Book Reviews

Review of Hold Your Breath

Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle
Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Book 1
Published 5 April 2016
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder…

As the captain of Field County’s ice rescue dive team, Callum Cook is driven to perfection. But when he meets new diver Louise “Lou” Sparks, all that hard-won order is obliterated in an instant. Lou is a hurricane. A walking disaster. And with her, he’s never felt more alive…even if keeping her safe may just kill him.

Lou’s new to the Rockies, intent on escaping her controlling ex, and she’s determined to make it on her own terms… no matter how tempting Callum may be. But when a routine training exercise unearths a body, Lou and Callum find themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who will stop at nothing to silence Lou – and prove that not even her new Search and Rescue family can keep her safe forever.
 
I received a copy of Hold Your Breath from the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. The following review is comprised of my opinions and mine alone.
While I was reading Hold Your Breath, I was repeatedly reminded of one of my favourite romance novel couples, Blayne Thorpe and Bo Novikov from Shelly Laurenston’s Beast Behaving Badly. Needless to say, Callum Cook and Lou Sparks have now joined the ranks of my favourite romance couples and I’ll be rereading Hold Your Breath a thousand times and randomly quoting parts of it in the middle of conversations much to my friends and family’s dismay. What can I say, I’m a weird potato.
Louise ‘Lou’ Sparks is the boisterous, goofy, and messy leady lady I love. She’s the type of woman who will trip over thin air and everybody in the tricounty area will witness it. But she’s also the woman who will teach herself to fix a propane heater the first time it breaks rather than cry about and spend the money she doesn’t have to call in a repairman to do the job for her every time it breaks. She’s just recently moved to Simpson, Colorado to become a person she’ll like seeing in the mirror (a thing I can totally get behind) and she’s working as the new waitress in the local cafe to make an honest paycheck. She’s also just joined Simpson’s volunteer Search & Rescue Dive Team – for anybody who doesn’t know, that means she’s diving into freezing cold water and swimming under the ice looking for whatever brain trust decided it’d be a good idea to take a stroll on the not-as-thick-as-they-thought-it-was ice. Lou’s pretty hardcore doing that but she’s also the spazz that has a slap fight with her buddy over some random thing.
Callum Cook is a retired Marine (because there’s no such thing as a ‘former’ Marine) and the leader of Simpson, Colorado’s Search & Rescue Dive Team – and Lou’s boss/trainer. He comes off as a bit of a stick-up-his-butt sort thanks to his OCD ways but he’s pretty great to me. He’s the perfect yin to Lou’s yang. Where Lou is outgoing and really friendly to absolutely everybody, Callum plays it more close to the vest, he’s cordial to everybody and he’s friendly to the search & rescue community but he keeps himself apart from his team since he’s the boss. Lou brings him out of his shell the more they’re together and he brings a bit of needed organisation to her life as well. He has moments where he’s “me Tarzan, you Jane” around her male friends but I think he’s pretty 21st century about his relationship with Lou overall – and I’ll admit, even I like a bit of the Tarzan attitude. 
As always, Ms Ruggle’s romantic suspense kept me teetering on the edge of my seat, erm, bed, I’m a total bed reader. I was freaking the freak out with Lou’s stalker just standing there watching her sleep right outside her window. I had to hide under Manatee the Service Dog’s head at one point but I kept reading because I had to see what happened! I almost started chewing on Manny’s nails (mine are kept non-existent for a reason!) at a certain point you’ll recognise it when you get to it (did you honestly think I’d write a spoiler?!). Poor Manny didn’t get much sleep during this book’s read time, y’all. I ended up giving him a salmon skin rollup as an apology after I was finished the book.
One of my favourite things of Ms Ruggle’s writing is always her humour. In Hold Your Breath, it’s evident immediately in how Lou and Callum are introduced – there’s an actual slap fight involved. We also have uncle brothers – I thought those were only a South Georgia thing, honestly. And we had mocking of Big Bads, I can always get behind Big Bad mocking. It’s a favourite pastime of mine.
Now, the chemistry between Callum and Lou. I love love LOVE it. It’s dorky and weebly wobbly, is it there or not? But it’s also blatant and everybody and their neighbour knows it’s there, how can you not notice it? Between Lou’s messiness that invades every space that is hers at work or at home and Callum’s OCD proclivities that leave him absolutely horrified at the sight of her work locker let alone her living room, you just have to read the entire book to watch how the two manage to blend their personalities together. I have good reason to believe that the white board comes into play a lot more often than just for Lou’s weird obsession with HDG.
As for the whodunnits and whatsits. I thought I knew who the stalker was and then I was thrown for a loop then a loopdiloop! So I really and truly loved Ms Ruggle’s Hold Your Breath for managing to surprise me not just once but TWICE in my reading. I thought I was wrapping up the story after everything was over and she threw in that curveball and wham I didn’t know what to think! She is a constant font of surprises with every book I read. As always, you can tell that Ms Ruggle has put a lot of research into her writing. I actually found myself looking a few things up because I actually didn’t know a thing or two which isn’t very often in my world. I will always take the time to read a Katie Ruggle original just for that reason alone!
Hold Your Breath gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and just 3 out of 5 flames for spiciness. I look forward to reading the rest of this series which I’ll also be reviewing, I can’t wait to see who else from Simpson, Colorado gets bitten Ms Ruggle’s Love Bug and how their stories play out as always. I’ll be sure to let y’all know!
 
 
 
A fan of the old adage “write what you know”, Katie Ruggle lived in an off-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains until her family lured her back to Minnesota. When she’s not writing, Katie rides horses, shoots guns (not while riding, although that would be awesome), cross-country skis (badly) and travels to warm places where she can scuba dive. A graduate of the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado mountains really are that cold. A fan of anything that makes her feel like a bad-ass, she has trained in Krav Maga, boxing and gymnastics.
You can connect with Katie on her website, her Goodreads, her Facebook, or on her Twitter.
 As always, get your hands on a copy of Hold Your Breath in a legal manner. And, if you’re of a mind to and in a position where you’re capable of doing so, please consider donating to Hidden Treasures Foundation which is a safe house program that helps young girls rehab after being rescued from sex slavery in the human trafficking industry. Until next time, have a happily ever after.

 

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ARC Book Review · Book Reviews

ARC Review of Deadly Intent

Deadly Intent by Pamela Clare
I-Team Book 8
Published 21 February 2018

Secrets buried in the sand…

Former US Army Captain Mia Starr has built a new life for herself in Denver, far away from camel spiders and sand—and the terrible secrets of her first deployment to Iraq. She isn’t looking for a relationship, especially not with an intrusive photojournalist. Joaquin Ramirez might be sexy, but in her experience, photojournalists only want to make a buck off other people’s suffering. Still, the universe must have a sick sense of humor because it keeps throwing her together with Joaquin, making the desire she feels for him harder and harder to resist.

An undeniable attraction…

As a Pulitzer Prize-winning news photographer, Joaquin has everything a single straight guy could want—except the right woman. When he meets Mia while shooting a crime scene, he immediately sees beyond her cold exterior to the vulnerable woman beneath. Though the police consider her a suspect, he’s sure she’s innocent. Someone is killing soldiers—and trying to pin the blame on her. Unable to resist the pull between them, Joaquin stands by her only to find himself snared in the killer’s net as well. 

A twisted soul hungry for revenge…

Mia can’t help it when the heat between her and Joaquin melts away her preconceptions. As their passion explodes, danger draws ever closer. When it becomes clear that Mia is the killer’s true target, she must trust Joaquin with a secret that could ruin her … or risk losing the love of a lifetime.

I received an advanced copy of Deadly Intent from the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The following review contains my opinions and mine alone.

Joaquín Cristián Delgado Ramírez. If you’re looking for a hot latinx lover who burns up the dance floor, takes prize-winning photos, and is prepared to defend himself and others, look no further. Joaquín meets Mia at a crime scene of a former co-worker and is instantly captivated by her. And despite everybody believing Mia’s a murderer, Joaquín is steadfast in his belief that the former Army Captain is not only innocent but a target of the real killer. Joaquín goes out of his way to help Mia Starr out, to the point where he becomes a secondary target in the killer’s quest for ‘revenge’. What I love most about Joaquín is that he’s loyal, even risking his job and his reputation as a photojournalist to keep his promise to Mia.
Mia is a complex woman when you really look at her. Joaquín must work overtime to make her see herself how he’s seen her from the moment they met, beautiful. It all stems from harassment from her superior officer and the rest of the men in her company after she refused and reported her commanding officer’s advances. At the same time, she’s a strong independent woman who put in the hard work to get her degree and now works at her dream job at the Botanical Gardens. One of my favourite things about Mia is that she sees that Joaquín’s family is bilingual and tends to use Spanish more than English and instead of asking everybody to just speak English, she takes the time to start teaching herself Spanish so that she can communicate with his family who’s basically adopted her after learning she trained Joaquín’s younger cousin in the Army.
I really enjoyed reading Deadly Intent because Ms Clare created characters that felt welcoming from the get-go. I immediately trusted Julian and Marc and now I really want to get my hands on their stories.
And let’s not get started on the Wests, I felt like they wouldn’t mind if I came over and hung out for a weekend with my camera. The way the other characters from the previous books just easily popped up in the book made me want to know more about them as well since they were so varied in nature.
I was a teensy bit confused at one period in the beginning – mostly because this was my first book of the series. It was quickly made clear to me that I just wasn’t understanding things. You can read this as a standalone, but I do recommend you check out the earlier books to understand what all is going on and who’s who.
I was glad to see that Ms Clare tackles not only non-combat PTSD but also sexual assault and harassment in the military. She tastefully works Sophie’s problems into the story without making things a spectacle. It’s great that, even in a book centred around a veteran, the author makes a point to say you don’t have to have served to develop PTSD. I’m also glad that Mia’s assault and harassment wasn’t just a storybuilder, it had a story of its own throughout the book – and it gets a satisfactory ending.

To finish things off, I’m going to give Deadly Intent 4 out of 5 stars and 2 spicy flames. It actually takes a while before sexy times begin and even then, they’re not majorly in-depth or story-killing. I’m already planning on going back and reading the rest of the I-Team series and I hope y’all give Deadly Intent (and its seriesmates) a chance.



USA Today best-selling author Pamela Clare began her writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor-in-chief of two different newspapers. Along the way, she and her team won numerous state and national honors, including the First Amendment Award and the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, she was honored by the Colorado Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists with their Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for her work. A single mother with two grown sons and two cats, she writes historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense within view of Colorado’s beautiful Rocky Mountains. She is a two-time RITA finalist (SurrenderDefiant) and a three-time Daphne du Maurier finalist (I-Team series). She loves history, having studied archaeology in college, and has traveled extensively, living for almost three years in Denmark, which feels like home to her. She attributes her love of historical romance with the years she spent visiting ruins and castles in Europe.



That’s all for now, duckies! I totally recommend y’all check out Deadly Intent and, as always, if you have the ability and are of the mind to donate, consider Protect Our Defenders, the only nationwide foundation that is dedicated to helping victims, regardless of their gender, who’ve experienced military sexual assault or rape. Military sexual assault and rape are harder to combat and to see this organisation coming forward and not only fighting for the female victims but also the male victims is uplifting.

 

ARC Book Review · Book Reviews

ARC Review of Ace of Hearts

Ace of Hearts by Chantal Fernando
The Cursed Ravens MC, Book 1
Available 11 June 2018
Published by Pocket Star

The New York Times bestselling author of the “swoonworthy and addicting” (Kim Karr, New York Times bestselling author) Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club series is back with more bad boy bikers in this first novel in the Cursed Ravens Motorcycle Club series.

Erin Dawson had the perfect life growing up in a perfect home with a perfect family. Her parents gave her and her sister everything a child could want. But after learning that the man she’s called “dad” her whole life isn’t actually her biological father, Erin is determined to find the man who is.

Armed with her original birth certificate, she finds her father, but begins questioning if her mom had been right all along to keep this information buried. It turns out he is the president of a motorcycle club, which could not be further from the life Erin leads. But, she’s determined to get to know the man who she gets her striking blue eyes from. Despite getting what she wants and finding her biological father, it’s the slightly older, much rougher but incredibly sexy biker Ace that catches Erin’s eye.

As the new “princess” of the Cursed Ravens, Erin is learning a whole new world, but her father has made it clear she is off limits. Will Ace follow his President’s orders or will he put his heart ahead of his duty? A sizzling tale of family and passion, Ace of Hearts features Fernando’s signature “snark and sass” (Booklist) and is perfect for fans of Kristin Ashley.”

 
 
I received a copy of Ace of Hearts from the publisher, Pocket Star, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. As always, the following review contains my opinions and mine alone.

One of my guilty reading pleasures is definitely a quality biker romance. But I have to search high and low for the good stuff, not the abusive, cheating, drug addict biker erotica posing as romances but the bad boy with the teeny bit of good buried deep down under all the gruff and foul language. It’s even better if the female lead isn’t a simpering idiot or a classic definition of Daddy Issues. I managed to stumble across the Ace of Hearts digital review copy on NetGalley and thought I’d see if maybe it checked off all my biker romance checklist items. For the most part, it did.

The Leading Lady isn’t a DiD. If you’re looking for a damsel-in-distress romance, this is not the book for you. Erin is sassy, she doesn’t hide from her problems, she faces them head on. Erin is also pretty smart, she’s headed off to college in a short while to become a nurse and she’s determined not to let anything mess with her education. You go, girl! Erin’s also got it down that she needs to deal with things like an adult and compromise with others.
Our Main Man is quality material. He understands boundaries and, when given several different opportunities to have sex with other women, he doesn’t. Even before he’s actually in any sort of relationship with Erin, he’s quick to say “no, thanks” to any interested parties. While he’s torn between loyalty to his MC President and his interest in the newly found MC Princess, he tries to walk that fine line between respecting his Prez and loving his woman. When Ace messes up, he fesses up to his mistakes. There is one instance where I want to reach into the book and bop him on the back of the head Gibbs-Style.
Ace decided to practise unsafe sex without talking to Erin first. Dude. No. That’s never okay. The only good sex is the consensual sort – and that includes checking that your partner is on board with ditching the condom.
Ace of Hearts has a bit of mystery to it, some of it is glaringly obvious and other parts are a heartwrenching surprise. I’m not posting any spoilers, I’m not one of those people, but when Erin is poisoned at her Welcome to the Family party, I had it figured out lickety-split and couldn’t fathom why nobody in the story could figure it out. Also, dang, Erin. Follow Party Rule #1 – unopened beverages only! (Rule #2 is an addendum, if your drink is left unattended or out of your eyeline for a second, GET A NEW ONE!).
Erin’s reunion with her father is pretty much what every daughter with daddy issues dreams of. I’m not envious over it, really. I lied. I’m totally envious, I look great in green. But that’s supposed to get fixed in therapy eventually so moving on. As someone who struggles on the daily to balance a dad, a mum, and a stepmum, I know where Erin’s coming from in her tortured confusion of how to not end up hurting any of the parentals and still have all 3 in my life. I suck at it but, again, I have daddy issues. But Erin just puts it out there that this is how it’s going to be and everybody needs to deal with it. Of course, Erin has parentals that tolerate each other, so I AM JEALOUS.
I loved meeting the different members of the Cursed Ravens MC. They’re so eclectic, from Mac the lovable hippie (who doesn’t love hippies?) to the crude Shack (I hope he turns out not to be as douche-y as he seems in AoH), to Rogue the Rock God and Knuckles the best friend a girl could ever have. Seriously, where can I find a Knuckles – I need a best friend!
I spent a couple of hours reading Ace of Hearts and I read it in one sitting. It’s definitely a book I’ll keep around for bookslump reading. It’s easy to read and doesn’t make me think. That’s not a bad thing. I tend to overload from never stopping with the thinking. Ace of Hearts let me read but I didn’t need a glossary or an appendix or a map or a character sheet like a lot of books today. It just let me read.
I was left wondering a few things and I’m hoping Book 2 clears those up but I really wish they’d all been cleared up before I finished Ace of Hearts. Mostly, Who the glarb is Clover?! It’s been bugging me since I read Ace of Hearts four days ago! I need closure here!
My favourite part would have to be when Erin broke a certain person’s nose and settled the person’s issue with her finally. It surprised everybody that she did it because Erin’s not a violent sort but she got herself out of the situation without relying on anybody else to help her out of it.
Overall, I’m giving Ace of Hearts a 4 out of 5 stars. I really liked reading it, I look forward to Book 2, but some things were left hanging in the wind and other things (no spoilers) left me confused. As for the heat rating, let’s go with a 4. Things get spicy and descriptive. They’re easily skipped though so it doesn’t detract from the story if you flip a page or two past the naughty.
 

New York Times, Amazon & USA Today Bestselling Author Chantal Fernando is thirty years old and lives in Western Australia.
Lover of all things romance, Chantal is the author of the best selling books Dragon’s Lair, Maybe This Time and many more.
When not reading, writing or daydreaming she can be found enjoying life with her three sons and family.

Ms Fernando can be found on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter.



That’s all for now, duckies! Be sure to check out Ace of Hearts! And think about donating to Futures Without Violence, an organisation dedicated to helping all those affected by domestic violence. Until next time, dearest readers, have a happily ever after!

 

Book Reviews

Review of An Heir in Shadow

An Heir in Shadow
Book One of The Shattering Darkness
Published 24 November 2017
Morrigan has spent decades hiding in plain sight as a celebrated agent for the Bureau of Preternatural Creatures. As the most powerful fae spell caster alive, she has long stood against the rising tide of evil stalking the innocent people in her home city of Baltimore. When her cover is suddenly blown, Morrigan must finally decide to either embrace the duty of her heritage or to abandon the people she has come to love to one of the greatest enemies she has ever faced.

 

I won An Heir in Shadow in an author giveaway on Twitter and while it wasn’t a requirement to write a review, I’m writing one and saving it for when I need a break or an emergency review. Every girl needs a backup, right? As always, the following review contains my opinions and mine alone.

Sofia Drake provides a prologue (roughly 2 pages) that explains the alternate reality that An Heir in Shadow takes place in. The most powerful spellcaster, Freya, sister to the King of the Light Court, is mated to the cousin of the Queen of the Night Court, right as a war between the courts begins. When her mate is struck down during the final battle, Freya casts a spell, cursing both Courts.

Hundreds of years after the battle between the courts ended, we meet Morrigan Ni Cathalian, a fae-dragon hybrid who passes herself off as a fae-human hybrid working as an agent of the Bureau of Preternatural Creatures and hiding from both sides of her family, her uncle, King Tristan of the Light Court, and her grand-uncle, the Prime Male who took over the Night Court. When the Prime Male requests assistance from the BPC and specifically requests Morrigan, she knows the jig is up. She panics and her boss and friend, Connar, reassures her that she doesn’t have to take the job. And then, Morrigan is attacked at home by the Prime Male who confirms, yes, everybody knows she’s doubly royal. Then she accidentally-on-purpose transports herself out of danger – and Baltimore. When Connar comes to pick her up, she explains what’s what and Connar finds his new queen a dragon-tutor in Rosalind, an exile from the Night Court and unafraid of the upstart Prime Male.

Normally, I’d tell you about the first half of the book and leaving you wanting more, but, well, the action starts like right from the very beginning. So y’all get the bare minimum of whatsits and whosits. *sigh* I guess you’ll just have to get your own copy and see what happens. But I will tell you my thoughts and ideas.

I like Morrigan’s character a lot. She’s the reluctant heroine, you know, the one we rarely ever see but always hope to encounter. She wasn’t really wanting to take on the Big Bad, but somebody has to do it and she’s the one with the birthmark so it’s kinda gotta be her. Morrigan’s also one of those people who can get people to like her, even people who dislike her. She’s the Great Hope of the halfbreeds and women of the once matriarchal Night Court. As she goes along in the story, she accumulates her own Court made of fae, dragons, and hybrids alike. She’s not bigoted towards the halfbreeds like so many of the preternatural world and that’s pretty cool. Her motivation to take her crown is to help the downtrodden and she’s a tad bit sadistic when it comes to dealing with her ememies.

I love Rosalind too. She’s very headstrong and loyal to those she swears loyalty to, even going against her own family. And, my favourite, she doesn’t take any crap from anybody but she is willing to give second chances. She and Morrigan develop a fast and strong friendship that is pretty much #friendshipgoals if you want to put it into plainspeak.

I had originally hoped for a little love between Connar and Morrigan, but not every ship can sail. But I do love Connar. Again, he’s extremely loyal but he’s also pushy and anchoring at the same time. I can definitely see why Morrigan makes Rosalind and Connar the first members of her court.

One of my favourite scenes comes later in the book, I won’t tell you too much about it but I will tell you this. Morrigan decimates the bigoted council of puffed shirt male dragons who don’t think she or her mate belong in charge of the Night Court. I admit, there was cackling while I read this scene. I also really loved that shelter for battered dragons she sets up towards the end of the book. That got me right in the ticker.

Overall, I give An Heir in Shadow a 5 out of 5 stars and 2 out of 5 flames of sexytimes because I truly enjoyed reading it and it was a nice change of pace from the regular seemingly orgiastic dragon/fae books I’ve encountered throughout the years. But, I do wish there had been some periods where things slowed down and everybody took stock. Once everything started happening, it didn’t take a break and I ended up having the worst time finding a spot to pause and check in with reality, walk the dogs, sleep, whatever. I can’t wait for book 2 to be available and I hope y’all check out An Heir in Shadow.

 

Sofia Drake is an up and coming author who’s yet to be recognised by the literary world at large. (can we fix that, please?) An Heir in Shadow is her first published book. She is currently at work, writing the anticipated sequel, Rise of the Queen. You can contact her or stalk her (politely, not criminally, please) on Twitter and Facebook.
 
The artist behind An Heir in Shadow’s cover is Anna Shoemaker. I’m in love with her work and really think y’all should show her some love on Instagram.
 
I hope y’all enjoyed this review and want to get your hands on it. Charity linkage for today is THORN, Ashton Kutcher’s not-for-profit project which helps combat the sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking of children.
Until next time, dear readers, have a happily ever after!
 

 

ARC Book Review · Book Reviews

ARC Review of the Rereleased Howl for It

by Shelly Laurenston & Cynthia Eden
Republishing Date 30 January 2018
Published by Kensington Books

They hunger for your pleasure. They growl for your touch. And in these sizzling stories by New York Times bestselling author Shelly Laurenston and Cynthia Eden, these sexy wolf shapeshifters are lust at first bite. . .

Like A Wolf With A Bone by Shelly Laurenston

Quiet little Darla Lewis couldn’t be happier when the most-feared member of the South’s rowdiest pack kidnaps her. A girl gets real tired of being overprotected by her own shifter family, and there’s nothing like an oh-so-big bad wolf to start a pack feud, unleash her instincts–and have her surrender however and whenever she wants. . .

Wed Or Dead by Cynthia Eden

Gage Ryder knew his human bride had a wild side. But spending their honeymoon night on the run from hunters out to finish him and his pack is sure not the kind of fun he was looking forward to. No problem–Gage will do whatever it takes to lay bare Kayla’s secrets and find the truth. If he can keep from being captured by his own seductive game. . . 


While I already own a copy or two of Howl for It, I was given an advanced copy of the republished edition from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The following review consists solely of my opinions and no one else’s.

I love and worship Shelly Laurenston so when NetGalley showed a republication of Howl for It, I nearly poured a bottle of water on my laptop to click the request button. Howl for It is a duet anthology consisting of Like a Wolf with a Bone by Shelly Laurenston, Book 0.5 of the Pride series, and Wed or Dead by Cynthia Eden.

Like a Wolf with a Bone
I can’t not gush about Eggie Ray Smith, he’s one of my favourite characters from Shelly Laurenston. I’ve been in love with Eggie Ray Smith’s character since reading about needing to call Uncle Eggie in to deal with some issues in The Beast in Him. He’s fearsome and overly protective of anyone he deems ‘his’. And, as soon as he set eyes on Darla Mae Lewis, she was his and he’d do anything to keep her safe. Which means when Darla Mae is attacked by a squad of full-humans trying to kill her, Eggie does what Eggie Ray Smith does best. He starts the killin’.
Most shifters in the world are terrified of Eggie Ray Smith, even his fellow packmates aren’t comfortable around him and aren’t exactly bending over backwards to invite him to sit a spell with them. Which makes little Darla Mae none too happy when she finds out. Eggie’s a fearsome shifter to be sure, but he’s not a bad guy. He begs for his mother’s help to take out Darla’s stitches because he’s worried his hands are too rough to touch Darla. He tries to change himself for Darla but Darla is quick to tell him she likes him just the way he is.
Darla Mae Lewis is one of those people I’d love to have in my life, she’s loving and trusting but she’s also an assertive woman who will kick ass if she feels she has to. She’s very loyal and defends Eggie Ray several times, even against her own sisters. Darla Mae is also a well-travelled and highly educated pastry chef, working at Van Holtz Restaurants all over the place and even having her European culinary education funded by her boss. Best of all? Darla Mae Lewis is a bona fide all-inclusive feminist. Yes, she’s an apex predator shifter who shifter males know not to mess with, but she understands all women need equality and does the marching and protesting just like we are today.
In Like a Wolf with a Bone, we get to see how some older characters from Laurenston’s shifter books were as ‘new adults’, Blayne Thorpe’s daddy, Sissy Mae’s and Smitty’s parents, and, of course Dee-Ann’s parents. We also meet Sara Morrighan’s parents at a Woodstock-style party in the mountains.
With Like a Wolf with a Bone, I always enjoy reading the story. I think I actually have it memorised. Every part of the story had a beginning, a middle, and an end. Nothing was left unresolved. As a standalone and not a paired book, I’d rate Like a Wolf with a Bone, as 5 out of 5 stars because it’s one of my favourite Laurenston books and it needs more gushing since it’s a short story.
Wed or Dead
I admit it. Before this ARC, I’d actually never read Cynthia Eden’s half of the book. So, this was actually my first time reading Wed or Dead. I enjoyed Kayla and Gage’s story, but it wasn’t really my kind of book. I’m not a fan of the ‘genetically compatible for breeding mate’ trope, women are not incubators and that’s always what this trope says to me.
I did, however, enjoy the beginning of the story which starts with Kayla convincing herself to walk down the aisle of a Las Vegas strip chapel to her waiting groom, Gage. And then, we have a wedding night and meh. But that morning after routine was pretty amazing with the whole “can I really bring myself to kill the person I just had sex with, my newly wedded spouse?”. The escape out the window was shocking and exhilarating from my spot in my safe bed with my cosy pupper under my head. Don’t ask me to jump out the window to certain death, but I’ll totally read or watch it.
The way the story played out, the betrayals and the enemy of my enemy is my friend thing? I liked it but some of it (the Big Bad) was too bad for me. Not on a literary level but on a moral level. There are just some things that you don’t do and The Big Bad did it. Like, can I just slip into the story and be a little homicidal on The Big Bad?
While Wed or Dead wasn’t very memorable for me, I did like reading it. I’ll even go read the other Cynthia Eden books I bought just because they were there. Don’t judge. I like to have options. But because it wasn’t very memorable and it played on a trope I have no love for among a few other things you’ll probably notice if you read it, I’m only giving it 3 stars.
Overall, I give Howl for It (both Like a Wolf with a Bone and Wed or Dead) 4 out of 5 stars and 3 out of 5 flames. I especially enjoyed reading Howl for It because the sexy times are limited because the stories are short in order to provide a full story for us readers to enjoy.
 
Originally from Long Island, New York, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelly Laurenston has resigned herself to West Coast living which involves healthy food, mostly sunny days, and lots of guys not wearing shirts when they really should be. Shelly Laurenston is also The New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author G.A. Aiken, creator of the Dragon Kin series. For more info on G.A.’s dangerously and arrogantly sexy dragons, check out her website at www.gaaiken.com.



Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes dark tales of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. She is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader best-seller.  Cynthia is also a three-time finalist for the prestigious RITA® award . Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over eighty novels and novellas.
Cynthia is a “hybrid” author. She has published extensively with New York (her New York publishers include Avon, Kensington, Grand Central, and Harlequin), and she has also enjoyed success in her indie writing career.
Cynthia lives along the Alabama Gulf Coast. She loves romance novels, horror movies, and chocolate.  Her favorite hobbies including hiking in the mountains (searching for waterfalls) and spelunking.
You can find Cynthia chatting daily on Twitter or on her Facebook page.
 
 
In the end, I hope you consider adding Howl for It to your TBR list. Buy a copy, rent a copy, donate to World Literacy Foundation, whatever. Until next time, dear readers, have a happily ever after!

 

ARC Book Review · Book Reviews

ARC Review of Hot & Badgered

Hot and Badgered
The Honey Badgers, Book One
Publishing Date 27 March 2018
by Kensington Publishing

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.

Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up . . .

 

I received an Advanced Reading Copy of Hot and Badgered from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. As always, the following review consists solely of my opinions and mine alone. I then reread the entire series so it was all nice and fresh before I dived into the ARC.

In Hot and Badgered, we meet a whole new set of shifters and see the return of some of our favourites as well. I was almost fooled by the prologue and was worried I wouldn’t have any Blayne, Dee-Ann, or Livvy cameos in Hot and Badgered, but I shouldn’t have doubted Shelly Laurenston to deliver. I’ll never doubt you again, Ms Laurenston.

Hot and Badgered focuses on an ostracised branch of Livvy’s family, the MacKilligan sisters. The oldest of three sisters, Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is an anomaly. She and her youngest sister, Stevie, are only half honey badger which isn’t a thing since HB genetics totally dominate in every other pairing with honey badgers involved. Together with their middle sister, Max, the MacKilligan sisters are on the run from the the first paragraph. Their guesses as to who’s behind the hit squad after them varies from a Peruvian drug lord to government types, but one thing they know for sure is that it’s definitely their no-good useless father’s fault.

Charlie jumps off her hotel room’s balcony and lands on Cooper Jean-Louise Parker’s balcony (yes, the JLPs are baaaaack!) and Berg Dunn is Coop’s bodyguard on duty. Berg and Charlie take on the black-ops types that crashed the party and while Berg has no idea who she is, he starts falling for Charlie then and there, even as she takes off again. She meets up with Max, and the two go to Switzerland to break their genius sister, Stevie, out of yet another ‘mental health spa’ and then they head to Manhattan and a Yang Family safe house (aka Livvy’s house that is most decidedly not a Yang Family safe house).

Eventually Berg takes Charlie and her sisters to a place he knows will be perfect for the sisters to hideout until they figure things out. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a house in the same neighbourhood as the house Berg shares with the other members of his triplet set, Britta and Dag. The safest place he could think of was in a bear-only neighbourhood and as long as Max doesn’t raid their hives and Charlie keeps stressbaking, everybear is more than happy to welcome the sisters to the neighbourhood.

It isn’t until we’re introduced to Dee-Ann’s daughter that I realised that Hot and Badgered takes place at least 7 years after Livvy’s story, Bite Me, which I wasn’t too happy about. If you’ve read the entire series of Laurenston’s from Eggie Ray’s short story to Sara Morrighan’s introduction to her true self to Mace Llewellyn’s reuniting with his Bronx love to the mighty bearcat that is Novikov (who is not a serial killer), you’ve seen the craziness that I love and adore in Laurenston’s books. And I was so upset that I missed the pregnancy crazies that I just know Dee-Ann and Blayne experienced through their pregnancies. I will literally get down on my hands and knees and beg Ms Laurenston for a book that has flashbacks (which I steadfastly despise) just so I can read how wild Blayne got or how terrifying Dee-Ann was during their pregnancy days.

Moving on before I start that wailing again (I get emotionally invested in my favourite books!).

Due to a few miscommunications (I totally blame Max’s best friend), Dee-Ann and Cella (yes, the cat killer is back!) end up chasing Charlie and her sisters around Manhattan, including at the Sports Center where so many things I love happen and I can’t tell you about them because it would spoil the story.

We get to see Sissy Mae and Mitch crash a house party, the sisters gain a Jean-Louise Parker prodigy roommate, Ric gets back in the kitchen (while Dee-Ann is teaching their daughter what her daddy taught her), Stevie faces her fear of bears in Shen Li, and Charlie gets a job to do what she does best that pays over $80K for a few days work. And we get a new shifter breed introduced! What else can I say to convince you that you need to read Hot and Badgered? There’s moderate bloodshed, funny moments abound, and favourite characters return in cameos!

There are only a few things I disliked about Hot and Badgered. Mostly the fact that we skipped witnessing pregnant Dee-Ann and pregnant Blayne being in the same room. Because if you know Dee-Ann and Blayne, you know things happened. I’m not a fan of horrible fathers like Charlie, Max, and Stevie are cursed with but that’s pretty much my daddy issues popping out of the closet to say howdy-do. But the likes by far outweigh the dislikes for me.

I love that the MacKilligan sisters are half-sisters (Charlie is half-wolf, Stevie is half-tiger, and Max is full honey badger) and they’re all raised by one of the moms until they end up having to go live with Charlie’s grandfather. Max is outright unstable but then you have Stevie who is heavily medicated for her anxiety issues and when she goes off-meds, she’s just as unstable. When Stevie isn’t hiding in trees from man-eating bears (don’t judge), she’s got her sisters’ backs too. And then, there’s Charlie, who’s the one who always has her head on straight and always has several plans to keep her sisters safe. I love how Stevie and Max advise Berg on how to win over Charlie, “stray dog it!” is now a thing that shall live in infamy. Novikov trying to recruit the sisters repeatedly in the strangest moments.

If this book were human, I’d marry it. Therefore, I give Hot and Badgered 5 out of 5 stars (le gasp!) and a nice mellow 2 flames of sexytimes. Ms Laurenston focused on the storyline and didn’t overindulge in the love scenes so I didn’t feel like an unwilling voyeur reading through things. I wholeheartedly suggest y’all check it out.

 

Originally from Long Island, New York, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelly Laurenston has resigned herself to West Coast living which involves healthy food, mostly sunny days, and lots of guys not wearing shirts when they really should be. Shelly Laurenston is also The New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author G.A. Aiken, creator of the Dragon Kin series. For more info on G.A.’s dangerously and arrogantly sexy dragons, check out her website at www.gaaiken.com.

That’s another review finished, I’m starting to make a dent in my TBR review mountain, very slowly but still, a dent is a dent. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Hot and Badgered and I do hope you take the opportunity to use one of the links provided above to purchase a copy.
Also, my charity choice for this post is Villalobos Rescue Center. Why? Because while I was working with Manatee in-store over the weekend, we were targeted by a teenaged boy who started screaming “That’s a Pit! He’ll kill you!” in the middle of Walmart. While Manatee isn’t a member of the ‘pit’ family, he and my other dogs do get mistaken for pits and get that reaction a lot. Don’t blame a breed for owners misbehaviour and choosing not to properly train their dog.
Until next time, my darling readers, have a happily ever after!

 

Uncategorized

Back It Up

While I’m still using the blogger platform for the rest of the year(ish?), I’ll be transferring older posts from the blog to this account so I’ll be ready for next year (or whenever) for when I move my URL back to wordpress. Mostly because I’m much fonder of the WordPress platform and the easier access to following other blogs and reading their posts!

So this coming week, I’ll be posting all of the lovely posts I’ve been putting up on my .com site this year. My wordpress account isn’t going to be my primary site or my advertised site until next year (or whenever I make the swap) so the new posts won’t be posted here for at least a week after the .com’s posting of it. Convoluted, right? I sure love to make my life complicated. BECAUSE I MISS MY WORDPRESS AND IT’S EASY TO NAVIGATE-NESS.

I’m working on an hour of sleep, I’m allowed to be semi-incoherent.

Stay tuned, duckies!

service dog

Manatee the Service Dog Training Update

As you know, at the beginning of the year, I started Manatee’s in-store training and he got off to a rocky start transferring his training from just around the family and neighbours to around hundreds of people. Today is Manatee’s 55th day of his in-store training year, going into a store at least once every weekend, so really, we’re more like 10 training days into the year.
Last weekend, I had to go to the clinic for an allergy update, get my epipens refilled and some new medications to try. There was actually a little alcove in the waiting area of my new doctor’s office and Manatee and I decided to wait there. He tucked himself out of the way, watching me, and, even though he got horribly bored, he still alerted to my anxiety and doing the first stage of interruption (in regular people speak, he noticed the first phase of my attack and he started nudging me and then pawing me to distract me from said attack). We went outside, I calmed down and we went back inside and they were ready for us to go into the patient room. When we went into the exam room, he waited patiently while I got my vitals done and then tucked himself into the corner out of everybody’s way for the visit. He ignored the staff until I said it was okay to meet a nurse who was polite enough to ask to meet him after I was settled in and he was ‘on break’.
But really, please don’t pet, even after asking.
A service dog is medical equipment like a wheelchair.
So unless you’re planning to pet someone’s wheelchair,
don’t pet someone’s service dog.
Anyways. To finish up at the clinic, I decided to let Manatee work on his exit skills. I’ve been training him to open doors in the event I shut down and he needs to get us outside away from the populace. He had a little trouble with the door since it was heavier than the bathroom door we’d been working with but he managed. Overall, Manatee did great at the clinic.
I took advantage of his good training session and decided to extend it to going to Publix fill the prescriptions so I wouldn’t die if I encountered one of my million and one allergies. And we stood in line, I figured we’d try the grocery store session again and I’m so glad we did. He was great, he ignored the people staring, blocked while I was distracted getting us fruit, and steered me away from the peanut display, something we’d only ever practised once. There were vets doing the poppies bit outside and the sweet guys helped me put poppies on Manatee’s jacket and complimented us on how well he did crossing the parking lot. 

I trained him to look both ways before crossing on the crosswalk, so he blocked me at the start of the crosswalk, looked both ways, waited for a car to stop at the sign before unblocking and walking with me.
As a reward, we went over to our Starbucks and got him a munchkin-sized caramel frappucinno. Echo, our favourite barista, tucked some fruit into it for him as an extra treat.
Later that Saturday, I decided to take him in again to pick up my prescriptions. And he was even better. There was another service dog team in the store (a woman I know but Manatee doesn’t) and he gave them a casual glance while we walked past and then ignored them the rest of the time. He waited patiently in a standing block while we were in line at the pharmacy counter and ignored the people staring at us. He tucked himself under the counter out of the way (something he’s had problems with) and waited for me to finish up. Then he found the truck for me when we were outside.
Such an amazing day!

Coffeehound

So this past Saturday, I decided to take the coffeehound to Starbucks first thing. He did AMAZING. He standing blocked in line and didn’t get nosy and tucked himself out of the way while we waited for our order, not under the table yet, but he’s taller than the tables anyways. He tucked himself between my feet and sit-stayed until the order was ready. He had no problems with the million different sounds or the people walking by with coffee. I took him back to Publix for more in-store training. We worked on down-stays in the empty aisles and turnwork, his two biggest training problems. Totally ignored the couple with the half-dozen kids who were wanting to pet the doggy and gawked at him through 2 aisles, and steered me away from the peanut area of the produce section. He ignored the intercom this time when it came on. And, we decided to tackle the register lines (a big panic thing for me). He did a full down-stay block (which he struggles with so much) the whole time and ignored the cooing from the woman behind us. I even dropped the leash to unload the cart and he remained in the down-stay. (So excited!)
Manatee did such an amazing job Saturday and I couldn’t be prouder! I think we’ll maybe be able to do his CGC testing sooner than I thought – I was aiming for next January but I think he might be ready around my birthday (June) or Mum’s (Spetember).
I made our first Chewy order and it arrived very quickly. It’s loaded with a bunch of different treats for the dogs that are all allergen-free. No tomatoes, no passion fruit, no peanuts! Chewy is great because it lists all of the ingredients of a product so for allergy-laden dogs and their owners can avoid anything bad for them. I also picked up some fancy meat treats for Manatee’s in-store training so he understands that in-store work is special.

 

This weekend will be another medical appointment (because I’m blind as a bat) and then a few training sessions at Sam’s Club, Target, and Publix. Wish us luck, dear readers! Until next time, have a happily ever after!
ARC Book Review · Book Reviews

ARC Review of Survive the Night

Survive the Night
by Katie Ruggle
Book Three of Rocky Mountain K9 Unit
Published by Sourcebooks on 6 February 2018
Source – Edelweiss+
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
🔥🔥
He’s always been a haven: For the lost. The sick. The injured.
But when a hunted woman takes shelter in his arms, this gentle giant swears he’ll do more than heal her battered spirit―he’ll defend her with his life.
K9 Officer Otto Gunnersen always had a soft spot for anyone in need. As Monroe’s very own Dr. Doolittle, he dedicates himself to rehabilitating the injured souls that cross his path―but for all his big heart, he’s never been in love.
Until he meets Sarah Clifton’s haunted eyes. Until he realizes he’ll do anything to save her.
All Sarah wants is to escape a life caught between ambitious crime families, but there’s no outrunning her past. Her power-mad brother would hunt her to the ends of the earth…but he’d never expect Sarah to fight back. With Otto and the whole of Monroe, Colorado by her side, Sarah’s finally ready to face whatever comes her way.
It’s time to take a stand.

Books A MillioniBooksIndie BoundKobo

I received a copy of Survive the Night by Jackie May from the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. The following review is reflective of my opinions and mine alone.

Alice Blanchett is the not-at-all beloved sister of crime lord, Aaron Blanchett and she is so used to having nobody on her side that when she receives a note in her dry cleaning telling her to be ready to escape, she doesn’t dare to hope because who would be willing to go against her brother. But when her brother promises her to a cruel man to gain favour and form a partnership with an even bigger crime family, she hopes against hope that her unknown saviour will come through. Amidst the bombardment of her home, help comes in the unlikely form of her brother’s associate who whisks her away and provides her with a new name and safe passage to a welcoming safe house.
Otto Gunnerson is every animal’s best friend, always going out of his way to help an animal in need. When he meets his friend’s new housemate, Sarah Clifton, he’s speechless. And then awkward, then speechless again, and then awkward again. When Otto comes to Sarah’s rescue one day, he offers up his underground bunker to the woman that’s captivated him and rendered him tongue-tied.
Otto Gunnerson is really my ideal male gender mate. He’s adorably awkward when presented with a woman he finds attractive and he’ll bend over backwards to help an animal in need as you can tell the moment you meet him climbing up a dilapidated windmill to rescue a kitten for his friend’s little sister. In addition to the rescued kitten, he’s also taking care of a frightened horse, a neglected goat, and a litter of orphaned puppies, which turns out to be his ‘in’ to getting to know Sarah Clifton. Sarah (previously called Alice) is wary of men in general and while she’s attracted to the viking-lumberjack LEO, she’s also hesitant to get involved with Otto because she knows sooner or later she’ll have to disappear again to stay ahead of her brother and pseudo fiance. But Sarah and Otto cannot ignore the heavy attraction building between them and finally decide to make the most of it while things are calm and before Sarah has to leave for parts unknown.
When war comes to Monroe, the ties that bind are tested and lives will be lost. What does the future hold for Sarah and Otto?
Survive the Night was my first approval on Edelweiss and I’m so very glad I was approved for it. I actually finished reading it back in January and was so reluctant to write this review because I didn’t want to say ‘goodbye’ to it. I mean, I kept coming up with excuse after excuse not to finish writing it. I reorganised my books six different times in four weeks, I decided to learn Korean, I bingewatched Dollhouse and some Korean shows on Hulu and Netflix, I made pancakes, pretty much anything I could do to prolong my relationship with Survive the Night. That’s why I’m going to warn y’all right now before we go any further. You will get emotionally invested.
From the very beginning readers will become attached to Alice as she endures her abusive life with her older brother, the head of a small crime family. When Alice is manhandled by the twisted creep that her brother chose as her betrothed as a means to attaching himself to a much larger criminal family, I wanted to raze the entire fictional country to the ground. I actually got a bit loud celebrating the explosive entrance her rescuer has at her bedroom window one night and I cheered Alice on as she climbed the roof then rappelled down the other side of the house, and holding my breath and biting a hole in my lip as she passed her brother’s office. I chewed my thumbnail down to the quick as Alice struggled up the ravine with her ‘bodyguard’ and thoughts of what her brother would do if said ‘bodyguard’ caught her pushing her onward. When Alice, now called Sarah, meets Otto, the awkwardly adorable meeting made me feel embarrassed. With every awkward interaction between Otto and Alice, I was overwhelmed by their adorkable factor. And as the story progressed, I started morphing into one of those really wild ship fangirls that you see on tumblr. 

Alice and Otto are both well-developed characters, adding their love story to the series and reintroducing couples from earlier in the series that will worm their way into your hearts and make you want to read their stories as well. You will fall in love with the mischievous twins, Ty and Tio, and want to fight Sam’s demons for him. You will cheer Alice/Sarah as she becomes more and more sure of herself. But you’ll also find yourself hoping she’ll leave Monroe so you can have Otto all to yourself. My favourite part was how detailed Ms Ruggle was in her research for how to care for orphaned puppies. It reminded me of the days when I was bottlefeeding Manatee and Ozymandias’ litter, an event that actually saved my life nearly 9 years ago. Here’s a photo of the litter a day old with their bio mum, also named Maggie! No, Maggie did not own a dog named Maggie, let’s just say that Otto was made for me.

Survive the Night is an emotional read all-around. I laughed at the kids’ antics, I cried at sad animal moments (no animals were harmed or killed so don’t worry), I nearly died laughing during the bull elk scene. The buildup of the final act had me looking like a strange cross between a caterpillar (a woolly bear, if you must imagine it) and a blanket burrito gone horribly awry. I’m avoiding telling you the entire plot even though I want to gush and gush and gush, but I won’t. You’ll need to grab a copy of your own to find out what happens to Alice and Otto.
I cannot properly express how intense the emotions were that I felt reading Survive the Night. Ms Ruggle truly knows how to keep a reader wrapped up in their blanket burrito waiting with bated breath with every turn of the page.
In the end, I’m giving Survive the Night by Katie Ruggle 2 flames for the sexy times and 5 out of 5 stars. That’s right. FIVE STARS. I devoured this book in a few hours one night. After I had finished it, I immediately went to the kindle store and bought the first two books of the series and the first book of her other series because I needed more!

A fan of the old adage “write what you know”, Katie Ruggle lived in an off-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains until her family lured her back to Minnesota. When she’s not writing, Katie rides horses, shoots guns (not while riding, although that would be awesome), cross-country skis (badly) and travels to warm places where she can scuba dive. A graduate of the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado mountains really are that cold. A fan of anything that makes her feel like a bad-ass, she has trained in Krav Maga, boxing and gymnastics.

You can connect with Katie on her website, her Goodreads, her Facebook, or on her Twitter.

 


Let me know your thoughts on Survive the Night. Like this post, share it, comment, donate to the ASPCA, whatever.
Until next time, my darling readers, have a happily ever after!

 

 

ARC Book Review · Book Reviews

ARC Review of Her Devoted Hero

Her Devoted Hero
by Caitlyn O’Leary
Book Two of the Black Dawn series
Publishing Date – 25 September 2017
Publisher – Passionately Kind Publishing
Source – Publisher via NetGalley
🌟🌟🌟
Navy SEAL Dex Evans has a problem. His buddies think it’s a riot when they sign him up for a dating service behind his back. But who would have thought that with a profile like SailorBoy69 he’d snag a woman who was hysterically funny and gorgeous. Too bad she was also skittish as all hell. Dex fears that when she finds out his profile was a set-up, his happily ever after could sink to the bottom of the ocean. 
Single mother, Kenna Wright was in way over her head. She’d spent years putting her child first while ignoring her needs. So what was she thinking responding to the flirtatious email? Luckily for her, when she is stuck on a project with Dex, he’s even better in person than he’d been on his online profile. But can she believe this sexy SEAL when he says he’s looking for more than a fling? 
When one of her co-workers is murdered and it looks like Kenna might be the next one in the killer’s crosshairs, Dex is determined to keep her safe. But with a target on her back, it’s really hard to keep a shield over her heart.

KoboNook
 
I received a copy of Her Devoted HERO from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The following opinions are mine and mine alone.
Dex is a Navy SEAL who never thought he’d be victim to a dating profile prank, but he was. After he and his teammates prank a fellow SEAL team, he’s signed up for a dating site as SailorBoy69 by his counterpart on the second team. When he gets back from assignment, he’s greeted with a flooded inbox from responses to ‘winks’ that SailorBoy69 had sent out. To every woman in the tricounty area. Being a gentleman, he replied to each and every single message, explaining the prank profile. When he reaches the final one, he’s intrigued enough to ignore the prank and reply to Poppy (Kenna).
The self-deprecating single mom works two jobs, one a nurse and one a personal assistant to a silver screen actress. In her initial email, and all the ones to follow, she cuts herself down and tells SailorBoy69 all the reasons why he should just ignore her message. When Dex continues emailing her and informs Poppy that he’s really and truly in it for the long haul, she breaks things off and deletes her account. That’s when Dex gets a little stalkerish, he contacts her boss and pleads his case. Rosalie, being the romantic she is, pounces and sets things up. Almost immediately after Dex convinces Kenna to give him a real chance, Kenna picks up an extreme stalker. Dex forgets the whole ‘budding relationship’ status of his connection with Kenna and kind of takes over her whole existence after that.
I was happily surprised that I wasn’t able to figure out the whodunnit factor, which is a certifiable feat for any writer that can stump me like Ms O’Leary did. And I totally understood Kenna’s need to stress clean through her ordeal, I’ve actually broken into my grandmother’s church in the middle of the night and cleaned every inch of the place because I was upset.
What put me off? I wasn’t impressed with how easily Kenna capitulated to Dex’s massive alpha complex after the initial rebellion. It had promise but Kenna seesaws between ‘help me, I can’t do a thing’ and ‘I don’t need nobody’ and I felt as if I’d develop whiplash if she continued the back and forth. I was disappointed that once they became intimate the story became secondary information. Kenna is asked early in the book for a favour from a friend and she completely forgets halfway through said favour because of boy-brain. And it paints her as a vapid woman the way she does a complete character remix for a guy. The author introduced a bevy of important characters and did nothing for their character building. We learn which of Dex’s teammates drives what vehicle and they get a few lines and two references to past incidences. But other than that, they were nonexistent.
Overall, I’m going to give Her Devoted Hero 3 stars because I could see the story coming alive and I was held captive with suspense, but Kenna was just a hot mess and most of the characters lacked depth. And let’s not talk about the whodunnit. I mean, points for stumping me, but come on!
 
 
 

Caitlyn O’Leary is an avid reader, and considers herself a fan first and an author second. She reads a wide variety of genres, but finds herself going back to happily-ever-afters. Getting a chance to write, after years in corporate America is a dream come true. She hopes that her stories provide the kind of entertainment and escape that she has found from some of her favorite authors.

Her Series Include:

THE FOUND: It’s a bit Paranormal, a bit Sci-Fi and 100% Action/Adventure. The characters have special abilities, that make them targets.
MIDNIGHT DELTA This is focused on a group of Navy Seals. What makes them special is their bond to one another, and the women they come to love.
FATE HARBOR This is the series that started her career, it is a Menage Series that takes place in Fate Harbor Washington. It focuses on a tight knit community who live and love and care for one another.
She loves to hear from her readers. caitlyn@caitlynoleary.com
You can follow Miss O’Leary on FacebookGoodreadsGoogle+Pinterest, and on Twitter.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Her Devoted Hero! Leave a comment, share the post, like it, donate to World Wildlife Foundation, whatever.
Until next time, darling readers, have a happily ever after!