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MommaSaysToRead

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.

No Connection

Rescue Me (Sunset Bay) (Volume 1) - Christine Kingsley

The story is very well written and the flow is good, but I had trouble connecting to these characters. Meredith runs hot and cold through much of the book and comes across a bit teenager like instead of the mature business woman that she's supposed to be. Cole is the typical playboy who doesn't want a relationship when his attraction grows into feelings for Meredith. The story goes on a little more than I felt it needed to with the lack of communication, and other than this couple denying what they want, there wasn't much more to the story. I would've liked to have seen more of the story behind Brandon's business problems and Cole's past, but they felt almost like second thoughts when they came up. The author does write beautifully, this one just fell flat for me.

Fun read

The Making Of A Family: Gay Best Friend Billionaire Romance - Van Cole

This extended version of the original is so much better. It's still a bit busy and frenetic, but there are some much needed details that were missing in the shorter version and the story is more developed. The connection between Mason and Luke felt more real and I found myself rooting for this pair even though I already knew how that part of the tale would play out. It's a fun read with some silly thrown in to keep things light.

Non-stop action

Denai Bound: Excalibar Investigations Series (Volume 2) - Tiffany Shand

Picking up where the first book left off, Cate and Jason don't get much time to enjoy their newly married status between a killer on the loose and trying to free an entire race of enslaved people. And if that isn't enough to deal with, they have enemies coming out of the woodwork and council members determined to see them fail. The characters have great depth and the dialogue is witty and sometimes even a bit snarky (I love snark!) Cate's brothers, Ian and Steve, are two of my favorites in this series with their commentary and sibling banter. The story is packed full of suspense, action, intrigue, some romance, and even a bit of funny thrown in to lighten things up. The story is lengthy, so set some time aside because its extremely hard to put down. There is no lag time in this one with its battles and surprises at every turn. Several questions are answered and some problems are resolved in this one, but it does end with a cliffhanger - and it's a whopper. This series just gets better as it goes and I can't wait to see what's next for these characters. 

Captivating

Reagan Through the Looking Glass (Hacking Wonderland Book 1) - Allyson Lindt, Daqri Bernardo

This original twist on the Wonderland story is fast-paced and full of action, intrigue, adventure, suspense, and even a bit of romance. It is a hacker tale, but it isn't so full of tech speak as to be distracting. I'm probably the most technologically challenged person that I know and I had no problem understanding what was happening on the cyber side of things. The characters are interesting and developed and the story kept me guessing from the beginning. Reagan (Alice) has no idea just how far down the rabbit hole she's going to have to go or who she should trust on her journey. She's torn between two men in this dangerous game and they both have secrets, some bigger than others, and Reagan is stuck somewhere in the middle. Too much more would give spoilers and this is one that shouldn't be spoiled for anyone. I highly recommend this captivating story to anyone who enjoys the genre.

Missed the mark for me

Dirty Bet - Melinda Minx

I'm usually a big fan of this author's work, but this one missed the mark for me. It's an interesting enough read and it did keep me turning pages to see how it would all play out, but some things about the story bothered me. I understand the need for Eric's complete 180, but it was almost like he was two different people. He was extremely arrogant in the beginning and had the attitude that any woman would be made better if she was on his arm. For me, he just became way too much of a good guy, way too fast. Ruth wasn't just a plain Jane, her description was so over the top that is was almost laughable. That may have been the point as there were some amusing parts in the story, but it was a little much for me. I did like the ending and the way everything was wrapped up. While this isn't my favorite book from Minx, it is worth the read and I will read other works by her.

Compelling

Winning Ace: A Winning Ace Novel (Book 1) - Tracie Delaney
Cash and Tally's romance took me by surprise with how truly compelling it was. The author's writing style and talent for story-telling pulled me in to the lives of these characters and I was riveted. Cash is arrogant, short tempered, and a playboy, and that suited him fine until Tally threw a wrench into the works. He also has secrets that very few people know about - secrets he won't even divulge to Tally as the relationship develops. Tally is quite endearing with her insecurities with Cash and his high-profile lifestyle. The character development of this pair was a big part of what makes this tale so captivating as Cash learns to trust his feelings and Tally learns to be more assertive. 
The blurb lets us know that this is a continuing story, so I knew that a cliffy was likely and it still got me! I was left with an, 'Oh, no, it can't end there!'. But, of course, it did and now I absolutely need to know what happens next for this couple - or are they a couple? Cash's secrets are yet to be told and from the build-up, they must be big and Tally is stuck between following her heart or her head. 

Enemies to lovers

Dustin (Shifter Football League Book 3) - Becca Fanning

Dustin is an enemies to lovers romance and when I say enemies, I mean it in every sense of the word. Dustin and Brooklyn were on complete opposite sides of a coin. This one was a bit different than what I've come to expect from this author. I usually like her characters pretty quickly. Even with their faults, there's usually something to like about them. That wasn't the case with this pair. They each had their reasons for their actions - Dustin had no experience with competition and not being at the top of the list and a past bad experience shaped Brooklyn's attitude. Their problem was with the way they solved their problems. Dustin came across as arrogant and childish and Brooklyn was cold and unyielding. In fact, they both were so over the top in their actions that I wasn't sure I could like them. But, those actions kept me turning pages to see how this "romance" could possibly work out. I even reached a point that I was sure the only good outcome would be for both of these characters to get their just desserts. It turns out that Fanning knew exactly what she was doing. She sucked me in and kept me turning pages to see how this "romance" could possibly work out for these two. I don't want to give everything away, but the author certainly shows that there is redemption, even for what appears to be irredeemable. It just takes that special someone to open your eyes to what you thought you didn't want and to everything you can be with the right person at your back.

Best vampire king yet

The Vampire King’s Nanny - T. S.  Ryder

I can always count on this author for a quick read that's packed full of story. This one has it all - suspense, action, intrigue, romance, and some steamy fun. Thomas is a great character and my favorite of Ryder's vampire kings. He's been betrayed, so he's wary, but fiercely protects those he cares about. Adrielle is the perfect match for him. She's known abuse and hard times and has a timid side, but she doesn't hesitate to speak her mind to sexy vampire king. Add in an innocent child with powers that even she doesn't know about and demons wreaking havoc and you get an action packed tale with a different look at the vampire story.

Snark and Romance

Food Fight: An Eroticomedy Duology (Strip Mall Series Book 1) - Heather  Ohhh, T.  Torrid

Food Fight is great for combining some funny with the sexy. A good bit of humor is always welcome and both stories in this book have plenty of snark and humor along with being packed full of steam. The food euphemisms were a little over the top at times, but considering the title and the sarcasm involved in both stories, it was expected. This was my first read from either of the authors and I was quite impressed at how well-written these fast-paced tales are. Both are novella length and the pacing is good. I was also impressed that while it is pretty quick love in both cases, it's not instalove. The attraction and chemistry is there and almost palpable with both couples, but they aren't professing undying love from first sight. Overall, these tales are funny, sexy, and romantic - perfect for a quick bedtime read or when you need a chuckle.

Fun story if a bit far-fetched

Hold Me Close (Bridgewater County) (Volume 4) - Vanessa Vale

Hold Me Close is a quick read, easily finished in a couple of hours. It's fast-paced and overall, a fun story, but it does require quite the suspension of belief. I'm not talking about the menage part of this story - I knew that going in and while I'm pretty sure it doesn't happen quite so often, I can enjoy the story. My problem was with how fast this romance took off. I'm not a huge fan of instalove, but usually expect it in a book of this length. This one, however, was even faster than the norm for our cowboys, Matt and Ethan. Instant attraction, I could've been fine with, but one look and knowing she's the one is a bit much. Rachel's complete acceptance of this once it's revealed to her was another irksome detail for me. She did at least know a little something about them at that point, more than I can say for the heroes of this tale. It is a fun story and light on the drama, the characters are likable, the story flow is good, and the sex is over-the-top hot. Oh, and two sexy cowboys! If instant, and I do mean instant, love with lots of steamy goodness is something you enjoy, then this one is for you.

Steamy and romantic

Absinthe - Winter Renshaw

Winter Renshaw has a writing style that pulls a reader in and doesn't let go. Absinthe is wonderfully written and is a bit different than most romances. It's not a quick love story where two people meet and fall head over heals. Instead, it's a love story that spans years and keeps a reader guessing about the outcome. It is steamy and there's the bit of taboo with the principal/student attraction, but everyone is an adult. Ford is young for the position he holds and even though Halston is technically still a teenager, legal but still a teen, but given her childhood, she's wise beyond her years. Actually, there's less than ten years between them and with the circumstances, I didn't get the creep factor that sometimes comes with teacher/student relationships. There's just something about this pair and their love for one another that is quite compelling and makes you want to see them together. Overall, the story flows very well and held my interest from start to finish. Renshaw has another winner!

Page turner

Demon Tracker (Divine Justice, 2) - Mary Abshire

Book two in the Divine Justice series introduces Zale. He's tough, sexy, compassionate, and determined. Oh, and did I mention that he's a werewolf? Yep, a sexy werewolf who hunts down rogue vampires. Zale certainly doesn't trust the vampires (with good reason), but now it looks like he's going to have to work with them to prevent more bloodshed by the demons, which, in turn, protects the humans. So, the vampires need the werewolves, the humans need the vampires, and everybody needs the demons to be gone. (That's all the spoiler you get!)

The Divine Justice world gets a little bigger with the introduction of the UoJ and we learn a bit more about each race and their role in society - and they do have roles. They work, have friends and family, go out for a drink, etc - perfectly normal things that we all do, only behind that normalcy lies supernatural beings that live on blood, or shift into a werewolf, or maybe even cast a spell or two. That's the thing about these characters, as you read, you can picture these "normal" people passing you on the street or even living next door. They're all interesting in their own right, even the annoying Ray with his complaining and prejudices. 

Overall, Divine Tracker is witty, engaging, loaded with action and suspense, and absolutely unputdownable!

Great 1st in series

Demon Hunter (Divine Justice, 1) - Mary Abshire

Mary Abshire has become one of my go-to authors for losing myself in a paranormal world and this first book in the Divine Justice series is just one more reason why.
Excellent world building and an original premise combine with action, suspense, and intrigue to keep a reader turning pages. This fun twist on the vampire story has these creatures of the night defending mankind from demons.
Strong leading ladies are always a good element and Anna certainly fits that description, but she also has a softer side that lends to an interesting contrast. In fact, I always find this author's characters interesting and this one is no different in that respect. The idiosyncrasies of each character - Anna's purple fuzzy socks, Glen's car, Victor's libido, etc - add that extra something that makes the characters believable and results in the reader becoming invested in what happens to them.
Overall, Demon Hunter is a solid start to what promises to be another exciting series by this author. The fast pace and gripping story line, along with the compelling characters and witty dialogue, make for a book I couldn't put down.

Not what I expected...

Emma in the Night - Wendy   Walker

Emma in the Night wasn't at all what I expected and I wouldn't quite call it a thriller. When I read a thriller, I expect to be on the edge of my seat, dying to know what happens next. I was interested and the story was suspenseful, but the story was a bit slow and even dry at times. That said, it was oddly compelling and certainly disturbing. 

Considering their parents and upbringing, Emma and Cass were almost doomed to be at a little messed up. In a not exactly successfully blended family, the only person that I found to be remotely normal was the oldest brother, Witt. 

The story is not only twisted, but there are plenty of twists and turns as it progresses, which is something I look forward to in a psychological tale. I was left scratching my head at times with Cass' recounting of her time away as it seemed to become more and more convoluted. By the end, her motivations were made clear, but even now, as I ponder the story, I'm not exactly clear about the way she went about it all. 

The biggest drawback for me was the switch in point of view. Throughout the book, we hear from two people, Cass and Dr. Abigail Winter. Cass' chapters are all in first person, while Abby's are in third. My first thought was that it was done to help show Cass' frame of mind during the seven days following her return home, but Abby's chapters also reveal her own thoughts about Cass and the family during that time. The switches from chapter to chapter took some getting used to and in all honesty, I found it to be more of a distraction than anything beneficial to the story. 

Overall, Walker does have a unique writing style and the story had potential, but it just didn't quite live up to expectations. It's not a bad read, but turned out to be merely an okay one for me. 

Good series start

Sin Eater - Samantha LaFantasie, Alesha Escobar, iFlow Creative

I'm always on the lookout for a good Urban Fantasy series and was quite impressed with Sin Eater. As with most books in the genre, we get wizards, vampires, and a bit of telepathy. What sets this one apart, and is a unique and interesting idea, is the sin eater angle. 

The writing style and opening scene quickly drew me in and the fast pace and twists kept me turning pages. Aria is a strong, likable character that you genuinely want to root for. In fact, the book is full of great characters - some likable, some not so much (kind of the point, right?). I really liked Harry and his cast of characters, and I look forward to seeing more of him in future books.

I also like that the current conflict is resolved by the end of the book. There are, of course, still unanswered questions and more trouble on the horizon, but we aren't left with a huge cliffhanger to stew over. 

I can't talk about an Urban Fantasy without mentioning world-building, which is excellent in this first in the series. Characters are introduced and developed, and we learn exactly what a sin eater does and why, as well as their place among other supernaturals in the Aria Knight world. 

Overall, Sin Eater is a solid start on a promising series and I can easily recommend it to anyone who enjoys Urban Fantasy. I, for one, will be anxiously awaiting the next book in the Aria Knight Chronicles.

Gripping Series

Jewels and Panties (Book, Six): Puppet Master - Brooke Kinsley

This sixth book in the Jewels and Panties series brings yet more twists in the story and another mind-blowing cliffy. With each book in this series, I say that I'm not going to presume anything, and then I catch myself doing just that when the author blows me out of the water. We learn more about Phaedra and her motivations in this one and Etta finds out just what she's capable of and how far she'll go for someone she loves. 

Like its predecessors, Puppet Master, which is very suitable titled, is dark, gripping, and packed full of suspense and twists that I certainly didn't see coming. The story centers around Lincoln and Etta and their journey, but it's so much more than that. So many other characters throughout this series have been key players and not at all what I would call secondary. So much so that I have become just as interested in their journeys as Linc and Etta's. With so many great characters - some I love and some I love to hate - and an equally great story line, it's impossible not to become hooked on this series.