Royally Matched by Emma Chase

Find in catalogLOVED IT!! WOW! WOW! WOW! This is like a dream come true. A couple years ago some book friends and I were having a discussion about what kind of stories we’d like to see authors write. I chimed in that I wanted a book like the tv show – The Bachelor. Yes, I watch reality tv so the thought of putting reality tv into my favorite past time – reading – sounded amazing to me. I’m not sure if Ms. Chase got the memo from that conversation but either way, I’m glad she created ROYALLY MATCHED.

Prince Henry is the wild and fun-loving younger brother of Nicolas (book 1). He was the second to the throne until his brother gave up his rights which put Henry front and center to becoming the King. Henry goes away to a remote castle where he’s supposed to be learning his role as the future king. While there he is approached by a reality tv show director wanting to make a special Royal Edition of the Bachelor. Twenty, supposedly, virgin women vying to win the crown and become the next queen sounded like Henry’s kind of fun. What he didn’t plan on was meeting Sarah a girl who is there as an assistant to her sister and not a contestant. We quickly learn she is the calm to his storm. Where he is outgoing and looking for a fun time she’s content to hide behind her books. This is the perfect example of opposites attract! I say this every time because it’s true- Ms. Chase writes the best male characters. They can charm the pants right off a gal. Their humor leaves you laughing even when you are sure it’s inappropriate. And the way they can banter with us, the reader, leaves you feeling like you’re part of the story too. If I was, to sum up, my reading experience of “Royally Matched” with one word, it would be ENTERTAINING!

The Debt by Karina Halle

Karina Halle has created another winner! I didn’t read the blurb before I started this book so I was taken by surprise with the opening scene. Something in that same magnitude touched my life personally on Oct. 2015. It happened an hour from my house and my friend’s son was the victim of that tragedy. So, reading that opening scenes made my heart pound out of my chest because I could feel the raw emotions that Jessica experienced as she was out enjoying her day when in an instant everything changed. Okay, enough about that opening scene, I mean it’s important because it’s the foundation of THE DEBT but there’s more to the story than that scene. The story is about two broken people, Jessica & Keir, who find healing through each other. Their healing process is a lengthy one that at times is a costly one. Both must deal with their past to find the life they have dreamt of. Never quitting on themselves or each other is what endears the readers to these two. Even after some hard truths about their past comes to surface these two have some enlightened moments that teach them how best to connect with the other person. Readers will love that Karina Halle wrote a story that touches on our military and mental illness because it’s a powerful story that offers hope, love, and acceptance. The Debt is a standalone set in Edinburgh. It’s set in the same universe as The Offer, The Play, The Lie and The Pact.

Vicious: Sinners of Saint, #1 by L.J. Shen

I’m on a roll because this is my second book this year with me reading a new-to-me author. Every year I make sure to read new authors to expand my reading repertoire. I really enjoyed this book so I’ll be continuing in this series.

VICIOUS is a story of enemies to lover with a second chance romance mixed in. The story goes back in time to present time to bring readers up to speed on why Vicious and Emilia hate each other. It’s no wonder they start hating each in high school because Vicious is a huge jerk. It all starts when Emilia happens upon the tail end of a confrontation between Vicious and another individual. Vicious assumes she knows what was being argued over. “Wrong f****** place and wrong f******* time. Next time I find you anywhere inside my house, bring a body bag because you won’t be leaving alive.” Emilia is clueless to what the fight was over and why Vicious hates her with a passion. “I hated her, but was attracted to her. It was really that simple.” Even though Vicious is a broken and misunderstood guy who’s fueled by jealousy, he does have some redeeming qualities that do eventually shine through. Ten years has passed with both of them not seeing each other until they run into each other in a different city. ”We needed each other. She needed my money, and I needed her cooperation.” The love/hate relationship is still brewing strong after all these years. Now, Emilia isn’t such a doormat to the treatment put upon her by Vicious. She’s found her voice and it’s much stronger than when she was in high school. Vicious and his 3 high school buddies are owners of a corporation. The upcoming books/novellas will be about each one of these guys. I’m looking forward to reading about the other guys. Defy is a novella being released February 3rd about Vicious’s friend, Jaime. It’s a student – teacher romance. I love those type of forbidden romances.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Find in catalogThe Round House is a coming of age story in the face of the upheaval of the protagonist’s life and family. When a horrible crime is committed against his mother, 13 year old Joe Coutts embarks on a search for understanding, truth, and justice that will forever change his and his family’s life. Louise Erdrich has a beautiful way of transforming a story into an art form and portrays family, history, and culture in an unforgettable way. This was an amazing book; it took my breath away!

Maresi: The Red Abbey Chronicles, Book 1 by Maria Turtschaninoff

Find in catalogWhen I write that I could hardly put this book down, I mean that I picked it up as bed-time reading and finished the book before I went to sleep that night. After her sister dies of starvation, Maresi’s parents send her on a journey to the Red Abbey on the island of Menos, home for girls and women who are protected by the First Mother in her aspects of maiden, mother, and crone. The Abbey is self-supporting and a repository of knowledge.This novel is about Maresi’s abrupt coming of age when patriarchal invaders arrive. The book was originally published in Finland and its English translation is excellent.

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

Find in catalogEvery crime drama has to have at least one episode dedicated to the 1950’s psychological thriller written by Patricia Highsmith and the book, much like Hitchcock’s movie, does not disappointment. It’s an entertaining concept for murder, murder for another person- who in turns murders for you. With the two murders barely having a connection but as passengers on a train the motive and thus the murderer will remain a mystery. But as the Hollywood version actually gets right; life is never that simple.

Infini (Aerial Ethereal, #2) by Krista & Becca Ritchie

THE TWINS DID IT AGAIN WITH INFINI!! LOVED IT!!

The circus is back and it’s not the circus from our childhood but instead a modern day version with visual arts. Aerial Ethereal puts on acrobatic masterpieces for Vegas showgoers. The circus arts make the audience believe the impossible is possible. We meet most of the cast members in the book Amour Amour (which can be read as a standalone). The Russian family, the Kotovas, are the center of the story. INFINI focuses on Luka’s forbidden romance with his castmate Baylee. ”I’m harboring a secret bigger than either of them have ever imagined or considered. It involves a girl.” ~Luka Only a couple people know the situation involving the secret that makes their love forbidden. Yes, the reader finds out early on why their love cannot exist. Baylee’s quiet and passionate personality was the antidote to Luka’s irresponsible screw ups. Throughout their entangled mess, she kept him grounded. Her presence is a beacon of hope when the odds seemed against them. I really enjoyed their chemistry. The authors are the masters at making big families with each member having a distinctive voice. Lots of characters played a strong secondary role in this story and I never once got lost on who was who. It takes a skilled author to keep the reader engaged in all these characters lives without forgetting who they are when reading about them. BRAVO!!! I’m glad that after 2 years the authors didn’t forget about these characters and gave us another Kotovas love story. There are many more stories I want them to visit within this world of circus arts. My fingers are crossed that we’ll get to hear the love stories of the rest of the Kovotas family members. INFINI is a standalone set in Vegas. It’s set in the same universe as Amour Amour.

Grievous (Scarlet Scars, #2) by J.M. Darhower

I need a moment to catch my breath. GRIEVOUS was everything I had hoped for and more. I’ve been anxiously waiting for this second part knowing that Ms. Darhower was going to blow this out of the water. I never doubt her abilities to write the best dark books out there. If you’re wondering what kind of work our anti-hero, Lorenzo, does he has summed it up for us: “We bribe a bunch of motherf****** to look the other way as we funnel the good **** in from Cuba. I deal with our connections and handle the money. Three distributes the inventory, while Seven makes sure I keep my head on straight through it all. Eye on the prize. The rest of the guys, well, they mostly do the brunt work, and it pays pretty damn good, so they don’t complain.” Morgan’s ‘job’ is just surviving and staying out of trouble while Lorenzo tries to solve her situation. The thing is Morgan does what Morgan wants. She’s survived a long time on her own so she’s not just going to start taking orders from anyone. “And I thought I told you to stay out of trouble. I even asked nicely.” ~Lorenzo “Yeah, well, the trouble with trouble is that it doesn’t always look like trouble, Lorenzo.” ~Morgan ‘This was very obviously trouble, woman.” ~Lorenzo I love that Morgan never shied away from Lorenzo. At times Lorenzo was unpredictable and claimed to be allergic to feelings but that never stopped Morgan from continuing to keep him on his toes. Holy moly, the twist in this book had my jaw on the floor. I wish I could say more about it but you’ll see when you read the book. Just be ready to say – WTF. I got all choked up reading the ENDING because it was so EPIC. It squeezed at my heart and made my eyes feel watery. I love this dark, sexy and at times funny read. An intense and emotional read that will you leave flipping pages as fast as you can to see how it all ends. READ THIS SERIES!! Grievous is a 2-part series set in New York. Menace is the beginning of Lorenzo & Morgan’s story and Grievous is the conclusion.

Bittersweet (True North, #1) by Sarina Bowen

I finally joined 2017 and read my first Sarina Bowen book. I have a lot of friends who are huge fans of Ms. Bowen and I can see why. The book was entertaining and well written. I love the setting, the Vermont countryside, and the premise of the book, a second chance romance between a farmer and a chef. The chemistry between Audrey and Griff was off the charts. I love how feisty Audrey is when it comes to trying to get the farmers to sell her their produce. Combine that with Griff’s stubbornness on not being willing to sell and it sparks an intense attraction. Warning: don’t read this book while you’re hungry. Audrey is a chef and the food she made sounded delish. If you could gain weight by reading about yummy food I might need to buy bigger pants. BITTERSWEET held a special place in my heart because of the personal connection I had with it. My aunt and uncle live in the heartland of America and are wheat farmers. Since this book grabbed my attention with its homey feel, I’m looking forward to continuing on to see what else is to come this series.

Crash (Brazen Bulls MC, #1) by Susan Fanetti

BEST NEWS!!! A new MC series by a favorite author!!

Crash starts out intense and continues that way until the end of the book. Willa and Rad meet under less than desirable circumstances. Their shared experience bonds these two strangers together. Rad was previously married to a woman who wasn’t faithful. Since that time he’s steered clear of getting involved romantically with anyone. The club girls work just fine for him. He’s SAA for his MC and not having the complication of a relationship is where he’s at in his life. Willa is from a small town where girls grow up to be barefoot and pregnant. Willa bucked the system by attending college and becoming a nurse. Her high school sweetheart wasn’t too happy that she was unwilling to keep their lifestyle at status quo. As stated above these two met during a chaotic time. Neither one is sure they’re ready to explore the connection they felt for one another but the pull is too strong for them to ignore it. Willa is just trying to survive one day at a time. She isn’t wanting a relationship like she had back home with her ex where the guy rules her world. Rad isn’t sure he’s ready to be in a committed relationship after the drama his ex-wife put him through. The circumstance that brought them together created a survivor’s bond between the two of them that can’t be ignored. ”Since she’d joined Rad’s life, she’d taken her hands off the wheel – or the handlebars – and was just enjoying the thrill of the ride, hoping they wouldn’t CRASH headlong into disaster.” Despite their horrific first meeting, these two were an amazing couple. Both complimenting each other’s weaknesses and strengthens. It was like the universe was waiting for just the right moment to push these two together. Oh yea, and there is one other main character who deserves to be recognized – Willa’s pitbull Ollie. I really enjoy how Ms. Fanetti captures the true nature of animals in her stories. My heart was with Ollie and his protective nature. A dog’s loyalty is uncomparable and while reading Ollie’s scenes I snuggled up to my fur baby. CRASH has a great story arc that I look forward to reading more about as I follow these Bulls in the upcoming books. You can read this series without having read any of the other MC series Ms. Fanetti has written, so far. This series is set back before her other series … in 1995.