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review 2017-10-12 02:06
Totally His by Erin Nicholas
Totally His (Opposites Attract) - Erin Nicholas
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.

With a father that made a living scamming women, Sophie has learned to depend on herself and guard her heart. When her theater ends up with some fire damage, she suddenly finds a hot cop invading her life.
The hot woman in pink lingerie caught Finn's attention right away but her guarded heart is giving him quite the challenge. 
Sophie and Finn are about to be hit with a hurricane of past hurts, family drama, and sexual chemistry.
Maybe she'd give him a chance. The thought flashed through his mind. Maybe he'd like theater. Or maybe this was an opposites-attract thing. That seemed more likely. Or hell, maybe they could just date for the sex. 
Third in the Opposites Attract series, we have our guarded heroine Sophie and open hearted hero Finn. Sophie's two girlfriends were the heroines of the two previous books but I had no problem starting here in the series. If you like Jill Shalvis, you'll enjoy this couple’s similar in tone playful encounters. The first half of this book was incredibly delightful with Finn and Sophie meeting and acting out some great fun and hot chemistry. 
How he wanted to say sweet things like how gorgeous she was and how lucky he felt that she'd let him close like this. Close was hard for her. This was not sex-only dating, and he knew she knew that. 
A fire gives our couple their meet-cute but Sophie actually ends up being the great theater friend Finn's mother had been raving about. Finn is the oldest and every since his father died, he's taken on the role of leader and taking care of everyone. I liked his calm, cool, and take care of business attitude that was also accompanied with a sense of humor and sexy demeanor. He was a great companion to Sophie's kickboxing, I don't want any part of a family, and feisty self. The first half was them meeting, feeling each other out, and sparking off each other and I enjoyed it immensely. After that, it seemed their relationship was a bit rushed with their second meeting kind of snowballing into a pretty invasive personal talk and not a ton of long interactions. The story started getting a bit repetitive with Sophie fearing getting close to Finn and his family, being hot and heavy with him, and then proclaiming she must stay away. 
And he wanted to eat ice cream in bed with her. He wanted to read out loud to her. In bed. And he wanted to talk dirty to her. In bed. In the shower. In the kitchen. In his truck. There were so many dirty things he wanted to say to her, do to her, hear from her. 
After our leads sweet, lively, and down and dirty beginning, I was little disappointed in the second half not providing some more depth to their relationship. A vast majority of the scenes take place in the theater, Sophie doesn't spend any time with her friends, and not a ton of scenes of Finn and Sophie interacting with the large amount of secondary characters. For the big role Finn's mom plays in the story she actually stayed a bit too much to the sidelines along with Finn's brother and partner. Having Sophie and Finn's friends and family stay to the side too much gives the story a lack of depth that small town (this actually takes place in Boston but there is clearly a community of people that the author is focusing on to provide a small town feeling) contemporary romance is known and loved for. 
Sophie's father provided a good antagonist to keep our leads from an easy happily ever after but for the most part this story was pretty heavy angst free. This was a sweet story that wasn't afraid to also get down and dirty. I greatly enjoyed visiting the Kelly family starring Finn and will look forward to his firefighter brother Colin hopefully getting top billing next time.


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review 2017-09-07 18:44
Cute cozy and magical mystery
The Witch and the Dead - Heather Blake


Once this squared was called, I headed immediately over to Murder By Death's Cozy Mystery list. In case anyone didn't know, she is (to me, anyway) BLs unOfficial Cozy Mystery guru. She did not disappoint! I was able to find a cozy mystery rated at least 4 stars with a Halloween-ish vibe. Thanks Murder By Death :)

I gasped. In a once-hidden nook created by a tower of boxes lay a skeleton fully dressed in men's clothing. By the thick layer of undisturbed dust covering the skeletal remains. I guessed he'd been there quite a long time. 

This is book seven in the Wishcraft Mystery series that follows Darcy, a witch, as she attempts to solve murder mysteries. It was a little overwhelming at first with a whole island of characters greeting me but once the family, friend, and side-eyeing relationships were realized, this turned into a super cozy mystery. This story begs to be accessorized with big fluffy socks and a big mug of hot chocolate.

"I've been asked by the Elder to investigate the matter." 

The first half of the story is our heroine Darcy just taking a stroll through town and encountering people who help piece together the final days of Miles, the body found in her aunt's garage. Scandal and heartache get revealed with each discussion and our mystery is born. Since this is the seventh in the series the magical part of the story, the different kinds of witches living on the island, isn't stopped and explained. However, the way the author does great woven in explanations for any newcomers. The only thing I missed starting here was the initial excitement of some relationships just starting up, here Darcy's relationship with the town police chief is already established, while her sister Harper's relationship is going through a rough patch I couldn't truly feel as I didn't have an emotional tie to it. 

The large cast of characters were all wonderfully fleshed out, adding so much dimension to the story; I could happily read a story individually staring all of them. Darcy was easy to like and follow along with providing a great lens to view the story from. The author was able to touch on deeper subjects without weighing the story down in emotional angst. This was such a sweet, easy, entertaining, and kept me guessing for a while mystery with a tint of Fall/Halloween fun.

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review 2017-06-29 18:08
Wired by Julie Garwood
Wired - Julie Garwood

***Full Review***

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.

Allison is close to finally graduating and after carrying the weight of taking care of her aunt, uncle, and cousin, she is ready to move cross country and start her life anew. Her life seems on track until the FBI comes knocking on her door wanting to know just how good of a hacker she really is.
Special Agent Liam has been so dedicated to his job, he wouldn't even know how to have a normal relationship but when he sets eyes on Allison, he wants some changes. Her brains and beauty pack a punch while her sweetness has his protective side flaring to life.
Cousins, jealous colleagues, and traitors try to derail these two but Allison and Liam make quite the team.
The thirteenth installment in the Buchanan-Renard series, Wired, immerses us back into the world of FBI agents and life and death action. There were a couple appearances by past couples but newcomers to the series could start here and be ok.
The beginning starts the reader right off into the action but with a timeline that fast forwarded awkwardly, it all felt a bit jumbled. We get some information dumps to thrust us into the story and with some repeats, the editing felt a bit off. As the story went on, it started to smooth out as our leads and characters took over.
Being with him even topped writing code, and how freaky was that?
Allison is a likeable heroine but with every reminder about how gorgeous she is, models high fashion on the side, and how amazingly brilliant she is at hacking along with her overly sweet "I must do everything for everybody" attitude, she became a bit eye-rolling. Her awkwardness is cute and empathetic to a point, about the millionth time I heard about her amazing legs and how she doesn’t need make-up point. Her inability for most of the story to stand-up to her over-the-top villainous aunt and uncle was also a bit much; it started to feel like unnecessary conflict that was dragged out.
Letting out a low whistle, he shook his head.
"She's gonna be trouble."

Liam for all his protective man in charge attitude still came off somewhat wooden. I never felt like his personality was too delved into, he was always on the go without the reader having time to really get to know him, let alone Allison. After I finished the book I can't even say for sure if they had an extended conversation. They did have moments of chemistry but their interactions were such hit and runs, nothing ever felt flushed out. The beat in their relationship just felt off.
Allison and Liam were two very analytical characters and that could be why they were harder to connect with as their thought patterns were pretty decisive but it also had them coming off a bit stiff. The over abundance of villains and obstacles thrown in their way was too much and clogged up the story. Allison had to battle her aunt and uncle, a jealous fellow student, and the FBI, all too much for only 300pgs.
Even though I felt the heroine was too sweet, the hero was a bit cardboard cut-out, and one too many bad guys running around, Garwood's writing still has a readability that can't be denied. The story was interesting with action and intensity but our hero and heroine didn't get a chance to rise a bit above the antics and emotionally shine.

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review 2017-01-06 01:05
Law and Disorder by Heather Graham
Law and Disorder (The Finnegan Connection) - Heather Graham

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.

Kody Cameron is only at home helping at her family’s historical estate in Florida for a couple weeks before she returns to New York to continue working at a Pub and as a live actress. When masked men come in waving guns and demanding she tell them where a decades old treasure is hidden she thinks it's a joke, until the guns fire very real bullets.
Nick is undercover trying to capture a career criminal but he recognizes Kody right away as the woman in New York that he briefly saw but can't stop thinking about. With a little boy hidden away and new hostages to worry about, he can't put an immediate end to the criminal gang he's infiltrated plans.
Kody and Nick will have to fight criminals, the everglades, and their attraction if they want to stay alive.
First in the Finnegan Connection series, Law and Disorder starts us off with Kody and Nick. Kody works at Finnegan's pub and Nick is friends with Craig who dates Kieran Finnegan. The beginning thrusts many characters at you, a lot of side characters that only get their names mentioned and some that linger on; it was extremely overwhelming and gave the story a chaotic feel. While I very rarely mention editing mistakes in arc copies, from about 20-40%, our heroine's name frequently changed from Kody to Dakota and this made it even harder for me to keep everyone straight.
The plot has Nick working undercover trying to catch a career criminal. The gang wears masks and goes by old gangster names like Dillinger, Barrow, and Capone. I think there were 5 or 6 in the gang but the leader Dillinger and Barrow (Nick) are the only two really focused on while the rest weren't given enough life and more so clogged the story. Dillinger kidnaps a mayor's kid and hides him without telling his gang while they think they are just taking hostages at a historical site to look for a hidden treasure. Here is where the story is both interesting and overly convoluted. The author gives great history about this area in Florida and its mob background but kind of info dumps it before you have a chance to get to know the characters and become involved with the story. Dillinger's motivation and idea to have Kody find a hidden treasure that no one has found for decades and not even proven to exist was side-eye unbelievable and the shaky suspense foundation lead to disheveled and flaky actions by the characters.
Kody came off a bit foolish with her mouthing off and fighting a man with a gun; she was borderline TSTL. Nick's character came off more believable with trying to keep the situation under control and still work to capture the bad guys. With the author working in the mobster historical details, hostage situation, and treasure hunting, there was not a lot of room for romance. I never felt or saw why or how our couple fell in love; their connection was pretty non-existent for me.
This felt like a very rushed story where characters and fun historical snippets were thrown at me and story structure and character development were forgotten.

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review 2016-07-25 02:19
The Right Kind of Trouble by Shiloh Walker
The Right Kind of Trouble - Shiloh Walker

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.

For almost 20yrs Gideon has been holding on to his love for Moira but when the last year only brings more heartache, he decides that it is finally time to leave the town of McKay's Treasure.
Moira has played the martyr and punished herself by refusing to accept Gideon's love but when it looks like he might finally be done, it snaps something inside her.
The misfortune that has been hitting the McKays lately only seems to be increasing, in frequency and violence. Someone wants to punish the McKays and Gideon won't and can't leave until he knows Moira and her siblings are safe. Not only is Moira's life in danger but her heart is too and she needs to show Gideon that she's done punishing them both.
The Right Kind of Trouble is book three in the McKays series and you'll definitely want to have read the first two before starting this one. Each book in the series focuses on a McKay sibling and their love interest, #1 Headed for Trouble - Neve Mckay and Ian; #2 The Trouble With Temptation - Brannon McKay and Hannah; and this one staring the oldest McKay Moira and her childhood sweetheart Gideon but they all also contain a murder mystery thread; the whole series is more of a family saga. Secondary characters get povs and all the books work together to give a great encompassing view and story of the town and its people. After glimpsing Moira and Gideon in book one, I was dying for their story.
After reading books one and two, I thought I would be ready for all the angst and after waiting for the cord to snap between these two, it finally did. The author gives us a heart wrenching beginning in chapter one and the emotion doesn't let up from there. The word soulmates is often bandied about in terms of hearts and puppies, but Walker gives it to us in all its soul crushing glory; soulmates where life, pain, love, and human frailty get the best of it. There are minimal flashbacks to Moira and Gideon as teenagers falling in love. We're made to understand it through all the emotions that surge between the two; which the author writes wonderfully. Moira's wall against Gideon toes and slips over a few times the line of angst for angst sake but it makes for amazing tension. I felt Gideon's frustration with his inability to just leave and his, from every pore of his body, love for Moira. I felt Moira's outer iciness shielding her inner deep longing for Gideon. I felt their tension, desire, and pain; I just feltand was absorbed into it all.
Walker's writing always feels so real to me and I think it's because she doesn't hide or shy away from the messiness of life. Moira was married for a time, Gideon tries to date someone else, but they're still emotionally tied to one another. I know I said this about this series before but it really does read as a tv series, with all the threads and characters tying in and out in regards to the main couples and murder mystery. I don't want to spill any spoilers but the mystery suspense plot was well done in its breadth and depth over three books. It was a little elaborated with situations and people being placed a little too perfectly and a little overdone with the reasoning behind it all but it was also engaging. Out of all three books, I also thought this one had the best suspense; I was on the edge of my seat. The author gives you enough clues that it's possible to have a good guess to who the villain is by book two and I had guessed correctly. Knowing who the villain was though, only enhanced the suspense for me as I was nervously excited to see if they would get caught and when the characters would finally figure it out.
An executive or producer needs to get a hold of this series and turn it into a tv miniseries, stat. Taken all together, this trilogy was amazing for its emotion and tension. I wanted to yell out loud at the characters to not ignore or put off hints that could have helped them and happy sigh when the couples finally got together. Moira will anger you every time she pushes Gideon away, even when you know she's dying inside for him and Gideon will have your heart that breaks for him lusting (the guy waited 18yrs for her!). Walker is one of the best at writing angst and dark emotion, Moira and Gideon's love story was beautifully emotionally gory.
She held out her hand. For the longest time, he didn't move. Then he did---toward her.

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