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.

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.

Wildest Dreams by Kristen Ashley

WILDEST DREAMS is GOT meets Parent Trap! Actually, I could also throw in Outlander with the whole parallel universe thing happening. While I’m at it I could even say it had the feel of the Disney movie, Frozen, with all the ice, snow and winter talk. Roll those 4 things together stick them in a blender and pour it into a tall glass and you have WILDEST DREAMS. Three years ago Kara and Christy invited me to read this series with them and at the time I declined. I’m not a fast reader and those two are speed readers so I knew I was no match on buddy reading with them. Also, the sheer size of the books held me back from giving them a chance.

Now a little bit about the story … Finnie pays a high price to travel to a parallel world where her twin from the other realm has agreed to switch places for year times with her. In this parallel world, everyone has a twin and the caveat is their twin is the opposite of them. Which makes for challenges when switched because Finnie must try and act the way her twin would but she knows very little about her new world she is thrust into. BAM!!! Right there, I’m hooked. Finnie’s twin leaves out important information about what will happen when she agrees to switch places. Oh, the blunders and adventures begin when Finnie is switched into her new world having no clue that she’s getting ready to walk down the aisle to marry a man who despises her. Yep, I’m all in on this story. Over the last couple of days, I listened to this story which by the way is 19 hours long. It wasn’t until the last couple of hours that my interest waned a little. “Someone” was missing from the storyline and that deflated my interest. Even though there were those moments at the end where I wasn’t enjoying it like I did the rest of the book it still was enough for me to give this book 5 stars. SERIES: The Fantasyland Series is a series of five novels that take place in our world and a parallel universe where fantasies are true… but perhaps not all you would expect.

Along the Infinite Sea, by Beatriz Williams

Find in catalogThe year is 1966 and unmarried, pregnant Pepper Schuyer is on the run from both her wealthy family and the politically powerful father of her child. She has restored a vintage 1936 Mercedes and has sold the car to finance a new life for her and her baby. The buyer of the Mercedes has a special link to this car that reaches back to Paris and Germany a few years before World War II. The author interweaves the story of these two strong women into a most enjoyable book.

Fighting Solitude, by Aly Martinez

I loved this book and everything about it. Out of the 3 books in the series, this one is my favorite. I knew from the moment we met Quarry as a little guy in the first book that I wanted to know how his story turned out.
On The Ropes is an excellent series about 3 brothers and how they overcome hardships in their lives. Till is the oldest of the three and because of their neglectful parents, he takes it upon himself to raise his brothers. The sacrifice and discipline he endures to make sure his younger brothers are well taken care of is honorable.
FIGHTING SOLITUDE is Quarry’s story of finding love and success within in the confines of life’s obstacles. Quarry ”The Stone Fist” Page is my favorite of the three brothers. His story touched me so deeply that I’m still thinking about it days later. While I may not know what it’s like to be deaf or to have a close relationship with someone who is, I do know what it’s like to watch someone who you love overcome a disability. The willingness to be “normal” and fit in is human nature.
The complexities of the story from being raised by his older brother -to- losing someone you love -to- knowing you’re going deaf -to- becoming a professional fighter was the right mix of awesomeness. It had everything I had hoped for plus more. I’m not a crier but when I read the notes left behind I couldn’t help but break down and cry.
This is definitely a favorite book of 2016 for me. I’m excited to see what Ms. Martinez brings us next because if it’s anywhere close to being as good as this one… she’ll have another winner.
SERIES: Fighting Silence (On the Ropes, #1) Fighting Shadows (On the Ropes, #2) Fighting Solitude (On the Ropes, #3) Each book focuses on one of the three brothers. Book 1 – Till | Book 2 – Flint | Book 3 – Quarry

Hold On, by Kristen Ashley

HOLD ON is the second book in The ‘Burg series that I’ve listened to. After listening to AT PEACE I knew I wanted more of from this series. Kristen Ashley writes her books so you can read them as a standalone or as a series. Even though I’ve read book #2 and #6 in this series I didn’t feel lost at all. In HOLD ON Kristen Ashley brings me up to speed with what I missed by not reading the other books. She does it in such a way that it has me contemplating going back and reading some of the books I missed. The back story of our heroine, Cher, is very intriguing.
HOLD ON is about a cop and a single mom. Cher is also a former stripper who now works in a bar. That plot line right there got me intrigued. But that’s not all… she has a history with a serial killer. I really need to figure out what book that is and read it.
Garrett and Cher’s non conventional relationship put a spark in this book. The tough girl, tough guy combo worked well for these two.
There’s no denying when you buy a Kristen Ashley audio book you get your money’s worth. This audio was no exception – it was long (21 hours) and took me just shy of a month to listen to it. Luckily for me I always enjoy a good audio.
If you like older characters (30+) then check out Kristen Ashley’s books because that is a specialty of hers.