Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: Burn For Me (Hidden Legacy #1) by Ilona Andrews

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.
He [Rogan] was terrifying, and I wanted to run my hands down that chest and feel the hard ridges of his abs. I was some special kind of idiot.
Nevada lives in a world run by magic. Houston is divided into powerful magical families, or Houses, that either work together, or fight against each other all in the name of power. The Houses are almost like sub-cities within Houston all owning and running their own corporations, they have their own land and have control within their own territories. For the most part, at least initially, the Houses are playing nice, but Nevada and her investigative business are owned by House Montgomery and when she gets a call from Augustine Montgomery to meet him immediately, she knows nothing good is about to happen. Nevada isn’t living under any House but with her business having been mortgaged to House Montgomery to help pay for her father’s medical treatment, they call the shots. They want her to find and deliver a dangerous Prime, a powerful magic user, back to his family, unharmed. The Prime, Adam Pierce, is accused of starting a fire that killed a man and injured his family. Adam’s family, the powerful House Pierce, want him found and delivered back to them so that they themselves can do damage control. They’ve hired the Montgomery House Investigative team, who have farmed the work out to Nevada’s small family business. Why? Because she’s expendable and trying to bring in Adam is most certainly a death sentence. But Nevada doesn’t have a choice. It’s try to bring in Adam or lose not only their business but their home which is all rolled into one. What no one knows is that Nevada is a Truthseeker, a rare magical talent that allows Nevada to instantly know whether or not someone is lying to her. If any of the Houses or the government for that matter, ever found this out, her life as she knows it would be over. But her main concern is finding Adam and that’s made even more difficult when Conner “Mad” Rogan comes into the picture.

“So instead of talking to me, asking for my credentials, or doing any of those things a normal person would do, you decided to assault me and chain me in your basement?”

He [Rogan] shrugged, a slow, deliberate movement. “It seemed like the most expedient way to obtain the information. And let’s be honest, you weren’t exactly harmed. I even took you home.”

“You dumped me on my doorstep. According to my mother, I looked half dead.”

“Your mother exaggerates. A third dead at most.”

I started at him. Wow. Just wow.

Oh Mad Rogan, you delicious, crazy, powerful man. Events in Rogan’s past earned him the nickname Mad and it basically boils down to, this is a man no one wants to mess with. He’s powerful, he’s believed to be a little bit psychotic, he’s dark and mysterious and he wants to find Adam just as much as Nevada does, but for different reasons. When he finds out that Nevada is actually making contact with the elusive Adam, Rogan steps in via kidnapping Nevada, because that’s what any normal person would do, and Nevada’s life goes into a crazy tailspin. She finds herself reluctantly teamed up with Rogan in their search for Adam, only to discover that he’s part of an even bigger plan that could burn Houston completely to the ground.

There is so much about this story that I loved, I can’t even begin to cover it all. First, Nevada – she’s a twenty-something heroine with the stress of keeping her family’s business afloat. She works with her Grandma, mom, her two younger sisters and two younger cousins. She’s good at what she does, but it’s her magical talent that’s really a big question mark. It seems like she’s only just barley tapped into her potential and Rogan’s too smart to just let that go. I can’t wait to see what else develops for her in the future as far as her magic goes.

“Because my [Rogan] telekinetic magic doesn’t work on living things. I can throw something metal fast enough to slice an opponent to pieces. I can hurl a board at him, because cut wood is dead. I can choke him with his own clothes if they are loose enough. But I can’t simply throw a body.”

Oh. “So the best way to fight you is to strip naked and attack?”

His eyes flashed with a wicked light. “Yes. You should try it and see what happens.”

Well, I did walk right into that one.

For as much as I enjoyed Nevada, the story is told from her point of view (with the exception of the epilogue) and while she really holds her own, I was most drawn to Rogan. He’s not affiliated with his House, he’s a loner but so powerful, his reputation makes most normal people shake and run away as fast as they can. He used to getting what he wants, having things done his way and when Nevada comes into his life and doesn’t conform, he seems more intrigued than anything. There’s so much I enjoyed about Rogan, but I really liked seeing his dark humor and sarcasm come out. And when he makes it known he wants Nevada and she denies him…watch out. They share a kiss that Nevada will probably never forget but Rogan wants it all, he wants her and I can’t wait to see that play out.

Burn For Me sets up ongoing storylines, including the romance between Rogan and Nevada, so be prepared for that (the waiting, it’s already torturous!). A few threads get wrapped up here, but for the most part, we’re introduced to this world, we see which characters are connected and to who and how, how the Houses are aligned and how Nevada and Rogan fit into that world. While I love a good epilogue, the one at the end of Burn for Me just adds more questions and made me want the next installment even more.

Fans of the writing team of Ilona Andrews will love this book. It has the humor that I’ve come to love that they always deliver on, fantastic world building that’s engaging and easy to grasp as the story unfolds. Their characters always come to life on page and I can’t wait to see what adventures Nevada and Rogan find themselves in the middle of next.

Rating: A

Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Avon
Ilona Andrews: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
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*eARC provided by publisher for review* 


Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: What a Wallflower Wants (Wallflower #3) by Maya Rodale

In the third novel in Maya Rodale's charming Wallflower series, London's Least Likely to Be Caught in a Compromising Position finds temptation in a devilishly handsome stranger . . .

Miss Prudence Merryweather Payton has a secret.

Everyone knows that she's the only graduate from her finishing school to remain unwed on her fourth season—but no one knows why. With her romantic illusions shattered after being compromised against her will, Prudence accepts a proposal even though her betrothed is not exactly a knight in shining armor. When he cowardly pushes her out of their stagecoach to divert a highwayman, she vows never to trust another man again.

John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is nobody's hero.

He's a blue-eyed charmer with a mysterious past and ambitious plans for his future—that do not include a wife. When he finds himself stranded at a country inn with a captivating young woman, a delicate dance of seduction ensues. He knows he should keep his distance. And he definitely shouldn't start falling in love with her.

When Prudence's dark past comes back to haunt her, John must protect her—even though he risks revealing his own secrets that could destroy his future.

Prudence is the last wallflower standing, her two best friends and fellow wallflowers are now married and Prue has left London and is desperate to find a husband before the very important Lady Penelope’s Ball, the finishing school Prue and her friends attended and no one in the history of the school has come to the ball unmarried. Prue doesn’t want to be the first, so she’s agreed to a marriage of convenience with a man whose heart seems to be set on another man. Prue’s just fine with that, she doesn’t want anything to do with actually being married other than in name only, but on their way back to London, they’re intercepted by a robber. Only Prue manages to escape and makes her way to a small inn where she meets John Roark.

John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is hiding some pretty big secrets about who he really is, but one look at Prue and he’s smitten. But Prue’s past is dark and tragic and she wants nothing to do with men, period. She was raped a few years ago during her first year out in society and through flashbacks we get the details of that horrible night when she needed help and no one came. This story is definitely darker than the previous two books in the series and for me, the flashbacks scenes were hard to read. I don’t like having those details on page, frankly I got the impact of what happened to Prue just fine through her current thoughts and actions; I didn’t need to know exactly what happened. So just be warned that the details are there. Roark understands fairly quickly what happened to Prue and he’s the perfect man for her. His own sister went through something similar and John helps Prue reclaim herself and gain some confidence. He’s there for her in whatever capacity she needs and he helps her move past that ugly night and realize that not every man is a monster and that John is someone she can trust with her heart and her body. Too bad he keeps a huge truth from her for too long.

Yes, I didn’t like that John lies to Prue for as long as he did, but he more than pays for it and he came across as so genuine on page, it didn’t bother me as much as it might have in another story perhaps. My heart went out the Prudence throughout the whole book. I have such a soft spot for that woman who is put in an awkward, potentially embarrassing position, which Roark’s lie puts Prue in. But she grows in strength throughout the whole story and she makes it through, with her best friends by her side. I really enjoyed her story and seeing her move beyond this horrible thing that happened to her and become stronger and more confident.

I enjoyed getting to know the three Wallflowers in this Maya Rodale trilogy and Prue’s story was a nice ending to wrap it all up. Even with the darker tone of story, I liked Prue very much, she captured my attention right away and I just wanted her to find her hero, a man she’s convinced doesn’t exist. John makes some mistakes sure, but he ended up being the perfectly, imperfect man for Prue. He pays for not coming clean to Prue sooner, but he makes up for it and is her ultimate hero. I loved getting to see their relationship play out. The Wallflowers are all fun, sweet woman and I’d recommend this series for all historical romance fans.

Rating: B

Release Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Avon
Maya Rodale: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: | B&N
*Book provided by publisher for review* 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review: He's So Fine (Lucky Harbor #11) by Jill Shalvis

For Olivia Bentley, Lucky Harbor is more than the town where she runs her new vintage shop. It's the place where folks are friendly to strangers-and nobody knows her real name. Olivia does a good job of keeping her past buried, not getting too cozy with anyone . . . until she sees a man drowning. Suddenly she's rushing into the surf, getting up close and personal with the hottest guy she's ever laid hands on.

Charter boat captain Cole Donovan has no problem with a gorgeous woman throwing her arms around his neck in an effort to "save" him. In fact, he'd like to spend a lot more time skin-to-skin with Olivia. He's just not expecting that real trouble is about to come her way. Will it bring her deeper into Cole's heart, or will it be the end of Olivia's days in little Lucky Harbor?

He’s So Fine is a classic Lucky Harbor story with an alpha hero who’s fun and sexy and quirky heroine to match him.

Olivia is a former child star, but she changed her name and life (basically lying to everyone) about who she is to live in quiet Lucky Harbor. I have to say, I really disliked her lies from the start. I understood them, and was even ok with it but when she kept saying “I should really tell him [Cole] the truth” or “I need to come clean, he’ll hate me for lying” but then she never did, that’s what peeved me off. I get it, it’s drama and angst in the making, but when the heroine knows and says she should be doing this, but never does, letting things build and build it’s more frustrating than anything else. I think because you could see how the story was going to play out from the very beginning with regards to Olivia’s lies and then there ended up being no real surprises, it ended up reading a little bit boring and predictable.

Cole was a really easy guy to like. He’s a hard worker, just like his best friends who all own their own business, he was broken-hearted by a woman from his past who was in love with his best friend; the same best friend who died on an oil rig with Cole, Sam and Tanner. He’s kept all his feelings in about this for the two years since the accident and hasn’t been with a woman since. His friends knew it would take just the right woman to come along and she did in Olivia when she literally jumped on his head in the water. They have a fun, quirky first meeting that sets the tone for the story.

The romance between Olivia and Cole is sweet and sexy (what you'd expect from a Shalvis couple) and it’s made a bit funny by where Olivia lives and her super thin walls between her neighbors. It’s hard to keep anything private in her building, enough said.

I liked getting to know the two different sets of friends in the book. The men are all best friends who know each other so well and have each others backs while still ribbing each other about everything. The women, Becca, Olivia and Callie all living in the same building and being each other’s wing-women, something that Olivia’s never had, having grown up in the cutthroat entertainment industry. No one had her back and the people around her, her family included, just wanted something from her.

I’m still most intrigued by Tanner. He seems like an interesting guy dealing with a teenage son who’s a bit unruly. I’m looking forward to his story and finding out what dark secrets and pain he’s dealing with.

With any of the Lucky Harbor books, you know what you’re going to get with the Shalvis series, and I mean that in a good way. Fans of the series will enjoy this latest installment and the fun romance between Cole and Olivia. While Olivia’s lying got to me, I did overall like the story.

Rating: C+

Release Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Jill Shalvis: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: B&N | Kobo
*eARC provided by publisher for review* 


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Review: Darling Beast (Maiden Lane #7) by Elizabeth Hoyt


Falsely accused of murder and mute from a near-fatal beating, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne has escaped from Bedlam. With the Crown's soldiers at his heels, he finds refuge in the ruins of a pleasure garden, toiling as a simple gardener. But when a vivacious young woman moves in, he's quickly driven to distraction . . .


London's premier actress, Lily Stump, is down on her luck when she's forced to move into a scorched theatre with her maid and small son. But she and her tiny family aren't the only inhabitants—a silent, hulking beast of a man also calls the charred ruins home. Yet when she catches him reading her plays, Lily realizes there's more to this man than meets the eye.


Though scorching passion draws them together, Apollo knows that Lily is keeping secrets. When his past catches up with him, he's forced to make a choice: his love for Lily . . . or the explosive truth that will set him free.

Apollo Greaves is a mute hero who’s struggling when we first see him on page. He first showed up in the series during the last book (Duke of Midnight) when his twin sister helped rescue him from Bedlam. After a horrible beating inside, he lost the use of his voice and has been hiding out, working on rebuilding a garden at a theater that burned down. He invested in the theater and wants to get it back in working order so he can start getting his money back. He was initially tossed into Bedlam four years ago for being accused of a triple murder, but he’s innocent and is trying to figure out how to prove that. Into him life walks the man who helped convict him in the first place, James Trevillion, he believes he arrested the wrong man now and is going to help prove Apollo’s innocence.

Living at the theater, a burned out hole really, is Lily. An actress who’s paycheck was cutoff when the theater burned down. She burned a few bridges along the way and now she, her son and Maude, Lily’s former nursemaid and now a third member of their family, are barely making ends meet. Lily is ghost writing another play for her brother to sell under his name and her deadline is fast approaching. When her son sees a “monster” in the garden their world is flipped when she meets Apollo.

I really enjoyed this story from the start. It was interesting getting to know Apollo when he was mute and had a hard time communicating, although that changes soon enough, but it was done in a way that made sense. I’m a sucker for seeing a man who hasn’t known love or compassion (his sister excluded) from another in so long. He connects with Lily and wants her to see the man he truly is and not as a monster or even as Viscount Kilbourne, the title that he can’t claim since he’s still a wanted man.

Truths eventually start coming out and Lily is convinced that a relationship between them won’t work. They’re from two different worlds and she has firsthand experience seeing her best friend go through a similar relationship and having it end in her death.

Apollo is so sweet, you can’t not fall for him. The story combines a complex relationship, great storytelling with a pace that kept me captivated from the start.

I did have to laugh through because I had a huge A-HA! moment when I realized who Apollo was. It’s been awhile since the last book, which his sister led and a few chapters in, it all came flooding back to me about who Apollo was and the role he played in his sister, Artemis’s story.

The story had some lighter moments that had me laughing out loud. I enjoy it so much when a story combines emotion, a little darkness, suspense and some laughs. I especially loved Apollo’s nickname for his brother in law which stems from the previous book. Also, Lily’s young son is adorable, he provided some of the lighter moments as well.

This is a recommended read and if you haven’t read this series yet, it’s one of my favorites and I look forward to each new installment. I’m especially anxious for the next book as we finally, FINALLY, get Lady Phoebe’s book. She’s a blind heroine and her hero and bodyguard, Trevillion, is a little grumpy, a little bit injured himself needing to walk with a cane, and up to this point is fighting his feelings for her. I can’t wait to see him brought to his knees.

Rating: B+

Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Elizabeth Hoyt: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: B&N
*eARC provided by publisher for review* 


Friday, October 10, 2014

Review: Riding Dirty (Dirty Eleven MC #1) by Jill Sorenson

He's her weapon of choice...

Psychologist Mia Richards wants revenge. Her new client, tattooed Cole "Shank" Shepherd, provides the perfect means. She just has to manipulate the felon-turned-informant into eliminating her husband's killers—members of Cole's rival motorcycle club. The first step, seducing Cole, is simple. As for walking away before she falls hard—it's already too late.…

Dirty Eleven practically raised Cole, and he plans to double-cross the cops rather than sell them out. But smart, sexy Mia is an irresistible distraction. While she's evaluating his mind, all he can think about is her body until he discovers her true intentions. Walking a fine line between desire and betrayal, they'll have to outrun her past, his enemies and the law for a love that's dangerously real.

Cole Shepherd has been released from prison after making a deal to become an informant against his Motorcycle Club, Dirty Eleven and his uncle, their leader. Cole is also forced to ork with an ass of an investigator who insists he take counseling with Mia. Mia has her own agenda, wanting to use Cole to help find the men who robbed her home years ago, killing her husband and nearly killing her. She’s currently presumed dead and put into Witness Protection, but she still longs for justice for the man she loved. The suspects are members of Dirty Eleven’s rival motorcycle club so Mia wants to use Cole to get information and proof about the men so she can put that chapter of her life to rest.

I felt for Cole. He hated being locked up, not that he didn’t do things to deserve it. Oh no no no, this guy’s no saint. He broke the law, in fact, one more strike and he’ll be locked up for good. He’s between a rock and hard place right now. If he goes back to prison, a gang on the inside will kill him. If he remains an informant, he’s not 100% sure he’s not being set up and used by the lead investigator who’s out for his own agenda. What Cole really didn’t expect was to fall for Mia, his counselor.

Mia soon abandons her plan to use Cole when it’s clear that that’s really all he’s used to, being used and not being wanted for anything else. His dreams are pretty simple, find intimacy with someone, not just sex, but having that one person who loves him, someone he can come home to, and someone that makes him want to walk the straight (and legal) path for a change. He thinks he’s found it with Mia, but with her past barreling down on them both, plus the informant tag hanging over Cole’s head, there’s a lot in play for not only their relationship working for the long term, but for them both to come out of this alive.

I had mixed feelings about this story. On the one hand, I really liked Cole and seeing him struggle to do what’s right, do what he “felt” was right, and to try and figure out the correct people to trust. This guy, he’s rough around the edges, a little bit dirty, a lot naughty and he wants to be all that with Mia, and Mia wants it too. She’s not the woman she used to be and with Cole, she opens herself up to new experiences, usually related to sex. That’s where the story lost me a bit.

Sex-wise, I started thinking of this story as a “kitchen sink” as in, when it came to the sex scenes, the author tossed in everything but the kitchen sink. We get public sex, a threesome (this really felt tossed in and went on and on and on), rough, angry sex…a little bit of everything. I get that Mia was for the first time letting her wants and desires play out, but it was a bit much and ended up feeling over the top. I hit the point of thinking, enough already.

Those scenes aside, I got caught up in wondering how this couple was going to make their unconventional relationship work. They have nothing going for them, but in the end, I liked the resolution and believed that how it all played out made sense for them and their relationship.

This new series is definitely more on the grittier side, not a lot of sunshine and rainbows here. But I liked the setup and I’m curious to see who’s up next in book 2. While the romance maybe went overboard for me with all the sex, the relationship between Cole and Mia was interesting and I ended up enjoying the story.

Rating: B-

Release Date: October 1, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Jill Sorenson: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: | B&N
*eARC provided by publisher for review* 


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Review: Echoes of Scotland Street (On Dublin Street #5) by Samantha Young

Shannon MacLeod has always gone for the wrong type of man. After she drifted from one toxic relationship to the next, her last boyfriend gave her a wakeup call in the worst possible way. With her world shattered, she’s sworn off men—especially those of the bad-boy variety.

Cole Walker is exactly the sort that Shannon wants to avoid—gorgeous, tattooed, charming, and cocky. But his rough exterior hides a good man who’s ready to find “the one.” He’s determined to pull Shannon from her self-imposed solitude and win her heart.

As Shannon opens up in the face of Cole’s steady devotion, the passion between them ignites to blazing levels. But when Shannon’s past comes back to haunt her, her fears may destroy the trust Cole has built between them—and tear them apart for good…

Shannon MacLeod has had a bad run of picking the wrong guys to date. At 15 years old, she met Cole Walker, also 15 at the time, when she was visiting her Grandmother. They had a sweet connection, but Shannon made a choice that ended up being one she’d come to regret. She’s a bad boy magnet and all the guys in her past have treated her badly in one way or another. That day, 15 year old Shannon left Cole and went with her then boyfriend and he was the start of many bad boy choices she made throughout the years. The most recent guy, Ollie, not only made her life a living hell, being verbally and physically abusive, but after he crossed the line and Shannon went to her brother Logan for help, Logan paid a big price. He put Ollie in a coma and was sentenced to two years in jail. This estranged Shannon from her parents and sister, but their relationship was already difficult to begin with. Now the only member of her family that she loves and trusts is behind bars, but she was told that he wanted nothing to do with her anymore, so she packed up and moved away to start over. The only job option she found was as a receptionist at INKarnate, a tattoo shop in Edinburgh. She comes face to face with Cole, the manager and very popular tattooist at the shop. He remembers her right away even though it’s been years, but all Shannon sees is another tattooed bad boy and she assumes a LOT about Cole, passes judgment and lets him know that his flirting isn’t welcome because she knows all about him and his type and he’s nothing to her. It was at this point (the quote below had steam coming out of my ears) early on in the story that I truly hated Shannon:

“…There’s nothing behind that charming smile but empty promises. You have nothing real to offer me or anyone who finds herself a victim of your flirtation. The difference between me and them, however, is that I’m smart enough to see you for what you really are.” Breathing ragged, I concluded, “Nothing.” (…)

The muscle in Cole’s jaw flexed and he took one menacing step toward me, causing me to stumble back. He stopped, noticing my retreat with something like disgust. “You don’t know the first fucking thing about me…but thank you. Thank you for showing me what a judgmental bitch you can be. I won’t waste my time on someone who’s not worth it.”

*Cue this reader standing up and applauding Cole* 

Of course as the story progresses Shannon comes to realize that Cole is nothing like the other guys she’s dated in the past but her trust issues drive a wedge between them. But Cole, being the sweet, committed guy that he is, stands by her and vows to make her realize that she can trust him, that he’s not going anywhere and that what they have could very well be worth fighting for.

That quoted moment above really just set the tone for the whole story and Shannon’s attitude. Cole is really the only reason I read this whole book. I wanted to stop early on because Shannon was just so unlikable. I get that she went through some heavy stuff in her past and that it’s shaped her into the woman she is today. But the things she says to Cole, the way she acts, it was so off-putting. She softens up a bit as they start dating and she starts to give him a real chance, but when she lets her family work their way back in, she makes some really immature decisions and all I could think was that Cole deserves so much better than her. Not a great thought to have as the story is coming to an end.

I enjoyed Cole since he was introduced into the series and I enjoyed him even more here. Even though I know that Samantha Young writes from the heroine’s point-of-view in these books, I really, really wished, more than once, that Cole’s POV would have been on page. I think that would have helped, but the story is told completely from Shannon’s perspective and I got tired of her, to be honest. Cole is such a sweet hero, he has the patience of a saint with Shannon and the man is SEXY. I love that combination in a hero, sexy and in charge in the bedroom, but sweet and there for his heroine when she needs him. Cole is a great leading man, I just didn’t feel like Shannon was the heroine for him.

I would say read this book for Cole, he makes up for most of the issues I had with Shannon. But also read it for the supporting characters, all are enjoyable. Shannon’s roommate and INKarnate employee Rae is hilarious, loved getting to know her. And the one thing about Shannon that I did like is because of her, we meet her brother Logan, the man who’s currently serving time. He leads the next book and I’m happy to see the series shift back to a more mature couple. I have nothing against the leads being younger, but the series has felt a bit different the past two books because of it.

After looking so forward to Cole and his story, I was ultimately underwhelmed. Cole is great, don’t get me wrong and I’m glad I got to know him better but I wasn’t connected to Shannon at all. She’s unlikable for much of the story and I had a hard time warming up to her.

Rating: C-

Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: NAL
Samantha Young: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: | B&N
*eARC provided by publisher for review* 


Monday, October 6, 2014

Review: Reaper's Stand (Reapers Motorcycle Club #4) by Joanna Wylde

As Reapers Motorcycle Club president, Reese “Picnic” Hayes has given his entire life to the club. After losing his wife, he knew he’d never love another woman. And with two daughters to raise and a club to manage, that was just fine with him. These days, Reese keeps his relationships free and easy—he definitely doesn’t want to waste his time on a glorified cleaning lady like London Armstrong.

Too bad he’s completely obsessed with her.

Besides running her own business, London’s got her junkie cousin’s daughter to look after—a more reckless than average eighteen-year-old. Sure she’s attracted to the Reapers’ president, but she’s not stupid. Reese Hayes is a criminal and a thug. But when her young cousin gets caught up with a ruthless drug cartel, Reese might be the only man who can help her. Now London has to make the hardest decision of her life—how far will she go to save her family?

Well, damn, Picnic is something else! I wasn’t sure whether to be horrified at some of the things he says and does, or oddly fascinated by him. Since his old lady died, he’s been having sex with any woman (young girls mostly, legal but still) that he can and they’re all willing so he never says no. He doesn’t want another woman permanently in his life and is happy with the no-strings-attached sex he’s got going on, until he sees London.

London owns her own cleaning business and has been hired to clean one of the Reaper’s clubs. She works hard, she’s taking care of her cousin’s daughter, Jessica and even takes in Jessica’s best friend Mellie, who doesn’t have a great home life. The last thing London needs is a connection to the Reaper’s Motorcycle Club. But after Jessica makes some poor choices, she deals with a lot this poor girl, London is forced to ask the Reaper’s, specifically Reese, for help. But it’ll cost her. Reese wants sex, lots of various forms of sex with her, but for now, he’ll settle for her cleaning his house and cooking him meals. This guy, I swear I should want to smack him but I ended up drooling over him. Anyway, after Jessica makes another bad choice, London’s put in a horrible spot. Spy on Reese and kill him or Jessica dies at the hands of a horrible cartel leader. The same cartel that the Reaper’s are currently working with other MC’s to bring down.

I ended up really loving London. We get her point of view throughout the book and her hilarious inner dialogue, which is wildly inappropriate in most cases, but she came across so likable, real and even when she makes a few bad decisions, I loved how she handled herself. She holds her own with Picnic which is no small task.

We’ve come to know Picnic a bit since the beginning of this series but holy hell, this man. He’s raunchy, dirty, sexy, dominant, badass – take your pick. He has his sights set on London and by God he’ll have her, his way. But he has his yuck moments. He’s the type of guy that’s having sex with another woman to rub it in London’s face. Right there at that moment I should’ve hated him, what hero does THAT to his heroine!? But still, this guy got under my skin as well as London’s and once he finally went all in with London, that was it.

(London, after walking in on Picnic having sex in his living room and him not stopping after seeing London):

“I [Picnic] don’t think I’ve ever met anyone like you, London.”

I’d never met anyone like him, either, I thought somewhat hysterically. Maybe I’d led a sheltered life, but most of my friends liked to have sex in private. I decided now wasn’t the time to discuss our cultural differences, all things considered.

Jessica’s storyline was disturbing. I didn’t like to read about what was happening to her on page. But it set up a good history for her when the time comes for her own story. I also liked Mellie and she had some good chemistry with another Reaper, Painter. Again, Wylde did a nice job of bringing in supporting characters that made an impact here, but also set up a great base for when it comes time for their own story.

The pacing from the start was great. I loved the point of view switches from London to Reese and back again and it makes the story read so fast and natural. The entire book had a great flow that was easy to get into and the dialogue and action came alive on page.

After some of the outrageous things Reese says and does, I should dislike this guy, a lot. But this ended up being one of my favorite books in this series, if not the favorite book. London is definitely my favorite heroine so far. There was something just real about her. I enjoyed her humor, her way of dealing with all the crap that was thrown at her and the way she put her life on the line for the people she loved.

The Reapers are hard men to love, most of the time I just want to kick them. But I keep coming back for more because they, along with this series, are addictive.

Rating: B+

Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Berkley
Joanna Wylde: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
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*eARC provided by publisher for review* 

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