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review 2016-10-25 00:36
ARC Review: Sunset On Turtle Lake by Carol Lynne
Sunset on Turtle Lake - Carol Lynne

I read this book on my flight to GRL2016 in Kansas City. The author of this book is also one of the organizers, and I have mad respect for the fabulous work she does.

There's lots to like about this book. I especially like the title, because to me it has a dual meaning. The sunset at the lake is part of what Sam needs to remember, but it's also a hint at the sunset of his mother's life.

Sam's mother is dying of cancer. He moved her to Miami where he lives and works after his father's death so he can care for her with the help of her in-home nurse Ian. Sam is attracted to Ian, but doesn't want to start something that might end badly, and then lose the wonderful man taking care of his mother.

Sam is not ready to face the fact that his mother is dying. He knows it in his head, but his heart isn't there yet. Ian has been trying to get him to the point of accepting that it will happen, but he's not quite gotten there.

His mom wants to go home to Turtle Lake in Minnesota. She tells him so during her lucid moments, which are farther and farther apart.

When Sam realizes that he needs to take his mother home to Turtle Lake, to the house he grew up in, to the house where his father died, it's nearly Christmas. He knows this will be her last Christmas in the house she loves so much.

It's a heavy theme for a romance novel, to be sure, and Sam fights his attraction to Ian for a long time, and sticking his head in the sand about his mom, to the point of refusing to even talk about it. He's rude and obnoxious to Ian on occasion, lashing out in anger, but then apologizing for it. Ian is patient, but also feels that time is running out, and that Sam has to come to grips with the facts. His attraction to his employer is complicating things even more.

I do wish this book had been a little longer, to more deeply explore the growing relationship. We but get a glimpse of it, and when the UST finally culminates in getting between the sheets, it nearly felt like it happened because Sam needed the distraction, and perhaps the comfort. I have some doubts about a HEA for them due to the circumstances, even though the book ends with a HFN as far as the relationship is concerned.

I'm not ashamed to say that I sniffled a few times while reading this, especially during Sam's interactions with his mother. There's no doubt at all that he loves her and wants to do what's best for her. He also, finally, realizes why the house is so important to her, and why it's important to enjoy the small moments, just sitting on a chair watching the sun set over the lake.

I liked Ian - he was sweet and kind, but also had some backbone. Torn between wanting to care for Sam's mother as best as he could, and also falling for his employer, he was caught between a rock and a hard place.

The writing is descriptive and flows well, and the characters are well done, sufficiently explored for the length of this book. I recommend tissues while reading - you'll need them.

A beautiful glimpse into a short time period, but one that certainly packs a punch.


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

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review 2016-09-25 02:40
ARC Review: Sergeant's Secrets (Highgate Shifters #6) by Sydney Presley
Sergeant's Secrets (Highgate Shifters Book 6) - Sydney Presley

This was a bit of a letdown, especially for my expectations based on the blurb.

It started out well enough, with intrigue about why Sergeant is being kidnapped, and what's happening, and what's going on, but that then had a weird explanation, which basically ruined the book for me.

During the kidnapping and his subsequent freedom, Sergeant is told that he mustn't share whatever he knows with anyone, not even his mate Dillon. Now, the mythology in this series has the mated shifters share their thoughts at all times, speaking to their mates in their minds, and it's a bit unsettling to Dillon that Sergeant is keeping him out, and it's even more disturbing to Sergeant that he has to do that.

 

What is made clear though is how strong Sergeant and Dillon's relationship is, how absolutely they trust each other, even if Sergeant can't tell Dillon what's going on. There's no jealousy, no drawn-out nagging, just two men who have each other's backs, who believe in each other and their mating bond. This is what earned this book the stars it received. 

There's mucho sexy times inside, and while I certainly enjoyed that, it felt at times a bit like a filler, because the real plot of this installment wasn't meaty enough to carry the book.

When Sergeant is given permission to share the secret with his mate, and the reader also finds out what's going on, the reason behind it was a complete letdown. It didn't make a whole lot of sense, to be honest, but since I love this series, I will continue to read about these wolves.

It was nice to see characters from the previous books as well in this story, since it's always nice to revisit.

 

This book should not be read as a standalone, and I recommend that you read this series in order. 


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

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review 2016-08-03 14:09
ARC Review: Jacob's Journey by Sydney Presley
Jacob's Journey (Highgate Shifters Book 5) - Sydney Presley

This is book 5 of the Highgate Shifters series. It cannot be read as a standalone as each book builds from the previous ones.

Jacob is a lion shifter from the Oakland pride, sent by his pride leader to collect two missing members from the Highgate wolf shifter compound.

Upon arrival, he realizes that the two missing lions have bonded, and neither is interested in leaving Highgate to return to the autocratic ruler they left behind.

And then Jacob runs into Frankie, a wolf. Hello, mating bond.

The romance was nice, and I liked both Jacob and Frankie, and how their relationship developed. Even if Jacob was a bit reluctant to believe in lion/wolf matings, he couldn't deny the pull of the bond. Frankie was much more open to the concept from the start and didn't let the differences in species deter him from pursuing his goal. Because, you know, mate.

The conflict however seemed to have a huge build-up and then a rapid solution, that felt a bit like a letdown, as it seemed a bit too easy. Still, I was glad that it got resolved, and that Jacob and Frankie got their HEA.

I'm looking forward to the next one in this series.

Just heed the notice at the top. These cannot be read out of order. If you like M/M romance with shifters, sexy times and action, this may be a good series for you.


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

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review 2016-06-21 08:00
ARC Review: That's One Cross Vamp (The Vamp For Me #6) by Bailey Bradford
That's One Cross Vamp (The Vamp for Me Book 6) - Bailey Bradford

First up, a little warning... while the books in this series somewhat work as standalones, I do not recommend reading them out of order.

Secondly, there's a massive time jump between book 5 and this one, something I didn't quite expect, but which made sense overall. I also have a sneaking suspicion that this might be the last book in this series. And that's a bummer.

We first met Erin in book 2. He's the twin brother of Andrew - he who mated with Radney, the vampire who didn't like human blood, but was dashing in a kilt.

Erin is basically an aging manwhore. Slutty as can be, never doing a guy more than once, and certainly not interested in joining the vampire family as a human mate. Nope, no thanks, not for Erin. And no sex with vamps, either. Ever.

Erin has commitment issues, obviously, and while he is part of the vampire family at the fringes (heck, his entire house is light-proof because, ya know, vampy friends), he's perfectly happy hooking up with new guys wherever and whenever he can, because mated bliss is overrated.

Except, deep down inside, maybe that's not entirely true. Also, the twinks at the local bar start referring to him as 'Daddy', and Erin realizes he's tired of chasing away his demons with sex.

And he may be sick. Because he's tired all the time.

It's somewhat fortuitous, I guess, that Erin runs across Jude, one of the unmated vampires in Claude's coven, and decides, for once, to break his rule. Because he and Jude have a chemistry he didn't expect, and man, do they burn up the sheets. Repeatedly.

Astonished at himself, Erin finds he likes Jude in his bed. Likes to hang out with him even when there's no sex involved.

I really liked that the author didn't make a huge fuss and created unnecessary drama. Yes, there's a bit of angst, because OMG, Erin does NOT want to be a vampire, and he feels he's too far past his prime for Jude anyway, and what vamp in his right mind would want an old(er) mate, but Jude just calms him. And Erin is willing to take what's being offered, as he is fearfully awaiting the results from his medical tests.

Erin is still stubborn, of course, but Jude even more so, in such a calm and appeasing way that I couldn't help but root for him to get what's he's apparently wanted for years. YEARS. Patient vamp!! Turns out that Erin's issues with commitment and relationships are deeply rooted. And I had to cheer him on for standing by his convictions. Yeah, I know this is vague - just read the book!

I'm glad the author chose to include the other vampires and their mates from the previous books - it was nice to revisit them. Snarky Augustin, his long-suffering but happy vampire Tony, Andrew and Radney, Claude and Abby - I love them all and was happy they got screen time.

Of course, we get a happily-ever-after, as I expected - this shouldn't come as a surprise, and certainly isn't a spoiler, amirite? After all, isn't that why we read romance novels?

I adore this series, and while I'm a bit bummed that it's seemingly over (is it?), I would recommend this to anyone who likes sweet yet snarky characters, well-suited mates, and hot boy-on-boy bedroom times. It's definitely one I'll re-read again!


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

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review 2016-06-04 01:07
ARC Review: When In Bloom by Nicole Dennis
When in Bloom (Southern Charm Book 4) - Nicole Dennis

Finally catching up on my review for this one. My apologies to the author and publisher for being waaaaaaay behind the 8-ball with this.

This was the only book in the series I read, and it worked well as a standalone, even though it includes characters from the previous books.

This was... nice. A little bland. A little non-exciting. Until the climax, which was out of left field and didn't make a whole lot of sense. Nice banter, nice MCs, nice story flow. Just a little on the bland side.

I liked that a character with a disability was featured. Jude, owner of the flower shop in town, has type 1 diabetes, and has recently developed epileptic seizures. Now partnered with a Medical Alert dog named Dawson, he happily runs his flower shop, preparing custom bouquets.

While at the local clinic, he meets the new doc, Elliott Sheffield, ex-military, suffering from PTSD. Their romance starts out slow, and Jude tries to hide his illness just as much as Elliott tries to hide his traumatic experiences overseas.

As I said, it was nice. The dialogue was stilted on occasion, but I liked their banter. The characters were nicely developed and believable. The story flowed well. The climactic scene toward the end was a little unexpected, though.

This was a nice way to spend a few hours.


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

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