Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review: Count to Ten by Karen Rose

Posted September 3, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Count to Ten by Karen RoseReviewer: Rowena
Count to Ten by Karen Rose
Series: Romantic Suspense #6
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: February 1, 2007
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 564
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In all his years in the Chicago Fire Department, Lieutenant Reed Solliday has never experienced anything like this recent outbreak of house fires - devastating, vicious and in one case, homicidal. He has another problem - his new partner, Detective Mia Mitchell. She's brash, bossy, and taking the case in a direction he never imagined. Mia's instincts tell her the arsonist is making this personal. And as the infernos become more deadly, one look at the victims' tortured faces convinces her and Reed that they must work closer to catch the killer. With each new blaze, the villain ups the ante, setting firetraps for the people Reed and Mia love. The truth is almost too hot to handle: This monster's desire for death and destruction is unquenchable ... and for Mia he's started the countdown to an early grave.

Count to Ten is the sixth book in Karen Rose’s Romantic Suspense series and the first book that I’ve ever read by Rose. I don’t know what I was expecting when I jumped into this book but whatever, I liked this one. This was a book club read and if you guys know anything about my book club, they like happy, happy, joy, joy stories and this weren’t one of them. I didn’t mind the gore and the darkness that surrounded the villain (that we actually see on the page) because I was super wrapped up in the investigation, the romance between the main couple and I was really rooting for the good guys to figure everything out.

This book read like an episode of Law & Order: SVU. The crime is committed, the fire department and the cops are called, the detectives scramble from lead to lead to find the bad guy and all of that is happening at the same time that some characters are dealing with personal issues and falling in love. I thought Karen Rose handled each aspect of the story really well. It was too heavy on one specific thing. The characters were fleshed out, the story was engaging and though it was a bit slow in the beginning when it picked up, it really picked up.

Reed Solliday was an interesting hero, one that I really enjoyed getting to know. He is still grieving his late wife, even though it’s been a few years and his daughter is really going through it. She’s fourteen and is feeling some type of way about constantly living in the shadow of her dead mother. It’s a big thing that is tackled in this book and I thought Rose did a great job of letting the reader feel what the characters were feeling. I loved that Reed wasn’t perfect, that you really go through every day with him and see him grow into his feelings for Mia while figuring out how to reach his daughter and trying to stop a serial killer from taking another life. I loved seeing him struggle with trying to understand his growing daughter, struggle with moving on from his wife, a woman he thought was the love of his life.

Mia Mitchell really grew on me. I didn’t read any of the other books in this series, so I didn’t go into this story knowing the background on what happened with Mia and her partner, Abe but that didn’t really matter because Rose did a good job of making the reader understand what was going on anyway. It took a little bit for me to warm up to Mia’s character but I ended up really loving her. I thought she had a great head on her shoulders, she was strong and brave and she didn’t need anyone to save her, no matter how many times Reed tried. She was also extremely caring of those in her small circle of trust and I really loved seeing her fix the broken parts of her life. She dealt with a lot of things on her own and it took her a while to really come around to the idea of leaning on anyone so when she finally does, I was here for it.

Overall, this story was action-packed and the romance was sweet so I had a good time reading it. I am definitely interested in reading more books in this series and more books from this author. This was a great introduction to Karen Rose’s work and I’m glad that I read it. I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

Romantic Suspense

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

Posted August 29, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica SorensenReviewer: Rowena
The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen
Series: The Secret #1
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: February 12th 2013
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Ella and Micha have been best friends since they were kids. But one tragic night shatters their friendship and their lives forever.

Ella used to be a rule-breaker with fiery attitude who wore her heart on her sleeve. But she left everything behind when she went to college and transformed into someone that follows the rules, keeps everything together, and hides all her problems. But now it's summer break and she has nowhere else to go but home.

Ella fears everything she worked so hard to bury might resurface, especially with Micha living right next door. If Micha tries to tempt the old her back, she knows that it will be hard to resist.

Micha is sexy, smart, confident, and can get under Ella’s skin like no one else can. He knows everything about her, including her darkest secrets. And he’s determined to bring his best friend, and the girl he loves back, no matter what it takes.

(New Adult Contemporary)*Mature Content** Recommended for ages 17+ due to sexual situations and language.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on Apr 17, 2013

This story is filled with secrets up to my ears and I spent a good deal of this book, confused.  I was trying to figure out what happened, why they weren’t talking about it and yet, I couldn’t put this book down.  I thought this book was written exactly the way that it was supposed to be written because I was so wrapped up in Ella and Micha’s world that I was sad when it all came to an end.

Ella and Micha are best friends and have been best friends since they were children.  They’ve also got some big time feelings for each other but for reasons that belong to the both of them, they’ve never gotten together.  They’ve never been an official couple.  When Ella’s mother dies, things happen and Ella runs away.  She runs away from her home, from her friends and from Micha.  Nobody knows where Ella went, except for her Dad and he’s not telling anyone, anything and that, more than anything, pisses Micha off.

The story takes place eight months later.  It’s summer time and with nowhere to go for the summer, Ella has no choice but to go back home and face the music that is sure to be waiting for her when she gets back.

Throughout this whole story, I was engaged.  My heart, my emotions, my mind, it was all focused on the characters in this book.  I couldn’t put it down.  The book isn’t a very long read anyway but I still inhaled it.  I came to love both Ella and Micha so much as well as Ethan and Lila.

Ella and Micha together made sense and man, the amount of love and passion that Micha showed for Ella, holy cow…it was fantastic!  He was my very favorite part of this book and I cannot freaking wait until the next book.  There were a few times when I wanted to strangle Ella and Dean and Ella’s Dad but overall, the story was a great read. I highly recommend.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5

The Secret


four-half-stars


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Lightning Reviews: Fire Inside, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Wild Like the Wind by Kristen Ashley

Posted August 16, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Kristen Ashley, how I love thee.

Lightning Reviews: Fire Inside, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Wild Like the Wind by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Fire Inside by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos MC #2
Also in this series: Own the Wind (Chaos, #1), Own the Wind, Ride Steady, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Free, Own the Wind
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: March 25, 2014
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: First Person, Third Person
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 432
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-half-stars

Lanie Heron isn't looking for love-no surprise, considering her last serious relationship nearly got her killed. So when Lanie propositions Hop Kincaid, all she wants is one wild night with the hot-as-hell biker who patrols with the Chaos Motorcycle Club . . .

For Hop, Lanie has always been untouchable. She's too polished and too classy for his taste. But when she gives Hop the once-over with her bedroom eyes and offers him a night in paradise, he can't say no. And he doesn't regret it when he finds that Lanie is the best thing that's ever happened to him-in or out of bed. Now the trick will be to convince her of that.

After almost dying trying to protect her fiancé, Lanie Heron is a shadow of her former self. Once upon a time she was the life of the party, now she just wants to be left alone. By everyone but one person.

When Lanie propositions Hop, he is floored. He’s always watched Lanie, but knew she wasn’t for him. Now he can’t turn her away.

Hop and Lanie’s story was sweet. I thought I would find Lanie more annoying than I did. She was just about unbearable in Motorcycle Man. She was just too much. While this book is not my favorite in the series, it was still a good read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Lightning Reviews: Fire Inside, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Wild Like the Wind by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos MC #3
Also in this series: Own the Wind (Chaos, #1), Own the Wind, Ride Steady, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Free, Own the Wind
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: Multiple
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 640
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: three-half-stars

Meet the intense and sexy bad boy bikers of the Chaos Motorcycle Club in Carissa and Joker's story from Kristen Ashley's New York Times bestselling series.
The ride of her life . . . Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy---until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa's pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.

Climb on and hold tight . . . In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he's the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa's acting, it's clear she's falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker's secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa---or ride away forever . . .

I read this book ages ago, but didn’t review it. I don’t know why that is because I adored this book. Loved it. This book is my favorite in the Chaos MC series.

Carson “Joker” Steele loved Carissa Teodoro since he was a boy. She was untouchable. After rescuing her on the side of the road, Joker knows he won’t give her up. Ever.

Carissa doesn’t recognize Joker as the sweet boy from high school. It’s clear that he’s been through his fair share of trials since she last saw him. She’s also gone through more than any person should have to. Fighting for custody of her child, paying child support, all of it has taken it’s toll. Now she has the Chaos MC behind her and her life abruptly changes. She just has to convince Joker to take a chance on them.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Lightning Reviews: Fire Inside, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Wild Like the Wind by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Walk Through Fire by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos MC #4
Also in this series: Own the Wind (Chaos, #1), Own the Wind, Ride Steady, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Free, Own the Wind
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: Multiple
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 624
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: three-half-stars

The flame never dies . . .

Millie Cross knows what it's like to burn for someone. She was young and wild and he was fierce and even wilder-a Chaos biker who made her heart pound. They fell in love at first sight and life was good, until she learned she couldn't be the woman he needed and made it so he had no choice but to walk away. Twenty years later, Millie's chance run-in with her old flame sparks a desire she just can't ignore. And this time, she won't let him ride off . . .

Bad boy Logan "High" Judd has seen his share of troubles with the law. Yet it was a beautiful woman who broke him. After ending a loveless marriage, High is shocked when his true love walks back into his life. Millie is still gorgeous, but she's just a ghost of her former self. High's intrigued at the change, but her betrayal cut him deep-and he doesn't want to get burned again. As High sinks into meting out vengeance for Millie's betrayal, he'll break all over again when he realizes just how Millie walked through fire for her man . . .

When Millie Cross sees Logan “High” Judd after twenty years, it slays her. He was the boy that she loved fiercely, then left. She had her reasons, but never told Logan what those were. She just broke his heart (and hers in the process) and walked away. Millie has been a shadow of herself since she left him. Seeing him again changes everything. She decides that it’s time to tell Logan why she left him. Then maybe she can move on from the hell she’s been living in. Close the door on the past for good.

Logan “High” Judd cannot believe his eyes when the former love of his life walks back into his life. Millie Cross destroyed him when she walked away. The last thing he wants is her back in his life. High sends her away in the cruelest of ways, not knowing the sacrifice that Millie made for him. When he finally finds out what she gave up, he’s devastated.

I really enjoyed High and Millie’s book. I didn’t think I would like it as much as I did.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Lightning Reviews: Fire Inside, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Wild Like the Wind by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Wild Like the Wind by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos MC #5
Also in this series: Own the Wind (Chaos, #1), Own the Wind, Ride Steady, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Free, Own the Wind
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: Multiple
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 438
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: three-half-stars

The brother known as Hound has a reputation. He’s all about cracking heads, having a good time, and when the Chaos Motorcycle Club needs someone to do the tough job, they call on him.

But Hound has a secret. He fell in love with a woman years ago. She’s untouchable. Unattainable. And even when her status changes, for Hound, it remains the same.

Keely Black had it all early and lost it all not long after. Thrown into an abyss of loss and grief, she’s faced a life of raising two sons alone and battling the rage at all that had been ripped from them.

And why.

Words spoken in anger open Hound’s and Keely’s eyes. For Hound, he sees he’s wasted his life loving the wrong woman. Keely sees she’s wasting her life not opening herself to the love of a good man.

Keely Black has been living in the past for eighteen years. Her husband, Black, was murdered because he was part of the Chaos MC. Now her boys want to become prospects with the same club. she wants to support them but her fear is too great.

Hound has loved Keely since the first moment he saw her. After Black was murdered, Hound was there for Keely. As a friend and a stepfather to her boys. Now she wants him, but Club rules say she’s off limits. Hound can’t stay away from her and they start a steaming hot affair. The time comes when they have to pay the piper and Hound can only hope that he can keep the Club that is his life and the woman that has recently become his life.

I didn’t think I would like this book as much as I ended up liking it. I highly disliked Keely at first. I ended up really loving her. Loving both her and Hound individually and together as a couple.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Chaos


three-half-stars


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Review: Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley

Posted August 8, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Motorcycle Man by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley
Series: Dream Man #4
Also in this series: Mystery Man, Wild Man, Law Man
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 489
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Get ready to ride . . .


Tyra Masters has had enough drama to last a lifetime. Now, she's back on track and looking forward to her new, quiet life. Until she meets the man of her dreams. The tattooed, muscled biker plies her with tequila-and the best sex of her life. She knows it isn't the tequila and hot sex talking. He's the kind of man she's always wanted. Unfortunately, he's also her new boss . . .

Kane "Tack" Allen has a rule. He doesn't employ someone he's slept with. So when he learns he spent last night in bed with his new office manager, he quickly fires Tyra. Yet when Tyra stands up to him and fights for her job, Tack is intrigued. He tells her she can keep her job on one condition: no more sex. Ever. But as things heat up between them, Tack finds that he'll be the one breaking all the rules...

136,000 words

His hand left my skin to smack my ass lightly before he said, “Time to get to your own bed, darlin’.” I blinked but the rest of my body froze. He moved. He exited the bed, grabbed his jeans and yanked them on. Then he sauntered to a door off the room, not even so much as glancing back as he said, “Leave your number and close the door on your way out, would you, Red?” Then he disappeared behind the door and shut it behind him.

Thus ends the first meeting between Tyra Masters and Kane “Tack” Allen. While Tyra fell in love with Tack at first sight, girls like Tyra are a dime a dozen to Tack. What Tack doesn’t know is that Tyra is the new office manager of Chaos’ body shop, Ride. If there is one rule that Tack follows, it’s not to get involved with his employees. When he comes face-to-face with Tyra the morning after their tryst, he assumes that she’s there to cling to him. What he doesn’t expect is the fiery attitude that Tyra gives him. When he tries to fire her (I mean he still wants to fuck her when the mood strikes), he surprised by her reaction. This is nothing like the woman who fell all over him the night before.

Tyra Masters fell in love with Tack the moment she saw him.. Then he crushed her. She never meant to sleep with her new boss, but she thought he was the one for her. When he sees her at the body shop the next day, she knows that she has to stand up to him. And stand up she does. Tyra is not going to let Tack make her feel cheap like the night before. Or less than she truly is. Unexpectedly, Tack pushes and pushes Tyra until she can’t help but start an affair with him.

I didn’t like Tack at the beginning of this book, tbh. He was not very likable (see above). He was a complete ass and he treated Tyra like shit. Tack does redeem himself, imo. He realizes he was wrong about Tyra and sets out to win her. When she’s caught up and badly hurt in the fight Chaos is in, Tack realizes that she’s the one for him. He can’t imagine losing her. How he came to realize this was actually pretty sweet. Then chaos ensues à la Kristen Ashley. It was great.

This is the book where Tabby and Shy were introduced as were most of the characters that move on to have books in the Chaos MC series. I highly enjoyed this book. I loved finally reading Tack and Tyra’s story. I didn’t expect to like it that much, so it was more than a pleasant surprise that I loved it so much.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Dream Man

four-half-stars


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Review: Law Man by Kristen Ashley

Posted July 17, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Law Man by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Law Man by Kristen Ashley
Series: Dream Man #3
Also in this series: Mystery Man, Wild Man, Motorcycle Man
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: December 17, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 508
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Love is just around the corner . . .


Sweet, shy Mara Hanover is in love with her neighbor. For four years, she has secretly watched her dream man from afar. Handsome police detective Mitch Lawson is way out of her league. She's a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, and there's no way a guy like Mitch would want anything to do with her. But when Mara has a leaky faucet that she can't fix, it's Mitch who comes to her rescue.

Mitch has been eyeing his beautiful neighbor for a long time. He jumps at the chance to help her, and soon their formerly platonic relationship gets very hot and heavy. But when Mara gets a disturbing phone call from her cousin's kids, she gets pulled back into the life she's tried so hard to leave behind. Can the hot law man convince Mara to let go of her past-and build a future with him?

140,000 words

Ah, Mitch Lawson. He’s one of my favorite Ashley heroes. Mitch is everything you look for in a hero. He’s sweet, but still alpha. He tells you how it’s going to be, but he does it in a quiet, but firm way. He cares deeply about his job upholding the law. Everything about him just works. That why it fucking sucks that he got such an awful heroine.

Mara Hanover appears sweet and shy just as the summary suggests. Appearances are deceiving. She has a serious problem. View Spoiler » Mara’s issues were so prevalent in the book that they overtook almost everything. She wasn’t worthy of Mitch at all.

As for Mitch, he was so sure that Mara was worth it. He could see little pieces of what he considered the “real” Mara shine through and he was determined to help her. That was Mitch. He was determined to help everyone.

When Mara’s two young cousins need to be taken away from the dangerous environment that their father has them in, Mara knows that she needs to take custody. She’s known that it’s been a long time coming, but everything has just now come to a head. That’s another thing that I couldn’t accept about Mara. She knew that her cousins weren’t safe at their home but she wasn’t “ready” to take custody yet. It showed her true character to me. Her taking them anyway meant nothing.

Mitch on the other hand completely stepped up. When he offered his help after knowing Mara for such a hard time, she did what Mara does. She turned him down even knowing that she couldn’t do it on her own. She was just completely ridiculous.

I really wanted to love this book, but I couldn’t. I don’t know what Mitch was thinking.

Rating: 3 out of 5 (and only for Mitch).

Dream Man

three-stars


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