Romance · Suspense · War/Military

Blindsided – Kaylea Cross

32951240| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: It’s a Titanium Christmas reunion… Grace and Alex Rycroft have just moved into their newly renovated house in upstate New York and they’ve invited the whole Titanium Security crew to celebrate an early Christmas with them. But not all is merry and bright. Unfortunately things don’t go as planned. When the unthinkable happens at a veteran’s charity event in the middle of Manhattan, the team must pull together to take down the attacker and rally around a wounded teammate in the tragic aftermath. With one of their own left fighting for his life, it’s going to take a Christmas miracle to pull him through and make the holiday season bright. (*Note: This novella is a final wrap-up of the Titanium Security Series and is not meant to be read as a stand-alone.)

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My thoughts:

“Perfect, just perfect.”

The last book in the Titanium Security series and I cried like a baby. It was so wonderful to meet them all again, but “stuff” happens and it was terrible, but in the end it was the most perfect closure on a great series and I could not have asked for more. I have nothing more to say but only that this series is worth reading by everyone who likes romantic suspense in a war environment where both the male and female characters is strong and lovable. Perfect, just perfect. Kaylea Cross has several series in the same caliber and I hope they are just as good.

The order the Titanium series should be read in is as following:

Ignited
Signed
Burned
Extinguished
Rekindled
Blindsided

Fantasy/Paranormal · Romance

Lover revealed – J.R Ward

42898| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Butch O’Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex-homicide cop, he’s the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world—to engage in the turf war with the lessers. He’s got nothing to lose. His heart belongs to a female vampire, an aristocratic beauty who’s way out of his league. If he can’t have Marissa, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers…

Fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, he’s found by a miracle, and the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back. But even her love may not be enough to save him…

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My thoughts:

“He is like the perfect character with a moral compass always pointing in the right directions but still this ruff , broken and hurting man with an hell of a history.”

This was quite a hard review to write. I feel kind of indifferent toward it. I really liked to read about Butch aka. Cop O’Neal and Marissa, but at the same time I do not feel much for the story itself. The dynamic of the characters around and in the Black Dagger Brotherhood is still as fantastic as usual. There is also some characters outside of the brotherhood who we are learning to know more and more. But the rest is starting to be somewhat repetitive and bored me out most of the times.

I love Butch. He is like the perfect character with a moral compass always pointing in the right directions but still this ruff , broken and hurting man with an hell of a history. It was even better to really get to know him and learn about his history and the plot twist made sense and fit perfectly. Marissa however I did not like as much in the beginning. But when she finally took a firm grip of her own life and “grew” a spine, she also grew on me.

My favorite part of the book is however the virginity thing.  This is probably the first time I have ever read a realistic telling about the first time and that it is not perfect for many women. That you get just a little pain but after a couple of strokes an explosive orgasm is braking through your body. No! Come on! Ward did a great job with an realistic telling about the emotions and confusion and I just feel it somewhat ironic that it is where the character is a vampire. They are supposed to be bad asses. But I’m not complaining. At least I now know that there is one book out there who have it somewhat realistic and not a fantasy.

Contemporary · Romance · Suspense

Diamond Bay – Linda Howard

420741| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: KELL SABIN WAS IN TROUBLE

He knew it the minute the other boat drew near, the minute he heard the crack of rifle fire over water. Wounded and desperate, he flung himself into the Gulf and headed for shore.

Rachel Jones wasn’t looking for trouble, much less a man, but in Kell she found both. He was washed up on her beach, unconscious, like so much driftwood, but he was every inch flesh and blood. Her body responded in the only way it knew how, but what really frightened her was the response of her heart. Like it or not, she was in love.

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My thoughts:

“Nothing really deep that grips you but still exciting enough to keep you going.”

One word: mediocre! But to be honest the book is older than myself and we already know I’m a hard reader to please. However I did like it. Although more romance than suspense it is still nice to spend some time with an “Old, but Goldie”. It is quite light and airy. Nothing really deep that grips you but still exciting enough to keep you going.

The plot is a typical “been there, read that” and nothing surprising. Was a little fast in the end and it could have been a little more developed. I liked the characters but not the instant love situation. I liked the plot but I did not like the slowness in the middle of the book. But I especially liked the dog Joe.

Fantasy/Paranormal · Fiction/Science Fiction · Romance

A discovery of witches – Deborah Harkness

41952734| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

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My thoughts:

“The only thing I discovered was that no matter what “world” you try to place a romance story in, if you do not decide one thread to follow, it will not succeed.”

At first I thought this would be a solid five star book. But then I got a couple of hundred pages in and the author has completely abandon the original plot. That took away a star but thinking, hey it can still be good. Reading a couple of hundred more pages and now even the “love” story is so over dramatic that I started to wonder, wasn’t this supposed to be an adult romance and not a YA? Goodbye another star. I’m over 400 pages into it and it feels too late to stop now and I keep hoping for Harkness to take her common sense together and save it in the end. It can’t be possible that so many of my people on Goodreads love the book but me however not so much. I feel the need for this to be a success. However that never happens and it even gets worse.

I was hoping for an action filled, non-cheesy, paranormal romance with some substance. What I got was a highly dramatic, slow and puzzling love story, cloaked in the “discovery” of witches, vampires and daemons. Written like an YA book with every angst filled thought possible but with an analytic mind, a lot of history and details. The only thing I discovered was that no matter what “world” you try to place a romance story in, if you do not decide one thread to follow, it will not succeed. It was all over the place and Harkness should have stayed with the alchemical manuscript and the dynamic of the world with witches, vampires and daemons and left it at that.

Even though it ended quite interesting with some time traveling and other loose threads, it is not enough for me to feel the need to pick up the second book in the series. I will more likely watch the series instead, but don’t count on it.

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?