Sunday, December 29, 2013

Fighting Love by Abby Niles

Fighting Love  by Abby Niles
Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication Date: December 31, 2013
Date Read:  December 29, 2013

In the interest of full disclosure, I received an advance reader edition of this book from Entangled Publishing and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

I enjoyed this book and would rate it 4 out of 5 stars. It was a quick, easy read. According to Goodreads, this is the second book in a series. I have not read the prior book in the series and did not feel lost or like I missed any part of a greater story arc at any time. This book can definitely be read as a stand alone book.

Tommy and Julie have been best friends for 23 years. Tommy has hit a rough patch in his life at the start of the book. Not only has he been banned from MMA fighting, having once held the championship belt, his house burns down and all of his possessions are gone. He calls Julie to help him and she invites him to stay at her home.

Julie values her friendship with Tommy but has always been in love with him. While living together, she decides that she wants to see if there could be something more between them. There are some ups, some downs, some hot steamy sex, some jealousy, some heartbreak, a few memories, and love in the end.

At the beginning of the book, I felt myself liking the heroine over the Hero. Tommy had lost a lot because of the party boy lifestyle he adapted after winning the title. He was determined to keep Julie, his one true friend, firmly in the friend zone. Meanwhile Julie was loyal and patient and told him things he needed to hear even when he did not want to. Once the couple started having a romance, I found myself switching side. Tommy seemed like the one determined to make things work after he had committed to try but Julie was quick to give up on him just for feeling a bit ignored. It did not ring true to me that Julie would give up so easily after loving Tommy for 23 years.

I thought the author wrote the sections from the male perspective very well. I would have liked to have seen more concerning the MMA fights. This was the first book that I read with a MMA fighter character and I would have liked a few more scenes focused on the sport. I also felt that the characters seemed younger than 33 as they were written. I really liked how everything tied together at the end of the book. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance. I plan to look for future book by Abby Niles.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Shatter by Joan Swan

Shatter  by Joan Swan
Kensington Books
Publication Date: December 31, 2013
Date Read: December 28, 2013

In the interest of full disclosure, I received an advance reader edition of this book from Kensington Books and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

This book was a solid 4 out of 5 stars for me. There was a lot of action and romance and to be honest I just LOVED the Hero, Mitch. After I started the book I noticed that Goodreads had it labeled as book #4 in the series. I have not read any other books in this series or by Joan Swan and had no trouble keeping up. That being said, I do think that the reader would benefit from reading the series in order. There were quite a few characters that were most likely introduced in previous books. Knowing the full back story of the supporting characters would have added more depth to this story. I also believe that there is an overall story arc through the series. Since this was the series conclusion a lot was explained but there were a few points in the book that I wish I had read the previous novels. As with most things, it is better to start at the beginning but this book can be thoroughly enjoyed on its own.

Halina has been in hiding for the past 7 years and has assumed a new identity. She left Mitch 7 years ago saying that she was going to try to work things out with her husband. Mitch was crushed and has spent the past 7 years going out with woman after woman. Halina sees Mitch running surveillance on her and confronts him. There is an altercation that ends with Halina and Mitch running together from a bigger enemy.

Mitch and Halina still have the same chemistry as before but are both guarded with each other. Mitch does not want to be hurt again and Halina feels that the only way to keep Mitch safe is to stay away from him. The couple connects with Mitch's friends to work together to bring down Schaeffer and Abernathy. In the end, they are able to work out their issues and have their happily ever after.

This book brought together the right balance of action, romance, and steamy sex with just a hint of a paranormal element. There was even a perfectly written sidekick for Halina - Dex, the most awesome dog ever. I thought that Mitch was a very well written character and the author was able to make the reader feel everything he was feeling. I did not feel quite the same with Halina. Mitch was definitely the star of this show.

I would recommend this book to anyone who like an exciting romantic suspense. If you can start with book #1, it would probably even be that much better. I will definitely look for the other books in this series and by this author, Joan Swan.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Fireside Inn by Lily Everett

 The Fireside Inn by Lily Everett
St. Martin's Press
Publication Date:  January 7, 2014 
Date Read: December 22, 2013

In the interest of full disclosure, I received an advance reader edition of this book from St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

I enjoyed this novella and would rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars. The novella was well written and the story was interesting but I found myself wanting more depth in several areas.

At the opening of the story, we meet Miles, Leo and a couple of their wealthy friends. Miles is getting married and make a bet with his Billionaire friends that if they come to Sanctuary Island to help him get ready for his wedding that they will also fall in love. They agree and go to the Island.

Leo has been given the task of performing a reading at the wedding. Leo often sounds poetic so this should be good fit for him. He decided to go to the local library where he meets Serena, the librarian. Leo convinces Serena to help him with the reading and also tells her that he plans to seduce her. They grow close while working on Leo's assignment.

This novella had several areas that I would have liked to see a bit more. I think a more complete back story into Leo's past would have developed his character quite well. The same really applies to Serena. The main conflict between this two characters is based upon their past so understanding exactly what they had gone through and what they had felt would have added to the plot. I also would have liked to see what each character was doing during the time between the conflict and the wedding. This just seemed like the ideal time for one of the central characters to reach out to the other.

Even though I would have liked to see more in some areas of the novella, I did thoroughly enjoy the story. I really liked the author's style of writing and plan to look for one of her full length books which may give me that "more" that I seem to want.

Off the Edge by Carolyn Crane

Off the Edge by Carolyn Crane
CrushStar Multimedia LLC
Date Read: December 21, 2013

In the interest of full disclosure, I received an advance reader edition of this book from CrushStar Multimedia LLC, Carolyn Crane, and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

I would rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. Overall, I did enjoy this book. It was a fast paced novel with a lot of action but I had a really hard time getting into the book. The book picked up for me at about 1/3 of the way into the book. This is the first book that I have reader from this author. Despite the fact that this book is listed as being #2 in the series, it can most definitely be read as a stand alone novel.

Laney is living and working in a Thai hotel in order to hide from herself from her controlling ex-husband Rolly. Macmillian is a member of the Associates team an is in Thailand to try to find who has a horrible weapon, TZ, and hopefully gain control of it before it can be sold. Macmillian's specialty is linguistics while Laney is a songwriting and they connect over the impact that language and words hold for each of them. Macmillian needs a recording on Laney's computer and decides to seduce her to get the information. Laney catches him in the act and feels hurt and betrayed but still feels some trust for Macmillian. They fall for each other and Macmillian, or Peter, learns that she is more important to him than the mission while Laney will risk everything to help him.

There were several points in the book that the character's actions were quite unbelievable. For example, I found it hard to believe that Laney, who hid in a closet at a restaurant because she thought she might have seen someone who worked with Rolly, is just a short time later willing to go off with a man that she has not met before. Not only that, she is willing to go to a more secluded area but still out in public with this man and not only have sex but to have her first orgasm with a partner in her life. Sorry, I just do not buy it. Of course, there is hardly a romantic story written that doesn't have its fair share of unbelievable moments so this is not a deal breaker for me.

I found that I really enjoyed the book a bit more once the action really took over the plot. The action sequences were exciting and well-written. As the book progress, the Hero, Macmillian, became more of his real self, Peter, and I found that I much preferred a feeling Peter to a detached Macmillian. I loved seeing the growth of his character.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a high action romantic suspense novel. I plan to look for other works from this author in the future.
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