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review 2018-01-22 02:29
Moving Maverick (Made Marian, #5) by Lucy Lennox Review
Moving Maverick: A Made Marian Novel (Volume 5) - Lucy Lennox

“Do you remember what you promised?”


Maverick: I haven't been back to Rabbit Island, South Carolina, since my parents died and my grandmother, Mimi, rejected me. I'm only returning now to attend her funeral and sell an estate I never wanted. But the moment I step foot on the island and fall into Beau’s arms, I realize it might not be so easy to say goodbye after all.

Beau Talmadge was always the boy next door, but now he’s no longer a kid. The man is hot as hell and pushes all my buttons in the very best way. I'm supposed to leave in a week. Sell everything, close the door on my past, and walk away forever. So why am I letting myself fall for someone who lives thousands of miles away? And how the hell am I going to break it off when it's time to go?

“That I’d come back.”

Beau: It took one short summer to fall in love with Maverick Mitchell and fifteen long years to forget him when he left. I’d never expected to see him again, but when he shows up at Mimi’s funeral looking lost and lonely I can’t resist doing anything I can to comfort him. Falling into bed with Maverick is easy and the nights we spend together are as hot and steamy as a South Carolina thunderstorm.

I know it's not smart. I know it's not what he planned. But dammit, Mav belongs in my arms, in my bed, and in my life. So how the hell do I get him to stay?

“Took you long enough.”

Fair warning: Moving Maverick is a 73k word gay romance novel featuring sweet tea vodka, fancy salt and pepper shakers, guys catching crabs (not that kind), Aunt Tilly with a knife, and multiple detailed instances of man parts touching.

 

Review

 

The setting is the real star of book and Beau and Mav are very cute together. There is a pile of sexy times and some fun with salt and pepper shakers. 

I like the romance here but the again the backstory (why Mav's grandmother gave him up) and some other elements of conflict don't really work well.

We get less of the whole family in this book but tons of couple time and a sweet romance.

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review 2018-01-22 02:26
Review: About That Kiss by Jill Shalvis
About That Kiss - Jill Shalvis

My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin

 

About That Kiss is a warm, funny read that’s classic Jill Shalvis. Kylie and Joe are endearing, vibrant characters and their love story charmed my socks off. Like all the Heartbreaker Bay books, About That Kiss draws you into a wonderful world of welcoming characters, making you want to pull up a comfy chair and get lost in their stories.

Ms. Shalvis knows how to write sigh-worthy heroes, and Joe definitely fits the bill. He’s strong, protective, and his love for his family shines on the page. He had to grow up fast at a young age; his father is a Gulf War vet with severe PTSD, so as a child Joe had to be the one to ensure his family was safe and fed. Hid childhood left its mark on him, and Joe is reticent to get involved with someone long-term, which is why he tries to resist Kylie. She gets under his skin like no one else, and I loved that she knocked Joe off balance a bit. Kylie also carries some scars from her childhood, which makes her wary of opening her heart. She has hidden vulnerabilities, but I was rooting for her to take a risk and open her heart to Joe. Kylie is the kind of heroine you want to have for a friend. She’s quick, funny, kind, and an incredibly talented woodworker. She also has an utterly adorable dog who threatens to steal the show more than once. It’s clear from the start that Kylie and Joe are simply meant to be. They’ve got buckets of chemistry and their banter made me grin more than once. So while they might resist the “L” word, Joe and Kylie don’t stand a chance. Their romance is bright, sexy, and sweet – the perfect combination.

About That Kiss is the fifth full-length book in the Heartbreaker Bay series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. Kylie and Joe’s friends – all part of the Pacific Pier Building crowd – add even more humor and warmth to this story. The friendships are as important to the story as the romance, which is part of the book’s charm. Everyone is perfectly imperfect and easy to adore. I finished About That Kiss a well-satisfied reader, but I cannot wait to see what Ms. Shalvis has in store for Joe’s sister, Molly.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/01/review-about-that-kiss-by-jill-shalvis.html
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review 2018-01-22 01:14
It's All in the Brushstrokes!
Wallflower Most Wanted - Manda Collins

Add a beautiful young painter and a handsome vicar who's a duke's son, throw in a dash of murder, and a sprinkle of art forgery, a Trumpian faux populist character, and there you have it.

This was enjoyable with clever writing and likable characters, but I felt like I had to keep putting it down. Could be me, with everything going on. I am looking forward to Gemma's story.

Overall rating: 3.5/5.0 stars.

Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine: http://affairedecoeur.com.

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review 2018-01-22 00:15
Deep dive into cult life
The Boundless Sublime - Lili Wilkinson

 Disclaimer: reviewing a pre-publication digital proof via NetGalley.

 

Ruby's mother is no longer functioning. Her dad's in prison. For killing her baby brother in a drunk driving accident. She's holding it together on the outside, not so much on the inside. When she makes a connection with innocent, sheltered, cult-raised Fox, she gets drawn into the supportive, seemingly open-minded and health-conscious public branch of a local cult. When she follows Fox into the inner enclave, things take a turn for the weird.

 

Extremely well-written story by a new-to-me author. I wasn't sure what to expect going in, and mostly requested the galley based on that awesome cover (isn't it cool? so atmospheric!) But there's a lot to like in the storytelling as well. Ruby's in a bad place, and the way the author explores her thinking and how she moves step-by-step deeper into the land of crazy is really illuminating.

 

While I think most of us would agree on how insane the choices Ruby and others in the book make, the reality is that people around us are pulled into real-world versions of this, and get drawn into radical thinking and extremist behaviours every day. I have friends who've gotten really into things like Landmark (a leadership program with cult-like practices), CrossFit (an example of extreme fitness trends that can inspire cultlike devotion, also see: SoulCycle) and even things like detox cleanses or mindfulness programs that ride the line of eating disorders and abuse. The relatability and plausibility of the characters that Wilkinson draws out is impressive. Many people - maybe everyone - are looking for answers, for meaning, for a way to gain control over their lives. This story explores how someone could, out of a place of brokenness and searching, go down a route they never would have imagined for themselves.

 

I love how this story conveys a sense of empathy. You learn about others, and maybe yourself, in a way that's engaging, fast-paced (it's not a preachy dissertation on the evils of cults or anything), solidly in-character (Ruby's perspective feels natural, age-appropriate, and allows for some great reveals and twists at the end), and balanced. You come away with a clear understanding of why people behaved as they did, even if that behaviour was absolutely insane. Potential trigger warnings for various things like debilitating depression/suicidal thoughts, abuse and eating disorders. There is some sexuality and language that might make this better suited for older teens and adults - parental guidance recommended - but it's not pronounced or explicit (e.g. there is weird sex stuff in the cult, but it's not salacious or described in detail).

 

Highly recommended read that bridges entertainment and discussion-group-worthy literature.

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review 2018-01-21 23:36
Review: Headmaster by Tara Sue Me
Headmaster (Lessons from the Rack) - Tara Sue Me

My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin

 

After the death of his submissive, Winnie, Lennox MacLure turned his back on the Dominant part of himself while at the same time opening the RACK Academy as a sort of penance. He’s been living a half-life since then, but emotionally shutting himself down is getting more and more difficult when faced with his desire for the academy’s dance instructor – and Winnie’s best friend – Mariela. Mariela has wanted Lennox for years, but he’s never seen her as more than Winnie’s friend. Frustrated and determined not to lose him to despair, Mariela makes one last desperate bid to unleash Lennox’s Dom side, and the risk she takes could make or break their chance at happiness.

Since I first ventured into the world of the RACK Academy in Master Professor, I’ve been dying to read Lennox and Mariela’s story. Headmaster is filled with emotional turmoil, but there’s also quite a bit of hope to balance that out.

Lennox has been closed off for years, unable to move past his misplaced guilt over Winnie’s death. I liked that it wasn’t easy for him to come back to his whole self; the work he had to put in made his journey feel “earned,” for lack of a better word. And Lennox definitely needed to start finding himself before he was a good fit for Mariela. Though she’s loved him for years, Mariela was always stuck in the role of “Winnie’s best friend.” And though Mariela is kind, she’s no doormat that will let Lennox put in her in a sort of box. She and Lennox clash more than once over the course of the story, and their happily ever after is well earned. There are a lot of ups and downs, and sometimes I might have been frustrated with Lennox’s one-step-forward-two-steps-back, but the fast pace of the story kept it from ever dragging. And while it has plenty of angst, Headmaster isn’t all loss and discovery. There are also plenty of smoking hot scenes. Mariela and Lennox have fantastic chemistry, and things get hot.

I really enjoyed Headmaster – so much so that I read it in one sitting. And even though I had some issues with the story (namely problems popping up which are then quickly resolved off-page), I was still quite happy with how Lennox and Mariela’s romance turned out. These two had a rough journey, but the result is a strong, believable love story that was a pleasure to read.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/01/review-headmaster-by-tara-sue-me.html
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