Contemporary · Romance

Dr. Strange Beard – Penny Reid

30315676| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Hunches, horse races, and heartbreak

Ten years after Simone Payton broke his heart, all Roscoe Winston wants is a doughnut. He’d also like to forget her entirely, but that’s never going to happen. Roscoe remembers everything—every look, every word, every single unrequited second—and the last thing he needs is another memory of Simone.

Unfortunately, after one chance encounter, Simone keeps popping up everywhere he happens to be . . .

Ten years after Roscoe Winston dropped out of her life, all Simone Payton wants is to exploit him. She’d also like some answers from her former best friend about why he ghosted her, but if she never gets those answers, that’s a-okay. Simone let go of the past a long time ago. Seriously, she has. She totally, totally has. She is definitely not still thinking about Roscoe. Nope. She’s more than happy to forget he exists.

But first, she needs just one teeny-tiny favor . . .

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My thoughts: Out of the now five books I have read so far in the series about the Winston brothers, this is the least favorite one of mine so far. I did not find it as funny, lovingly and straight to the heart and warm as the others. And I can’t quite put my finger on it. It is like Reid was uninspired while writing it and did it mostly because of the side story line and plot twists around the father Darrell.

I do understand it. It is an important line not to be forgotten since it has been there throughout the series, but it was a little too much and now so many different things happening and I can’t quite get it all connected in my head. There is no cliffhanger per say, but it is certainly stuff that is not yet cleared up.

I do like the characters as always, even though they were a little more shallow than usual. But hey, it was still good. And I will continue the series. This one just missed the mark this time.

Contemporary · Mystery/Crime · Romance · Suspense

Fire and ice – Julie Garwood

3407345| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Sophie Rose, a tough and determined newspaper reporter, is the daughter of Bobby Rose, a suave, charming, and handsome gentleman who also happens to be a notorious big-time thief sought by every law-enforcement agency in the country. When the major Chicago daily where she works insists she write an expose about her roguish father, Sophie refuses, quits her job, and goes to work at a small newspaper. Far from her onetime high-powered crime beat, she now covers local personalities such as the quirky winner of several area 5K runs whose trademark is goofy red socks.
Those red socks-with Sophie’s business card neatly tucked inside-are practically all that’s found after runner William Harrington is killed near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, seemingly the victim of a brutal death by polar bear. The Alaska cops want to know why Harrington carried Sophie’s card. With an unerring nose for a good story, she heads north.
What Sophie doesn’t realize is that on her journey from Chicago to Prudhoe Bay, danger follows in her wake. After one attempt on her life, she’s been assigned brash but sexy Jack MacAlister as a bodyguard by the cautious FBI. Amid great peril and deadly intrigue in the unforgiving Alaskan terrain, she and Jack form an uneasy alliance sparked with sensual attraction. But they will soon be fighting more than their growing passion for each other. Powerful forces will stop at nothing to prevent the exposure of the sinister conspiracy Sophie and Jack are about to uncover.

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My thoughts: What I really like with Garwood is that she is such a strong character writer. Especially when it comes to the females. I’m a huge critic when it comes to females and often finds them dumb, childish, meek and excessive. But never with Garwood. I receive pretty much what I expect and it never disappoint me. This one was just as good as always when it comes to the writing, character and such. The plot however I found a little weak. I really liked Sophie’s history and enigmatic father but Jack could have used a little more work and the story a little more depth. I missed that … umpf… in lack of better words.

Nothing bad really, just didn’t earn the last star but certainly not a bad book in any means. This is the 7 book in the series about Buchanan-Renard family and it is safe to say, I will continue it.

Contemporary · Romance · Young, New adult/College

Under Locke – Mariana Zapata

20613920| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a Widower, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario if things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before, one more wouldn’t kill me.

After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly… even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude, impatient and doesn’t know how to tell time. And the last thing they ever expected was each other.
But it was either the strip club or the tattoo shop.

… she should have chosen the strip club.

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My thoughts: Mariana is one of my favorite authors with her unique writing style and thoughtful plots. And even though I often find it a delight reading her books, I can’t say that it I fell for Under Locke. In my opinion, of those book I have read so far, this is certainly the weakest one. I can see how she tried to achieve some strong, kick ass characters but it fell flat on so many levels.

My biggest problem was really Iris and that she certainly is not an character easy to love. She prides herself with not holding grudges, but like 60% of the books is constant nagging about what a dick one character is, what an asshole another are and it goes on and on and on. I can’t stand that type of self-pity and it drives me nuts that she sounds like a broken record. She is almost 25 years old but often acts like 15. Yeah I know she have had a hard life and so on, but then you would expect a more mature woman.

The plot is pretty straight forward. Woman has troubles with finding job, finds a job working for an asshole. Female fall in love with asshole and lo and behold, he is not an asshole after all. Just a man with many layers. Unfortunately those layers was not as deep as expected.

Overall it is a good book. It is quite entertaining and so on but so much dwelling is annoying to read. This book will not change my opinion regarding Mariana Zapata. I see it as a bad day, everyone has one and this book is just one of Mariana Zapatas bad days. Still okay but not as good as I know it can be.

Romance

Reeve – Jessica Gadziala

37285282| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Reeve
I had long since given up hope of the pursuit of genuine happiness. It wasn’t possible after all the sh*t I had been through. I had my siblings, my club, a purpose in life. It was enough.
Until I came across her.
She represented everything that I knew I couldn’t have – stability, a future, a way out of my past.
And, it seemed, the harder I tried to keep her at a distance, to protect her from my reality, she only got in deeper, only pulled me closer.
Then, one night, an old face popped up in Navesink Bank. And everything changed forever.

Rey
I liked my life. I liked the freedom and simplicity of it, even if it was, perhaps, a little lonely.
Then one night, there he was.
With the saddest eyes I had ever seen.
He represented everything my life didn’t need – chaos, violence, uncertainty. But, at the same time, everything it was lacking – companionship, connection.
He tried to fight it, to keep up his guards, to keep me at arm’s length.
But, well, fate had other plans.
That was the night everything changed.
Down an alley, facing down a new, yet familiar, big bad in Navesink Bank, forcing us together, making us confront the reality of what was happening between us.
Trapped together, waiting for the winds to blow over, he finally trusted me enough to let me in, to give us a shot, to invite me into his family.
That is, if all of us survived the upcoming storm…

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My thoughts: Rey was a character I thought I wouldn’t like. To hippy dippy, flower power, peace on earth, mumble jumble for my taste. But god damn she is hilarious. Down to earth, smart, funny and I see a lot of myself in her. And her total love for animals, self-reliance, her easygoing nature and somewhat different lifestyle is just wonderful. I love her and it’s not often I love a female character more than the male one. But in this I did. And I feel almost a little sad that it wasn’t longer because I would have loved to follow her more. She is just that good and Gadziala did a great work without making her over the top.

Overall the book is a typical Gadziala book with some hot scenes and complicated characters, history and an interesting future. It was nice to know Reeve’s story. I loved his brother and Reeve he had a pretty large role in Cyrus book but you never got to know what his history really was. But everything makes total sense now. And all the side characters is just so fun to follow and get to know.

There was also a huge plot twist that will go on for at least a couple of books forward. Not a major cliffhanger yet, but I’m looking forward do see how that will evolve.

Contemporary · Romance · Sports/Games · Young, New adult/College

The Goal – Elle Kennedy

28262024| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: She’s good at achieving her goals…

College senior Sabrina James has her whole future planned out: graduate from college, kick butt in law school, and land a high-paying job at a cutthroat firm. Her path to escaping her shameful past certainly doesn’t include a gorgeous hockey player who believes in love at first sight. One night of sizzling heat and surprising tenderness is all she’s willing to give John Tucker, but sometimes, one night is all it takes for your entire life to change.

But the game just got a whole lot more complicated…

Tucker believes being a team player is as important as being the star. On the ice, he’s fine staying out of the spotlight, but when it comes to becoming a daddy at the age of twenty-two, he refuses to be a bench warmer. It doesn’t hurt that the soon-to-be mother of his child is beautiful, whip-smart, and keeps him on his toes. The problem is, Sabrina’s heart is locked up tight, and the fiery brunette is too stubborn to accept his help. If he wants a life with the woman of his dreams, he’ll have to convince her that some goals can only be made with an assist.

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My thoughts:I liked but I didn’t love it. Short, sweet but I wasn’t really feeling it. Okay, I will give you that it is a nice story and as always filled with some really nice characters and a believable plot. But the way it was built and the slowness of it, didn’t do much for me this time.

I like Sabrina. She is a tough cookie. She is just so set on the goal of her life and doesn’t handle stuff well outside of that goal plan and some of her personality traits just rubs me the wrong way.  It is Tucker who does the whole story. Maybe because I already loved him before I started reading this one. And off course how am I not supposed to love him? He is just such a great man. Kennedy really has a gift with writing characters that does not feel needy or unrealistic.

I did enjoy it and it was nice to read something simpler since I have trouble with keeping my head in the reading mode right now. Note to self: Finnish one series before starting another written by Kennedy. That way you wont risk any spoilers on some certain details. 😉 Just saying.

Fantasy/Paranormal · Fiction/Science Fiction · Romance · Young, New adult/College

Throne of glass – Sarah J. Maas

40512568| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Meet Celaena Sardothien. Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament – fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

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My thoughts: I’m a little disappointed actually. I know I can’t compare this to the ACOTAR series but it is hard not to. And to be honest, this is not what I expected from an author like Maas, who where one of my top favorite author in 2018. Very underwhelming after years of hearing that this is THE YA series to read. I expected more and not to walk away with an unsatisfying feeling.

Every reviewer and booktuber I follow loved Celaena. I however did not. She is arrogant, mean, lame and high on herself. She is such an over hyped character that it is a disappointment to read the book about her. To be that young, for having had such a hard life and after a year as a slave in the most notorious salt mines, you would expect her to be more humble toward life and not as vain and shallow. Her and most of the characters have no dept, no smooth development and the plot is slow and quite overrated. Maas have been raised to the skies for her strong, female protagonists and deep YA relations, but I saw noting of that here.

There is some attempt to romance and love/triangles but that just fell flat. It is not good. Nothing that got my heart pumping or the need to keep reading. You really get to know Dorian and Chaol and they both are so much better in my opinion than Celaena, which is supposed to be the main heroine character to love and follow. There is nothing unique or original. And the plot is just weird. There is some questionable decisions and there is more of a telling the story than showing the story. All the action and important parts, where jump over and later retell so that we, the readers, knew what had happens since last. No, not good.

To be honest I do not know if I will continue the series. At first I gave the book three stars but after a night’s sleep and the time of writing this review, I realize that I was too generous and lowered it to two. It is not as bad as a one star rating but certainly not as good as a three. It wasn’t as mind-blowing as I expected and it was nowhere near as well written as the ACOTAR series. Both in the character development, plot and settings.

Is it worth more of my time?

Fantasy/Paranormal · Romance

Lover eternal – J.R. Ward

35729| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war raging between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Possessed by a deadly beast, Rhage is the most dangerous of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Owned by this dark side, Rhage fears the time when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.

Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant on Rhage’s protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. She lost her faith in miracles years ago. But when Rhage’s intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves…

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My thoughts: Warning for a small rant. I will try to keep it on the down low. It was a good book. A real page turner. But not as good as the first book and as I’m thinking now, not as good as the third book. Yes I had to jump right into the next one since it ended on a cliffhanger and I just had to know how it would end.

I never really fell for the characters. The love story is overused and quite predictable. When the side characters are more interesting than the main characters, there is clearly something not working for me. I didn’t really like Mary and Rhage didn’t do anything for me. I remember Rhage, from the first book, as a funny, sexy, devilish, and charming character. Now he is just whiny and feels sorry for himself. Yeah, yeah! You have a curse. Boohoo! Get over it and move on. You have had a couple of hundred years so you should have been miles ahead by now. But yeah, it was just so repetitive.

I really liked the plot however and how the lessers had a big part and how all the other characters just built up to the story of the third book. It was interesting and quite captivating. The ending came a little fast but it made it easy for me to just throw myself right into the next one.

I really like Wards writing and her version of Vampires which feels just so right. This one was not a favorite but I still like the series and hopes the third one will be even better.

Contemporary · Romance

Rock Chick Reawakening – Kristen Ashley

30633337| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: From New York Times bestselling author, Kristen Ashley, comes the long-awaited story of Daisy and Marcus, Rock Chick Reawakening. A prequel to Kristen’s Rock Chick series, Rock Chick Reawakening shares the tale of the devastating event that nearly broke Daisy, an event that set Marcus Sloane—one of Denver’s most respected businessmen and one of the Denver underground’s most feared crime bosses—into finally making his move to win the heart of the woman who stole his.

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My thoughts: Rock Chick Reawakening is the book that takes place before the start of the Rock Chick series. I have had this one in my kindle over a year now but I needed to wait. I was not yet ready for Daisy and Marcus story. They, especially Daisy, is characters who has a big part in some of the books. Specially in book 7 (if I remember correctly). That’s way I’m glad I waited. I knew a lot of the history but some parts was still hard to read. Rape is a big part of the books story, but Ashley did jump over and did not describe the event in real time, thank you. We deal with the before and after but little details on the rape part. I have huge problems reading about it so I’m glad for that.

I love Daisy and Marcus. I love how different they are from each other and how down to earth Daisy was during Marcus courting. There was hardly no drama or fights. It was joy and satisfaction to read it when you were past the bad parts and now on the good parts. And it was perfect, realistic and such a wonderful story.

And the ending. Wow. Perfect. I cried. Yes I did. This book brought forward some really big tears but I didn’t mind because she deserves it. It was so perfectly written and just, wonderful.

Contemporary · Mystery/Crime · Romance

Mallicks: Back to the Beginning – Jessica Gadziala

40360105.jpg| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: A girl raised by monsters.
A man who helped get her free.
A love that spans decades.
Let’s go back to the 80s to see how Charlie and Helen Mallick fell in love.

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My thoughts: Fantastic! Pure perfection. Perfect ending (maybe) on a perfect series. The story about how the Mallicks family started. This is seriously the best one I have ever read by Gadziala. Utter flawlessness! And I loved it all. I loved the history, how they met, follow their life and how they build their company. Follow the growth of their five sons, Ryan, Shane, Hunter, Mark and Eli. I already knew them from their own books but it was satisfying to get all the history. And we did get some deeper explanations on some stuff that just wraps the whole series in a big nice bow. It all makes sense now. There is no words to explain how perfect and wonderful this was. It certainly played on all my strings and emotions. And it left me with a major hangover and wonderful feelings of feel good.

I have nothing bad to say. I wish I could erase everything I read, just so that I had the ability to read it again, for the first time.

Everyday things · Mystery/Crime · Romance · Suspense · Thriller/Horror

Did you miss me? – Karen Rose

15697889.jpg| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Best be nimble, best be quick, I’m right here and you’re my pick…

The last thing Ford Elkhart remembers is walking his girlfriend back to her university dormitory. Now he’s lying tied and gagged on a cold, dark floor, with only one chance to escape before he ends up like the bones surrounding him…

Assistant State’s Attorney Daphne Montgomery is devastated by her son’s disappearance, and is immediately convinced that his kidnapping is connected to the white supremacist she’s just had jailed for murder.

FBI Special Agent Joseph Carter isn’t so sure – especially when he learns that Ford’s girlfriend is also missing. Is Ford’s abduction payback for Daphne’s courtroom victory? Or is he a pawn in an even more dangerous game?

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My thoughts: I actually gave this a four star rating at first but after I slept on it for a night I found out that it certainly did not deserve that. It is not a bad book really. It is quite complex with a lot of characters and histories, that are woven together until the truth and nothing but the truth is finally out. There are some tears and a lot of speculation on how it really is. Some I did have right and some I did not. What bugs me however is how long it was. It was longer than I remember Rose’s books to be and there was a lot that happened but now after one night, I only really remembers the biggest highlights. Which in my opinion makes this book not as memorable as it should be to receive a four star rating.

Even though this is the book about Daphne and Joseph it was Clay and Steevie who were the most interesting characters. Rose have written a lot of books and I do hope Clay and Steevie got their own. I need to know how that will end.

The plot of the book is quite well done in my opinion. There is some 30 year old secrets, more newer secrets, blackmailing, misunderstandings, kidnappings, hunting and the focus on the strengths of a mother. Never mess with mama bear. I liked it. Some stuff didn’t make sense but regarding how detailed it is, it was quite expected.