ARC Review: Heart of the Steal by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish

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Author(s): Avon Gale and Roan Parrish
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Format: ARC
Page Length: 296 pages
My Rating: 3 / 5 stars

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Responsible, disciplined William Fox channeled his love for art and his faith in the rules into being an FBI Art Crimes agent. Right and wrong, justice and injustice—the differences are clear, and Will has spent his career drawing a line between them. Maybe his convictions have cost him relationships, but he’s not willing to compromise what he knows is right. Until the night he meets Amory Vaughn.

As the head of his family’s philanthropic foundation, Vaughn knows very well that being rich and powerful can get him almost anything he wants. And when he meets endearingly grumpy and slightly awkward William Fox, he wants him more than he’s wanted anything. Vaughn is used to being desired for his name and his money, but Will doesn’t care about either.

When Vaughn falls back on old habits and attempts to impress Will by stealing a painting Will admires, their nascent bond blows up in his face. But Vaughn isn’t willing to give up on the glimpse of passion he saw the night he took Will apart. Before Will knows it, he’s falling for the man he should have arrested, and Vaughn has to realize that some things can’t be bought or stolen. Love has to be given freely. But can a man who lives by the rules, and a man who thinks the rules don’t apply to him, ever see eye to eye?

Heart of the Steal is a standalone romance with a happy ending. It features a Southern gentleman who thinks he’s always right, a buttoned-up FBI agent who secretly likes his buttons unbuttoned, and wall sex. And desk sex. And picnic blanket sex.

I didn’t know what to expect from this book. It did take me until about 25% to be fully immersed into this book, but when I did, I really liked the story. I have read books from both Avon Gale and Roan Parrish, so as a writing duo, I’m not surprised that I came to like Heart of the Steal.

Will is a black and white kind of guy. He works with the FBI Art Crimes unit and when he attends a function his twin sister, Charlotte, helped coordinate and plan, he meets Amory Vaughn, the well-to-do, rich, fundraiser guy. It soon becomes evident that Vaughn loves skirting the line between what is legal and that makes Will’s job that much harder. Will is attracted to the grey haired, Lucious Malfoy lookalike, but when he might have to arrest Vaughn if he gets caught stealing art worth millions of dollars? That makes Vaughn that much more attractive, and dangerous for Will to get close to.

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ARC Review: Trust with a Chaser (Rainbow Cove #1) by Annabeth Albert

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Author: Annabeth Albert
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Format: ARC
Page Length: 255 pages
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

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One hot cop. One bar owner out for redemption. One smoking-hot summer fling destined to leave scorch marks…

Mason Hanks has returned to Rainbow Cove, Oregon with one goal in mind: turn the struggling coastal community into a thriving LGBTQ tourism destination. Step one is transforming an old bar and grill into a gay-friendly eatery. Step two? Don’t piss off Nash Flint, the very hot, very stern chief of police who’s not so sure he’s on board with Mason’s big plans.

Nash Flint just wants to keep his community safe and enjoy the occasional burger in peace. He’s not big on change nor is he a fan of Mason’s troublemaking family, especially his rowdy older brothers. But Mason slowly wins him over with fantastic cooking and the sort of friendship Nash has been starving for.

When their unlikely friendship takes a turn for the sexy, both men try to steer clear of trouble. Nash believes he’s too set in his ways for Mason, and Mason worries that his family’s reputation will ruin any future with Nash. Burning up the sheets in secret is a surefire way to crash and burn, and discovery forces a heart-wrenching decision—is love worth the risk of losing everything?

Trust with a Chaser is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, a hot law-enforcement hero, opposites attract, plenty of sexy times, and one hard-fought, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.

This book is a classic Annabeth Albert story. The story is cute, the characters are lovable, and it manages to tug at your heartstrings just enough to make you cry. The last book I read by the author was On Point in the Out of Uniform series and that has been my absolute favorite book ever by the author. This book was a slight change of pace since it’s in an entirely new setting and new characters, but it held its own.

Mason Hanks has returned to his small, hometown of Rainbow Cove, Oregon with his two best friends to start a tourist-friendly, LGBTQ welcome restaurant and bar. He has a reputation in Rainbow Cove, but not for anything that he’s ever done, just his family name to weight him down. The Hanks are notorious for getting into trouble with law enforcement, especially his two older brothers, and it’s a reputation that he wants to escape from.

The man who placed his older brother Freddy in prison is Nash Flint, the Police Chief of Rainbow Cove. The last police chief of the town was Nash’s father and this is the only life Nash has ever known. He has his job and his fishing, but that makes up his entire life. His sister has moved to Portland, and his mother with her after their father died, leaving Nash all on his own in a childhood home now too empty. Mason may be out, but Nash certainly isn’t. And in a small town like Rainbow Cove where everyone gossips about everyone else’s business? Nash has no plans on coming out anytime soon. Or ever.

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ARC Review: Chasing Destiny (Silver Tip Pack #2) by Megan Erickson

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Author: Megan Erickson
Publication Date: July 21, 2017
Format: ARC
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

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Some live on memories…

Almost dying during a pack uprising has a way of shaking things up. I’m no longer Mr. Laid Back now that there’s an itch under my skin I can’t scratch.

On a volunteer mission that goes beyond the walls of our compound, we enter the territory of a pack long thought dead, and find ourselves on the business end of their spears.

What I’m not prepared for is what I find within their walls—The one shifter I never thought I’d see alive, the one I’d mourned twice, the one I’d always loved. He is alive, and if I have anything to do with it, he’ll stay that way. But he’s got secrets, and exposing them could lead us to an enemy worse than the bloodthirsty undead shifters wanting to kill us all…

I liked this book a lot. I don’t think it’s a spoiler that the blurb is written from Bay’s POV? Bay is the brother to the Silver Tip pack’s alpha, Dare, who was one of the protagonists in the first book of the series. It’s not entirely necessary to have read book one, Daring Fate, before reading this book, but I would still highly recommend it just for the world-building and understanding the characters mentioned in this book.

At the end of the first book, Bay has been getting restless staying within the Silver Tip walls. He longs to get out, see what more lies beyond the walls, and he takes two Weres with him. His mission is to see what has become of the Whitethroat pack, Dare’s True Mate’s werewolf pack. There have been rumors that the pack didn’t get wiped out 10 years ago, and Bay, Vaughn, and Dal have set out on a journey to discover the truth.

So, it’s kind of obvious after reading book one who the other love interest is in this story, but I’m going to put everything else below the cut, just in case of spoilers!

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Review: Daring Fate (Silver Tip Pack #1) by Megan Erickson

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Author: Megan Erickson
Publication Date: November 14, 2016
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 313 pages
My Rating: 3 / 5 stars

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We all have tragic backstories in today’s world.

I wake up chained to the wall of a dark cell aware of two things: I failed my sister, and I smell my enemy.

When I’m taken to meet Dare, the alpha of the Silver Tip pack, I’m sure I’m about to lose my throat. The last thing I expect is for the Alpha to recognize me as his fated mate. No way is he going to let me go now, and I still have to find a way to rescue my sister.

As I plot my escape to save her, I find that if I leave, Dare could be killed by power-hungry members of his pack. And now he’s more to me than my fated mate—my heart is involved. With time ticking by on my sister’s life, I have to make a choice I never thought I’d face—my sister’s life or my mate’s? That’s if I can survive the undead shifters intent on killing me first…

This was an interesting book. I don’t really read that many shifter books, so it’s fascinating to see what authors manage to create in the worlds they’ve made. I think most of the shifter books I’ve read have been contemporary novels, or set in modern times. This is a…I don’t know. Dystopian/post-apocalyptic with undead/zombie Weres? I actually started reading this book awhile back, shelved it, and then picked it up again when I heard that book two, Chasing Destiny, was coming out soon. I’m really glad I did finish reading this book, because the ending was action-packed.

We first meet Reese, one of the last surviving members of the Whitethroat pack and has been taken captive alongside his brother, Jude, by the Silver Tip pack. Reese has been badly beaten by the pack he and his brother were escaping from and needs time to heal from his wounds. When Reese and the Silver Tip alpha, Dare, meet for the first time, complications arise when they turn out to be True Mates. The wolves have mates, but True Mates are a rarity and being True Mates reveals that it can have both magnificent and deadly implications.

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Review: The King of Bourbon Street (NOLA Nights #1) by Thea de Salle

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Author: Thea de Salle
Publication Date: February 13, 2017
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 304 pages
My Rating: 2 / 5 stars

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Hotel chain mogul Sol DuMont is about to learn that some of life’s biggest surprises come in deceptively small packages—namely a petite heiress named Rain who’s hell-bent on upsetting her family’s expectations—in this first book in the all new series by Thea de Salle, set against the sultry backdrop of New Orleans.

Thirty-seven-year-old Sol DuMont is a divorcee and the owner of a mid-sized hotel chain in New Orleans. Since Hurricane Katrina, his father’s death, and the decision that he and his ex-wife Maddy are far better off friends than lovers, he’s lost interest in almost everything he held dear—parties, people, and pushing limits.

All his limits.

Then Arianna Barrington checks into his hotel.

Twenty-four-year-old Arianna “Rain” Barrington could have been society’s sweetheart. Her family is moneyed, connected press darlings, and make sweeping headlines from coast to coast for reasons both good and bad. But when her mother shoves her at Charles Harwood—the obnoxious, entitled heir of Harwood Corp—to cement a billion-dollar business merger, Rain does the only thing she can think of to escape: she creates a scandal so big Harwood doesn’t want her anymore before fleeing to New Orleans for much-needed rest and relaxation.

All she wants is jazz piano, beignets, and to sail the Mississippi. What she gets is Sol DuMont, a whirlwind affair, and a hands-on education in sex, power play, and pushing limits.

All her limits.

I’m definitely in the minority on this one. *whispers* I really loved the characters in this book, but I’m just not a fan of the writing? I just feel really bad, because it does have good rep and a lot of people loved this book, but it just wasn’t for me. *hides*

This book is about Ariana “Rain” Barrington and Sol DuMont. This is a look into socialite society filled with millionaires. Rain has recently gotten into a scandal over giving a blowjob to the family gardener and with rumors that there’s a sex tape involved, Rain’s mother is not pleased. Rain was planning a getaway trip to LA with her brother Vaughn, but with the paparazzi circling, they take their trip to New Orleans instead. There they meet the owner of the hotel they’re staying at, Sol. And when Sol and Rain meet, there’s an instant connection between the two.

Sol recently signed his divorce papers with Madeline “Maddy” Roussoux. Sol is on good terms with his ex-wife and with his wild sex parties and drug-filled days behind him, he’s ready to move on. His best friend, Cylan, looks after him, but there’s only so much he can do as best friend/accountant/general awesome person for Sol. Sol handled the death of his father badly, but he’s starting over. When he meets Rain, he falls head-over-heels for her.

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Review: Spook Squad (PsyCop #7) by Jordan Castillo Price

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Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Publication Date: August 30, 2013
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 321 pages
My Rating: 3 / 5 stars

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Everyone enjoys peace and tranquility, and Victor Bayne is no exception. He goes to great lengths to maintain a harmonious home with his partner, Jacob. Although the cannery is huge, it’s grown difficult to avoid the elephant in the room…the elephant with the letters FPMP scrawled on its hide.

Once Jacob surrendered his PsyCop badge, he infiltrated the Federal Psychic Monitoring Program. In his typical restrained fashion, he hasn’t been sharing much about what he actually does behind its vigilantly guarded doors. And true to form, Vic hasn’t asked. In fact, he would prefer not to think about the FPMP at all, since he’s owed Director Dreyfuss an exorcism since their private flight to PsyTrain.

While Vic has successfully avoided FPMP entanglement for several months, now his debt has finally come due.

This book was…different. And not a good different either. A lot of the events from the previous books lead up to Spook Squad, but when you’re bingeing these books back-to-back like I’m doing right now, the story and execution feels off from the previous PsyCop books. Maybe I just miss the simpler days? Or maybe Vic’s dependence on drugs and his treatment towards Richie are somehow more pronounced in this story than before? I’m not sure. Unfortunately, this is my least favorite of the PsyCop books and I’ll eagerly await book nine to see what happens next for Vic (book eight, Skin After Skin, is a break from the books and is a story told entirely from Crash’s POV from what I understand).

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Review: GhosTV (PsyCop #6) by Jordan Castillo Price

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Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Publication Date: February 24, 2011
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 379 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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For the past dozen years, Victor Bayne has solved numerous murders by interrogating witnesses only he can see—dead witnesses. But when his best friend Lisa goes missing from the sunny California campus of PsyTrain, the last thing he wants to find there is her spirit.

Disappearing without a trace in a school full of psychics? That’s some trick. But somehow both Lisa and her roommate have vanished into thin air. A group of fanatics called Five Faith has been sniffing around, and Lisa’s email is compromised.

Time is running out, and with no ghosts to cross-examine, Vic can’t afford to turn down any offers of help. An old enemy can provide an innovative way to track Vic’s missing friend, and he enters into an uneasy alliance—even though its ultimate cost will ensnare him in a debt he may never manage to settle.

This was a scary, but fun book. I really should stop reading these books late at night, but that hasn’t happened yet. This book takes place out in California instead of Chicago, and we get to meet a whole new cast of characters out at the PsyTrain location that we haven’t met before. This is also the first time we’ve really gotten a solid Vic and Jacob partnership to solve a “case”. I love seeing the two working together, and we learn so much more about Vic, his abilities, and more about Psychs in general.

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