Blogger Themes, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review Books, Romantic Suspense

Charlie (Cultivated #1) by Elin Peer


Charlie (Cultivated #1)Charlie by Elin Peer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BLURB: Charles, the reserved, mysterious, and unattainable guy I had a major crush on in college, got tangled up with the wrong crowd. Being the heir to one of the largest business dynasties in the US made Charles a target for the narcissistic and cunning cult leader O’Brien. Now, I’m flying to Dublin to get him out. “

With degrees in both anthropology and psychology, twenty-seven-year-old Liv is convinced that she can resist being sucked into Conor O’Brien’s cult. But it’s been years since she and Charles last met; will he even remember her and will he trust her?

Charles and Liv are about to learn just how dangerous it is to go up against a possessive psychopath like Conor O’Brien.

Charlie is the first installment in Elin Peer’s contemporary romance series Cultivated, which offers suspense and drama. Like all her books, this one has a fast pace, lots of great dialogue, and it leaves you wanting more.


A fascinating story and masterful storytelling. This story had it all: action, suspense, intrigue, romance and redemption. What I love about Elin Peer’s stories is that I always feel I was treated to a story unlike the routine and cliche tropes that are so abundant in the romance genre. In this particular novel, we are treated to an insider look into the intense fear of family members when their loved ones are caught in the snare of a cult.

Charlotte Christensen aka Liv or Charlie met Charles Robertson at a coffee shop by accident. At the time they were both going by the nickname “Charlie”. There was a spark there, but nothing serious materialized from their college flirting. Five years later, Liv was contacted by Charles’ grandfather who wants a friend to help rescue Charles from a cult that was siphoning off his inheritance. This opportunity gave Liv another chance to reconnect with Charles, but he wasn’t the man she remembered. To save Charles, Liv had outmaneuver a sociopath a cult leader with Charles’ love and life as the prize.

I don’t know much about cult except what we see on the news but my nerves were jarred. I enjoyed the glimpse into a cult’s intricate layering in order to brainwashing people of various intelligence. It was a lesson on how masterminds sense esteem issues and use it to their advantage while gaining their absolute dedication and loyalty. It was a gently reminder that even the smartest person has vulnerabilities that can be exploited by devious people.

My favorite part of the story was Liv and Charles reconnecting. It felt like young love all over again and it added some pleasure and levity to this heavy situation. Liv and Charles were really nice individuals and they made a sweet couple. I was completely absorbed into this struggle for Charles. The author skillfully weaved an engrossing tale. What an excellent beginning to a new series.

*Thank you to the author for the advanced reading copy. My opinions of the book are solely my own.

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Fiction, romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense & Thriller

Lethal Force (Brute Force, Book 3) by Lora Leigh


Lethal Nights (Brute Force, #3)Lethal Nights by Lora Leigh

BLURB:

1 bestselling author Lora Leigh turns up the heat in her latest novel of high-stakes passion and persuasion featuring the men of Brute Force. 

Ilya Dragonovich is no stranger to the dark side. As a safe-house owner for security agency Brute Force, Dragon knows that the battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man—and, sometimes, a beautiful woman…

Emma Jane Preston needs help. After her marriage crumbled, she believed she could get back to a normal, happy life. But now she needs the kind of protection that comes at a cost—one that only someone like Dragon can provide. But can Emma Jane trust this handsome, undercover operator to keep her safe when she is in danger of falling into the arms of the deeply seductive, fiery Dragon. . .and never letting go?

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this story. Ilya Dragonovich and Emma Jane Preston had skirted around their attraction for different reasons. Ilya was a dangerous man and the heir to the Dragonovich family that wielded mafia power in Romania and Emma Jane was just getting out of a marriage.

When someone threatened EJ’s life, Ilya knew it was time to claim her as his own and under his protection. But the person after her was a mystery, and that was not going to fly with the Dragon heir.

I really liked Emma Jane’s independence, loyalty and inner strength. She clearly loved Ilya but she also had a clear sense of what’s right, and she also stood up for herself against her protective family. The mystery stalker wasn’t really much of a mystery although the motive was a surprise. I enjoyed their reliance on each other for comfort and love. I also see that Emma Jane was strong enough for a boss like Ilya.
The almost mythical characteristics of the dragon tattoo gave the story a supernatural feel that gave the stories Romanian family some mystique.

I had hoped for more information on EJ’s culpability with her accident as well as his mother’s motive. Maybe in the next books, we can get a resolution on those issues. But i should are looking for a book that has a mafia like presence without being overwhelming in the violence, then this romance book is for you!

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Audiobook, Blogger Themes, Fiction, Review Books, romance

Forbidden Letters (Men of The North, Book 0.5) by Elin Peer


Forbidden Letters (Men of the North #0.5)Forbidden Letters by Elin Peer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BLURB: “Few dared live as close to the border as us. Not even the long-standing peace treaty between our two nations could make people forget how the savage Men of the North used to hunt down and kidnap women here.” 

If only Devina hadn’t been so damned curious by nature, she would have never picked up that letter thrown across the Northern wall. Now, she is horrified to see that it’s from a teenage girl who is only weeks away from being auctioned off in a bridal tournament. With no time to waste, Devina is determined to help the girl escape, even if it means putting herself in danger.

THOUGHTS: I’m amazed that with so many books in this series, author Elin Peer continues to deliver high quality story-telling, complete with a well developed plot, fleshed out characters and an emotional appealing romance. I am in awe and I’m just speechless.

Forbidden Letters is a prequel in the Men of North Series. It gave us some background into the continual breakdown of relations between the Mothlanders and Nman due to some prejudices due to the war. What a subtle commentary on societal prejudices and stereotypes, but written without a heavy-handed dose of opinion. I didn’t feel like it was preachy at all.

Devina and Tyton are one of my favorite couples in this series. They were both brave and flexible despite their societal views at that time. Tyton reminded me of Alexander Boulder, Christina’s husband, because he was protective without being overbearing or aggressively alpha. But he really worked and sacrificed to have relationship with Devina who lived in the other side of the wall. Devina reminded me of Christina for similar reasons.

Tyton’s Family was exactly what Devina needed and I love their journey to love as it was full of twist and turns. The story flowed so well, the pacing was perfect and the story left me feeling really happy at the end. The unfortunate thing was the society was even more fractured by their quest to be together.

I recommend that readers DON’T start with this one. I believe I enjoyed it more having read the other stories in order first. But you won’t be disappointed with this series. It’s entertaining and humorous and has an HEA in every book.

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Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Review Books

The Studying Hours (How to Date a Douchebag #1) by Sara Ney


The Studying Hours by Sara Ney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blurb:

CRUDE. ARROGANT. A**HOLE.
No doubt about it, Sebastian ‘Oz’ Osborne is the university’s most celebrated student athlete—and possibly the biggest douchebag. A walking, talking cliché, he has a filthy mouth, a fantastic body, and doesn’t give a sh*t about what you or anyone else thinks.

SMART. CLASSY. CONSERVATIVE.
Make no mistake, Jameson Clarke may be the university’s most diligent student—but she is no prude. Spending most of her time in the hallowed halls of the library, James is wary of pervs, jocks, and douchebags—and Oz Osborne is all three. She’s smart, sarcastic—and not what he expected.

…EVERY DOUCHEBAG HAS HIS WEAKNESS.
He wants to be friends. He wants to spend time with her. He wants to drive her crazy.
He want Her.

I chuckled through this audiobook.The narrators did a great job with their verbal sparing. I really enjoyed their work with this story. I admit that I always roll my eyes at most of the new adult books featuring college jocks because they can be such pigs. Sebastian Osborne “Oz” was certainly a class A douchebag. I was proud of Jameson Clarke didn’t let his handsome face and school popularity cloud her judgment when Oz came flirting at the library.

This book was very cheeky, but really drove home the fact that people value friendships/relationships when they are held to a higher standard. Jameson knew what she wanted and made Oz earn her friendship before more ever developed between them. It’s clear that Oz and his teammates had low opinions of the girls they hooked up with, since they had unflattering names they gave those girls. I really liked the pace of the story, the development of the plot and I grew to enjoy both characters equally.

I have never read this author before but this is a series I would definitely continue.

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Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Review Books

Fighting for Flight (Fighting #1) by J.B. Salsbury


Fighting for Flight by J.B. Salsbury
My rating: ❤️❤️❤️½
Narrator: Ryan West and Erin Mallon

BLURB: What happens when in order to win, you’re forced to lose?

The only daughter of an infamous Las Vegas pimp, Raven Morretti grew up an outsider. Liberated from the neglectful home of her prostitute mother, she finds solace as a mechanic. With few friends, she’s content with the simple life. Flying under the radar is all she knows, and more than she expects.

Until she catches the eye of local celebrity, UFL playboy Jonah Slade.

Weeks away from his title fight, Jonah is determined to stay focused on everything he’s trained so hard to achieve. Undefeated in the octagon, he’s at the height of his career. But resisting Raven’s effortless allure and uncomplicated nature is a fight he can’t win.

Jonah trades in his bad-boy reputation and puts his heart on the line. But when her father contacts her, setting in motion the ugly truth of her destiny, Jonah must choose. In a high-stakes gamble where love and freedom hang in the balance, a war is waged where the price of losing is a fate worse than death.

Will the hotheaded Jonah be able to restrain his inner fighter to save the woman he loves? Or will Raven be forced into a life she’s been desperate to avoid?


I enjoy this story and will certainly listen to the next book. The main characters were very likable. It was sweet but it lacked a little depth and complexity. I also had to adjust to the narrator’s voice as it was whiny for adult woman.

Raven Moretti was a loner who worked as a mechanic who lived above the garage where she worked. Raven had no meaningful relation with her parents as her father was a feared Las Vegas pimp and her mother was one of his prized hookers. Neither seemed to have much need for familial ties and while her mother raised her, Raven never really felt loved growing up.

When one of the hottest MMA fighters, Jonah Slade “The Assassin”, came to Raven’s garage to get help restoring an antique car, it was an instantaneous attraction.
Raven was a naive virgin who radiated goodness. She was kind and had alley cat she named Dog. Whereas Jonah was a notorious playboy who didn’t bed the same woman twice. That day, he insisted Raven move in his home with him and they became an item. Then the past comes to claim Raven’s future with Jonah.

The story was sweet but painfully predictable. I don’t think its necessary to make a 20 year old loner into a naive, clueless woman. It’s more probable that a daughter of a Las Vegas prostitute and pimp would be street saavy, distrustful or at least cautious and less emotional. But Raven was the opposition. She was disappointingly gullible and helpless. Jonah also went from being a manwhore overnight to wanting to cuddle a virgin he just met with no expectations. It did provide some sweetness to the harsh reality of her father’s cruel plans for her.

Her father Vincent Moretti was a ruthless and sadistic piece of work who clearly lacked a moral bone in his body. The author didn’t really do a good job of developing the antagonist other than just introducing him as the monster of this book. His callous indifference was in direct contrast to the good-heartedness Jonah’s family and the others around couple showed Raven and Jonah. Overall, it was a satisfying read.


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Audiobook, Dragon Shifter, Paranormal Romance, Review Books, Urban Fantasy

Minimum Wage Magic (DFZ #1) by Rachel Aaron


Minimum Wage Magic (DFZ #1)Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blurb: The DFZ, the metropolis formerly known as Detroit, is the world’s most magical city with a population of nine million and zero public safety laws. That’s a lot of mages, cybernetically enhanced chrome heads, and mythical beasties who die, get into debt, and otherwise fail to pay their rent. When they can’t pay their bills, their stuff gets sold to the highest bidder to cover the tab.

That’s when they call me. My name is Opal Yong-ae, and I’m a Cleaner: a freelance mage with an art history degree who’s employed by the DFZ to sort through the mountains of magical junk people leave behind. It’s not a pretty job, or a safe one—there’s a reason I wear bite-proof gloves—but when you’re deep in debt in a lawless city where gods are real, dragons are traffic hazards, and buildings move around on their own, you don’t get to be picky about where your money comes from. You just have to make it work, even when the only thing of value in your latest repossessed apartment is the dead body of the mage who used to live there.

I really liked this spinoff although it felt like a whole new series.
Opal Young-Ae is a cleaner who is trying to survive and maintain her independence by paying her bills on time. Opal stumbled on to a house with a dead man, but his notes indicated that he died protecting a valuable secret.

While it’s set in the DFZ, we don’t get a major crossover with The Heartstriker clan although there was a mention of the dragon who protected the City. Opal lays a foundation for her own journey towards freedom from parental interference just like Julius and she also makes a key ally with another cleaner Nick. I like the subtle attraction the author intimated with Nick and Opal so I look forward to some romance in book 2.

If you loved Heartstriker series, then you will love this one as well because the creative storytelling and plot is the same. The characters are likeable and you want to root for them. Rachel Aaron is quickly becomes an autobuy author for me.
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Audiobook, Paranormal Romance, Review Books

Accidental Sire by Molly Harper (Half-Moon Hollow #6)


TITLE: Accidental Sire
AUTHOR: Molly Harper
SERIES: (Half-Moon Hollow #6)
TIME: 9hrs, 8 mins

BLURB: In Molly Harper’s newest paranormal romantic comedy, Ben, Gigi’s old boyfriend, must find a way to save his new love after a freak Ultimate Frisbee accident. But will she want to live after she finds out how Ben had to save her?

In this exciting addition to Molly Harper’s beloved Half-Moon Hollow series, the focus is on Gigi’s ex-boyfriend Ben. When his new girlfriend is killed in a freak Ultimate Frisbee accident, he’s determined to save her, no matter the cost, even if it means bringing her into the darkness of vampire life!


I was bored, okay? Just bored. This is supposed to be a series that I could chuckled though and lift my mood. I loved book 1 in this series and laughed my way through the first 3 books. But it has been a steady decline since then. I used to enjoy the humor and snark but it hasn’t been the same.

This book features Ben (Gigi’s ex whom she dumped when he proposed to her in book 3) and a fellow college student Meagan who seemed to have a secret crush on each other.
At a school mixer, Meagan was nearly killed in a terrible accident and had to be turned to save her life. When Ben went to visit her, she accidentally turned him since she was a thirsty newborn.
This book was their journey as they struggled to accept their new “undead” reality and process their relationship now.

I didn’t feel the chemistry between Meagan and Ben. I found Jane Jameson annoying as usual. The story was just slow. The narrator was still excellent but this story wasn’t engaging or interesting. This installment was a miss for me.