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Just a Kiss (The Bradfords #5) by Erin Nicholas

Just a Kiss (The Bradfords, #5)Just a Kiss by Erin Nicholas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say about Just a Kiss?

First I can say that I am a total Erin Nicholas fan girl. Complete with squee and stuff! She is one of my auto buy authors – regardless of subject matter and I have read her entire back list. She is one of those writers that superbly craft character relationships, complete with their ups and downs and that keeps me coming back for more.

Second I can say that I do not want The Bradford series to end. *sob*

Just a Kiss is Kevin’s story. Finally. I’ve been in love with Kevin from the beginning for a few reasons – he’s solid, steady, amazingly generous and a positively portrayed Christian man. That’s something hard to find outside of inspirational romances.

Kevin is strong in his faith and rather than preach and shove things in the faces of those around him, he lives it. He, as his heroine Eve comes to see, walks the walk. He does not judge, offers good advice and is always a supportive shoulder. Someone as wonderful as this totally deserves his HEA, don’t you think?

Eve and Kevin married the day they graduated from high school and spent less than 36 hours together. He thought their marriage had been annulled and whoopsie…nope! Eve never signed the papers.

What follows is explosive sexual chemistry, a brilliant 10-year old half-brother, lies, confusion, longing and some pretty awesome sex. Most of the obstacles in this relationship are emotional and trust issues. There are some outside forces but those are more to amp things up rather than creating the actual problems. I love this in a story.

Both Kevin and Eve grow and progress forward in a realistic manner throughout the book. It really is a joy to watch them rediscover each other – as they are now and not how they were 14-years ago. It is also wonderful to see most of the supporting characters come back to add their two cents and support.

I found every aspect of this story to be plausible – from Kevin’s conversion, Eve’s falling away from the faith, their difficulties with each other and their expectations of one another and their eventual HEA.

Another win for Erin Nicholas as I wait for her next release!

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Night Whispers (ShadowLands, #1) by Alisha Rai

Night Whispers by Alisha Rai

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m an Alisha Rai fan and that’s the only reason I purchased this book. Generally I’m not a fan of anything with Zombies because, well, Zombies don’t say romance for me. In addition to having Alisha Rai on my auto-buy list I also love a good post apocalyptic romance. There is something about people being pushed to reach into themselves to survive that fascinates me. This book hit all the high points for me and was, in my opinion, a raging success!

Set in a world a few years after an Illness spawns Shadows (aka Zombies)and governments have reacted by throwing bombs around Night Whispers is the story of Jules and James. And I love them. Love, love, love them!

Jules is a kick ass heroine, literally. A former gang member and drug addict she has gotten clean and is working for the surviving government in a form of search and rescue. She finds humans who are on their own in a very hostile world and helps get them to various safe zones. In her search and rescue work she also has to kick some Zombie ass! Woot!

For the past year Jules has been working with James, a former CIA analyst who has been hidden safely in an underground bunker. James is a superbly drawn beta hero. Brainy, thoughtful and quite romantic. He has been working with Jules via high tech surveillance equipment for a year. They are able to speak to each other and he can see her surroundings but they have never physically met. He is borderline agoraphobic but his feelings for Jules push him way outside his comfort zone when she is in trouble.

These characters are already in love when we meet them – though neither of them are aware of that fact. Circumstances are such that it is HIGHLY unlikely they will ever physically meet. This makes the relationship quite safe for both of them and their respective neurosis. *grin*

It is awesome to see this beta hero at work. So many times a book with start with a beta and end up with some super alpha hero midway through. Thankfully James stays beautifully true to form – scared, nervous but pushing through to try to take care of his woman. And James is in no way weak, he is flawed. And it’s wonderful!

While Jules is physically capable of taking care of herself she is scared to death of relationships and being dependent on another person. James is perfect for her with his gentle persistence.

In addition to a solid romance, complete with hot sex, Rai also delivers a well developed, interesting world with compelling secondary characters. Several of whom I am looking forward to seeing in future books. It’s indicated that this is a series, however I’m not sure how many are planned. I do know that I will be quickly buying them as soon as they are released.

Well done Alisha Rai! Can’t wait to see what is coming up next!

“You have me. You know I won’t leave you. You know I’ll cross states and territories and I’ll fucking battle monsters just so I can stand by your side. But you’re so scared something will still happen and I’ll leave you one way or the other, so you’re responding by pushing me away first.”

She thought of that burning anger that had fueled her battle against the Shadow the night before. Her anger at James, specifically, though he had never abandoned her, not once. She knew better than anyone how fickle love and loyalty could be. Even if he found her, there was no guarantee he would stand by her side forever. “Shut. Up.”

“No. Not when you’re insisting on using that hero complex of yours to convince yourself that you’re saving me instead of killing us both. Fuck that, Guerrero.”

“Don’t talk to me like that, Bennett. You aren’t my boss here.”

“I was never your boss. I was always your man.” He grabbed hold of her hips and yanked her close, his lips swooping down to capture hers. At the first touch of their flesh, the anger between them shifted to passion. He groaned, his lips and tongue devouring her.

They really shouldn’t do this right now.

Aw, fuck it. Jules responded, kissing him back, rubbing her tongue against his.

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Just for Fun (Bradfords, #4) by Erin Nicholas

Just for Fun (Bradfords, #4)Just for Fun by Erin Nicholas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am seriously crying right now. Why? Because this book is over. It’s over damnit! Gahhh….. Why do I let Erin Nicholas do this to me? Why do I let her drag me into her world, her character’s lives and then I fall so deep it’s like a slap in the face when it’s over? Ugh.

Let’s see if I can write this review without getting all fangirl. Most likely not.

Doug “Dooley” Miller is the easy going, laid back, sexy paramedic I developed a crush on over the course of the first three Bradford books. Kinda like your older brother’s best friend – he is always in the background and you get used to him being part of the environment but there are these brief moments when he is center stage and you look at him like…wow, there is something more there.

In Just the Way I Like It we get hints that Mr. Easygoing No Relationships has some depth. Some layers that are waiting to be peeled back. We also learn that he is all about relaxed, easy going women that don’t require vast amounts of shine and polish. He wants his dates to like jeans and t-shirts as much as he does. Having them on and off.

The book opens when Dooley’s hook-up from a charity dinner hunts him down at his favorite bar and asks him to go to Chicago with her for 3 days. Gotta love a girl who knows what she wants and why she wants it. Gotta love a guy that hooked-up so well that girl went digging to find him. While Dooley wouldn’t mind a few more trips through the sheets with her he can’t commit to going away from home for that long.

Morgan James is a class act who admits Dooley is the best she’s ever had and she’d like an encore please. She needs him to act as a sexual distraction from her ex during her business trip. Seeing as how is the only man who has ever exceeded her ex’s appeal in bed he is the only man for the job.

The trip goes to prove that they light up all of each other’s bells in bed and have almost nothing in common outside of it. However Morgan wants to keep seeing him and makes a proposition that is as logical as it is offensive. Dooley shoots it down and closes her out of his life.
Not one to take no for an answer Morgan wages her own war to get Dooley back into her life, finally ending up taking matters into her own hands and ending up on his doorstep.

What follows is an odd courtship but one that is perfect for who Dooley and Morgan are.

In typical Erin Nicolas fashion the strength of this book is the intricate, interwoven relationships between all of the characters that get page time. Watching Morgan fall in love with Dooley’s family and friends is as beautiful as watching them fall in love with each other. It’s absolutely refreshing to find that both of these characters are mature, emotionally healthy people. No raging insecurity, no deep dark secrets. Just the beautiful complication called life getting in the way of their relationship.

I love all Erin Nicholas books but so far I’ve loved this the most. Having a favorite supporting character take the lead, seeing the happiness of the couples from the previous books and learning even more about what a wonderful friend Kevin is…this book just totally did it for me.

Can’t wait for Just A Kiss, which is Kevin’s book, due in October. OCTOBER? What’s up with that??? Please write quicker Ms. Nicholas. Please?

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Just the Way I Like It by Erin Nicholas

Just the Way I Like ItJust the Way I Like It by Erin Nicholas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A disclaimer first – I am an Erin Nicholas fan girl. Like *squee* hurrybuyallherbooksnow type of fan girl. 🙂 The fact that she writes wonderful, romantic, sexy character driven romances in a huge bonus for me.

Just the Way I Like It is a nice refresher to the The Bradfords series, not a stand alone book.

Told from many different points of view it gives us an update on all of the Bradford siblings and their spouses. It also bring back Kevin and Dooley and gives us some more insight into their characters.

Dooley seems to have quite a bit going on and I can’t wait to find out more.

I’m very interested in how Nicholas handles Kevin and his faith. It could be done very badly but I trust the author to be respectful as well as sexy and romantic. I really believe it can be done.

Looking forward to the HEA for these two characters and very good to know that the Bradford siblings and their loved ones are doing so well.

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Skin Game by Cara McKenna

Skin GameSkin Game by Cara McKenna
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is really more of a 4.5 stars for me. Wonderfully original and a very absorbing read. Not a romance, more of a psychological drama with some sex involved. No HEA though there are a few happy for now moments.

A group of 12 wildly different strangers agree to participate in a week-long psychological study in the wilds of Alaska with a prize of $500,000 for the sole winner. Teams change randomly for each objective, some of the objectives are done as singles. Alliances are built and broken. Bodily fluids are exchanged for reasons having very little to do with romance or warm feelings.

I’ve always been fascinated by scenarios that involve people needing to figure out how to do something challenging with few resources and strangers involved. This explains my unhealthy love of apocalypse movies and some reality type shows.

This book fulfilled my needs nicely and kept me caught up and guessing right through the very end. While I prefer my books to have a well defined happily every after I was quite content with the happy for now that was offered. Skillfully written and another win for Cara McKenna.

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Category: 4 Stars, Auto Buy, I read too!, Scraps  Comments off

307: TWDP – Nobody’s Hero by Kallypso Masters

Nobody’s Hero by Kallypso Masters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well done Kallypso Masters. Nobody’s Hero, Adam and Karla’s story, had me catching my breath and had my throat tightening with tears so many times I can’t even list them.

There were quite a few times I wanted to slap Adam upside the back of the head and I was pretty sure Karla was some sort of a saint. The brief exploration of total power exchange was interesting, the Shibari was the most erotic and best I’ve ever read and the sex was off the charts hot.

I’m a fan of the May-December Romance and this one was presented very well – acknowledging the differences in age while still focusing on what Adam and Karla had in common.

It was wonderful to see Marc and Angie from Nobody’s Angel again. Loved the way the consequences of Marc’s lie continued to ripple and I do hope to see more of that in future books. Cassie, Karla’s best friend and Adam’s future HEA (I hope), makes an appearance as well. It was nice to get to know her a bit better and doing so made me release just how much she and Luke will have to fight for their HEA.

Missed seeing Luke in this book – he had several mentions but no page time. Wonder what he has been up to!

Also had the set up for Damian and Savi’s relationship, which I believe will be the next book. That’s going to be another fight towards HEA.

Overall a wonderful book. This one had a few more editorial mistakes but nothing more than I’ve seen in other published (both self and traditional) works.

I’m really looking forward to the next installment in the series.

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327: Review – To Command and Collar by Cherise Sinclair

To Command and Collar by Cherise Sinclair

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Just…wow! Its taken me a few days to formulate a review for this book. Not because I didn’t like it but because it was such a different experience from my other Cherise Sinclair books.

To Command and Collar continues the slavery story line started with the last book, Make Me, Sir. It is not, in anyway, a shiny and happy book. Its dark, intense and deeply emotional. Yet its also a story of hope.

Kimberly, kidnapped and now up for sale for a second time in a BDSM slavery ring, has been horribly abused both emotionally and sexually.

Master Raoul is a civilian tapped by the FBI to attend a slave auction to gather information and get invited to a larger event.

When he recognized Kimberly as the missing friend of Gabi (from the previous book) that, mixed with his own strong attraction to her, convinces him to go off program and buy her.

What follows is the story of Kimberly’s slow recovery and discovery of her submission/slave needs, Raoul’s slow but deep fall into love with a broken woman with an amazing spirit and the continued investigation and operation to take down the slavery ring.

This is a tough book to read but a compelling story about the power exchange and dynamics in a D/s relationship. While the sex is erotic and hot it is also about how a Dom pushes a sub through emotional issues in the context of their relationship.

One of the things that fascinates me about the D/s relationship is how it is portrayed to go so much more deeply than sex.

I’m a Cherise Sinclair fan, make no mistake, but I don’t say I love this book as a fan-girl. I say it because at the heart it is a novel about relationships. The complex relationship between Raoul and Kimberly, seeing the continued relationships between previous Doms and subs introduced in the previous 5 books in the series. Also, w00t, the seeds being planted for a relationship between Sam and Linda.

Sinclair continues to grow and develop her craft and it continues to be a pleasure to read. Thanks for the great book Ms. Sinclair and I can’t wait for your next offering.

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336 – TWDP. Another review :)

Nobody’s Angel by Kallypso Masters

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

And hello Kallypso Masters! You knocked this right out of the park for me! Nobody’s Angel placed you firmly on my auto buy list (also included are Cherise Sinclair, Shannon Stacy, Moira Rogers, and more here because you created such amazingly flawed characters who redeemed themselves and got their HEA in the end.

This is the story of Marc and Angelina – a Dom who has never really dominated and a sub who didn’t even realize she was one. Watching these two characters run from each other emotionally while not being able to keep away from one another physically was so enjoyable!

I was very drawn to the tenderness that Marc showed Angelina, who had had a horrible experience with her first and only foray into BDSM. Also arresting was Angelina’s bravery in the face of very real and valid fears.

Their dance was beautiful to watch.

The ‘secret’ was unexpected really but done very well, drawing in all the other characters in the book. We got glimpses into the lives of the Master’s we’ve already been introduced to and we met Luke who I am already madly in love with. And Adam, I’m madly in love with him too….but I digress…

The world is very well developed and Ms. Masters really did deliver on the promise of her characters in Masters at Arms. We learned more about Karla (Adam’s HEA I hope), a bit more about Damian and we met Luke’s HEA and man, does that already look like it’s gonna be an epic story!

Bravo Kallypso Masters. You’ve successfully drawn me lock, stock and handcuffs into this world. I’ve fallen in love with all of your characters and you’ve painted me such beautiful pictures I can’t wait to come visit again. I thought the conflict cleared up a bit quickly and forgiveness was handed out pretty easily to all involved. However it didn’t take away from the story! To be honest I hope that Allen is redeemed in another book (hint, hint).

My recommendation – BUY and BUY now. If you enjoy erotic BDSM romance and authors like Cherise Sinclair you’ll really enjoy this.

On an aside – these books are self published and you would NOT know it. The formatting was perfect (for my Nook, book purchased at B&N), there were no spelling or grammatical errors that I remember and story maintained it’s pace and direction.
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Moira Rogers – Southern Arcana 1-3

I am a seriously tough audience.  I am also an unwaveringly loyal fan.

As a reader I am voracious, my sole purpose being complete and utter escape.  Take me out of my world.  Put me in the one you’ve created.  Help me forget my responsibilities for a little while.  If I am jarred out of something I’m reading because of poor writing or poor editing that author only gets two more chances.  I don’t know, maybe that is not fair, but in my mind I figure that by the third book if things haven’t changed they’re most likely not going to.  Over the years I’ve found that even new authors can make amazing strides over the course of three books.  And as the mother of three teens, a wife, a full time college student and a full time employee I don’t like to waste my escapism time on bad books that don’t get it done.

Thanks to a mild case of OCD I am crazy about reading books in the correct order too.  If I’ve been browsing a web site and find a book that sparks my interest, before I buy I ALWAYS go to the author’s web site to research where something falls in a series.  Digital (and book & mortar) stores are not always consistent with their labels and are not always clear regarding series and book order.  I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time online over the past 10 years and sadly I don’t have the patience to click a million times on poorly designed web sites.  So an author with a clean, easy to navigate web site makes me squeee.

Finding an author who’s books rock my world and who has a kick ass web site?  That is a serious bookgasam people.  Serious bookgasam!

Enter Moira Rogers. With authority. Kicking asses and taking names.

I <3 Moira Rogers with an unholy love.  A desperate, I wanna be like you when I grow up, please write books faster, OMG you are fantastic, amazing, awesome sort of  love.  Complete and utter fan-girl. Devour the back-list like there are no other books on earth. Obsessed but not in a creepy stalker sort of way.  Promise!

Last year, in my e-book infancy, I discovered Moira Rogers on the Samhain Publishing site.  The awesome cover of Crux, the first book in the Southern Arcana series, caught my eye. After making sure where it fell in the series I clicked and committed.  And loved it!  Went back and got book two –  Crossroads and at this point most of the back list.  When book three – Deadlock – was released I, of course, purchased it.  But it’s been about a year so I had to re-read Crux and Crossroads to make sure I followed everything.  God, I love these books!

Published By: Samhain Publishing
Purchased At: Samhain Publishing Store

Other Titles in Southern Arcana:
Book One – Crux
Book Two – Crossroads
Book Three – Deadlock

Crux (Southern Arcana 1) by Moira Rogers
5 out of 5 stars

Jackson Holt makes a decent living as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn’t crack…until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.

New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn’t explain why he always finds her no matter how far she runs.

When her well-meaning boss puts a PI on her case, Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.

With time running out, she has no choice but to trust Jackson as he struggles to uncover the truth of her past-and her destiny.

I loved this book so much I almost don’t know where to start! Crux introduces us to Rogers’ world of shapeshifters, wizards, and psychics and their complex society.  The immediate depth of this world captured and has kept me engaged through three books.  The world-building and history are skillfully shared and there is nary an info dump to be found.  The non human characters and their nature makes sense.

All of the characters are full bodied, three dimensional, even the secondary characters.  Everyone has a purpose, a place.  Their interaction is rich and believable.

The relationship between Jackson and Mackenzie develops in the pressure cooker of life and death circumstances.  It develops quickly yet feels real.  Rather than a crisis induced romance it’s visceral, instinctual and feral.  Jackson is a southern gentleman with a warrior’s heart and Mackenzie is an alpha female coming into her own power.  The smex is smokin’ hot!

While the romance focuses on Jack and Kenzie we are also introduced to quite a few other characters that I fell in love with.  Derek, Alec, Kat, Nick, Michelle, Luciano, Mahalia, and I could go on and on and on…

Crux sent me to Moria Roger’s backlist with my credit card and mouse ready.

Crossroads (Southern Arcana 2) by Moira Rogers
5 out of 5 stars

Derek Gabriel was born human in family of psychics, aware of the supernatural world but never a part of it…until a rogue shapeshifter took humanity from him in a vicious attack. He’s spent two years struggling to adjust, not just to a change that’s driven many insane, but also to the prejudices of a culture where transformed wolves are considered inferior. A serious struggle, indeed, when the woman who attracts the man and the wolf inside him is the daughter of the most powerful wolf in the country.

For Nicole Peyton, nothing is more important than escaping the stifling confines of elite shapeshifter society, an old-fashioned world where women are valued only for their bloodlines and bank accounts. In New Orleans, she has a bar she loves, friends she cares for, and a smoldering, unspoken tension with an unsuitable but incredibly attractive man.

Neither could predict how quickly forbidden longing would erupt into burning need, but Nick and Derek have more than themselves to think about when Nick’s sister arrives in the city with a shapeshifter strike team hard on her heels. The only way Nick can save her sister may be to play by the Conclave’s rules–but it will mean giving up the man she’s falling in love with, unless he’s willing to risk everything in a challenge that will shake the foundations of their world.

Alpha men are sexy! I wanted 600 pages of Derek he was so hot!  His struggle to do what is right by Nicole while facing the wildly vicious world of shapeshifter politics is amazingly attractive.  That was one of the best things about this book, how the relationship between Derek and Nicole developed while we learned more about shifter council. It takes a strong man to step away from the woman he loves because he believes that it’s the right thing to do.  And to walk into a situation that is practically no-win for the same woman.  RAWRRRRRRRRR

While building Derek and Nick’s smokin’ hot relationship Rogers also builds up some of the secondary characters and gives us a glimpse into how Jackson and Mackenzie are living in their HEA.  As I’ve mentioned before one of the strongest draws in series for me is the continuing threads of past characters.

Crossroads put Moira Rogers on my auto buy authors lists.

Deadlock (Southern Arcana 3) by Moira Rogers
5 out of 5 stars

Abandoned by her wolf shifter father and raised by her human psychic mother, Carmen Mendoza can’t deny she’s different. She craves things most women shy away from–and she has a trail of shapeshifting ex-boyfriends to prove it.

Working at a clinic for supernatural creatures, she’s escaped the notice of her father’s legacy-obsessed family. Until they need a pawn in their bid for power. Snared by a vicious spell designed to wake her inner wolf, Carmen’s only hope is to trust the one man strong enough to soothe her darkest instincts.

Alec Jacobson was once the heir apparent to the wolves’ ruling elite, until he walked away to marry the woman he loved. She paid with her life. He lives as a rebel, a black-sheep alpha who protects the supernatural residents of New Orleans from the wolves’ barbaric class system. Too bad he can’t protect himself from his need for Carmen.

Yet staking his claim on his enemy’s niece will turn his city into a battleground. Unless he can find a way to stop breaking the rules–and start making them.

Oh Alec, my wounded hero, you strong silent types are so sexy. A caretaker Alpha who cares deeply Alec really is the walking wounded.  Kicked in the teeth by life over and over – Carmen is his perfect foil.  She’s strong, fearless, hopeful and as an empath she knows exactly what makes you tick.

The stakes are higher in Deadlock as we continue to see just how low supposedly civilized shapeshifters will go to get power.  Escalating violence in New Orleans and attacks against his nearest and dearest continue to push Alec towards a role he has no desire in occupying.  As he moves deeper into a world he had rejected Carmen is having her eyes opened to a reality she ran away from.

Again secondary characters are expanded and more groundwork is laid for future installments to the Southern Arcana series.  Thank goodness! Because at the end of the book I died a little inside at the relationship (or lack thereof) between Andrew and Kat.   The position that every one was left in screams for resolution.  I’m glad that Andrew and Kat are next – September can’t come quick enough for me!

Thankfully there are a slew of Moira Rogers titles coming out between now and then.  Deadlock though has cemented me as a squeeing fan girl!

Publisher Twitter: @samhainpub
Publisher Blog: On main website – Samhain Publishing
Publisher Facebook: Samhain Publishing Ltd.

Author Twitter: Donna @donnajherren Bree @moirarogersbree
Author Blog: http://moirarogers.com/blog/
Author Facebook: Moira Rogers