Sex, not Love

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Coming off such a great series, I knew I needed something different. I knew I couldn’t do another paranormal fantasy because there are only a few authors that can go toe to toe with Ilona Andrews writing and they haven’t published anything new. So instead, I went with something a little raunchy and enjoyed the change of pace. And a warning to future readers, don’t start reading this book an hour before you need to go bed because you have work the next day. You are not going to want to put the book down.


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Author: Vi Keeland
Published: January 15, 2018
Pages: 300

Stars: 3 out of 5

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Synopsis:
My relationship with Hunter Delucia started backwards.

We met at a wedding—him sitting on the groom’s side, me sitting on the bride’s. Stealing glances at each other throughout the night, there was no denying an intense, mutual attraction.

I caught the bouquet; he caught the garter. Hunter held me tightly while we danced and suggested we explore the chemistry sparking between us. His blunt, dirty mouth should’ve turned me off. But for some crazy reason, it had the opposite effect on me.

We ended up back in my hotel room. The next morning, I headed home to New York leaving him behind in California with the wrong number.

I thought about him often, but after my last relationship, I’d sworn off of charming, cocky, gorgeous-as-sin men. A year later, Hunter and I met again at the birth of our friends’ baby. Our attraction hadn’t dulled one bit. After a whirlwind trip, he demanded a real phone number this time. So I left him with my mother’s—she could scare away any man with her talks of babies and marriage—and flew back home.

I’d thought it was funny, until the following week when he rang the bell at Mom’s house for Sunday night dinner. The crazy, gorgeous man had won over my mother and taken an eight-week assignment in my city. He proposed we spend that time screwing each other out of our systems.

Eight weeks of mind-blowing sex with no strings attached? What did I have to lose?

Nothing, I thought.
It’s just sex, not love.
But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

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Review:
Ok, before you say anything, I know the book starts off a little cheesy and might be over the top. But if you just go with it, I guarantee you will be smiling. Besides, that’s the fun part of books like these. Yes, the overarching plot is predictable: damaged sexy guy meets attractive woman, lots of hot sex, conflict and inevitable breakup, realization guy (sometimes woman) doesn’t actually want breakup, pleading forgiveness, happy ending. But this book is no exception. So why read it? Because it’s fun to get lost in the banter, sexual tension, and reading something that would never happen but would be fun if it did.

Before digging into this book, understand that this is not your typical romantic comedy. As always, Keeland delivers mouth watering alpha male with a sinfully cocky mouth. But the difference between this book and others is the amount of pain and heartache you have to endure.  I don’t typically enjoy reading books with this much heartache and part of my rating reflects that.

Hunter is cocky with a dirty mouth and let’s not forget sexy as hell. He’s aggressive, with a great body but he sends the worst mixed messages I have ever seen. He doesn’t want to be in a relationship but he wants to do everything one would do in a relationship. For example – having dinner/dates together, meeting/getting involved with her family, being monogamous, spending all your time together. So tell me how this isn’t a relationship? Oh right, this is what a relationship looks like when you have commitment phobia. A little hint – Hunters not the only one who has this..

Hunter’s character isn’t at all what I was expecting. He has this sweet side to him that surprisingly overpowers his dominant alpha male side. And the protective side of him is really cute. But like most characters we read in books similar to this, he is damaged. What happened to his brother is terrifying and horrible. But does that give him the right to peruse Natalia, make her fall in love him – all within 2 months – to then leave her because of some messed up logic? Regardless of his reasoning behind doing this, what he did to her was a dick move and the book lost a star because of it.

Natalia comes with a lot of baggage. Taking care of her step daughter, Izzy,  full time is not easy. Especially when her ex is in prison for running a Ponzi scheme and Izzy, being a typical 10th grader, hates everything about her. I can imagine it would be close to impossible having any kind of sex life being a single mom, living in New York City, and raising a teen. But she finds a way and the sex between her and Hunter is fun to read.

This book isn’t my favorite from Vi Keeland but I still enjoyed reading it. Parts of this book were predictable but overall there are unique aspects to the book. The romance is exciting and I love the sexual tension between Natalia and Hunter.

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First Year (The Black Mage, #1)

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I won’t say this book is going to be a favorite of mine but I did enjoy the book enough that I want to read the next book in the series. Just maybe not right away… 3 


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Author: Rachel Carter
Published: January 26, 2017
Pages: 320

Stars: 3 out of 5

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Synopsis:
Before the age of seventeen, the young men and women of Jerar are given a choice —pursue a trade or enroll in a trial year in one of the realm’s three war schools to study as a soldier, knight, or mage…

For fifteen-year-old Ryiah, the choice has always been easy. Become a mage and train in Combat, the most prestigious faction of magic.

Yet when she arrives, Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Everyone is rooting for her to fail—first and foremost among them is Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived.

Will Ry survive, or will her dream go down in flames?

Review:
This book is a quick read. I think I finished this book in a couple days. So why did it take me so long to write my review?? In all honesty, the synopsis of the book gives away most of what the book is about. I honestly didn’t know what more I could say…

Because of this, I’m not going to go into too many details. I don’t want to ruin what little surprises are left in the book. With that said, I will say I was highly entertained with Ryiah and Prince Darren’s interactions. There is just something about love/hate relationships that I just can’t get enough of. 

Although Ryiah develops her skills in magic and knowledge, I don’t really see her character grow. By the end of the book she is still the same fierce, slightly emotional, girl who isn’t always confident. At least those are the characteristics I enjoy and her character isn’t exactly boring.  

Prince Daren’s character was sometimes confusing and I don’t think his character was as well developed as Ryiah. But I still enjoyed the slight hidden smiles and the relationship he had with Ryiah.

Overall, the book was enjoyable. The writing wasn’t perfect but it worked. The plot had some gaps, which is always irritating. And some of the conclusions Prince Daren came to, I have no idea how he came to them. It didn’t really make sense. 

A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #1)

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This book was a little confusing to begin with. But by the end of the first chapter, I was fully emerged in the book. 


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Author: Amanda Bouchet
Published: August 2, 2016
Pages: 441

Stars: 3 out of 5

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Synopsis:
Catalia “Cat” Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods-and her homicidal mother-have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.

Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm-until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.

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Review:
The book opens to a world full of gods, magic, and strength. In this world you are either born with magic – magoi, or you aren’t – Hoi Polloi. And not all magic is given equally. For example our heroine, Cat, her powers are as complex as they get. Although she looks harmless, she is as deadly as they come. Not only can she tell when others lie, she can also absorb their powers and use it against them. But as awesome as that sounds, her magic did nothing to save her from her family and the demands of her realm. Forced into hiding and disguised as a member of the circus, Cat is constantly looking over her shoulder. 

That is until Griffin, a warlord and second in command, comes into her life. He’s strong, handsome, and everything Cat doesn’t need right now. But as the story progresses, Cat discovers she isn’t entirely resistant to the warlords charm. The chemistry between Griffin and Cat is intense, even though Cat denies it every step of the way. The banter between them is fun and helps keep the plot moving. 

Cats can sometimes be immature, especially when it comes to her inner thoughts. For example she is in her twenties but says things like ‘yuck’ when kissed. Her inner thoughts are also constantly in turmoil with her actions.  I understand Cat is inexperienced but some of her immaturity in regards to Griffin was a little irritating. 

This is one of those books that is both frustrating and captivating. Frustrating with how much Cat denies her feelings and connection towards Griffin. Even when it’s obvious Griffen was sent to her, she still pushes away. But captivating in how the author provides the right amount of information/details to keep you wondering what will happen next. 

Overall, this book was a fun read. There is so much mystery left at the end of this book that I’m looking forward to reading the second. But at the same time, it felt like the book just ended. Here I was reading, I turn the page and that was that – The end. It’s weird how there wasn’t any closure or warning the book was closing to an end.

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The Billionaire Next Door (Billionaire Bad Boys, #2)

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Whenever I see a book by Jessica Lemmon, I’m not  really sure what kind of book I am going to get. For me, her books are always hit or miss. I have found a couple that I have really enjoyed, but this book was not really one of them. The lead heroine didn’t sit well with me and parts of the book just didn’t do it for me.


billionaire next door

Author: Jessica Lemmon
Published: October 25, 2016
Pages: 384

Stars: 2.5 out of 5

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Other Books in this Series:
The Billionaire Bachelor

Synopsis:
It’s Tag Crane’s job to be the life of the party. Traveling from one exotic locale to another is just part of running the luxurious Crane Hotel empire. But even paradise isn’t perfect. Devising a new business strategy is keeping Tag up at night-and so is the Great Dane barking at all hours in the apartment below his. To muzzle the problem, Tag charges downstairs . . . right into the most beautiful, blond distraction he’s ever seen.

Dog-sitting by day, bartending by night. It’s not exactly the life Rachel Foster dreamed of. But when Tag Crane rushes in, all mountain-man shoulders and obscenely sexy smile, needing her help for the Crane Hotels, it’s a fantasy come true. What’s the harm in a fun no-strings fling? Only a fool would give her heart to a billionaire player like Tag-until suddenly the one man who can’t be caught is the one flirting with forever . . .

Review:
Rachel has gone from successful career woman to bartender all because she put her trust in the wrong person. Her boyfriend of two years steals her promotion right from under her by taking credit for something she worked her butt off for. Now she finds herself lost and house sitting for one of her regulars to earn extra cash by watching his dog. Not exactly where she saw her life heading. Rachel is worried she has lost her independence and the fearless person she used to be. One thing I never understood was why she was so worried to tell her parents about what happened with her ex. Instead of coming clean about the entire mess, she lies and dodges them as though she is a teenager instead of a young adult. Her insecurities made it difficult to love her character and I wish she didn’t come off as so damaged.  

Tag is not at all what you would expect from a successful businessman. For one, he has hair down to his elbow and looks more like a lumberjack, maybe Thor, than someone found in a busy city. But beyond his looks and his unconventional style, Tag is in charge of guest and restaurant services. He runs this side of the business not through spreadsheets and numbers but by following his gut and reading the people around him. 

The moment Tag and Rachel meet, sparks fly. Too bad Rachel fights her attraction to Tag with everything she has. Knowing this, Tad accepts the challenge and tries to get her to give in to her desires. But he doesn’t exactly chase after her. He invites her to dinner/drinks and of course Rachel turns them down. But like I said, he doesn’t chase after her in the traditional sense and try to change her mind. Not at all what I was expecting. Tag and Rachel’s interactions are flirty, fun, and exciting. 

One of the downfalls to this book was the slow pace. The flirtation, buildup, and collision of Rachel and Tag was so much fun to read. But in-between all this, everything dragged!

Not even half way through the book and I am bored to death reading the same thing-  how much of a jerk Rachel’s ex was and how much he hurt her. I’m pretty sure I grasped that concept the first handful times the author brought it up. The other thing that irritated me was how much the characters were in their own heads. For some reason this didn’t work well in this book and I felt like I was constantly struggling to connect with the book. This not only ruined the books flow but again made the book drag some. 

I had high expectations for this book but ultimately I was disappointed with the outcome. I think I would have liked it better if Rachel was a stronger character. Oh well.. 

Priceless (Rylee Adamson, #1)

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This book is full of drama, action, and mixed emotions. For some reason, I felt like sexual tension/situations were a constant theme throughout the book. Each character brings something new. And just when you think things couldn’t get worse, the next chapter does just that. I didn’t love the book but I also didn’t hate it, I guess I’m still unsure about this series. But I’m getting ahead of myself.


Priceless

Author: Shannon Mayer
Published: June 2013
Pages: 269

Stars: 3 out of 5

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Synopsis:
“My name is Rylee and I am a Tracker.” 

When children go missing, and the Humans have no leads, I’m the one they call. I am their last hope in bringing home the lost ones. I salvage what they cannot.

I’m on the FBI’s wanted list.

I have a werewolf for a pet, a Witch of a best friend, and have no need for anyone else in my life.

But when a salvage starts to spin out of control, help comes from a most unexpected direction. One that is dangerously dark, brooding, and doesn’t know a thing about the supernatural.

One whose kisses set me on fire.

Review:
Rylee has a special skill that is unique to her in that she is able to find any missing child. Well, almost any. Having a sister go missing ten years ago and an FBI agent determined to pin the crime on her, Rylee isn’t exactly living an easy life. Rylee is also known as an Immune, meaning psychics are unable to see into her past or future, most magic won’t affect her, poison won’t harm her.. You get the idea. 

Rylee is a strong character with a soft heart. She puts everything she has into her job and is quite the fighter. But she carries a lot of baggage around and is constantly haunted by her past.

Liam, an FBI agent hell bent on seeing Rylee behind bars, has found himself in unmarked territory. After a flirtatious kiss, Liam can’t stop thinking about Rylee. But the thing that doesn’t make a lot of sense is that there is zero evidence pinning Rylee to her sisters death/disappearance. Yet Liam has been stocking – I mean investigating Rylee for 10 years. That’s a long time to investigate something, especially without any evidence. 

 Priceless is an easy read, the pages turn quickly as the heroine fights her way to save the life of a child. Although I felt like the plot could have dug deeper (a lot deeper), the book was an enjoyable read.

 But like I said above, I’m still not sure about the series. The plot was interesting and I think there is a good story in there but this book is weighed down by the lack of editing. Ok, maybe not the lack of editing but the book could have used more help in that department. Another thing that really put me off was all the sexuality in this book. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means a prude. I enjoy reading romance books and everything that comes with them. But in this case, I felt like everything was forced and pushed in your face while reading. There was nothing subtle or smooth about Rylee and Liam. Besides, their attraction just doesn’t add up.

Overall, the author has a good imagination and unique plot to work with. I wish there weren’t so many inconsistencies or forced scenes. And the authors unrealistic sexual attraction between her characters is off putting. I’m just not sure if I will continue with this series…

Silent Blade (Kinsmen, #1)

This is an extremely short book, not one I would normally have picked up. But the synopsis is pretty captivating and I couldn’t resist. Unfortunately the book didn’t exactly line up with my expectations. The writing was kind of blah and the romance is rushed. You can easily read this in a couple hours.  Was it something entertaining to read, yes. But it wasn’t something I’ll read again or be interested in buying.


 Silent Blade
Author: Ilona Andrews
Published: June 2, 2009
Pages: 42

Stars: 3 out of 5

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Synopsis:
Old hatreds die hard. Old love dies harder. On Meli Galdes’ home planet, the struggle for power is a bloody, full-contact sport–in business and on the battlefield. For years her lethal skills have been a valuable asset in advancing her family’s interests. She’s more than earned her right to retire, but her kinsmen have one last favor to ask.Kill the man who ruined her life.

Celino Carvanna’s razor-sharp business acumen–and skills with a blade–won him the freedom to do as he pleases. There’s only one thing he can’t seem to control–his reaction to the mysterious woman who tantalizes his senses. Her eyes alone set his blood simmering, stirring ridiculous adolescent fantasies about breasts and honey. With a few words she dissects his soul. Who is she? And how does she slide so easily under his well-guarded skin?

It’s almost too easy to draw Celino within the kill zone. Meli plans to revel in him. Drink him in. Wring every drop of pleasure out of every moment. And when she’s sure he belongs to her, she will finally repay a decade’s worth of pain–in a single, brutal dose of reality.

Review:
Meli is a melder and a serious assassin. But before this, she was a girl primised with a future but left with a broken heart. At age ten, she was betrothed to Celino. While she slowly fell for him, he spent every hour gaining money to buy his was out of the engagement. As you can imagine, he does just that. Unfortunately, Meli is unable to marry anyone else until Celino marries. Twenty years later, still not interested in marriage, Celino has left Meli as an old maid. 

The instant love in this story isn’t really my thing. I much prefer when authors take their time in developing a relationship instead of rushing everything. Celino is arrogant and selfish yet when he falls in love he turns into mush. Maybe I would have like this story better if it wasn’t a happy ending. I don’t know but like I said above-  Was it something entertaining to read, yes. But it wasn’t something I’ll read again or be interested in buying.

 

Phantom Kiss (Chicagoland Vampires, 12.5)

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I don’t normally read novellas, I’m not sure why but I usually don’t. I think the reason I decided to read this one is because I know this series is coming to an end and I absolutely love this series. But this book was too short. 


Phantom Kiss

Author: Chloe Neill
Published: January 19, 2017
Pages: 80

Stars: 3 out of 5

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Other Books in this Series I have Reviewed:
Midnight Marked (Chicagoland Vampires, #12)

 

Synopsis:
Vampires generally aren’t afraid of things that go bump in the night, but Merit and Ethan are extra jumpy after a recent attack by a dark sorcerer. So when they learn that someone is messing with graves in Chicago’s cemeteries, stealing skulls and snatching souls, they fear that their powerful foe might be back for even more magical vengeance.

But after a specter begins haunting Cadogan House—and targeting vampires—they realize that their being taunted by an altogether different sort of monster. A ghoulish villain straight out of the Windy City’s urban legends is on the prowl—and he won’t stop until he’s killed again…

Review:
Phantom Kiss offers a more intimate glimpse into Ethan and Merits romantic life, which I loved! The book opens with Merit and Ethan’s engagement party. And we all know how much Merit enjoys a good party, especially one involving her family. But the night quickly turns from a social party to one of business when they find out graves are being disturbed and ghosts are being summoned. I had a hard time seeing why Merit and Ethan would be called about this. I know it was explained in the book, but I guess I’m having a hard time making the connection. 

The rest of the book goes by quickly. Did I mention this book was too short? I didn’t love the book but that’s mostly because of the short length. Phantom Kiss included most of the characters that Chicagoland Vampires fans love and didn’t contain anything essential to the overall plot of this series. Again, not something I would buy but something that was pleasant to read.