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review 2018-03-19 23:48
Release Day ARC Review: Staggered Cove Station by Elle Brownlee
Staggered Cove Station - Elle Brownlee

I enjoyed this. It had a nice quiet romance developing, and a big suspense plot that while not super mysterious kept me glued to the pages until its conclusion. I also really loved the many descriptions of the small remote town on the coast of Alaska, the rugged wilderness, the many dangers that come with the unpredictable weather, the rough seas, the tension-filled rescues - it was all vividly depicted within the pages of this book, and I felt as if I was right there with Karl and Dan, the two coasties stationed at Staggered Cove, where one misstep could cost your life or limb. 

Dan arrives at the Coast Guard station as the new rescue swimmer, fresh out of California, with the intent to find out what happened to his older brother Neal/Axe who disappeared in the ocean during a rescue mission and is presumed dead. Karl, his roommate and fellow coastie, is quickly suspicious of Dan's odd behavior early on. They become more than colleagues as Dan confesses to what made him sign up for the Coast Guard station in Alaska, and the two begin to try to unravel the mystery. 

Speaking of the mystery, it was well done and stayed suspenseful, even though I figured out about halfway through where it was headed. Still, the author surprised me once again when the... no, sorry, you should read this for yourself.

This being a Dreamspun Desires title, I expected the book to have but a couple of explicit scenes, and thus wasn't disappointed. However, the choice of location for the first one - perhaps not the most suitable.

The relationship developed quickly, though considering the stress and strain these men were under, this did not surprise me. There was an obvious attraction early on that kept growing realistically under the circumstances, and I thought that the author did a fine job showing me how these two men grew closer. Intimacy doesn't always mean bare skin, you know. Desperate, frantic kisses and embraces, fueled by adrenaline can also be intimate, as can lying in bed cuddling, talking about nothing. 

I have no real experience with Coast Guard processes and procedures, but would say that the descriptions of the same inside this book felt realistic to me, and it appeared as if the author had gone a good deal of research to get it right. 

The supporting cast, made up of fellow coasties, the Postmaster/shop-owner in the nearby town, and Dan's old friend Ridge, worked well here - they were sufficiently fleshed out to not be cardboard characters and fit well within the overall story arc. 

I definitely liked the two MCs. They were well-suited to each other, with Dan's easy-going nature bringing a bit of light to Karl's somewhat darker mindset, and Karl seemed more mature which in turn calmed Dan. 

I would recommend this book, for sure. 

** I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. **

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text 2018-03-18 17:59
Reading progress update: I've read 143 out of 219 pages.
Shock Waves - Carolyn Keene,Franklin W. Dixon

So far there has been an error on the back cover summary versus what happens in the book and drawing on one page of my copy. Hmm...

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review 2018-03-16 17:26
Bad Reputation by Nicole Edwards
Bad Reputation: A Bad Boys of Sports Novel - Nicole Edwards

I requested this book from Netgalley but I have no idea why. I am not interested in sports. I’m guessing it was the cover.

I managed to get through this one despite myself. It was touch and go there for a bit, I’m not even going to attempt to pretend otherwise. Only my laziness to figure out what I wanted to read next kept me going. One of these days I will learn how to DNF correctly.

Chase is a rich and famous hockey star and has a reputation as being “the bad boy of hockey” because he’s a trouble maker on the ice and he likes to sleep with women. Ummm, ok. He’s young, he’s loaded and he’s beautiful. I’d say that’s pretty normal not “bad” but what do I know? He is secretly in love with his best friend Cassie but he knows he can never share his feelings because it will destroy their close friendship. Thus, all the sleeping around with the hockey “bunnies”. 

After Chase scares off Cassie’s latest date (in a real jerky alpha move) she laughs it off and calls him an asshole but she is relieved. She is focused on her career and moving on up and isn’t seriously pursuing a relationship. She’d much rather hang out with Chase and his friends than some random boring guy anyway. And when your best friend is a hockey god normal guys don’t stand a chance.

My description is making this sound dreadful, I know that and it’s not. At least not yet!

Cassie is chosen to make a key note speech and present a huge rollout for her company. This is a BIG deal for Cassie. It takes weeks of preparation and will help her reach her goals. The trip is in Vegas. She decides to take Chase with her and it’s here that the story goes all to hell for me. I won’t spoil it for everyone dying to read it but I will say that some colossally idiotic behavior goes down and Cassie ends up looking like a complete idiot when it was all said and done.

You might be able to get past that and forget about it. Not I. She is only 28 at the time, you might say, but at 28 I already had two kids, a mortgage, and a full time job and was well on the way to becoming the grumpy reader I am today. 28 is old enough to know better than to act like a coed on spring break. Cassie, up until Vegas, was painted as a responsible, intelligent woman so none of this made sense. This Vegas nonsense tainted the rest of the story for me because after Vegas happened I didn’t give any craps about her and her relationship with Chase.

That’s better. So, as I mentioned, I did carry on after taking a little break and a few deep cleansing breaths. What followed wasn’t really worth the effort. Their sexy times were hot, I’ll give them that, but that’s not enough to carry me through a book like this when their thoughts and self-talk are repetitive and tedious. Chase describes Cassie as “hilarious” but I never saw it which is a crying shame. Telling me someone is hilarious does me no good at all when they come across as average to boring on the page. They say love is blind though and I do believe it is true. Ah well, perhaps I’m just too grouchy for this kind of book. 

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text 2018-03-14 18:59
Reading progress update: I've read 50% ish
Bad Reputation: A Bad Boys of Sports Novel - Nicole Edwards

This heroine just did something so incredibly stupid and out of character that I don't give a damn what happens to her and her lover boy now. Such a dum-dum I cannot stand it.

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review 2018-03-07 01:38
Release Day ARC Review: Cowboy In The Crosshairs by B.A. Tortuga
Cowboy in the Crosshairs - B.A. Tortuga

Once upon a time, i.e. 10 years or so prior, Wacey, oldest son of the local rodeo company owners, and TJ were a couple in secret. TJ wasn't ready to come out as gay in their small town and also wanted what everyone else had - a wife and a couple of kids. They broke up and Wacey left town right after, hurt and angry, and they haven't spoken since. TJ married, had two kids, and then came clean to his now ex-wife about how he likes men more so than women.

That's the backstory of their relationship. I just love the second chance at love stories, so this one was right up my alley. I also love when the romance isn't all dramatic and full of angst, and I got that here too.

The story begins with TJ, sitting in the diner, doing his Chief of Police thing with the locals, including calming down some old biddie complaining about some art work on the side of house, when he's told that Wacey got hurt real bad and is coming home to the ranch to recuperate. TJ is still mad at Wacey for not coming home for so long, and Wacey wants nothing to do with his old boyfriend.

Obviously that doesn't last for long, as weird things happening at the Bene ranch keep throwing them into each other's path.

Someone apparently has it out for Wacey.

I just love me some good cowboy loving, and this author always delivers the goods. This was such a charming romance, and I adored both MCs. Their relationship was easy-peasy, and once TJ made up his mind to woo Wacey into his bed again, he was relentless in his pursuit.

The mystery/suspense was also really well done, with the incidents getting worse and worse and the suspense building, and nobody having any idea who might be behind it all. I had an inkling about halfway through about the villain, and though I thought that the reason for the villainy might have been a wee bit far-fetched, it's hard to say what might go on in such a mind.

The author's writing style also really worked for this story, and the dialogue felt organic for the setting and the characters.

This is a feel-good second-chance-at-love story with two likable main characters and a great supporting cast. Though, naming your kids Wacey, Lacey, Macey, and Kacey - I feel I must either question your sanity or applaud your sick sense of humor.

Give this a try, y'all. Definitely worth your time.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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