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, 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, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Review Books, young adult

The Heartbreakers (The Heartbreakers Chronicles, #1) by Ali Novak


The Heartbreakers (The Heartbreakers Chronicles, #1)The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

BLURB: “When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. And he had no idea that I was the only girl in the world who hated his music.”

Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD…for four hours. She’s totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she’ll never see him again.

Except, Stella’s life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?

But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver — dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band — when her sister could be dying of cancer?

This was a cute story about Family, Health and Personal Growth.
Stella, Drew and Cara are triplets who are close and they feel helpless because Cara isn’t winning her battle with non Hodgkin lymphoma.
When Cara’s favorite boy band “The Heartbreakers” were in town, Stella and Drew decided to get her a signed poster from the band. Stella ended up meeting the lead Singer Oliver on her Starbucks run and they didn’t know each other so they flirted with each other.

It started a romance between Stella and Oliver, it also helped Stella deal with her guilt about Cara’s cancer and begin to make plans that didn’t revolve around her sister’s cancer.

I love that the focus was on family, personal growth, the effect of cancer on the remaining family, the guilt, the fear of not being around in case your sick family member needed you etc.
The romance was a sub plot and it was tastefully done. I really liked this story.

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Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Review Books

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid



From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.



I’ve enjoyed the three books by this author that I’ve listened to but this one didn’t work for me.
From the beginning, the author introduced Hannah Martin as this flighty or a bit of a mess young woman trying to find herself. She lacks direction and at first glance, she seemed to lack self worth. She goes “home” to live with her best friend Gabby while she figures out life. Two monumental things change the course of her life…or so we wish to believe.
There is an accident and then there is an accidental occurrence. Hannah goes from being a bit of looser moral lady to turning her nose up.

I didn’t buy it and the author didn’t really develop her character enough to make it plausible. Instead, the author began presenting various endings/paths for the heroine and her predicament. Frankly, it was confusing in audiobook. I would have enjoyed it more if the author committed to one path and developed both the plot and the characters towards that resolution. I think i could have gotten invested in the story if it were more linear like that. It was like one of those chose our own ending boosnthar I despised as a kid, this various paths were giving me whiplash and I just didn’t know what was reality anymore

I also didn’t know how I felt about Ethan since it was Hannah’s POV and I didn’t trust her narrative.

I did believe in her relationship with Gabby was the best part of this story. It was solid, reliable and believable. I enjoyed their unwavering support and loyalty towards each other. There were really more like sisters. Regardless, this story fell short of my expectations.

Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ, New Adult, Review Books

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren


TITLE: Autoboyography
AUTHOR: Christina Lauren
PAGES: 416 (9hrs, 19mins)
NARRATORS: Deacon Lee and Kyle Mason
PUBLISHED: September 12th, 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

BLURB: Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.

I was disappointed. There is so many 5-stars for this book, but it was barely a 3-star for me.

I found Tanner to be a bit self-centered and immature. But he was 18 years old, so that should be par for the course, right? Fine. I will cut him slack. But what I had the biggest gripe about was his lack of empathy for others. His parents went out of their way to make sure he was protected or at least his secret. He knew his best friend had feelings for him but he sort of used her as a cover. Was he really afraid she wouldn’t be his friend if she knew he was bisexual or gay? I don’t believe that at all. She kept his lazy butt on course and also kept people from asking him about his dating life. Even his parent mentioned that Autumn had romantic feelings for him. It’s a good thing his bestie didn’t get pregnant. I don’t think he really gave a really deep consideration to what he put her through.

On the other hand, I thought Sebastian’s indecision felt real and was similar to what my Uncle had to consider coming from a deeply religious family. For him, the label of bisexual or gay meant a loss of identity, loss of his parents love, loss of the church community which held him in esteemed and possible loss of his salvation. That’s a lot and Tanner never seemed to get that pain and respect the process of coming to terms of what loving another man cost Sebastian (at least in Sebastian’s thoughts).

I admit it irked me that others were putting creative works of writing and Tanner basically wrote about kissing, hiking etc. He had a diary while others were creating a world of fiction. That was only added to my side eye of Tanner.
I do give him super props for continuing with his plan to college and not letting heartache deter him from trying to live his best life. That showed inner resolve and also respect for the man he loved, that he let him go to figure himself out.

This book would have been much better if the author did a dual PV throughout the whole book. I wouldn’t have minded being in Autumn’s head as well. Those two characters were compelling to me because they are they ones who were struggling with what was versus what they wanted to be. I liked their journey and it felt more authentic than Tanner who seemed to just enough to skate by.

Audiobook, Paranormal Romance, Review Books, Urban Fantasy

Review: Sin & Chocolate (Demigods of San Francisco #1


www.goodreads.com/book/show/43530043-sin-chocolate

<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43530043-sin-chocolate&#8221; style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img border=”0″ alt=”Sin & Chocolate (Demigods of San Francisco #1)” src=”https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1547136734m/43530043.jpg&#8221; /></a><a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43530043-sin-chocolate”>Sin & Chocolate</a> by <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7010202.K_F_Breene”>K.F. Breene</a><br/>

My rating: <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2686529961″>4 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />

This book was a welcomed surprise because its is t feel like the same old same old. Sure it had shifters, but the characters felt new, the plot was different and that was enough to keep me engaged.<br /><br />Alexis was a young woman caring for two foster kids, Daisy and Mordecai, when she almost got run over by Kieran, a demigod. Lexie was busy trying to find a blanket as well as earn a living to take care of her wards. Mordecai was sick and Daisy was just a smart mouth teenager. <br />In this book, there was tiers of power depending upon your magical gift. Alexis was thought to be the lowest level of magic and Kieran was the highest. But Kieran senses that Alexis was hissing something and thus he felt compelled to find out what.<br /><br />I enjoyed the interactions between Lexie and Daisy and Mordecai. They were more siblings than parent/kid. There was love and fierce loyalty. Kieran wasn’t a bad guy but his goals to help hi mom and himself were his main objective, so protecting Lexie and the kids wasn’t his first priority. For that, I couldn’t trust him completely. I hope in book 2 we see him in a better light.

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