Review: ‘Darkest Night’ by Megan Erickson

36345096Published July 31st 2018
320 pages

Bodyguard Jock Bosh has one job: keep Fiona Madden safe. Safe from the men who’ve been hunting her. Safe from the bastard responsible for ruining her life. And with the attraction sizzling white-hot between them, that means keeping Fiona safe from him too.

Fiona has spent the past decade on the run. Her survival is the single greatest weapon she’s had against the men out to destroy her. Until Jock. Now, with him by her side, she finally has a chance to bring them down. But when her enemies make their next move and Jock puts himself in the line of fire, Fiona realizes that there’s more at stake than just her life-she’s also risking her heart.

Cdawgz reads a M/F book?? It’s a rarity, I’ll admit. But Megan Erickson got me hooked with the first book in this series, Zero Hour, and given who the MCs are in this book I was always going to follow it.

Jock, Jock, Jock. I have a thing for big, bulky men, especially of the quiet and grumpy variety, so I was all about this man. And I so desperately wanted Fiona to get her happy ending after what we found out she went through in the previous book. Jock doesn’t appear to be the best match for Fiona at first, too cold and too distant. But of course he’s actually just a big teddy bear when it comes to her. A deadly one when it comes to anyone who might try to harm her, but Fiona gets that squishy centre to come to the surface and they turn into the perfect fit for each other.

The plot continues on from Zero Hour, full of suspense and intrigue. Zero Hour was probably heavier on the plot, with more action, and Darkest Night has less of that. It’s more about Fiona’s life, how she copes with her trauma and the steady growth of her connection with Jock. The drama certainly picks up at the end, but a lot of it happens in a short space of time rather than being spread over the whole book. Which I really liked, making the two novels different, following the same story without following the same pattern. The drama from this book is resolved in a really satidfying way, but the storyline that runs through the two novels is clearly not over yet, so the next book in the series is going to be just as exciting.

I also have to mention Sundance. I cannot get enough of that dog. I love any dog that appears in the books I read, and Sundance was a special one. A proper character all on his own, he was a star. So Megan gets bonus points for an excellent animal sidekick.

The next book, due in October, is going to focus on Erick. And we’ve now met his love interest. I am so damn excited about it. You can feel the tension building, the team has definitely got some serious chaos heading their way, and something tells me the romance will be just as explosive as the action.

4.5/5 stars

Review: ‘Love Letters’ Series by Anyta Sunday (Books 1 – 3)

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I had to jump at the chance of reviewing the start of this series. Anyta Sunday is great at what she does, and she’d lured me in with the little teasers she’s been sneaking out there. However I did only receive the ARCs of these books yesterday, and my pesky full-time job has prevented me from reading all of them before release. I happily devoured Admiring Ash in a day though, so that review is here and full of glorious praise, and the reviews for the other two will follow once I’ve gobbled them up too!

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Review: ‘Imperial Stout’ by Layla Reyne

39672580Published July 23rd 2018
272 pages

It’s a good thing assistant US attorney Dominic Price co-owns a brewery. He could use a cold one. Nic’s star witness has just been kidnapped, his joint operation with the FBI is in jeopardy, his father’s shady past is catching up with him and the hot new special agent in San Francisco is the kind of distraction best handled with a stiff drink.

Kidnap and rescue expert Cameron Byrne has his own ideas about how to handle Nic, but his skills are currently needed elsewhere. The by-the-book FBI agent goes deep undercover as a member of an infamous heist crew in order to save Nic’s witness, break up the crew and close the case before anyone else gets hurt. Nic in particular.

Things heat up when Cam falls for Nic, and the witness falls for Cam. As the crew’s suspicions grow, Cam must decide how far he’s willing to go—and how far into his own dark past he’s willing to dive—to get everyone out alive.

You guys…this is amazing. I loved the Agents Irish and Whiskey series, and this is just like getting another helping of that. The drama and suspense, the mystery, the romance that almost takes a back seat. But the plot and the romance intertwine wonderfully and it makes it a hard book to put down.

I honestly can’t decide whether I might like Cam and Nic even more than I liked Aidan and Jamie…and that’s really saying something. They’ve both got their baggage that brought them to where they are, but they fit together like a dream. The crime-solving may be the driving force of the story, but I didn’t feel shortchanged when it came to the relationship building between these two. There is an undercurrent of sexual tension running throughout the book which constantly keeps you on your toes without ever getting frustrating. There’s a fine line between the two, and Reyne does an excellent job at keeping on the right side of it.

The case comes to a fairly satisfying close, but the relationship between Cam and Nic is only just getting started. There’s the obvious good and bad guys, whilst leaving clues behind as to what might come to light later on in the series. I’m just so into it. Imperial Stout was thrilling. It was sexy. I’m completely invested in these characters now and I can’t say I’m going to be all that patient in waiting for the next instalment. I’m hooked.

4.5/5 stars

To order:
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Carina: http://bit.ly/2JQWIOF

Giveaway:

Win a signed set of paperbacks from Layla Reyne: Imperial Stout and Blended Whiskey!

Winners in the USA will receive paperback copies of the prizes; winners from outside the contiguous USA, will receive Amazon gift card of equivalent value. Enter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0362/

Review: ‘Tight Quarters’ by Annabeth Albert

Published July 9th 201839675783
336 pages

Petty Officer Bacon, a navy SEAL and ace sharpshooter, has been on the front lines of more than his fair share of dangerous ops. Yet when a minor injury relegates him to the beta team, he’s tasked with what may be his riskiest assignment yet: the silver fox journalist he’s babysitting is the hottest, most charismatic man he’s ever encountered.

Award-winning journalist Spencer Bryant may have been named one of Pride magazine’s most eligible bachelors of the year, but he’s not looking to change his relationship status. He’s a consummate professional who won’t risk his ethics or impeccable reputation by getting involved with a source. Even a sexy-as-hell military man. But while Spencer can resist his physical attraction to Bacon, he has less control over his emotions—especially when the mission goes sideways and the two men are trapped alone.

Getting out of the jungle alive turns out to be easy compared to facing the truth about their feelings for one another back in the real world. And whether or not they can build a future is a different story altogether.

This series just keeps getting better and better. I don’t know how that’s even possible when every single book is a five-star read. I want to give this one 6 stars! If you haven’t read any of the previous books in the series, I urge you to do so. Not because it’s necessary to understand this book, it stands alone perfectly well, but because you’re missing out if you haven’t!

Annabeth’s writing is as flawless as always, and her characters are so easy to fall for. I was already loving Bacon from his brief appearances in past books, but given the space to flesh out his character in his own novel? That man is irresistible. Spencer isn’t the most obvious of partners for him, but damn they make some serious fireworks.

The situational drama is excellent in this instalment, it really does add so much depth to the story to see the characters out in the field and how they respond to life and death situations. It takes the book to a whole new level. There is, of course, relationship drama as well and it was refreshing to find myself understanding both characters’ points of view. Usually I’m shaking my Kindle and calling one of the MCs an idiot, but here I was torn between both sides. In the end it all comes down to believing in a partnership and wanting them to work it out. Needing them to. And there was no denying Bacon and Spencer were destined to make it.

Honestly, I just want to read this over and over again because I could never get enough of Bacon. He earned this book’s high rating all on his own. Now the countdown begins for the next book in this series, because I have no doubt that the trend of them getting better and better will continue.

5/5 stars

Review: ‘Believe’ by Garrett Leigh

40531547Published June 26th 2018
229 pages

Flight paramedic Rhys Foster is hooked on adrenaline. By day it’s blood and guts, by night it’s the thrill of the club. With a different face in his bed most nights, he doesn’t have time to be lonely…right?

Entertainer Jevon Campbell is a play therapist like no other—dancer, magician, acrobat, he brings it all to his global mission to help children in need laugh again. He’s on a rare home visit when he encounters enigmatic Rhys in a London bar.

Their connection is instant, but Rhys fast realises Jevon’s easy confidence doesn’t stretch as far as the bedroom. He has no idea how mesmerising he is—how beautiful—and Rhys resolves to show him.

They grow closer, but time isn’t on their side. Rhys seems unable to articulate how he feels, and with Jevon’s imminent departure from the UK hanging over them, their separate commitments could tear them apart forever.

As the days slip by, Rhys must learn to believe he’s worth the happiness Jevon is offering.

I cannot tell you how excited I was for this book. I mean, I’m always excited for anything by Garrett Leigh, but I fell in love with Rhys in ‘Dream’ and I couldn’t wait for his story. It wasn’t necessarily what I was expecting, but good lord I loved it.

I was a teeny bit apprehensive about this book when I realised it was the one that Garrett had described in her Facebook group back when she first started writing it as a paramedic falling in love with a virgin clown. Because clowns are my biggest phobia. I cannot deal with them at all. So I was scared that this would be the first book by Garrett I wouldn’t be able to read. Thankfully, Jevon isn’t *that* kind of clown!

Back in ‘Dream’, Rhys was this happy-go-lucky life-of-the-party kind of guy. He seemed confident and self-assured, this rock for Dylan and Angelo as they navigated their relationship. But in ‘Believe’, he’s not in the best place. He seems lost, isolating himself and not reaching out to anybody. I ached for him, I so desperately wanted him to find happiness. He deserved to be content and comfortable and loved. And then he meets Jevon.

Now, I went into this book being all about Rhys, but by the end it was Jevon that I’d fallen for. That man. I need one. I wasn’t sure I was going to like him given the whole clown thing, but it turns out he’s an angel. An absolute ray of sunshine. He’s kind and generous, so understanding. He’s a stunning soul. Honestly, I could go on about him for hours. He’s everything Rhys needs and deserves and the universe brings them together and it fills me with such joy.

And these boys have serious chemistry. Jevon may not have a lot of experience, but what he and Rhys have is perfect. I don’t know how Garrett does it, every single time, but she creates two people that are so completely made for each other, without ever falling into stereotypes and cliches. They’re always real people with raw passion, honest connections and good hearts.

Rhys and Jevon were so beautifully fulfilled by the end, coming out of the other side of the drama and trauma Garrett always likes to throw at them strong and steady, supporting each other in a wonderful partnership. This was my favourite book of the series and I cannot wait to see more of all the Skins boys in the future.

5/5 stars

Review: ‘Daniel’ by R. J. Scott

Published June 20th 2018
210 pages

Daniel worked hard at college, using coping strategies to shut himself off from any situation that might hurt. But, persistent nightmares and fears for his future drive him to revisit the past. Now Legacy might be the only place to give him a chance at peace.

After the tragic loss of his parents, Corey is head of the family now, and the welfare of his three younger sisters are what matters the most. Corey is desperate to find Daniel, tell him the truth and somehow convince him to keep secrets. Even if this leads to heartbreak. 

When the world crumbles around Corey, and Daniel is running scared, Legacy ranch is their only hope.

I read the whole Legacy Ranch trilogy in the lead up to this release, but I have yet to read R.J. Scott’s Texas series. It’s been on my TBR list for so long! And although the extra details on characters and events from that series may have given this trilogy a little more depth for me, it certainly stands alone quite comfortably as a series.

The subject matter of this book and its predecessors is a delicate one, definitely one to avoid if you’re triggered by talk of rape and abuse, but R.J. Scott handles everything with such care. It’s very much painful to read at times, every character has a journey to go on, but the rewards will warm you to your core.

What struck me the most about this book, and this series as a whole, is how the romance almost takes a back seat. The most important element of the story is how the man at the centre of it manages to move past their awful history and grow to open up and trust and love. It’s a powerful tale of healing, and the romance these characters find is a demonstration of that. R.J. Scott gives these men a really lovely depth, and unique as they are, the bond between them all is tightly woven.

Daniel’s history is perhaps the most painful of them all. Picked up on the street and forced into a world of disgusting abuse at only 14 years old, and having to live with the vivid memory of that torture years after it ended, he’s a young man in a bad place. He may be at college and trying to make a life for himself, but he’s alone and trapped in the terror of the past, being held back by its power. And when Corey first enters his life, he only makes things more difficult. Both of these men are dealing with trauma, Corey is battling devastating grief, and it takes a lot of time for them to begin to find comfort in each other. But when they do, the gentle passion between them is really quite special.

It follows the pattern of the previous two books, the prospect of love helping Daniel to heal and find a sense of peace. He’s able to put what happened to him to bed, and allow himself to find and accept the joy he deserves. A real heart-wrenching and heart-warming story, and a wonderful end to the series. I think everyone could do with a visit to Legacy Ranch.

4/5 stars

Review: ‘Whisper’ by Garrett Leigh

38482523Published May 1st 2018
258 pages

Lonely physiotherapist Harry Foster has the world at his feet. A full client list, a six figure Instagram following, and a publishing deal for a book he doesn’t have time to write until his agent offers him a break—a retreat to the wild south west coast.

Cornish horseman Joe Carter is lonely too. Rescuing horses and managing Whisper Farm takes up most of his days, and by night he plays chicken with the farm’s perilous bank accounts.

At his sister’s unwelcome suggestion, he rents his only bedroom to a bloke from the city, and when Harry arrives, he’s everything Joe isn’t—calm, patient, and gorgeous enough to be exactly the kind of distraction Joe doesn’t need.

Harry doesn’t have time for distractions either—even shirtless farmers riding bareback past his bedroom window—but his moody host proves impossible to ignore.

On paper, they have nothing in common, but Joe is beautiful…glorious, and when an accident puts his life in Harry’s healing hands, the whisper of true love is inevitable. If the trouble that put the farm on its knees in the first place doesn’t get in the way.

Goddammit, Garrett Leigh. Is there anything this woman can’t do? She kills me every single time. Whisper was packed with everything I’ve come to adore from Garrett, tortured souls finding healing when they discover that person who they were meant to be with. Plenty of angst and darkness, but always remedied with peace and strength and love.

I am a sucker for a story where rescuing animals involved, so this being set on a horse sanctuary is a huge bonus for me. Characters working with animals gets me weak in the knees, and it gave me a real connection to Joe. The strength of that man is unbelievable. He’s battling so many forces working against him and he doesn’t even realise how selflessly he deals with it all. Everything he does is for the farm and for his family. He’s no golden boy, he hasn’t always made the best decisions, but he’s a truly good man. Even if not everybody can see it.

It was Harry that I completely fell for. The kind of man who looks like he could take down an army but he actually wouldn’t hurt a fly. He appears polished and put together, but underneath all of that he carries so many anxieties and insecurities. But he’s this pillar of safety, I just wanted to seek shelter in his arms. No, on the surface he may not seem to have a lot in common with Joe, but they are both inherently good. They love hard, care endlessly, and always put others before themselves. They needed each other, and the universe found a way to bring them together.

This is the kind of book that helps you heal along with the characters. My heart felt so full by the end. It didn’t hurt seeing Dex from Heart, knowing he and Seb are still going strong all these years later. Knowing his horses are still going. There was so much joy to be found in this story, I can’t wait to read it again and again.

5/5 stars