My Review of Absolution

Absolution
Absolution

I found Absolution by Amanda Dick to be emotional and intense. This is a story about pain, guilt, moving forward, and seeking absolution. I connected with the characters. It was told well, and I appreciated seeing each character grow in emotional maturity. Ally, the heroine of the story, becomes disabled, and I FEEL her struggles and her ability to overcome them.

At times the action moved slow for me, but I never considered abandoning it. I loved the plot and I was drawn into the story. There was a sufficient amount of angst and suspense for my liking.

This is not a romance to me; the romance is really a small part. I kept waiting for the passion and heat to start, and it didn’t. I also found the characters drinking an excessive amount of coffee; there was always a pot brewing!

Overall, this was an inspirational story with strong characters. 4 Hearts

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.

Within These WallsWithin These Walls has struck within my heart! This is an incredibly heartwarming story by J. L. Berg that I will not soon forget. Lailah Buchanan suffers from congestive heart failure. Her condition and her mother’s anxiety have literally kept her confined between home and hospital. Jude Cavanaugh suffers a devastating loss that has his path crossing with Lailah’s at the same hospital. The two find hope in each other and a bond too strong to be denied.

J. L. Berg does a great job describing Lailah’s emotional and physical confinement. To be physical challenged is to understand Lailah’s concern with her parent’s anxiety and her desire to “break free”.

My mother had been here every day, and her company meant the world to me, but the desire and need to interact with someone my own age was overwhelming. I just wanted someone who hadn’t helped me go to the bathroom or didn’t watch my every move with anxiety, afraid my next breath might land me back in the hospital…

Do you know what it’s like to be taken care of like a child when you’re a grown adult? It’s maddening.”

The type of challenges faced by Lailah are evidenced by the following:

Longevity wasn’t a guarantee for me. It was a reality I had come to terms with long ago, far younger than any person should, but it was my reality and mine alone.

Her physical limitation keeps her innocent at a level others would not understand, making a relationship with Jude an emotional challenge:

Each time he had come into my room, I’d wanted to talk to him—ask him something, anything—just to hear him speak again, but I’d never really spoken to people my age.

Her limitations, experience and prognosis have her hesitant to enter a relationship with Jude:

Even if in some alternate universe, he could possibly see me as someone more than a patient, I couldn’t go down that road—ever. My life was too stressful and emotionally turbulent to share with someone else. Asking someone to step into my world would be like asking him to sign away his own life to take care of mine. I could never do that.

In the end, she puts aside her fears and falls in love with Jude. Their relationship is strong and endearing. At every page, I was expecting a setback where Jude decided that Lailah’s prognosis was not worth the emotional investment into someone else that he might lose, and he didn’t. The strength he showed in the relationship made this a true romance for me in every sense. I wish I could find my own Jude to be on my side.

This is a standalone novel. It probably should be classified as new adult, but there are some adult situations that lead me to label it more as contemporary.

I rate this 5 Hearts!

Jacked (Tina Reber)
Jacked (Tina Reber)

A new story from Tina Reber – finally! It feels like we have been waiting forever. I am a huge fan of her Love Series, and Ryan Christensen is one of my favorite all-time book boyfriends – right up there with Christian Grey, Kellen Kyle and Gideon Cross. This is why it pains me to say that Jacked just didn’t do it for me.

Adam, a member of the auto theft task force, meets ER doctor Erin on a false arrest. Both come from personal tragedies and form an immediate bond. I really liked the storyline potential, and I thought there was good chemistry between the characters. It’s obvious that Tina Reber did the necessary police force and Shibari research to write in detail. I loved the hospital room scene towards the end!

Unfortunately, the beginning moved much too slow for me. The characters had some rather graphic thoughts about each other, yet didn’t kiss until about 29% into the story. The second half finally had all of the action and depth that I was looking for from the beginning. It seemed odd to me that Erin put her new relationship and job before dealing with a family crisis. I also don’t know if the art of Shibari added to the story or if it was thrown in as part of FSOG fashion. Lastly, I am getting a little bored with alpha males coming across like cavemen and speaking with incomplete sentences.

Jacked is part of a series about each of the Trent brothers. It can definitely be read as a standalone. I did like the lead into Jason Trent’s story Amped and plan to keep it on my TBR list, despite rating Jacked 3.5 Hearts.

I am lite22474626rally swooning! This next installment of the Hacker series, Hard Limit, by Meredith Wild was released this month and worth the wait. Seriously, could we be any more in love with BBF Blake Landon?!

The Hacker series has been ranked right up there with FSOG. My first love is still Christian. However, there is no denying the pull of this series. Given that I also work in IT as part of my real life, I can relate more to the characters and angst.

This installment does feel like a filler in this series, in line with Captivated by You. This is focused more on the romance than the suspense. However, the relationship between Erica and Blake is that much more solidified and enthralling. There continues to be external threats to their relationship. I might have expected a little more than what we received, e.g. Erica’s relationship with her father and Sophia posing a larger threat than she turned out to be –  although who knows what will happen in the next book!

The writing is fantastic, as we have come to expect from Meredith Wild. The connections between characters are solid. It has a swoon worthy conclusion. I anxiously await the next book! 4 Hearts

Wow! Finished the Hot and Steamy Take (Temptation #2)

OMG, 5 Hearts! I strongly advise reading Try and Take from the Ella Frank’s Temptation series keeping a fan nearby. I have read a few M/M stories, and this is by far my favorite. Be forewarned that it is steamy and descriptive and difficult to put down. This is a series about Logan Mitchell and Tate Morrison. Logan is a hotshot lawyer and playboy; he came off of a bad relationship determined to never get attached again and plays both sides. Tate is the new bartender at the nightclub that Logan frequents. There is an instant attraction on the part of both men. Only Tate is currently going through divorce proceedings from his wife.

In Try (Temptation #1), we see Logan’s gradual seduction of Tate. Tate tries to understand his attraction to this particular man while struggling with family values and a Catholic upbringing.

In Take (Temptation #2), we see Logan and Tate come to accept their need for each other. Their relationship deepens emotionally and intensifies sexually (if that’s possible! – just look at the awesome cover!). For me, Take was perfect. I loved the banter between Logan and Tate similar to Beautiful Bastard. I got teary eyed as they struggled to identify where and how  they were comfortable being a couple in public and among friends. I was as surprised at the reaction of Tate’s family as Tate himself was. Somehow I expected an easier transition than Logan experienced.

There is obviously a third book coming for this series. While I will be very happy to see the story continue because I find this couple entertaining, I sort of expected a cliffhanger that didn’t happen with Logan’s ex. I feel like there is more to tell there, and maybe there will be.

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Finished reading On My Knees by Meredith Wild

As I anxiously await the 4th installment of the Hacker series to be released on Dec 9, I was curious to fill my time with more writing by Meredith Wild. On My Knees is the first of the Bridge series. Each can be read as a standalone, as each is a tale of one of the Bridge siblings.

The 20263223story is told from his and her alternating views, which I love and admire as a writing ability. Cameron Bridge and Maya Jacobs fell in love during college. After Maya turns down Cameron’s marriage proposal, there is a period of years separation before Maya and Cam wind up living and working in the same city. The couple work towards building a new friendship while facing their personal demons, hoping to find the relationship that they once had.

The writing of Meredith Wild is beautiful. She weaves an interesting story, and I was pulled in. As much as I loved Cam, this is definitely not the Hacker series which has more storyline and stronger characters. It is entertaining, and a length that is good to the story. At times I was more concerned about Maya’s drinking problem than I was about her rekindling her relationship. She seemed to have a real problem that was too easily cured with a good man. Her naivety was a little unbelievable for me as far as her working relationships and the situation she finds herself in.

All in all, this was enjoyable and served as a nice romantic getaway over the Thanksgiving weekend. 3 Hearts