Book Review – Mr. Beautiful (Up in the Air #4) by R.K. Lilley

18631103R.K. Lilley is one of my favorite authors and I had the pleasure of meeting her (and I think her husband?) at a writers’ event this year. She was the most personable and gracious author that I met that day and was generous with her time.

I adore the “Up in the Air” series and I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Mr. Beautiful!  I was looking forward to hearing his side of events and it was worth the wait. What a fabulous cover! I love the camaraderie between James and Tristan. I love the passion and love between James and Bianca. This conclusion has me loving him more.

And then there is Stephan. I wish I had such a loyal and true person in my life. The relationship between Stephan and Bianca is endearing and goes straight to my heart. I could read an entire story just about them, and I appreciate that we got to see more of their past in this story. This was an unexpected surprise for me. I also find Stephan and Javier a believable and touching m/m pairing, written eloquently.

This is part of a series, which should be read in order. Otherwise, you will not have the proper context for the characters and storyline. This is sort of a collection of random thoughts from different characters at different points of the series.

5 Stars

Book Review – Prisoner (Criminals & Captives #1) by Annika Martin and Skye Warren

23303963Wow! This was a dark read, which I tend to get drawn into looking for proof of light in the darkness. This was a great read for me and one of my new favorites. Prisoner, which was recently released, has probably one of my favorite heroines in Abigail Winslow and a notorious hottie in Grayson that you can’t help but love. (Do we ever learn his last name? I tried doing a search and came up nada…)

And he’s terrible!  He comes from a deep, dark and troubled past. He holds revenge in his heart. He is guilty of forcing dubious consent and tranquilizing. Yet he does this out of his twisted idea of loving and protecting Abby; in his mind, his forced captivity of Abby will protect and bind the two of them in together in the same tight-knit fashion he shares with the men that he was abducted with. His personal brand of passiveness is evident in his statement, “F#%k it. I don’t need to be a better man. I don’t need to be more. I’m in charge here.”

Abby is a self-conscious bookworm that I can relate to. We see her break out of her shell as Grayson forces her out of it. His affection for her is seen as a threat to Grayson’s gang and she holds her own. I love the unexpected moments when her intelligence shines through and wins her respect.

This story contains violence, graphic sex and dubious consent. That being  said, this did not feel like one of the darkest dark reads that I have experienced. It does have a sort of dubious HEA that left me satisfied. I give this…

5 Stars

Book Review – Broken (Redemption #1) by Lauren Layne

21408690I blush a little when I get caught enjoying a young adult novel at my age. Yet even I can appreciate this endearing love story. Olivia Middleton is a college student who decides to take a hiatus from education to gain some life experience caring for an injured war veteran. Olivia is looking at this employment opportunity a chance to escape her problems and a to redeem herself. While her past actions are far from admirable, they were not as dreadful as I expected by the weight that she gave them. Regardless, I enjoyed watching the maturity and determination for which she approaches her new role. The following excerpt provides an insight into her personality.

Your social life is no longer dropped into your lap by virtue of shared classes and extracurricular activities. Relationships, whether with friends, family, or romantic partners—from here on out, they’re going to take a lot more work. No more built-in friends at the sorority, or hollering down the stairs when I need my mom. It’s certainly not going to be as easy to meet guys now that I’m done with school. It’s not like I can just chat up the cute guy in econ class anymore.

Paul Langdon Is challenged with being physically disfigured as a result of his injuries.  Rehabilitation feels overwhelming to overcome. We come to learn that Olivia’s primary purpose is to be on suicide watch as she is challenged with bringing him out of his depression.  He is certainly a challenging case, but little by little he starts to come alive again and to recognize the value in Olivia.

I’m not proud of myself, Olivia. Not even a little bit. Do I wish I’d never let you go? Obviously. Do I wish I’d come to my senses sooner? Of course. And maybe if it had taken me only a day or two to clear my head, then yeah, I would have called. But when you fuck up as badly as I fucked up, for that long, you don’t call. You don’t text. You don’t email. You go to your girl and beg.

This has become one of my favorites! I laughed out loud and I swooned over the touching scenes.  I appreciated each of the characters. The relationship between Olivia and Paul was heartwarming and inspirational.

5 Stars

Book Review – The Wright Brother by Marie Hall

I appreciate stories with physically challenged characters because of a vested interest. The relationship between Elisa and Julian is beautiful and emotional. I get goosebumps thinking of them signing on each other’s skin. That’s where my enjoyment ended.

This was geared towards the younger side of new adult, too young for my reading pleasure. I understand that a small age difference of roughly two years is a big deal before the age of 18, but the storyline made it feel like the age difference was 7 or more years and Elisa couldn’t outgrow that thinking until the last two pages. Her feelings of guilt became redundant. It gets to be tiresome by the end. I also lost interest with her two silly infatuations with other men while waiting for Julian to grow up.

If not for the erotic scenes, this would be for a younger audience. I can only give it …

2 stars.

Book Review – Beast, Part IV by Ella James

Never enough time for catching up on reviews, and there are a few. The conclusion of the Beast series has arrived and I loved it! The story picked up in the right place. There was the same level of angst, suspense, and hot scenes in the most…inconvenient?… of places, e.g. solitary confinement and on the run. The ending was abrupt but acceptable and satisfactory for this series of novellas. Sad to see it end and good while it lasted.

4 Stars

Book Review – Vanquish (Deliver #2) by Pam Godwin

20932811OMG! I waited for this sequel for what felt like forever, and it was worth the wait! Pam Godwin is an excellent writer; I couldn’t wait to see how she could possibly write a book about Van Quiso. We met Van in “Deliver” where he was an absolutely hateful monster.

Who would have thought we could come to appreciate a character that traffics slave captives? Let alone one that has a fetish for creating ugly life-sized dolls. Only Pam would have the talent to turn him into a likable and understandable character, with a fetish that we could learn to appreciate and he could turn into an honest career!

Naturally, this would require a very unique female counterpart. Van decides to find a new captive for himself as opposed to a buyer. Amber Rosenfeld suffers from agoraphobia and OCD. How convenient that she doesn’t want to leave the house!  By far this is not a humorless story, but I laughed out loud several times at how Amber’s quirks upset Van’s careful planning, which resulted in his actually helping her instead of trapping her. After a time of separation, Amber says:

Her lips slid into a foxy grin. “I made little Van voodoo dolls and stabbed them with toothpicks.”

This can be read as a standalone novel. However, I strongly recommend reading “Deliver” first to truly understand the dark and terrifying beginnings of Van. There are also characters in this book that are in Deliver that complete the story. I really love how this wraps everything up so nicely for all characters, with no loose ends.

I do have to forewarn that this is not a book for the lighthearted. It is dark and contains references to non-consensual relations. In order to appreciate the greatness of the story, it is important to be able to look past the uncomfortable. I give Vanquish

4 Stars