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review 2017-05-16 02:25
Release Day ARC Review: Two For Trust by Elle Brownlee
Two for Trust (Dreamspun Desires Book 34) - Elle Brownlee

Well, that was mostly lovely. No steam but a few hot kisses and a lot of longing, and a super slow burn romance between an American nurse/tourist in England and the well-off owner of a manor. Finch is utterly adorable and exactly what the somewhat stuffy Benedict needed in his life.

Finch Mason, young, single, and a nurse, is on the trip of a lifetime - two weeks in jolly olde England, armed with a National Trust pass, that turns out to be a pass for two for one week, instead of a pass for one for two weeks. No matter, because why not offer the 2nd entry to the old mill he's visiting to the handsome Brit who shows up ever so fortuitously. And then Finch and Benedict meet time and again, and share a week of visiting historical sites in that particular area of Britain.

Over the course of the week, Finch rescues a puppy from a hole in the ground, has tea and crumpets with Benedict, and starts to have feelings for the handsome older man. He's quit his job in the States because they wouldn't grant him the vacation time, and he is not looking forward to returning stateside because of that pesky job search he'll have to undertake.

His funds are limited, but he's optimistic and a bit of a history geek, and admires Benedict and his charms.

I could see how Finch would look to the older Benedict as someone to admire, but I just didn't really buy the developing relationship. More often than not, Benedict comes across as a cold fish - I'm not sure whether that was his personality or if he acted this way because he thought it was expected.

After the first week, Benedict plans to move on to the next hostel, but his plans are dashed when he returns to his room and discovers someone has ransacked it and stolen nearly everything. And Benedict rushes to the rescue.

I had already figured at their first meeting that Benedict wasn't quite who Finch assumed him to be, so the reveal wasn't a big surprise to me. I also at that point became a little bit uncomfortable with the manner in which Benedict takes over control, and starts telling Finch what to do. It could be said that he was doing this only because he too had started to look at the young man with something like desire and longing, and possibly even love, but it wasn't well explained and not really shown.

At about 2/3 in, Benedict asks Finch to take his grandmother across the Channel to visit her sister in The Netherlands, for payment, and Finch agrees to play nursemaid for the trip across and a few days in the Dutch countryside, and then catching a flight to London and get there in time for his return to the US. There's an unexpected kiss at the dock. Except things don't exactly go as planned once they've made it across, and Grandma gets herself into a spot of trouble, and then Finch... well, you read this for yourself.

Finch ends up staying longer than initially planned - not that he has a job to go home to - and then there's a bit of a misunderstanding, and an impetuous Finch runs off, thinking he's unwanted.

As this is a romance, we get a happy ending, of course.

I quite adored Finch. He had a really bad relationship experience prior to getting to England, and I don't think he saw himself as someone who was worthy of Benedict, or anyone else, for that matter. He's unfailingly polite, gracious, and always very grateful to everyone who helps him, but also not a complete doormat. He loves animals, he's kind and optimistic, and he doesn't let life get him down. I do believe he was good for Benedict, and helped to loosen the chap up a bit, and maybe pull the stick out of his arse.

Benedict - well, I guess he grew on me by the end, but I didn't like it when he said things that sounded a bit too much like scolding Finch for my taste, or giving me the impression that he was bothered by the young man's presence in his home. Sure, we're told that he doesn't feel that way at all, but it doesn't really come across that way in his actions. I guess I was missing the chemistry here - there just didn't seem to be much passion at all - and while I don't need steam in my romance books, I found it strange that the two men would share nothing but a few hot kisses before the grandiose ending, not even off-page.

YMMV.


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

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review 2017-05-14 17:22
Review: Deep Deception by Cathy Pegau
Deep Deception - Cathy Pegau

A f/f sci-fi romance with a government mining agent and a not quite-criminial, not quite a law abider who wants to turn into a government informant so she can get her in-laws off her back and away from her kids. A seriously fun ride with an ending that was sensible and satisfying.

 

Nat is an agent who has been put on suspension following a bust that went bad and then turned into someone framing her for bribery. So she has two weeks of nothing to do but hope her union rep can figure out WTF is going on in the agency. Meanwhile, Gennie is desperate to get information gleaned from her dead husband's computer to the right agent so her in-laws will be investigated/too worried about the family business PR. Getting rid of her in-laws attention will allow her enough time and breathing space to get herself and her twins off planet and into a new life somewhere in the universe. Nat is her way in.

 

Nat and Gennie worked well together as investigators/sleuths as well as lovers. With some help from characters from the other books in the series, they not only uncover dirty business but also dirty government agents with some added twists such as migrant workers and natural resource preservation. The world building was detailed enough to get a real sense of another planet and how it works. I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series (this was book 3 in a trilogy); luckily, each book can be read as a stand-alone.

***********************************************************************************************

Read for Booklikes-opoly (fifth turn, part 1)

Pages: 208 Bank: $3.00

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review 2017-05-11 08:05
Release Blast w/Review - The Magnate's Marriage Merger
  
 
The matchmaker meets her match…in one very persistent tycoon!
 
 
THE MAGNATE'S MARRIAGE MERGER
The McNeill Magnates #2
Joanne Rock
Releasing May 9th, 2017
Harlequin Desire
 

 

The matchmaker meets her match…in one very persistent tycoon! 

Secretive matchmaker to the rich and famous, Lydia Whitney prefers to stay behind the scenes. But after one mistake, rich resort developer Ian McNeill is hot on her trail, and he’s more attractive—and persistent—than ever before.
 
Ian can’t believe it when he figures out who’s messing with his family: a woman who has deceived—and seduced—him before. What’s her agenda? And why can’t he resist her? He’ll get the answers to all his questions, if Lydia agrees to his convenient marriage proposal. But once she’s in his arms again, will he let her go?

 

 
 
 
 

She was a woman of habit and that would serve him well now. He hoped. He remembered how much she had enjoyed swimming first thing in the morning when they were working together in the islands of Tahiti. He’d accused her of being a mermaid with her daily need to return to the sea, but even when he’d been bleary-eyed from working late the night before, he never missed a chance to swim with her. For safety purposes, he’d told her, and not just because he enjoyed the occasional chance to slide a hand beneath her bikini top or wind the wet rope of her hair around his hand and angle her sea-salty lips for his kiss.

 

When the elevator sounded its dull chime, he slowly looked up. The doors opened and Lydia strode into view. His gaze fell on her long, shapely legs, the hem of her black mesh tunic revealing a hint of thigh.

 

Ian?” Her voice tugged his attention higher, pulling his focus to her green eyes and creamy skin devoid of makeup.

 

With her hair scraped back into a ponytail, she looked every inch the part of his earthy, warmhearted lover from last summer. He had to remember that she hadn’t been the woman he thought, that he’d been wrong about her, or he might have swept her up into his arms and ridden the elevator back up to her hotel room to remind her how good they were together in at least one respect.

 

Sex. Raw, sensual, mind-blowing sex.

 

His pulse ramped up at the steamy memories, so much so that he had to shut down those thoughts and focus on the present or his plan would be doomed before he even started.

 

Hope you don’t mind if I join you.” Ian tucked his phone back into the pocket of the cargo shorts he’d slid on over his swim trunks.

 

She halted in front of him abruptly. Then, eyes sliding to the desk attendant, she stepped closer. Probably she did it to minimize the chance of being overheard.

 

Ian liked the opportunity to breathe in the scent of her—the lavender fragrance of the detergent she washed her clothes in and a subtle perfume more complex than that.

 

What on earth are you doing here?” She glanced over her shoulder. “You realize most of the consultants working on the Foxfire are staying in this hotel? What will they say if someone sees us together at this hour?”

 

They’ll think we had a whole lot more fun last night than they did.”

 

Last night, he’d paced the floor of his penthouse suite for far too long, thinking through every aspect of a contract marriage and what details he should include in the paperwork.

 

In the end, she would sign. But she wasn’t going to like him forcing her hand, and that bothered him more than it should have.

 

And that doesn’t concern you? I happen to enjoy a hard-earned reputation as a professional.” Her clipped words and the high color in her cheeks told him he’d gotten under her skin in record time.

 

If you don’t want anyone to see us together, we might as well hit the beach. Take refuge in the water.” His hand itched to touch her. To rest on the small of her back and steer her out the door, across the street and onto the soft sand. But he had to be careful not to push or she could dig her heels in about his suggestion and delay the whole thing.

 

Now that he’d made up his mind and seen the benefits of a union between the two of them, he couldn’t think of one damn reason why he should delay.

 

After narrowing her green eyes at him for an instant, she pivoted on her wedge sandals and strode toward the exit.

 

He caught up to her in two long steps, holding the door wide for her before as they headed out onto Ocean Drive, which was strangely quiet in the predawn dark. There were more joggers on the beach than bathers; a few runners kicked up sand as they pounded past them.

 

It’ll be quieter down here.” He pointed out a stretch of the shore where no beach loungers had been set up yet, a spot free from any hotel guests.

 

In fact, he’d claimed the location for them earlier when he’d ordered a cabana and sunrise breakfast. Lydia apparently didn’t notice his preparations, however, instead appearing too absorbed in her frustrated march toward the water, her feet churning through the sand at breakneck pace.

 

The horizon was starting to smudge from inky black to purple as she reached the shoreline and kicked off her shoes. Then she yanked the black mesh cover-up off and over her head. Mesmerized by her silhouette as his eyes adjusted to the light, Ian watched as she ran into the surf and made a shallow dive under an oncoming wave… She was a woman of habit and that would serve him well now. He hoped. He remembered how much she had enjoyed swimming first thing in the morning when they were working together in the islands of Tahiti. He’d accused her of being a mermaid with her daily need to return to the sea, but even when he’d been bleary-eyed from working late the night before, he never missed a chance to swim with her. For safety purposes, he’d told her, and not just because he enjoyed the occasional chance to slide a hand beneath her bikini top or wind the wet rope of her hair around his hand and angle her sea-salty lips for his kiss.

 
 

The Magnate's Marriage MergerThe Magnate's Marriage Merger by Joanne Rock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the 2nd book in The McNeill Magnates series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. To enjoy the series without spoilers, I always recommend reading them in order.

Ian had set out to find who nearly ruined his brother's public image. He find out who it was and it is a shocker! Only to turn around and want to keep her for himself.

Lydia has a hot and sexy past with the intimidating Ian. She also has a secret she has not yet shared with him. Is there any kind of future for them after such a rocky start?

I found this series to be very heated and compelling so far. These characters a rich and complex. I love the interaction and the sparks flying.


***This ARC copy was provided for an honest review only.

View all my reviews

 
 
 
 
Don't miss ANY of The McNeill Magnates
 

 

 
<!--[endif]-->
Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn't like. The author of over seventy books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly--love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she's not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.
 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

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review 2017-05-11 05:10
Here for you
The Magnate's Marriage Merger - Joanne Rock

This is the 2nd book in The McNeill Magnates series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  To enjoy the series without spoilers, I always recommend reading them in order.

 

Ian had set out to find who nearly ruined his brother's public image.  He find out who it was and it is a shocker!  Only to turn around and want to keep her for himself.

 

Lydia has a hot and sexy past with the intimidating Ian.  She also has a secret she has not yet shared with him.  Is there any kind of future for them after such a rocky start?

 

I found this series to be very heated and compelling so far.  These characters a rich and complex.  I love the interaction and the sparks flying.  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was provided for an honest review only.

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review 2017-05-01 22:17
Release Day ARC Review: Stage Two by Ariel Tachna
Stage Two (Dreamspun Desires Book 33) - Ariel Tachna

This is the 3rd book in the Lexington Lovers series, as well as an installment of the Dreamspun Desires titles.

I liked this a lot. A whole lot. It's about family, second chances, learning to trust, and learning how to stand up for what you believe, even if it hurts you. It's about how sometimes teenagers are smarter than you are, and maybe you ought to listen to them.

Blake Barnes is a high school assistant principal and charged with the sophomores. Two of his newest students, two brothers who've recently lost their mother after losing their father when they were much younger, are being harassed by their classmates. When the bullying escalates and the two boys, Kit and Phillip, end up in his office, he comes face to face with Thane Dalton, the boys' guardian/uncle and Blake's teenage crush.

Thane is every bit the badass Blake remembers, but the attraction still burns brightly. Once he unravels his tied tongue after seeing Thane again, Blake goes full assistant principal mode and lays out his plan.

What follows is at once a humorous and poignant romance between two men who are trying to build a relationship against the odds and against many obstacles in their way, the least of which are the two teenage boys Thane has inherited from his late sister.

The book touches on important topics, such as high school bullying, homophobia, bad assumptions, and making rash judgments without having all the information. Yes, Thane - I'm definitely looking at you with that last one. And good for Blake for having a backbone.

As with all the books in the Dreamspun Desires series, there's little steam, but there's plenty of UST, and one mustn't forget that it's kind of difficult to get it on when you have two teenagers living in the same house. The romance between the two men was totally believable and relatable. Neither has had any kind of long-term relationship before meeting again (which is something only Blake really remembers since he didn't actually interact with Thane back in his high school days), but they're both all in pretty much right away, especially Thane. Which made it so very painful when he did that stupid thing he did. Sure, I could to some extent understand his rash reaction, but to not even give the guy he professed to want to keep a chance to explain - yeah, you were dumb, Thane. And your boys suffered for it just the same as you did.

Speaking of Kit and Phillip - I really liked those two. They were grieving their mother, of course, but they stuck by each other and were fiercely loyal to their uncle and Mr. B. I loved seeing the relationships between the boys and Mr. B. develop through the course of the book and watch him go from Mr. B. to Uncle Blake. In fact, the boys really rounded out the plot in this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it whenever they were on page.

This was a really sweet read, and it met all my expectations, and surpassed them in some instances. For example, Blake's idea of giving the boys a place on the theater stage crew was brilliant, with sound reasoning, even if Thane doesn't buy it at first. The boys plotting to get Blake and Thane into the same room at the end - hahaha, that was fun, and it worked!

I very much enjoyed reading this book, and I think you will too. Recommended.


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

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