Review: Bad Boys Do by Victoria Dahl

Olivia Bishop is no fun. That's what her ex-husband said. And that's what her smart bob and glasses imply. So with her trademark determination, Olivia sets out to remake her life. She's going to spend time with her girlfriends and not throw it all away for some man. But when an outing with her book club leads her to a brewery taproom, the dark-haired beauty realizes that trouble—in the form of sexy Jamie Donovan—may be too tempting to avoid.

Jamie Donovan doesn't mean to be bad. Sure, the wild streak in his wicked green eyes has lured the ladies before. Now it's time to grow up. He's even ready for a serious romance. But how can that be when Olivia, the only right woman he has ever met, already has him pegged as wrong?

Olivia Bishop is asked to join a book group and she’s very excited and is totally prepared.  The problem?  The other women in the group just call it a book group and get together at Donovan’s Brewery once a month to drink and have some girl time. Olivia is surprised but is thrilled to be included.  She also meets Jamie Donovan and he’s very sweet eye candy.

When Jaime shows up in one of her classes at the local university she’s surprised but he’s even more surprised when she asks him to accompany her to a party for a university professor.  Jaime’s a bit miffed when he finds out that Olivia only asked him because her ex-husband was going to be there but he plays along.  He’s also quite intrigued when he finds out that Olivia’s ex accused her of being someone who doesn’t know how to have fun.  Jaime agrees to help Olivia have fun – and yes, that includes sex – if she’ll help him with a proposal that he’s working on for the brewery.  Olivia agrees and things move along at a lovely clip.  They have fun, get to know each other and they each find something in the other that surprises them.

Jaime, however, still has mega-issues with his brother Eric and Eric’s lack of trust in Jaime.  Eric feels that Jaime is an irresponsible man and they fight about it during the course of the book.  This didn’t bother me (even though it was a continuation from the previous book) as it just showed the severe animosity between the two men.    

I really liked Olivia and Jaime together I just wish they would have communicated more (my biggest gripe in most books).  They were together so much but they each held parts of themselves back and it almost hurt to see the two suffering when one good conversation would have probably wrapped it all up with a neat little bow.  Of course then we wouldn’t have had the angst! lol

I thought it was a great book.  I really liked Jaime and want him to succeed so badly.  I think he’s on the right track and hopefully we’ll get more about him in Eric’s book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Review: Bounty of Love by Scotty Cade

The night before his wedding, Zander Walsh, his parents, and his husband-to-be are all shot when they return home and interrupt a mysterious robbery in progress. After three weeks in a coma, Zander wakes up to find out he is the only survivor, and his perfect life falls apart in an instant.

Hunky FBI Agent Jake Elliot is investigating the case, and he eventually apprehends the killer-who soon escapes. Following six months of searching, Zander and Jake realize they're being stonewalled by the FBI... and that they have slowly formed an unbreakable bond that is beginning to turn into much more. 

Once they embark on a journey to apprehend the killer for the second time, they'll discover that one terrible night was much more than just an interrupted robbery. Can big business and politics cover up the truth, or will Zander and Jake's quest to unravel the mystery be the end of their newfound love and their lives?

The blurb on this book is so good that I feel like I don’t need to tell you much about the background on the book so I’ll just move on to my thoughts.

I guess I should start with saying how much I liked the book. The story had sadness, grief and lost love, but it also had equal parts friendship, betrayal, new love and acceptance. Everything clicked for me and I love it when that happens.

I admit that after reading the blurb I was a tad leery of seeing Zander and Jake get together after only 6 months of Zander grieving for his dead fiance. The reality, however, was just so much better than I expected. Mr. Cade showed us the friendship between Zander and Jake first and everything they’d gone through. Frankly I would have been shocked if they hadn't formed a strong bond between them – that bond eventually turning into love.

The friendship and love story was woven seamlessly into the suspense part of the book. The suspense was a constant as was the relationship between the two men and I loved that the focus wasn’t stronger for one or the other. I have to confess to suspecting the identity of the bad guys quite early but it was nice to see my suspicions confirmed later in the book. lol

Overall, a really good book. I understand that there are 2 more books in this series (this actually takes place before those other two books) and I will definitely be putting those books on my wish list for future reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

What I Read Last Week

A busy, busy week here in Tracyland. Lots of stuff happening but mostly busy stuff.

My youngest did go for her next belt (which really wasn’t all that different from her last test) on Saturday so she is now a brown 2 which means she has a brown belt with 2 red stripes on it. Her next belt will be red. She did a pretty good job and was happy with her test. She passed! That was the important part. :) Here she is showing off her trophy. lol

In reading it was a slower week…

I started off the week with The Dragon Who Loved Me by GA Aiken. This is book 5 in the Dragon Kin series and it was another good one. In this book there was lots of stuff happening. We had wars on 2 different fronts – lots of family love as well as disputes and lots of different events happening simultaneously. This was Rhona the Fearless’s story (a cousin of the Royal family) and how she fell in love with a Northland dragon, Vigholf the Abhorrent. Their love story was central to the locations in the book for the most part but the romance itself kind of took a back seat, I felt, to the overall story arc – which actually worked in this book. Would I have liked more romance, yes, but since these are warriors that are falling in love I’ll take what I can get in the romance department. lol A really good book. 4.25 out of 5

Next was Clear Water by Amy Lane. I really liked this book as well – and the story of Whiskey and Patrick meeting and falling in love. You can read my review here. 4.25 out of 5

Next was Unclaimed by Courtney Milan. This book 2 in the Turner series and was Mark Turner’s story. He is a man who has written a book about Chastity that has gotten blown so out of proportion he’s a bit overwhelmed. He just wants to go somewhere where he can be himself and not have to worry about fawning women…and men. He thinks he finds it in Shepton Mills where he grew up but when it comes down to it the woman he finds that doesn’t fawn is actually out to seduce him for money. It was a good book but for some reason I had a really time sticking with the story until the last half of the book. I liked Mark a ton but I think I really wanted him to be with someone other than Jessica until almost the very end of the book. She just really didn’t rub me the right way for some reason. 3.5 out of 5

Honor’s Splendour by Julie Garwood was my next book. Holly told me I had to read this one and I’m so glad I did. It’s a long ass medieval romance that I adored. The story of warring barons and one takes the others sister for revenge but ends up falling in love with her. Yes, the same time of story has been told many times but it was oh so good! My review will go up over at the Book Binge eventually. 5 out of 5

My Tracy’s TBR Challenge Read for the week was Jacob’s Ladder by ZA Maxfield. After reading Physical Therapy I couldn’t wait too long before I had to read JL. It was really good. This was about Jacob who is thrown off his bus in St. Nacho’s because the passenger’s are afraid of getting the swine flu (he’s just got the regular old flu, people!) and finds he likes it there. He also likes EMT JT but JT is pretty deep in the closet. I liked that the pair got together in the end but I had a hard time seeing in JT what Jacob saw in JT. I guess the heart wants what the heart wants. There was also a great part of the story about domestic abuse and I really liked the soul searching that went on in the book – very good. I really like this series and in fact came to work this morning and immediately bought book 4 – The Book of Daniel. Can’t wait! 4 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted this past week:

Happy Reading!

Saturday Song

It was a weird week in the fact that I didn't listen to a whole lot of (my) music at all - which is just weird. lol  My kids were in the car a lot and they were listening to their cd's and my music just kind of fell to the wayside.

My youngest, however, is in another Hairspray (the 2007 version) watching cycle.  She'll watch the darned movie every other day - well this week almost every day because she had half days all week.  When I said I couldn't think of what to post today she strongly suggested this one.  It's a good song so here it is - Run and Tell That sung by Elijah Kelly who played Seaweed.  Enjoy!

Review: Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe

Princess Breena had been dreaming of her warrior lover when she was ripped from her Elden castle and thrown into a strange, dangerous realm. Lost and alone, she prayed for survival and vengeance for her stolen kingdom. She found both in a woodland cottage…in a dark bear of a man.

The golden-haired beauty had eaten his food and slept in his bed when Osborn found her. Though he wanted to awaken his virgin princess to carnal pleasures, Breena wanted more—including his warrior skills. Skills the once-legendary mercenary had long buried. Now Osborn had a choice—risk his life or deny his princess her fairy-tale ending.

Princess Breena has been dreaming of a man for months. She loves falling asleep and opening her mind to this warrior that she can only visit while dreaming. When her family’s castle is attacked she is thinking how she would love to have her warrior by her side when she suddenly is transported away from the castle.

She ends up in Ursa far away from her homeland. She sees no one for days and is tired, hurt and hungry. She comes upon a cottage and though no one is home they have food and a bed – which she takes advantage of.

Osborn is shocked when he finds a woman sleeping in his bed – and even more shocked when he finds it’s his dream woman. He thought she was just a figment of his imagination but here she is, in the flesh. He knows immediately that he can’t be distracted by her and knows she must leave his home. The pair end up making a deal though and the longer Breen stays the more he wants her to stay.

I really liked man things about this book. I loved how it was taken after the fairy tale of Goldilocks and the three bears. That tale never gets enough air time in my opinion! Lol I also very much liked how the author gave Breena a couple of different connections that would both draw them together and possibly push them apart. There was great tension, hot lovin and some sweet romance in the story that really made it a good read.

I have to say I am a bit disappointed, once again, in the fact that nothing happened with seeking vengeance on the Blood Sorcerer who is the villain who attacked their home. The two things that were implanted in all the four children before they were sent away was “avenge” and “survive”. We’ve seen two of the children survive but nothing about avenging. I really hope that we get more info about this in book 3 and don’t have to wait until book 4 to find out how they fight back.

I’m also quite curious about the timeline in this series. In book 1 Nicolai, the oldest brother, was gone for 20 years. In this story Breena was gone for maybe a couple of months if that. I can’t quite figure out how it’s all going to work as I can’t imagine Breena and her Beserker waiting 20 or more years. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Do You Know Your Romance Heroes?

Do you know your romance heroes?  In this case they are heroes from historical and contemporary books but then, there are so many books to choose from!

DIK Lady Sidney Kay from Kay's Blog is over at DIK today and she's got a fun quiz about romance heroes.  Check it out and see if you can figure out who's who.

Review: Clear Water by Amy Lane

Meet Patrick Cleary: party boy, loser, and spaz. Patrick’s been trying desperately to transform himself, and the results have been so spectacular, they’ve almost killed him. Meet Wes “Whiskey” Keenan: he’s a field biologist wondering if it’s time to settle down. When the worst day of Patrick’s life ends with Whiskey saving it, Patrick and Whiskey find themselves sharing company and an impossibly small berth on the world’s tackiest houseboat.

Patrick needs to get his life together—and Whiskey wants to help—but Patrick is not entirely convinced it’s doable. He’s pretty sure he’s a freak of nature. But Whiskey, who works with real freaks of nature, thinks all Patrick needs is a little help to see the absolute beauty inside his spastic self, and Whiskey is all about volunteering. Between anomalous frogs, a homicidal ex-boyfriend, and Patrick’s own hangups, Whiskey’s going to need all of his patience and Patrick’s going to need to find the best of himself before these two men ever see clear water.

Patrick has finally come clean about being gay with his father and all his father has to say is, “yeah, right”. Kind of like exactly what his dad said when he was going to get a job and pay for his college tuition. His father, as far as Patrick knows, just thinks of him as a fuck-up and a leech that lives off of his father’s bundles of money. Maybe Patrick hasn’t exactly struck out on his own and stuck to any one thing but he really wants to. Patrick very much wants to do something with his life but when with such low self-esteem it’s hard to think that he ever will. On top of that he has ADHD and without his medication…or even when the meds wear off his mind is like a jumble of information and he doesn’t always track as well as he should.

He heads off to console himself with his boyfriend who is not happy that Patrick plans on living without his father’s money. Not that Patrick’s father kicked him out but he wants to do it on his own. Little does Patrick know that not only is Cal not happy but he’ll do just about anything to keep Patrick’s dad’s money.

Wesley Keenan aka Whiskey is walking on the Delta one night when a car crashes through the guardrail and starts sinking. Whiskey ends up saving Patrick’s life. Whiskey and his work partner, Fly Bait, get Patrick back on his feet and actually let him stay with them for the summer. Whiskey is very attracted to Patrick but Patrick feels that he can’t be with anyone because he’s such a fuck-up. During the course of the summer both Whiskey and Fly Bait work with Patrick and his self-esteem issues and start to see a huge change in Patrick. Patrick and Whiskey eventually act on their attraction and it becomes something deep and lasting and oh so beautiful.

I have to start my thoughts off by saying that at first this was a really hard book for me to read. My oldest daughter who is only 13 has ADHD and wasn’t on medication for most of her life (she is now and it’s amazing the change in her). Some of the things that Patrick was experiencing was like looking at my daughter and frankly it was a bit too realistic for me. Lol I mean, my reading is about escaping from reality for a while! Lol (Which is funny since I read fiction and want it to be realistic. Yeah, ok, moving on.) Anyway, though I loved that Amy Lane took this incredibly common disorder and had one of her characters experience it was a bit out there for me. But in the end I’m SO very glad that she did.

Lane created a person that needed a shitload of patience. Patrick was a spaz and could be incredibly trying at times. Whiskey was just the perfect person for him. Whiskey saw beneath the crazy actions and realized what an incredibly intelligent man Patrick was. Whiskey became an expert, along with Fly Bait, in making Patrick believe that he was a worthy persona and worth loving. It was truly heartwarming to read the love and friendship that this book had to offer – despite the oh so close to home issues – for me.

Besides the romance there was the whole reason that Whiskey and Fly Bait were on the Delta in the first place. They were researchers trying to figure out what was in the water that was causing anomalies in the frog population – creating some incredibly interesting frog-like things. This research eventually leads them to some hinky happenings that Whiskey and Patrick didn’t expect. It also had some wonderful Lane humor when it came to two-headed frogs. Loved them!

In the end I really loved the relationship between Whiskey and Fly Bait, Whiskey and Patrick and Patrick and Fly Bait. Those were just wonderful and written so well. The suspense portion of it was a good tie in as well and a nice stepping stone for Patrick and his father. It was a great book about love, acceptance and home – finding that place that you truly feel like you can be yourself.

Rating 4.25 out of 5

What I Read Last Week

Hi everyone!

I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was completely unexciting as I stayed home the whole weekend. My kids weren’t thrilled with that but whatcha gonna do when you have so much to do? IDK!

Since not much was going on in my life I’ll get right to the books. :0)

My first read of the week was a short by Missy Welsh called WHAT. This is a free read and pretty darned cute. It was about a guy who works in a tattoo studio and has a crush on his straight boss but there are some paranormal things going on. It’s a VERY short story and I would have loved to have known more but for the quickie it was it was pretty good. 3.5 out of 5

Next was another free story by Missy Welsh called You and a Billion Blue Tiles. I loved this one. It was about 2 kids – 1 who has lusted after the other for a darned long time. They have one night of lovin but it doesn’t end there. This was another short (not as short as the previous one) and it just had that something that clicked with me. I ended the book with a huge smile on my face and that’s always a good thing. 4.5 out of 5

The Taming of the Rake by Kasey Michaels was my next read. This was a really good story about a woman who goes to her brother’s archnemesis when said brother is going to marry her off to a religious fanatic. She knows that the man, who is a bastard son hates her brother because of a past incident with her sister and she hopes that he can be talked into marrying her to save her. The story is about their trip to Gretna Green, his family and their romance. I loved the personalities of the characters and their humor. This is the first in the series about the bastard brothers, The Blackthorn’s, and I will definitely be reading the next 2 books. 4.25 
out of 5
As much as I loved the book I wonder at who chose the title. The man, Beau Blackthorn, was in no way tamed during this book and he certainly wasn’t a rake. In fact it said at one point it stated how much he liked his quiet life since he’d returned from the war. Who comes up with these titles???

My Tracy’s TBR Challenge read for the week was Physical Therapy by Z.A. Maxfield. It’s a shame that I even let this one sit for longer than 3 months but I did. I really liked this story a lot. You can read my review of it here. 4.25 out of 5

Red by Kait Nolan was my next read and it was a good one too! This was a YA paranormal that had to do with werewolves/wolf shapeshifters. If you like YA and paranormal I definitely recommend this book. You can read my review here. 4.25 out of 5

Next up was Bride for a Night by Rosemary Rogers. This was the story of a woman who is the daughter of a wealthy man but he earned his money through trade and he is the son of a butcher – not a great lineage as far as the ton’s concerned. But Talia Dobson gets engaged anyway (her father bought her a fiancé) but he jilts her at the altar. The father then blackmail’s the man’s brother into marrying her instead – and he’s an Earl! The Earl, Andrew, sends Talia off to his country estate where she is then kidnapped by the French for overhearing traitorous information. Andrew heads to the rescue and during the course of the book the pair fall in love. It was a good story but it dragged a little in the middle – which is when they were trying to escape from the French so it really shouldn’t have. Overall pretty good. 3.5 out of 5

Sand and Water by Shae Connor was after that. One man, John was a widower but had been with men before. He had a daughter but it had been 5 years since his wife died. He meets Bryan who is in town helping his sister and her husband renovate their B & B. They have a connection and talk about a relationship but Bryan has residual issues with moving forward because of his previous relationship and what happened with that (and I’m not going to give you that spoiler!). I liked the concept in this book and though I liked the story I did have some issues with it. One was that I loved the characters but felt that the author didn’t get into both characters as much as she should have. It was told in 3rd person but we only got to see things from John’s point of view – rather than both men - and Bryan was the one who, in my opinion, had more serious issues. 3 out of 5

Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe is book 2 in the Royal House of Shadows series. This was Breena’s book. When her parents are attacked she’s sent off and ends up in Ursa which is the land of the Beserkers. She meets Osborn who is actually a man that she’s been dreaming about. He wants nothing to do with her – well not exactly true but he fights his feelings – and she wants his help. I’ll be posting my review on Friday so I’ll tell you more then.

Last for the week was Must Love Lycans by Michele Bardsley. This is book 8 in the Broken Heart Vampire series and takes place 8 years after the last book. Damien is in a clinic run by Kelsey and she thinks that he believes himself to be a werewolf – but he really is and he wants her as his mate. He bites her to claim her but instead of just claiming her it starts to turn her into a Lycan, which has never happened before. They must try to find a way to stop Kelsey from dying as she may not survive the change. It was a darker book than the previous ones I’ve read from this series. It still had humor but not quite as much as I think Damien was just a darker character. Read for The Book Binge. 3.75 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted this past week:
*crickets chirping*

Happy Reading!

Saturday Song

A new self-titled album by Staind came out this past Tuesday.  So far I've really liked what I heard.  Here's Something To Remind You from that album.
(I hate the album cover but this was the best "vid".  I recommend hitting play, minimizing the screen and just listening.) Enjoy!

Review: Red by Kait Nolan

Elodie Rose has a secret. Any day, she’ll become a wolf and succumb to the violence that’s cursed her family for centuries. For seventeen years she’s hidden who and what she is. But now someone knows the truth and is determined to exterminate her family line. Living on borrowed time in the midst of this dangerous game of hide and seek, the last thing Elodie needs to do is fall in love. But Sawyer is determined to protect her, and the brooding, angry boy is more than what he seems. Can they outsmart a madman? And if they survive, will they find a way to beat the curse for good?

Elodie was a normal lively child until she turned 12 and received a letter from her dead mother that changed her entire life.  The letter stated that when she turned 16 she would turn into a werewolf.  Her father, though he took care of her and loved her in his own way always was a bit standoffish after that.  The letter also came with a journal that told Elodie her entire wolfish history and how all the women had gone crazy after their first shifts into a werewolf.  Elodie is preparing herself for her own death because she doesn’t want to hurt an innocent because she turns into a beast and she doesn’t want to go crazy either.  If that happens she will end it all herself.

Sawyer is a werewolf.  He and his father move to Mortimer to conduct a scientific study and recover from his mother’s death.  He meets Elodie briefly and then was shocked when he finds that she is the new intern for his fathers research for the summer. Sawyer is drawn to Elodie in a way that he can’t explain and he wants to protect her.  He starts to think that maybe she has some werewolf traits after he witnesses them but her scent tells him she’s completely human.  He wants to help her and be with her but Elodie has different ideas about how her life will go.

Elodie and Sawyer end up trying to get away from the hunter that has been tracking Elodie but not before tragedy strikes those closest to Elodie’s heart.  Can she survive it all and make the crazy man pay?

Everyone knows that I love a good shifter book and this was a great one.  I wasn’t sure what to expect with the YA label on it but it came through with flying colors.

The story was quite engaging from the first page and I couldn’t help but want to read more and more as the book went on.  I gotta tell you that I was a bit disappointed when it ended – not because it was bad but because I wanted more!

Elodie and Sawyer’s relationship was just the right blend of teen attraction, a little bit of satisfaction (but no sex) and a deep binding bond.  Nolan really made them perfect for each other with each having their strong and weaker parts.  They each made up for what the other lacked and it made for great reading.

I’d have to say that this is a story for older teens.  With the kidnapping, descriptions of animal kills (not by our hero and heroine) and fight/death scenes it got a bit gruesome.  I thought it was perfect but I don’t think a teen with a weak stomach or a younger teen would have dealt with it well.

Overall a very good book and one well worth taking the time to read.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

TBR Challenge Review: Physical Therapy by Z.A. Maxfield

When Jordan Jensen moves to St. Nacho’s he has one goal in mind: starting over. He wants to reconnect with best friends Cooper and Shawn yet is uncertain of his welcome. He has the skills to get a job, but isn’t sure any prospective employer can get past the time he spent in jail for alcohol-related vehicular homicide. He’s past the worst part of his life but knows it will haunt him forever. So Jordan plans a life of quiet service. One thing he knows for sure: finding love is entirely too much to ask.

On the first day of his new job, Jordan meets Ken Ashton. Ken has every reason to hate Jordan for his past and only one to seek him out: Ken's baseball career was shattered in a drunk-driving accident. But for some reason he can’t explain, Ken needs Jordan’s touch and finds healing within Jordan’s warmth and strength. Jordan wants to give Ken everything his new partner needs.

Without entirely understanding it, Ken and Jordan develop a powerful emotional and erotic connection, but Ken must help Jordan find the faith to trust it. Unexpected help comes from the people of Santo Ignacio--and the town itself--a place where Physical Therapy can be a path toward spiritual healing and powerful, passionate love.

Jordan, in his previous years, had been a terror in his small town in Wisconsin. He would get into trouble and have no problem with not getting caught. But at one point he made a rash decision and ended up killing a small child while driving drunk. Jordan has served his time and though he knows he can never repay his debt to the family he wants to be able to give something back to society. After his bouts with rehab he gets his personal training certificate as well as his massage therapy license. He moves to Santa Ignacio after having hearing about it from his first love, Cooper.

Jordan, on his first day in St. Nacho’s, heads to the local gym where he gets hired on the spot. He starts to meet the locals and finds that he really likes both the town and the people in it. He also meets Ken Ashton who is recovering from an accident caused by a drunk driver. Jordan comes clean about his past and though Ken is understandably mad Ken feels a strange connection to Jordan.

Ken, after his accident six months prior, came home and has been a shell of his former self. He doesn’t talk to people, hardly leaves his room at his parents house and is downright belligerent. When he meets Jordan however he feels the need to open up. He wants to be touched by Jordan even though he’s not sure what it means. Ken starts to pursue Jordan and Jordan’s just not sure how to take it all.

When I first met Jordan in book one of this series, St. Nacho’s, I didn’t care for him at all. Yes, he was going through some really heavy shit but he just seemed so self-destructive to me that I really wasn’t sure that I wanted to read a story where he was one of the heroes. So why did I finally give in and read it? A) I should have known that ZAM would come through for me. B) The TBR theme this month was catch up on a series that you’ve been reading but are behind on. C) Renee finally talked me in to it the last time I saw her.

Jordan in this book is determined to do well in life. He wants to give back and be the person he knows he can be without falling back on all of his old habits. He’s afraid though. He’s afraid of losing focus and with that loss will come his emotional demise. Ken is something/someone that Jordan never expected - A totally hot, loving, caring man that sees him to his core and still loves him. Jordan tries to fight it all but how could he not love Ken?

Ken is coming from a place where he’s just not sure what to do. He’s completely attracted to Jordan and feels so comfortable talking to him but he never actually expected to have to come out to his family and friends. He figured that he would move on with his baseball career after college – make it to the big leagues (and he was headed that way) and then just have a series of one night stands with random me. Life doesn’t always work out the way we plan, does it? In Ken’s case, thanks to a drunk drive he now has no baseball career and his best friend died. He now knows he has to come out and though his parents are supportive of him being gay – which was surprising – they are not supportive of him and Jordan. They don’t like Jordan at all and feel that he isn’t good enough for Ken. Ken has to deal with his emotional upheaval as well as his parents, his family and of course his need to be perfect and “whole”. He really was pretty messed up.

Between Ken and Jordan they were certainly a pair of misfits, but together they found a place where they could find love and acceptance.The book was engaging and well written and frankly I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

What I Read Last Week

It was a relatively quiet week last week for me.  I had a migraine for daaaaays but unfortunately life doesn't change all that much for me even with the headache from hell. lol

I'm really excited that GayRomLit is only a month away!  Yay!  I can't wait to head to New Orleans and see all those lovely bloggers and authors.  It will be great to see Tam, Chris and Kris again and I'll get to meet Janna, Leontine and Kassa as well as others, I'm sure.  The event itself sounds to be freakin awesome and I'm really excited.  I was looking at the author list a while back and figured out that of the 67 authors they had on their list of attending authors (I'm sure there are more that aren't on the list) I've only read 20 - yikes.  I have books by 4 others that I haven't read yet but that's not all that much, now is it?  I should probably make an effort to read more of those authors...we'll see how that goes. lol

And let's see...oh, I looked at my Goodreads challenge today.  I signed up for the reading challenge at the beginning of the year and I put how many books I wanted to read for 2011.  I put 400.  I know, was I on dope at that time or what?  I apparently just pulled a number out of my ass and typed it in.   So I looked this morning after not paying it any attention for the past month and as much as I read I realized that I'm 4 books behind!  Yes, behind.  Seriously, what was I thinking? 400? I know no one but me is paying one iota of attention but still - I feel bad for falling down on the job.  Did any of you sign up for it?  If so how are you doing on the challenge?

Ok - what did I read last week?

I stared off the week with Just A Little White Lie by Lynnette Hallberg.  This was a cute contemporary about a woman who finds her fiance at the church on the day of her wedding making out with his ex-fiance.  Nice. Not.  She takes off but breaks down on the side of the road and is saved by a guy who then thinks to use her for his own purposes - namely he wants her to be his fake fiance.  It was a cute book that I had a few issues with - but good. You can read my review here. 3.5 out 5

Next was Breathe Again by Bonnie R. Paulson.  This was a really good book that had Maggie who was trying to deal with her husband's suicide meeting 2 brothers that help her deal with it all.  They have their own issues as well so the three of them end up helping each other.  You can read my review here. 4.25 out of 5

Next was Romancing the Countess by Ashley March. The story followed Leah who is married to Ian - but Ian dies in a carriage accident along with his best friends wife.  Well, well - what were they up to I wonder?  If you're thinking that they were having an affair you'd be right.  Leah's not all that crushed over her husband's death as she knew about the affair.  Then there's Ian's best friend, Sebastian, who's devastated by the loss of his wife and all he knew about her.  Many things happen and Leah and Sebastian fall in love - but they don't tell the other.  Can they be together or will ghosts of the past haunt them? A really good story that was on the darker side - not a lot of humor.  4 out of 5 (read for The Book Binge)

It Happened One Bite by Lydia Dare was my Tracy's TBR Challenge read.  This is the start of a new trilogy about vampyre's in regency England but it has a continuation of characters from the authors previous werewolf stories. This book was Blaire's book and has her in the Highlands awakening a vampyre who was put under a spell by the previous coven 20 years prior.  This is a good historical paranormal and that had great humor. 3.75 out of 5 (read for The Book Binge)

After that was a short called The Wild Side by Janey Chapel.  This was about Ryan who's normal guys are either jocks or jarheads.  He heads off to work at The Wild Side for Valentines day and finds himself enamored with Nick who is the opposite of his "type" - but that turns out to be a good thing.  Good story.  4 out of 5

In the Heat of the Bite by Lydia Dare was next.  Another story in the regency vampyre trilogy.  This was Rhiannon and Matthew's story.  I really liked Matthew but Rhiannon was kind of blah for me.  Rhiannon had Matthew pretending to be courting her so that she could have more respectability and of course they fall in love.  The story was a bit different from the previous book and while still good had too many similarities to the previous book for my liking.  3.5  out of 5 (read for The Book Binge)

In the Crease by Stephani Hecht was a complete impulse buy on my part. We have those from time to time, don't we?  Don't deny it! lol  The story was about Cole who heads to his hometown to try to talk his sister out of marrying her fiance who was, with his brother, his archnemesis.  Of course he's trying to do this 24 hours before the wedding so it's not all that easy.  What ends up happening is that he gets together with the brother, Andy, and the pair find they're quite compatible.  A very cute story.  A little bit of insta-love but hey, it was only 45 pages!  3.5 out of 5

Another impulse buy - Confessions of a Rentboy by TR Verten.  I read a review for this book on Jenre's blog, Well Read, a while back and it really appealed to me.  The story is told by Andy and has him telling us about his time as a rentboy in London. He tells us of how he got into the business, some of his clients and experiences as well as his time after the man he falls in love with marries someone else.  It's a very good book that had me smiling as well as tearing up a time or two while reading. Well written and definitely worth the read. 4 out of 5

And last on the list for the week was Demon Marked by Meljean Brook.  Another fantastic book by one of my favorite authors.  I seriously love this series and will cry huge crocodile tears when it comes to an end.  Can't it go on forever? Please?  No?  Dammit.  In this book we have a halfling demon who has no memory meeting up with a man who was raised by a demon who had taken over the role of his mother.  He has serious issues and doubts everything a demon says as he thinks it's a plot.  Not the start of a great romance, I'd say.  But Ash and Nicholas are so good together it's amazing.  Then there's the continuing story of Taylor and Michael and them working on getting him out of the frozen field in Hell and wow.  The story is so good and has so many twists and turns I couldn't stop turning pages.  Just an excellent read as far as I'm concerned! 5 out of 5

My Book Binge Reviews that posted last week:

Happy Reading!

Have You Read A Good Suspense Novel Lately? Here's Your Chance! Primacy by J.E. Fishman Book Giveaway

A New Species of Suspense!

Debut fiction author J. E. Fishman has crafted a thrilling new novel, Primacy, that takes readers from New York City’s scenic Central Park to the jungles of The Congo River and thrusts them into one of the biggest debates of our time: How should humans treat animals?

In the fast-paced story researcher Liane Vinson thinks she can handle her big promotion to the primate lab at the world’s most secretive animal testing facility in Farmingdale, Long Island. Going along to get along, she’ll ignore both the vitriol of animal rights protestors outside Pentalon’s gates and the cold calculus her bosses use to distance themselves from their subjects.

But then one of her favorite animals, a bonobo she calls Bea, shocks Liane by demonstrating the ability to speak. To rescue Bea from the knife, Liane must shed her complacency and challenge CEO Axel Flickinger, who holds the power of life and death at Pentalon. Will Liane continue to follow the rules, sacrificing individual creatures to the supposedly greater good?

Imperiling her own life and that of her friend, veterinarian Mickey Ferrone, Liane turns renegade, eventually traveling from New York to Kinshasa in an effort to save a creature so unique that its very existence endangers an entire industry. Worse still, as Liane learns, this little ape threatens humans’ own primacy in nature.


Liane jumped down and joined the bonobo and they ran side by side and were fifty feet from the woods when Liane saw people moving between the trees. Her spirit rose with the hope that they were part of the FAULT crew, but as she rushed toward them she spotted the uniforms of Pentalon security.

Fear gripped her. She turned abruptly, crying out for Bea, and with the guards closing in from the trees they propelled themselves along the grass margin between the edge of the woods and the parking lot. Bea’s head of thick brown hair danced in the wind as she trundled along in exhilaration. Liane was breathing heavily, sweat coating her forehead.

As they turned the corner of the building, the rear loading dock and its primate lab entrance came into view. There was a great commotion: primate lab employees milling about the parking lot in their lab coat and uniforms, security guards barking into walkie-talkies, three FAULT protesters still fighting to resist apprehension. And there was Liane’s Honda, overlooked in the melee, right where she’d left it.

The sight of her and the bonobo sprinting for their lives froze the crowd in disbelief. Liane made straight for the car and threw open the driver’s side door. Bea stopped dead in her tracks.

“Get in,” Liane told her.

The ape stared.

“Oh, man, Bea,” Liane screamed, “get in the car!”
Leave a comment along with your email address on this post no later than 7:00pm on Saturday, Sept. 17th to enter to win.  (US and Canada only please)

Saturday Song

I love Seether.  When I first heard their Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces album I was hooked.  This is Tonight which is a song from their new album, Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray which just came out in May. Enjoy!

Review: Just A Little White Lie by Lynnette Hallberg

Lucinda Darling thinks she's ready to get married. Even though Donald doesn't give her butterflies, the heiress is ready to make her marriage work. She's got the dress, she's at the church and her fiancé…is making out with his ex. So Lucinda stuffs her tulle skirts into her tiny sports car and hits the road…only to have her car break down.

Jake Parker knows he's not ready to settle down. But Grandma Hattie is sick, so, to make her happy, he's returning home to find himself a fake fiancé. When Jake rescues Lucy from the side of the highway, she goes from runaway bride to temporary fiancé.

Lucy hopes to escape the public eye in small-town Georgia, but she doesn't expect to fall for Jake's charming hometown, let alone Jake himself. Soon Jake and Lucy both start to wish their lie were true. But Lucy knows she must stop their pretense before Jake's family—and her heart—are hurt so badly they'll never recover.

Lucinda Darling is an heiress and therefore everything she does is front page news. When she runs out on her wedding right before she's about to walk down the aisle it is definitely news worthy – or at least to everyone else. To Lucinda it's just ridiculous. She finds her fiance making out with his ex-girlfriend right before the ceremony, gets into her car and hits the road. She has no idea where she's going but that doesn't matter she just needs to be gone. When her car breaks down it's almost too much for her. Luckily Jack Parker happens by on his motorcycle and lends a hand.

Jake is on his way home to Pride, Georgia. He's gotten word that his 89 year old grandma is not doing well and he needs to head home to make her happy. Unfortunately he knows that this means getting married and having children – and he's not ready to do either. He doesn't even have a girlfriend! He comes up with a plan on the spur of the moment to have Lucinda (he calls her Lucy) act as his fake fiance. She agrees because really, what has she got to lose, and she heads to Pride with Jake.

But Jake's more wonderful than any man has a right to be and she's horribly attracted to him. She thinks she should feel bad since she was just about to marry someone else but she never loved her fiance and it was more of a business arrangement. Now she's in Pride and falling in love with Jake as well as the town. Her father, Jakes' father, her ex-fiance and Jake's ex-girlfriend are now all scheming in their own way to get what each of them wants – without taking into consideration what Jake and Lucy want. On top of that Jake and Lucy have their own trust issues and they're finding it hard to work through it all.

This was a very cute if highly unlikely story. Not many trust fund babies would have helped Jake out but that right there showed me how different Lucinda was from the what was expected. She had a kind heart and wasn't afraid to step out of the mold and help people whenever she felt the need. She didn't like lying to Jake's family but she did it – at first because she had to and after because she cared about Jake and didn't want him hurt by the fall out. It really wasn't a very solid plan on either of their parts. Lol

I did have some issues with the story in that there was quite a bit that was left open-ended. Without going into too much detail...there was an issue with folks in Mississippi that Jake had been working with that Lucy's ex and her father had worked on. She had no idea about any of the nasty dealings but talked to her father about it. He was portrayed as a complete bastard, really, but the book had him capitulating on the issues that Lucy brought up and it just seemed so out of character for him. I also couldn't see Donald, Lucy's ex, going along with Lucy's father on that one. Once we got the HEA we didn't get to see Donald again or hear what happened. I can't see giving up. Then there was a romance between Jake's sister and her ex-husband and the story of a makeover that Lucy had helped a towns person with (did they EVER get together) that we never heard anything about. Once the main characters said I Love You the book ended. As great as that was I needed more!

So in the end I really liked the book but there definitely things about it that didn't agree with me.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Review: Breathe Again by Bonnie R. Paulson

Maggie Lachlan is struggling to get over the death of her husband. After being overcome by emotion during a shift in the E.R., she's suspended indefinitely. Making things worse, she needs a place to stay after the quick sale of the house she shared with her late husband.

Fortunately, her friend Ryan Stewart offers her a room while she gets her life in order, much to the chagrin of his brother and housemate, Brodan Steele. Brodan doesn't want to like Maggie, not when he knows Ryan has feelings for her too. But it's hard to deny the attraction he feels for her when she's sleeping under the same roof.

Being so close to Brodan awakens something in Maggie, something she never felt during her marriage. But as long as she's haunted by the past, she can't open herself up to the future...

A chance meeting in a totally awkward situation throws Ryan Stewart and Maggie Lachlan together. The completely unlikely friendship starts strong and stays that way. Since Maggie had pushed all of her friends away after her husband's suicide almost a year earlier this was definitely something new and different for Maggie. Then there's Ryan's brother, Brodan. Brodan is big and brooding and at first reminds Maggie of her dead husband – but she soon sees that there's not much at all that connect the two men.

Maggie is incredibly attracted to Brodan, but he doesn't seem to want her like she wants him. Even after Ryan offers the use of their house to her after her house sells in a day and Maggie all but throws herself at Brodan – he still turns her down. But soon Maggie finds out that there's a lot going on with Brodan and Ryan that change her thoughts about the brothers and this changes how she looks at them as well as her life and how she's living it.

When I read the blurb to this book I had no idea how incredibly emotional the book was going to be. It seemed like it would be more of a lighter book with Maggie finally finding her way after the death of her husband. Well, she did find her way but it wasn't quite as light as I thought it would be.

Maggie has cut herself off from almost everything and everyone, except work, since her husband killed himself 10 months earlier. She even cut herself off from parts of her house and is haunted by the thoughts of her husband shooting himself - knowing full well that she would be home soon and find him. She never found a note and believes that she was just not lovable – even though he was the one who had done multiple tours of duty in the armed forces and had become more sullen and depressed with each return. When she meets Brodan and Ryan they are the last people she expects to bring her out of her funk. But Ryan's sunny smile is something that she can't seem to resist...she just has to put up with Brodan as well – take the good with the bad.

Maggie is so determined to make Brodan act on the attraction that she thinks he feels for her but he turns her down. I have to admit that at this point I was thinking she was a bit selfish as he's said that he can only be her friend. I understand not taking no for an answer but she needed to back off. Right after that Ryan sheds light on that subject – explaining to Maggie that Brodan doesn't date because Ryan doesn't (he feels it would be unfair to date someone knowing he's going to die). This helps Maggie but she still has issues with it.

Brodan and Ryan both bring Maggie out of her funk and without realizing it help her out of her depression. Finding a letter - finally – from her dead husband is devastating but she now knows that she's not to blame for his death. And her dead husband? Such a Rat Bastard with capital letters. My God! The info that is revealed is mind-boggling. I can't believe that one human would do that to another and I felt even worse for Maggie. By that time, however she really had dealt with her issues and could work through the info in the letter better.

The book hits highs and lows like I couldn't believe. The depression, death and forced personal restrictions really showed me three people who had cut themselves off from life. The trio used each other, in a good way, to find their way. The end was happy, but the story got incredibly sad before it got to that point. It was a definitely a dark tale and one that was an emotional roller coaster. Paulson, however, really wrote the story well and kept my attention throughout. Never did I feel like I wanted to put the book down to try to recover for what came next – it was done so well that I even enjoyed the sad times. I wouldn't want to read this kind of angst all the time but it was definitely a book worth reading.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

What I Read Last Week

Happy Labor Day!

I hope you all had a great weekend and for those of you in the US I hope you're having a nice extra day off today.  I know I am!

Saturday my mom Judith and I traveled to Holly's house for a special blogger get together.  You see Ames was visiting from Canada and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to see her while she was here.  Rosie, Holly, Renee, Wendy, Judith, Lori, Rowena and Ames and I had a great time having lunch together (Nikki had to bow out at the last minute due to work - boo hoo) and then all of us but Rosie went over to Holly's house to talk for hours and invade her books! lol  I know that we took a group picture but I don't know who's camera it was on so I'll post it when I track them down.

Then Sunday after church we had a little fiesta and had a waterslide (at the church).  It was great fun and my little one was just going nuts on it.  Here she is practically falling out of the darned thing. lol (sorry it's a little fuzzy since I took it with my phone)

Today we don't have much planned.  I know I plan to do the laundry that I avoided yesterday. :)

On to what I read last week:

I started the week with The Salisbury Key by Harper Fox.  This was a book that I really liked but had some issues with.  I did love the writing though so I had some problems rating it at first.  You can read my review here for further thoughts. 4 out of 5

Next was A Midnight Dance by Lila DiPasqua.  This is a French historical romance based on the Cinderella fairy tale but it wasn't like any Cinderella story I'd ever read.  It was pretty dark yet a really great romance.  The story is about a girl who was born to wealth but then lost everything.  She's trying to keep her family from starving and decides to steal silver from a band of privateers.  The privateers are lead by the man she has been in love with for years but that doesn't stop her.  The story turns in a different direction than what I expected but it was really good and definitely worth the read. 4.25 out of 5 (read for The Book Binge)

Elizabeth, the Enchantress by Lavinia Kent was next and this novella was just as good as the previous 3 novella's in the series. This story had Elizabeth's husband William returning home after 4 years.  William is clueless as to what happened after he left on his travels just a month after he married Elizabeth.  Can William make up for his mistakes and can Elizabeth forgive him?  You can read my mini review here. 4 out of 5

Good Girls Don't by Victoria Dahl was my next read.  This is book one in the Donovan Brewery series about the 3 Donovan children.  This was Tessa's story.  Tessa has issues but she's not afraid to go after what she wants...which is to play with Luke Asher. But Tessa has some really huge problems to work through, inner problems with herself and those with her brothers.  Can a romance survive it?  You can read my review here for more info. 4 out of 5

Last on the list was Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong.  This book takes up a day after the last book, Waking the Witch, left off.  Savannah has just investigated murders and being poisoned and now her powers are gone.  She's trying to find out what happened as well and trying to figure what's up with a group of supernaturals who want to come out and rule the world.  There's a whole lot going on and the book was left without a conclusion but it was an enjoyable book that was well written, as usual.  4 out of 5 (read for The Book Binge)

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Changeling Moon by Dani Harper
Changeling Dream by Dani Harper

Happy Reading!

Saturday Song

Colbi Caillat is one of those artists that I just never get sick of listening to.  Her voice is very soothing to me and it's a nice (every once in a while) break from my normal hard rock. :)  Here's Falling For You...

Review: Good Girls Don't by Victoria Dahl

Too much of a good thing…

With her long ponytail and sparkling green eyes, Tessa Donovan looks more like the girl next door than a businesswoman—or a heartbreaker. Which may explain why Detective Luke Asher barely notices her when he arrives to investigate a break–in at her family's brewery. He's got his own problems—starting with the fact that his partner, Simone, is pregnant and everyone thinks he's the father.

Tessa has her hands full, too. Her brother's playboy ways may be threatening the business, and the tension could tear her tight–knit family apart. In fact, the only thing that could unite the Donovan boys is seeing a man come after their "baby" sister. Especially a man like Luke Asher. But Tessa sees past the rumors to the man beneath. He's not who people think he is—and neither is she.

Tessa likes being in control of what happens with the men she dates. She’ll come on strong then pull back or vise versa…it keeps the men she dates on their toes, that’s for sure. But when she meets Luck Asher things start to change a bit.

First of all there are her two older brothers who still think of her like a 16 year old girl instead of the 28 year old woman that she is. They are over protective and they know it – but they’re just looking out for her. Luke knew Tessa’s brother Jaime in college and this has skewed Jaime’s view of the man that Luke is now. He warns Tessa away from Luke and tells Luke in no uncertain terms to stay away from his sister but neither one of them take his advice. When Tessa calls Luke up and asks for a dinner date neither one of them think that it will get more involved than that but they like each other and continue to see each other much to Tessa’s brothers chagrin.

Both Tessa and Luke are having their own issues in their lives and it starts to take a toll on their relationship. Tessa is trying to keep her oldest brother happy and that comes in the form of trying to save a contract deal that Eric had going with an airline. But Jaime slept with the president of the airline’s daughter and now the deal is a no go. But Tessa decides that Eric doesn’t need to know this info and lies to keep it from him – with the thought that she is protecting him. The whole deal starts to blow up and Tessa isn’t quite sure how to make everything right in her world.

Luke was in a horrible divorce and there are rumors about what happened in that relationship – even though it was in Los Angeles and he’s currently in Colorado. Then there’s his pregnant partner, Simone, and the entire police department thinks that he’s the father.

This was a fun contemporary and, I think, a great kick-off to the Donovan Brewery series – the next books being about Tessa’s brothers Jaime and Eric. We got a good taste of the Eric and Jaime’s characters in this book so that it made me really interested in reading their stores. Their volatile relationship – which broke my heart – really made for some interesting dialogue in this book. I can’t wait to see them work it all out…at least I hope they work it all out.

Tessa and Luke were a great couple. They each had their issues and neither were too terribly interested in sharing their thoughts and feelings. Though the sex was easy and they got along great when they were together they soon realized that they couldn’t move forward until they did.

Overall a good book that had me laughing, almost crying and rooting for the main pair to work out their differences. Definitely worth the read.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Mini Review: Elizabeth, the Enchantress by Lavinia Kent

The Real Duchesses of London - Episode 4: How to Succeed in Marriage without Really Trying

Elizabeth, the Countess of Westhampton, has found her husband. Unfortunately, she’d have preferred it if he’d stayed lost! How is she supposed to react when the man who married her and then abandoned her without a wedding night suddenly reappears? Obviously, she’ll have to plan her revenge very carefully…

Four years ago Elizabeth was saved from a horrible home life with her uncle and cousins and marriage to a nasty old man – as those were the only suitors her uncle would let near her, by the Earl of Westhampton. She thought he was her prince charming – but when it came down to it he wasn’t anywhere near a prince – nor all that charming when he left for his travels not a month after they were married.

Elizabeth grew up in the four year that her husband was away but now he’s back and he’s a bit confused as to why Elizabeth is so upset at him. Men really can be incredibly dense.

What William doesn’t know is that Elizabeth was put up to the ton as a woman who couldn’t keep her man satisfied and happy and was made out as a joke. William had already planned his travels when he married and thought he made it clear that it was a marriage of convenience but when he found out what Elizabeth went through he was horrified.

The story tells the story of Elizabeth and William working out their differences, finding a common ground in the marriage that really, both of them want to work and finding love.

This, along with all of the other stories in this series, has been charming. I’ve loved getting to know the “real duchesses” and the men they love as well as seeing their friendship in all of its many stages – both good and bad. Lavinia Kent has brought us lovely stories of love, loyalty, friendship and I very much look forward to reading Kent’s novel, What a Duke Wants, as I very much enjoy her writing style.

Rating: 4 out of 5

I need help with book recommendations

I'm over at DIK today and I'm looking for romance novel recommendations.  Sounds strange I know, since I read so much but if you read the post it will explain all.   

Come on over and tell me your thoughts.