Hinged (Soul Mate Rescued Book 2) by Char Sharp

Hinged (Soul Mate Rescued Book 2) by Char Sharp

Hinged Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Hinged by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Seven years ago, Cooper Baron lost the love of his life. Robin Finch disappeared, and no matter how hard Coop tried to find her, it was like she no longer existed. But he didn’t give up, and he won’t until his soul mate is back in his arms.

Robin Finch has no memory of her life prior to seven years ago. She’s been living with Dr. Ramsey Gunn, as his wife, but deep down she knows he’s not the love of her life. Robin and Ram have been on the run, hiding in the shadows with Ram erasing any electronic evidence of their existence before it can be found by those hunting them. Until the day Robin runs into Cooper Baron, and something in her mind—and her heart—is unlocked.

What should be a sweet reunion is in actuality confusing and life-threatening. Cooper will need to bring down the person who is trying to kill Robin before they can move on with their lives.

Hinged is book two in the Soul Mate Rescued series and can comfortably be read as a standalone book. It is a romantic suspense story with technology thriller aspects. The author’s style brings out a nice amount of emotion between the characters, and it’s easy to feel their love and despair right along with them. The idea of soul mates physically feeling the presence of their other half, though slightly farfetched for my taste, transferred well in this story. Robin’s amnesia and the subsequent recovery of her memory was handled in what seemed to be a realistic fashion.

The plot of the story focused more on the romance than the suspense or thriller aspects. It seemed to be missing vital pieces of information regarding the investigation into the threat against Robin, focusing instead on Robin’s life once she was rescued. Since it was told from both Robin and Cooper’s point of view, I would have liked to see what Cooper was doing behind the scenes to locate and take down the threat. Even after the climax, I wanted to know more about how the climax occurred since the reader wasn’t provided the information prior to that.

Overall, this was a good romance story, and if you enjoy reading a straight romance it could be worth your while. I would have liked to see it a little more rounded with the information that was brought into the plot, but I would probably still try another book by this author.

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Happy reading!

Rach

Closer by Emerald O’Brien

Closer by Emerald O’Brien

Closer Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Closer by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Just when life should be perfect for Chloe Forrester, everything begins to unravel. Her new fiancé is accused of cheating on her with another woman, and to make matters worse, the woman in question winds up dead. Paxton Potter won’t rest until he gets to the bottom of his ex-girlfriend’s death. He may have broken up with her for cheating on him, but that doesn’t mean he can stand to let her killer go free.

Pax makes Chloe question everything she’s ever known. As the two begin to look closer at the events surrounding Pax’s ex-girlfriend’s death, an attraction is formed. Chloe will need to find the courage to make her own decisions when Pax becomes the prime suspect in the murder.

Closer is a romantic suspense story with lots of twists and turns. The suspense was intriguing, keeping me guessing about the murderer right along with the main characters. The relationship between Chloe and Pax was set at a good pace, especially considering they had both just come out of relationships with someone they thought they’d be with forever.

The main drawback to the story was the relationship between Chloe and Harrison. The story opens with Harrison being accused of cheating on Chloe, so I never felt invested in their relationship. Yet Chloe continually considered going back to him, which made her character appear weak and wishy-washy. While the opening drama was meant to draw the reader into the story, some more building of Chloe and Harrison’s relationship would have made her indecision more believable. Conversely, she could have stood her ground in deciding she was done with Harrison, which would have made her a stronger character.

There were also a lot of editing issues in the book, like incorrect dialogue punctuation and comma splices. The number of dialogue interruptions was distracting as well, forcing me to reread the dialogue to make sense of it.

A little more believability and some good editing would have increased my enjoyment of this story. The base was there with a good plot and well thought-out suspense, but it needed a better execution.

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Rach

My Lady, My Spy (Secrets and Seduction Book 4) by Sheridan Jeane

My Lady, My Spy (Secrets and Seduction Book 4) by Sheridan Jeane

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3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of My Lady, My Spy by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Lady Josephine Harrington thought she’d found the perfect man, until she catches Frederick in lie after lie. As a widow, Josephine has no time for lies. Yet she’s drawn to Frederick despite the fact she knows he’s a spy and will frequently be unable to tell her the truth. When Frederick’s mission goes all wrong and Josephine steps in to help him, perhaps this unlikely couple will find a way to make their relationship work.

My Lady, My Spy is book 4 in the Secrets and Seductions series. It is a well-written historical romance with some action in the form of a spy mission taking place. Each piece was compelling in its own right, however the whole of the story left me wanting.

Since this book was received as a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review, I was told that it was a standalone story within the series as I had not read the previous books in the series. This was unfortunately the first issue I ran into. The story jumped right into the action. The main characters’ relationship was already established at the start, as was the spy mission. This left me confused and trying to piece together what was actually going on in the mission and how Frederick came to have his hands burned.

A lot of the story focused on each of the main characters thinking about how they felt about the other without so much interaction between them. I would have preferred to have more meat to the story showing their interactions instead of narration about their feelings. Because of so much narration, the spy mission didn’t factor very prominently into the story.

Overall, I can see how this story would be enjoyable as part of the series and the writing was well-done for what it was, but it lacked fulfillment as a standalone book. If you’ve read the previous books in this series you’d most likely enjoy this one more than I did.

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Rach

The Deeper Chronicles Book 2 by Allyn Lesley

The Deeper Chronicles Book 2 by Allyn Lesley

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided an ARC of Deeper Book Two by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Noah Adams and Avi Linton are finally able to relax and enjoy each other, but business for Noah always takes precedence. Avi understands, to a degree, though that doesn’t keep her from pushing for answers Noah isn’t willing to give. Noah’s business suddenly becomes personal and he has to figure out who is targeting him and how to stop the threat. When the threat sets its sights on Avi, Noah has more to lose than he ever imagined. He’ll need to save Avi without losing himself in the process.

Although not strictly necessary, I highly suggest reading book 1 prior to reading The Deeper Chronicles Book Two. There is a lot of information from the first book that continues into this book, and since it had been a while since I read the first one I found myself struggling at times to understand some parts.

That said, it is an interesting and intriguing romantic suspense novel, and I appreciate the way the author is able to weave together various pieces of the puzzle. So many things are happening at once but I was able to follow along and put clues together, which kept me engaged throughout.

Noah was an alpha who ruled with an iron fist. His characterization stayed true from the first time we met him in book 1 until the end of this book. While I appreciated the consistency of his character, it was also one of the downfalls of my enjoyment. If you’re the type of reader who loves an alpha male and the women who submit to them, then this series would be a great choice for you. Unfortunately, I prefer to see character growth and adaptation. I wanted Noah to show a little trust in Avi and let her into his world a bit. Instead he used sex to distract or deter her every time she asked him questions, which not only left me disconnected from Noah but also wondering exactly what their relationship was based on other than sex. Avi was a bit too weak for my liking.

The copy of the book I received was an ARC edition, so I tried to limit my criticism of grammatical errors, however they did factor into my rating a bit as there were some errors in vital sentences that really took me out of the moment. Hopefully they have been cleaned up in the final publication.

I’m certain this book will appeal to many readers. It just didn’t hit enough high notes for me.

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Rach

Crossing the Barrier by Martine Lewis

Crossing the Barrier by Martine Lewis

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3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Crossing the Barrier by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Lily Morgan and Malakai Thomas couldn’t be more different as high school students. Lily is a clarinetist in the band, and Malakai is the star wide receiver of the football team. Their worlds don’t fit together. Yet when Malakai bumps into Lily and puts her in the hospital with a head injury, the two can’t get each other out of their minds. Lily has the ability to feel everyone’s emotions around her, and her ability to shield out this talent is lost after her injury. The growing attraction between these coming of age students is tested by the collision of the differences between their social circles, and Lily and Malakai must learn to navigate these potholes and fight to stay together.

Crossing the Barrier is a well-written coming of age story with great lessons for young adult readers. It provides an intense look at social stigmas and diversity. I loved the addition of Malakai’s racial mixture, that it wasn’t one hundred percent apparent but it did play a role in the story. The characters were relatively well-developed, and the attraction was set at a decent pace.

The story moved a little too slowly for me and contained a lot of cliché tropes: neither character having the guts to admit their feelings, getting interrupted when trying to talk about feelings, deciding something for the other character. Perhaps a young adult will relate better to these issues, but as an adult who enjoys reading Young Adult novels, this one just didn’t hit home for me. Some plot points were too over the top to be believable, and although I can set aside certain beliefs for fiction, the extremities of this story made me lose interest at times.

The paranormal aspect was minimal within the story, which made its inclusion somewhat awkward. Lily was able to feel the emotions of those around her, giving her somewhat of a truth barometer. After her collision with Malakai, she lost the ability to shield herself from people’s emotions, resulting in her being overwrought with emotions when in public. But this wasn’t tied to the plot too deeply until the end of the story, mostly as a setup for the next book.

Overall, the book just missed having any type of wow factor for me. The writing was good and it was edited well, which is something that is sorely lacking in many novels these days so that was a plus. It just didn’t have enough holding it together for it to make a positive impression.

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Rach

El Corazón Sabe: The Heart Knows by R.L. Merrill

El Corazón Sabe: The Heart Knows by R.L. Merrill

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of El Corazón Sabe by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

English teacher Leah Roberts grew up in the barrio, so she’s no stranger to gangs and violence. But when she’s caught in the middle of gunfire and seriously wounded, she becomes a shell of the woman she once was. Starting her life over in Iowa with her best friend is the perfect solution. Leah accepts a teaching position at a new school where she doesn’t exactly fit in, and on her first day a goofy science teacher literally bumps his way into her life. She doesn’t think Donovan could be her type, and they both have demons to overcome, but perhaps Leah has finally found her place in this world so far away from everything she’s ever known.

El Corazón Sabe: The Heart Knows is book one in a planned trilogy, but it can be read as a standalone book. This book focuses on the background of both main characters and their budding romance while they each overcome their issues. Although there was instant attraction, the pace of the romance felt natural with both characters taking their time to get to know the other before entering a serious relationship. I appreciated the contrast between cultures and races and also how Leah had to adapt to life in small town Iowa.

Unfortunately, much of the story fell flat for me. The characters were one-dimensional. Leah went from a successful, outgoing teacher to the bottom of a bottle and a dark closet, and then pretty quickly picked herself back up and went back to where she started. Although she had some lingering issues, that part of the plot didn’t feel very well fleshed out. Donovan was either happy and goofy or sad and guilty about his wife who passed away with nothing else to round out his characterization.

The writing style left some things to be desired as well. The story moved a little too slowly for my taste, and many scenes felt like bits of dialogue with a lot of telling instead of action. There were some inconsistencies, and the plot could have used a little more focus outside the blossoming relationship.

The story has a good base, but just didn’t hold my attention as much as I would have liked.

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Rach

Doing It Over (A Most Likely To Novel Book 1) by Catherine Bybee

Doing It Over (A Most Likely To Novel Book 1) by Catherine Bybee

Doing It Over Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided an Uncorrected Proof of Doing It Over by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Returning to her hometown of River Bend for her ten-year high school reunion, Melanie Bartlett would like a do-over. Nothing has gone according to plan in the last ten years, and the only thing she wouldn’t change is having her seven-year-old daughter Hope. Mel was voted Most Likely to Succeed, and compared to her two best friends, she ended up with the least amount of success. Meeting Wyatt Gibson just might turn things around for Mel and Hope.

Wyatt always knew he wanted to live in a small town, and River Bend suits him just fine. After living there for several years, he’s yet to finish his house and really make it a home. When he meets Melanie and her daughter Hope, he’s instantly charmed and drawn to them. But life isn’t easy for the single mom, and Wyatt will need to stick by her through some rough patches if they want to get their happily ever after.

Doing It Over is a contemporary romance set in a small town and introducing three best friends. The first book in the series, this is a standalone novel although it introduces characters for the next novel and provides a good deal of backstory for them. The romance between Wyatt and Melanie is sweet, but the author does a good job of incorporating more into the plot than just the romance. Melanie’s past rears its ugly head and needs to be dealt with before the couple can move on to bigger and better things.

I enjoyed that Wyatt wasn’t some insensitive playboy. He was a man who knew what he wanted out of life even if he didn’t realize that would include loving a single mom and her seven-year-old daughter. Melanie had plenty of lessons to learn throughout the story, including that the same friends she’d been hiding things from could be counted on to stand by her side when the going got rough.

A few drawbacks kept this book from being a standout. While Hope was an adorable and sweet kid, I didn’t find her personality truly realistic. She acted much younger than her age for the majority of the story, and then it was specifically stated that her personality might change after one of the major events. There was a definite shift in her maturity after that point, but I didn’t find that believable.

I appreciated that there was more to the story than romance, however the suspense aspect was also a little implausible. I frequently found myself wondering why no one was considering the glaring connections, especially considering there was an FBI agent involved. The incorporation of other characters’ points of view didn’t add anything beyond introductions to their story lines, and the story would have felt more cohesive if these scenes were left out and the reader learned about these issues from the main characters’ points of view.

I was provided with an Uncorrected Proof of this book, so as expected there were quite a few errors. I tried not to factor those into my rating, however it is worth noting as I have no way of knowing if all of the issues will be fixed prior to publication.

Overall it was an entertaining story that was decently written but could have been a little better.

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Rach

Talent (Descended from Myth Book 2) by Erin McFadden

Talent (Descended from Myth Book 2) by Erin McFadden

Talent Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Talent by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Claire Montgomery is a Talent who doesn’t trust the very organization charged with protecting her. She is able to see into people’s minds and help correct things that are wrong, this Talent descended from the original nine muses. But when using her Talent, Claire develops headaches and other problems, and those around her are at a loss as to why. Now she’s about to be assigned her own Watcher from the Guardians, and she’ll have to figure out who she can really trust to keep her safe.

Porter McGavin has PTSD from serving in the military. He suffers alone, until he’s offered a position with the Guardians and he finally finds a place he fits in. When temporarily assigned to watch Claire, the two find an unexplained connection, but with Claire’s trust issues and Porter’s past coming back to haunt him, it will be a race against the clock to save both their lives.

Talent is book two of the Descended from Myth series and is a paranormal romance. Although a standalone book, there were some issues that were not fully discussed in this book, which may have been more thoroughly delved into in book one. Claire’s past was alluded to many times, and I had a general idea of what had happened to her, but there were missing pieces of information that might have rounded out my understanding of her character.

The first half of the book moved too slowly to hold my attention. The narrative was very telling, trying to catch the reader up on events that had already happened, and we learned about the characters through narrative rather than through actions.

Although the book got off to a very slow start, the second half was much more action packed and held my interest more. The plot was interesting, and I appreciated the connection between Claire and Porter and how their lives were intertwined once things got moving. The way all the pieces of the puzzle came together was satisfying and entertaining.

There were a lot of tense changes, which drew me out of the story, among other editing errors. Long paragraphs where one person’s dialogue was mixed with another person’s thoughts were also distracting. I had a difficult time visualizing Porter because the picture on the cover didn’t match his description in the book. My attention to the plot would have been stronger without these disruptions.

Three stars for this interesting paranormal romance.

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Rach

Guardian (The Guardian Trilogy Book 1) by Sara Mack

Guardian (The Guardian Trilogy Book 1) by Sara Mack

Guardian Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Guardian by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Overcome with grief after losing the love of her life, Emma Donohue tries to put her life back together with the help of her best friend, a new job, and the interest of new friend Dane. But James’ voice in her head makes her think she’s going crazy. When she sees James—really sees him—she has to decide if hallucinations are taking over her life or if what James tells her about himself is true.

Guardian is book one in The Guardian Trilogy and is a paranormal romance between Emma and a new love interest, Dane, after Emma’s boyfriend James is killed in a car accident. The premise of the story was enthralling. James appeared to Emma and explained how he became a Guardian and what that entailed while allowing him to visit her from time to time. But in visiting her, he was also witnessing her life and how she was moving on. Emma was consumed with guilt over James’ death, believing it was her fault, and also didn’t want to move on since she still loved James so much. She had some difficult decisions to make throughout the book.

Starting with James’ death, the book backtracked a bit through Emma’s memories to show how their relationship came about. A little too much information was provided while still not truly selling me on their great love. Little tidbits of paranormal activity were hinted at in the beginning, but the first part of the book dragged for me before things really got moving.

The story did pick up pace and keep me interested until the end, although I had trouble with the timing of the plot. The entire book took place over about three months, and Emma’s best friend was pressuring her to move on with another guy only a month after James’ death. Dane also was a bit too forward for my liking. He would say he didn’t want to pressure Emma and understood she was grieving, but his actions were entirely contradictory. I did see a bit more connection between Emma and Dane though.

There were some editing and formatting problems, but one thing that confused me more than anything was a major part of the paranormal aspect. When James was with Emma, he wasn’t able to touch her. Hands and bodies passed through each other, but then they were able to hold hands, put arms around each other, and kiss.

This was a solid plot that left the door open for book two of the series without a cliffhanger but had some definite room for improvement.

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Rach

Chef (My Master Series Book One) by D.S. Hart

Chef (My Master Series Book One) by D.S. Hart

Chef Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Chef by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Sous Chef Veronica Delaware has the hots for her boss, Head Chef Ethan Craymore. Too bad he’s a complete jerk. Veronica also has some hidden desires she’s not sure Ethan, or anyone else, can fulfill. Her ex-boyfriend certainly couldn’t. No matter where she goes, she can’t seem to escape reminders of her ex.

Ethan learned his lesson about mixing business with pleasure a long time ago, but his desire for Veronica is put to the test when the two are attacked outside the restaurant they work at. Veronica is forced to stay with Ethan, and their desires come to the surface. It appears they’re more compatible than either one thought.

The attack at work and a fire at Veronica’s condo lead them to believe the events are more than just coincidence. When Veronica’s safety is in jeopardy, Ethan will have to use all his resources to save her.

Chef is book one in the erotic romance My Master series, and it includes a nice mix of romance, BDSM, and suspense. The main characters are involved in BDSM, but the author did a good job of incorporating that as secondary to a full plot instead of making it the main focus. One thing I like to see with any type of BDSM in a story is that it’s done realistically, which certainly is the case here. The characters discuss things like limits and safe words before embarking on any type of relationship.

The romance and suspense were also well done. While Veronica and Ethan were getting to know each other sexually, they were also getting to know each other personally. There may have been insta-lust, but there was no insta-love. The love grew at a nice pace throughout the story. The suspense wasn’t apparent at first but developed as the story progressed, leading to a nice climax and tying into the romance at the end.

While I really liked the plot and the characters, the editing errors brought the book down for me. In addition to things like missing and extra words, wrong words, and incorrect dialogue punctuation, there were also several inconsistencies in the plot that made it less enjoyable. Both main characters had contrasting information given at times about their background. A few plot devices were a bit too cliché for my liking. This book could truly benefit from a strong editor to fix these issues.

Overall, I enjoyed the main theme of the book and the way the author used BDSM to draw the characters together. Three stars for this erotic romantic suspense.

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Happy reading!

Rach