Last Night with the Duke: The Rakes of St. James
In order to protect his twin sisters’ debut season from retribution, the Duke of Griffin must hire a capable & resourceful chaperone. I found the premise for this novel refreshing because the Duke of Griffin is seeking to shield his sisters from a possible vengeance that is in direct response to a callous prank he pulled. You don’t often see men in Regency romances actively paying for their transgressions, so this idea is welcome.
Also key to a successful Regency romance is a spunky heroine, which Grey delivers: Esmeralda. Esmeralda is operating a chaperone and governess agency to support herself and her younger sister, Josephine. Through a display of strength and spirit, Esmeralda endears herself to the Duke of Griffin as the only chaperone who will do, and her adventures with Lady Sara, Lady Vera, and the Duke of Griffin begin.
I appreciate that the female characters in this novel were well developed and multi-dimensional–but in some ways each of their considerable back stories distracted from the main plot. While some aspects of the story were unique and the romantic tension between the two main characters was believable, the dialogue between the two did feel well worn.
St. Martin's Paperbacks
With Every Breath: A Slow Burn Novel
This is a sizzling, seductive slow-burn romance that is brimming with so much intensity and all the feels! Maya Bank just reminded me once again why I enjoy the Slow Burn series with her newest installment With Every Breath, as she tethers our hearts to one electric and palpable connection.
“His words, each and every one of them, she committed to memory, savoring and holding them close to her heart where they’d all remain safe and untainted, touched by no one. No one could ever take them away from her. They were hers, given to her and they meant everything to her.”
In this fourth installment, Banks slowly lures readers with her heartfelt prose as she takes us on a journey of a young woman rediscovering her strength, will, and fight to survive. Eliza Cummings thought she had experienced love, but in a series of lies and tragic events, she learned that this love that she thought she had with Thomas was nothing but control and manipulation. When Eliza finally had the strength to leave that part of her life behind her, the monster that she once feared comes back with a vengeance. But this time Eliza is ready for him…Or is she?
“You mean something to me. You. And that means all of you, not just the parts you want me to see while you hide the parts you’re so determined to be ashamed of and feel guilt over. You’re mine, Eliza. All of you. Every inch of you, body and soul. And it wasn’t just your body that I claimed when I made love to you and was inside you so deep that there will never be a time you don’t feel me. I also claimed your heart, your soul, your mind and everything that makes you the person you are and what you were meant to be. And what you were meant to be is mine.”
Wade Sterling is a man that answers to no one. He is arrogant, cocky, confident, and an enigma. There is nothing that can get past his hard exterior and guarded walls. That is, until Eliza Cummings challenges him mentally, physically, and emotionally. Eliza is the only woman who is able to get under his skin. So when Wade started to get suspicious of Eliza’s odd behavior, he knew something was wrong. Since Eliza didn’t want to let him in and tell him what was going on, Wade decided to make Eliza’s problems his. When Eliza informs him of the truth, Wade will stop at nothing in protecting her. As Wade shows Eliza how rare and precious she is, what happens when Eliza’s ex tries to destroy her happiness?
With Every Breath was one of those reads that strips you bare as a heroine discovers how precious she is. Eliza is a relatable character in the sense that she wears her heart on her sleeve. As a child of the foster care system, Eliza craved and wanted love, and so when she thought she had found the right man who loved her, he destroyed her. He left her broken. That is, until the right man showed Eliza the most precious gift of all: the gift of real love. Wade Sterling is a man of few words, but when it comes to Eliza Cummings, she is his everything. And so if you are looking for a love story that beautifully weaves psychic elements, friendship, family, passion, and raw emotions, then With Every Breath is the book for you. Prepare to get lost in a magnetic love story that will awaken all your senses.
Chaos Bound: Sinner’s Tribe Motorcycle Club
If there is ever an MC book that deserves a book hug, CHAOS BOUND by Sarah Castille would be it. I LOVE this fourth installment to the Sinner’s Tribe Motorcycle Series, which happens to be my favorite. As a big fan of the series, I love that Ms. Castille continues to give her readers the rough, sexy, dangerous and intense MC romance novels.
“She felt right beside him. Perfect. Broken. Just like him.”
In this dark and dangerous world of bikers, Sarah Castille not only takes her readers down a vivid and raw journey of the MC clubs and the fierce ladies, who are willing to go beyond the means to protect and stand by their men but she also allows her readers to FEEL the vulnerability, anger, revenge, hope and passion. And trust me when I say that Chaos Bound is bound with so much raw emotions and intensity.
“I got a lot of anger in me,” he said softly. “Always have, although nothing like I got now. Sometimes I’m afraid it will consume me. But when I’m with you, it … just … fades. I’ll never hurt you. Never push you farther than you want to go. You’re safe with me. You got my word on that.”
In this fourth installment, Sarah Castille perfectly weaves a raw, gritty and intense perspective of revenge and the code of brotherhood that these bikers live and die for. Unlike the previous books in this series, Sarah Castille stripped her characters to the very core allowing readers to FEEL every emotions. And I mean everything from hate, sadness, loss, hopelessness, emptiness, anger, revenge, forgiveness, and love. With a wide array of emotions thrown at the readers, Ms. Castille allowed readers to feel for her hero and heroine.
“I need you,” he said. “You’re mine, and I’m not going to let you go. Whatever I have to do, whatever it takes, however long … If you can’t live the biker life after I’m done with Viper, then I won’t live it. But you can’t leave me. I am nothing, Naiya, if I don’t have you.”
REVENGE is the only thing that consumes and keeps Holt “T-Rex” Savage alive. As a member of the Sinner’s Tribe MC, Holt has been held captive by their rival MC, the Black Jacks for three months where he has endured every torture. Scarred and left broken, Holt is filled with hate and anger that his MC left him to die. As darkness clouds Holt’s heart and mind, he never thought that there would be any chance of light and freedom that is until Naiya Kelly stumbled into his life and saved him.
“The new Holt was demanding and controlling. Impatient. Serious. So far removed from the self he knew, he would be lost without Naiya to anchor him to the ground. He needed her now. Needed to claim her, body and soul.”
For the past eight years, Naiya Kelly thought she escaped the Black Jacks but when she was taken by the club, she knew her chance of survival lies with Holt Savage. As prisoners of the Black Jacks, Naiya and Holt teamed up together in order to escape. Freedom was only temporary while on the run since the Black Jacks President, Viper wants Naiya at all cost.
As Naiya and Holt try to come up with a plan to survive, Holt has only one thing on his mind. REVENGE. Not only does Holt want to kill Viper and the Black Jacks but he also wants revenge on the Sinners. But as Naiya begins to get to know Holt, she sees that the three months being held hostage has hardened Holt and changed him. As Holt begins to let down his walls when he is with Naiya, he begins to open his heart to her. And for the first time in his life, Holt finally found someone to LOVE. But with danger looming, Holt may have to let go of his anger and ask for help from his best friend, Tank and the Sinners. Will Holt be able to fulfill his plot for revenge? And did the Sinner’s really betray Holt or was it all a misunderstanding? And as a changed man, will Holt be able to walk away from the biker life and follow a new path with Naiya?
The sexual chemistry and bond that exists between Holt and Naiya was sizzling and palpable from the start. Their connection was the cementing foundation of what it means to sacrifice, honor, respect, and fight for your love. Though their love may be complicated, I loved how Ms. Castille kept their romance heated with passion as danger and doubts begins to surface. I loved how the author kept this book an MC trope but incorporated the elements of love, family, brotherhood, second chances and friendship to be the forefront.
“I love that you’re mine , that you know the worst of me and still want my touch, that you know me as I am now, that I wake from my nightmares and find myself in your arms. I’m gonna make sure you’re safe and happy and able to live that normal life you dreamed about.”
Chaos Bound was such an intense, raw, brazen and gritty perspective of the world of bikers, brotherhood, revenge, and friendship. The writing and story line was so gripping and consuming that you can’t help but be immersed into the story of Holt and Naiya and what awaits for them. In most MC novels, the club would be the main focus but in this installment, Sarah Castille surprised me. She made this more than your typical MC biker book. She allowed readers to see beyond the revenge, anger, hurt, and brotherhood. She made you see friendship and the sacrifices we choose to make. She made you see LOVE. And most importantly she made you see Holt and Naiya. Not Holt, the biker but Holt Savage, the man who fell in love with a science nerd. A man who is willing to risk anything for the girl who saved him. And for Naiya Kelly, Holt Savage brought beauty, love, and passion that was missing in her life. He didn’t see a rape victim. He saw her. The real Naiya Kelly.
“She tried to commit him to memory, the warmth of his lips, the deep rumble when he looped an arm around her waist and pulled her against him. She wanted him. Needed him. She’d made it through hell, and he was her piece of heaven…She had never felt as complete as she did at this moment; never felt she really belonged until she’d stepped into the circle of his arms.”
Like I said before, this book was so much more. It is a story that reminds us all nothing is black and white. Dreams change. Life goes on. Love heals. And most importantly, each and everyone of us will make a choice. A choice that will lead us to happiness or of the unknown. And this choice that may be bound with chaos is a journey that Holt and Naiya are willing to navigate together. So if you are looking for a story that has grit, intensity, danger, passion and most importantly heart, then I urge you to read this book. Go fall in love with two damaged and broken characters who found comfort, solace, and truth together. Beyond the scars, heartaches, sadness, loss, and anger lies a story of what it means to truly protect the ones you love even if it means death and letting go. So if you are ready to ride through a chaotic, wild and fierce love, then all there is left to say HOLD ON TIGHT as Holt Savage will pull those heartstrings and show us all what it means to be truly wild and free.
After surviving a horrible childhood full of abuse and neglect, Archer Noble, is an openly gay man who freely speaks his mind with a career as a blogger and author whose star is on the rise. However, upon learning of his sister’s death in an accident he returns home to care for her two young children. With no idea how nor desire to become a parent Archer is looking for any way out. As luck would have it Ryan Eriksson, Margie’s friend and a teacher at the children’s school, appears to be his free ticket out. Although willing, Ryan convinces Archer to stay and at least try until September for the sake of his niece and nephew to which Archer agrees. Ryan, who is also gay, has a completely different set of morals than Archer causing them to struggle as they figure out what will be best for the children. As September draws closer and seasons change will enough time have passed to change other things as well?
Until September by Chris Scully, tells a moving story about family life and dynamics through the LGBT setting. Though not for everyone, Scully’s story does a fine job showing readers that families come in all kinds.
A Promise of Fire: The Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Amanda Bouchet’s A Promise of Fire was an amazing, skillfully written fantasy-romance that was an absolute joy to read.
The book was written from the point of view of Cat, the Kingmaker. When people lie, it causes her physical pain. She works at a circus as a soothsayer to hide from the dreaded Andromeda, leader of Fisa, who had her in custody and tortured her. While at the circus, Cat is abducted by Griffin, an alpha-male warlord and second-in-command of the Sinta region. He wants to use Cat’s powers to advance his own agenda. Cat is combative and guarded but eventually warms to Griffin, and, like any romance novel, they fall in love. But Cat still has secrets to hide and so many people want her dead.
This book has everything: a fantasy world, Greek mythology, complex characters, sizzling romance, epic battles, and powerful magic. Cat’s personality was multifaceted and realistic. Griffin, unquestionably a typical manly-man romance hero, had a softer, compassionate side as well. A Promise of Fire is one of the best romances I’ve read all year, and I can’t wait until Breath of Fire comes out in January 2017.
Give Me Your Answer True
Daisy Bianco is an aspiring ballet dancer who has it all: a loving boyfriend (Erik), an amazing group of friends (Will and Lucky), and a career in dancing. But when a single incident almost costs them their lives, Daisy has a hard time coping with the loss of her peers and teachers. One mistake costs her the love of her life, and she resorts to hurting herself as a means of punishment for what shes done. When she cant take it anymore, she seeks help from Rita, her fifth therapist in two months. Give Me Your Answer True is a sequel to The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur and tells Daisys side of the story.
The novel opens with Daisy at her first session with Rita, who coaxes her into telling why she resorted to cutting herself. Daisy then starts from the beginning, her initial difficult months in Lancaster, encountering professional jealousy, the context of her meeting with Erik, her amazing partnership with Will and how Lucky came to be her best friend. Daisy would occasionally hole up and refuse to speak, but, with Ritas support, she relives the Lancaster shooting and its consequences. Then onwards is her downhill spiral, morally and professionally. With Erik refusing to speak to her and her attempts to revive her career in New York City, she keeps herself busy so as not to think about what she lost. And going back to one thought: Will she ever love again?
Give Me Your Answer True has been penned brilliantly, and the flashbacks to Daisys college life, rather than her narrating in third person, prove the skill of the author. Ms. Laqueur skillfully dissects the personalities of each character, and expresses the impact of vulnerability, personal trauma, courage and loyalty at a young age. Readers who have read The Man I Love will rejoice over their favorite characters being back, while this novel is highly recommended for readers of the Romance genre.