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Men of Smithfield: Seth and David (Men of Smithfield #2) by L.B. Gregg

Men of Smithfield: Seth and David

Expected Publishing Date: October 15, 2012

Publisher: Carina Press

Available at: Carina Press Store, Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Synopsis: He’s everything I’ve never wanted — too young, too weird, too wild.

I wasn’t impressed that I had to get my weekly massage from a guy with a toe ring. But when I discovered David Cooke’s skills as a masseur were literally orgasmic, I couldn’t stop thinking about him and his amazing hands, day and night. Especially at night.

He’s full of surprises. And despite my bad behavior, David’s just as eager to explore this chemistry between us. Turns out, there’s a lot more to him than hemp pants and tattoos. If he’s so wrong for me, why does being with him feel so right?

My Reading Progress:

100.0% “Review to come. Sorting out my thoughts about Seth.”
76.0% “And here’s Quinn again. Get a clue already!”
49.0% “So far, so good. My urge to smack Seth has receded.”

Rating: 3 stars

Review: Seth, Seth, Seth. Herein lies ONE of my problems and thus explains my deduction in stars. I was really considering a 2.5 stars, but the Epilogue was unexpected and very much appreciated. So 3 stars it is. 

I really liked the concept behind this book. Two very different men fall for each other, their chemistry is off the charts hot and each has an event that has impacted their lives. However, what this story lacked was the emotional connection between the main characters. That to me is a very essential element in the story.

Seth came across as an arrogant, self serving, opinionated man. He has custody of his niece after his sister’s death and has been dealing with his feelings about this and the loss of his relationship with his lover Quinn. I understood were he was coming from and even felt for him and his struggles, but I just could not get over his assumptions about David. I think that is why it was so hard for me to really connect with him. David was sweet, funny and adorable. I truly liked him. However, I felt there was so much more to him than what was written on the page. I would have loved to know more about the main characters, since they were so different. It really would have helped in making this union a more believable one.

The story lacked a lot of dialog, which is one of my favorite elements. It consisted mostly of Seth’s thoughts and opinions, which really some of them I could have done without. There were some show of emotions from Seth and David and that at least gave me a glimpse into their personality and vulnerability and helped me connect a bit more with them. Molly, Seth’s niece, was a great addition, as well as her friend Katie. I would have enjoyed reading more about these characters and how they interacted as a family after Seth and David got together.

Overall, the book was good. I liked the concept and enjoyed the chemistry between the characters and the interaction between them. What really saved it from an ‘OK’ book for me was the scene at the start, their first (or second, depending how you look at it) encounter and the Epilogue. I loved those!

I am happy to say that I’m looking forward to reading more books from this series and any other books from L.B. Gregg.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Carina Press for the opportunity of reading and reviewing this title in exchange for my honest review.

Men of Smithfield: Mark and Tony (Men of Smithfield #1) by L.B. Gregg

Men of Smithfield: Mark and Tony (Men of Smithfield, #1)Synopsis: Coming home from work to find my boyfriend banging our hairy, married landlord — in our bed — was bad enough. Discovering Jamie had also cleaned out my bank accounts made it officially the worst day of my life. I think I can be forgiven for wanting revenge, even if a few little laws (and possibly Jamie’s nose) got bent in the process.

Fortunately, the law is on my side in the form of my oldest friend, Tony Gervase. I’ve tried to deny my attraction to the sexy trooper for years. After all, he made it clear long ago that he wasn’t interested in me that way. But if the hot encounter in his kitchen is any indication, he is now. At least the day is ending a whole lot better than it began…

But the morning after, the Jamie situation goes from bad to seriously messed up. The jerk’s in more trouble than I could have imagined. And as it turns out, I don’t know Tony as well as I thought I did either…

Rating: 4 stars

Review: How can you NOT read this book after reading the blurb?  That scene right there was laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Mark. Markie. Meehan.”Oh Mark!” that is what I kept saying throughout the book. He was just so, I don’t know – all over the place. He did things that were just this side of ridiculous, but funny as hell. He was foolish and impulsive. Sarcastic, funny and impulsive. So lovable and sexy and impulsive. Did I say impulsive? Well, he was. But through all that impulsiveness I could see a very funny, sarcastic, adorable, sexy and very loving man with a heart of gold who just wanted to love and be loved.

Tony was awesome. His take-charge attitude really did it for me because it was definitely what Mark needed. He cared very much for Mark and it showed with every one of his actions. And when these two got together? Damn that was hot. Their chemistry was off the charts. But I admit that my favorite scene is right at the end. That scene was them. Hot, messy, filled with emotions and very honest.

This is the first book I read from L.G. Gregg. I liked her writing very much. There was humor, emotions, great dialog and great characters presented in a very straight forward way that kept me interested in the story until the very end. Literally. I turned the page and it was over, which explains my 4 star rating.

I will be reading more books from this author since I have a couple of her books in my yearly challenge. I hope the next book in the series is as good as this one.

*Book was previously published as Gobsmacked on August 2009.

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan

Dash & Lily's Book of DaresSynopsis:

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:  What first attracted me to this book was the cover. Then when I read the blurb I knew I had to read it.

Lily’s a nice, quirky, 16 year old girl who for the first time in her life finds herself celebrating Christmas alone when her parents decide to travel to Fiji for an overdue honeymoon. This is her favorite holiday and she is definitely not a happy camper. Dash is a sarcastic, persnickety, 16 year old boy who decides to lie to his parents so that he can spend Christmas alone. Unlike Lily, he does not like Christmas and he would rather be alone than spend it with one of his parents.

I fell in love with Dash on the first page of the book. His sarcastic musings, humor and overall expressions just did me in. I found him to be adorable and as I continued reading I found myself even more endeared to him. Lily was adorable in her own right. The combination of bright personality and shy demeanor really made her seem more real to me, which in the end made it easier for me to connect to her. I liked them both. Their emotions, their humor and their thoughts made for a great read.

The writing was excellent. I loved how the authors managed to bring together the concept of two strangers developing a connection through written messages on a notebook. I was surprised that I liked it so much, being that dialog is one of my ‘make-it or break-it’ elements for me. However, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan expressed beautifully both Lily and Dash’s thoughts, wants and emotions in those written messages that the lack of actual dialog between them was a non-issue for me.

The setting of New York was enchanting. I live in Puerto Rico, but have spent Christmas in New York and I loved it. So seeing it in the page through the eyes of two different characters was very interesting to see. The pace was perfect, each dare and each interaction with other characters was well placed. Although the story takes place within the span of a week, the connection between Lily and Dash did not feel rushed. It felt real and very believable and I attribute that to the way the authors placed each event.

The amount of humor in this book was off the charts. I laughed out loud within the first couple of pages. Dash’s sarcastic remarks were hilarious. Some of the dares were very funny and there is this one scene that really just had me in tears of laughter. It was that good! Of course, as awesome as the humor was, the vulnerability and emotions of the characters were excellent too. I could feel Lily’s insecurities and Dash’s loneliness – their need to really connect with someone on a deeper level. It was amazing to see these character’s development and be a witness of how they allowed themselves the chance to connect in the off chance of finding something worthwhile.

Lily and Dash’s journey was a very enjoyable read filled with humor, deep thoughts and excellent characters. This is one of those books that leaves you with a lingering smile even after you finished reading it. I was really surprised of my reaction, not because it is a Young Adult book – I have read many of those. But because this story really touched me. This one is definitely a keeper!

I received this book through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion and would like to thank them and the publisher for giving me the chance to review it.

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.