“DarkFever” – Karen Marie Moning

Amazon Link Here: http://amzn.to/2pk4jK1

Read as a part of Smart Bitches Trashy Books Quarterly Title Book Challenge for March to read a book with an affiliation to Ireland. After checking out a goodreads list I discovered I had this book in my TBR (which is in part why I do book challenges, to clear down my TBR).
I’m discovering I love Urban Fantasy books. I really enjoyed the set up (Vengeance is a powerful motivator). Although this book is 12 years old (and sometimes it shows, like the Heroine’s lack of internet skills, and “Ask Jeeves” being the search engine of choice) I hate spoilers.

There’s a real clueless Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibe going on here, but with a darker edge, bolster by Mac being slightly older. I found the choices of when & when not to translate from Gaelic to English interesting. The detailing of what it’s like to be a foreigner even in an English speaking nation were accurate. It’s always the minutiae that cause the struggles. I’ll be dashing off to my local goodwill to pick up as many of the series as I can (I saw 4-5 books from this series there last week).

#NotARomance
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“Murder Notes” – Lisa Renee Jones

Amazon Link Here: http://amzn.to/2G1vHWN

Probably my favourite LRJ book to date. Lilah Love is an FBI Profiler who finds there is a link between her past and the current case she is working on. Her backstory is complicated; Her ex inherited a Mexican cartel, her brother is the local police chief and her father is making a run for NY senator. She’s now receiving notes about the mysterious reason she left the Hamptons, and everyone else behind, and you have a romping good mystery/thriller/sorta romance (way light on the romance more of a will they won’t they, which I’m sure gets ramped up in book 2).
Lilah is very much a lone wolf, think Clarice Starling with a lot less naivete (A LOT LESS). She does not play nicely with other, but her upbringing allows her to fake it til she makes it when needed.
Can’t wait for part 2 (releasing in July) to see how this all comes together.

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“When I Met My Duchess” – Caroline Linden

Amazon Link Here: http://amzn.to/2Isgah7

Gareth Cavendish, Duke of Wessex thinks he’s chosen the perfect girl to be his Duchess until he meets her spunky widowed sister and finds himself enthralled. Cleo loves her sister Helen to death and longs for her to escape the clutches of her overbearing parents. The Duke of Wessex is the best person to make that happen. Can she subjugate her own desires and put the needs of Helen first or will she betray her and risk even more separation from her family who already dismiss her for eloped to marry a merchant rather than a peer.
Oh the Angst! Loved it. I feel like it might be a Novella where the other characters we met have their own books? Not sure, but that takes nothing away from the book itself.

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“Keepsake (True North, #3)” – Sarina Bowen

Amazon Link Here: http://amzn.to/2pgKDGb

Having grown up in a faith background I’m wary of books where faith is part of the storyline. I’m very aware of the pro/cons of faith, where it goes wrong it’s vicious and things done in the name of God are unrecognizable to me in the God I’ve known. No need to worry here.
This feels like an accurate portrayal of a cult like upbringing subverted by experience with the “real” world.
Zach, our hero is just swoony. Perfect Beta hero. He is emotionally aware, if somewhat of a novice, he’s also aware of his weaknesses but doesn’t feel the need to overcompensate in a Rumspringer way. He takes the ribbing he gets well, and his “found family” only does it in love, it never feels like it’s to diminish him. He’s also
Lark’s backstory is pretty dark. A once fearless girl is shown what horror can look like. She heads to Vermont to see if she can escape her demons and find herself again.
This is a really tender romance, fairly low angst, definitely a slower burn. The area surrounding the orchard feels like another character in Sarina’s Series and makes me want to head to Vermont.

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“Breaking Away Series” – Meli Raine

Amazon Link Here: http://amzn.to/2p7VGRL

Struggled with this trilogy somewhat as it’s pretty much a YA and therefore not my favourite genre. Throw in a pseudo sex trafficking plot, a dastardly Step Father, dead Mom, a quirky gay BFF and our hero being the heir apparent to a Motorcycle club and it’s a lot to handle. Second Trilogy (Coming Home Series) featuring Mark, the brother of Chase in the Breaking Away series was better.

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“Sin With Me (Original Sin #1) – JA Huss/Johnathan McClain

Amazon Link Here: http://amzn.to/2tfYj9q

First book in JA Huss/Johnathan McClain’s Co-write.
If you hate inner dialog you might not fare too well with this new series. Personally I loved it. It’s like a deep dive into two very messed people who are just trying to get by and mostly failing until they meet each other. It’s almost like they conjured each other up from their imaginations.
Maddie has just been trying to get her feet under herself since she left college. Tyler is directionless and unmotivated since he left the forces. They’re both ticking time bombs and when they burst into each others lives it sets off a chain reaction that seems like everything’s gonna get worse at the same time everything gets better. LAs Vegas is the perfect setting for this story, with it’s seedy underbelly and ability to deliver the best and the worst of humanity all under the glow of the glitzy neon lights.

There are 3 more books in the series, each releasing 3 weeks apart (book 2 is out now).
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“Make Me Want” – Katee Robert

Amazon Link Here: http://amzn.to/2FEOKpz

Bold in the streets, nervous in the sheets. Lucy wants to make partner at her law firm. In order to do that she’s expected to be married (yay misogyny). After a heartbreaking break up she has no time to waste so recruits former friend and DC top dog head hunter Gideon to help her find a Husband. As a career driven 80+ hour a week lawyer, she believes that what she needs is a man who is looking more for a companionable partnership than hearts and flowers. Also her breakup left her feeling sexually inadequate, so she’s looking for a sexual mentor. Gideo has secretly crushed on Lucy from afar for nearly a decade. Weighed down by the guilt he holds, as he had to tell Lucy her fiance (& Gideon’s former best friend) was cheating on her, he willingly takes on the role. After purusing several candidates he realizes that no-one is good enough for Lucy and decides to take on the challenge of wooing her despite her willing to settle for less. Lots of shenanigans and plenty of heart feels disguised as pant feels.

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“Marriage of Inconvenience” – Penny Reid

Amazon link here: http://amzn.to/2oWL1JQ

End of Series books are hard. Part of you clamours for the story, the other part wants a world you’ve grown to love to never end. What a way to end though, this was a gravity blanket of a read. It was comforting in its weightiness. the way it enfolded you with gravitas. Marriage of Convenience is one of my favourite tropes and it’s hard to pull off in a modern setting. Kat and Dan (omg Dan is the Alpha of all Beta Heroes) had their lives intersect over the past 6 books due to their social circles. Kat’s been infatuated with Dan for most of that time, and as any girl with a crush does, she avoids Dan as much as she can. Kat’s the heiress to Seventeen Billion dollars and as heiresses do, she has a bajillionty secrets. Turns out Dan has a few secrets of his too, including his own infatuation with Kat that was tempered by one night in Vegas. When Kat turns to Dan with the most bizarre of requests, will Dan be the answer to her prayers in more way than one?

The thing I love about Penny’s Characters is that you can see elements of yourself in them, for me, particularly in her Heroines (I’m a cis-het woman after all). Penny reminds me of Kristen Ashley in that way, that, after reading one of her books, you feel like you’ve been looking in a mirror, seeing parts of yourself reflected back at you, and you wonder if you want to keep that element of yourself, or change it for something new, something better. That’s what good literature does, I think, make you reexamine yourself and the world around you. Penny is a good literaturist.
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“Rolf’s Quest” – Aubrey Wynne

Amazon Link here: http://amzn.to/2oVdjoy

Medieval Magic. A first born son descendant of Merlin’s has to find his one true love (without the use of magic) to break a curse that keeps Merlin trapped inside a rowan tree. After generations of failing to do so, and with the rowan tree dying, this could be Merlin’s last chance. Can Rolf find true love and save Merlin when Melissa (who he’s dreamed of since he was a child) is betrothed to another. This was a sweet historical romance with smidges of magic, shape shifting, fated mates, a bad guy and found family. Definitely a fun romp.
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“Seeking Mr Wrong” – Tamara Morgan

Amazon Buy Link here: http://amzn.to/2FhI51f

Penelope Blue Series Book 3
What happens when you take an infamous jewel thief plus her crew, plus her even more infamous Jewel Thief father, plus 500 hundred other criminals and place them on a cruise ship with a $20Million tiara? Shenanigans, that’s what you get! Imagine a cross between the Thomas Crown Affair, Castle and the Love Boat. This series is perfect for a movie trilogy or a TV show. Loveable rogues, Stalwart Federal Agents, the evergreen battle between love, duty and the thrill of the grift.

I hesitate to call it a romance because the hero/heroine are married, but as they’re still new in their relationship it still feels like they’re dating somehow, still discovering who they are in the context of their marriage. The best moments in the book are when Grant and Penelope work together, although it’s neither of their natural modus operandi.

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