Enduring Instincts (Instincts, #2) by S.J. Frost

Enduring Instincts (Instincts, #2)Synopsis: Vampire Daniel Valente struggles to live on his own, now that his master, Titus Antonius Calidus, has found eternal love with another. Carrying mental and emotional scars, he lives in loneliness and feels as though he’s lost who he once was.

Ryunosuke Kimura has known Daniel for hundreds of years, and loved him for many of them. Even though he believes Titus is the only one Daniel wants to give his heart to, when he hears Daniel needs his support, he rushes to be with him.

With Ryu at his side, Daniel’s confidence returns, and with it, he sees the enduring love Ryu has always had for him. As they grow closer, new threats from old enemies arise, and if Daniel and Ryunosuke are to spend eternity together, they must first defeat the past.

Rating: 4 stars

Review: I was so glad to get to this book, and now that I finished it I’m even happier. I liked the first book, Natural Instincts, but Titus wasn’t one of my favorite characters. In this book, I got to see another side to all of them. Ryu with his Samurai strength and his inner vulnerability and love for Daniel. Titus and his bond with Daniel and affection for Ryu and Daniel and his insecurity with himself and his place in the vampire world now that he no longer ‘had’ Titus.

I really liked how Ryu and Daniel got together. The transition from friends to lovers felt believable and their bond strong.

I loved the writing, clear and precise. The dialog was amazing. I enjoyed Ryu and Daniel’s dialog before and after they got together. I was pleased with the banter between the characters, the emotions between the lovers and the confrontations during the conflict.

Another book by S.J. Frost that I enjoyed and an awesome addition to the series. Can’t wait to read the next one, which I already have on my ‘To-Read’ shelf.

Natural Instincts (Instincts #1) by S.J. Frost

Natural Instincts (Instincts, #1)Synopsis: Andreas Nikandros has one focus, to kill the vampire he believes murdered his sister, and he knows with their greater strength, the surest way to kill a vampire is to become one. As a zoologist, he’s used to looking at the world from a natural standpoint, but when he sets out on a quest to find a vampire to Turn him, what he finds in Titus Antonius Calidus is the last thing he expected.

Titus has lived for over a thousand years, and in that time has only ever given his heart to one man. As they follow their natural instincts, they discover something truly worth living forever for, each other.

Rating:  3 stars

Review: This picked for me for me challenge in the M/M Romance group in Goodreads . I’m used to reading vampire books, but I was hesitant to try it within the M/M genre. It took me longer to read than usual because of my being hesitant, so I’m surprise to say that I enjoyed thoroughly.

S.J. Frost’s writing is always great. It flows nicely into the page and it’s very easy to read. This title had great characters, enough dialog to make it interesting and personal narration to really get to know Andreas. I would have liked more insight into Titus, but the book gives enough that I got to know him a bit to feel for him too. The plot was different. It felt a little hurried, but at least it was wrapped up nicely.

All in all, another great read from this author and a great start to a series. I’m glad I read it and I’m looking forward to reading next book in the series.

Twelve Days (A Note in the Margin #2) by Isabelle Rowan

Twelve Days (A Note in the Margin, #2)Synopsis: Christmas can be a time of love and joy, but to three men at the bookstore called Margins, it also brings reflection on what was and what will be, highlighting the importance of home and family during a hot Australian Christmas. Their lives are intertwined by the bookstore, but individually David has difficulty reconnecting with the son he knew, John discovers something about the father who abandoned him, and Jamie braces himself for what he thinks will be his first Christmas on his own.

Rating: 4 stars

Review: Great follow up to the story. Again, I enjoyed David’s and John’s journey and their relationship.

They are still together and in love, but David is still fighting his demons and having a hard time adjusting. John continues to support him and love him through this, which shows how much he really does care about David. Jamie still looking for that especial someone, especially seeing how David and John have bonded and their relationship has evolved.

The writing was great as usual. Isabelle Rowan brought deep emotions to the page and as in the previous book gives us great insight into how mental illness can affect family and friends relations.

A short, lovely update into David and John’s life.

Lana’s Lawman: A Loveswept Classic Romance by Karen Leabo

http://img2.imagesbn.com/images/174260000/174266236.JPGSynopsis: In a tender story of fateful encounters and second chances, Karen Leabo maps the territory of true yearning and its power to heal old sorrows.

Though it’s been years since Sloan Bennett has seen Lana Gaston, time melts instantly when he comes to her rescue during a Texas thunderstorm. Lana was everything a teenage bad boy couldn’t have . . . but she felt like his for three magical weeks. Then she broke his heart—and Sloan walked away from Destiny, Texas. But now he’s back, wearing a badge, and wondering if fate has decided to give him another chance.

A struggling single mom, Lana can’t help looking back at all the wrong choices she made. With Sloan so close again, she’s filled with old regrets and deep new longing. Could the silly souvenir of a policeman’s badge, given to her by a fortune-teller, have more meaning than she ever dared to dream? Once, Lana didn’t have the courage to tell Sloan how much she cared. So she hurt him instead. But as his sensual lips dare to kiss away yesterday’s pain, she’ll risk her heart to let him know that this time, she’s his forever.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: Blaze of Winter, Light My Fire, and Santerra’s Sin.

Rating: 3 stars

Review: I will be absolutely honest here and tell you that this was a very hard read for me. I liked the book and its not bad by any means. I just could not connect to Lana. I tried, I really, did but I just could not do it. As a struggling single mom myself, I could understand her stubbornness of making it on her own and not relying on a man for certain things. But Sloan came across like a very descent man from the start and her constant doubts about his intentions really grated on my nerves.

From the beginning I liked Sloan. He was a very open and caring man who only wanted the best for Lana and her son. Each time they came together I liked him a little more. Again, Lana not so much. I found her inner thoughts to be repetitive and annoying. She kept thinking the same thing over and over. I saw her as overly defensive towards Sloan and at times I just skimmed directly to dialog. Through the dialog I could better understand what she was rambling about. Her insecurities were more relatable to me and her reactions to Sloan were more realistic. However, in the end, I can honestly say that I could see her point in hesitating. I just don’t think that it should have been brought to the surface so much.

The writing was very good in the sense that each character was developed fully and the dialog was very interesting. I am glad that the author did not bring them together sexually right away, it would have been extremely unbelievable to me even if their chemistry was palpable from the start. I liked the storyline brought into the story, it really made for the growth of the characters and gave great insight into them.

All in all, a good read. I just like to connect to my main characters, so it bothered me that I could not do that with Lana.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to review this book. This title is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other book retailers.

As You Are by Ethan Day

As You AreSynopsis: Operation Danny… that’s all bartender and recent college graduate, Julian Hallowell has had on his mind the past year. Julian may have no idea what he wants to do with his life, but he definitely knows he‘s in love with the boy next door: The one in next room to be exact, his roommate Danny Wallace.

Danny owns a used text book store just off campus and while Julian has done his level best to make Danny fall for him, all his hard work appears to have been in vain. Danny doesn’t seem to view Julian as anything other than that…a roommate and friend. So when new guy in town Andy Baker asks him out on a date, Julian can’t seem to think of a good reason to say no.

Julian has already instituted a Reverse Operation Danny plan, which he’s positive will purge all thoughts of love and lust for his roomie out of his head. He’s ready to move on and start looking for his next Mr. Right, and Andy just might fit the bill.But has he given up too soon?

Rating: 5 stars

Review: A couple of months ago I found myself reading three very angst filled books and commented that I needed to lighten my mood. One of my fellow M/M reader friends recommended I try Ethan Day and he has been my go-to author when I need a light and humorous read.

And this time was no different!

Julian was an amazing character – funny, sarcastic and a true romantic at heart. I loved everything about him. the author really brought out his personality across the page perfectly. I would laugh out loud at his thoughts, his actions and some of the things he said were just plain hilarious. I could definitely have him as a friend. That is how much I connected to him. I cried for him when he got hurt, I laughed when he made outrageous comments and I was grinning from ear to ear when he was happy.

Danny was a bit hard to get to know. I would have loved to have a bit of insight into his thoughts, but it did not affect my understanding of his feelings or actions and it didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the book so I overlooked it in the end. I was on the fence about him and at one point I did not think I could really like him, but in came Julian’s mother and she pointed out a couple of things about him that really made me give him a chance. So in the end, I got to see another side of him and he won me just as much as Julian.

Of course, I can’t forget Julian’s mother or his best friend Gabby. They were amazing women and I really enjoyed them. I was looking forward to every time Gabby and Julian went to lunch just to read what Gabby had to say. She was funny and sarcastic, but very honest with Julian when he needed a wake up call.

Ethan Day always writes great dialog filled with humor and banter. The emotions are there also but no so heavy that you feel weighted down. Of course, the chemistry is hot and the encounters are very, very good. But what keeps me coming back is that I find his characters very real and relatable.

This one is going straight to my keep pile for a re-read.

Amor Prohibido by Ellis Carrington

Amor ProhibidoSynopsis: Jacob Freehan has no job, no man, and no motivation. In pain both from ending a long-term abusive relationship and a severe back injury, he escapes to the sunny seaside town of Puerto Morelos, Mexico for a little yoga, a little R&R, and possibly a place to quietly end his own life.

Pakal is a centuries-old immortal Mayan spirit guide who has been charged with getting Jacob on the path toward healing. Romantic involvement with a spirit charge is strictly forbidden, and it has never been a problem…until now. Pakal sees something special in Jacob, but failure to keep a rapidly growing attraction at bay could result in Jacob losing his life and Pakal being condemned to the Underworld forever…

Rating: 4 stars

Review: I truly enjoyed this book. I’ve always enjoyed Paranormal books and this one was no different.

What I liked the most was the originality of it. The whole Mayan mythology references really added that special touch to the story about a spirit guide and its charge. The world described within the story was well written and developed and the characters were well rounded and complemented each other.

I’m not usually crazy about ‘insta-love’ stories, but I feel it worked here.

All in all, a great, fast read with an interesting conclusion. I hope I get to read more of Pakal’s and Jake’s story.

Quinn’s Hart by Cassandra Gold

Quinn's HartSynopsis: Quinn Delaney has never had much luck with men. Shy and uncomfortable with his height, he’s always tried to blend in rather than stand out. When his former foster sister and best friend cons him into going on a singles’ trip to Walt Disney World, Quinn is certain he will be miserable. Then he meets Josh.

Being dumped by his high-maintenance boyfriend a couple of weeks before a trip to Disney World isn’t what Josh Hart had planned, but he’s determined not to let it get him down. Re-booked on a singles’ trip, Josh intends to make the most of his first trip to an amusement park. On the first day, he meets shy, sexy Quinn, but the man is clueless about his own appeal.

If Quinn wants to catch the man of his dreams, he’ll have to be willing to risk the one thing he’s never put on the line before—his heart.

Available at: Amber Allure, Amazon and other book retailers.

Rating: 4 stars

Review: Awww, this was such a sweet read!

Quinn won my heart from the start – so shy and reserved it reminded me of myself. Cassandra Gold really put Quinn’s emotions out there on the page for me to relate to him easily and become really involved in the story.

The concept of a singles’ trip was very interesting to me and developed very well. The setting was very detailed but not obnoxiously descriptive, which can sometimes throw me off a story. I really felt I was there hanging with them at the parks.

Josh was the perfect match for Quinn. He understood him very early on and really tried to make him comfortable on their outings. Through his efforts I got to see a different side of Quinn – funny and sarcastic, with a very tender heart and sexy as all get out. The first time they got together I was grinning from ear to ear. It was explosive, but as sweet as I expected it to be.

I would have loved to keep on reading. I’m sure it would have been even better to see them in their day-to-day life.

Wake Me Up Inside (Mates #1) by Cardeno C.

Wake Me Up Inside (Mates, #1)Synopsis: Zev Hassick is surprised and confused when he finds himself attracted to his best friend. His very human, very male best friend. Zev is the son of the pack Alpha, regarded as the strongest wolf in generations, born to lead. And everyone knows a male shifter has to mate with a female of his own kind to keep his humanity. So shifters can’t be gay, right?

Jonah Marvel wants a relationship with Zev, his best friend, the man he has loved since childhood. It wasn’t easy to maintain that relationship over years spent living apart while Jonah studied to become a doctor. And then things grow more difficult when Jonah becomes his own patient. Before he can make a life with Zev, he has to understand his past and cure the unexplained ailments that plague him.

Zev and Jonah know they’re destined for each other, but they’re facing traditions ingrained over generations and long-buried secrets that may threaten any future together.

Available at: Amazon, Dreamspinner Press, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and other book retailers.

My Reading Progress:

09/22 100.0% “Still feeling all tingly inside. Review and my reading playlist to come soon. ;o)”
09/21 75.0% “basking in the light that is a great book! I’m in book heaven…all tingly and happy inside.”
09/21 19.0% “Zev had never known pain as intense as that which coursed through him as a result of the denied need to be with his mate, to tie together and join with him in all ways possible.” *sniffs* Smiley
09/21 11.0% “Come back to me, Jonah. Our spirits are intertwined, and my body cannot endure without its other half for much longer.” *sighs*
09/21 7.0% “I blame this on Cardeno C! Yep, song that inspired this book is AWESOME and I HAD to put it on top of my list and read it. ;o)”

Rating: 5 stars

Review: So it’s Friday night and I’m hanging out on Facebook while NetGalley loads so I can get my galleys for the week. I had all my to-read books scheduled and had decided that I would start Wake Me Up Inside after the weekend since it was a personal read and not a galley.

Then I stumbled into a post where Cardeno C. mentioned the song that inspired his current WIP and everything changed. I remembered that I had read a similar post on his blog and asked if Wake Me Up Inside was also inspired by a song. Cardeno answered that it was and was kind enough to include a link to a video with lyrics.

And that is the reason why I find myself reviewing this AWESOME title on a Saturday afternoon instead of next week. I won’t mention the song, because it does refer to one of the main points in the plot of the story and I don’t want to spoil it for you. If you’re still curious after you read it then comment below and I will gladly let you know.

Needless to say that I closed NetGalley, got my tablet out and off to read I went. Of course, my tablet froze up and I ended up reading on my computer, which I hate. Thus, the Heineken in this photo.

So inspired was I, that for the first time in my life I read while listening to music. At the end of the review you will find some of the lyrics of the songs I listened to. They somehow enhanced my reading experience, so I decided to include them here.

The blurb is very thorough so I will move along to how great this book was and why.

You see, rarely does a book affect me like this book has. I am a very emotional person and if you have read my reviews before you know that emotions and how the author expresses them on the page is an important element to me in the books I read.

“Come back to me, Jonah. Our spirits are intertwined, and my body cannot endure without its other half for much longer.”

From the first chapter the author managed to capture and express the emotions beautifully. First giving us glimpses into Zev’s feelings. His inner turmoil over having a human male mate and how that impacted on his Alpha duties, his hesitancy when he first found out that his connection with Jonah ran deeper than merely friendship and his absolute acceptance in his love and attraction to Jonah.

“Zev had never known pain as intense as that which coursed through him as a result of the denied need to be with his mate, to tie together and join with him in all ways possible.”

The story is told in flashbacks and mixed point of views, which at first was hard to get used to but it was brought together so seamlessly that I adjusted quickly to it. What really helped was that both characters were fully developed and their voices were very distinct. Jonah’s “voice” made an appearance at precisely the right time – just when I was wondering “And how does Jonah feel about Zev?”

Another very important element to me is dialog. Zev and Jonah’s was filled with humor, banter and honesty. This helped me connect to them more fully. I was laughing out loud with Zev. His sarcastic humor and some of his comments just endeared him to me so much. Their time together was playful, humorous and sensual and when they got together that first time?! I found myself thinking it was THE. HOTTEST. SCENE. EVER and I have read many, many sex scenes, but the emotion was so very palpable in this one that really, I was blown away. Kudos to the author. That Heineken was drained dry by the time I had read that scene for the third time.

As per usual, the writing was excellent. The pace was very good and the world the author created was very interesting. Very different too from other shifter books I have read. The ‘mate bond’ was believable and explained very well as was the ‘tie in’ of the mates. I got a clear picture of what the author wanted to bring across the page. Mainly Zev and Jonah’s connection and how that related to the world they lived in.

This was a great start of the series and I am definitely looking forward to reading more of it.

Below you will find some of the lyrics to a few of the songs that came up while I was reading. I can identify them to scenes in the book, but what’s the fun in that?! I hope you figure them out and enjoy.

Dido – Here With Me

“And I won’t go, I wont sleep. I can’t breathe until you’re resting here with me. And I won’t leave, I can’t hide. I cannot be until you’re resting here with me.”

Macy Grey – I Try

“Here is my confession. May I be your possession? Boy, I need your touch, your love, kisses and such. With all my might, I try. But this I can’t deny, deny.”

Alicia Keys – Send Me an Angel

“Sometimes I feel so heavy hearted, but I can’t explain ’cause I’m so guarded. But that’s a lonely road to travel and a heavy load to bear. And it’s a long, long way to heaven, but I gotta get there.”

Alicia Keys – No One

“I just want you close. Where you can stay forever. You can be sure that it will only get better.”

Roberta Flack – The First Time Ever I saw Your Face

“And the first time ever I lay with you, I felt your heart so close to mine. And I knew our joy would fill the earth and last ’til the end of time, my love.”

Run the Risk (Love Undercover #1) by Lori Foster

Run the Risk (Love Undercover, #1)Synopsis: When Detective Logan Riske goes undercover to find Pepper Yates, a potential link to his best friend’s unsolved murder, he vows to gain her cooperation by any means necessary. But the elusive beauty is more suspicious—and in far more danger—than he expected. And the last thing Logan needs is to start caring for her….

Pepper has spent years dodging the corrupt club owner who will stop at nothing to keep her silenced. She can trust no one, not even the handsome new “construction worker” who’s moved in next door. The heat between them is undeniable. But will surrendering to passion bring her the safety she so desires—or will her feelings for Logan draw them both into a killer’s cross-hairs?

Rating: 4.50 stars

Review: I have enjoyed many of Lori Foster‘s books, but this is the first time I have read one solely on the basis of the blurb. Was it what I expected? Yes and then some!!!

She brought to the page a handsome, alpha-male with a tender heart and sexy as hell attitude. Logan Riske is everything you would expect from a hero. He was very confident, but throughout the book you got bits and pieces of his caring side and his understanding of Pepper. That, more than his sex appeal, endeared him to me.

On the other hand, Pepper Yates, was not what you would expect from your typical heroine. As Sue, she was portrayed as an insecure, very troubled young woman. This is a role she has to play in order to survive and this is how she acted with Logan. But during this time, you could also see glimpses of a very determined, very strong woman. This made for a very interesting read for me. What surprised me the most was the fact that throughout this story I found myself wanting to shake some sense into HER, instead of my usual reaction of smacking some sense into HIM. Really this just fascinated me!

When they did get together it felt a bit rushed to me, but I overlooked it in the end because really it should not have been a surprise to me. Their chemistry was sizzling hot and Logan was flirting since before they had spoken!  Once the truth came out, I enjoyed their dialog and interactions even more. I got a sense of their vulnerability and honesty and that made it more believable to me.

As usual, the writing was exceptional and the pacing was perfect. The author managed to keep me engaged from beginning to end. I found myself groaning every time real life interfered and I had to step away from the book. It was that good! I have to hand it to Lori, she had me at the edge of my seat for most of the book. Every event and each revelation was placed just right.

The secondary characters were an integral part of the story. Each added something interesting to it – Reese with his humor, Dash with his charm and Rowdy with his protective side. I especially enjoyed Reese and Rowdy. Two alpha males in their own right who captured my attention along the way and made me curious to find out more about them.

I am definitely looking forward to the next books in the series. As with any of her other books, Lori Foster managed to bring me another great read filled with strong characters, suspense and adventure. A tremendous start to a new series.

I would like to thank Harlequin and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and other book retailers.

Light My Fire: A Loveswept Classic Romance by Donna Kauffman

Light My Fire: A Loveswept Classic RomanceSynopsis: In a sizzling romance that’s both suspenseful and deeply moving, Donna Kauffman fans the flames of passion into an inferno of uncontrollable desire.

Wearing jeans, boots, and a reckless, knowing grin, T. J. Delahaye is six feet and seven inches of pure danger. As a covert agent, T. J. saves people for a living. But when he tumbles down a mountain to rescue a wayward hiker, it’s T.J. who needs a helping hand. He falls—hard—for a gorgeous goddess named Jenna whose strength and fierce determination matches his own.

Tormented by the demons of her past, Jenna King once called herself an elite firefighter. She’s nobody’s damsel in distress, but now survival means joining forces with T.J.—and soon sparks are flying between them. Though Jenna has known as many wild men as wildfires, this maverick just may be the one to heal her heart and teach her the dark, secret thrill of surrender.

Find this book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Books-a-Million.

Rating: 4 stars

Review: A sweet romance with deep emotional undertones.

Jenna and T.J. ‘collide’ together in the most unusual of ways. Jenna is a strong, independent woman who has been living with her guilt over past events in her life. She stumbles down a trail and T.J. – a tough secret agent who is recovering from a knee injury – tries to rescue her. Only to stumble himself and end up face down on a ravine.

And this is were the fun began, at least for me.

These two were so perfect for each other it was ridiculous. I am usually not fond of ‘insta-love’ romances, but these two I could definitely see together. Jenna, so capable and stubborn, with her walls firmly in place was the perfect partner for T.J. With his humor and understanding he ‘saw’ Jenna. He recognized that she was troubled and he made it his mission to help her out – both emotionally and physically. I loved him! Tell me, who could resist such a man?! 😉

Donna Kauffman managed to bring these two characters to life through humor, banter and deep emotions. I really felt for Jenna. The author expressed her anguish and guilt in a way that made it easy for me to relate to her. It also helped that with each emotional scene she presented a bit of humor was also added. The banter between these two? AMAZING!  It kept the story from being too heavy and it also showed a different side to the character’s personalities, which helped endeared them to me more easily.

The writing was very good and the pace was perfectly executed. Each event written brought more out of the characters, so by the end I felt like I knew them for real. I appreciated the fact that the author took her time in bringing them together intimately. They were injured and anything too sudden and acrobatic would have been unreal. So although their chemistry was very palpable and very hot, when they finally came together it was in a way that not only had me riveted but also brought out their concern for one another and the connection they had found.  It made their getting together more believable to me.

T.J. and Jenna’s journey of self-discovery and forgiveness made for a great read. To me it had all the elements for a fantastic romance – amazing characters, humor and deep emotions and amazing chemistry.

I would like to thank the publisher, Bantam Dell, and NetGalley for the chance to read this!