason to worry about the order unless you are hyper concerned about spoilers).

One of my favorite parts of reading a Nalini Singh series is that every portion, every moment, every characters feels exceedingly alive.  Singh proves it by regularly giving readers the additional content (much free to newsletter subscribers) that tells the stories of minor characters, gentle moments and funny slices of life.

In the novella ECHO OF SILENCE (which takes place after book 2 VISIONS OF HEAT), readers finally get the story of Stephen Berg, a Tk Psy and Tazia Nerif, the human woman with whom he falls in love.  Readers of the series might recall that subsequent to the events in this book, Stephen has been known to give romantic advice to Arrows.  This story takes place just as Silence is beginning to be challenged.  The romance is incredibly sweet and painful as the two are in danger if it is known that Stephen breaks Silence but he cannot love unless he does.  I thought this story was the best of the four (I love those Tks) as the story was complex and multilayered.

The short novella DORIAN (which takes place over a period of time ending after book 5 HOSTAGE TO PLEASURE) consists of vignettes in the life of Dorian.  Dorian is a leopard changeling who was latent and could not shift into his leopard form.  The vignettes start when Dorian is a child and take place at various times in Dorian’s life.  The final vignette happens after his mate is able to help him to successfully shift.  (We finally get to see other characters reactions to Dorian’s shift.  This novella adds some additional and welcome scenes to HOSTAGE TO PLEASURE.

In the novella PARTNERS IN PERSUASION (which takes place after book 11 TANGLE OF NEED), we get an unexpected pairing of a dominate female leopard changeling and a submissive male wolf changeling.  Felix is at his heart a gardener (aka the horticultural expert of the Snow Dancers) who has been hurt by his attraction to a dominate woman before.   Despite this, Felix is really, really attracted to Desiree.  I loved Felix who might be a submissive but is certainly no pushover and definitely proves that submissives can be dangerous when those they care about are threatened.  The careful navigation of Felix and Desiree’s relationship mirrors those which arose in DECLARATION OF COURTSHIP (which had a dominate male and submissive female changeling). Questions of consent and trust are artfully navigated here without the hero being a wimp.

The final novella, FLIRTATION OF FATE is the sometimes heartbreaking second chance at love story between Garnet (aka Jem) and Kenji, both Snow Dancer lieutenants.  The two grew up together and it seemed like they were fated to be together until Kenji broke Garnet’s heart on her twenty-first birthday by standing her up.  In the years since, the two have ignored one another and engaged in a combative flirtation.  The big question throughout this novella is why did Kenji break Garnet’s heart when he clearly loves her so much?  I had figured out the reason before the reveal but I loved how these two were unable to let one another go despite their best attempts.  I hope that we hear more about these two in the future because I would like to see that they have been able to work through their challenges. FLIRTATION OF FATE takes place at the end of HEART OF OBSIDIAN (book 12).

Overall Rating for book 4.5 stars.

 

four-half-stars

Review: Bay of Sighs

Review: Bay of SighsBay of Sighs (The Guardians Trilogy, #2) by Nora Roberts
Series: The Guardians Trilogy #2
Published by Berkley on June 14th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal
Pages: 319
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I enjoyed this book but it felt like the middle book it is. It is dependent upon knowing what happened in the first book including the relationships which developed there and in the end the story feels incomplete because there is another book left to go.

THE STORY:  This book begins right after the events of Book 1 of the Trilogy.  After acquiring the first star in their quest, the band of six have moved on to the search for the second star.  Annika, the mermaid, has a special role to play here in the search for the water star.  Granted legs for only a few months, Annika enjoys her life on land and her flirtation with Sawyer King.  Sawyer is the traveler with control of a compass which can take one through space and time.  Sawyer is attracted to Annika but worries about getting involved with the lovely mermaid who will only be on land for such a short time.  As Sawyer and Annika along with their friends search for the star, danger lurks with the reappearance of their enemy. She has a new minion to threaten the six as the danger increases.

OPINION:  I really wanted to like this book.  I had been looking forward to the story of the mermaid because it had ready made angst involved since she was only given legs for a limited amount of time.  What disappointed me most in this book was the resolution or lack thereof of that impediment.  I have hopes that the issues might yet be resolved in the final book, but as a story, I was disappointed in the poor version of a happy ending that Annika and Sawyer have to endure.

I also thought that their romance was given short shrift here.  The romance seemed expected and neither fought too hard. The drama in the story came from the plot regarding the stars.

On the other hand, I thought that this was a good continuation of the first book in the series and set up the final book in a way that made me highly anticipate it.  The story was action packed and I love the relationship that has developed between the six.  The book would have been more highly rated by me except for my disappointment with the resolution of Annika and Sawyer’s story.

WORTH MENTIONING:  I want to read the final book about the immortal and the werewolf more than I wanted to read this one.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  BAY OF SIGHS is the second book in the Guardians Trilogy.  This book relies heavily on having read the first book in the series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Allegiance of Honor

Review: Allegiance of HonorAllegiance of Honor (Psy-Changeling, #15) by Nalini Singh
Published by Berkley on June 14th 2016
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 496
Goodreads
five-stars

Must Read for Any Psy-Changling Fan

“The world has changed in countless ways since the day a cardinal empath sat across from a changeling alpha, the empath trying to hide her emotions, the alpha trying to see under her skin.”

FINAL DECISION:  The Psy-Changling book I will return to again and again, ALLEGIANCE OF HONOR not only is a window into the lives of the engrossing characters that Singh has created but also the book’s ensemble format itself demonstrates the themes of the bonds of love, friendship and respect that differing groups and people can build in order to create a better world.

THE STORY: ALLEGIANCE OF HONOR is a different book from the others in the Psy-Changling series and in paranormal romance in general. It does not have one central romance rather it is the last book in “Season 1” of the Psy-Changling series, an ensemble piece, which touches on almost all of the characters who appeared in the first 14 books of the series (and the novellas as well!).

The story picks up right after SHARDS OF HOPE.  Silence has fallen and the three powers in the world (Changling, Psy and Human) have joined forces in the Trinity accord. The alliances the various groups are fragile and there is a shadowy Consortium which is working against Trinity in order to advance its own interests.

Naya, the young daughter of Sasha and Lucas (from book 1 SLAVE TO SENSATION) is the first Psy-Changling child and has become the focus of those who want to defeat Trinity and keep the races separate.  Naya is a symbol that some look to as hope and some want to control or destroy.

OPINION:  A tapestry that depicts a wide swath of the Psy-Changling world, ALLEGIANCE OF HONOR is simply magnificent.  In a series which is founded upon crossing boundaries and making connections between disparate groups, this novel itself by its vignette nature demonstrates the power and beauty of the entirety of that interwoven world.  I love how the shifting points of view and small and big moments come together to provide the widest and most comprehensive view of the Psy-Changling world.

What I found incredibly powerful about this book is that Singh managed to take what might otherwise be merely an extended epilogue to the series without any other value other than good feelings and instead makes it a compelling conclusion to “part 1” of the Psy-Changling series and a kickoff to a whole new adventure.

Readers who had lingering questions about the series both big and small will get answers here and also get a good sense of where the series goes from here.  A pivot point in the series, it allows readers who have persevered through the prior fourteen books to get a conclusion while making it clear that there are new challenges and new characters ahead.

A reader could end their reading of the Psy-Changling series here (BUT WHY WOULD YOU?) and be completely fulfilled and satisfied because this book resolves almost everything central (and many tangential) to the main series.  There are lingering issues which will kick off the next part of the series but nothing that will haunt people for years.  This series is so incredible that there is no reason not to highly anticipate what will happen next. I can’t wait to see what Singh will do next in the Psy-Changling world.

There is something in this book for anyone who has read the series.  Stories of just about everyone are progressed demonstrating how fluid this world is. Intense joy, happiness and immense sadness are all present here.

If I have a suggestion for anyone getting ready to read this book — avoid spoilers.  Part of the beauty of this book is how the stories develop in somewhat unexpected ways.

I love this book and intend on reading it again soon — maybe today. Immensely fulfilling and I couldn’t imagine how it could have been better!

WORTH MENTIONING: Pupcubs!!!

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ALLEGIANCE OF HONOR is the fifteenth book in the Psy-Changling series.  Because this book assumes knowledge about the characters and events of the series, it should only be read after the other books.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

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

five-stars

Review: Big Easy Temptation

Review: Big Easy TemptationBig Easy Temptation (The Perfect Gentlemen, #3) by Shayla Black, Lexi Blake
Series: The Perfect Gentlemen #3
Published by Berkley on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Goodreads
five-stars

“You broke her heart.”

“Yeah, well, she broke mine, too.”

FINAL DECISION:  The most emotionally complex story of the series so far, BIG EASY TEMPTATION expands the overarching conspiracy while always keeping the focus of the story on the characters and their relationship.

THE STORY:  At their first meeting almost decade ago, Naval Officer Dax Spencer knew that Holland Kirk would be special to him.  The two circled around one another for years until 3 years ago.  The death of Dax’s father brings the two together as Dax seeks answers to what happened to his father.  Holland’s work as a NCIS agent gives her jurisdiction and for a time the two work together and finally begin building a relationship.  Then everything falls apart separating the two.  Now the two reunite as the conspiracy The Perfect Gentlemen are investigating appears connected to Dax’s father’s death. Dax has questions for Holland about what happened three years ago.

OPINION:  I loved the emotional complexity of this story.  The narrative is unusual in that the story is divided in two parts. The first part takes place in the past and ends badly with Holland and Dax separated.  The second part begins in present time and ultimately brings the two lovers back together.  I especially liked that the story takes the time to bring readers into the past and show the entirety of what went wrong with Holland and Dax.  Without that context, it would be difficult to understand and forgive the betrayals that tore them apart.  By following Dax and Holland through the entirety of their story, the pain they both experience is more immediate, fresher and thus more devastating than a mere exposition of the past would have been.

This is a second chance at love story and I became engrossed in Dax and Holland’s journey and was deeply saddened at the end of the first part of the story and then rejoiced when the two found on another again.  The complexity of the story, the characters and the emotional heft of the story matched the increasing complexity of the overarching story.

One thing I especially like about this series is that each of the books in the series is different.  This is the not a series with different characters in the same story. Each of the stories, each of the characters, each of the situations and challenges are different.  At the same time, each of the novels adds to the overarching story and I love that I get to see all the characters throughout the series.

Both Dax and Holland make many mistakes on their way to finding one another and I like the optimism of that.  Even with all their mistakes and misses in getting to their HEA, the do eventually get there.

The most angst filled story so far, this book feels like a pivot point in the series as the third of the five Perfect Gentlemen gets his woman and some of the outlines of the conspiracy are beginning to be revealed.  The conspiracy which has ensnared The Perfect Gentlemen is breathtaking in its scope.  It also keeps me guessing!

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book also reveals the likely pairings for the other Perfect Gentlemen and now I can’t wait for the next book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BIG EASY TEMPTATION is the third book in The Perfect Gentlemen series.  This book should be read as part of the series because the suspense thread is part of an overarching story.  The overarching mystery continues past this book as well so be willing to continue to read the series.  Not a hardship!

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

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

five-stars