Private Affair (Rockfort Security #3) by Rebecca York

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A nice ending for quite a nice series.

With both of his partners settling down, Max Lyon seems the only reasonable choice when Olivia Winters, a famous model who coincidentally went to the same school as him, needs somebody to protect her without attracting attention – in other words, a bodyguard acting as her lover. But Olivia is not just in need of protection. Max’s PI skill set will certainly be appreciated, as they both race against their past hunting them down – and a killer dead set on either silencing the model, or making her his.

While Olivia was not exactly my cup of tea as a heroine, and Max was… well, just OK in my book, I did enjoy their teamwork and the chemistry between them. Individually, they didn’t really get my attention, yet together the concept seemed to work rather nicely. I loved how, despite the tension between them, there was still that air of familiarity. And the fact that they had a moment, even fleeting, in their teenage years, made it all better.

The Big Baddie wasn’t that much of a surprise, unfortunately, and the scene between him and the captured Olivia left me with a bitter aftertaste – mainly because, psychologically, the aftermath just didn’t make sense – but the pace was fast enough to forgive all that. And the dialogues and action all made up for it.

And so, the Rockfort Security series came to a close – a rather satisfying one, even. Bravo, Mrs. York!

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The Angel’s Hunger (Masters of Maria #2) by Holley Trent

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First review of the year, woohoo! And it’s a positive one, so here’s to hoping that it’s a good omen!

Remember when, in the last book, I had mentioned how much I loved the angle with the angels? Well, Tamatsu’s story did NOT disappoint me! It was all I hoped for and sooo much more! Here we have a classic example of a past romance gone wrong, but with a tremendous twist: Tamatsu and Noelle, the mute fallen angel and his elf ex-lover who is responsible for his current… speechless state, do not, under any circumstances, want to get back together. Yet, they both have something each other wants, so they’re wiling, for a little while at least, to call it a truce, get what they’re wishing for, and then go their separate ways. Only, life doesn’t always happen the way we expect it to…

This wasn’t your usual ex-lover-themed story. Unlike Tito and December, Tamatsu and Noelle knew they were bad for each other. They didn’t dance around the subject, they didn’t deny their sexual attraction still being there, but they had other priorities and they both admitted to still being bitter about their break-up, no matter how long ago it happened. It was both satisfying and hilarious seeing them try to resist each other once they realized they were being sucked back into being totally smitten with each other.

The whole tragedy of Tamatsu doing something that angered Noelle enough to curse him was what kept the story so high in suspense. At first, I couldn’t help but be on her side given what she was saying about the way she found him with… Well, spoilers! No more words! But let’s just say, I completely supported her decision. Then, I heard Tamatsu’s side of the story, and I was like “OK, no girl, you should have checked first!” – though I was still a bit suspicious about it all because it didn’t add up, and if it was, one of them was lying, and I couldn’t figure out who. And when the final curtain was lifted, and they both sat down to talk it out, and the truth was revealed… I was laughing. Hysterically. Like a maniac! Because the whole thing was just soooo extraordinarily simple, and they had both suffered for decades on end, just because they had both jumped to assumptions. It felt so humane and realistic, I couldn’t blame either of them, and it only served in making me love them more.

The love scenes were… INTENSE! Tito the demigod WHO?! Pssst, get out of the way, dude, Tamatsu has the stage covered, thank you very much! Oh, boy, I kept fanning myself because the guy was smoldering hot without even trying, and when he did decide to try, it nearly scorched the panties clean off of me! Not to mention, Noelle was on a whole different level than December! Now THAT is a heroine I can side and relate with!

The ending was also unexpected, and yet very much welcome. I preferred it to the usual solution most writers have in such cases with curses and stuff, because it showed that, despite their relationship not being perfect, those two were willing to try and work things out together, as a team, this time around. It made them that much more depended on each other, and, given the lengths in which Noelle was willing to go to pay for her mistake and redeem herself in Tamatsu’s eyes, that sheer amount of self-sacrifice to give him his voice back, it was really beautiful – and Tamatsu’s response was even more touching!

I’m off to read the next book in the series – but I’m serious here, can’t we please have that goddess-angel ship we’ve been dreaming about, Ms. Trent?! Pretty pleaaaaase?!?!?!

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

 

RATING:

5cupcakes

Book Boyfriends and Books of ’17

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It’s that time of the year again – even belatedly for me this year around! The time where I try and think which books I read the year that passed really moved me as a reader. And of course, a reader’s life can never be complete without her book boyfriends – well, at least a reader who enjoys romance.

So, let’s see… The books that really made an impression on me – and mind you, some of those authors you’ve seen me praising countless times but it’s just how it is for me, I’m a loyal fangirl – in no particular order are:

  • Against the Sky (The Brodies of Alaska #2) by Kat Martin
  • The Angel’s Hunger (Masters of Maria #2) by Holley Trent (review is soon to be posted for this one, I’ve been neglectful in my duties, I know!)
  • Finding the Dream (Dream Trilogy #3) by Nora Roberts
  • The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip
  • Sins of the Heart (The Sins Series #1) by Eve Langlais
  • Curse of the Healer (The Derbfine Series #1) by Ashley York
  • Legacy of Lies (Hell’s Valley #1) & Legacy Lost (Hell’s Valley #2) by Jillian David
  • Locke and Key (Titan #8) by Cristin Harber

 

And now it’s time for the male leads that made it to this year’s Book Boyfriend List! A little sidenote here, the books of a couple of those haven’t made it in the ’17 Books List, either because something else in their story might have not captured me enough as a reader – but those characters did – or because I hadn’t finished the book before the year changed its final number – ooops!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

  • Nick Brodie (Against the Sky)
  • Michael Fury (Finding the Dream)
  • Niall sidKalvr (Silver Wolf Rising)
  • Oz Bolton (Speaker of the Lost)
  • Cam Maxwell (Archangel Series – OK, in all honesty, I haven’t read HIS book yet, but he was in both the first books, and I’m a woman who knows what she wants and I knew it was him the moment he made his opened his mouth!)
  • Locke Oliver (Locke and KeyWON’T YOU LOOK AT THAT, I FINALLY FOUND MY TITAN MAN!)

So… that’s all, folks! Here’s to hoping the new year will be a good one – and bring us lots and lots of good stuff to read, because life without books is simply not acceptably lived! Happy New Year, everybody!

~Lydia~

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Finding the Dream (Dream Trilogy #3) by Nora Roberts

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Finding the Dream (Dream trilogy #3)

“I loved you. And the only thing more pitiful than that is that even as you turn me away like this, so carelessly, I still do.” – Laura Templeton

Fucking finally!!!! Laura’s story!!! Oh, I was sooooo waiting for this!!!

We’ve read about Laura Templeton and her failure of a married life in the previous books. In the first book, she found out about her neglecting, over-controlling husband cheating on her. In the second, we saw her struggling to move on with her life, having to deal with the aftermath of her marriage on her immediate family and a new job. In this one, we finally get to witness karma giving back to her what she really deserved – love and respect, a man capable of making her see that she’s a desirable woman with actual value, not a faceless doll with a big fat dowry. But said man, Michael Fury, is not exactly what she had in mind when she once dreamed of her Prince Charming…

I seriously loved this book the most, even if Kate is still my favorite of the trio. It was full of heartbreaking moments, and there were many times I had to dab my wet eyes with tissues. Not only because some scenes were really too sad to read, but also because there were some others in which the characters – particularly Michael in his interractions with Laura’s daughters – brought me to tears with their kindness and touching speeches. It was, without a doubt, the most beautiful book of the trilogy.


Laura was a character I found wonderful. Her inner, quiet power, how she was steadfast and could actually stand her ground, but without being aggressive or petty, her noble nature, it was far too different from her hot-headed friends. And seeing her struggle with her kids after that nasty divorce, and how she tried to get back her sense of self after YEARS of mental abuse from her ex, made me remember that not all women need to start kicking asses and making scenes in public, or think like men, to be truly strong and powerful. I also loved the fact that, when things got rough with Michael, she didn’t bitch, instead she was really mature about it.

Michael was THE delight to read about, though. First of all, he made it to my Book Boyfriend List of ’17 – THE MOMENT HE ENTERED THE BOOK. He was funny and sarcastic and hot, and if you know me and my kryptonite, you have surely heard of the way I practically melt when a guy is good with kids. And Michael wasn’t just good with Laura’s kids – he was more of a father than their own father had ever been! The way he could put them in their place, and yet he melted with every hug or cute words of theirs, the way he would put them first in his priority list, even if he had nothing to gain from it and they weren’t HIS kids to worry about – the guy is perfect!


Not that Laura’s family could see it. And here’s what bugged me throughout all the book – though not enough that I would lower its rating. Every single soul near Laura, with a few exceptions, had something to say against the poor man. Her parents, her brother, Margo’s mother… The only ones who had no problem with it were Kate and Byron (OF COURSE!), Margo (though she doesn’t count, she was just thinking only of the sexual benefits Laura could get out of this), and the cook.

And while I do get the parental reaction, I couldn’t help but hate Josh (even more if that was even possible!) and Annie! First and foremost, Annie was so adamant in her initial opinion of Michael, based entirely on false rumors and gossip, that she didn’t even THINK of crossing out those facts with what was right there in front of her eyes, even if she was given plenty of proof from Michael’s behavior. The guy would breathe in a way she found unacceptable and she would judge him for it, as well! And Josh was history’s WORST best friend! I wouldn’t want to have this guy in my corner, ever – not even if you paid me for it! What kind of person critisizes his best friend for things he has also done in his life, and, when seeing him with his sister, suddenly forgets that said best friend is actually a decent man and turns on him, saying those spiteful things in his face? I mean, couldn’t he see how much Michael was hurting with all this? His face was practically screaming it, damn it! I don’t know how Michael forgave the bastard, honestly – I would have never done that! (which also says much about his kindness, once again!)


And suddenly, when the poor dude nearly dies to save Laura, everyone sees that he was actually the perfect guy for her. WHAT THE QUIZNAK?!?! What is wrong with those people?!!? Does someone need to go meet their maker early for them to deem them worthy?!

Even with those people ruining the beautiful scenes of the book, though, I couldn’t help but love it. It was exactly what this trilogy needed to come to an end, and for the reader to get closure with this story, and move on to other series. 

RATING:

5cupcakes

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip

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How many times must Patricia McKillip blow my mind with her books? And who decides when a certain kind of storystelling is out of date or not? Because, let me tell you, whoever thinks that McKillip’s “voice” is old-fashioned and cannot keep up with modern readers, is terribly wrong!

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is a book filled with the classic storytelling of the woman I consider the mother of fantasy. Sybel, a young girl gifted with the magical powers to call powerful beasts to come to her aid, finds her life turned upside down when a young soldier comes knocking on her door, asking her to take care of a baby – the son of a king. Uknowingly, she gets dragged in the middle of a war between kingdoms, and men fighting for her heart – but the woman with the garden full of legendary creatures, is not a woman with a heart easily won…

I seriously loved this story. Even if Sybel was tough to connect with as a main character, her past was such that it explained a lot about her behavior. Not only that, but what Tam’s father did to her was, in my eyes, a great allegory for rape – the total lack of control of her body and willpower, the feeling of being stuck in a place where she would never be able to return from, truly amazing how McKillip phrased it all – and it was only natural for her to turn even colder and seek revenge in a way that would make kingdoms tremble. I loved how she struggled with coming to terms with her feelings for Tam’s uncle, and how, in the end, she didn’t change her flawed way of thinking, only promised to try and ask for forgiveness – stating, even, that she needed her husband’s forgiveness mainly because this way, she might one day forgive herself.

McKillip is a queen when it comes to subtly charging plot twists. She just writes along, telling you a nice story that sounds so wonderfully like a fairy tale – thanks to her voice – and then BAM! The plot twist comes up, shaking you to the core, and you’re just faced with the fact that she had it coming your way all along, she just made you focus on other things more to bide her time.

I’m in love with her writing, no matter which book I read, and I can’t wait to read more of her work!

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

5cupcakes

Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom by Cheryl Carpinello

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Although having higher expectations for this book, I wasn’t overly disappointed – not that I would pick up the next title or something, but it didn’t have me wishing to leave it at DNF state…

Young Prince Gavin wishes for nothing more than to grow up quickly and become a knight like the rest of his royal family. So does his friend, Bryan, a blacksmith apprentice. So when an old man they both consider dear gets accused of having stolen a jewel very important for Gavin’s kingdom, they enlist the help of their other friend, Phillip, and rush to help prove the man innocent. But the adventure they find themselves into might prove much harder than they originally thought…

Honestly, there were some parts I found fine thanks to the plot twists and some others I could have done without. It;s a good thing that the pace was fast and the story short, so it didn’t take me too long to finish the book. If I had been some years younger, I would have immensely enjoyed it. So, if we’re talking about middle grade, this is a perfect book. However, it doesn’t fall in that category of middle grade fantasy that adults could enjoy as well.

That being said, I’m not into finding out the rest of Gavin’s life – even with the new member added to the royal family, which was a total shocker, if you ask me.

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

2cupcakes

Holding the Dream (Dream Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts

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“I’m in love with you. Deal with it.” – Byron De Witt

Now THIS is so much better! Unlike Margo’s story, Kate’s was such a fresh breath of air!

In the second book of the Dream Trilogy, Kate Powell, Laura’s cousin and the practical one of the trio, is having some health issues. Issues that she repeatedly ignores and makes worse. But her health isn’t the only thing going downhill in her life currently. After finding out that her father stole from his company when he was alive, she takes an even bigger hit when she’s reported for practically the same thing. As she’s trying to bring her life back to its former balance, Kate is about to find out that not everything has to be part of a plan – and trusting her body in the very capable hands of Byron De Witt seems like the most logical first step.

I have to say, I immensely enjoyed this one. Unlike Margo, Kate was spanky and feisty, with a good head on her shoulders and tons of dry wit in her arsenal. She didn’t dream of fame and all that crap the blonde bimbo wanted, instead she wished for stability and intended to work hard to get it. Now that’s the kind of female lead I can totally relate to in a book!


Next to her, Byron was the perfect man to stand and thrive – seriously! Because the guy was no Josh! (yes, I hate Margo’s man, too) He was sweet, and gentlemanly, and used his heart in wonderful equality with his mind. Not only that, but he was also man enough to let Kate take the reins when he saw it worked out better, and yet go all “caveman” on her when she crossed the line. He was perfection and then some! And when he seriously started courting her – honestly, there’s no other way to put it, judging from what he did to and for her – I nearly melted on my seat!

Together, they were a badass duo. He took care of her health and her relaxation, she made sure he wouldn’t slack off – not that he often did. And they had so much in common, although it was subtle. I’m telling you, the perfect relationship! One that was meant to happen and spelled “forever” bright and clear! (if you’re hesitant to believe me, just read this line of Byron’s:
“You’re not beautiful,” he said in a quiet statement that made her brow knit. “Why do you look beautiful when you’re not?” – the man clearly loved her for what he saw inside, not because she was a fuckable piece of meat!)

I’m so glad this wasn’t like the first book. I wouldn’t have been able to take it had it been the same disappointment the previous one proved to be… Now, to review the third one…

“I’m a mess. I’m insane. I’m in love with you.” – Kate Powell

RATING:

4cupcakes

Betrayed (Rockfort Security #2) by Rebecca York

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“Elena, I love you. I had a hard time admitting that to myself. And it was hard to say it.” – Shane Gallagher

So… I may have been a bit disappointed with Shane’s book. Not so much that I didn’t enjoy it, mind you. It’s just that I had high expectations from the guy and he sort of screwed me over with his antics…

Shane Gallagher is the second member of the Rockfort Security that we read about. He has been betrayed before – cheated on thanks to his dearest ex-wife, lied to, and so on. Understandably, he has trust issues when it comes to women. Enter Elena Reyes, a woman he meets while he’s undercover in her company. She has the looks that make him drool, but the package comes with a lot of secrets. And Shane knows that a secretive woman is even harder to trust – especially when all evidence points towards her helping the suspects he’s after…

I can’t say I couldn’t feel Shane when it came to trust the opposite gender. Having a spouse cheat certainly lays a terrible ground for all others to come. So I guess his suspicious nature was reasonable to a certain extent. But there were times where I really wanted to punch him! Even when Elena was obviously not the main suspect, he kept accusing her and treating her like crap. It was the sole reason behind the 4-cupcake rating, mind you!


Elena on the other hand was adorable. I liked her almost as much as I liked Morgan in the first book. Sure, Elena wasn’t exactly strong in mind and willpower. Her parents dictated her life even if she wasn’t under their control financially or in any other way. Her brother used her like no tomorrow and without finding any resistance. Everyone around her could just threaten her a little, and she would succumb to their wishes. Surprisingly, though, she still found it in herself to raise her head in the end and start taking matters into her own hands, risking her life for the good of her loved ones. And that’s where Elena was a bit better than Shane. She may not have been as strong from the start – but she certainly was a fast learner and and she had a big, golden heart, which made up for all her mistakes if you ask me. The woman didn’t have a single selfish bone in her body!

The pace was fast, with the main couple constantly on the run. The villain almost won in the end, which was a nice turn of events and showed that Rebecca York isn’t scared to be bold about it when it comes to her main characters. She throws everything at them, and still makes them prevail, in a quite realistic manner – losses and all. The dialogues were not as funny as in the first book, but that could have been because Shane was quite the bitter fellow, and Elena wasn’t exactly a talker – shy thing and all that. The love scenes were a nice touch, although I still prefer Morgan’s deed with Jack – perhaps because he didn’t try to guilt trip her or make it seem like something dirty afterwards, I don’t know.

I’ve also read Max’s book, and the review will come soon. Stay tuned for it!

“Oh, Shane, I knew I was falling in love with you, and I felt like I was messing it up.” – Elena Reyes

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

4cupcakes

Sins of the Heart (Otherkin #1) by Eve Silver

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Want a story that’s full of plot twists? With a male lead that’s hot and yet aloof, and a female lead that’s feisty and has a backbone that would put badass warriors to shame?

Search no more, for this book has it all!

Roxy Tam was once saved by Dagan Krayl, a sugar-loving soul reaper. Ever since then, her life has never been the same. Becoming one of the Daughters of Aset, Roxy is now trying to find the remains of Dagan’s dead brother and make sure they’re not used to resurrect said brother. But Dagan isn’t going to let anyone stand in his way of taking care of his family business, nor is he willing to let her go a second time. Turns out they might have to work together after all, even if they stand on opposing sides of this supernatural war.

I’m telling you, I loved this book, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one! Not only was it fast in pace, full of suspense, and I was left constantly wondering who the heck was the traitor who had caused all this mess, the main couple was HOT! Dagan was dominant and yet adorable in his possessive, lollipop-sucking ways, and Roxy was a match made in heaven for him, with her tendency to stand toe-to-toe with him and prove that’s she’s not the little girl he had saved so long ago.


Alastor and Calliope were also very interesting secondary characters. I can honestly say, I’m very much looking forward to reading more about them in the books to come! Not to mention, I really want to find out about the kid, and Lokan!

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

5cupcakes

Shifting Darkness (A Forest of Darkness #4) by Kate Wendley

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Oh, wow, NOW we’re talking! Though the first three books were equally full of suspense and fast-paced action and romance, I feel like they paled in comparison to this one.

In the new book of the Forest of Darkness series, we learn Vince’s secret and watch him fight through numerous obstacles to finally get his own HEA. In case you didn’t notice, Vince is the cute half-korean guy that works at the bookstore Kaia likes to visit. He’s sort of her friend, too, but, as we found out earlier in the series through Anthony’s mind, the guy is a closeted shifter. In this book, though we continue reading about the growing relationship between the Vampire Master of Atlanta and his human bride, we also get to experience the romance in Vince’s life with another shifter, Penny.

Admittedly, I loved the family drama that the LaRue family had to offer a bit more than Anthony’s. The reason behind Vince’s father doing all those things to his mother was much more believable and justified in my eyes than what Isaac had done with his son. Not only that, but the Korean shifter was actually trying hard in his own way without patronizing his child. And while I would have liked some kind of spark between him and Vince’s mother, I have to say I wasn’t bothered by Ed in the mix – it made things even more interesting.

Vince as a male lead was pretty nice. He had those Alpha tendencies but his health and the multiple blows his self-esteem had gotten over the years slowed him down a lot. So many flaws, and insecurities, and yet so much effort to live life as much as he could, to make sure his loved ones got everything they wanted. He was truly such a sweet, heartbroken guy, even when he snapped at those around him, and watching him struggle really pulled at my heartstrings.


Now, Penny… She was okay, I guess… At some points I got frustrated with her constant attitude and the whole “rebel without a reason” theme she had going on – and she gave Vince the hardest time in the history of snappy female heroines ever! Ready to start shooting her mouth and get insulted at every single breath she thought he took wrong! BUT! I have to admit, though it pains me, that most women her age do that – I certainly did back then. So, thumbs up to Kate Wendley for making a young woman so realistic! That was brilliant and done wonderfully!

As for the pace, it was fast as always and without a moment’s rest. The story keeps getting more and more intriguing, and instead of undoing all the knots, each addition to the series only adds more to the mix! I love it! I never know what new things will come this way with each new title!

P.S.: the people need some Zach loving, by the way! God, this man get hotter and hotter, and so funny yet mysterious! He needs a woman who’ll appreciate him for more than his sexy ass! Just saying…

***I was given a review copy via Reeading Alley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

4cupcakes