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Momma Says to Read

Avid reader/reviewer and editor. I don't pull punches when I review, love it or hate it, you get what I think.

Both heartbreaking and hopeful

Jaded: Luke: Laurel Creek Series (Volume 1) - Hildie McQueen

Let me start by saying that I absolutely loved main character, Luke. He's such an endearing character and his struggle with PTSD is so heartbreaking. The secondary characters in this story are also quite interesting, especially Luke's twin and his cousin. Much of the dialogue is witty and often humorous, adding some levity to a serious situation. 

I'm still unsure about Luke's love interest, Leah. She's so angry and driven. I gather from her actions that she is a perfectionist, but we're never really told why she reacts the way she does. I would've liked to have seen a bit more development for Leah's character so as to understand her quick turnaround where Luke is concerned. That, in my opinion, could've easily made this one a five-star read.

Overall, the story is good and kept me turning pages to see how things would come out for Luke. I'll be interested to see where this series goes. 

Sweet, sexy romance

The Pretend Husband: Romance In the City, Book 1 - Declan Rhodes

In all honesty, I've grown a bit tired of the fake marriage trope for romance, but Rhodes gives us something a little different than the typical with this type of love story, and make no mistake, this is a love story, even when our sexy fellows don't know it.

Liam and Alex are so good together and I found it amusing that for much of this story, everyone realizes that except for this miss-communicating pair. Their chagrin at how quickly the ruse has spread along with the struggle to find a resolution is equally amusing and kept me turning pages, hoping for their happy ending. 

Overall, Rhodes has given us another sweet, sexy romance and an all-around fun read. It's well-written with great characters and a witty dialogue. This reader will be anxiously awaiting whatever comes next for this series. 

Light-hearted and amusing

Accidental Man Whore - Katherine Stevens

About a quarter of the way through this one, I wasn't sure how well I'd end up liking it. I have to say that Ben certainly isn't the sharpest tool in the gardening shed and his gullibility caused more than one eye roll for this reader, but he still manages to come across as quite the endearing character. He does, after all, fall into the escort business while trying to help his dad.
Miryam is everything Ben isn't - put together with her life planned out, or so she thought. These two have little in common, but somehow, they just work, often in spite of their differences. They're thrown together by a crazy series of circumstances and family events that keep the story moving and the chuckles rolling.
The secondary characters are at times even more amusing than our couple. I absolutely loved Ben's cantankerous dad and Miryam's Bubbie.
In the end, I found Accidental Man Whore to be witty and fun, making for an enjoyable lighthearted read.


Misadventures with a Super Hero - Angel Payne

I was excited about this third standalone in the Misadventures series. A steamy read about a sexy super hero - what's not to love? Unfortunately, my excitement didn't last long. The first chapter was intriguing and I was curious, but that curiosity quickly waned as I spent the next several chapters trying to connect to the characters. I actually laid this one aside and picked it back up several times, working my way through a little at a time. I guess that should've been the red flag that this one just wasn't for me, but I forged ahead and I did manage to finish. The story does get better toward the end, but it just didn't grab me the way it should have. There is plenty of steam, and even some humor, and super hero action to keep things moving, but the characters just lacked that certain something that makes a reader want to see how their story plays out. 

Missed the mark

The Dirty Book Club - Lisi Harrison
When I read the blurb for The Dirty Book Club, I was intrigued by the premise, and when I started reading, I found the beginning both engaging and promising. Sadly, that fizzled quickly as I found less and less to like about main character, MJ. 
Let me add that each of the characters have their flaws and that's okay. I didn't expect them to be perfect and several times, I've found the flawed characters in a story the most endearing. That was the case with the 1960's book club. Not so much with the modern day club. 
MJ is rather disconnected from living life and that's understandable considering the the loss she's suffered. She throws herself into her career to keep from dwelling on that loss, which is also something the reader can empathize with and understand. As time goes on, MJ's long distance love interest, Dan, tries to convince her to move across the country so they can be together. This is where my problem with this character began. Things don't go as she's planned in her career, so she heads to California and to Dan. She then spends most of the story waffling between wanting to be with Dan and wanting to run back to New York and her job. Indecision, I can understand. She's spent considerable time on her career, but it came across like Dan was nothing more than a backup plan, the second choice. More than once, she asserts that she gave up her career and sacrificed for Dan, when that isn't the case. She gave up her career because things didn't go her way. She didn't get what she wanted, so she fell back on the second choice. Basically, I found her whiny and petulant, and I spent most of her story wishing Dan would wake up and send her packing. 
The other characters in the modern day book club weren't exactly likable, but at least they did have some wit and even some charm about them. 
 By the end of this journey, I found the letters from the 1960's book club to be the most interesting parts of the story and the only modern day character that I really liked or rooted for was the good and giving doctor, Dan.
I will say the the author is talented and writes well, but this one completely missed the mark for this reader.

Must read for Norse fans

Mjolnir - Brian James

I've always been interested in mythology and the Norse with all their quirks are always good for an entertaining read, so I was excited for Mjolnir. It certainly delivered! We do get a bit of a lesson on the Norse in the beginning, which I didn't need, but it is quite entertaining in its own right and great for anyone not familiar with the pantheon.

The book is wonderfully written and the story is dark, witty, and entertaining. Banished to Earth, these larger than life characters are forced to acclimate and their chosen professions suit their personalities quite well. Professional athlete, businessman, stripper and prostitute, and stuck in a nursing home, reading fortunes from cereal bowls, the Viking gods are making the best they can of the situation until it's time to get down to business.

From the very first line (and it's a brilliant starter), I was hooked and stayed that way, page after page. If you enjoy Norse mythology, this is a must read.


Sarcasm overload

Naked We Came - Robert Lane

Let me start by saying that Robert Lane and his Jake Travis novels are new to me, so I jumped into this one cold and it's not the first Travis novel. That being said, the premise of this book is quite good - a thirty year old mystery that is about as personal as it gets for Jake. My problem is that I never quite connected to the character. Whether this is because I'm jumping in late to Lane's Travis novels or something else is something I'm still unsure of, but the fact remains. Jake has a sarcastic wit that I usually love in a character, but when there's little else, it gets tedious pretty quickly.
There is plenty going on to keep the story moving, but in the end, I found the conclusion less than believable. The idea of a secret that big staying a secret for that long is far-fetched at best, especially when multiple people are involved. Everything combined, Naked We Came ended up being just an okay read for me.

Sexy, fun read

Wrecked - Lucy Wild

I am enjoying these quick, sexy reads from Lucy Wild. Wrecked is certainly insta lust and love and has just a tiny bit of angst to keep the story moving. The characters are likable and the story is easily read in an hour or less, making it perfect for a quick bedtime read. I particularly like that the story doesn't just end with the usual proclamation of undying love and nothing else, but Wild gives us a peek into the not so distant future to see where the couple is going. This pair is scorching hot together and while this isn't my favorite book from this author, it is still a fun, sexy read and I look forward to the next one.

Emotional and entertaining

Survival Game (Men of London Book 9) - Susan Mac Nicol

I'll admit that I started this book with a bit of trepidation. I didn't notice until I was ready to start reading that it's the 9th book in the series and was worried that I'd be lost. No such problem here. The story works well as a standalone and while I'm sure that some of the characters are from past books, I had no trouble following Eric and Kyle's story. I will say that I found the secondary characters interesting enough that I will be checking out the rest of the series. 

Both Kyle and Eric have troubling back stories that tug at the heartstrings and have each of them being cautious in matters of the heart. Even with past troubles and caution, this pair is quite good together and I couldn't help but root for their happily ever after. The story is very well-written and while it is an emotional tale, there is some wonderfully witty dialogue and moments of levity to keep it from getting too angsty. 


Gun Shy - Lili St. Germain

Gun Shy is wonderfully written, as dark as it gets, and absolutely mind blowing. Every time I thought I knew where this story was going, I really didn't because a new layer of depravity would be added to a cast of characters already filled with it. The only drawback was the attack on one person (no spoilers here) and while we know who did it, it seems to just go away without being addressed. But, even that hole didn't diminish just how good this story is. The deeper Germain goes into the hearts of these characters and what they're capable of, the more riveted I became. 

This is not a story for the faint hearted and there is no sunshine and roses waiting at the end of this journey. Gun Shy is about a domino effect of one cruelty leading to another and bringing out the darkest parts of the people those cruelties are visited upon. While many things between the covers of this gripping tale may cause triggers in some, this is easily one the best psychological thrillers that I've read in quite some time and one that will stay with me for some time to come.


Compelling and Emotional

Strip Me Bare - M. Never

This second chance romance took me by surprise. I fully expected a steamy read and I got that, but there is so much more to Ryan and Alana's story. M. Never certainly knows how to pack on the feels and she does it quite masterfully. I got so frustrated with Alana's constant submission to her father's orders, no matter how far out there they were, but at the same time, my heart broke for her situation. The chemistry between this pair was almost palpable and through it all, you can't help but root for their happy ending. While the pace does get a bit slow at times, the writing is compelling and I was sufficiently drawn in that it didn't bother me. So, when you see the title and cover, do not dismiss this as just another stripper romance. Strip me Bare is a packed full of emotions, tug at the heartstrings journey of two people who will fight and claw their way to each other, going through the fire to emerge victorious as they discover who and what they want to be... Together.

Solid start to a promising series

Pretend You're Safe (The Agency) - Alexandra Ivy

Pretend You're Safe is what a good mystery should be. It held my interest and dangled carrots throughout, making me second guess myself about the killer's identity. While I liked Rylan's perseverance with winning Jaci over, the romance side of this tale could've done with a bit more depth. That aside, the suspense was good and at the conclusion, I found myself thinking back through the tale and realizing that while it isn't glaringly obvious, there are some clues. It's more investigation than action until the end, but the story is interesting and engaging throughout, and the suspense builds as the book progresses. With suspense, some romance, and bits of levity thrown in, this is one that I can easily recommend and I'll be looking forward to the next book in the series. Overall, a solid start to a promising series. 

Sometimes Less is More

The Dark Lake - Sarah  Bailey

Let me start by saying that Bailey is quite talented and writes well, but about half way through this tale, I felt like the author didn't know when to turn it off. The story starts off good and pulled me in effectively, but shortly thereafter, it began to fizzle. I found the main character, Gemma, completely unlikable and was never able to warm up to her as she sets about solving the murder of her high-school rival. I've read many flawed characters that were lovable in spite of their flaws. Not so with this one. I could've gotten past that, but the story gets so bogged down with too many details that it becomes rather boring at times. It was plain to see where the author was leading the reader from a fairly early point, making it entirely too easy to solve this mystery, which takes away from the mystery and suspense of the book. Overall, it was way too long and filled with more teenage angst than necessary, in my opinion, especially considering how easy it was to figure out. The story did show promise and the author is gifted, but sometimes less is more. 

Lots of steam with some suspense thrown in

Misadventures of a Good Wife - Meredith Wild, Helen Hardt

This second book in the Misadventures series started out with some steamy fun between Kate and Price and then, quickly got serious when Price's plane goes down. It was shortly after that when my issues with the story began. The biggest one for me, and the one I couldn't get past, was Kate's reaction when she first sees Price again. I realize that this is fiction, but it still has to make sense or the story starts to lose the reader. I can understand tears of joy and even some hugs and kisses when Kate realizes that Price is alive, but hot and steamy sexy time before she has any answers was a bit much. In fact, every time this story started to have some tension and build-up on the suspense angle, there was another steamy scene. Don't get me wrong, these two are seriously hot together and I have no problem with a sexy read, but it reached a point that it was one intimate scene after another with a little story thrown in. Sadly, that story could've been quite good on its own, but after page upon page of Kate pulling answers out of Price and then the back and forth about where they would go, it was hard to stay with it. The book does pick up in the last 25% or so, and there's plenty of action there as the tale reaches its conclusion, but the suspense side of this book could've been so much more.

A deal among friends

Cole (All In Book 2) - Liz Meldon

This second book in the All In trilogy gives us a little more insight on Cole. He's a bit frustrating as he skirts the issue of his feelings for Skye, but he's still an endearing character. Finn, on the other hand, has no problem with what he wants and puts it right out there. Well, until he most needed to. Cole and Skye are just as scorching hot as she and Finn were in the first book, maybe even more and now Skye is torn between what she should do and what she wants to do. With a friend's agreement and both men knowing what they want, all that's left is to convince Skye. I'll be anxiously awaiting that part of this romance. 

This is a continuing story and I would highly recommend reading the first book, Finn, first, so you don't miss anything. 

Entertaining Read

Hell Hath No Fury (Devilish Debutantes Book 1) - Annabelle Anders

Hell Hath No Fury is a well-written and entertaining read. Despite a few phrases that were a bit out of place with time, Anders does a good job of setting the scene and drawing the reader in. We also get some suspense with our romance as the honorable Stephen and our fiery heroine, Cecily, work to manipulate Flavion, and it appears that someone is out to get rid of Cecily... Permanently. The chemistry between Stephen and Cecily can't be denied, even though Stephen's honor demands that he do just that and the banter between them adds some wit and fun to the story. With some characters we can love and some we can love to hate, this romance kept me turning pages to see if this pair would get their happy ever after and if the bumbling Flavion would get his just desserts. 

Overall, this is a solid debut from Anders and I look forward to seeing what's next from this author.