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review 2017-07-20 20:16
ARC Review: Where I Need To Be (McKenna #3) by Jamie Hollins ~ Giveaway/Excerpt
Where I Need To Be (McKenna Series Book 3) - Jamie Hollins

 

Where I Need To Be

McKenna # 3
By: Jamie Hollins
Releasing July 18, 2017
Self-Published

 

Blurb


When heroin stole James Foley’s wife and destroyed his marriage, he poured all his energy into raising his young son and running his auto garage. There’s no room in his life for anything else until Megan McKenna walks into his shop. He finds it impossible to resist the sexy school teacher.

 

After an ugly divorce, Megan lost her home, her job, and a big chunk of her self-respect. With her posh lifestyle now a memory, she starts over by indulging in an unexpected fling with a hard-bodied mechanic.

 

What begins as something casual turns into something meaningful. But how can their relationship survive when it’s built on half-truths?

 

James and Megan soon discover that being honest with themselves is just as important as being honest with each other. Only then will their relationship fire on all cylinders.

 

 

BUY LINKS

 

   

 

 

 

This is my first time diving into the McKenna series and reading author Jamie Hollins. I usually don’t go for Contemporary reads unless it’s Romantic Suspense, but the blurb peeked my interest. I liked the idea of two adults, both divorced, with pasts and issues to deal with ending up coming together and finding strength, love, and a true partnership.

 

James. I loved him. He’s perfect yet not, has issues to deal with, always has grease on him, overworks himself, and is doing the best he can in raising his son with the help of his father. We see several different sides to him and so you can not help but fall in love with him. His dedication to his work and how he put his kid’s feelings above his own. Perfect. Sweet.

 

Megan. I found her to be smart and sweet, but also a little week and her issue of not confiding in her family about her divorce and dating James really upset me. She was doing great, turning her life around, found a job she loves, and a man who was exactly what she needed, but she disappointed me in making excuses and not ripping that banded off with her family.

 

The story was good and I liked it. I enjoyed the characters and found the romance to be sweet, adorable, and satisfying. I liked that they took their time getting to know each other and that they also communicated, where open, and upfront from the start. It made the romance and relationship seem so real.

 

The epilogue wrapped everything up marvelously and I loved seeing the whole family be together.

 

Where I Need To Be is a charming and heartfelt romance, with a few laugh out loud moments, and some hot sexy scenes. I had a delightful time and will be check out previous books in the series.

 

Rated: 4 Stars

 

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy provided by Jamie Hollins via NetGalley with the sole purpose of an honest review. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

 

Was this review helpful? If so, please consider liking it on Goodreads (Angela)!

 

 

Challenge(s): New To Me (Author/Series) | Pick Your Genre (Con) | New Release (2017)

 

 

 

 

 

Megan nibbled on her lower lip as she looked everywhere but at him. He desperately wanted to ask her what was bothering her, but he stopped himself. She wasn’t his. It was none of his business.

 

He needed to be straight with her.

 

“About Friday night…” He paused before deciding to begin a different way. “I need to be upfront with you and tell you that I’m not interested in a relationship. I’ve got a lot going on in my life with the shop and with my son. And a steady woman just doesn’t fit into my plans at the moment.”

 

She nodded but didn’t say anything. Shit, if she broke into tears in his parking lot, he didn’t know what he would do.

 

“I like you, Megan. I sure as hell liked what happened on Friday, and I’d like to see you again. But beyond that, I can’t give you anything more.”

 

“So are you saying you’d like to date but not exclusively?”

 

Was that what he was saying? That he wanted to date her? 

 

“If by dating you mean periodically getting together and having sex, then sure, let’s go with that.” 

 

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he wished he could take them back. He was being honest, but it had made him sound like a dick.

 

She looked skyward and smiled. “Thank God. That’s exactly what I was going to say.”

 

He frowned. “You were?”

 

“Yes!” She laughed. “What a relief. I had a lot fun with you. But jumping back into a relationship…I just can’t right now.”

 

“So we agree on this?” he asked incredulously. 

 

“Absolutely.”

 

Huh. Wasn’t that something? 

 

“Oh, but there is one thing I did want to add,” she said, grimacing slightly.

 

He knew there had to be a catch.

 

“If we’re…” She looked back toward the garage at the guys congregating around the open doors, pretending not to eavesdrop. “If we’re sleeping together, I’m not going to hold you to being exclusive, but I would hope you could extend the courtesy of letting me know if you meet someone else who you’d like to sleep with.”

 

He couldn’t help it, he let his chuckle slip. He wasn’t laughing at what she said. It was perfectly reasonable. He was laughing at the idea of wanting any other woman when he had Megan in his bed.

 

“That’s fair,” he replied. “And I’d expect the same courtesy from you.”

 

Smiling, she extended her hand. “Deal.” 

 

He frowned, taking her outstretched hand. Instead of shaking it, he lightly tugged her toward him. “Sweetheart, I’m not shaking your hand like we’re conducting some business deal.”

 

She blinked, her mouth falling open before she closed it quickly. Pulling her hand from his grasp, Megan clutched the strap of her purse. “Of course, I’m sorry. That was stupid.”

 

He smiled, taking a step closer and leaning in slightly. “Not stupid, and you have nothing to apologize for.” He watched as her eyes fell to his lips and he liked the way this woman thought. “Now tell me…when can I see you again?”

 

She swallowed before nibbling on her lower lip. It took everything he had not to reach up and pull her rose-colored lip down with his thumb. James knew all of his employees were watching. They’d stopped the pretense of being busy the moment he’d pulled her toward him.

 

“How about we do dinner this weekend?” he asked. “It’ll have to be late, after Cade goes to bed.”

 

She nodded slowly. “I’d like that.”

 

“Saturday around nine o’clock?”

 

Her clear blue eyes smiled as she nodded again. “It’s a date.”

 

“It’s a date,” he repeated. 

 

 

Jamie Hollins was born and raised in rural Northeast Ohio.  After graduate school, she embarked on a perilous career in Human Resources where she met plenty of real life characters.  When she’s not writing or chasing after her toddler, she enjoys reading and golfing.  Jamie lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and their dog, Winston.

 

Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

 

 

 

$25 Amazon GC + signed copy of WHERE I NEED TO BE (US Only)

Follow the tour Here

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

Owner/Review and mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. However what I am not is a writer. I apologize now for the grammatical and punctuation errors I make, because I know I’m going to make them. I’m a mother, wife, dog owner, animal, and book lover. My favorite animals are horses. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy. My favorite shifters are dragons!

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Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2017/07/arc-review-where-i-need-to-be-mckenna-3-by-jamie-hollins
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review 2017-07-19 02:23
ARC Review: Mascara & Bandages (Mary's Boys #3) by Brandon Witt
Mascara & Bandages (Mary's Boys Book 3) - Brandon Witt

This is the 3rd book in the Mary's Boys series, all set in and around a Hamburger Mary's in Denver, CO.

On his way home from Hamburger Mary's after a performance as his drag queen alter ego Ariel Merman, while still dressed as Ariel, Zachary Cooper becomes the victim of a gay bashing. 

I was already crying when he comes to in the hospital, in pain and worried that the homophobic assholes who attacked him messed up his face and that he won't be able to perform anymore. 

In walks Teegan Chau, his doctor, and things suddenly look up.

Teegan has only recently come out as gay, and while he's divorced from his wife, they share a little girl and have a great friendly, supportive relationship. Teegan has had some hook-ups with other men, but has never been on an actual date with a man. Instantly smitten with the younger, somewhat femme guy in the hospital bed, Teegan and Zachary agree on a date. 

While the story had the potential to be really angsty, it actually wasn't, and there's a lot of inner strength to Zachary. He has a steely interior, and while he struggles a little with the trauma from the attack, he doesn't allow it to destroy him. 

I loved that the author didn't rush the developing relationship. Teegan's adorkable awkwardness on their first date was super cute, but neither he nor Zachary jumped into a commitment - they took their time to test the waters and really build a foundation.

As Ariel, Zachary is free to be himself, instead of worrying about meeting expectations other men might have of him. I loved that the author wrote about a femme man and the misconceptions that come with that. 

This book is the most heart-breaking and also most heart-warming of the series so far, as Zachary and Teegan, and the whole Mary's chosen family, deal with societal expectations, homophobia, the bashing, immediate family issues, and how to forge their own way.

There isn't a lot of steam here, and I for one don't need that in a romance novel to believe the relationship. Zachary grows into himself here, and Teegan finds exactly what he never knew he always wanted. 

So well done. 


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-07-17 00:52
Cloak of Snow (Totem #3) by Christine Rains
Cloak of Snow (Totem Book 3) - Christine Rains

Saskia and her sisters are desperately trying to find the lost pieces of the totem pole which could have dire consequences for all shapeshifters if it is not found.

 

But not only do they have to contend with the person who stole the pole in the first place – but the pieces’ magic are causing many supernatural threats to arise

 

So when she and Sedge, the Reincarnation of the Great Bear Spirit come across a native village under attack due to the totem’s magic. They have to fight to protect them – but Saskia is worried about being pulled back in under Sedge’s influence.

 

 

 

 

I really hate these two characters together – because a lot of it is the very essence of a destructive romance. On the plus side we don’t actually reach a romance this book – but the whole framework of a romance is there complete with clichéd “I don’t want anything to do with you we’re over but zomg so hawt so hawt” which is definitely a foundation for romance so often.

 

Saskia and Sedge may have history, may have been in a relationship but they split up because Saskia decided to end the relationship – and yes, I get that we’re supposed to disagree with her reasoning (and I do, yes I do) but it’s still her choice, her reasoning, her decision. But I think because we’re expected to disagree with her reasoning and know she wants him really – so his constant pushing against her “no” is ok.

 

Like the concept of Taboos – there are taboos people are supposed to follow in accordance with the Inuit beliefs (I don’t know how true this is due to my own ignorance of Inuit beliefs) and while major spirits like Sedge (who is Bear) usually let violations go – when Saskia last broke a taboo he took her to a cave and they had lots of sex… which is a dubious “punishment” to begin with and raises questions of consent. Now she scrupulously follows all taboos knowing he is waiting for an excuse… Waiting for an excuse? This does not sound remotely consensual. Add in her having to meet him in human form – because she would be too submissive to him as a bear.


And yes, she is avoiding that – but there’s no treatment of that behaviour as what it is: nor is there any real challenge of his machinations to bring them back together. Oh she’s angry about it – but they’re not remotely treating it with the severity it deserves and I can feel the trajectory towards the romance with this man who doesn’t seem to have the slightest respect for her.

 

It’s a shame that this relationship is here because otherwise we could focus more on the beliefs of the Inuit and the creatures we see here which, I presume (again, I can’t stress enough my own ignorance here) which are drawn from their mythology and beliefs and practices. We could focus more on the shapeshifters and Black Shamans and even on the main plot that has been pending now for a couple of books of finding the parts of the missing totem and the consequences (the unspecified consequences) towards all shapeshifters is that happens.

 

 

This is similar to what I said about Silent Whispers, there’s a lot of good things here. There are some excellent characters – from Saskia’s conflicted opinions in regards to the Black Shamans to what it means for Sedge to be Bear, to what being a Black Shaman or even a werecreature even means, to more exploration of the creatures and beliefs that populate this book and the previous one. On the one hand I can understand the temptation not to infodump excessively but we’re only getting the bare bones or the plot for the last 3 books. It’s an issue that’s only exacerbated by this world being so interesting, the plots ones I want expanding and the characters and setting being so very different from what I’ve seen in many other places. The fact it’s not expanded seems a shame when that is what makes this series unique. And the romances? They’re sadly pretty typical and not all that interesting.

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text 2017-07-16 04:13
What I've read since I've been away...
Difficult Women - Roxane Gay
Fearless Creating - Eric Maisel
Baltimore Blues - Laura Lippman
The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
The Girl with All the Gifts - M.R. Carey
Al Franken, Giant of the Senate - Al Franken
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Res... Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy - Sheryl Sandberg,Adam Grant
Dangerous Ends: (Pete Fernandez Book 3) ... Dangerous Ends: (Pete Fernandez Book 3) - Alex Segura

Difficult Women by Roxanne Gay
Fearless Creating by Eric Maisel
Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Girl With All The Gifts by MR Carey
The Widow Nash by Jamie Harrison
Giant of the Senate by Al Franken
Option B - Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy. 
Dangerous Ends by Alex Segura



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review 2017-07-15 00:05
From the Cradle by Michelle Knight
From the Cradle (The Submissive Heart Book 3) - Michelle Knight

So, I finished this a while ago. Several weeks ago. I couldn't figure out where to start the review.

 

IN THE PREFACE:

 

So far, so good. Book 1, "The Companion," tackled the underlying dynamics of a BDSM relationship. Book 2, "The Reluctant Leader, " took on the censorship and legal issues and introduced the dominant side of the D/s dynamic. Now, book 3 takes you through another aspect of BDSM relationships that never crosses many people's minds.

 

It seems that whenever people talking about the subject of BDSM relationships, they somehow forget that the little woed, "relationship," is part of the sentence.

 

In the first book we were introduced to Mark and Susan (later known also as simply "L," the name given to her by her master). Mark had a scarred past and Susan needed someone to help guide her towards building a life where she would grow as a person she was com for table being. Together they entered in a BDSM relationship. The first book was focused on their budding love aND partnership . This book we get their "happily ever after," a look at what happens when their relationship buds into more than bargained for when they began their lives together.

 

I did not foresee any of the events in this book happening to Mark and L. I did enjoy the ride though. I never once thought of what it would be like for a couple who had a BDSM relationship to juggle the same curveballs that traditional couples experience. 

 

After reading this I see so many similarities between what people consider to be normal relationships and that of a couple practising a BDSM lifestyle. When it comes to the topic of BDSM people's minds automatically think of violent, leather dressed men beating their females until they experience earth moving painful orgasms. That's not what you get with this book. What you get is a couple being a bit more honest with themselves about where they stand I their relationship and embracing their roles.

 

What was all his dominance actually worth in a sphere where he didn't have any authority? How could he control anything when it wasn't his hands on the steering wheel?

 

I completely understand why erotic BDSM literature is popular. In people's minds it is an adventure on the wildside. Those books give people wrong impressions though, and sometimes bad ideas and stereotypes. I like that the author of this, Michelle Knight, wrote a realistic story. I have found this entire series to be very eye opening on the subject. This is very well written and obviously well researched and told from personal life experiences. Compared to the first two books this feels to be written with more emotion included in the story. Knight skills as a writer have really grown. This is not erotic fiction but is definitely intended for adults.

 

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