Review: ‘Reverb’ by Anna Zabo

43185688Published May 6th 2019
317 pages

Twisted Wishes bass player Mish Sullivan is a rock goddess—gorgeous, sexy and comfortable in the spotlight. With fame comes unwanted attention, though: a stalker is desperate to get close. Mish can fend for herself, just as she always has. But after an attack lands her in the hospital, the band reacts, sticking her with a bodyguard she doesn’t need or want.

David Altet has an instant connection with Mish. A certified badass, this ex-army martial arts expert can take down a man twice his size. But nothing—not living as a trans man, not his intensive military training—prepared him for the challenge of Mish. Sex with her is a distraction neither of them can afford, yet the hot, kink-filled nights keep coming.

When Mish’s stalker ups his game, David must make a choice—lover or bodyguard. He’d rather have Mish alive than in his bed. But Mish wants David, and no one, especially not a stalker, will force her to give him up.

I was thrilled when I found out that Mish was getting a book! Seeing Ray and Dominic each get their respective HEAs in the first two books of this series was a joy, and it’s only right that we get to see Mish get hers too.

She may be a bad-ass rockstar but someone has it out for her and she needs a professional to watch her back. David is exactly the man for the job. And as much as she resents his presence in the beginning, the chemistry between them is explosive and she soon finds herself pretty damn glad that he’s there. David’s priority is keeping Mish and the rest of the band safe, but it gets harder and harder to do as he falls head over heels for his rock queen. And when he starts to think he’s not the best thing for her or her bandmates he has to make some tough decisions that break him apart.

This is a book full of a lot of intense emotion. Fear and anger, elation and lust. It takes you everywhere. I loved Mish’s strength, the way she stood her ground against the person wanting to tear her down, but also the way she let herself be vulnerable with the people she trusts. I loved how her and David complemented each other, how they let each other be unapologetically themselves. I loved David’s self-assurance, his honesty, his empathy and his genuinely huge heart.

I loved how beautifully queer everybody in this Twisted Wishes family was and how who they were, who they loved, how they identified – none of it ever became bigger than they were. It was never used as a plot point or something that entirely defined anyone, it was just a part of them, the way it always should be.

I also absolutely adored that David, an ex-military man in his 40s, carried a teddy bear with him and didn’t show an ounce of shame about it. I connected with him in a huge way over Marly, the comfort and safety Marly brought him given everything he’s had to combat in his life. And the way Mish accepted it too, the way she understood the importance of it, that really touched me.

There was so much to love, and that overwhelming sense of family and friendship that came through in the earlier instalments of this series really shined in this book. It’s most definitely a series I’ll go back to.

4/5 stars

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

Best of 2017!

bestof

I managed to hit the 300 book mark this year, which is a little bit crazy. A lengthy commute to and from work every day has helped me out in that regard. And reading that many romance novels has made it a struggle to narrow it down into a handy little list, so this isn’t all that short, but that can only be a good thing! This post will be about 2017 releases, I’ll try and get a post up about the pre-2017 releases that I read this year soon, because there’s some seriously incredible books that need a mention. So let’s get into it!

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Review: ‘Bountiful’ by Sarina Bowen

34099086Published October 20th 2017
315 pages

Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.

Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.

Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave No-Last-Name will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.

Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.

Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard won love—are Bountiful.

Sarina Bowen is one of those authors for me that can do no wrong. I’m someone who almost exclusively reads M/M romance, that’s just my jam, but I will always have time for Sarina’s M/F work. Everything she does is so flawlessly written, I’m swept up into the story right from the start and I never want it to end. This book was no exception.

The True North series is one of my ultimate favourites. I’m a country girl at heart, so stories set out in the wilds or in little rural towns are a love of mine, throw in some sexy farmers and I’m sold. But I’m also a sucker for sports romances, so Sarina’s various hockey-themed novels are some of my very favourites as well. In this book both of those worlds collided and I was HOOKED.

I always liked Zara back when we first met her in Bittersweet, and getting to know her here was a treat. She’s such a badass, strong and capable and smart, what a babe. She owns who she is, flaws and all, and you can’t blame Dave for gravitating towards her. Seeing her soften, but retain her fire and tenacity, after having her baby felt so natural and rewarding to witness.

And can we just talk about Dave for a minute, because damn boy. Sarina has a knack for writing incredibly sexy leading men, and Dave is right up there with the best of them. Red-headed hockey man with a killer smile and a cocky attitude, he was delicious. And the way he grew, the depth of love in him, the way he dealt with his past when he learned he had a child…that goddamn man.

I’ve read quite a few books lately that I just haven’t been able to fall in love with, I’ve felt like I had to drag my way through them, so to have one pull me in like ‘Bountiful’ did has been a real pleasure. I don’t have a single criticism, I just want to gush about how amazing it was.

This book obviously has lot of baby talk going on, which isn’t really my thing, I’m hardly a maternal person so it’s not something I look for in my romances. But I didn’t even care, I embraced it. I even liked baby Nicole. I liked seeing Zara kick ass as a single parent, with the help of her extensive support network; Zara’s family were (mostly) great, especially her brother Benito, and of course the Shipley clan were a joy to revisit. I liked seeing Dave cautiously getting to know his daughter, with the hockey boys making cameos to be his support system. And Dave’s sister Bess was a star. I liked bloody everything.

Zara and Dave’s relationship, both with and without Nicole, was intoxicating. They were made for each other. They’re such a strong pair that are perfectly capable of standing on their own, but they’re so much better together. They’ve each had less than ideal upbringings, making them believe a happy family just wouldn’t be on the cards for them, but that steady relationship they need blossoms between them without them even realising. Dave tries to build a secure life for Zara and Nicole before he even knows if he’ll be there for it, not out of guilt or obligation, but because he loves them. It’s bloody beautiful.

This book got me teary in a few places, and that doesn’t happen all that often. It’s just wonderful. These two people, scarred by their childhoods, get what they’ve always thought they could never have. I really didn’t want it to end, and I will most definitely be reading it again.

5/5 stars