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Search tags: kyraryker-review
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review 2018-07-15 03:11
Applauding author trying a different style
Retreat - Jay Crownover

His look, the way his entire face tightened in hungry, appreciative lines made me feel like something more, made me feel like I deserved to be worshiped and maybe even loved. If that was how he looked at his girl, then I never wanted to be anything else.


Cyrus Warner had just as many control issues as I did, which was why we both liked to test the other’s limits and neither one of us liked to fail.
 



This was pretty different from the usual Crownover stories I have read and I not only applaud the author for trying something new but I really enjoyed it.

Mostly first person from heroine's pov, she's a bit cranky, has some trust issues, and been burned but I liked her tough cookie act up against our hero. Hero's a cool, straight-shooter, sexily self-assured, and wary of love cowboy who wears motorcycle boots. They played off each other well and had some hot scenes (who knew campground showers could be such a scorching sex setting). 

Hero's brothers with heroine's bestfriend feature heavily, they're stars of the next books in the series and worked great to add and round out the story. There's some mystery/action/suspense that will keep the pages turning. I thought the last 1/3 or so of the ending was slowed things way down and there were even some sex scenes I started to skim, I felt like the story dragged on a bit too much and the action and danger our characters found themselves in got fantastical and instead of feeling sad/worried, it lost me. 

Otherwise, this was a great something different and I'm definitely going to continue reading in the series.

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review 2018-07-11 01:40
A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian
A Gentleman Never Keeps Score - Cat Sebastian

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. 

When his godfather leaves his house to him, Hartley's reputation gets banded about in less than complimentary terms. Feeling shunned, Hartley finds himself losing servants and becoming a bit of a shut-in. 
Sam just wants to see his brother and his friend Kate finally get married and when he learns Kate fears a scandalous painting of her becoming public knowledge, he sets out to find it for her. 
When Hartley and Sam meet, the spark is instant but circumstances, emotions, and life are going to give them a bumpy road. 
 
Hartley went utterly still as he contemplated how thoroughly ruinous this was going to be for both of them. 
 
Second in the Seducing the Sedgwicks, a series following along the Sedgwick brothers, this book focuses on Hartley, the brother who is deeply conflicted about how he sees trading sexual favors with his godfather for money to help his family. He doesn’t like to be touched and has a little bit of a prickly personality. Maybe because Sam was such a strong character but Hartley didn't leap off the pages for me. He's pretty self-contained and we do get a couple scenes with two of his brothers that highlight his personality but overall, he didn't grab me. 
 
There was no reason for Sam to be thinking of Sedgwick at all, in fact. He wasn’t even that handsome unless you had a liking for fragile-looking men with fussy clothes. 
 
Sam was the character that shone the brightest to me, he's a strong character but in the most gentle of ways. He has a similar shy, hidden aspect of his personality like Hartley, which due to their sexuality in their place and time is a necessity, but he also has rise to the front proclivity for, simply, caring. It is not an overdone martyr syndrome but no thought, generous, and loving way he makes his choices. The way he acts, responds, and encourages Hartley, is what make this story shine and will fill your heart. 
 
And while only a fool would believe that a kitchen table supper between a rich man, a black boxer, and a three-legged dog could be the beginning of something good, maybe Sam was more foolish than he thought. 
 
The writing showcased here is good and the ease of conversations and interactions between the main couple and secondary characters is the escape into fictional worlds above average quality that will suck you into the world. The first in the series, It Takes Two Tumble, I thought did a great job with the emotional growth in the lead's relationship, here I found that aspect lacking in the beginning. Hartley and Sam's sexual relationship develops pretty quickly, the emotional layers were a ways behind and as a consequence, I found their romance lacking. The sexual play scenes start very early and then when they do have a more solid emotional connection, I thought their sex scene was a bit short and abrupt and didn't deliver the impact (Hartley overcoming his touch issues) I was wanting to feel. The ending did provide some wonderful simple talking between Sam and Hartley that I wish had replaced some of the earlier sex scenes as I felt this showed their attraction and closeness more. 
 
Nobody should have that kind of power over anyone, no matter how much money they had or if they had a title in front their name. 
 
This story is heavily about relationships, the outer story and catalyst for getting Sam and Hartley together involving paintings is made to seem important only to be casually pushed to the background for most of the story and then a little rushed importance at the end. The secondary characters are superb (love Alf, Hartley's sort of valet) and add immensely to the story and world. This is one of the more realistic fiction romances with social issues realistically playing a role. If you're looking for a lot of action or adventure, this wouldn't be it but if you want sweet and aching emotion, you'll want to dive in.

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review 2018-06-28 20:50
Historical women shout-outs
Breathless - Beverly Jenkins

The heat now glittering in his eyes touched her like a hand. “You are going to be in so much trouble, Miss Bookkeeper.” 

I was really enjoying this one, more so than the first one because I thought the hero and heroine had better back and forth (I still had moments where I thought the dialogue was a bit stop and go), but the last 40% or so was pretty full of dropped in and random threads. 
There was some awesome shout-outs to historical women figures and Jenkins does a great job of setting the scene, made you feel the West. There's not a lot of angst between our couple but I enjoyed their chemistry, not scorching but playful. 
I just don't understand how the last half ending wasn't cleaned up more, it left you feeling as if alternate endings were dropped in together and messily meshed together.
Going to read the third because Regan was a character that grabbed my attention and Jenkins gives good historical feel and context (There's a tiny Geronimo and Lozen guest appearance here!).

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review 2018-06-27 14:34
Emotional
Forbidden - Helen Kirkman

For more comments and quotes - Buddy Read Forbidden

"The marks that are on me will be there all my life, not to be hidden by overlong hair, or by clothing, so that no one asks any awkward questions. They will always be there and even if they were not, even if it were possible to be rid of them it would not matter. 
Because they are nothing to what is on the inside."
 


Written in a different tone, think languid, poetic, and atmospheric, and voice, think internal/emotional, this story felt quite unique and unlike a lot of romance books. I'm usually a fast reader but this story made me slow down and take breaks, instead of my read in one to three sittings. The tone can drag you down at times as a lot of the action takes place from our hero and heroine's internal thoughts but it ramps up the emotional aspects. The writing style won't be for everyone but if you can let the characters and setting seep into you, you'll enjoy and get lost in Rowena's struggle to survive as a woman in limited power and the thrall Wulf she buys to help her. 

The author did a good job with the power dynamics, Wulf is the slave but as a man and more strength than Rowena, he has his own sense of power. Their relationship was slow burning and sparking at different turns and as most the story depends on them together, their chemistry does not disappoint. Rowena was a great heroine who acknowledges and uses what powers she has and while I liked Wulf, I would have liked his backstory to have been revealed earlier, would have filled out his character more. 

You will definitely enjoy the historical aspect of the story. The author does an incredible job setting the time and place with harvest festivals mentioned, terminology, and even an inclusion of King Ines (who I think gets overshadowed by Alfred the Great too often). 

There's heat, passion, and betrayal in this one. I enjoyed going to a different time and place and while the tone and slower pace may not be for everyone, if you're looking to escape the typical romance, this one would fit the bill.

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review 2018-06-16 17:58
Stray Magic by Kelly Meding
Stray Magic - Kelly Meding

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.

Shiloh is a U.S. Marshall in the Paranormal Investigation Unit. Her have to be available at all hours job makes relationships difficult, to say the least. However, her current boyfriend Vincent has her wondering if maybe more could be on the horizon, until a Vampire decides to take over a trailer park.
It is all on Shiloh as her boss goes missing, black magic is creeping around, and enemies and allies get switched around. 
 
First in a new Urban Fantasy series, Stray Magic doesn't mess around in dropping you into the world, so much so, I felt a bit lost and overwhelmed in the beginning. This is the first in the series but I couldn't help feeling I was missing some background in regards to character relationships. There are some info dumps for the world building but with references to super computers and advanced technology alongside a video rental store and flip phones, it was hard to set the story in a time and place. The acknowledgment of some supernatural and paranormal beings, being known to the world, is just that, a brief acknowledgement. I would have liked a more thorough explanation of the world; this feeling was tied into feeling like this wasn't the start of the series. 
 
Told in first person from our heroine Shiloh's point-of-view, she is our leader through the story. She is half djinn half human with abilities to grant three wishes and has Quarrel pheromones that are hard for her to control. She is tough, snarky, and fun to follow along with but it was hard to feel her emotional connection to the other characters, thus, making secondary characters feel vaguer. 
 
This story is basically Shiloh trying to solve a mystery with supernatural beings and seemingly involved in, not a love triangle, but love quad. Shiloh has her boyfriend Vincent, who, she keeps saying, she wants more with, the vampire Tennyson who she spends the most time with and while it seems there may be more on his side, there are leanings from her, and her co-worker and ex, Jaxon. What we get from her thoughts about Jaxon are mostly, her observations about how hot he looks, how pretty his eyes are, and remembering how much she liked him in the bedroom; it doesn't feel deep. There seems to be or was a deeper relationship between them but we never see it and I never felt it. 
 
The mystery/thriller angle of investigating who is behind the necromancy and black magic was fun to follow along with but we barely got to know the villain and the wrap-up of that part was rushed. There are some shocking twists along the way but some felt unsupported making the plot threads feel wild and loosely thrown about. 
 
Shiloh was a solid character but emotional connections to secondary characters helping us get to know them and create a setting and world was lacking. There was an outline of the supernatural world but random components (Shiloh's quarrel pheromones, Crux sexual transport) were thrown out there and never really integrated with the story and characters. There are loose ends at the end of the story with part of the mystery not solved and the quad love angle getting a twist. If looking for a female lead urban fantasy with supernatural beings running amok, this would fit the bill, just be prepared for this to feel more like a dry first reading and hope for emotional connections/understandings/payoffs to come in the second.

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