Review: Enemies With Benefits: A Prologue (Enemies With Benefits #0.5) by Joanna Chambers and Annika Martin

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Author(s): Joanna Chambers and Annika Martin
Publication Date: April 23, 2017
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 60 pages
My Rating: 2 / 5 stars

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SUMMARY

They’re dangerous men. Absolute enemies. And totally hot for each other.

Two years ago, the men in Will’s unit were killed in an ambush because they were betrayed. Now Will has a chance to go after the corrupt billionaire who sold them out.
One problem: the billionaire’s bodyguard. Nobody knows what he looks like; they only know him by the trail of bodies he leaves behind.

Will their passion destroy them both?

Kit’s a hardened assassin who’ll do what it takes to protect his boss. But when Will moves on the billionaire at an elite party, things with Will and Kit take an unexpected—steamy—twist.
Now Kit has to convince Will to walk away–from his quest for justice, and from the red-hot passion that’s spinning out of control.

I know this is intended as a short short to introduce the characters in the full-length novel that’s being published next month, Enemies Like You. Even as far as shorts go, I can see the potential for the main story, but I’m just not really feeling the connection between Will and Kit. The way we’re introduced to Kit is confusing and I hope that more is explained in the novel of how he got his job as a Russian billionaire’s bodyguard.

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ARC Review: Haven (Beards & Bondage #1) by Rebekah Weatherspoon

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Author: Rebekah Weatherspoon
Publication Date: April 25, 2016
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 228 pages
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

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SUMMARY

A week-long getaway…

City girl Claudia Cade’s carefree life is plunged into chaos when a camping trip with her brother in the national forests of Northern California turns into a deadly dash for her survival.

A solitary world turned upside down…

Nature photographer Shepard Olsen has resigned himself to a quiet existence, with only his dog by his side, until a woman in need of his protection shows up on his doorstep and throws his universe into disarray.

Two lives linked by tragedy…

Claudia is desperate to heal from her traumatic loss, but can’t stop thinking about her run-in with evil….or the grizzled mountain man whose quick thinking and good aim saved her life. When she shows up on Shep’s doorstep again, she finds she isn’t the only one who can’t move on.

…saved by bliss.

The two begin an intense, passionate relationship of Dominance and submission, pleasure and pain, but with dark memories haunting them and decisions about the future rapidly approaching, Claudia can’t help but wonder…how long can they be each other’s haven?

Can you say steaming hot? I didn’t really know what to think of this book at first. Just that this had come highly recommend by a lot of people I follow on Twitter. This story starts out right in the action. It’s kind of confusing at first, but pretty quickly, we meet Claudia, a girl screaming and stumbling out of the woods surrounding Shep’s home, with a man chasing after her. What happens next changes, and links their lives together forever.

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ARC Review: Thaw (Seasons of Love #2) by Elyse Springer

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Author: Elyse Springer
Publication Date: April 24, 2017
Format: ARC
Page Length: 226 pages
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

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SUMMARY

Abigail is content with her quiet life as a librarian. But when she’s invited to a high-profile charity auction, she finds herself dancing with one of the most beautiful women she’s ever met. Abby’s sure she’ll never see her again, but then Gabrielle calls and asks her on a date. And soon after, another.

Supermodel Gabrielle Levesque has a reputation as the Ice Queen—cold and untouchable—except she warms up whenever she’s with Abby. Only Abby isn’t interested in the heat between them; she’s asexual, and she’s worried that admitting as much to Gabrielle might spell the end of their blooming romance.

They’re two different women from two very different worlds, but Abby knows she can love Gabrielle. Her passion for books, travel, and theater prove there’s more to the Ice Queen than meets the eye. But they’ll have to overcome Abby’s fears—and Gabrielle’s own threatening secrets—in order to find their way to love.

This is a super cute book. The first book in this Seasons of Love universe, Whiteout, was kind of an intense read because you just didn’t know which way the story was going to go. But, Thaw, is a more straightforward story about a librarian and a supermodel. Sadly, I really don’t read enough f/f books, but I really enjoyed reading this book. (So, if anyone has some f/f recommendations, leave a comment below!)

Abigail, or Abby, is an introverted librarian who gets invited by a friend to a charity auction has his plus one. It’s much more glitzy and glamorous than something Abby is usually used to, but while there, she meets Gabrielle, a supermodel who asks her to a dance. It’s obvious from the beginning that Gabrielle doesn’t get along well with her manager, but not quite why that’s the case. At first, she seems standoffish, cold. It’s earned her a nickname of the “Ice Queen” through the acting and modeling circles. Gabrielle seems to keep everyone at a distance, but Abby seems to see through that icy shield Gabrielle puts up, and a blossoming relationship starts to form.

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Review: Absolution (The Protectors #1) by Sloane Kennedy

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Author: Sloane Kennedy
Publication Date: April 1, 2016
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 356 pages
My Rating: 3 / 5 stars

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SUMMARY

After four years abroad, artist Jonas Davenport has come home to start building his dream of owning his own art studio and gallery. But just as he’s ready to put the darkness of his past behind him forever, it comes roaring back with a vengeance.

The only thing keeping ex-cop Mace Calhoun from eating his own gun after an unthinkable loss is his role in an underground syndicate that seeks to get justice for the innocent by taking the lives of the guilty. Ending the life of the young artist who committed unspeakable crimes against the most vulnerable of victims should have been the easiest thing in the world. So why can’t he bring himself to pull the trigger?

After years of fighting in an endless, soul-sucking war, Navy SEAL Cole Bridgerton has come home to fight another battle – dealing with the discovery that the younger sister who ran away from home eight years earlier is lost to him forever. He needs answers and the only person who can give them to him is a young man struggling to put his life back together. But he never expected to feel something more for the haunted artist.

Cole and Mace. One lives by the rules, the other makes his own. One seeks justice through the law while the other seeks it with his gun. Two men, one light, one dark, will find themselves and each other when they’re forced to stand side by side to protect Jonas from an unseen evil that will stop at nothing to silence the young artist forever.

But each man’s scars run deep and even the strength of three may not be enough to save them…

Note: This book contains M/M/M sexual content and is intended for mature audiences.

Trigger Warning : This book contains references to childhood sexual abuse.

This book was intense. I kind of suspected it from the blurb, but somehow this was a lot more…fraught with danger than I thought it was going to be? For the most part, I feel like I liked the story as a whole. I’ll definitely read the next book, but the relationship here all start off from a not-so-great-place that bothers me, which is why I’m only rating this book three stars.

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Review: Ashwin (Gideon’s Riders #1) by Kit Rocha

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Author: Kit Rocha
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 266 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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SUMMARY

Lieutenant Ashwin Malhotra is a Makhai soldier–genetically engineered to be cold, ruthless. Unfeeling. His commanding officers consider him the perfect operative, and they’re right. Now, he has a simple mission: to infiltrate Gideon’s Riders, the infamous sect of holy warriors that protects the people of Sector One.

He’s never failed to execute an objective, but there’s one thing he didn’t anticipate–running into Dr. Kora Bellamy, the only woman to ever break through his icy exterior.

When Kora fled her life as a military doctor for the Makhai Project, all she wanted was peace–a quiet life where she could heal the sick and injured. The royal Rios family welcomed her like a sister, but she could never forget Ashwin. His sudden reappearance is a second chance–if she can manage to touch his heart.

When the simmering tension between them finally ignites, Kora doesn’t realize she’s playing with fire. Because she’s not just falling in love with a man who may not be able to love her back. Ashwin has too many secrets–and one of them could destroy her.

Ashwin is a new story in in a spin-off from the Beyond series! The Gideon’s Riders series takes place a month after the epilogue in Beyond Surrender. While, yes, this series is something new readers can pick up with, I don’t think I would recommend doing so. I would highly recommend reading the Beyond series first to get the full scope of Ashwin and Kora’s relationship. There’s a lot of moments where their interactions are mentioned from the Beyond series, and I think readers will just be missing out on the build-up to this book without having read the other series first.

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Review: Beyond Surrender (Beyond #9) by Kit Rocha

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Author: Kit Rocha
Publication Date: December 13, 2016
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 279 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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SUMMARY

She’s the heart of O’Kane liquor.

He’s the brains of the revolution.

They’re facing a war that could end their world. Again.

On December 13th, the Beyond series comes to its climactic conclusion with Nessa and Ryder’s story–and the final battle between the sectors and Eden.

This battle couldn’t be fought clean and easy, boldly facing their enemy on level ground. It would be rough and it would be dirty. It was the only way to win.

It’s inevitable that if you binge a series, that the last book has a lot to live up to. There are an entire cast of characters to tie-in together, the finale has to be grand, and there’s still a new couple getting introduced. The crux of reading a series in the romance genre, is that the main love interests are supposed to live. That’s still a little odd to me after reading so many books where the main characters die in YA novels, but I love this about the romance genre. The thing is though…everyone else who didn’t get their own book or short story? They’re fair game. And there’s a lot of death in this one. This also contains one of the most heart wrenching deaths of this entire series. I don’t think I’ll ever be okay after reading this? I just sobbed to the end of the book. Even one of the chapter heading made me cry.

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Review: Beyond Ecstasy (Beyond #8) by Kit Rocha

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Author: Kit Rocha
Publication Date: May 23, 2016
Format: E-Book
Page Length: 269 pages
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

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SUMMARY

The O’Kanes have a reputation for working hard and playing harder—except for Hawk. He joined the gang with one goal: to ensure his family’s survival through the impending war with Eden. It’s been years since he had the luxury of wanting anything for himself. Now, he wants Jeni. From the first moment he saw her, he’s been obsessed with making her his. Not for a night—forever.

Jeni’s been lusting after the former smuggler for months, but he keeps shutting her down. She’s almost given up on getting him in her bed when he offers her the last thing she ever expected—a collar. Accepting it means belonging to him, body and soul. It’s a reckless gamble, but Jeni can’t resist the chance to slip under Hawk’s armor.

The only thing more shocking than the dark, dangerous pleasure they discover is how right it feels. But falling in love is even more reckless when forever is far from guaranteed. Because they aren’t just at war, they’re out of time—and every breath could be their last.

I don’t know, you guys. I just wasn’t feeling this relationship. Out of all the stories so far, this one didn’t have as much lead-up to the couple and we only saw Jeni and Hawk a number of times before this book. Jeni more than Hawk, definitely. I didn’t really connect with Jeni and Hawk, but the only reason I felt like I should rate this book four stars instead of three is because the overarching plot has reached a boiling point and, ultimately, is what made me love the O’Kanes and this book.

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