Review: Inheritance by Sean Michael

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

Title: Inheritance by Sean Michael
Release Date: February 1st 2017
Pages: 88
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links: Amazon US Dreamspinner Press
Cash McCord loves his life. He owns the family ranch, works hard and invites the occasional cowboy into his bed. All that changes when his brother Jack and Jack’s wife Val are killed in a car crash, leaving behind six kids.

Cash is made guardian along with Val’s brother Brad Rafferty. Brad couldn’t be more different than Cash. A Yankee, Brad is a video game developer who works twelve to fourteen hour days at his desk. The two men lock horns on sight, neither man happy to have the other around, but neither willing to give up guardianship of their nieces and nephews.

Can they manage to keep the kids together, and keep from killing each other at the same time?

 

 

three-stars
This was a nice short story about family recovering from a tragedy to heal and put the family back together. Cash McCord lost his brother Jack and Brad Rafferty lost his sister Val in a terrible car accident. The couple left behind six young kids and happened to have appointed both Cash and Brad as co-guardians. The problem was that Cash lived on his family ranch in Texas and Jack lived up north. The two adults had to navigate their own grief and also figure out how two single men will keep six young children from getting lost in the grief.

As with most novellas, there was no real character development and the romance between the Cash and Brad developed rather quickly. However, the chemistry between them was very enjoyable. Once they made the romantic connection, it seemed solid and that was so important especially for the children. I think their unity really helped the kids to feel safe and secure in their time of grief. It was nice to have men with minimal drama but plenty of integrity.
The kids added some levity to a heavy subject with their humorous questions to their gay uncles.

About Sean Michael

Often referred to as “Space Cowboy” and “Gangsta of Love” while still striving for the moniker of “Maurice,” Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and pursuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to “Chicago.”

A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.

Barring any of that? He’ll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.

Sean’s available for interviews, by the way. He can always be talked into, well talking about himself.

Permanent Ink by Jaime Samms

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

Title: Permanent Ink by by Jaime Samms
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 18th 2017 (2nd edition)
Pages: 71 pages
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner PressAmazon US

Beauty is only skin deep, but some marks—and what they represent—are impossible to escape.

Eric resents his comfortable college life and the restrictions his family’s expectations put on him. Dwayne, his best friend Angel’s cousin, is a pierced and tattooed ex-con trying to rebuild his life. Eric sees only the tattoos and the way Dwayne’s upbringing have dictated his future. It takes a surprising revelation from Angel to force Eric to see past Dwayne’s defenses to the generous heart beneath and to realize it’s time for him to break free of his own instilled beliefs. The men can’t keep apart, and they gradually learn that everything they thought they knew about each other might be wrong.

Opposites attract as two men from very different backgrounds move from enemies to lovers in a story of understanding, compassion, and redemption.
ONE STAR REVIEW

This book pushed some buttons for me. The blurb made it sound like an intriguing interracial romance, but it ended up being a story with cliché characters overcoming their prejudice to find love.

It starts off with Eric, judgmental basketball player who assumes his best friend Angel’s tattooed roommate and cousin is a thug. Eric is a white college student from a middle-class family whereas Angel and his cousin Dwayne are from the projects and come with all the baggage that often come with hood life. They have criminal pasts and in Eric’s mind, Dwayne is a criminal not to be trusted. Dwayne was described as a cornrow and baggy pants wearing tattooed guy who seem to enjoy uninhibited sex encounters as Dwayne was constantly coming onto Eric. Eric assumed Dwayne was a man-ho and told his best friend Angel of his analysis of Dwayne’s character. Of course, the black predatory thug would want the stable college white boy, right?
Aside from this galling racial set up, the plot and story wasn’t smooth nor did it flow well. It was uneven and didn’t draw me in emotionally at all. I see the author was trying to set up an opposite attract, enemies to lover trope, but this story smacks of lazy plot set up and character development and research. It is a novella, so there isn’t a lot time to construct but I do not believe extra pages would save this one. I found it is unrealistic that Eric doesn’t know more about his best friends’ cousin and roommate considering Eric spends the night on Angel’s couch sometimes. Second, it was so contrived that once Eric was told of Dwayne’s sacrifice, Dwayne is all of a suddenly so attractive. I didn’t connect with their chemistry and I didn’t enjoy their sex scenes at all. It was short, but I disliked this story and I am unsure if I will read something else by this author.

Ezi

Any Time, Any Place (Billionaire Builders #2) by Jennifer Probst

(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: InkSlinger PR

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

Title: Any Time, Any Place by Jennifer Probst
Series: Billionaire Builders #2
Release Date: January 24th 2017
Pages: • Format: 400 pages (e-arc)
Published By: Pocket Gallery Books
Purchase Links: Amazon USBarnes & Noble Google PlayKoboiBooks
HGTV’s Property Brothers meets The Marriage Bargain in this second volume in the Billionaire Builders series, an all-new heart-wrenching and sexy contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.

When she was a teen, Raven Bella Stratton’s father was killed in a horrible car crash. The bigger shock was the discovery of a woman with him—Diana Pierce—and their two fully packed suitcases with airline tickets to Paris. Devastated by her father’s betrayal, Raven went to live with her aunt, never truly overcoming the traumatic event. When she discovers that the mysterious woman had a family with a husband and three boys, Raven vows to leave the memory of her father behind.

Until Dalton Pierce visits one night and suddenly her past challenges her future…

Leaving his life in California behind to run Pierce Construction with his two older brothers, Dalton Pierce has enjoyed returning home and studying his passion of woodworking. But when he visits the local bar with his brothers one evening, he’s immediately drawn to the smart-mouthed, badass, sexy bartender who sets his body on fire. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem as intrigued by him, and his multiple advances are met with rejection. When he offers to restore the bar back to its original glory, he begins to work with her on a daily basis, and falls harder. His plan of seduction slowly weaves a web around them both, until they are caught up in the spell. But Dalton doesn’t know the secret that can either destroy them both…or finally mend two broken hearts.

four-stars

Dalton Pierce is the youngest and still trying to prove himself in the family business Pierce Brother’s Construction. He doesn’t believe in permanence when it comes to his love-life, preferring casual hookups with no attachments. As fate would have it, the owner of a popular bar, Raven Hawthorne appears immune to his charms and isn’t interested in a casual hookup. The more she rebuffs his advances, the more intrigued he is. When Raven hires Pierce Brother’s Construction to renovate her bar, Dalton sees it as his opportunity to show her that he isn’t the shallow ladies’ man she believes him to be.

When they finally give into the sexual tension, Dalton and Raven realize they may have something special. But Raven knows things about Dalton and his family. In fact, Raven targeted the Pierce family for revenge. Will the past hurts keep Dalton and Raven from embracing a future together or have they built enough to overcome the secrets?
I enjoyed this story and the characters. I felt drawn to the story and the people in it. The author Jennifer Probst did a great job of creating characters that the readers could empathize with and root for. Both Dalton and Raven were good people being held back from love because of the way they lost their parents. Their inability to find out the circumstances of car accident left them unable to trust people as well as the institution of love. Their slow crawl to a relationship allowed them to chip away at their respective walls. They laughed together, they had fun together and they eventually found out they were compatible together. I struggled with the fact that the man who didn’t believe in marriage or forever said such romantic and poetic words. In fact, Dalton did and said a lot of forever-ish things. I also don’t believe for a second that Dalton and his siblings wouldn’t have wanted to know everything there was to know the man who was in the accident with their mother including his child. That part seemed unrealistic to me. The chemistry though was tangible and the connection intense. With all that happened, the author kept the character’s authentic to themselves and I enjoyed the continual restoration of Dalton’s relationship with his brothers. What I do love about Jennifer Probst is she writes serious matter but without angst and you always leave her books feeling good about the conclusion. Her writing makes you smile, sigh, feel sad and later hopeful and happy. I definitely recommend this contemporary romance to those who love a good story about family, love and forgiveness. I look forward to book 3.

About Jennifer Probst

Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.
She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.
She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon’s Best Books for 2012. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at www.jenniferprobst.com.

Release Blitz: Forged in Desire by Brenda Jackson

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Forged in Desire, an all-new sexy standalone from Brenda Jackson is live!!!

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Forged in Desire by Brenda Jackson
Publication Date: January 31st, 2017
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Strong enough to protect her. Bold enough to love her.

When good girl Margo Connelly becomes Lamar “Striker” Jennings’s latest assignment, she knows she’s in trouble. And not just because he’s been hired to protect her from an underworld criminal. The reformed bad boy’s appeal is breaching all her defenses, and as the threats against her increase, Margo isn’t sure which is more dangerous: the gangster targeting her, or the far too alluring protector tempting her to let loose.

Though Striker’s now living on the right side of the law, he’s convinced his troubled past keeps Margo out of his league. But physical chemistry explodes into full-blown passion when they go on the run together. Surrendering to desire could be a deadly distraction—or finally prove that he’s the only man qualified to keep her safe, and win her love.

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About the Author

Brenda Jackson, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of over 100 novels and novellas, was born in Jacksonville, Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Jacksonville University. She married her high school sweetheart, Gerald, and they have two sons, Gerald Jr. and Brandon, ages thirty-six and thirty-four, respectively. She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Her professional writing career began in 1995 with the release of her first book, Tonight and Forever. Since then she has written over 100 titles, which includes a made-for-television movie by BET, One Special Moment as well as the movie, Truly Everlasting. She was a 2012 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Fiction for her book, A Silken Thread; and was named Romance Writers of America’s Nora Robert’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for 2012.

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If you would like to know more about Brenda Jackson, follow her here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaJacksonAuthor/

Twitter: @AuthorBJackson

Website: http://www.brendajackson.net

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About Brenda Jackson

Brenda Jackson, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of over 100 novels and novellas, was born in Jacksonville, Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Jacksonville University. She married her high school sweetheart, Gerald, and they have two sons, Gerald Jr. and Brandon, ages thirty-six and thirty-four, respectively. She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Her professional writing career began in 1995 with the release of her first book, Tonight and Forever. Since then she has written over 100 titles, which includes a made-for-television movie by BET, One Special Moment as well as the movie, Truly Everlasting. She was a 2012 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Fiction for her book, A Silken Thread; and was named Romance Writers of America’s Nora Robert’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for 2012.

Calm Before the Storm (Rising Storm #5) by Larissa Ione

Rising Storm - Header banner We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Release Day Launch for CALM BEFORE THE STORM by Larissa Ione! CALM BEFORE THE STORM is Episode 5 in the Rising Storm Series brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights! Grab your copy of the latest episode in this awesome series today!

Calm Before the Storm - CoverRising Storm Episode 5 (Oct. 22): Larissa Ione’s Calm Before the Storm

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Welcome to Storm, Texas, where passion runs hot, desire runs deep, and secrets have the power to destroy…

Nestled among rolling hills and painted with vibrant wildflowers, the bucolic town of Storm, Texas, seems like nothing short of perfection.

But there are secrets beneath the facade. Dark secrets. Powerful secrets. The kind that can destroy lives and tear families apart. The kind that can cut through a town like a tempest, leaving jealousy and destruction in its wake, along with shattered hopes and broken dreams. All it takes is one little thing to shatter that polish.

Reading like an on-going drama in the tradition of classic day and night-time soap operas like Dallas, Dynasty, and All My Children, Rising Storm is full of scandal, deceit, romance, passion, and secrets.

With 1001 Dark Nights as the “producer,” Julie Kenner and Dee Davis use a television model with each week building on the last to create a storyline that fulfills the promise of a drama-filled soap opera. Joining Kenner and Davis in the “writer’s room” is an incredible group of New York Times bestselling authors such as Lexi Blake, Elisabeth Naughton, Larissa Ione, Rebecca Zanetti and Lisa Mondello who have brought their vision of Storm to life.

A serial soap opera containing eight episodes in season one, the season premiere of Rising Storm, TEMPEST RISING, debuted September 24th with each subsequent episode releasing consecutively this fall.

So get ready. The storm is coming.

Calm Before the Storm - Teaser 1

About CALM BEFORE THE STORM: Episode 5 of the Rising Storm Series

Secrets, Sex and Scandals …

Welcome to Storm, Texas, where passion runs hot, desire runs deep, and secrets have the power to destroy… Get ready. The storm is coming.

Marcus Alvarez fled Storm when his father’s drinking drove him over the edge. With his mother and sisters in crisis, Marcus is forced to return to the town he thought he’d left behind. But it is his attraction to a very grown up Brittany Rush that just might be enough to guarantee that he stays.

Sexy man in aviator sunglasses touching his hair

MY REVIEW

Marcus Alvarez finally came back home after running away years ago. In his words, we find out why he left and got more confirmation about his father Hector’s mean and cruel behavior towards his wife and Marcus, but never for this precious daughter Dakota. There is more heat simmering between Marcus and Brittany Rush, the senator’s daughter. I like the whole wrong side of the tracks and rich girl theme, but I know the Rush family will do something to crush the Alvarez family.  I like Marcus and it is clear that he is a good person. I hope he can save his little sister Dakota because she is entangled in a mess.

I am more excited by the fact that Ginny’s story is to unravel and throw a lot of people into a tailspin. She has a budding relationship with veteran Logan, but Jacob’s family will not appreciate being lied to.

This series is still very enjoyable and I plan to continue shortly.

 

Experience Rising Storm Here…

Rising Storm - Book Banner 2Rising Storm Episode 1 (Sept. 24): Julie Kenner’s Tempest Rising
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Rising Storm Episode 2 (Oct. 1): Lexi Blake’s White Lightning
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Rising Storm Episode 3 (Oct. 8): Elisabeth Naughton’s Crosswinds
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Rising Storm Episode 4 (Oct. 15): Jennifer Probst’s Dance in the Wind
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Rising Storm Episode 5 (Oct. 22): Larissa Ione’s Calm Before the Storm
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Rising Storm Episode 6 (Oct. 29): Rebecca Zanetti’s Take the Storm
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Rising Storm Episode 7 (Nov. 5): Lisa Mondello’s Weather the Storm
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Rising Storm Episode 8 (Nov. 12): Dee Davis’s Thunder Rolls
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Author pic - Larissa IoneAbout Larissa Ione:

Larissa Ione is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. An Air Force veteran, she traded in a career as a meteorologist to pursue her passion of writing. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge…just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her U.S. Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.

Rising StormWebsite | Facebook |Twitter | 1001 Dark Nights | Rising Storm on Goodreads

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Audiobook Review: Defy the Dawn (Midnight Breed #14) by Lara Adrian

Source: Tantor Audio

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

Title: Defy the Dawn by Lara Adrian
Series: Midnight Breed #14
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Format: Audiobook (8 hrs and 2 mins)
Published By: by Lara Adrian, LLC
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & NobleTantor Audio

DaywalkerBrynne Kirkland survived a hellish upbringing as a product of a madman’s lab. Tough, driven, and devoted to her work in law enforcement, Brynne has never dared to risk opening her heart to anyone–least of all a handsome immortal from a world on the verge of war against hers.

Atlantean warrior Zael left the intrigue of his realm several lifetimes ago, along with the battles he fought as one of the queen’s legion. As a free-spirited loner walking the fringe of two worlds–that of his secretive and powerful people, and the outside world belonging to mankind and the Breed–it was never his intention to return to combat and bloodshed. Nor had he imagined that he might ever be tempted into anything stronger than desire . . . until he meets Brynne.

Thrust together as allies of the Order in the fight against a diabolical enemy, Zael and Brynne embark on a mission that will ultimately force them to decide between duty to their people, and a passion that defies all bounds.

four-stars

This love story actually began in the last book but Daywalker Brynne Kirkland just got fired from her job at JUSTIS. She is forced to see refuge with the Order and her half-sister Tavia Chase. Atlantean warrior Ekizael just happened to see Brynne at a club and their attraction get the best of them. When Zael sees Brynne in trouble and finds out her secret, it actually bonds them together more closely. See,
Brynne is a Gen One Breedmate who is also a daywalker. The experiments conducted by Dragos had some unfortunate side effects for Brynne, and she harbored that secret form from everyone. Zael didn’t shy away from her and he actually nursed her back to physical and mental health.

Together, they set out to aid Lucan Thorne and The Order by attempting to forge an alliance between the Atlantean Queen and The Order because the Atlantean can help in the war with Opus Nostrum. After the last attack on the JUSTIS building made it obvious that The Order needed all the help they can get.

I enjoyed this book because Brynne fought her feelings for so long. The author made Zael work f or it. Not only were they hot as a pair, but the author used their love journey to advance the plot against the ancients. The audiobook was very entertaining and the narrator made the Brynne feel both strong and capable, yet vulnerable. Zael’s voice radiated strength and gentleness that was perfect to a lonely and isolated Brynne. They were two peas in a pod. There was plenty of action, suspense and foreshadowing for the next book. Certainly the same formula that we have come to expect from Lara Adrian and I can’t wait for the next book.

Ezi

Audiobook Review: Touched with Fire (The Fire Trilogy #1) by Christopher Datta

Audiobook Review: Touched with Fire (The Fire Trilogy #1) by Christopher DattaSource: Novel Publicity

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

Title: Touched with Fire by Christopher Datta
Series: The Fire Trilogy, #1
Release Date: December 07, 2016
Pages: • Format: 11 hrs and 12 mins (Audiobook)
Published By: Christopher Datta
Purchase Links:   Amazon USBarnes & NobleAudible

Ellen Craft is property; in this case, of her half-sister Debra, to whom she was given as a wedding gift. The illegitimate daughter of a Georgia plantation owner and a house slave, she learned to hate her own image, which so closely resembled that of her “father”: the same wiry build, the same blue eyes, and the same pale – indeed, lily-white – skin. Ellen lives a solitary life until she falls, unexpectedly, in love with a dark-skinned slave named William Craft, and together they devise a plan to run north. Ellie will pose as a gentleman planter bound for Philadelphia accompanied by his “boy” Will. They make it as far as Baltimore when Will is turned back, and Ellie has no choice but continue. With no way of knowing if he is dead or alive, she resolves to make a second journey – south again. And so Elijah Craft enlists with the 125th Ohio Volunteers of the Union Army: she will literally fight her way back to her husband.

Eli/Ellie’s journey is the story of an extraordinary individual and an abiding love, but also of the corrosive effects of slavery, and of a nation at a watershed moment.

three-stars
I have mixed feelings about this audiobook. I am so glad the author took on the story of Ellie Craft and weaved an incredible story of heroism. But that is also part of the problem for me, parts of it were just that, unbelievable. The first part of this book was focused on Ellie as a young slave girl trying to navigate and come to terms with where she fit in with her family and community. The second part of the book was so heavy on war facts. I didn’t quite enjoy the second part as much because I couldn’t buy Ellie as union soldier hiding in plain sight so to speak. The narrator’s voice was okay but the singing parts grated my nerves.

I found the author’s writing to be basic and rough in the beginning, but in the second part of the story, the author found his groove. In addition, the characters in this story under developed and too one dimensional. even Ellie. The slaves, Ellie’s sister, even Ellie’s actions were either black and white (pun aside). The slaves, Ellie’s sister, even Ellie’s actions were either black and white (pun aside). I found the transitions from scene to scene to be uneven. It just didn’t flow smoothly. It got better later in the book.

Ellen was born a “quadroon”, one quarter black and three quarters white. Ellie was born to a half white slave woman who was raped by her owner. The result was that Elle looked white, a fact that made clear her parentage. For most of her young life, Ellie felt angry that she wasn’t acknowledge by her father as his daughter, even though she knew she was a product of rape. Ellie was also angry at her half-sister for treating her like help, and not recognizing her as her sister and perhaps equal. It just doesn’t compute with what we know of slave paternity issues back then. If you were born of a slave, it doesn’t matter if you have white, you were still a slave and almost never acknowledged. The internal musings of why her father didn’t accept or acknowledge her as his own painted Elle as a child who saw herself as more than a slave. This also supports the other slaves claim that Ellie was uppity and thought she was better. Ellie never bothered to deny these assertions, thus incurred the scorn of the other slaves. So, for the first part of her life, Ellie didn’t see herself as a black slave.

When Ellie was barely a young adult, she had a violent encounter with the creepy Reverend. She began espousing views on her blackness that come out of nowhere to me. But this is part of the story I enjoyed most, When Ellie and William become a couple. There was love with this couple and I enjoyed seeing Ellie for the first time show genuine affection, need and concern for someone else. He made her appear vulnerable and more human so I liked this Ellie. Their attempt to seek freedom required Ellie to pass both as a white person and as a man, that’s when things went implausible for me. It’s one thing to for an illiterate slave to pass as a white person, but as a white slave owner and man travelling. There is more to pretending to be a man than wearing clothes. But Ellie pulled it off for six years as Eli where she was fighting, sleeping and leaving among other men. Either way, I couldn’t connect with Ellie as a young girl nor as this cantankerous union soldier. I really wanted to like her because I had empathy for her plight, but she just always came off as self-centered to me.

The ending of this story got predictable but it was satisfying. This subject matter is a sensitive one and I think the author gave the reader a hero to root for. I just would have liked a little more realism in emotion and actions by the characters. I haven’t read the actual account of Ellen Craft because I didn’t want it to color my opinion of this book. My opinions are based solely on my experience with this author’s narrative.

Audio Tour: Deathless & Divided (Chicago War #1) by Bethany-Kris

(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: IndieSage PR

Deathless & Divided

by Bethany-Kris
Chicago War #1
Narrator: Roberto Scarlato
Publication Date: December 2016 (Audio Edition)
Genres: Audiobook, Mafia Romance, Organized Crime

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Amazon Audible: http://amzn.to/2jUBxum

Synopsis: Lies and love. This is how a war starts.A life for a life. That’s the mafia way. Damian Rossi owes his life to a man who is ready to collect. That payment comes in the form of an arranged marriage to the daughter of another leading family in the Chicago Outfit. He’s ready to follow through, even if that means making sure Lily knows she’s his.

Lily DeLuca isn’t being given a choice. Forced home to marry a man she doesn’t know and back into a life she’d rather forget, her world is full of half-truths, buried pain, and uncertainty. But Damian is nothing like she expects. His motives aren’t clear. Her beliefs are being tested.

When it comes to this world, no man can be trusted. Someone is ready to flip the Chicago Outfit on its side all for the promise of something better. But no one runs a clean game and these men play for keeps. When blood begins to paint Chicago red, four families will be divided by loyalty, hatred, and revenge. There is no hiding. There is no safety.

No one is deathless.

No one.

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REVIEW:

This was one of the lowest angst Mafia romance stories I’ve listened to in a while. The plot was just as front and center as the romance. Bethany-Kris did a really good at intertwining the character’s plight with the Outfit (the mafia) with the love story. The narrator Robert Scarlato did a great job with the various voices. His accent and intonation was authentic and entertaining. I felt eased into the story by the way he chronicled the character’s journey.

Lily DeLuca had been kept out of the mafia spotlight by her brothers Dino and Theo. Unfortunately, Lily was born into the family and eventually had to take her place as a mafia princess. Lily was so resentful when she discovered that her brother Dino has arranged for her to marry The Outfit’s enforcer Damian Rossi.

Damien was an orphan like Lily, but his allegiance was to the outfit. This marriage was just another task he was willing to accomplish for the outfit…or was it?
I liked Damian the most in the story. He worked and kept his head down. He wasn’t overly ambitious and he was loyal. Though he was a deadly assassin, he had a soft spot that was hidden to almost all. He was sexy, faithful and steadfast.

I love that the author allowed Damian to win Lily’s heart. He didn’t just go all alpha male and insist Lily will marry him to fulfill the contract. Bethany-Kris added a layer of cultivation to Damian by making him appear more compassionate about Lily’s reservations. They were a well-suited couple and I enjoyed how they were able to bond to each other outside of mafia politics and hidden agendas.

The mafia side of the plot was also very intriguing. This book had the usual crime, murder, takeovers and betrayals we have come to expect in such novels. I found myself trying to figure out the puppet master and their game. I am hoping audiobook 2 will be available soon.

AUDIO EXCERPT

ABOUT BETHANY-KRIS

Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to three young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.

To keep up-to-date with new releases from Bethany-Kris, sign up to her New Release Newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bf9lzD

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ABOUT ROBERTO SCARLATO (NARRATOR)

Scarlato grew up in a small suburb of Chicago. He has a deep, rich voice that is easily manipulated for multiple characters. He is married to his high school sweetheart. They have a three year old daughter.

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About Bethany-Kris

Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to three young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.

Unwanted (Elemental Assassin #14.5) by Jennifer Estep

Unwanted (Elemental Assassin #14.5) by Jennifer Estep

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

Title: Unwanted by Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin
Release Date: July 18th, 2016
Pages: 100 • Format: e-arc
Published By: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books
Purchase Links:   Amazon USBarnes & Noble

The New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin series continues with a new e-novella–from the point of view of Finnegan Lane, the foster brother of Gin Blanco, and a fan favorite of readers of the series.

The fallout from his disastrous “family reunion” in Bitter Bite has left Finn feeling hurt, angry, and depressed. He can barely stand to look at himself in the mirror, much less eat any of the delicious barbecue from Gin’s famed Pork Pit restaurant.

But when the funeral for a slain security guard at his bank turns into a showdown with some nasty underworld giants, Finn knows that he must act in order to protect an innocent family.

Finnegan Lane might be the most unwanted man in Ashland these days, but he’s determined to try to make amends for his past mistakes…

four-stars

This was a welcome addition to the Elemental Assassin series as the reader got to hear Finnegan Lane’s point of view.

Following the crushing betrayal by this mother Deirdre Shaw in Bitter Bite, Finn was still wallowing in guilt over the death and destruction caused her in attempted robbery. Finn was trying to figure out how to make amends and regain the trust of those who felt that he was complicit in his mother’s scheme. This book saw him begin to regain his sense of purpose and respect as he was able to help a family who lost their protector and provider in the bank massacre. What I loved was that it wasn’t Bria or Gin or even the ghost of Fletcher Lane, but Finn alone taking a step onto redemption road.

While I found all the blame heaped on him to be undeserving, it spoke to Finn’s character that he didn’t brush people’s feelings aside. He took everyone’s hurts to heart and he resolved to help make amends. This novella had a slightly somber mood, lacking Finn’s signature cocky quips, but it still felt like an Elemental Assassin. It was a nice shift in focus to another beloved character in this series.

*Special Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books via Netgalley for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

Ezi

Review: Keepsake (True North, Book 3) by Sarina Bowen

Review: Keepsake (True North, Book 3) by Sarina Bowen(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

Title: Keepsake by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #3
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Pages: 326 • Format: Audiobook (10hrs, 8mins)
Published By: Rennie Road Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & Noble

There’s a first time for everything.

Lark Wainright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.

When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.

Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.

Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.

Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he’s good for much more than farm labor.

four-stars

I enjoyed this book as much as I did the previous one. It had family, damaged characters and the readers finally got to find out Zachariah. Lark and Zach were a great match together. Both characters were at the Shipley Farm in Vermont looking for a safe haven. Zach and Lark were trying to heal from past hurts, so it was so sweet to watch the evolution of the characters.

I am glad that we didn’t know wild child Lark as I am not sure that I would have liked her. However, she was the carrot that drew Zachary out of his cocoon. They were sweet and tender with each other and their connection was intense.

In addition to the romance, I love the tidbits we learn about farming, cider and apples. I never gave much thought to the choices farmers make but it seems to be such an interesting process. I also love the Griff’s family and how accepting they are of everyone around them.

The writing is smooth, entertaining and completely engaging. I really enjoyed this book as well as the series overall. I loved the ending to this story.

 

About Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Vermont’s Green Mountains with her family, six chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.