Cenotaph Road (Cenotaph Road #1) by Robert E. Vardeman

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And just when I started being hopeful about this genre… Well, you can’t always expect to be pleased about things in categories, anyway, so I should have held some of that hope back.

In Cenotaph Road, we meet Lan, a suppposedly skilled swordsman with some kind of innate ability for the arcane. After being framed for the rape and death of his… ummm… OK, I can’t call her his lover, the thing is, the woman was a prostitute. In any case, Lan got framed for it, and so had to flee from his home. Trying to escape his pursuers, he entered the Cenotaph Road, which is something like a gateway system between parallel worlds. In one of those worlds, he met and saved a giant spider, Krek, and from then on, they started a weird partnership as they kept on having one adventure right after the other.

Let me say right now, the only reason I actually managed to finish tis book was because of Krek. I’m an insectophobic, but even so, the creature was an amazing character! In fact, if Lan had died somewhere along the way, and Krek kept on having these adventures on his own, I would have been more than happy to keep reading this series.

As it was, though, I had to suffer through Lan’s stupidly repeated mistakes. And his thoughts. God, his thoughts were even worse!!! If there was ever a guy whipped at the prospect of a pretty female, it was definitely him! To the point where it made me wanna puke! The dude had issues, I’m telling you! You would think he got the message loud and clear after Zarella stringing him along – really, the woman had made it crystal clear the only thing that could make her heart race was wealth and riches – but noooo, not Lan! No, sir, the idiot had to go and fall in love at first sight with a weak-ass, cowardly, shallow, gold-digging bimbo – AGAIN! Oh, and, yeah, did I mention he hated Inyx, who, by the way, was the ONLY female actually respecting herself enough to fight back and try to be free whenever someone tried to enslave her? Yup, our dear boy Lan freaked at the mere idea that a woman would try and be strong or independent and not a slut – at first, at least, because after Thing #2 was out of the picture (good riddance, I say!), he suddenly saw Inyx’s worth and was all too happy to smell the roses…


All in all, not a great read, and I’m very grateful it didn’t take long to end. I don’t know how much more of this I would have handled. Maybe Krek will end up realizing his true nature and eat up Lan in one of the future books? One can only hope…

***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:

cartoon-cupcake

Searching for Love by Carolyn Rae

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In Searching for Love, Valerie is looking for her sister, with the help of her sister’s brother-in-law, Matt. And me? I… was searching for something to like while reading it…


It’s true. There was nothing actually in-your-face wrong with the story, but, to me, it couldn’t have been more far-fetched and boring. While the story had some potential – plot-wise – the writer lost me about two chapters in. It was bad enough I just couldn’t sympathize with said missing sister – and secretly kept repeating to the heroes in the pages that hey, finding her dead wouldn’t be that awful – , I couldn’t even get to like or pity Matt’s brother! A guy like him? Treating Valerie like this? And then marrying her sister? Yeah, no. Sorry, buddy, but you and your wife can die and go to hell and the world will actually be a better place in my eyes!

As if that wasn’t enough, the two leads were so blissful in their ignorance, it wasn’t even funny. Valerie knew her sister was a materialistic…. gah, I can’t say the word, but a little spoiler, it starts with an S – yet she kept excusing her and most of her fights with Matt were about defending Christy’s nonexistent honor. Matt may have been blind and didn’t realize at first what kind of jerk his brother was, but after he found out, he still kept finding fault ONLY in Christy’s attitude. The couple kept fighting with each other over whose sibling was the worst, and then, magically, poof! They made up! And were in love!


The whole thing got even worse when they kept falling in supposed hardships – one right after the other. I mean, come on, one situation with the dirty cops was enough. Did there HAVE to be a criminal case and all the rest that came with it, too? It was like riding a roller coaster that hasn’t been oiled for years, after having eaten melted burritos, and with nothing to thow up in or to make the nausea go away. And it was distracting as heck! At some point, I had to go back several pages to remind myself WHAT the main point of what I was reading was again!

Suffice to say, I won’t be coming back for seconds. While the general concept was intriguing, the book itself failed to deliver accordingly…

***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:

cartoon-cupcake

Locke and Key (Titan #8) by Cristin Harber

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“You’re my woman.” – Locke Oliver

Holy shizzlesticks, if that wasn’t the hottest book in the history of hot books! And I think I said it sometime while reading it, but wow, seriously, I think Cristin Harber outdid herself with Locke’s story!

If you think you have seen it all with the Titan books, and that Mrs. Harber has nothing more or new to offer, think again. Because this new addition to the series just proves she has a lot more to tell us about her characters and their universe!

Locke Oliver was the silent, strong guy we met and loved in Bishop’s book. But it turns out he has more than just his good looks and calm camaraderie going on under the surface of total self-control. When the Titan team rescues a woman from his past, Cassidy Noble, he snaps and all hell breaks loose. With his job on the line, he has to make peace with his memories of what this woman has done to him, or risk losing it all. And all this, while she’s trying to follow a trail full of conspiracies and danger in the name of exposing the truth!

Titan has been expanding. We knew that, and we experienced it with Bishop. But, despite how awesome his story was, nothing can compare with Locke’s book! I’m saying this now, and please don’t take it lightly, not even the rest of the books! Nothing can prepare you for the shock you’re in for when you turn its pages!


Full of intrigue and suspense, Locke and Key had danger written all over it, and the funny thing was, while it’s practically there, in your face, you still don’t see it coming when it finally hits you. Apart from the knowledge that international crime and warfare are in a state of technological progress – which shows even more not only because it’s one of the few things we haven’t witnessed fully yet with Titan, despite having read Parker and Bishop, but also from the fact that the older Titan members, especially Jared, were at a loss of what it was the bad guys were trying to do at first – , Mrs. Harber gives us so many things to focus on, it’s nearly impossible to remember it and yet it still strikes when you least expect it. With tons of scenes where the new guys are trying to work out the team dynamics, and hot parts that had me chasing my poor panties around my chair, this new book of the Titan series is sure to leave you begging for more, and happy to have added it to your collection.

By the way, the newcomers were not the only ones in need of working things out. Forget the usual “ex-lovers” theme, or the “childhood friends” one. Unlike Cash and Nic, Bishop and Ella, and Jenny and Asher, Locke’s past with Cassidy came with a looooot of baggage. And it wasn’t the nice kind. Under no circumstances were they more than polite to each other, and the way their paths split up? Let me just say, a Locke who has snapped and refuses to listen to reason is one rare sight, of the panty-melting quality and a quite powerful emotional impact.


But, despite all that, these two managed to get over the bad blood between them, and steadily built a strong relationship. It was fun to watch as it developed, and hot as hell, especially since Locke turned out to be the kind of guy who calls names to show affection. Oh, and let’s not forget the dirty talking. Good Lord, that man had a mouth on him, and I can only be grateful for that little detail in his personality! With a fiery woman like Cassidy, Locke’s mouth did wonders to the story, and watching them fight most things out, I was almost brought to tears at how perfect they were for each other.

I can only say with certainty, that I will never cease being pleasantly surprised by Cristin Harber. Her talent in military romance is one that needs to be praised constantly, as it is rare and simply mind-boggling!

“Yours.” – Cassidy Noble

***I was given an ARC by the writer 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

Legacy of Lies (Hell’s Valley #1) by Jillian David

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“I care about who you are now. And the woman in front of me is beautiful, intelligent, and hotter than molten lava. If you think that we could have a future together, I want to try. I love you, Sara Lopez.” – Garrison Taggart

Boy, oh, boy! A new book series from one of my favorite paranormal writers – and it’s western themed?!


In Jillian David’s new series, we follow the lives of the Taggart siblings, who all seem to have more on their plate than just taking care of the family’s ranch. Born with supernatural abilities, they all have to struggle through their social life on top of being at odds with their very normal father. Garrison, the second-born of the family, has always been able to read people – determining whether they were being honest or not. But this ability has cost him greatly. Now a single father, he finds himself falling in love with Sara Lopez, his son’s teacher. Being burnt once, can he open up to her and finally trust in someone outside his family after so long?

I meant it when I said that this writer is one of my favorites in the paranormal genre. I obviously have others, but there are only a few occasions in life where you find yourself paying special attention to certain authors. And this is one of those. After the Hell to Pay series (which is amazing, by the way, go read it!), she decided to tackle one of my TOP fantasies: cowboys with superpowers! And the result was pretty much awesome!

Not only did I experience the true nature of a rancher’s life – the hardships, the downtimes, the day-to-day struggle – but I also had the pleasure of seeing what a HUMAN does when they’re born with gifts they don’t exactly find convenient. Now, of course, most of us would be ecstatic to have minds with freaking superpowers. But we all speak from a vantage point of convenience, we haven’t really experienced it to really now what it’s like. The Taggart siblings, though, weren’t like that. Their abilities were useful, yes, but they still put a damper on their social lives. They couldn’t just connect with someone, because they always had to hide – even their father didn’t seem agreeable with what his kids could do. And they could also get hurt, which is often happily ignored in paranormal fiction.

Garrison in particular had his heart broken, and his trust issues made it impossible for him to be what we call a social butterfly. He was moody, and gruff, and his inner hurt made him in turn daily damage whatever bridges he tried to build with those around him. He was quick to anger, and there were times his grudges and stubborness were out of this world!

It was a good thing Sara seemed to be as patient as possible with him, although, to be fair, she too had her issues. Thanks to her past, she tended to misunderstand what others told her – OK, in Garrison’s case, he helped that flaw grow even more by constantly keeping his foot in his mouth – and she would, nine times out of ten, blame herself and drown in self-pity whenever something went wrong.

Those two had their hearts broken by the people they had loved. The result was two bitter adults, self-conscious as hell, trying to find common ground. Not that I’m complaining. Their fumbling around was half of the time entertaining, and the other half fantastically HOT! When they finally decided to trust in each other, it was touching how they seemed to keep praising each other, not being able to see their own worth, but somehow recognising their lover’s value.

Now on to the supernatural part of the book. It certainly didn’t hold much importance for the better half of the story, other than the fact that the siblings were not your everyday ranchers. But near the end, we get to see that our dear Mrs. David just couldn’t resist adding her horrifying talent in the mix. That’s right, people, if any of you have read the Hell to Pay series, then you know this woman can make you twist around in your seat in an effort to not pee yourself from fear. She doesn’t just write awful scenes of torture or scary stuff just to add something in her book. Every one of those has its own chest-pressuring aura of horror, and while they’re not massive and they come sparse, they still manage to make you wish you chance upon them while it’s still daytime. And they ALWAYS are important and hold significance to the story.

Jillian David is one of those few writers that can actually combine hot, sizzling romance with witty humor and terrifying danger, and make it seem tangible and quite real to the reader. All in the span of a book. And that’s saying something, people! She even deliberately had the bad guy repeating his lines again and again, to show how much his psychosis had damaged his common sense and ability to function and think logically. (admittedly, at first I thought it was a typo, but when I realized it wasn’t I had to take a break from reading, shivering all over!)


I’m off to start the next book – and btw, I call dibs on Kerr, and ship him with Izzy! If those two don’t end up, I sure hope the female lead David will put by his side is worthy of this panties-dropping-quality man!

“I don’t want anyone else, Garrison.” – Sara Lopez

***I was given an ARC by the writer 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

Against the Sky (The Brodies of Alaska #2) by Kat Martin

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“I can find men friends who like to fish, guys who like to ride snowmobiles and climb mountains. I don’t need a woman to do that with me. I need a woman to come home to, one who’ll give me children and make us a family. I love you, Samantha Hollis.” – Nick Brodie

All hail Nick Brodie! Firstcomer of Lydia’s Book Boyfriends of ’17 list and… Oh, wait, I rushed forward again, didn’t I? OK, OK, back from the beginning it is…


Nick Brodie was forced to go on a vacation by his big brother, knowing he needed one and still dreading it. On his trip, he meets Samantha Hollis – and sparks fly all over the place! After a night none of them is able to forget, they meet again, this time on Nick’s turf, Alaska, to spend some time together. But Samantha brings an unexpected surprise with her. With what happened between them leaving them in a sudden predicament, and Nick getting involved in a murder investigation despite having retired from the force, can this mountain boy and the city girl he’s falling fast in love with find common ground to be together? And will they live long enough to do so, with Russian mobsters after their heads?

I. Am. In. Love with the Brodies! I mean, Dylan was a fine guy, but Nick… Oh, boy, sweet mama, he was simply perfect! Funny, and protective, and possessive, and hot! And all that hidden father material under his carefree attitude… Lord!!! And you ladies need to see for yourselves how much this manly man needed a sweet wife, someone to walk by his side, be strong-willed, but still give him what he had missed the most: a home!


Don’t get me wrong, Nick wasn’t an old-fashioned dude who believes that women belong in the kitchen, doing nothing but cooking hot meals and popping out children. He just needed someone who would love him and share life’s duties with him.

And that girl seemed to be Samantha…


OK, yes, Samantha had everything that Nick wanted in a woman, and then some. But seriously, girl, you have this amazing hunk begging you to be with him, to marry him, have his babies. You have someone like Nick Brodie wanting to give you the world, make you a queen, be at your beck and call – and you throw it all away, multiple times might I add, why?! Because you can’t picture yourself living in Alaska! Let me stop you right there. When you love someone as much as you claim to love him, you don’t care where you’ll live, as long as you’re with him. This little “City Princess” act reminded me of Dylan’s ex-wife, and was so not appreciated!

The story in itself was amazing and fast-paced, with many moments of action and suspsense. It worked perfectly to spice things up since Nick’s relationship with Samantha was pretty well-oiled and they seemed to be awesome together – which again shows what an idiot Samantha was, because she was literally the only thing standing in the way of their happiness!

After Nick’s story, I don’t know if I’m ready to meet any other Brodie brothers, but heck, I’m willing! That’s for certain!

P.S.: I need me some Cord and Mary sidestory, pretty please! They need their HEA, too!!!

“I love you so much, Nick. I’ve been dead without you.” – Samantha Hollis

***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.***

4cupcakes

Flirting with Fangs by Peg Pierson

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“I love you, Torin Kane. I will love you for all eternity, and I want nothing more than to have a chance to prove it to you, by your side, night after glorious night.” – Bailey Hamilton

And, it’s finally here!!! So many days without a review, and I finally found the time to sit down and get back to work!

And what better way to do it than with a book I’ve been dying to write about!

Bailey Hamilton is in a terrible spot – both emotionally and career-wise. Not only has her husband dumped her, damaging her self-esteem as a woman greatly, but she also can’t seem to get out of her writer’s block to finish her new book. As a result, Torin Kane, her main character, is bound to wait a looong time until he’s called forth to woo all the lady-readers – and female co-stars his writer decides to pair him up with. Unless something drastic happens – something that will bring writer and character closer than ever…

Let me get this straight: there’s no way you’re either a writer or a reader, and haven’t wished, at least once in your life, that a fictional character was real. So there’s no way I wouldn’t like this particular story. I mean, come on, writer creates the perfect male specimen on page, and then gets to meet him personally? I would be so psyched!


Not to mention Bailey and Torin were adorable. A perfect little combo, full of hotness and humor – and insecurities. Damn, they were both so insecure! It was like watching a couple constantly cheering each other on. It would have been annoying if it wasn’t for the craaaaazy chemistry between those two.

The book had many things to offer, though apart from the romance. It had humor, and action – both of them dark, by the way, yet sprinkled with pink glitter on top of all the dark stuff. How the heck did Pierson manage to do it, I have no idea. But she did it in a completely functional way and that’s saying something!


The characters were all very interesting, too. No, I’m not talking about the main ones only. There were about a handful of secondary characters who were heaps fun and amazing in their own way, and they ended up pulling their own weight in the end, no matter how they initially started up, and on which side.

I dare say Peg Pierson had me pleasantly surprised, and thoroughly satisfied!

***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

The Orphan Fleet by Brendan Detzner

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Never let it be said that I don’t try new things. I may not like half of them, but heck, I still try them.

One of those things are books I wouldn’t normally read. Be it their genre, their covers, something in the plot… They’re just not my usual one-clicker. Still, that doesn’t mean I’ll come to love all of them.

Case in point, The Orphan Fleet. A fun, short, and entertaining book, but clearly not one for my tastes. It focused on Jiaire, an orphan living at a place called the Mountain, along with others like him. One day, a military guy tries to take one of them, claiming she’s his daighter, and the Orphans wage war on the man with extremely dramatic results.

Sounds exciting, right? Well, it certainly is, but not to the extent I expected it to.

The actions seemed rushed at some points, or too lengthy at others. The mock fights between the masked performers took way too long in the book, and nearly bored me to tears. Jiaire’s inner musings fell in that category, too. In most of the story, I felt like I was being told what was going on – not shown.

All in all, this was a… well, you can call it an experience, all right, but not one I might ever repeat. Jiaire and his friends can stay up there in the Mountain, alla happy and stuff, or they can grow up and finally leave, but I can’t be bothered by any of this…

***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

Bishop’s Queen (Titan #8) by Cristin Harber

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“You deserve to hear the truth occasionally. Unvarnished, no bullcrap. I’m in love with you.” – Bishop O’Kane

Sweet, to the point, and oh good God, as sexy as everything that comes out of Harber’s talented hands!

Bishop O’Kane is the new addition to the Titan team – you know, the one that Sugar and Lexi scouted in the previous book? Yup, and he didn’t disappoint! I swear, I was scared he might not be good enough for the original team, but damn, he was, and fantastically at that! He was all business-comes-first, and broody but with a soft spot for kids and strong-willed women – with a sense of humor greatly appreciated from yours truly. Plus, he was GROWLING!


Definitely Titan material, so I guess Sugar was right – AGAIN!

Now, on to Ella. Ella was the famous vlogger that Bishop had to protect, since an obsessed stalker was making her life terrifying to experience, to say the least. Problem is, they once were an item before an incident that cost them both a common loved person tore them apart. I may have liked Ella at the beginning a bit. She was feisty and passionate when it came to her work and her morals. She didn’t mind facing the entire world just to make sure justice prevailed.

And then… she lost me.

See, I can accept someone being uncomfortable with so many sudden changes in their routine, even if it’s for their own protection. But I simply can’t comprehend how someone as brave as her could not put her foot down and demand respect and some kind of privacy from her agent and partner. When it came to those two, she instantly transformed into a mindless doll, a puppet, doing and acting as they told her to! It was annoying at first, and it soon became a pet peeve! Like, congratulations, miss Leighton, you just added a new pet peeve on my list, WOW!


But the problems with Ella’s personality didn’t stop there! Oh, no! The woman turned out to be a downright idiot! Constantly putting others and herself in danger because she refused to accept reality. Never allowing Bishop to do his freaking job. Always putting the poor man in the spotlight for millions of viewers to criticize and analyze him. And of course she was ALWAYS the victim, why couldn’t anyone understand that? But also a fighter, so no thank you to protection! (notice the sarcasm or was it subtle enough?)

Oh, oh, and she DARED to think that the entire Titan team – Jared and Bishop included – was full of mindless, meat-headed, gym-obsessed, happy-finger-trigger gun-totting brutes! Woman, I’ll leave the fact you insulted our dear Boss Man, but what on Earth?! BISHOP WAS ONCE YOUR SWEETHEART, ARE YOU HONESTLY THAT SHALLOW TO JUDGE OTHERS BASED ON APPEARANCE FOR ALMOST THE WHOLE BOOK WHEN YOUR JUDGEMENT HAS PROVEN COUNTLESS TIMES TO BE FAULTY AND KEEP EVERYONE TOXIC AS CLOSE TO YOU AS POSSIBLE?!?!


All in all, the story was great. Packed with action and suspense, and tons of sexual tension. Tension that always delivers the best hot scenes, as Cristin Harber has proved from day one. And while we pretty much know the stalker right from the start, it still didn’t lose its edge as the protagonists were trying to stay out of his radar without much success. The only reason why this didn’t get the fifth cupcake was Ella. I think it was the first time I seriously hated a main character of this series, and I hope it will be the last.

Now I’m waiting for Locke’s story! LET ME TELL YOU, I FEEL THIS ONE WILL BE MY TITAN MAN!!!

“You didn’t change everything. You set the bar. And when you weren’t there, the world fell apart. Now that you’re back, everything, for me, has gone back to as it should.” – Ella Leighton

RATING:

4cupcakes

Mind Waves (Mind Hackers, #1) by Amanda Uhl

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If you could read thoughts, and alter them to your liking, would you abuse that kind of power or make sure to respect boundaries?

David Jenkins is a Mind Hacker. He can read minds, erase or change memories and thoughts, and generally hack into someone’s head as he pleases. But he’s not doing it for fun. A Government Operative, David uses his ability to ensure the safety of common civilians from criminals. However, lately, there has been a certain criminal who seems to have the same skillset as him – and Grace Woznisky, a woman David is strongly attracted to, has become said criminal’s sick new obsession. Will David be able to protect her, all the while keeping his identity hidden? And how is he going to do that, if he’s on the verge of breaking the one rule he always followed: never get too close to a civilian?

Well this book sure had some interesting plot twists and sidestories to offer. Apart from the X-men kind of feeling – courtesy of the Jenkins family – it was also fast-paced and full of intrigue and action. The main villain kept twisting around and it was nearly impossible to fgiure him out, not until he decided to explain himself – which was rather late in the story, so bonus points to keeping the suspence that way!

The romance was definitely a nice touch, as it was given room to bloom and develop even with the insta-attraction factor giving it a headstart. The only thing that may have brought me down a little was how much everyone – especially Geneva – was hellbent on interfering with David’s decisions when it came to Grace. I mean, sheesh, guys, he’s the strongest member of the team, and he’s damn good and in love, leave the man be!

I’m looking forward to reading more of this series, Geneva’s story in particular – I have a feeling she’ll get a book of her own, that kind of tension I sensed just can’t be ignored!

***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

The White Feather by Heidi Wessman Kneale

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What happens when you put together a ghost viewed as satanic and a man labeled as a coward? Well, you might just want to read this book and see for yourselves!

James Cowper is a young gentleman who freaks out when it comes to holding a gun. Thus, he is labeled as a coward when he can’t be of any use during the Great War, and lives on being mocked by his village. Unable to keep going on like this, James decides to commit suicide – only to be stopped by the most unexpected person. The village’s resident naked ghost, miss Georgia Palmerton, states she can’t let him take away his life, seeing him as someone very precious to her. With this most unusual ally by his side, James finds courage he never thought he possessed – it’s time for him to get back his honor. There’s only one catch – he has to help Georgia get back to life!

With no small amount of witty dialogues – courtesy of our dear ghost – and beautiful, innocent romance, this book is certainly something else. While ghost romance has become quite popular recently, I found this one to be a much better choice than other titles of this kind I’ve read.

First of all, James is courteous, kind, and definitely much more of a man than he gives himself credit for. It’s true that he found it hard to put his foot on the ground and demand things that were rightfully his, but I don’t believe that was his fault entirely. The poor guy had a whole village making his life hell, and on top of that, a mother who kept trying to coddle him while listening to that stupid aunt of his on the matter. It was literally him against the world!


So it wasn’t shocking at all, when he started showing some major backbone and badass tendencies the minute he realized he actually had someone in his corner. Georgia did him some good – scratch that, she practically made him see that he owned a set of balls, and it was long overdue he used them! Their relationship and teamwork was nothing short of beautiful!

The only reason this didn’t get any more cupcakes was because I felt something missing. I would have liked something more to be completely satisfied, though I’m not exactly sure what….

***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:

3cupcakes