Publisher: Self-Published

Review: Laird Wolf by Vivian Arend

Posted January 17, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Laird Wolf by Vivian ArendReviewer: Holly
Laird Wolf by Vivian Arend
Narrator: Tatiana Sokolov
Series: Takhini Shifters #2
Also in this series: Laird Wolf
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 21, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 178
Length: 4 hours and 21 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From New York Times bestselling author Vivian Arend These stand-alone stories are filled with humour and heart-felt adventures, and the sexy happily-ever-afters are sure to make you smile.

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He’s a wolf in a kilt. That pretty much says it all…

Pulling off a rescue mission at a remote castle in Scotland should be an easy task for lone wolf Damon Black. He’ll flash some muscle, show a little Alpha power, and do whatever it takes to ease Addie MacShay’s fears. But the woman who throws herself into his arms and cries boyfriend is more intriguing than anticipated. The sexy she-wolf’s got more curves, more tantalizing scent, more of everything he desires.

Addie’s job cataloguing an estate at the Sterling-Wylde Manor is complicated by the ongoing discovery of new wills and the two creepy heirs who won’t leave her alone. But her fake boyfriend turns out to be a far greater threat—not only is he fun and flirtatious, he looks delicious in a kilt. She craves his touch, but with her empathic skills on overdrive, touch is the last thing she needs.

Damon’s fighting his unruly inner beast. Addie’s fighting their incredible sexual pull. They’ll both have to lower their guard to make this more than a Highland fling.

Laird Wolf is the second book in Vivian Arend‘s Takhini Shifters series. I didn’t read the first book in the series and I think some of the hero’s backstory. It wasn’t enough to ruin my enjoyment of the book, but you may want to read Copper King first. I loved the setting (a Castle in Scotland) and the main characters. I’m anxious to go back to book one now. Tatiana Sokolov narrated and I enjoyed the way she told the story.

Addie MacShay has been hired to catalog an estate in Scotland, owned by a family of cat shifters. Their father recently passed away and the two remaining heirs are fighting over who will inherit. She’s been feeling unsafe alone in the house with just the two brothers (she feels eyes watching her all the time and gets a bad vibe whenever she’s alone with one of them), so she asks her best friend for help. She sends Damon Black to play bodyguard. To explain his presence, they say he’s her boyfriend who decided to join her.

Damon is happy to play bodyguard for the sexy Addie. Having his luggage get lost at the airport and falling into a mud pit on his way to the castle wasn’t really part of the plan, but he can roll with it. Now he’s running around the estate in nothing but a loaned kilt, trying to figure out why thing seem so fishy with the brothers..and trying to keep his paws off Addie. She’s beautiful and smart, a deadly combination for him. When his wolf starts acting strange, Damon will need all his willpower and investigative skills to figure out what’s going on.

This was a good story. There were some heavy parts, but overall the tone was light and fun. I really liked Addie and how seriously she took her job. I also really liked Damon and how well he protected Addie. It wasn’t so much fighting off bad guys, but making her feel safe with his presence.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Takhini Shifters

three-half-stars


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Review: The Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan

Posted January 15, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Kingmaker by Kennedy RyanReviewer: Rowena
The Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan
Series: All the Kings Men #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 28, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alterntaing First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 344
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Raised to rule, bred to lead and weaned on a diet of ruthless ambition. In a world of haves and have nots, my family has it all, and I want nothing to do with it.

My path takes me far from home and paints me as the black sheep. At odds with my father, I’m determined to build my own empire. I have rules, but Lennix Hunter is the exception to every one of them. From the moment we meet, something sparks between us. But my family stole from hers and my father is the man she hates most. I lied to have her, and would do anything to keep her. Though she tries to hate me, too, the inexorable pull between us will not be denied.

And neither will I.

The Kingmaker is the first book in Kennedy Ryan’s All the King’s Men duet and it was also the last book that I read in 2019. I really, really enjoyed this one and I don’t say that lightly because this book is hella political and politics are not my jam. But Kennedy Ryan did her thing again because I ate this book up.

This story covers like a decade in the lives of the two main characters, Maxin Kingsman Cade and Lennix Moon Hunter. Lennix is a Native American young woman who lost her mother when she was young. Her mother went to Seattle for a pipeline protest and never came home. She was never found and Lennix doesn’t think enough was done to help her family get the closure they needed. She doesn’t know what happened to her Mom and I think that played a huge part in while she picked up activism at such an early age. She was a big spokesperson for the Native American people in her area and she led peaceful protests against corporate oil companies that wanted to build pipelines on her people’s sacred lands, pipelines that would contaminate their water. So it’s not a huge surprise that she despises everything that has to do with Warren Cade. Warren Cade is the head of Cade Energy and he’s doing everything that Lennix is fighting against.

Maxim is determined to be his own man. He refuses to back down from joining his father’s company because his father will not listen to Maxim’s ideas on how to build a better energy company using methods that will help with climate change. His Dad’s main focus has been money and he makes a lot of it in the oil business so he’s not willing to listen to Maxim. Maxim grew up listening to his father speak, seeing his father in action so he knows that his father is relentless and ruthless and Maxim wants no part of that. He’s determined to learn all that he can so that he can build a better world for everyone and he’s hell-bent on doing it on his own, without his father’s influence.

When Maxim and Lennix meet for the first time, Lennis is too young for him but he’s very interested. There’s chemistry in spades sizzling between them but Maxim is bummed that she’s so young. He knows that she’s going to grow up to be an amazing woman and he was right. When they meet up again four years later, Lennix is older and Maxim is still interested. They spend a week together in Amsterdam and they fall in love but their love is shortlived because their lives take them in opposite directions and they drift apart for some more years…and then Lennix finds out that Maxim was keeping a huge secret from her and she is determined to never let him close enough again.

Seeing these two meet, fall in love and then are torn apart, only for them to come back together years later with one of them fighting for a love that he knows is worth everything made for a really interesting romance. I fell hard for both Lennix and Maxim. They were both intense characters that were strong on their own but in my opinion, better together. Their love was strong and it was fierce and it never completely fizzled out after years and years of separation. Kennedy Ryan will pull at your emotional strings with this one because it’s not an easy romance but man was it a worthwhile one. This book isn’t getting 5 stars from me but that’s only because of that ending. I’m not a fan of cliffhanger endings and this has one so if you’re wanting to read this, there’s your warning…but on the bright side, the follow-up book, The Rebel King is available for you to immediately jump into if you need to.

Final Grade

4.75 out of 5

All the King’s Men

four-half-stars


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Buddy Review: Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue

Posted January 13, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Buddy Review: Grumpy Jake by Melissa BlueReviewer: Ames and Rowena
Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 8, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 104
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

Bailey Thorne doesn't hate Jake the Rake, just despises him. She blames the rumor mill at her school...and, okay, him. His adorable son has only been in preschool, but Jake has already made an impressive dent in dating the unmarried faculty. She's had to hear of his every exploit from the broken hearts he's left behind. She was fine to loathe him from afar, but now his son has entered kindergarten--and she's the teacher. It's going to be a very long school year.

Jake Polaski was more than fine to avoid Ms. Thorne after it became clear she was not amused by his very existence. But then they get stuck in an elevator for an evening. He finds out that underneath that baleful glare she always gives him, lies a warm, funny and sexy as hell woman. He does his best to not be smitten after every exchange afterward. His son needs him rational, steadfast...and love is the most uncertain thing.

It was the elevator's fault. Had it worked like it should, Bailey would have gone on with her life without seeing why so many of her co-workers had fallen for the grumpy single dad. (It's his dry wit, his playful teasing and the drool-worthy cut of his jawline.) And now she's caught in the way he doles out smiles and the dark depths of his secrets. If nothing else, she knows from rumor there's a clock ticking on their affair before it implodes because things always do with Jake the Rake, but she can't seem to walk away first.

Rowena: Amy and I have been buddy reviewing books together for a few years now but we both weren’t reading much in the last few months of 2019 so we took a break but we’re back. Our first buddy review for 2020 will be on Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue.

Grumpy Jake follows Jake Polasky and Bailey Thorne as they make that journey toward they’re happily ever after, together. Bailey is Jake’s son’s teacher and though they started off on rocky ground, getting stuck on an elevator sparks up a friendship that turns into a lot more than either of them thought.

So, Ames…what did you think?

Ames: I thought this was a cute novella. I like how its called Grumpy Jake but when Bailey noticed the rep Jake had with the teachers she was aloof towards him, so in a way she was almost grumpy too. Even Jake’s son noticed that she didn’t particularly care for Jake. haha For this being a novella, I thought there was a lot packed into the story and it was enjoyable.

What did you think, Ween?

Rowena: I really enjoyed this one. It was a quick romp that I thought was cute. I liked that Bailey was a teacher and we actually got to see her in action. I also liked that though this was a novella, there was still a lot of stuff packed into the story to satisfy the reader. I wasn’t expecting all the steamy love scenes but I wasn’t mad about them either. There wasn’t much that I didn’t enjoy about this one, if anything, I just wanted more because I didn’t want to depart from these characters so soon. I liked Jayden and I liked the relationship that formed between Bailey and Jayden and I loved that regardless of what was going on with her and Jake, that didn’t affect anything between her and Jayden. I just flat out liked this one.

Ames: It’s harder to review a book we enjoy than one we didn’t, don’t you think? Because I agree with everything you said. Seeing Bailey in her role as a teacher and how that impacts developing a relationship with a parent of one of her students was interesting to see. And sets up the conflict nicely. Jayden was super cute and my heart broke for his and Jake’s story. The heat factor was nice too. I wasn’t expecting that so it was a pleasant surprise.

Overall, I don’t have any complaints about Grumpy Jake. I like a grumpy hero because there’s usually a softy hidden underneath that exterior and I like how Bailey called Jake out on his behaviour. They were a good match.

Rowena: You’re right. I just flat out like everything about this book, I just wanted it to be longer. So I gave it a 4.25 out of 5, you?

Ames: I’m giving this one a 4 out of 5. A very strong novella and a great introduction to Blue’s writing.

Final Grade

Ames: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue

Posted January 12, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 5 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue came on my radar last month when I saw that gorgeous cover. Then Rowena read it and said she really liked it, so I bumped it up on my list. I can’t wait to read it.

Sunday Spotlight: Grumpy Jake by Melissa BlueGrumpy Jake by Melissa Blue
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 8, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 104
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Bailey Thorne doesn't hate Jake the Rake, just despises him. She blames the rumor mill at her school...and, okay, him. His adorable son has only been in preschool, but Jake has already made an impressive dent in dating the unmarried faculty. She's had to hear of his every exploit from the broken hearts he's left behind. She was fine to loathe him from afar, but now his son has entered kindergarten--and she's the teacher. It's going to be a very long school year.

Jake Polaski was more than fine to avoid Ms. Thorne after it became clear she was not amused by his very existence. But then they get stuck in an elevator for an evening. He finds out that underneath that baleful glare she always gives him, lies a warm, funny and sexy as hell woman. He does his best to not be smitten after every exchange afterward. His son needs him rational, steadfast...and love is the most uncertain thing.

It was the elevator's fault. Had it worked like it should, Bailey would have gone on with her life without seeing why so many of her co-workers had fallen for the grumpy single dad. (It's his dry wit, his playful teasing and the drool-worthy cut of his jawline.) And now she's caught in the way he doles out smiles and the dark depths of his secrets. If nothing else, she knows from rumor there's a clock ticking on their affair before it implodes because things always do with Jake the Rake, but she can't seem to walk away first.

Excerpt

He tossed the suit jacket on the arm of the couch. She hesitated then walked over to the photo album to pull out the braces picture. He just smirked at her as he settled into the cushions.

When she came back in with two cups, he did indeed have the album open on the table.

“That was the only picture in there where I cringe.”

He sat back. “I noticed. There’s just a void of you and your family until high school.”

“Sophomore year to be exact.” She handed him the cup then put hers on the table to cool off. “By then I grew boobs, got a bit of style and no longer wore braces.” She bit her lip for a moment.

“What is it?”

“I think it’s only fair you show me an embarrassing photo.”

He put his cup down on the table. “For the record, I don’t cringe at any of my old photos.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“I was born handsome.”

She cackled. “Lies.”

He didn’t smile but there was a light in his eyes. “You’ve caught me. I was ugly as shit until fifteen, and then there were some questionable style choices for me.” He scrolled through his phone, stopped to look at her then shook his head. “I can’t believe I’m about to show you this.” He hesitated. “No. I absolutely cannot show you this.”

Red blossomed on his cheeks. Grumpy Jake was blushing. “I have to see this picture now.”

He glanced at his phone then shook his head. She put her hand out. He pulled the phone just out of her reach. “I can’t do it.”

“Okay,” she said, placing her hand in her lap.

Their gazes met, held, then she lunged for the phone. She ended up sprawled across his lap on her stomach as they both laughed. They playfully wrestled for another moment until her hand brushed something hard, something thick. She snatched her hand back and tried to untangle their limbs from his. He wrapped his hand around her waist and pulled her into him until her butt settled on that hard and thick part of him between his legs. The laughter had died away. Bailey brought her gaze up to his. Heat and lust had darkened his blue eyes, seeping into her and leaving every part of her buzzing with—everything.

Jake cupped her cheek. “I want to kiss you, Bailey.”

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: January 2020

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Melissa Blue

Melissa Blue’s writing career started on a typewriter one month after her son was born. This would have been an idyllic situation for a writer if it had been 1985, not 2004. She penned that first contemporary romance, upgraded to a computer and hasn’t looked back since.

Outside of writing, Blue works as a mail clerk for the federal government has a paralegal certificate (that she has more use for as a dustpan) and is a mother of two rambunctious children. She lives in California where the wine is good and, despite popular belief, is not always sunny.


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Review: Grand Theft N.Y.E. by Katrina Jackson

Posted January 10, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Grand Theft N.Y.E. by Katrina JacksonReviewer: Rowena
Grand Theft N.Y.E. by Katrina Jackson
Series: Heist Holidays #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 161
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Cleo Wright is just a happy scammer on a mission to rob a rich man before his ex-wife or the federal government seize all of his money and possessions. She's not expecting to meet another rich man who makes her want to use her nimble fingers for other, not thieving, things. But Robert Shimizu is just that man.

The two share a night of fast cars, expensive champagne and the best sex of her life. But Cleo is who she is and when Robert wakes up the next morning, she's long gone... with his car and a few other very expensive possessions.

It takes him months to track down the woman who stole his favorite watch and his heart, but when he does, there's fireworks.

Content Warnings: Mentions of parental illness and death

I won this book on Twitter and it looked like something I was in the mood for so I jumped right in not too long after it hit my kindle (thanks to Mina and @MelindaEdits). I didn’t read the blurb or anything, I jumped in because I liked the look of the cover. This is the first book that I’ve read by Katrina Jackson but it won’t be my last. After I finished this book, I went back and looked at the cover and thought that Jackson captured her book cover so well in this book. That girl on the cover is freaking Cleo Wright. She captured Cleo’s personality so well and I freaking loved Cleo. I don’t normally read a lot of romances with con artists as main characters (I haven’t read an MC romance in a long ass time) but Cleo’s personality pulled me in from the very first page.

Cleo Wright is part of a con team that robs from the rich. The stupid rich and she plays her part in their cons really well. She makes no apologies for who she is and her personality really shines in this book. When she meets Mr. Robert Shimizu, her life as she knows it blows the fuck up. She meets Robert on a job and when her part in the job is done, she makes herself scarce but not before Robert asks to spend the night with her and she accepts. She didn’t know that that night was going to rock her socks the way that it did but when she leaves him in the morning, she figures she’ll remember him always (yes, the sex was that good) but she is who she is so, of course, she stole some stuff from him.

This book was a really quick read and so we don’t see the romance really build as we would in a full-length novel but I still enjoyed this one. I enjoyed Cleo’s personality, I enjoyed how steamy the sex was between Robert and Cleo and I’m mighty curious about the couple that we see in the end of this book. This was short, it was sweet and it was hot as hell. I dug it and I recommend it if you’re in the mood for something short and to the point with some hot loving too.

Final Grade

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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