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review 2020-01-31 19:56
Wicked Sinner by Stacey Kennedy
Wicked Sinner - Stacey Kennedy

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Asher broke Remy's heart when he abruptly broke up with her and now years later, he's been trying to be her friend but she doesn't know if her heart can take it. When he objects at her wedding, she can't stop the flutter of her heart. Unfortunately, it's to arrest her almost husband, turns out he was a conman just out for her inheritance.
When she finds what could be a fortuitous gift left behind by her scam artist ex, she jumps at the chance to start her dream business. However, Remy's luck might not be changing as a shady maybe tied to the mob guy shows up and the only one who can help her is Asher.

“One chance to be friends, Asher. That’s it. Mess this up, and we’re done. Forever.”

A second chance romance in the Dangerous Love series, Remy and Asher have quite the past. They were madly in love while Remy was in highschool and Asher graduated and went onto the Police Academy. Asher gets recruited by the FBI and after his mother commits suicide, he decides that all the dark emotion inside of him should be kept away from Remy and he leaves her behind in Maine while he goes to D.C. I didn't read the first in the series and I felt like I missed background emotion between these two. There was a good flashback scene to their breakup and then a quick recap of how Asher's been back for five years, Remy ignored him for the first couple and the last year has just started talking to him. This story starts with Asher claiming to just want to be friends with Remy and her thinking maybe she can but nervous that she still loves him.

This angst could have worked for me but Asher's thoughts and emotions constantly contradicted the “just friends”, one moment he was spouting how he only wanted friendship because of the darkness in him and then there were scenes where he is wanting to spend all day in bed with Remy and basically acting like he wanted a relationship with her. He wasn't warring internally with himself, just the writing ignoring the character conflict in favor of having them together.

No one made her laugh like Asher. No one made her feel as alive as Asher had. In that empty hollowness of her chest, a part of her wanted to feel a little piece of that again.

Remy's interest in New Age things gave her an interesting hook but the catalyst for the danger she gets put in, using money she found in her house that she assumed was her conman ex-fiance's, to start her dream business, gave her an aggravating clueless personality as the story went on. It's obvious from early on that she should tell Asher, who is a cop or any of her other two friends who are cops, that a maybe mob guy is after her because of the money she used. The group of friends the series seems to follow provided some good friendships for Remy. I liked how the other two women, Peyton (heroine from first book) and Kinsley (bestfriend of Remy and sister to hero from book one) supported and laughed with one another.

He cupped her face, then brought his mouth close to hers, and before he claimed the kiss, he said, “I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.”

This book seemed to have a little too much going on, the heavy issues Asher personally had to deal with (his mother's suicide, alcoholic father), Remy being in possible danger from the mob, and their healing from a painful past while trying to build a current romance; these threads never had focus or time enough to go into the depth I needed to get me emotionally involved. The ending was more anticlimactic for me as the have to marry for inheritance forced these two together at around the 85% mark and then gave a quick “oh I guess I do want to be married to you” turn around that provided no emotional fulfillment. Basically, Remy and Asher's journey didn't flow for me, they had some sweet moments but emotions, thoughts, and actions contradicted for sake of dragging the story out. There was a secondary romance teased between Kinsley and Rhett (Kinsley's brother's bestfriend and fellow cop) that might have me checking out the third in the series.

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text 2020-01-30 18:21
Reading Update: 50%
Wicked Sinner - Stacey Kennedy

Second chance romance and sweet/spicy tacos
That cover providing some Thirsty Thursday ;)

 

Wicked Sinner by Stacey Kennedy purchase link

 

Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Chicken Tacos recipe

 

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review 2019-12-26 13:22
The Journals of Octavia Hollows by Stacey Rourke
The Journals of Octavia Hollows (1-6) - Stacey Rourke,Brenda Scott Wlazlo
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I liked this one! I am always on the lookout for new Urban Fantasy series to try and I just couldn't resist a story about a necromancer with a resurrected pet pig named Bacon! This book is a collection of 6 different novella-length stories that all tie into a larger story. I did like some of the stories much more than others but I had a good time with the collection overall.

I loved Octavia! She had a lot of spunk and was just a lot of fun. Every time she put her pet pig, Bacon in a baby carrier under her shirt and pretended to be pregnant, I couldn't help the smile that would work its way onto my face. She was tough and rather resourceful. I liked seeing her handle herself in such a wide variety of settings.

In this collection, we see Octavia encounter a lot of different challenges. Each story was different but sometimes things from a previous story would carry over. I liked some of the stories a lot more than others which is normal for a collection of shorter pieces. I liked the stories at the beginning and the end of the collection the best and found that the middle stories dragged a bit. This audiobook did keep the beginning and ending credits for each of the six shorter works which I found somewhat unexpected.

This was the first time that I have listened to Brenda Scott Wlazlo narrate a book. I thought that she did a marvelous job with this one. I probably enjoyed this book a bit more because of her narration. She made the story come alive and everything flowed beautifully. I loved that when Octavia sang, we got to hear it. I hope to listen to more of her narration work.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a very well done collection of stories with great characters and just the right amount of humor. I would love to see what comes next for Octavia, Bacon, and friends!

I received a review copy of this audiobook from the author via Caffeinated Services.

Initial Thoughts
Probably more of a 3.5 star read. I liked this book and had some fun with it. This is a collection of 6 novella-length stories that come together to tell a larger story. I liked some of the stories much better than others. I did like the characters and thought that the narrator did an amazing job.

 

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review 2019-12-10 07:15
A Pie to Die For, A Bakery Detectives Cozy Mystery by Stacey Alabaster
A Pie to Die For: A Bakery Detectives Cozy Mystery - Stacey Alabaster

A Pie to Die For, A Bakery Detectives Cozy Mystery by Stacey Alabaster is about Rachael, a pastry chef who will do anything to protect her boutique bakery. I gave it four stars.

 

"I let out a little squeal as I brushed the foul, winged creature aside. 'Not today buddy, not today!' I watched it intently as it flew away, a tiny black dot disappearing into the fall sky, and was glad that I hadn't needed to swat the poor thing. I heaved a sigh of relief as I took the lids off my desserts and a sweet cloud of vanilla, chocolate, and coffee bean, all mixed together, hit my nostrils. That was the danger of serving food outdoors: flies."

 

I received a complimentary copy from the author. That did not change my opinion for this review.

 

Link to purchase: https://www.amazon.com/Pie-Die-Bakery-Detectives-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01D6ZVT78

 

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review 2019-12-07 04:00
Audio Review: Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (A River Rock Christmas Romance) by Stacey Kennedy (Author), Kelsey Navarro (Narrator)
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (A River Rock Christmas Romance) - Stacey Kennedy

 

 

 


If sexy has a heart, count on Stacey Kennedy knowing how to pull at the strings. Meet Me Under the Mistletoe breathes heat, but it bleeds heart. One kiss rocked the foundation of two young hearts. Then reality set in and their chance was loss. When years gone by plants the seed and fate provides the fertilizer, can the present heal two hearts lost so long ago? No one gets the heart quite like Kennedy. With a sprinkle of humor, a bushel of heart and the sultry vocal of Kelsey Navarro, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe becomes an affair to remember. An experience worth having again and again.

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