Maverick (Grim Sinners MC Originals) Book 2 by LeAnn Ashers

Maverick is a member of the Grim Sinners, an MC that isn’t afraid to handle the dirty business but that also tends to look out for those that society doesn’t. He lives hard, fights dirty and has a heart of gold. He protects his family at any cost and Bell has never known that life. He won’t let her forget that when trouble comes knocking, he answers the door.

Bell was married to a brutal man at fourteen because her parents decided that it was to be done. She had no say. That was life in the religious cult they were a part of and she knew that arguing or defying them would get her nowhere. Life with them was no bed of roses but sometimes it’s better the devil you know. Her circumstances only grew worse and worse. When Fate steps in and gives her a way out, she steps into freedom and finds Maverick.

I really liked Maverick. He was very likeable from the first word. He was supportive, funny, and protective. What’s not to love?

Bell? Meh. She was simpering, a little bit wishy washy and I just never liked her. I have been sexually assaulted and you don’t go to therapy for a few weeks and voila; you’re healed and sleeping with a guy you just moved in with. Imagine a lifetime of trauma, (over 35 years!!) and a few weeks of talking to a therapist and you suddenly have no hang ups and are ready to strip down to your skivvies with a man in the back of beyond all alone. And it’s the second time you’ve spent time together? So many of those things just didn’t help me like her. It was an affront to victims everywhere.

Plus, I found issues with the writing. Nothing major most of the time but still aggravating. Missed punctuation, no capital letters at the start of sentences, but some in the middle of sentences. I said most of the time. I found a couple of instances that made me say wtf!? I’ll detail a few below.

First instance: her daughters have found her and they all meet for the first time and they stop to ask her name. Huh? How did they find her if they didn’t know her name? I’m pretty sure that’s a vital piece of information to have when searching for a birth parent.

Second issue: She and Maverick are making out like crazy and she falls asleep under him? This goes back to the land of unbelievability for me. I’ve been extremely tired and extremely aroused. Those are opposite ends of the spectrum so I can’t see this happening.

For me, this book was a lot shoved into a small book. A cult, a motorcycle gang, a ruthless husband, kidnapping, babies being sold, pregnancies, and so much more. It’s novella length but could’ve been so much better with a little less drama and more backstory. I’m not upset about it but I do wish I had gotten to know the characters better.

Overall, this book was a quick read. I don’t know if I will read the others in this series. I’m on the fence but I did love Maverick! I can only give three stars while being honest. I wish I could give more.


Protector: Watchdogs MC #1 by Kate Stone

I knew this was going to be a quick read. I check those things before buying. I don’t gush about those books typically but everyone needs a book to fill a gap of time ie. sitting in the exam room of the doctor’s office or whatever. I read this one cover to cover in 25 minutes!! It takes longer for Rose Nylund to get a story off the ground! (You’re more than welcome for the totally gratuitous GG reference.)

Neither character jumped off the page. There was no story in the…uh…story. Boy meets girl, flirting happens, boy rescues girl and The End. What???

We didn’t learn anything about the backstory of either character. We didn’t learn anything more than the most superficial crap about the present. We didn’t get any real drama. It wasn’t even hot.

Two stars is charitable. Seriously.


Filthy Marcellos: Lucian by Bethany-Kris

I finished this book yesterday and I’ve still been fence sitting about it. I can’t say I loved it but I didn’t hate it, and that’s all I can say.

Lucian has a very complex past. It got confusing and tiresome. His dad is really his uncle or something. His aunt is really his dad’s wife? I’m from Appalachia and I had trouble following this. That shouldn’t happen since my region is known for incest. (Look up the blue people of Kentucky.)

I loved and completely adored his family though. If for no other reason, I would have finished this book. They each have traits that make you fall in love with them. Read it and tell me differently.

Jordyn was, by turns, both brave and incredibly stupid. That wore me down quickly. She fails to make a decision, which is in itself a decision and then suffers the consequences, but I felt like she never owned that her own inability to make a decision is what caused it. She just seemed to gloss over it. She was also naive in ways that someone with her backstory shouldn’t be. She had grown up rough and should’ve had a better understanding of the world.

The writing! Most of it is fine. Some of it is distracting, aggravating and…I had to put the book down and walk away. She chooses words that while technically correct aren’t the common variation and it pulls you out of the story. Or at least that happened to me over and over. Your mileage may vary. I could list them here but honestly, read the book. You might not find a single example, but I found several. Also, her sentences sometimes ramble to the point of being nearly unintelligible. If I have to read something three times to figure out what might be being said, I’m over it.

The length of the story was okayish. Some of it needed to be edited for clarity and some just needed to be edited. For instance, when Lucian is completely obtuse in a conversation and it doesn’t sink in until later, and sometimes much later. Hello? How old are you again? Ten? No, twenty eight. Really?

The villain in the book, and their reasons for being the villain, at least as far as Lucian is concerned was so obvious. I wanted to slap every one of them. It was something Jessica Fletcher would have known before Colombo could’ve asked one more question. These people need to watch more 80’s TV.

The names of the characters. If she would’ve changed the name of his mom to Carmella this would have been the Sopranos. Antony, Paulie and Cecelia? In New York and the Mob? Mmmm almost!!

The sex. These two were bunnies on Viagra. Angry? Sex. Lonely? Sex. Hungry? Sex. I swear I don’t know why they bothered to wear clothes at all. And they had sex while they were both seriously injured in such a way that their libidinous impulses should have been dead for a few days or heck, even hours. But nope. They didn’t let anything stop them from acting like two adult movie stars.

In the end, three stars. I want to read Dante’s story but I just don’t know if I can go through with it.


Stealing Iris by Sahara Roberts

Iris isn’t exactly living on Easy Street, but she’s making the best of her situation. She works in her father’s grocery store and has a good friend. Unfortunately she also has two people in her life that want to bring her down and are slowly winning that fight. Her past has made her strong and resilient and she will need that everyday.

Dante has his hands full running what appears to be a criminal enterprise. He has a team of people at his beck and call but no one special to share his life and bed. One look at Iris and his mind dreams up all kinds of filthy scenarios and he soon acts on them. When trouble comes knocking he will need his team and their special skill set.

Fate and literal pain brings them together when Iris needs him most. Things have gotten continually worse and now it looks like the end of the road. She has known that it would happen and is resigned to her fate. Will Dante be able to save her in time? Will he want to?

The romance isn’t a slow build up; it’s a surprise threesome in a hotel room. That pulled me out of the book and made me rethink reading it. I soldiered on, hoping for more meat on the bones. Instead, she had his meat in her mouth and another one in her ass. Speaking of the sausage, his is huge of course. It even causes the other participant to comment. She deep throats even though she’s apparently never done this. An innate sex goddess apparently.

From there, Iris gets a better backstory. Dante never does and the story lacks for it. It feels uneven in the end. One or two pages compared to her 100 feels heavy handed. Maybe we get more of his story in the next installment? The constant cryptic hints at the exact nature of his business did start to get wearing but I held on because the writing flowed well.

The sex scenes happen throughout the book but they aren’t breeding like bunnies. The actual scenes could be spicier and a bit more well described. Sometimes trying to picture it got jumbled with positions of hands and naughty bits. As is, they are vanilla in a bowl, lacking jalapeno but fine. Hot sauce isn’t for everyone and I feel like this author kept it tame to appeal to a broader audience.

The action is short lived but the drama isn’t. There is plenty to keep a reader flipping pages if only to see how it wraps up in the end. Just in time for Christmas, there is a dead mother, a missing father, a slutty girlfriend, and a sleazy wannabe. Add in a partridge in a pear tree and it could be the new Christmas story. Now that I think about it, she does kind of resemble the character Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol. Her best friend is named Carol…? Coincidence? You be the judge!

Overall, a decent time passer on a rainy day. I’m not usually a huge fan of novella length books but I would buy the next book. It’s his bodyguard’s story and I really liked him in this book. He was so human and protective! I actually adored him and want the next book immediately. Yummy!!

The author will be publishing a third in the series next year so stay tuned for another review. I received this one for an honest review and my opinion is my own.


Brothers Best Friend by Natasha L. Black


Cole left behind his family money and became a self made man. He worked hard and established his own good name. He started two businesses and rehabbed a old Victorian. He has a loyal best friend and life is good good for him until…

His sister Susie chose a different path and it took her down some dark corridors. Her decisions didn’t just affect her though. She had a darling little girl named Millie. Unfortunately she dragged her along in her more perilous pursuits. When Cole is forced to stand in as a parent, life changes fast for everyone involved.

Millie might be a little girl but she’s seen more than most and bears the scars. She bursts on the scene and wraps everyone around her little finger in record time. She’s a big personality stuffed into a tiny body and makes her presence felt on nearly every page.

Layla has a cozy life with her students and her dog. She’s close to her family and has good friends. Her life is a perfect except that she hasn’t moved on from a personal tragedy. She’s moving forward but not really. Her best friend thinks she knows why, but does Layla?

Lance is Layla’s older brother and best friends with Cole. They are as close as he is with Layla. They have always been there for each other through everything. As adults, that hasn’t changed. He steps up to the plate when Cole needs him but is shocked when Lance reveals something that will change the dynamics of their relationship to each other and to Layla.

This is an ARC so even though I found some minor errors I won’t be detracting points or detailing them here. It will be further polished before publishing I’m sure. I did find some other issues however and will be discussing them below.

The story starts off a bit slow but rolls along in a pleasurable enough way to keep reading. There isn’t a ton of angst and drama so you really shouldn’t read it for that. It’s a lighthearted read despite some of the heavier stuff in the book.

It has broad appeal. I mean, a sexy man, a cute little girl, an overprotective brother, a somewhat clueless woman, a meddling family and two Dachshunds. What more can you ask for in a book?

My major complaint is simple. I haven’t verified this by going back to the book but I would say up to about 60% of the book Layla comes off almost prudish. (You’d expect that from a schoolteacher of small children so cool, right?) After that point she becomes some sort of a femme fatale and is like a foul mouthed bombshell. (She’s had two chaste kisses and suddenly she’s asking for shower sex as a first time between them?) It felt rushed, and very uncharacteristic and threw me out of the story.

I never really bought this new side of her character so I enjoyed the last part of the book less than the beginning. The whole thing with Holly and all that follows just made me read it to get done, not because I was actually rooting for them anymore. That honestly breaks my heart. (Yes, I have one!)

As for the sex. it wasn’t unnecessarily acrobatic and it didn’t make me giggle but it definitely didn’t make my Kindle catch on fire either. More’s the pity.

Can I recommend this book? My first inclination was three stars. However, after some thought as to the subject matter and careful consideration of the whole story, I had to give it four.

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Untouchable by Sam Mariano


This review will contain spoilers!!

Carter is the quarterback of his high school team in Texas where football is a required religion. He also happens to be rich and good looking (of course) but as if that isn’t enough he is also a complete sociopath. A narcissist that manipulates everyone around him like pieces on a chess board. He gets off on power and control and no one in the whole town will take an ounce of it away from him.

Zoey is a bit of a loner, smart and confident. She has a long term goal in mind and will stop at nothing to achieve it. She wants out of Texas and out of small town life and knows that college paves her way. She also knows that unwanted attention needs to be reported. When another football player begins to harass her, she stands up for herself. This triggers the wrath of Carter.

It’s at this point that a very run of the mill YA story goes off the rails for me. This isn’t a genre I generally enjoy but I heard such glowing reviews from friends that I gave it a try. I ended up reading it in a desperate attempt to find some redeeming value in either character and failed.

Zoey comes off very strong and independent in the beginning. She is level headed and logical. She sees to know her worth and willing to sacrifice for it. I could understand her and her motivations. After Carter, that understanding becomes anger. She becomes his sexual toy and doormat. I wanted to strangle her so many times!

Carter never changes. He doesn’t mature. He doesn’t suddenly have an epiphany about his treatment of Zoey might affect her. He is a man-child and has no reason whatsoever to grow up. Zoey, of course, sees nothing wrong with this. She is convinced that he is either fixable or that whatever he does to her, she really wanted it anyway. Give me a break!

The author warns any potential reader in a very up front fashion that this is a bully romance. She goes further and mentions that it gets pretty dark and even includes trigger warnings. I read it anyway, thinking that I knew what to expect. I didn’t.

Carter doesn’t intimidate her before finally growing up and realizing that he’s been a huge ass. No, he sexually assaults her as his introduction to the book. He doesn’t do it quietly, or allow her to go on with her life. No, he does it in front of witnesses and threatens her. Does she run to report this violent assault? No, she starts dating him!

I don’t kinkshame. I am absolutely aware that rape fantasies exist. As long as what happens is between two consenting adults, it’s all good. I also know that in the BDSM lifestyle that sometimes the act is made better by forcing coercion but the submissive always has a safe word, a way out when things go too far. This book didn’t have those safeguards in place.

This read like a court document written by a very young adult that was trying to justify in her own mind why she didn’t report him to the authorities right away. This is how domestic violence starts. This is how abusers groom their victims in the beginning. The abuse and torment doesn’t begin and end with her. He threatens her friends, steals from one of them, and tells people that she’s pregnant to ensure that no one else will touch her and she will be socially isolated and thus a better target.

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t terribly written with typos and bad sentence structure. I only saw a couple of easily overlooked typos. The author can clearly write but this book is only for an older audience. I wouldn’t want a younger person to read this and think that this is typical of an intimate relationship.

I’ve struggled with my rating. I want to be fair and honest. My first inclination was, if I’m being honest, was to give it one star. However, I never write a review just after finishing a book. I mull, sometimes for several days. I make so many notes and I take everything into consideration. I do it with every book, this one included. In the end, I finally settled on a number.

Normally, I consider a three a neutral rating. I hate that! In this instance, it’s deserved. The book is well written from a technical standpoint but the characters are so flawed that they teeter on the verge of being bad enough to cause me to DNF. I muddled through but only because I was hoping for a really good ending. That was lacking, in my opinion.

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Possession: Explicitly Yours Book 1 by Jessica Hawkins

Beau is an entrepreneur that pulled himself up by his bootstraps. He takes a meeting in a local dive bar, unaware that it will be a decision that affects the outcome of three lives. Once inside, he meets a woman that intrigues him. He immediately knows that he wants her. How to get her is his only question.

Lola is waitressing in a small local bar when Beau walks in. She is curious about him because he’s so obviously out of place. His suit is expensive and his manner is too personal. Lola is dating the bartender, Johnny.  He doesn’t seem to be affected by Beau but Lola is. He bothers her, but she can’t figure him out.

A few hours later, he makes an indecent proposal. He wants to buy her for one night, completely own her. No harm will come to her but he wants more than she is willing to give. That soon changes.

This story begs the reader to ponder a lot of questions.

  • How much is a person worth?
  • Can that translate into dollars?
  • How much would you demand as payment?
  • How much for your partner?
  • Could you separate intimacy from the dollar amount?
  • Would that one night shape your future?
  • What would you do with the money?
  • Would it cause issues in your relationship?

Beau is used to money being the answer to all his needs and questions, regardless if it hurts anyone else. Lola is used to being content with what she has, without yearning for more. Johnny has let Lola steer their relationship for years, never veering from the path of least resistance. She suddenly wants more than this life. She wants to better herself and Johnny. This one night could the answer but what if it opens Pandora’s box? Can they take that chance? Will one night with Beau change them all?

The story itself is written well enough to keep the reader interested. There weren’t too many instances of bad sentence structure or funky language. The story flowed well and seemed mostly plausible. The mains simply had no redeeming characteristics though.

I wanted to like Lola. She knows struggle and has the kind of confidence that only comes with life experience. Money enters the equation though and she suddenly loses that swagger and confidence. Beau is manipulative and controlling but not in an Alpha male kind of way. He comes across as simply arrogant. Johnny is mostly clueless and lacking drive or initiative. He waits for Lola to decide and then tags along with no descerinible issues.

Beau is dominant in business dealings but comes across more as a switch than a true Dom. He seems to be trying to be a Dom but with little to not true instincts toward that goal.

Lola is, in some ways, more dominant than Beau while being more of a submissive when it counts, making her a switch too. She has been the dominant personality on the relationship with Johnny for so long that it comes more naturally to her or so it seems.
This story continues as a series. This is just the introduction to the characters and sets the stage for further character development. I’m not sure if I will be along for the ride or not. I am a nosy reader and I would like to see if I can find something likeable about any of the characters so I might pick up the next book. However, right now I’m very ambivalent about the rating of this book so I’m going to fence sit on this one.

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Summer 2019 DNF List

I’ve been reading all spring and summer without leaving the reviews for the DNF books in my life. I’ve complied them here for your perusing comfort. They are of various genres, lengths and all have separate reasons for being dnf’d. Beware! Some of my reasons are petty but it was still enough for me to quit the book.

Now onto the list!

Personalized Murder by Jeffrey Holt

This premise of this book is political assassinations and the inaugration of a new President. When politicians start droping like flies they call in a well respected pathologist to get to the bottom of the deaths. He finds natural causes but that doesn’t explain why people keep dying. He is racing both the clock and a madman. 

This book started off so promising. I am a political junkie and knew right away I wanted to read this book. It was fast paced and intriguing…until it went off the rails, at least for me. I found myself trying desperately trying to remember the role of each character and there are loads of characters. I even started a list and gave them a short description so that I could more easily place everyone. But at 51% I gave up. There were simply too many characters, too many deaths and too much going on to keep it all straight. If you like a crazy, murder filled book, this ones for you!!

Bind, Torture, Kill: The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door by Roy Wenzl, Tim Potter, Lavinia Hurst, L. Kelly

BTK is the name that Dennis Rader gave himself for the way that he killed his victims: Bind, Torture and Kill. He believed it was a great name and very creative. He even created a logo of sorts for himself.

He killed young, old, even a woman that lived just down the street from his own family. He has admitted to his crimes and I wanted to know more. I am fascinated by the criminal mind. I read a ton of true crime. I want to understand the motivation and the genesis of the monster that stands accused of these horrendous crimes. This book didn’t give me that, at all.

This book caught my attention because it was written by the people central to the case. I wanted to be privy to all the inside details. I wanted first hand knowledge but this book deals entirely too much on the inside players and the mundane details of their own lives to be satisfying. It’s light on crime details and heavy on personal issues surrounded the investigators. I found myself skimming and then gave up about 60% or more through the book.

Highlander’s Wicked Game: Scottish Medieval Highlander Romance Novel by Fiona Faris

Marra and Duncan come from two opposing clans. They’re young and attend a local celebration where they meet. They both want to make their family’s proud but the heart wants what it wants. 

I wanted to try something outside my comfort zone and a friend recommended a different book. I was checking it out on Amazon when this listing caught my eye. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about a highlander so I was sold.

I quickly returned it (kindle unlimited*) because the language in it was too distracting. The author had spelled the words in the way they are pronounced and while that doesn’t always irritate me, it did this time. I think I got to chapter three.

Chance: A Mafia Romance by Kathryn Thomas

Becky is innocent even though her father is in the Mob. She wants protection from that lifestyle but gets the exact opposite. She is taken hostage and held. 

Chance is a hitman. He follows orders and doesn’t bother with questions. He just does the job and moves on. That is, until he finds Becky and kills to save her. This makes her think he is a good man but he is determined to show her that it couldn’t be further from the truth. 

This one is a mafia romance and I should’ve been in love from the first word; I wasn’t.

Mercy by Debra Anastasia

A man is secretly acting as a guardian angel for a woman that saved him when they were both small children. This is all good and I was engrossed. Then I found out that he has an entire skeleton tattooed on his body and keeps himself hidden from the world. Then there’s a Day of the Dead celebration and he’s going to fit right in. Puhleeze. Next!!

So there they are! At least the most recent crop of DNF but, never fear, there will be more.

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The Truce by Becca Steele


Luke works at a small boutique ad company. He is emotionally scarred by a rough childhood, but outwardly fine. Looks can be devastatingly deceiving. He was abandoned by his mother at fourteen and his father never cared for him. They aren’t close and never will be. He doesn’t do relationships but meaningless sex fills the gap.

Olivia came to London looking for a bigger life. She was stuck in a rut and needed more. She had always dreamed of London and finally decided to do it. She found a job at a small ad firm and met her future best friend, Avery. Unfortunately, she also met her arch nemesis, Luke. She and Luke immediately hated one another. They annoy each other at every opportunity.

Finally when they’ve both had enough of the bickering and aggravation, Ethan and Avery set about matchmaking. They see that enemies might be covering up something else. If they can get them to be friendly instead of argumentative, it’s a win.

Once the sparks start flying, they agree to a casual friends with benefits relationship that either can terminate. Luke is commitment phobic and honest about it right from the start. Everything is fine until she starts letting him know that she might have feelings for him. She is heartbroken when he feels panicked and breaks up with her.

My only real complaint with the book is that he used his past as justification for hurting Olivia. It’s immature and he should have been more willing to make compromises. She also reacted badly and showed her level of immaturity. They’re both in their mid 20s and should be better able to cope.

I have one very nitpicking thing that bothered me throughout but I won’t deduct from my overall review. The sex talk. I’m willing to accept that it could be cultural, but calling his dick magical felt young to me, much younger than the ages of the mains.

The story is rounded out nicely by the addition of Ethan and Avery. Alex is a rugby player and is an incorrigible playboy but he doesn’t really add to the story. Perhaps this was the set up to a story of his own. I hope so because he deserves more than this book gave him.

Can I recommend this book? Yes. It was well written with no obvious language butchery. The author gives us a fully developed story with a conclusion that makes sense for the characters.

This is a first time author and the book is being released on August 29th, only 2 days away! So hurry up and add it to your TBR now and grab a copy on release day! It’s fun, easy to read, and a delicious way to spend a few hours!

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The Cottage Next Door by Natasha Moore

Hunter lost his wife Jenny and can’t find his way back to the land of the living because he’s too busy stewing in his unhappiness. Drinking and running along the beach is pretty much his whole day. He wouldn’t run but Riley, his golden retriever needs the exercise. This cottage isn’t paradise, its exile. He likes it that way. So he is none too happy when his publisher and close friend Fletcher rents out the cottage next door.

Sylvie and her husband Matt led an adventurous lifestyle, thrill-seeking and traveling all over. When Matt is tragically injured her life revolves around his round the clock care instead of around the world trips. When he succumbs to his injuries she isn’t sure what the rest of her life looks like and needs a place to clear her head. Fletcher, Matt’s publisher lets her have a cottage for a month. A cottage on the beach could be the ideal place. Sun, surf, sand, and serenity. When she finds a surly man next door she isn’t thrilled but senses he’s also hurting.

Can sex be meaningless? Can you strip your body bare but guard your heart? Can you find solace with another with a gaping hole in your heart? Sylvie and Hunter face these questions and look for the answers only to find more questions.

This is well written and gives the reader a complete backstory of both characters. You can feel their angst over the loss of their spouses. It’s clearly on the page and plays well. They take one step forward and three steps back. They lie to themselves and try to live in the present while desperately hanging onto the past.

My only qualm with the whole story was that I felt it was a bit rushed. That’s probably unique to me but I wanted to prolong their discovery and healing. I subtracted a star for only that reason. I didn’t find any other major issues with language, realism or plot.

It’s a beautiful, heart-wrenching tug of war and I wouldn’t change a thing. If you’re a fan of Maeve Binchy or Debbie Macomber, read this book. If you’re a fan of strong characters trying to overcome tragic pasts, read this book. If you’re a fan of modern-day second chance romances, read this book. If you’re a fan of romance from dual points of view, read this book.

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