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review 2017-07-16 02:58
Release Day ARC Review: All In (Wild Cards #3) by Ava Drake
All In (Dreamspun Desires Book 38) - Ava Drake

On his way back to NYC to attend the meet-sees hoping for a job or three, Zane Stryker, fashion model, nearly 30, is detained at the airport because his suitcase was flagged for possible contraband. Inside the interrogation room, Zane meets Sebastian Gigoni, formerly British Special Forces, who asks that he opens the suitcase.

Inside are two metal tablets and a suit - none of which belong to Zane. 

From there, the story takes off as Sebastian and Zane try to work together, though their goals may be at odds, in foiling the plan of the international crime syndicate from the previous installment of this loosely connected series, with a little help from one of Zane's friends, Sebastian's brains, Zane's ability to think on his feet, and the super-sekrit British organization for which Sebastian now works. All while falling in love, because this is a romance, after all. 

The reader needs to suspend disbelief for most of the novel - realistic, this is not. However, it's definitely a fun ride, in and out of the bedroom. There's intrigue, mystery, an inside look at a fashion shoot, bad mob-like dudes with guns, good dudes with guns, a couple of major crime bosses, and a super hawt romance as well.

The attraction between Zane and Sebastian burns brightly from the start, and this book is probably one of the raunchier titles in the Dreamspun Desires series. I'm not complaining, hahaha. The sexy times were hawt! 

Seriously, I had a blast reading this, and I think you will too. This can be read as a standalone, no problem, but I think to get the full impact, you'll want to read the first two books as well. The writing is crisp and well-suited to the story, and there wasn't a dull moment to be found within. 

Nicely done! 


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

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review 2017-06-30 05:00
Release Day ARC Review: Manny Get Your Guy by Amy Lane
Manny Get Your Guy (Dreamspun Desires Book 37) - Amy Lane

This book is a sequel of sorts to The Virgin Manny, set about 10 years after the first book. If you've read the first book, you'll remember Nica, Tino's sister, and her now-husband Jacob/baby-daddy, who can't seem to stop procreating, as kid number five is on the way. And Nica needs help.

Thankfully, her best friend Taylor (he who was sort of dating Nica while hitting on Tino in book 1 while Tino was falling for Channing) is back in town, and 10 years is enough time to forgive and forget, right? Nica needs help with the kids, Taylor needs a job - voila, a new manny.

Except Brandon, Jacob's cousin, old enough at the time to remember Taylor being a douche, didn't get the "forgive and forget" memo, so he has some initial doubts about Taylor's good-guy persona and makes his concerns known. In his face. Multiple times

For some reason though, Brandon changes his mind quickly about Taylor and it's on like Donkey Kong. 

I quite liked both Taylor (29 here) and Brandon (22) because they actually really seemed to care about each other. Yeah, the love is pretty insta, but this is a Dreamspun Desires title so I kind of expect that. They did both step up to the plate though, providing each other what they needed, and Brandon, though younger, is certainly all in from the moment he gets his head out of his ass. Taylor is a bit more reluctant to jump in with both feet, and has some doubts that he's right for Brandon. Persistence pays off nonetheless, and eventually Taylor jumps too.

There's some cute banter too, and a lot of family time is woven into the plot as well, so much so that the romance almost took a backseat. The steam is within the limits set for this series, though I'm only mentioning this for those readers that like a lot of sexy times in their books - this isn't one of those. I myself don't care either way, as long as the relationship makes sense, and I don't miss the steam if it's not present. 

I would have liked there to be more interactions with the actual kids, considering Taylor is the manny, but with the exception of a few moments, it was mostly adults on page. 

This is billed as a standalone, but I wouldn't recommend reading this book on its own without having read the first one. Most of the characters in this book were established in the first one, and I think it's important for the reader to know the relationships since they're not explained in this book. 

Manny Get Your Guy is pure sugary-sweet fluff, and as such a perfect addition to this mostly fluffy series. I had a great time reading this.


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

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review 2017-06-26 17:16
Surprise...it's my first time reading this author...
Forgotten Paradise (Dreamspun Desires) - Shira Anthony

Ok so I have to admit I was a little surprised when I realized this because truthfully I own more than a few books by this author and have somehow not managed to get to them yet...so many books, so little time...

 

"Forgotten Paradise" is part of Dreamspinner's Dreamspun Desires series and I enjoyed listening to the audio book. It was like being read a sweet, low angst fairytale...of the modern, adult variety, of course. 

 

Adam Preston is enjoying a well earned vacation in the Dominican Republic before returning home to deal with what can only be considered a hostile takeover attempt by Entech a company with a reputation for less than ethical behavior in their business dealings, when he decides to do a bit of scuba diving he's surprised to discover that his instructor is the attractive, charming and somewhat mysterious Jonah, whom he met at the resort bar the night before.

 

It turns out that Jonah's not just a mystery to Adam but to himself as well. Since he only remembers the last 10 years of his life when he woke up on a beach one day with no idea of who he was or how he got there. He's held that secret close until Adam, who for some reason is causing long hidden memories to try and resurface in his mind.

 

As Adam and Jonah get to know each other during their time together, their attraction grows and with each encounter Jonah finds himself recovering parts of a past he thought gone forever and one that maybe he no longer wants. 

 

It's a bit of a whirlwind romance between these two. Considering that they only have one week before Adam has to return to his real life. It works and I really didn't have a problem finding it believable...beautiful tropical setting, two intelligent, attractive, available people (men in this case) drawn to each other and who enjoy each others company.  Honestly no stretch of the imagination required here at all.

 

It's when Adam returns the real world that he begins to discover that his fantasy vacation was far more firmly rooted in reality than either he or Jonah could have ever imagined.

 

I enjoyed the first part of this story which introduced us to Adam and Jonah. Seeing their relationship go from a simple attraction to something so much stronger in spite of the fact that they knew they only had a week before Adam would be leaving.  It was fun and sexy and sweet and so easy the envision with the way that the author wove in the background information to create images of a beautiful tropical setting combined with the adventure of deep sea diving.  

 

However, it's the second part of this book that really won me over. Seeing Adam as he came to the realization of who Jonah was while also struggling to save his company and pull his family back together. More than the company that his father started Adam valued his family and while his relationship with his mother and his sister is fairly solid (his awesome sister, Karen...just sayin' with a name like that how could she not be awesome?), it's his brother Rodger whom he misses. They use to be best friends able to talk to each other about everything. But since their father's death that's changed and Adam wants to fix this. He's willing to do just about anything to have his friend and brother back.

 

Ironically when Adam's vacation ends he's not the only one who needs to return to real world. As Jonah comes to remember his life before waking up on a sandy beach he also comes to the realization that he can no longer hide from who and what he was. He needs to return to the life he's only now remembering and put his own house in order. 

 

While the first half of the book gave me a glimpse into the character of Adam and Jonah and what kind of men they are, it's the second half that really develops them and gives them depth. There are no cake walks here, both men have to fight for what they want. Proving that determination and strength of character is not in short supply where either of them are concerned.

 

"Forgotten Paradise" was narrated by Andrew McFerrin, who is a new to me narrator and while I have to admit I didn't fall head over heels in love with him. His voices were consistent and expressed emotion. While I can't say that any one voice was outstanding or hooked me into the story as I've had happen with other narrators. I wasn't put off by any of them either and I'm definitely willing to listen to future audiobooks by this narrator...I may even have a couple on my wishlist over at audible...the samples sound good so definite potential here for me.

 

When all is said and done it's 4 stars for the story and 3 for the audio portion and I'm just going to call it a day at 4 because if I take the median number as I usually do it's 3.5 and I'm just going to have to round up when I post this review in other places and I'm feeling lazy today plus truly this story deserves more than 3 stars so I'm not willing to round down...so 4 stars and I'm done here now.

 

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

An audio book of "Forgotten Paradise" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-06-16 01:59
Release Day ARC Review: Romancing The Ugly Duckling by Clare London
Romancing the Ugly Duckling (Dreamspun Desires Book 36) - Clare London

On the isolated island of North Uist, which is apparently off the coast of Scotland, there lives a man all by himself in a smallish house after running away from his assholish brothers and his neglectful parents to paint, dive for scallops, and be mostly a recluse, keeping to himself.

His four brothers, one of whom I hated on sight, all somewhat famous for some reason or other, hope to make a deal with a TV company to create a reality show a la Kardashians, but they can only get the deal if the 5th brother appears as well. Greg Ventura, gentle, kind giant, wants nothing to do with them or the TV show.

Poor Perry Goodwood (lulz at that last name), ambitious and fashionable, is sent by his boss to the island to convince Greg to come to London to participate. After a make-over, of course. He flies to Scotland and catches a boat to the island, and is then stranded at the port before being fortuitously delivered to Greg's doorstop, looking like a drowned rat. The team that was supposed to meet him to convince Greg to come to London is nowhere to be found, and Perry's boss is giving him a bunch of excuses.

Great start, amirite? City slicker meets backwoods grump, and opposites attract - excellent trope!

This book is full of cute and sweet and quirky, and as Perry slowly falls in love with the island and Greg, so does Greg fall for Perry. The setting is perfect, and rather well described, so much so that I felt like I was right there on the small island. There be heather and bogs and cold, cold lochs, and beautiful nature all around.

I really liked both Perry and Greg. Perry impressed me because despite his city roots, he really tried hard to fit in on the island, and he seemed so appreciative of everyone who gave a helping hand. He wanted to learn from Greg and experience island life for himself. Greg is a bit rough around the edges, and grumps a lot, but I could tell that this was mostly to protect himself. He was kind and gentle, if somewhat clueless on occasion. The chemistry between the two men was there from the start and truly believable. There are certain parameters for this series as far as on-page sexy times are concerned, and the author delivered within those parameters, but also managed to infuse a lot of emotional bonding outside of the bedroom scenes.

The locals on the island play a huge role in this book as well, and I just loved how the author gave them all unique personalities and characteristics. Dougie, Bridie, and Louisa were perfect in their roles, and I enjoyed especially Bridie's easy banter with Perry, and how she was ultimately... well, you read this for yourself.

The Scottish brogue comes across well in the writing, and I had no trouble reading the dialect.

Quirky. Cute. And utterly adorable. A perfect addition to the Dreamspun Desires series. I had a grand time reading it. The author did a fantastic job with the characters, the setting, and the pacing, giving us a really emotional romance between two men who are complete opposites at first sight, but turn out to both want the same thing after all.

Fabulous!!


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

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review 2017-06-06 15:29
REVIEW BY MERISSA - Fated Desires (Fated...) by Becky Flade
Fated Desires - Becky Flade
Fated Desires is part of the Fated... series, and this story is about Jenna and Gabriel. Jenna is a newly-divorced woman who has moved to Trapper's Cove to be with friends as she tries to rebuild her life. Gabriel is a retired sportsman who has the same friends as Jenna. The attraction is immediate between these two, but attitudes and situations get in their way.
 
One of the best bits for me was that they didn't immediately act on their attraction. There is actually a timeline between when they first meet to when they end up in bed! I will say that this is a fade-to-black book as it is classed as Young Adult! Whilst no romance runs smoothly (in books or in real life!), I personally found the angst between Gabriel and Jenna was giving me whiplash. First they wanted each other, then they don't. Then they act on it, with rules. Then one wants to change the rules, and even though the other one does too, it causes an argument. I guess it is true that one person's rude is another person's "prickly/feisty/sassy". There was also the case of Cassidy - the ghost of Gabriel's wife. One minute she is telling Gabriel to let her go and to move on, the next she is smashing glasses when Gabriel and Jenna get it on.
 
This was very well written, with no editing or grammatical errors that disrupted my reading flow. The characters are all very different, and complement each other. I would recommend this for all fans of Contemporary Romance with a hint of the supernatural.
 
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and my comments here are my honest opinion. *
 
Merissa
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

 

#Young_Adult, #Contemporary, #Romance, 3 out of 5 (good)

 

Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/merissa-reviews/fateddesiresfatedbybeckyflade
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