Coldhearted Boss by R. S. Grey

Book Description:

Published: June 6, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

 

I’m desperate and destitute when Lockwood Construction rolls into my small town with an offer too good to pass up: high wages to any able-bodied man willing to join their crew.

Say no more. I throw on baggy clothes, tuck my long hair under a baseball hat, and apply for a job. Unfortunately, my half-baked idea of disguising myself as a guy is flawed from the beginning. As Shakira says, these hips don’t lie.

Still, I like to think I might have pulled the whole thing off save for one thing:

I know my boss.

Last month, we met at a bar, and after a fiery first encounter, it seems we’re destined to be sworn enemies.

Ethan Stone is ruthless and arrogant, a man I never would have crossed had I known how much he likes to toy with his prey.

He should just fire me and be done with it. Instead, he decides to make me his personal slave. Oh right, I think they’re calling it personal “assistant” these days.

It’s torture, all of it—his bad attitude, his ruggedly chiseled face, his desire to grind me into dust.

Every one of our friction-filled battles burns hotter than the last.

A girl can only hold out for so long. Soon, I’m bound to go up in flames.

My objective? Survive the heat long enough to send home a paycheck.

My real objective? Stop having X-rated fantasies about my coldhearted boss.

Review –

This was my first read/listen by R. S Grey and I loved it. Taylor’s character was my favorite.  I loved how determined and driven she was. If you want a strong willed, fierce heroine – look no further than Taylor. Her character was the strongest part of this book for me.

I also gotta give Coldhearted Boss it’s props because this one really delivers on enemies-to-lovers (a favorite genre of mine)and slow-burn romance. I mean this is ~SLOW~ burn  The banter was great for enemies-to-lovers, and the tension between Taylor and Ethan was amazing.

I loved how they were forced into a “live together” situation and they tried their best to out do one another by causing tension and heat between them. The “enemy” part of the story seemed to go on and on but finally they gave in to their desires and started a relationship and the epilogue was fantastic, almost tears worthy.

If you enjoy “enemies to lovers” contemporary romances with humor thrown in, add this one to your TBR list. You won’t regret it.

 

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Evil by Tijan

Book Description:

Published: May 12, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

You know that group of people in school that everyone fears? Popular. Beautiful. The in-crowd?
That was my family. Kind of.
We were above that group. We held court over everyone else. We were the best looking. We were the mysterious and elusive ones. Most of the girls wanted to (and did) date the guys, but they didn’t want to be one of us. They couldn’t be. They were our prey.
We were the feared.
But like every family, nothing is as it seems. That was my truth.
Kellan was in his own league. He was our leader and he was the one no one messed with. No one dared. He was ruthless, powerful, and no one could match him…
Except for me.
I was about to find out just how different I was from my family.

**Evil is a full-length paranormal romance stand-alone.
**This book contains adult/mature young adult situations.

Review –

Not a fan of paranormal romance, but I’m on a Tijan reading frenzy so gave this one a try.

I started, stopped, contemplated whether I should continue, forced myself to continue because I had to know how it ends, got confused, frustrated, and then just deleted it as soon as I read the end. I initially thought this was a “The Walking Dead” version of “Twilight.” You know, where it’s more gory, more sexy, more adult. Turns out: it’s not.

Sexy? No. Bits and pieces of the romance and lust between Kellan and Shay peek out, but — meh. Adult? Nope, it’s really just high school with demons and angels in it. How the story got from the beginning to the end was just a whole lotta “WTH is going on.” What I liked about Tijan’s  books is they are fast-paced. Her writing style is fluid and easy-to-read. She kept me wanting to know what happened next. I normally like twists that I could not predict. There were lots of those in Evil, but the same twists were just… forced, I think. They don’t “fit” well. They were abrupt, unbelievable, and psychopathic in nature. Yes, I know: “psychopathic” fits with “Evil.” But, I’m sorry, I just don’t buy the whole story’s revelation and ending.

Good should triumph over Evil, that’s what we all constantly hope for. In Tijan’s “Evil,” Evil won, ’cause I sure as hell don’t think Kellan and Shay are good.

Will I read another PR again? I doubt it.

 

Crimson Death (Anita Blake,Vampire Hunter #25) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Book Description:

Published: October 11, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In her twenty-fifth adventure, vampire hunter and necromancer Anita Blake learns that evil is in the eye of the beholder…

Anita has never seen Damian, her vampire servant, in such a state. The rising sun doesn’t usher in the peaceful death that he desperately needs. Instead, he’s being bombarded with violent nightmares and blood sweats.

And now, with Damian at his most vulnerable, Anita needs him the most. The vampire who created him, who subjected him to centuries of torture, might be losing control, allowing rogue vampires to run wild and break one of their kind’s few strict taboos.

Some say love is a great motivator, but hatred gets the job done, too. And when Anita joins forces with her friend Edward to stop the carnage, Damian will be at their side, even if it means traveling back to the land where all his nightmares spring from…a place that couldn’t be less welcoming to a vampire, an assassin, and a necromancer.

Ireland.

Review –

After I read Serpentine (#26) I realized that I hadn’t read #25, Crimson Death, so I looked on OverDrive and it was available so I borrowed it and drove right in.  Having read Serpentine, I knew that some VERY bad things were going to happen.

In Crimson Death vampires aren’t supposed be living in Ireland, but it seems something strange is going on across the ocean with dead bodies turning up with tiny holes in their necks. Even worse, whatever is going on isn’t good for Anita’s vampire servant, Damian. He’s suffering badly with night terrors and sweating blood, leading Anita to suspect that his old master could be responsible. Determined to learn the truth, she teams up with Edward in Ireland to hunt down those causing trouble before any more bodies turn up.

Ever since book #10 of this series, Narcissus in Chains, which I may have re-read soon, I’ve been getting more and more annoyed by the relationships Anita has with her men. There are just too many for me to handle,(and keep track  of) and quite frankly, I think Ms. Hamilton is beginning to focus too much on Anita’s relationships and not nearly enough on the investigation side of things when it comes to her job in hunting rogue vampires and shape-shifters or raising zombies.

However, in saying that, every time I read one of Ms. Hamilton’s Anita Blake books, I find myself totally captivated by what Anita needs to do to ensure the safety of humans and those supernatural that are doing the right thing. With this book, readers are taken on quite the adventure with Anita heading to Ireland, and although it takes quite a few chapters for her to get there – since those that are already hunting the rogue vampires (besides Edward) seem reluctant to accept her help – I could not stop listening once she starts investigating.

The dialogue was intense due to the investigation; what happens to Anita and her triumvirate in Nathaniel and Damian; what is happening to Damian with his nightmares and blood sweats (which was a little spooky); what Anita needs to do to figure out who is breaking vampire rules and the ever burning questioning of whether her powers as a necromancer will work in Ireland. Moreover, I liked that Anita finally began to find peace with her triumvirate and worked hard to make it work because she needed Damian, if she was ever to survive what she faced.

I really liked the introduction of characters readers have never met until this book. The fae; the vampires and their animal to call that they were up against, and the people Edward was working with. Anita had to prove herself and faces some tough challenges from each of them. Can she work with Edward and the team he’s currently working with in Ireland? Will the Fae give her grief over her abilities or will they accept her help? The tough challenges Anita faces, especially towards the end of this book are hard, yet the way she overcomes them certainly proves she’s still one of the best vampire hunters.

Overall, this was a good (almost great) book with an ending that brought tears to my eyes because of what happens to one of Anita’s men and with her, yet she’s tough and proves it with how she uses her powers to take down her enemy. I would recommend Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton, if you enjoy strong heroines that hunt vampires but doesn’t have an easy time when it comes to relationships.

Loved it!

Crew (Crew #1) by Tijan

Book Description:

Published: August 26, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

 

To survive where I live, you have two options.

You can be a Normal–a cheerleader, jock, member of the debate team, or on the yearbook committee. You pretend everything is normal.

Or you can be crew.
You insult us? We hurt you.
You hurt us? We really hurt you.
And if you screw with us, we will end you.

My name is Bren.
I’m the only female in the Wolf Crew–the best, fiercest, and most dangerous crew there is–and we have a rule: There’s no falling in love.

Well… too late.

*This book contains mature young adult situations.

Review –

Crew is centered around four teen-agers and they aren’t a gang but they have each other’s back at all times. In this book we are introduced to Bren, a very complex person, with many layers. Bren is  cold, closed off, a bad ass, and volatile but there is a vulnerable, sad and scared side to her as well.

Throughout the story we get glimpses and pieces as to why Bren is the way she is and it really breaks your heart. Bren was a very interesting character to read about and some of the stuff she did in the book had me stunned. She was a legit badass at times and I loved it! Bren also did some growing in this book and that warmed my heart as well.

Cross is also apart of the crew and I’ve added him to my list of Book Boyfriends.  He was very protective of Bren. He was silent but lethal and always had Bren’s back and was there for her and could reach her in ways no body else could at times.

The other two members of the Crew are Jordan and Z. Each of them plays an important part in this story.

This book was  addictive from start to finish. I’ve read a few books by Tijan and this one is a lot darker and grittier  than her others and it was great. It’s a best friends to lover romance and those are some of my favorite reads. It was a delicious slow burn between the two characters and I loved seeing their relationship played out. 

I have not read Tijan’s series, Fallen Crest, but Heather and Channing are integral in this new series. I may have to go back and read the series later.

This isn’t your typical YA story. Yes, there’s a romance, but this series starter really is about love, family, and friendship, and how there are times that family isn’t limited to just the ones who share your DNA. This also has quite a few supporting characters, but majority of them have marked appearances. Warning:  Crew does end in a cliffhanger.

Loved this book.

Five stars !!!!

 

Beautiful Mistake by Vi Keeland

Book Description:

Published: August 3, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

The first time I met Caine West was in a bar.
He noticed me looking his way and mistakenly read my scowling as checking him out.
When he attempted to talk to me, I set him straight—telling him what I thought of his lying, cheating, egomaniacal ass.
You see, the gorgeous jerk had wined and dined my best friend–smooth talking her into his bed, all along failing to mention that he was married.
He deserved every bit of my tongue-lashing and more for what he’d done.
Especially when that lazy smile graced his perfect face in response to my rant.
Only it turned out, the man I’d just told off wasn’t the right guy.
Oops. My mistake.
Embarrassed, I slunk out without an apology.
I was never going to see the handsome stranger again anyway, right?
That’s what I thought…until I walked into class the next morning.
Well, hello Professor West, I’m your new teaching assistant.
I’ll be working under you…figuratively speaking.
Although the literal interpretation might not be such a bad thing—working under Professor West.

This was going to be interesting…

Review –

This book features a sort of teacher/student forbidden love aspect. Caine West is exactly what you’d think of when you hear his name is Caine—strong sexual presence, perfect body, sex god. He’s a music professor and Rachel is his graduate teacher assistant (GTA), much to her shock. Why? Well, she may or may not have told him off at a bar the night before her first class, without knowing she was going to be working under him.

He’s the professor and she’s his new TA.  Leave it to Ms. Keeland to work in a trope that you usually see done a certain way and give it her own spin.  That’s one of my favorite things about her writing.

I don’t want to give a spoiler so lets just say that with this book giving you some insight into the past at times, it added another element to this story that added the emotion it needed. (you may need tissues)

This book has everything you would want in a contemporary romance: chemistry, sexy banter, swoony hero that has more layers than meet the eye at first, feisty and smart heroine.  The relationship between Caine and Rachel was explosive at times and tender at others.  And the writing, kept me engaged and wanting more.  If you are looking for something that will keep you glued to your seat while sipping a nice drink this summer, pick this up.  You’re in for some fun with this one.

Slashes in the Snow (Baum Squad Novel #1) by M. Never

Book Description:

Published: March 3, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Ky
Three years ago my father walked away. Away from our MC club, all his responsibilities, and me. We haven’t spoken since the day he handed me the keys to the kingdom.

Shoved them down my throat was more like it.

I hate him, and the new family he’s playing house with. He left his entire life behind for a woman he barely knows. But I’m strong, resilient, and don’t need a damn soul to survive.
At least, that’s what I thought…until she walked into my bar.

Kira
Someone is watching me. I can feel it. I wake up in the middle of the night freaked out of my mind, paranoid a stranger is there. My skin prickles every time I leave my house, because I know someone is following me.
I’m afraid. Alone. And there’s only one person left to turn to.

The stepbrother I never met. The man my stepfather speaks so highly about, but never sees. He’s the president of a notorious motorcycle club, and exactly the kind of person I need to protect me.

Little did I know, Ky Parish, freakin’ hates my guts.

Review –

Slashes in the Snow is an enemies to lovers, stepbrother romance, romantic suspense (emphasis on romance) with dark elements and a motorcycle club throw in for good measure.  What more could a female reader ask for?

Fantastic read!

 

 

Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Gerber

Book Description:

Published: May 7, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.

It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.

With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time—only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.

Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end…

Review –

“Picking up just after the end of Legendary (2018), Garber continues to build the world of Caraval with a final installment, this time focusing equally on both Dragna sisters’ perspectives.

After they released their long-missing mother from the Deck of Destiny, Scarlett and Donatella hoped to rebuild their relationship and gain a new sense of family. However, Legend also released the rest of the Fates, and, much to their dismay, the Fallen Star—essentially the ur-Fate—is only gaining in power. As the Fates begin to throw Valenda into chaos and disarray, the sisters must decide whom him to trust, whom to love, and how to set themselves free. Scar’s and Tella’s passionate will-they-or-won’t-they relationships with love interests are still (at times, inexplicably) compelling, taking up a good half of the plot and balancing out the large-scale power games with more domestic ones. Much like the previous two, this third book in the series is overwritten, with overly convenient worldbuilding that struggles nearly as much as the overwrought prose and convoluted plot. While those who aren’t Garber’s fans are unlikely to pick up this volume, new (or forgetful) readers will find the text repetitious enough to be able to follow along.” Kirkus Review

I was disappointed with this final book of the Caraval series. I loved the other two, but for me, this one fell flat. It’s true that the sisters had their hands full with fighting the Fates, keeping their romances alive and surviving to love another day, so I don’t know why I felt like there should have been more.

The thing I COULDN’T get enough of was the vivid imagery and the lush fantasy with which the author filled all three books in the series. Her descriptions are colorful and majestic.

 

 

 

 

The Fire Between High & Lo (Elements #2) by Brittainy C. Cherry

Book Description:

Published: March  25, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

There once was a boy, and I loved him.

Logan Francis Silverstone was the complete opposite of me. I danced while he stood still. He was quiet, and I was always running my mouth. He struggled to find a smile while I refused to frown.

The night I saw the darkness that truly lived inside of him, I couldn’t look away.

We were broken together, yet somehow whole. We were wrong together, but always right. We were the stars that burned across the night sky, searching for a wish, praying for better tomorrows.

Until the day I lost him. He threw us away with one hasty decision—a decision that changed us forever.

There once was a boy, and I loved him.

And for a few breaths, a few whispers, a few moments, I think he loved me, too.

Review –

This is the second book in the Elements series by Brittainy C. Cherry and boy oh boy can she write the Hell out of angst!

The Fire Between High & Low is not an easy book for me to read. There was so much angst. I had to take breaks. I even knew at 4% that this book was going to wreck me, and it did. The author is like a puppeteer who pulls at your heartstrings until you have no choice but to feel. I sniffled, I cried, I bawled big, fat, ugly tears. It wasn’t within my power to NOT feel empathy for these characters and their situation. This made their HEA so much more powerful, too.

Alyssa (High) and Logan (Lo) came from opposite sides of the track. Each had different interests. Each lived very different lives. They were opposite in most every way that should have mattered. But their spirits were the same. Each was damaged from their parents — whom I hated with every fiber of my parental being! Each was lonely and desired to be loved.

What started out as childhood friendship eventually turned into teenage love. They depended on each other for their mental well-being. Spending time with one another, laughing with and supporting each other, they were inseparable. High needed Lo as much as she needed him. And then due to lies and manipulation, Lo left. Leaving High to figure out how to live without him.

Fortunately, this is written in dual POV. I don’t think this would have worked any other way. Because when Lo acted like an ass, we eventually found out why.

This story shows the power of how people can endure so much hurt, but overcome it. They couldn’t catch a break. Bad things kept getting between them until they didn’t.

Their story is a train wreck happening in slow motion and I couldn’t look away!!!!!

Five stars!

 

The Air He Breathes (Elements #1) by Brittainy C. Cherry

Book Description:

Published: September 25, 2015

Format: Audio/Audible

I was warned about Tristan Cole.

“Stay away from him,” people said.
“He’s cruel.”
“He’s cold.”
“He’s damaged.”

It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster.

But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him because it also lived inside of me.

We were both empty.
We were both looking for something else. Something more. We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays.

Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe.

Review –

The Air He Breathes had all the makings of a rich, romantic and beautifully told  “second chance at love “story between two wretchedly broken characters seeking solace with, and in each other following the loss of their loved ones.

The slow to smolder relationship was superbly and sensitively handled by the author,Brittainy C Cherry, the romance was emotional and yet encompassed a swoon factor that took my breath away.

The slow burn relationship was superbly and sensitively handled by Brittainy C Cherry, the romance was emotional and yet encompassed a swoon factor that took our breath away. She also showed us that the previous relationships were just as important as the new one.

The sex scenes are HOT  but low-key so I place this book in the “soft smut” category, meaning they are there for a purpose and not just to take up space.

It’s a sad but beautiful love story with a shocking event near the end and I gave it five stars!

 

 

Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

Book Description:

Published: July 23, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The revered New York Times bestselling author returns with a novel set in 1960s Baltimore that combines modern psychological insights with elements of classic noir, about a middle-aged housewife turned aspiring reporter who pursues the murder of a forgotten young woman.

In 1966, Baltimore is a city of secrets that everyone seems to know–everyone, that is, except Madeline “Maddie” Schwartz. Last year, she was a happy, even pampered housewife. This year, she’s bolted from her marriage of almost twenty years, determined to make good on her youthful ambitions to live a passionate, meaningful life.

Maddie wants to matter, to leave her mark on a swiftly changing world. Drawing on her own secrets, she helps Baltimore police find a murdered girl–assistance that leads to a job at the city’s afternoon newspaper, the Star. Working at the newspaper offers Maddie the opportunity to make her name, and she has found just the story to do it: a missing woman whose body was discovered in the fountain of a city park lake.

Cleo Sherwood was a young African-American woman who liked to have a good time. No one seems to know or care why she was killed except Maddie–and the dead woman herself. Maddie’s going to find the truth about Cleo’s life and death. Cleo’s ghost, privy to Maddie’s poking and prying, wants to be left alone.

Maddie’s investigation brings her into contact with people that used to be on the periphery of her life–a jewelery store clerk, a waitress, a rising star on the Baltimore Orioles, a patrol cop, a hardened female reporter, a lonely man in a movie theater. But for all her ambition and drive, Maddie often fails to see the people right in front of her. Her inability to look beyond her own needs will lead to tragedy and turmoil for all sorts of people–including the man who shares her bed, a black police officer who cares for Maddie more than she knows.

Review –

In this most recent book by Laura Lippman, she tells the story of Maddie Schwartz, an attractive thirty-seven year-old Jewish housewife who abruptly leaves her husband and son to pursue a long-held ambition to be a journalist, and Cleo Sherwood, an African-American cocktail waitress about whom little is known.

Sherwood’s body was found in a lake in a city park months after she disappeared, and while no one else seems to care enough to investigate, Maddie becomes obsessed—partly due to certain similarities she perceives between her life and Cleo’s, partly due to her faith in her own detective skills.

The story unfolds from Maddie’s point of view as well as that of Cleo’s ghost, who seems to be watching from behind the scenes, commenting  on Maddie’s nosing around like a bull in a china shop after getting a job at one of the city papers.

We also see her effect on some of the people she comes into contact with: a jewelry store clerk, an about-to-be-murdered schoolgirl, “Mr. Helpline,” a bartender, a political operative, a waitress, a Baltimore Oriole, the first African-American female policewoman (these last two are based on real people), and many more. Though allusive for one, make a single appearance  they greatly add to the enjoyment of the novel.

Maddie’s ambition propels her forward despite the cost to others, including the family of the deceased and her own secret lover, a black policeman.

To achieve realism for the newspaper part of the story the author interviewed associates of her father, Baltimore Sun journalist Theo Lippman Jr., and included  fascinating historical facts.

Mixing noir with hints of hard-boiled fiction, Lady in the Lake gives readers unlikeable but entertaining characters surrounding a mystery loosely based on actual events of the time period.

Five stars!