Monthly Archives: March 2017

Second Chances by Kimberly Hunter

Second Chances

Second Chances by Kimberly Hunter

Published by: Kimberly Hunter on June 27, 2013 (re-release)
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

After being kidnapped by an abusive former lover, Noah Richards has found it challenging to trust another person. But he is committed to putting that behind him, determined to still live his life to the fullest extent possible. Marcus Stewart was left behind by the man he thought was the love of his life, leaving him heartbroken and uncertain if he ever wants to give someone that part of him again. But when Noah and Marcus meet, the connection is difficult to deny. And so they both need to find a way to look forward if they want to act on that spark and see where it leads. But the past, for both of them, may not be as far behind them as they believe it to be…

“I grew up in the Mid-West where being gay is as bad as being a Democrat.”

I can relate to that! And overall, this is an interesting read. The way the author tells the two histories of these gentlemen makes for an engaging story that builds to some unwelcome surprises as the plot trucks along. I will say that there are some descriptions of violence that may be uncomfortable for people who have a hard time reading that, but it is nothing too graphic and is only in a small part of the story. Worth a read.

Before This is Over by Amanda Hickie

Before This Is Over

Before This is Over by Amanda Hickie

Published by: Little, Brown, and Company on March 28, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

The epidemic seemed to come out of nowhere, but Hannah knows that it does not take long for something like this to spread. And she is determined to do everything she can to protect her family from contracting the highly communicable and deadly illness. But staying alive in the face of disaster is not easy. And it can be further complicated when one cannot leave the house or be sure who to trust. And with symptoms taking up to two days to show themselves, Hannah also cannot be sure that she or any of her family have managed to avoid exposure. But where there is a will to survive, there’s always a way. Right?

If you’ve ever played the online game “Pandemic,” you know how this story starts. A disease starts in one small corner of the world, but with world travel being such a thing it quickly finds its way to other cities, other countries, and other continents. Before long, places start closing themselves off to outsiders, not wanting to let anyone in who could have been exposed. This also closes people in, though, and makes the struggle for resources almost as important as the quest to stay disease free. And thus is the world in which Hannah finds herself. It’s an interesting read that made me think how I might react myself in such a situation. It’s not something we ever expect to happen, but the reality is that it could probably happen just as quickly as it is described here. And would we be prepared?

[This review is based on an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.]

Fair Chance by Josh Lanyon

Fair Chance

Fair Chance by Josh Lanyon

Series: All’s Fair, Book 3
Published by: Carina Press on March 13, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Former FBI agent, Elliot Mills, thought he’d left his crime-fighting life behind. But when he fell right into the middle of the path of a serial killer, he found out it wasn’t that simple. And even though the culprit was apprehended, it turns out it’s still not over. The Sculptor may not have been acting alone. And he is all to happy to draw Elliot back into the path of the storm–much to the dismay of his partner, Special Agent Tucker Lance. Danger threatens them both, and it might be the thing that pulls them apart forever. But if they can make it through alive, could it also be the thing that pushes them together once and for all?

I found myself wrestling with this one a little. It was an interesting read, but it felt a bit like trying to hang on to the story of the previous book. At times it felt like a new chapter, and at times it felt like a continuation. And it was a bit more predictable than I’m used to seeing from one of Lanyon’s books. I think part of it is that I was wanting to see the Sculptor behind them with the chance for them to focus on moving forward. Maybe if there’s another book?

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.]

June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

June

June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

Published by: Broadway Books on February 14, 2017 (originally published May 31, 2016)
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Cassie Danvers has isolated herself in her family’s estate, needing the time to herself to mourn the loss of her grandmother, June. And she really would like to be left alone. Which is why she’s none too happy to be disturbed by a man she’s never met before. And she has no idea what to think when he informs her that she’s been named as the sole heir to the fortune of Jack Montgomery, a famous movie star. Jack has two daughters who have their own interest in the inheritance, and they would like Cassie to submit to a DNA test to prove she has no claim to the money. But, again, Cassie just wants to be left alone.

Contrary to Cassie’s wishes, Jack’s daughters soon show up on Cassie’s doorstep, not willing to let their father’s fortune get away from them. And in between flashbacks to June’s childhood, they begin to understand what it means to be family, famous, and fortunate.

There are some interesting twists in this one that I will admit I did not see coming. It proved to be just enough to keep me interested and turning the pages to see what would happen next. The flashbacks to June’s story were helpful in understanding how things got to their current state, but they didn’t always have a strong connection to an overall thread in moving the plot forward. That said, it all builds to an unexpected ending.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via BloggingForBooks.]

Bound to Fall by Jaime Samms

Bound to Fall

Bound to Fall by Jaime Samms

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on June 26, 2015
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Actor Eddie Crane has been plagued with guilt and in mourning for almost a decade. Ever since the love of his life died in a car accident, while Eddie was driving, he’s felt responsible for the death and exhibits a recklessness that could only be described as dangerous. But his manager and best friend always does the best she can to keep him on track. And she’s hoping that some time out of the spotlight learning to ride horses for an upcoming role can help–at least for a little while.

Arthur Pike has mixed feelings about having to teach Eddie to ride. Eddie doesn’t make a good first impression. But Pike can’t deny that the actor has played a role in more than one of his fantasies over the years. And even though it might be easy just to dismiss Eddie as a piece of work, Pike can’t deny that he comes with enough of his own baggage to fill a storage locker.

When it becomes clear the spark of attraction is mutual, they both need to make some decisions. Can Eddie find a way to open up to someone else, knowing that it could all be over in a flash? Can Pike put his own bruised heart aside and trust that love is possible? And can the two of them stay out of trouble long enough to not find themselves on the cover of every tabloid magazine?

These two guys… They’ve both been through so much, and I just had to feel for them. Now that’s not to say there weren’t moments when I wanted to reach through the pages and shake them. But the author approaches their hesitations, their reservations, and their choices in what I feel is a very organic, respectful, and realistic way. And despite some of the heavy baggage they both bring to the story, there are moments of humor to get you through. This isn’t a tear-jerker, but it’s a good reflection on love, loss, and trust–not only for another person but also for yourself.

Texas Winter by R.J. Scott

Texas Winter

Texas Winter by R.J. Scott

Series: Texas, Book 2
Published by: Love Lane Books on June 5, 2013 (2nd edition)
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Riley hoped that he was free from any further harm his family could cause him when his brother died. But the FBI isn’t so willing to ignore the things that Riley’s brother did…things that could put the family business and name on the line. But thankfully for Riley, he has Jack and Jack’s supportive family to help him get through it all. Past unethical behavior by his brother isn’t all Riley has to worry about–it turns out he has an eight-year-old daughter who has just showed up on his doorstep. The start of a marriage for any couple can be challenging, but with all of these added complications, can Jack and Riley find a way to make it work?

This is an interesting glimpse into how Riley and Jack work to find their way forward after the incredibly unorthodox way they came together in the first place. You don’t need to have read the first book to follow this story, but it is my impression that it would help considerably in just having context of some of the references to previous events. It is entertaining, engaging, and at few points even suspenseful. I do find myself looking forward to finding out what happens in the next book, which is currently loaded on my Kindle and ready to go.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Published by: Bloomsbury on September 20, 2011
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Princes in exile generally know they cannot expect too many great things out of life. Which is where Patroclus found himself when he was sent to the court of King Peleus. What he did not expect was to become friends with the king’s son, Achilles, and forge a quick and defining bond. The two become fast friends and there is the lingering sense for Patroclus that their connection might mean something more. A sense that Achilles’s mother, the sea goddess Thetis, does not appreciate at all. And Thetis makes it her mission to keep the two of them apart–for her son’s own good, obviously.

But things change for everyone when Helen of Sparta is kidnapped. Princes from all around are asked to join in the fight–and Achilles cannot escape the call. Despite the danger, Patroclus must decide whether to go with Achilles into battle, knowing in his heart that they cannot live apart. And knowing that the battlefield might just be where everything about both of their lives is truly tested…

I’ll be honest that I was a bit sold on this book before I even opened it up. Mythology, fantasy, romance, etc. are all things I tend to enjoy. But when I opened it up and fell into the story that Madeline Miller crafted, I was surprised at the wonderful construction of this book. Telling epic tales is not easy. It can be even more challenging when it is a story with which many readers may already have some familiarity. But Miller’s narrative is fresh, engaging, and compelling. And this has quickly risen to near the top of my favorite mythology-based novels. If you haven’t read it and have even a passive interest in any of its genre tags, considering picking it up at your earliest convenience!