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review 2018-05-22 22:10
Stardust (Circus Macabre #1) by Kristen Strassel
Stardust - Kristen Strassel

A lesbian romance with a paranormal twist. The magic in this story is very specific to the heroines and works well together. There is some sex, but it is early in the romantic aspect (they have been friends and grew up together since they were kids) so there is some awkwardness and fumbling around. Although the enemy of this story is taken care of completely, there is the 'bigger conspiracy at play' ending to lead into book two. There wasn't anything I was interested in reading more of, so this is where I leave the series.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-05-22 17:25
Book Review: Romancing the Prince by Felix Books and Andrea Dalling
Romancing the Prince (Poor Little Billionaires #2)Romancing the Prince by Felix Brooks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting take on boy meets prince!

We start this book meeting Lucas Burson, youngest son of a Texas senator, who thinks he's in love for the first time in his life. Lucas is gay and deep in the closet he chose to live in because he didn't want to hamper his father's political ambitions in conservative Texas. Unfortunately the person Lucas thinks he fell for was an unscrupulous so and so and made a video of them having sex in order to blackmail Lucas's father from running for state senator again.

Skip forward one year, Lucas' father has been appointed ambassador to the small Mediterranean island nation of Kalyphos. Lucas has been pulled from school in order to spend the next two years with his parents in Kalyphos, a fate he considers punishment for his indiscretion. He is blind to the beauty of the island nation until he meets Prince Nicolo of Kalyphos, youngest son of King Felipe, at a reception the palace holds in honor of the new American ambassador. The sparks are instantaneous.

Nico has spent his entire life hiding his own sexuality for fear of bringing down the constitutional monarchy. He's cultivated an image of a playboy prince by being seen with one supermodel after another, never mind that each model had to sign a non disclosure agreement saying they wouldn't talk about their time with Nico - time which was spent as friends only. Meeting Lucas at the reception held for the American's ambassador father strikes a spark in Nico, and the two connect on multiple levels.

Friendship soon become romance, passion turns to love and the two begin a secret affair. But Lucas's sex tape is still out there and Kalyphos doesn't acknowledge same sex unions. The odds are not in their favor, but Lucas and Nico have to decide if their love is worth fighting for despite things being stacked against them.

I enjoyed this book a lot. It was fun, light read, a cinderfella type romance that was equal parts sweet and hot. The plot was a little jumpy and contrived at times and the 'turn for the worse' was rather obvious but other than that it was well written. I'm probably going to look up the other books in this series because it makes for a feel good read.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-05-19 22:31
Book Review - In the Requiem by Hailey Turner
In the Requiem (Metahuman Files, #5)In the Requiem by Hailey Turner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh MFG!!! This book. THIS BOOK!

Where do I begin? How about with Hailey Turner is an evil genius. This book, the last full book for Alpha Team (that she says, but come onnnn Hailey, we need to see weddings and things like that, plus one got away! - nope, not telling, that would be a spoiler) and she KILLED it! It still baffles me that she's a pretty much a newbie writer, that this series is her first, because she writes like a seasoned pro.

So for those of you who've become a stalkerish fan (like me) you've probably followed the series from the beginning. Alpha team has been pitted for the past two years against a Russian precog , Stanislav Pavluhkin, bent on owning the world through manipulation of the wealthiest families in the world. His ultimate target - the Callahan family which means Captain Jamie Callahan, code name Apollo and team leader of the MDF's premier heavy hitting metahuman team, is directly in his sights, along with the rest of Alpha team. And then there's Declan Wolcott; in a previous story Apollo had stopped Declan's wife, Victoria Wolcott, from detonating a Splice bomb with a bullet. Declan wants revenge for his wife's death. And to make matters even more complicated, a top CIA official has ties to the Pavluhkin crime family and Declan Wolcott and has been waging a secret war to discredit the Callahan presidential campaign. Oh yeah, Jamie's father is running for the Republican party leadership.

Jamie has been torn between duty to country and his military family and his father's ambitions and his father's for Jamie to come out from behind his secret identity of Apollo. In in the Requiem everything comes to a head in a full out urban guerrilla battle for nothing less than the safety of the entire country. At stake? Jamie's very soul. The price? one that may be too steep for him to pay.

This book was a full on scorcher with the hottest sex scenes, the most action packed sequences fraught with tension and a plot that left me a sobbing wreck but what a way to go out. I can't wait to see what Hailey does next. One of my go to authors from now on.

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review 2018-05-17 00:36
ARC Review: Fourteen Summers by Quinn Anderson
Fourteen Summers - Quinn Anderson

The book opens with a wedding ceremony. Yes, you read that right.

Okay, so, fine, it's a pretend wedding ceremony, and the boys are but 10 years old or so, but it establishes from the start what dynamics may be at play.

Max and Aiden are identical twins, with Max being the older brother by a few minutes, which has shaped their relationship for a long time. Max was always the more outgoing, and Aiden, much more introverted, was happy to stand in his brother's shadow while they were younger. Now, with both of them at college, Aiden wants to be more than just Max's brother.

Oliver was their childhood friend until divorce meant leaving with his mother, and his father moving away as well. But now his father has moved back to their old town, and Oliver has come home for the summer. The family dynamics, with loud, overbearing uncles and with parents that still can't seem to stand being in the same room together, has Oliver not wanting to spend much time at his father's house, so he's real happy to run into Max and Aiden again. Introverted like Aiden, Oliver is perfectly content to let Max plan their get-togethers, especially since that allows him to moon over Aiden, his childhood crush.

For the most part, this read like a YA/NA novel, with lots of mooning and crushing and blushing, and not a whole lot of on page action, and characters who on occasion sounded younger than their purported years, but maturity is a sliding scale so I was mostly fine with their portrayals.

What I really liked is that the author primarily explored the dynamics at play between two twin brothers who have been joined at the hip most of their lives, and a boy coming between them when Aiden and Oliver get romantically involved. I loved how Max's jealousy was explored, how it realistically became a roadblock, and how it forced honesty and open conversation between Aiden and Max and allowed them to experience real growth in their relationship. In fact, the book, told from the POVs of all three of the young man, really focuses more so on the relationship struggles between the twins than the developing romance between Oliver and Aiden. While the crush/romance serves as a catalyst to the struggles Max and Aiden go through, it's not the the only focus of this book.

The characters, their portrayals, felt realistic to me for the most part, other than their maturity levels, and that's probably more so on me than the author - I guess I expected a bit more from 20 year olds even if they're twins. Out of the three of them, I would say that Oliver is probably the most mature, which is potentially due to him being a child of divorce, which tends to make you grow up a little faster, and also because he's an only child.

There are some interesting supporting characters as well. The twins' parents welcome Oliver back with open arms, and make him feel like he's part of the family again. They were perhaps slightly too perfect, but meh, I didn't care. I liked them. Oliver's parents are supportive of him, but also don't necessarily create an environment for him in which he feels free, on either side. His uncles and extended family on his father's side are a loud bunch, which introverted Oliver doesn't like so much, and his mother, while supportive, seemed to struggle somewhat with wanting her child have a relationship with his father, and also not realizing that the divorce affected Oliver much more than she thought.

The book ends with a super sweet epilogue, and that's all I'm going to say about that.

Quinn Anderson has proven once again that she can write fully fleshed out characters, with realistic, convincing characterizations, and a believable plot and timeline.

Highly recommended.


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

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-05-14 19:57
Book Review - The Hotshot by Myra Scott
The Hotshot (Vegas Heat, #1)The Hotshot by Myra Scott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Myra Scott is a new to me author. This is the first book of her new series, Vegas Heat, which is a spin off of another series I hadn't read called Sin City Sentries. The book revolves around the characters Luke and Casey. Luke works for the guys from Sin City Sentries as head of marketing for the Sentry Casino, Casey is a small town firefighter from just outside of Vegas. Both are workaholics but Casey's work ethic comes with baggage from his father and an injury on the job that has left him scarred as well as scared to get involved for fear of being judged by his scar.

Put on a mandatory 2 week leave by his fire chief, Casey ends up hooking up with Luke in an extremely hot interlude in the back of an SUV. The little taste Luke has of Casey leaves him intrigued as well as gives Casey a new outlook on life. Luke tracks Casey down through a dating app and the two set about building a relationship even as Luke is working on the marketing deal of his life. There is some intrigue, some drama and a happily ever after to this book.

The author's style is a bit rough around the edges for me and I found myself noticing a few inconsistencies in both dialogue and voice. There were a few minor plot holes that I noticed and I also found the drama plot of the book a little obvious and contrived - but that may be because I love to read thrillers so I've seen a lot of plots. The author's use of characters from previous books was well explained so I wasn't left scratching my head when they were introduced. But the author does bring the heat with some pretty steamy scenes and I enjoyed how the book ended.

Overall I found this book an enjoyable read. It's a definitely worth a read.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader’s copy.

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