Ensnared by Rita Stradling


Ensnared

Title: Ensnared

Author: Rita Stradling

Publisher: Kindle Press

Date of publication: March 6th, 2017

Genre: Romance, Science Fiction

POV: 3rd person

Number of pages: 380

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A Near-Future Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

Alainn’s father is not a bad man. He’s a genius and an inventor. When he’s hired to create the robot Rose, Alainn knows taking the money is a mistake.

Rose acts like a human. She looks exactly like Alainn. But, something in her comes out wrong.

To save her father from a five-year prison sentence, Alainn takes Rose’s place. She says goodbye to the sun and goes to live in a tower no human is allowed to enter. She becomes the prisoner of a man no human is allowed to see.

Believing that a life of servitude lies ahead, Alainn finds a very different fate awaits her in the company of the strange, scarred recluse.

My review:

This book was very interesting to read but I really wouldn’t compare it to Beauty and the Beast. Honestly, I would compare it to more I, Robot than anything. I mean, I get where the Beauty and the Beast lines were drawn: a beautiful woman trapped by scarred (physically and mentally) man but that is it.

What I really enjoyed was the usage of robots and AI’s in the book. I also like that Rose, the main AI, was self-sufficient and admitted to starting on rewriting her programming. It was at that point where I went “Oh no” and started reciting the 3 rules of robotics to myself:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Just based on these rules of robotics and the fact that at least one of them were broken within the first couple of chapters, I was hooked. Seeing that AI’s are becoming more commonplace in daily lives (hello, Cortona, Siri, Alexa/Echo!!!), I was pretty interested to see where the author would take this book and I wasn’t disappointed.

I really felt that Alainn didn’t have a choice to masquerade as Rose when given the choice. Actually, she wasn’t given the choice. Rose, the AI, basically told her to do it or her father would go to jail. All Alainn wanted to do was to go back to work on the ski patrol and not clean up her dad’s mess (not delivering Rose as promised to Lorcann). But she did it because she loved her father and she wanted to keep him out of jail.

Lorcann was messed up. He never leaves his tower and only has automatons and AI’s as companions. He is a germaphobe (requires everyone to be decontaminated before they enter the tower). I put the way he is on his parents. They never let him leave, installed a fear of germs and I believe abused him (there was one scene where he was getting beaten by his mother). Let’s not mention the scars on his face. The whole side of his face is scarred. It really wasn’t gotten into about why he was scarred. If it was an accident or if the scars were done intentionally. He believed that he was a beast. His only relationship is with a woman that he talks to over the phone. Until Alainn, under the guise of being Rose, enters the tower.

I thought that the romance between Alainn and Lorcann was kinda creepy at first. I mean, he thought she was an AI that was programmed to be absolutely humanlike. She, however, was there to buy her father time to finish Rose. But it happened, as creepy as it was. I really thought, during certain scenes, that Lorcann had caught onto Alainn’s ruse. Oh, was I wrong.

The AI’s were split between those that obeyed the three rules of robotics and those that didn’t. I actually felt bad for Rosebud, Lorcann’s house management AI. I had thought the whole time that she was working against Alainn when she was trying to help her and ended up getting hijacked by Rosette and Rose.

The last half of the book was nail-biting. I mean, I was on the edge of my seat and was literally cheering Alainn on. There were a few plots twists that were thrown in that actually made sense and gave me more insight into Alainn’s character.

The author didn’t end the book after the rescue (consider this a clue). Everything after that was a build to the second climax of the book. I have never read a book where the author has successfully had two climaxes in the same book. So be warned when you think there is a lull. It isn’t and the other climax is something that I didn’t expect. All I am going to say about that. Read the book!!

How many stars will I give Ensnared: 4

Why: I enjoyed reading this book. It was fast paced with characters that you actually like and a plot line that is engaging.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Valetti Crime Family: The Complete Collection of Bad Boy Mafia Romance by Willow Winters


Valetti Crime Family: The Complete Collection of Bad Boy Mafia Romances by [Winters, Willow]

Title: Valetti Crime Family: The Complete Collection of Bad Boy Mafia Romance

Author: Willow Winters

Publisher: unknown

Date of publication: April 15th, 2017

Genre: Romance, Erotica

Number of pages: 964

POV: Alternating 1st person

Series: Valetti Crime Family

Dirty Dom – Book 1

His Hostage – Book 2

Rough Touch (formerly known as Good Girl) – Book 3

Cuffed Kiss (formerly known as Bad Girl)– Book 4

Bad Boy – Book 5

Valetti Crime Family: The Complete Collection of Bad Boy Mafia Romance

Where you can find this book: Amazon|Amazon UK|Amazon AU|Amazon CA

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

AMAZON TOP 100 series available in one bundle for a LIMITED time!

Includes the following five full-length, stand-alone romance novels featuring five filthy-mouthed, possessive bad boys:
Dirty Dom 
 
Dominic Valetti is only interested in two things: getting paid and getting laid. 
He’s a bookie for the Valetti crime family, and he knows his sh*t. Dom’s busy doing business, no time to dabble in social niceties. The women that chase after him are only gonna get their hearts broken. 
That is until Becca stumbles into his office to pay off her ex’s debt. A hot brunette who’s just as guarded as he is and has a body made for sin… and for him. They’re not meant to be together. A woman like her shouldn’t be with a man like him. He’s mobbed up; she’s a good girl who deserves better. 
When they push their boundaries and cave to temptation, they both forget about the danger. And that’s a mistake a man like Dom can’t afford. 
 
His Hostage
 
He was supposed to take my life… Instead, he made me his.
Valetti crime family underboss Vincent Valetti is hot. Like… jaw dropping, lip biting, panty wetting kind of hot. 
Tall and muscular, with the kind of dominant, cocky attitude that makes a girl’s knees go weak. 
He commands respect and fear from the familia, and he deserves it. He’s earned it. As for women… they can have one night and the most amazing f*ck of their life, but that’s all they get.
Until Elle. 

Gorgeous, curvy, and looking for an escape, she calls to Vincent. Her innocence begs him to take her… f*ck her, ruin her for all other men. 

Worse, he wants to protect her. In Vincent’s care, Elle witnesses a terrible crime — and if she breathes a word of it, the Valettis are screwed. 
Torn between the woman he craves and loyalty to his family, Vincent is put to the test. 
He should kill her, but he can’t let that happen. He won’t. Vincent’s a man who takes what he wants. And he wants Elle all to himself. 
She was in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Now she belongs to him. 
Rough Touch (formerly titled Good Girl)
I’m not a good man, but I’m damn good at what I do. I was raised to be ruthless, and as muscle for the Petrov mafia, that’s all I am.  Then she got caught in the crossfire, and when it was over, she was mine – given as a temporary gift. Once a mafia princess, now just a bargaining chip, she wasn’t a part of my plans.  She’s scared, alone, and has the most perfect, innocent baby blues that beg me to protect her.  There’s not an ounce of good in me. I don’t deserve her, but I want her. I want her sweet submission and tempting curves, at any cost.  Even if I have to kill every f*cker who stands between us.  This good girl belongs to me. 
Cuffed Kiss (formerly titled Bed Girl) 
She’s too good for me, but that’s not gonna stop me from taking her. I’m not a good man, but I’ve never claimed to be. I’m the muscle for the Valetti crime family, and I fit the part with my hard, ripped abs, broad shoulders and cocky attitude.  I’ve never wanted for anything until I met her… A woman I can never have. She’s forbidden. Just being seen together would put a target on both our backs.  I can’t help imagining those lush, sassy lips wrapped around the one part of me that doesn’t give a damn she’s off-limits.  All I wanted was a taste of her tempting, forbidden curves. One moment of hot, wild passion, and I’m f*cking addicted. Everything and everyone else be damned. I’m making her mine. 
Bad Boy
They thought I would do my job. They thought I would kill her. They thought wrong.  I’m a dangerous man. It only takes one panty-dropping, mouth-watering look to know it. You may be fooled by my good looks and charm. But my eyes give it away. I’m the hitman for the Valetti familia, and I’m f*cking good at it. They want men to talk, and I make them talk. They want men gone–bang, it’s done. It’s as simple as that. Until her. 
She’s on my list, but I f*cking want her. On her knees and submitting to my every command. I’ll give her a simple choice — die or be mine.
I’ve always wanted this. Now that I have the chance, I’m taking it. I can fulfill those fantasies I know she has. I’m going to make her beg for it.
My review:
These are the first Mafia romance books that I have ever read.
Honestly.
I have read everything but Mafia romance. MMA, yup. MC clubs, yup. So it was a matter of time before I read Mafia romances. All I have to say is “Wow” and I am definitely going to be reading more of these books in the future. My interest was definitely caught and held by this series.
While I liked that the boys (Dom, Vince, Kane, Tommy, and Anthony) were definitely bad boys, I also liked that they did have a softer side. It added a little something to their stories that made it sweet. I know, sweet and Mafia in the same sentence. Something that I never, ever thought I would write but it is true. These guys turned into mushballs when they found their woman.
My favorite boys, out of the 5, were Kane and Anthony. I liked them because their characters were darker than Dom, Tommy, and Vince. The way that they got together with their women were not conventional. Actually, they all weren’t but Kane and Anthony’s were really out there. Ava was part of the sex slave/human trafficking ring and Catherine was under contract to be killed by Anthony, who took her to be trained as his sub instead. Like I said, they are darker than the other stories.
The sex in these books was off the page scorching hot and the author didn’t just keep it to one or two sex scenes per story. There were many sex scenes in each book. Numerous scorching hot, makes you wish that these guys were real and single sex scenes.
I loved that there were HEA’s for every story and that each character made an appearance in the other books. Normally I don’t like that, because of past books where the characters from the other books took over the storyline. Not here and that made me happy. As did the HEA’s and the epilogues. I love to find out what happens to the other characters once their stories are over.
How many stars will I give Valetti Crime Family: The Complete Collection of Bad Boy Mafia Romances: 4
Why: I enjoyed reading this series and loved all the characters. I mean, bad boys and hot sex, how much better can it get?
Will I reread: Yes
Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes
Age range: Adult
Why: Sex, language, and violence
**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

Tangled in Sin (Bound and Determined: Book 5) by Lavinia Kent


Tangled in Sin (Bound and Determined, #5)

Title: Tangled in Sin

Author: Lavinia Kent

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Date of Publication: April 18th, 2017

Genre: Romance

Number of pages: Unknown

POV: 3rd person

Series: Bound and Determined

Mastering the Marquess – Book 1

Revealing Ruby – Book 1.5

Bound by Bliss – Book 2

Sarah’s Surrender – Book 2.5

Ravishing Ruby – Book 3

Angel in Scarlet – Book 4

A Very Ruby Christmas – Book 4.5

Tangled in Sin – Book 5

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

An innocent young woman flirts with scandal and becomes the mistress of her own forbidden desires in this stimulating Regency romance from the author of Mastering the Marquess.

Lady Cynthia Westhope can’t believe the shocking rumor is true. Her childhood friend, the daughter of a duke no less, has become the madam of London’s most exclusive and notorious brothel. Though she’s known as “Sin,” Cynthia is scandalized—and surprisingly curious. Just picturing the whips, the chains, the uncontrollable urges men gratify behind closed doors sends a jolt of electricity through her body. Still, Sin can’t imagine taking part in such games—until she’s snatched off the street during a raging storm and swept away to a remote cottage.

When James Winters encounters the comely virgin, he assumes she’s one of Madame Blanche’s fresh new beauties, especially after Sin pulses in ecstasy as he ravishes her. Then he discovers that she’s Lord Westhope’s virgin daughter . . . or was. Now they will both be compromised unless James devises a plan to save Sin from disgrace. Before long, they’re entangled in a web of tempting propositions, family secrets, and sensual intrigue—and bound together so tightly that James never wants to let go.

Don’t miss any of Lavinia Kent’s Bound and Determined series
MASTERING THE MARQUESS | BOUND BY BLISS | REVEALING RUBY | SARAH’S SURRENDER | RAVISHING RUBY | ANGEL IN SCARLET | A VERY RUBY CHRISTMAS | TANGLED IN SIN

My review:

When I read the blurb for Tangled in Sin on NetGalley, my interest was piqued. Seeing that erotica and BDSM are usually not what you associate a Regency romance with, I actually couldn’t wait to read the book.

While this is the 5th book in a series, you can definitely read this as a standalone book. I am not a big fan of picking up a book mid-series because usually I am left confused about past relationships. Not with this book, though. There were references to Ruby but nothing was really gotten into. Just that she turned the brothel over to Jazz after training her. I really enjoyed that, to be honest. It let me focus on Sin and James’s romance without fearing that Ruby would return. Also, the other characters from the other books were not mentioned at all. Again something I liked. They stayed in their own books….lol.

I thought Sin was great and very forwards thinking for her time. She didn’t freak out when she was kidnapped, kinda freaked out when James took her virginity and then grasped her sexuality by the horns. It was so refreshing to read a Regency era character who didn’t freak out when seeing a penis for the first time and who took the first step to start what would be the world’s hottest sponge bath in the history of any book that I read. But she was also super stubborn. There were some scenes where I kinda wanted to shake her and say “Just accept that you are going to marry him. Stop fighting it” because you know that is how the book is going to end.

James was kinda a tool in the beginning of the book. Who demands that their sister leaves her newborn daughter and then tries to kidnap her but instead gets her best friend (that he knows), thinks that it is one of her “girls” and then proceeds to have sex with until he realizes that she was a virgin. He is. But he does more than makeup for it and turns into a pretty good guy. I did think that maybe he wanted to marry Sin so he could have intercourse with her (actually intercourse) but he proved to me that he did love her. Read the book to find out how!!

Let’s talk about the sex in this book. It was sizzling, page-burning hot. I couldn’t get enough of those two and their sexual shenanigans. I mean, they did everything but intercourse after the first time (even talked about anal, which surprised me). When they finally had intercourse again, I gobbled up those scenes not because they were hot but because you knew that Sin and James were going to be together and were in love. Which made that scene oh so much sweeter.

The end of the book was great but I was left wondering about Jazz and hoping that book 6 if there is a book 6, would feature her and let her have her own happy ending.

How many stars will I give Tangled in Sin: 4

Why: Ok, I am going to say it here. This is not a book for prudes or those who get easily offended over things (like it being an erotica set in Regency England). This is one hot, hot, hot book with explosive sex scenes and two people who were made for each other. I devoured this book, literally reading it within a day. Couldn’t get enough of it and I am going to read that other books in the series.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes but with a warning about the sex scenes

Age range: Adult

Why: Explicit sex scenes, language, and some mild violence

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

 

Dancing in the Rain by Kelly Jamieson


Dancing in the Rain

Title: Dancing in the Rain

Author: Kelly Jamieson

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Date of publication: April 11th, 2017

Genre: Romance

Number of pages: 311

POV: 3rd person

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A retired athlete meets the daughter he never knew—along with the woman who reignites his passions—in this powerful standalone romance from the bestselling author of Hot Shot and the Heller Brothers series.

Drew Sellers is drowning in broken dreams and empty beer bottles. Hockey was his world until a bum knee reduced him from superstar to has-been. Then he learns that thanks to a one-night-stand back in college, he’s the father of a preteen girl with major issues. Her protective aunt sees right through Drew’s BS, but “Auntie P” is no stereotypical spinster. With her slender curves, toned legs, and luscious lips, she has Drew indulging in fantasies that aren’t exactly family-friendly.

At another point in her life, Peyton Watt would have been all over a cocky alpha male who pushes all her buttons like Drew. Right now, though, she needs to focus on taking care of her niece during her sister’s health crisis, all while holding down a job and keeping her own head above water. Besides, Drew’s clearly no father of the year. He’s unemployed. He drinks too much. And he’s living in the past. But after Peyton gets a glimpse of the genuine man behind his tough-guy façade, she’s hooked—and there’s no going back

My review:

I don’t know what it is with the books I have read lately. They have all been surprise tear jerkers. I think I was blindsided because the Dancing in the Rain’s blurb didn’t show much information. I am not complaining and was very pleasantly surprised when I was brought to tears a few times during the book.

I thought the romance aspect of the book was fantastic. Sure there was mind blowing sex (we will get to that a little later in the review) but I loved that Drew and Peyton actually built a relationship, of sorts, before they had sex. It was very refreshing to read because the relationship was established and the sexual chemistry was built up way before they bumped uglies. What I didn’t like was that they thought that they had to hide their relationship from Chloe and I could see where that hurt their relationship. Also, they didn’t communicate and both jumped to conclusions about the other person. I actually cringed during those parts because I am guilty of doing the same things in my relationship (don’t let BK ever read that…lol). But it added to their romance, if that makes sense, and made it seem more real to me.

Drew was such a complicated character and I loved it. I really enjoyed that the author started him off with so many flaws. He drank too much and was wallowing in self-pity. The self-pity part I totally got. Any normal person would do that after being told that they couldn’t do what they loved ever again. Plus, his personal life kinda fell apart after his injury too. I mean, he found out that his ex-wife was cheating on him with his ex-best friend. What a blow to someone’s self-confidence. But the drinking part, I didn’t like and I agreed with Peyton when she made the assessment that he was on his way to becoming an alcoholic.  As much as I didn’t like it, though, again, it was part of what made this book really good and it humanized Drew. His reaction to having a tween daughter was great. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon when Sarah told him, he did the right thing and got a paternity test done. Which made me go “Hallelujah, Praise the Lord”. Why? Because I have read so many books where the hero is told that the kid is his and goes “Ok” with no questions ask. So when it was revealed that he had a paternity test done, I got up and did the happy dance.

Peyton kinda rubbed me the wrong way during certain scenes but I could totally get that she was stressing over losing her sister, having to raise her niece and she is falling in love with Drew…who is Chloe’s father. I would have probably acted the same way. But, she was a very strong woman who dealt with life’s blows with grace. She dropped everything to go be with Sarah when it was becoming pretty clear that she didn’t have long to live (and for the record, Peyton’s boss was a jerk). Then she had to mediate visitations with Drew until she felt that he would be ok to be left alone with Chloe. Plus, she was caretaking for Sarah until it was time to go to hospice. It was a lot.

I liked that the author chose to deal with tween/teen issues in a realistic way. Like when Chloe was asked to leave school because what she was wearing violated the dress code. The way that Drew handled it was a dream and for the record, I agree with him. If a girl is asked to leave because what they are wearing calls a boy to comment on their body, it wasn’t right. The boy should be called out on why he thinks it is ok to make comments like that to a girl. Like I said above, the way Drew handled that situation was perfect. Also what I liked was when Chloe was caught shoplifting. While it was on video, the other girl’s mother refused to look at it, has the mentality that her special snowflake would never do something like that and leaves. I could go on a rant about parents like that, but I won’t. I do think that the way that Drew and Peyton handled it was perfect.

When they finally had sex, it was off the pages hot and every time after that was scorching. Like I said above, what made it even hotter for me is that they had a relationship before hand. Something about feeling and sex gets me in the feels.

The end of the book was what I thought it was going to be and the decisions that were made were what I thought were going to be made. The epilogue was perfect!! I love it when the HEA is perfect for the book!!

How many stars will I give Dancing in the Rain: 4

Why: If you want to read a book that will get you in the feels, pick this book up. Seriously. It was well-developed characters, deals with heart-wrenching and real life issues in ways that you can only hope people in real life would and the sex scenes were through the roof hot. I will definitely be reading this book again!!!

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Sex and some mild language. Also some triggers for cancer, hospice, and death.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Fighting for Love (Boston Love: Book 2) by Kelly Elliott


Fighting for Love (Boston Love, #2)

Title: Fighting for Love

Author: Kelly Elliott

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Date of publication: April 4th, 2017

Genre: Romance

Number of pages: 360

POV: Alternating 1st person

Series: Boston Love

Searching for Harmony – Book 1

Fighting for Love – Book 2

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A larger-than-life firefighter inspires a career-driven woman to live in the moment—and trust in the power of love—in this flirty, emotional novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Searching for Harmony.
 
Finn Ward has two passions: being a firefighter and being single. Although his parents are constantly nagging him to settle down, Finn just wants to enjoy himself while he’s young. Then, at a union meeting, he meets a gorgeous lawyer with a dazzling smile—and suddenly, settling down doesn’t sound so bad.
 
Rory Adams is fresh out of law school and looking to make a name for herself at her mother’s firm. She doesn’t have time for silly games anymore. But when she catches the eye of a dashing fireman who makes her body tingle from across the room, something instantly ignites between them. The only problem? Her father is Finn’s boss.
 
Their relationship turns both of their lives upside-down. Rory tames Finn’s wild ways, while he shows her that life can’t be all work and no play. But it’ll take some serious determination to keep their love secret—and real courage to admit the truth.

My review:

I ugly cried during this book. Like nose running, tears streaming down my face ugly cry and I really dislike that the author made me do that….joking.  Ugly crying really isn’t my thing but when it happens,  I let nature take its course. I also love that the story was able to affect me on such a level.

Finn was such a player at the beginning of the book. He made me want to tear my hair out with his “love em and leave em” outlook on life in the beginning of the book. I could definitely see why Captain Adams didn’t want Rory anywhere near him. But at the same time, he had a soft side and he was, deep down, looking for “the one”. His immediate reaction to seeing Rory was the beginning of the end for him. I thought I wouldn’t like it when an alpha male fell hard but OMG….I need a Finn in my life (sorry BK). The dates he pulled off and what he did for their first time was fantastic. And he wasn’t afraid of letting his feelings out. Nope, not at all!!

Rory, I actually felt kinda bad for her. She was intimidated by her father to the point where, at 27, she let him dictate where she lived and who she dated. She had no life outside of work (well except meeting up with her besties from college).  To put it bluntly, she was boring and a wallflower. That was until she met Finn…who was the very man her father didn’t want her to date. Then she came alive and I loved her. She said the wrong thing at the wrong time (splooge anyone…haha) and was very clumsy. She also wasn’t very experienced, if you know what I mean, and I think that shocked Finn and titillated him at the same time. Basically, she was perfect for Finn and he was for her.

If there was one person I couldn’t stand in this book, it was her father. He was a controlling, manipulative idiot and what he forced her to do was beyond wrong. I also couldn’t get why he took what a 5-year-old said and started to hate him for it. Seriously, that man had some deep-set, serious issues. Put it this way, I wasn’t unhappy when he was rarely mentioned in the book after Rory flipped out on him.

The sex between Finn and Rory was hot and there was a lot of it. I love that there was humor in some of the sexual situations. Those situations made it so much easier to connect to Finn and Rory.

Now the scenes that made me ugly cry were heartbreaking. But you need to read the book to find out.

I will say that I thought the ending of the book was a bit rushed. I get why the author did what she did (and I totally approve because it was fun to read about Rory’s payback….lol) but I really wish it wasn’t so rushed. I felt like I was reading a marathon by the end of the book….lol.

How many stars will I give Fighting for Love: 4

Why: I loved this book. Not only was it set in Boston (I lived in MA for 38 years) but the love story was unbelievably sweet and sensual. I think I read this book in a day and I can’t wait to read book 3.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Sex, language, and some mild violence

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Forbidden Kisses (Blushing Bay: Book 1) by Annie Rains


Title: Forbidden Kisses

Author: Annie Rains

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Date of publication: April 11th, 2017

Genre: Romance

Number of pages: 237

POV: 3rd person

Series: Blushing Bay

Forbidden Kisses – Book 1

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Book Synopsis (from Goodreads):

For years, Jack Sawyer’s family has been running their upscale seafood business like a finely tuned machine. But every machine breaks down eventually, and suddenly Jack needs a new office manager, a new kayak launch, and a new lease on life. Then Grace Donner shows up again. She’s smart, motivated, and perfect for the manager position, but if she’s anything like her mom, she can’t be trusted. And Jack has never been able to trust himself around Grace.

Grace hasn’t seen her former stepbrothers since their parents’ messy divorce, but she never forgot them—especially Jack. She misses being part of the big rambunctious Sawyer clan, and if there’s an opportunity to set things right, she means to do it. But she can’t ignore Jack’s irresistibly kissable lips or the searing way he looks at her when he thinks she’s not looking. Their chemistry is more explosive than ever. And if the Sawyers can forgive and forget, anything is possible.

My review:

While this is kinda a stepbrother/stepsister romance, it really isn’t. It isn’t as hardcore as some of the stepbrother/stepsister romances that I have read. Also add in that Jack and Grace’s parents got divorced and they are no longer semi-related, it takes the kink right out of it. Which is fine by me because the story ended being so much more than that.

I really liked Grace. She put up with a lot of crap from her mother growing up but was still there for her when her mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. To say her mother wasn’t June Cleaver was an understatement. She also took a lot of crap from her old boss, the owner of a bar and ended up quitting when she couldn’t deal with his sexual advances anymore. So that leaves her without a job. Which brings her back into Jack’s world again.

I liked Jack. He had never forgotten Grace or his attraction to her but his rage at her mother’s actions kept him from talking to her. Not to mention that Grace went out of her way to avoid them because of what her mother did. So, he was surprised when Grace overheard him giving a job interview (not know it was him) and approached him for the job. He was in a bind, didn’t like the other applicants and hired her…without his father or brothers knowing. So, it wasn’t surprising when his brothers acted very negatively to Grace being there. What surprised me was his father’s reaction and I wanted to hug him.

The other story lines of Tristan and Tammy were very sad. I thought it was great when Jack stepped up and went to bat for Tristan. He gave him a job when most people wouldn’t and he stepped in when most people didn’t (read the book to find out what the situation was). Tammy’s storyline was sad but at the same time, I wanted to smack her. She laid so much on Grace about her past regrets and making things right before she died that Grace thought the only way to heal the rift between their families would be to buy back the boat Tammy sold.

I also could totally understand where Jack was coming from with his hatred of Tammy. I mean, she did sell off all of his mother’s belongings. I did wonder, at points in the book, if he would find it in himself to forgive Tammy (read the book if you want to find out).

The sex scenes between Grace and Jack were very hot and a little naughty (remember stepbrother/stepsister). The pages did burn up when they got into bed with each other and the pages burned up even when they weren’t sleeping together.

The end of the book was pretty good. Be ready to shed a tear or two and definitely be ready for the HEA during the epilog. I love it when authors to let the readers know what is going on after the story ends. Made me smile!!

How many stars will I give Forbidden Kisses: 4

Why: Enjoyable, relatable characters, hot sex, and a great plotline. I read this book in one day, it totally captivated me. I can’t wait until book 2 comes out!!

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Sex and some mild language

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

New Blood (Thoroughbred Breeders: Book 1) by Christine Meunier


New Blood (Thoroughbred Breeders, #1)

Title: New Blood

Author: Christine Meunier

Publisher: Self-published

Date of publication: November 22nd, 2016

Genre: Romance, Christian, Young Adult

Number of pages: 103

POV: 3rd person

Series: Thoroughbred Breeders

New Blood – Book 1

No Hoof, No Horse – Book 2

Recessive – Book 3

Where you can find  this book: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Savannah Reynier is doing exactly what she wants in life. After finishing a horse breeding course she has landed a job and been working on a thoroughbred stud for the past year.

Her days are made up of looking after mares and foals, witnessing births and helping to breed horses. Plus, one day a week she holds horses for the farrier men who come to trim the horses’ feet.

Savannah has sworn she won’t date farriers – not ever again. Not after Jackson.

So what is she to do about the new apprentice in town? With an attractive frame, gorgeous smile and green eyes Savannah knows she’s already in trouble. Add a clever mind to the mix and she knows she needs to stick to her resolve. But looking never hurt anyone, right?

My review:

What a cute book and a great beginning to series. I have been fascinated (scratch that, obsessed) with Thoroughbred horses since I was about 8 or 9 years old and I was first introduced to Walter’s Farley’s the Black Stallion series. I devoured those books and I believe that I had the entire series. Unfortunately, my mother tossed them when I moved out, and I still feel the loss of those books. So when Christine approached me to review this book, I jumped on it.

I thought Savannah was cute but also felt that she was missing something when reading her. While I definitely connected with her, I felt that something was missing. She almost felt a little flat to me. There were no real emotions that came from her. Everything was on an even keel. I mean, even when the mare was having a difficult labor and she, with the help of the new farrier, helped the mare deliver the foal, I didn’t get a real sense of joy from her. Like I said, flat. I couldn’t even get a good reading if she was interested in Craig, other than her stomach flip-flopping back and forth when she saw him

I also liked that while this is a Christian romance, religion wasn’t pushed down your throat. It was mentioned and just left at that, a mention. The only time that it even came up was when the new foal that Savannah delivered needed to be named and Craig suggested Twenty Three. For the Twenty-Third Psalm.

I do have a couple of questions that will probably be answered in the next books. Like, who was Jackson? I know he was a farrier but what on earth did he do to Savannah. Where was Savannah from? I get the feeling since Creole was mentioned, that she is from the States but it really wasn’t gotten into.

Other than my minor complaints,  I did enjoy reading the book. The end of the book was not a cliffhanger but it did leave room for book 2.

How many stars will I give New Blood: 3.5 (rounded up to 4 for Goodreads/Amazon)

Why: I enjoyed reading this book but I did have some issues with Savannah being flat. I also have some questions that were not answered in this book (see above). Other than that, this was a great read and I enjoyed reading about life on a horse ranch. This is a book that I would feel comfortable having my 11-year-old read…even though it is not in middle-grade categories.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Tween

Why: Very clean book. No swearing, no sex, no violence. There is a Christian element but it is not pushed down your throat. Like I said above, a book I would be comfortable having my tween read.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**