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Search tags: Enemies-To-Lovers
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review 2018-12-10 03:38
The Leading Lady (Half Moon House #2) by Deb Marlowe
The Leading Lady (Half Moon House Series) - Deb Marlowe

The Leading Lady (Half Moon House Series) - Deb Marlowe 

 

What a pleasure to pick up a book by a new to me author and thoroughly enjoy it! <3 
This is the second book in the series but it can be read as a standalone. I haven’t read the first one yet I never felt lost or like I needed to read the first one first. 
I love enemies to lovers stories and this one hit the mark in all the right places. Callie is smart, determined, caring, and knows how to fight against injustices in a world where men set the rules. Although Truitt was at first hesitant of working alongside such woman, he learned to admire her both as a fighter and as a woman. Their romance had the perfect pace and their chemistry, in and outside the bedroom, was perfect as well. They made have made a few mistakes towards the end but overall they made a pretty good team. I think they are one of my favorite couples ever. 


So the romance was wonderful but it was not the only good thing about the book. Not exactly a story about spies it had some its elements. The suspense was engaging from the start and it kept me turning the pages even when it wasn’t about the two main characters, which is always a good thing. Most of the story takes place in France and I loved that the author didn’t use any “accented” dialogue nor used unnecessary situations to remind me where the story was taking place. 
With complex, fun characters; suspense, action, and romance, this is a story I definitely recommend to anyone that enjoys stories outside ballrooms. 

*I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher*

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review 2018-10-10 19:57
Kiss of the Rose (Tudor Vampire Chronicles #1) by Kate Pearce
Kiss of the Rose - Kate Pearce

Kiss of the Rose - Kate Pearce 

This book reminded me how much I love and miss reading about vampires and legends of old. 
Christopher is a man that disguises his family shame with an over the top charming personality and being the best at what he does. Rosalind is a clever woman but is getting tired of having to prove herself as a vampire hunter. These two star-crossed lovers will have to unite forces in order to bring down a common enemy at the same time that a prophecy seems to be taking place and their feelings for each other seem to be more than just unbridled passion. 
I loved the world building. I remember reading this story when it first came out and while I remember liking it then I have to say I liked it even more now. The Druids as a historical backdrop was something I hadn’t read before and I liked how it was weaved within the Tudors era. Vampires as Machiavellian beings and not necessarily heroes provided that extra darkness that I like in my PNR. 
The thing I didn’t like much was the love triangle that took place in much of the story. I always think it unfair when one of the characters is left as an afterthought just because the object of their affections couldn’t make up their mind and kept dragging the poor guy along. I know it happens IRL but I prefer it wouldn’t happen in my romances. I also thought the prophesy aspect needed more fleshed out. It took me a while to understand it and assimilate how the whole thing tied up in the end. But I think that was a personal problem that I tend to have where prophecies are concerned. 
All in all it definitely was a very enjoyable read and I recommend it to anyone that loves paranormal mixed with their historical reads. 

*I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher**

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review 2018-09-29 06:32
Brothers of the Wild North Sea (Audiobook)
Brothers of the Wild North Sea - Harper Fox,Hamish Long

I first read this in February 2014, and I've been meaning to reread it ever since. Thankfully, I never did or I might not have been tempted to get this on audiobook when it was released. And that would've been a shame since that would've meant missing out on Hamish Long's brilliant narration. He has a storybook quality to his voice, a Neil Gaiman-esque style of reading, that really fits perfectly with this story. I can't imagine anyone else doing this narration, and I really hope he gets tons more work because he deserves it. 

 

(He does make one teeny, tiny error though. He pronounces Samhain "sam-hane" instead of "sow-in" with "sow" sounding like "cow", which would be the correct pronunciation.)

 

I loved this book the first time I read it, and I was happy to see it held up over time. Brother Caius and viking Fenrir are such an unlikely duo, but they work here. The story is woven into a rich tapestry of historical detail, fantasy elements, religious dogma versus spiritual knowledge, and includes a cast of characters who are fully realized and each get their own little arcs. This takes place during a time in the Christian church when the church started pulling away from science in favor of zeal, and it's on the cusp of this change that Caius and Fenrir meet and form an unlikely bond.

 

Cai is angry about the death of his lover, and Fen slowly realizes that he's been abandoned by his people. Cai has every reason to hate Fen, and Fen was raised to be prejudiced against Christians. Cai is struggling to be a good monk and a good man, despite often feeling like he's neither. He just wants to live in peace, but life is determined not to give it to him. 

 

Seeing these two men slowly learn to trust each other, and watching Fen ingrate himself into monastery life was a treat to savor all over again. I'd forgotten a lot about the story over the years, but as I listened, things would come back and become familiar again. I completely forgot about the ending, and got to experience that as if for the first time. :D

 

This is just one of those stories that hits all the right spots and doesn't waver in the telling. 

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review 2018-09-29 05:55
Mark of Cain
Mark of Cain - Kate Sherwood

It was just bad luck that I ended up reading this at the same time I was listening to Brothers of the Wild North Sea. The two books, despite being different genres and different time periods, deal with the same themes: enemies to lovers, a man of the cloth struggling with his faith and church, a wild man learning a new way to live his life. One of these books is successful at exploring these complex themes, the other...not so much. 

 

Brothers of the Wild North Sea is like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Mark of Cain is like a finger painting by a three-year old. Brothers of the Wild North Sea is like eating freshly ripe strawberries dipped in cream on a breezy, mild summer day. Mark of Cain is like an ice cream sandwich that's been out of the freezer too long. You know it'll still taste the same, but the texture's all wrong and the sandwich part sticks to your fingers and it's just not as satisfying as it could've been.

 

But anyway, enough with the unfair comparisons! Let's talk about the Mark of Cain!

 

 

A man struggling with his faith and church - There were good bones here. I did find most of Mark's storyline here to be superficial at best, but I did like how it highlighted the struggle that many fundamental churches have when trying to move forward with the times. They can talk the talk, but they trip and stumble when they try to walk the walk. Unfortunately, much of the meat of this was pushed to the back burner because of the Twu Wuv taking center stage halfway through. *sigh*

 

I mostly liked Mark. Except when he was being an ass. He loves his church but slowly comes to realize how much of himself he's given up for it and that it doesn't love him back. This could have been really intense, but in the end there wasn't all that much depth to these sections and they're breezed over for the Tru Wuv.

 

 

An excon trying to make amends and be better - I really liked Lucas. His story here is sad. Yes, he killed a guy, but he spent his stint in prison doing what he could to become a better person, one who doesn't drink too much and doesn't get into pointless bar fights because he's bored with his life. He was only 19 when this stupid thing happened, and it'll haunt him the rest of his life. When he's released, he tries to hold onto what the therapist taught him, but his friends are determined to pull him back into his old ways. And his friends are, for the most part, caricatures with no real nuance of their own, the exception of Sean.

 

Between Mark and Lucas, his actions made the most sense throughout the book and I was most interested to see where his story would go. 

 

So what happens when these two "enemies" get together?

 

 

Well...not much. First, Lucas is placed in the half-way house that Mark supervises because his parole officer is terrible at his job - and despite Lucas's case being very high profile, to the point that random strangers know who Lucas is and what he did, none of the other ex-cons in this place have any clue about the connection between Mark and Lucas. Or maybe they do, but we just don't get to see it because we never actually meet any of the other guys in the house except when they're needed to play bit parts. But since even Lucas is unaware of this connection, I can only assume the other guys in the house don't know either. Yeah. Suuuure they don't.

 

Anyway, that ridiculous coinkydink aside, Mark's a jerk to Lucas, and he's completely unprofessional with his job. Like, on so many levels. And Lucas just takes everything that's thrown at him - from Mark and every other random person - because he knows he deserves it.

 

And then this thing happens with Alex, a teen boy that Mark is counseling at the church. Alex starts off as a character in his own right, and he's a mirror to Mark. Mark is constrained, careful. Alex is bold and upfront. And of course he's got the big crush on Lucas. But turns out his character is mostly just a bridge to Mark and Lucas burying the hatchet and forming a friendship of sorts, because Alex needed help and they're both willing to help him. Which is all great! I was ready to see where this went!

 

But then it kind of fizzles out. Alex fades into the background for awhile and Mark pretty much ignores him because of Tru Wuv. *sigh*

 

 

In the end, I needed a lot more time spent with these two as hesitant acquaintances/quasi-friends before they jumped into bed together. Years worth. Not just months, which are really more like a couple of weeks once they really start spending time together. The moment they started lusting is the moment this book became just another M/M Romance (™) and stopped being anything interesting. I just couldn't buy it. I was pretty much yelling (in my head) at Mark "Dude, he killed your brother, what are you doing?!" every other page. And I like Lucas! But seriously. He killed your brother. WHAT ARE YOU DOING!

 

Random stuff:

 

We meet Will in chapter two when he takes Mark to a bar to unwind after the news that Lucas got released on early parole. Will and Mark seem like good friends, so he should have shown up again at any point in this story to help out Mark or be a sounding board for him when his life was falling apart, but it's like Sherwood forgot this character even existed.

 

I thought we'd see a lot more of Mark's parents, since such a big deal was made over how upset they were about Lucas's release, but they're barely mentioned at all in the first half of the book, and we never even actually meet his dad. And his mom...okay, I'm going to keep this rant super short, but I really resent that Mark's mom was made to look like a villain at the end. This poor woman has lost everything, and to try to make her the mustache-twirling bad guy just felt disingenuous. Was that there to allow the reader to feel better about Mark being with Lucas? If so, that is beyond the pale. She has every right to be upset and want nothing to do with Lucas, and I frankly have to agree with her that Mark wasn't making wise decisions at this point.

 

There's also this weird subplot with Lucas's friend Sean towards the end that doesn't really go anywhere. Was this supposed to be a series at one point and she changed her mind? That's the only reason it makes sense to include all this stuff that really just takes time away from other things that should be getting more focus.

 

Anyway, there's good stuff here, good bones, but a lot of it felt haphazard and didn't go as in depth with the material as I wanted it to. This could have been glorious

 

 

but ended up just being kind of frumpy.

 

 

(Sorry, Chuck.) :D

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review 2018-04-17 00:00
Takedown: An Enemies to Lovers Dark Romance
Takedown: An Enemies to Lovers Dark Roma... Takedown: An Enemies to Lovers Dark Romance - Lana Hartley I love a good romance. Takedown is more than a good romance, it's a soul stirring addiction. Owen knows how to be a jerk. His heart is heavily guarded, but his hormones are on full display. One indiscretion too many lands him in the doghouse intent on breaking free by any means necessary. Until the "Lone Wolfe" is brought down by a no nonsense, mass of contradictions. Hartley is not afraid to break the rules when it comes to sex appeal. Owen and Molly are a match made in sensual heaven.
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