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Search tags: contemporary-romance
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review 2018-06-25 09:15
Dark Witch by Nora Roberts
Dark Witch - Nora Roberts

Iona Sheehan finally found the place where she belongs. She had to travel from America to Ireland to accomplish it, but she did it. And she finally found people, unlike her distant parents, that love her—her Irish cousins, Branna and Connor O'Dwyer and their three best friends, Boyle McGrath, Meara Quinn and Fin(bar) Burke.

There's a connection with her cousins that transcends family, forged in blood centuries ago, when their ancestor, the Dark Witch, Sorcha, shared her power with her three children to vanquish evil. That evil is back, strong as before, thirsty for the power Iona, Branna and Connor share, and it will take their combined magick, alongside bonds of love and friendship shared by the six, to banish the evil forever.


This is very similar (in theme) to the Sign of Seven trilogy, and in drama to Three Sisters Island trilogy (at least the promised showdown between star-crossed lovers Branna and Fin in the last book), but still, it holds its own weight, no matter the similarities.

In such trilogies, it always comes down to family and friends in Nora Roberts books, to the power of love that transcends the familial, to the power of blood bonds forged through life and hardship. True love and true friends are hard to find, and those who are lucky to have them, can achieve all...even fight and banish ancient evil.
That's the metaphor of this book and this series.

The feelings of love and friendships are immediately palpable, as soon as Iona lands on her cousins' doorstep, meets the three friends (even if one of those descends from the same evil they're trying to fight—drama, drama, drama). I loved the easy rapport between them, the camaraderie between friends, the love between the five people who knew each other since childhood, and quickly included the one that's been missing from their life so far.
The romance itself was nothing to write home about—a tad rushed, and quite desperate from the heroine's point of view—but the friendship and bonds of family were top notch.

The characters, once again, shone, with their layers, issues, little idiosyncrasies, their bonds (I know I'm repeating myself), their differences and similarities...And yes, there were those sprinklings of humor I so love with this author.

The paranormal elements didn't dominate the narrative, but what there was served as great augmenter for the suspense, the heightening of feelings of danger and peril the characters were in (and will be in the future). This was more of an appetizer, preparing our palate for the main course.

The same could be said about the entire story, really. A very good appetizer, that makes you really look forward to the main meal.

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review 2018-06-23 03:06
Player by Sean Ashcroft Review
Player - Sean Ashcroft

Tennis player Isaac Hudson isn’t gay, but when a photograph of him kissing another man makes its way to social media, he doesn’t have the heart to correct the speculation and disappoint all the people it means so much to. Still recovering from a shoulder injury, he decides to play the part and enlists the help of his childhood best friend to be his temporary boyfriend.

Julian has been in love with Isaac since they were kids. Knowing his friend was off-limits helped him keep his feelings hidden, but now that he’s supposed to pretend to date him…

Well, things are getting a little tricky in the feelings department. 

After a few surprisingly intimate dates, it becomes obvious that Isaac is less interested in faking it and more interested in trying it.

Throw in a few steamy moments, and soon enough, Isaac finds himself falling into bed with his best friend.

But can Isaac figure out his feelings in time to see what’s right in front of him? Or will his player past come back to haunt him and take away his best chance at happiness?

 

Review

As a sucker for both friends to lover and pretend dating, I picked this right up.

And its a nice quick read. Julian is wonderful and Isaac...well he isn't very self reflective. 

He is also a kind of crap friend but he does evolve and come to understandings about himself and what matters.

Julian is too good for him though but Isaac is what he wants so I am happy for him.

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review 2018-06-22 02:16
The Little Things by Jay Northcote Review
The Little Things - Jay Northcote

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make you appreciate what you have.

There are lots of things that brighten Joel’s life. His three-year-old daughter Evie is one. His close relationship with her mother, his best friend from university, is another. Joel’s boyfriend, Dan, adds spice to his child-free nights, and Joel is pretty happy with how things are.
Then one cold and rainy night, everything changes. Joel’s life is turned upside down when he becomes a full-time dad to Evie, and his previously carefree relationship with Dan cracks under the strain.
Meeting Liam, who acts as if getting hurt isn’t a foregone conclusion, shakes Joel to the core. Their attraction is mutual, and Liam makes no secret of how serious he is about Joel. But Joel is wary. He tells himself he’s keeping Liam at a distance for Evie’s sake, when really he’s protecting his own heart. Taking a chance on this new relationship with Liam may seem a small step—a little thing—but is it one Joel can take after losing so much already?

 

Review

 

This is lovely book in so many ways especially how it address how hard parenting really is especially by yourself. 

For me, the book started in the wrong place or it needed to keep going. We get Dan and the shared custody for a long time. And then when things change, we get a middle section and then Liam coming in but we don't get enough time in the romance. 

So, not my favorite of Northcote's but a tender tale.

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review 2018-06-19 19:02
Hard For My Boss by Daryl Banner 4 Stars!
Hard For My Boss - Daryl Banner

Trevor, the young summer intern, is totally SCREWED.
Working at Gage Communications is an opportunity of a lifetime.
But will Trevor be able to handle it? Or will he succumb to the tension?
The tension is in his pants, by the way.
Between a heavy workload and a hunky, controlling boss, Trevor's summer just got a lot hotter and harder than he bargained for.

 

Review

 

Turns out I am a huge Daryl Banner fan, I love the wit, rom com, and character driven romances between great heroes. Oh and sexy times that while pretty frequent are always written out the personalities of the couple and the nature of the relationship and therefore never feel rote.

I tend to dislike his titles a lot and what more exact settings. This is true for Hard for My Boss which is a porn written in a day tile. And really doesn't give this gem of a love story the launch it deserves. 

This is another great romance with an age difference and a class difference. It has the oh dang you are my boss conflict as well. Ben and Trevor are lust dazed and while it is a bit over the top we can really see that they adore each other and that is what makes this book so special. 

There is a lot of rich suitor fantasy in this book but it is balanced with Trevor who just doesn't take any crap and is so charming and Ben who, well, worships and values Trevor. 

We have a great best friend for Trevor (the jabs between them are so funny!) and easy to sneer at "villain."

This book is a very very good time! Pick it up! 
 
 

 

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review 2018-06-18 06:53
Deadly Intent by Pamela Clare
Deadly Intent - Pamela Clare

Joaquin Ramirez, I-Team's resident photographer and Pulitzer Prize winner, arrives at a supposed-homicide-with-body-disappearance scene, only to be met with anger by a bystander. Turns out, the woman knows the victim and is the last one to have seen the man alive.
Mia Starr dislikes photojournalists. She's seen first hand, what an unscrupulous photo bug can do to get a story, but Joaquin seems to be different, and quickly turns out to be different, since he puts her first instead of the story.

Someone is killing former soldiers and trying to pin it to Mia, and Joaquin is there to help her out. And when the killer with the grudge turns on her, it's Joaquin to stand there, between her and a bullet.


A month after the hostage situation at a Christmas party, the I-Team is back in the thick of it. This time it's Joaquin's turn to shine, and to save the day.

I never really thought about Joaquin as a main protagonist. He had sidekick and friend written all over him in the other books. I'm glad, though, I got to see this other side of him. Looks like I underestimated him, and let's face it, side by side with Julian, Marc or Zach, he didn't stand a chance.
But in his story, the hero side of him came out, alongside the salsa-dancing, and yeah, I could understand Mia perfectly. ;) He was tender and gentle when he needed to be, determinedly protective, and definitely heroic there toward the end of the book. A truly wonderful hero.
His heroine, Mia, was an acquired taste, with her idiosyncrasies and all her contradictions and insecurities. It took a special kind of man to show her just who and what she truly was.
I didn't really buy their rushed romance, but I'm glad they found each other in the end.

The villain also had much to be desired, although the big reveal as to his identity came as a surprise (I certainly didn't see it coming); his motive left me scratching my head&mdas;why go after all those people, instead of just focusing on Mia?
But the suspense was gripping and served as a nice little catalyst for the two protagonists to meet and for the "romance" to bloom.

The characters were great as always (I loved all the "cameos", and it's always a pleasure seeing Julian and Marc in action, complete with marital spats and bickering), the pacing spot-on, the writing superb...This one is definitely one of my favorite series.

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