My Review of the Blackcreek Series by Riley Hart

The Blackcreek Series by Riley Hart is very heartwarming. It consists of a series of standalone stories, each one about a different gay couple. What I appreciate is that the different couples make an appearance in each book so that we continue to get a glimpse of what is happening in their lives.

18773407Collide, which is the first book, is my favorite. Noah Jameson and Cooper Bradshaw collided mid-air when they dove for the same football as pre-teens.  Life circumstances separate them for several years when Noah and his family move away with no notice. Some years later, Noah returns, and he and Cooper literally collide into each other in a humorous fashion. Only Noah admits to being gay and returning to Blackcreek after a broken relationship. Cooper, who has only had heterosexual relations, learns that he is undeniably attracted to Noah. I enjoyed their developing relationship and found it so sweet. 4 Hearts

18776706Stay is the second book in the series. Wes Jensen just lost the sister and gained custody of his niece. He is fully committed to his responsibility and has no capacity for developing a relationship with his one-night stand from Collide, Braden Roth. Braden wedges himself into their lives by becoming a regular babysitter. Braden is loyal, funny, and a constant. I enjoyed the story. Unfortunately I found the story a little too nice and uneventful. I kept waiting for some major event that never happened. 3 Hearts

I was disappointed with the lack of editing in both books. It was incredibly distracting from the story. Also, the use of “he” made it extremely difficult to which male was talking and whose point of view was being expressed. Right now, I don’t know if I feel motivated to continue the series. Maybe someday.

18697821Katy Evans did it again! Ripped (Real #5) was released this month. I always feel a bit embarrassed at my age to admit that I enjoy this new adult series, but it is just sooo good (although maybe too erotic for YA…?). Honestly, I find the whole Real series entertaining. I love this click of girlfriends and their men.

While being part of a series, Ripped can be read as a standalone. If you want the full context of the characters and their friends, I would recommend reading the stories in order but it is not necessary.

Ripped is a second chance romance between Pandora and her rockstar boyfriend MacKenna. Pandora is Brooke’s gothic friend who was introduced in the first three books. We know nothing about MacKenna before this except that he broke Pandora’s heart. Circumstances bring them together six years later under a scenario I found humorous. It certainty helps to remember what being young felt like and acting impulsively. It also befitted Pandora would be in love with a rockstar that wears colored Mohawks in concert. They make a perfect couple and I could feel their connection.

This had several elements that I enjoy in a book. It made me laugh and cry. I love a sassy heroine. Any amount of angst works for me, and the ending made me CRY! 4 Hearts

Book Review – Trust in Me by Skye Warren

13446362I loved Prisoner and was anxious to read something else written by Skye Warren. I also happen to be a huge fan of dark erotica. Be forewarned that Trust in Me is not for the faint of heart. This is a dark read that continues to get darker as the story continues. There is violence, nonconsensual sexual relations, and human trafficking. If this disturbs you, look for something else from my list.

Mia comes from a sordid background that is unspeakable. I find it sad that she accepts her fate. She has one goal for redeeming herself yet accepts death will probably be the reward for her efforts. “This whole game was dirty, and so was I.”

This is a well written story and is engrossing. I was able to read it in one sitting. Whatever you think of it, you will not be able to put it down so do not start it if you cannot finish.

What disturbs me is that Mia meets Tyler, the hero, at 12 years old. Tyler is older than Mia and is of age for having sex, yet he forms this attachment to Mia enough to search for her 10 years later. This part I struggled the most with. Tyler is definitely not Grayson. In fact, I felt like we barely scratched the surface of getting to know him. I got upset with him in some scenes for putting Mia in dangerous situations. He just wasn’t the Grayson or Caleb that I was looking for.

In the end, I did like the writing. The story had me captivated, and it had a sufficient level of angst to keep me engrossed. I give it…

3 Stars

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