Daddy Bear (Montana Daddies #1)

bearAfter years of being lied to and used, Ellie just wants a new life. On her own terms.
There’s just one small problem. On her way to that new life, she crashes her car during a snow storm and is rescued by a huge hunk of a man. A man who goes by the name of Bear, has thighs as big as tree trunks, and an extreme case of bossiness.

If anyone ever needed a keeper, it was this girl. Bear knows he shouldn’t touch her, shouldn’t get involved, and yet the close quarters of a tiny cabin in a snow storm make him do things he normally wouldn’t.
Like offering her a temporary arrangement, with him as her Daddy Dom.

Contains a hot, alpha Daddy Dom and a woman who needs his special brand of love.

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Daddy Bear is a daddydom / (adult) little girl romance set in the Montana in the dead of winter. The majority of the book takes place with the hero and heroine trapped in a cabin in the forest, waiting out a blizzard and uncleared roads.

I think it is a great introduction to the subset of D/s that is a daddydom relationship. The concept of consent is regularly repeated between during the story and Bear is an absolute sweetheart. He is always super careful around Ellie.

Ellie is a virgin before she and Bear get together and I thought that the pain she was in during intercourse for the first time was pretty realistic, especially considering their size differences. I hate when it’s all sunshine and roses and completely unrealistic. Even though that is what some romance readers are clearly looking for, it ruins the story for me if too many details are unbelievable. A girl can only suspend belief so many times!

I would recommend this book 🙂

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Just This One Summer (The Montebellos #2)

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A sexy forbidden-lovers, billionaire romance.

On the coast of Italy, sheltering in a stranger’s home to wait out a storm, heartbroken Maddie Gray throws caution to the wind for the first time in her life and ends up in the powerful tycoon’s arms…and bed! The next morning, she discovers her knight in shining armour is the last man she should have got involved with: Nico Montebello. The best friend of the abusive ex Maddie’s spent months trying to elude.

He’s completely forbidden, but when Nico – who has no idea who Maddie really is – suggests a brief summer affair with no strings, no questions, and no future Maddie wonders if she can have her cake and eat it too. After everything she’s been through, she deserves a bit of fun, doesn’t she? So long as she doesn’t let her heart become involved…

But even casual flings have the power to heal and gradually Nico pieces Maddie back together until she’s whole once more. He’s rescued her – from the storm, from her grief and fears, but can he ever forgive her for keeping the truth of their connection from him?

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Just This One Summer is a sweet, Italian summer romance between billionaire playboy Nico Montebello and British author Maddie Gray. Maddie has run away from her life in England in an attempt to escape her abusive partner. She and Nico meet one stormy day on the beach and the attraction between them is instantaneous.

The plot in Just This One Summer is very simple and I was able to see from the beginning where the story was heading. Regardless, the romance between these two was entertaining and a heart-warming quick read on a cold winter night.

I recommend this book to other readers who like their romance light-hearted.

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Regret Me Not (The Montebellos #1)

One sexy night with consequences…

It was one single night of passion with a mysterious stranger, but when Elodie Gardiner realises she’s pregnant, she naturally intends to tell her billionaire lover – only before she can do so, she discovers a very pressing reason to keep their baby a secret!

Three years later, ruthless tycoon Fiero Montebello receives a shocking call from a London hospital. The woman he slept with three years ago is in a serious condition in ICU – and the son he never knew he had is in the crèche!

Family is everything to Fiero and there’s no way he’s going to let his son be raised anywhere than under his roof – even if that means his one-time lover is a part of that. He can never forgive her for keeping their child a secret, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still want her. This seduction is a dangerous game laced with resentment and hurt…

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Regret Me Not is the first of seven in the Montebellos series, and also the first book I have ever read from author Clare Connelly. It is a traditional romance story, not dark or erotic, and would likely appeal to a wide audience of romance fans.

Fiero is a billionaire businessman with a large family and serious trust issues. He also has a heart of gold, but it was difficult reading through the issues he and Elodie had to work through. First as parents, then as lovers, Fiero and Elodie struggled to forgive each other for the decisions they had made, and to put Jack’s best interests at heart, despite their pain. Reading from both points of view, it was impossible to say either parent was entirely right or wrong, which contributed to the real emotion behind the book.

Regret Me Not brought out my emotions and I was definitely crying at a few different points. Connelly did a great job of connecting the reading to her characters. I did find Fiero’s brothers to be thoroughly unlikeable though, and considering they are the stars of future books in this series, she is going to have a time writing redemption arcs for some of their opinions and advice!

I plan to read the next book in this series, Just This One Summer soon, and hopefully will be reviewing it shortly.

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Twisted Hearts (Camorra Chronicles #5)

Savio Falcone has a few non-negotiable rules when it comes to girls.

They need to be hot as f*ck. Spread their legs without much prompting. And leave as soon as the fun is over. Preferably minus any bitching or tears.

With his easy-going bad boy attitude, a last name that rules over Las Vegas and a body to die for, girls have always been at Savio’s disposal.48499902._SY475_

Unfortunately, the hottest girl in Vegas comes with a price Savio isn’t willing to pay. For Savio to get Gemma he’d need to seal the deal and put a ring on her finger. Settling down is out of the question, no matter how hot a piece of ass waits at the altar.

Gemma Bazzoli has had a crush on Savio from the first moment she came face to face with his arrogant smile, but for him she was always his best friend’s annoying little sister—until her hard-earned curves catch even his attention.

But Savio likes it easy, and Gemma is anything but. When she’s promised to another man, Gemma resigns herself to the fact that the man she’s wanted all her life, doesn’t want her badly enough.

Savio has to decide how much work he’s willing to invest, because bending the rules in his usual style might not be enough to get the girl that haunts his wet dreams.

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*An honest review in exchange for an advanced reader copy.

Twisted Hearts is written as a standalone book within the Camorra series, so readers do not have to follow the series for it to make sense, although fans will obviously understand more of the backstory of Savio and the Camorra if they do. The narrative is linear, with the plot beginning several years before “present day”, when the H/h were young teens. A significant portion of the novel is spent developing Savio and Gemma as individuals, something unique to this book. Normally in this universe, the couple are virtually strangers on their wedding day.

Due to the backstory’s development Twisted Hearts is a slow burn romance. There is no sex or even kissing between the couple until the very end of the book. While some readers will love this aspect, I personally did not. It felt like I was reading less of a mafia romance / dark romance tale and more of a young adult novel.

As TH is written as a standalone, there are far fewer instances of secondary characters like the Falcones showing up. This was a disappointment for me.

The grammar and sentence structure were far improved in this book which made it more of a fluid read and I was able to more easily immerse myself in the world that Ms. Reilly created. I have long wondered if English is the author’s second language because she is an amazing writer, but the syntax is often disjointed, as if she grew up speaking or writing in another language. I am so glad that she is improving.

I enjoyed reading Twisted Hearts and will definitely be one-clicking all future books from this author.

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Lethal Balance (Sons of the Survivalist 2)

lethal balanceHis name means hunter.

Once the best assassin in black ops, Cazador is now the best at saving lives. His path has changed from seeking bloody vengeance to running a health clinic in Rescue, Alaska.

He will never again risk loving someone he can’t protect.
His mother and sister were murdered in front of him, his fiancée slaughtered in a war zone. Despite his popularity with women, he’s determined to remain unattached. His heart can bear no more loss. Unfortunately, the universe isn’t listening.

First, his brother hires JJ, a fiery-haired, tough cop who lives on the edge of danger and has the biggest heart of anyone he knows. And then, his disreputable past returns in the shape of an adorable, foul-mouthed nine-year-old daughter. Now he has two loved ones to protect. An impossible task, because…

Life is dangerous. Especially in Alaska.

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Lethal Balance is the second book in the Sons of Survivalist series by the amazing author Cherise Sinclair. She been a one-click author for me since I read her first book many years ago, and I continue to love her work and look forward to each novel she writes.

This series is sent in the Alaksan wilderness, and features rugged, alpha, ex-military heroes. Caz is strong, sexy and dominant, even though no BDSM play takes place. His backstory has a huge impact on his ability to develop a relationship with police officer JJ, an Alaskan newcomer, and is something that he has to work through throughout the story.

JJ is amazing. I love how Ms. Sinclair balanced her personality; she can be a tough-as-nails cop and a sensual woman, and a caring surrogate mother to Regan.

One thing that I have noticed is that the main characters in this series seem to be too …. perfect? complete? one-dimensional? There is very clearly a us versus them mentality with the H/h and bad guys which doesn’t reflect the conflicted, impersonal people we all are and simplifies plot lines. In all, I think this world seems a little flat, with everything always tied up in a neat little bow, and the main characters never making mistakes.

Lethal Balance was a solid read and clearly sets up the following two (and presumably final) books in this series. While I can’t put my finger on what it is, this author does seem to be struggling to find her stride in a traditional romance book. I cannot put down her erotic / BDSM series, and yet both “Sons” books I had to push myself to finish reading. I will still read the following two because I like this author and want to finish it out, but they don’t draw me in.

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Damage (Collateral Damage #2)

damageWe’re a match made in hell, Stefan and I.

He took me to exact his revenge. I went from being a pawn to my father to being a pawn to Stefan. The only difference is I have a ring the size of a boulder on my finger and a husband I don’t want.

And the hardest part is I thought he was different. I thought I was falling in love.

I guess my father was right. I’m not a very smart girl.

Stefan is a powerful man. He doesn’t play nice, not if you’re his enemy. But I’ve learned one thing about my husband.

He takes care of what’s his.
And I am his.

His enemies have become my enemies, but he’ll never let anyone hurt me. He’s fiercely protective. It’s the predator inside that scares me.

—                          —                          —

Damage picks up immediately after the cliff-hanger ending of CollateralI thoroughly enjoyed this book as well and also read it in an evening, but I wasn’t as in love with it as I was the first in the series.

The tone of Damage is still dark, and the couple actually as sex in this book! Gasp!

There were times that I felt like Gabriela was too stupid to live. In her defence, she is very young – just 18 – and in completely surreal circumstances. So I tried to remember that and it felt me sink back into the story.

Overall I enjoyed it and was happy with where the author leaves off this couple, but I felt really poorly for a couple of secondary characters. I seriously hope that poor cousin Rafe one day gets to be the hero of his own story.

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Wall Street Titan (Alpha Zone 1)

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A billionaire who wants a perfect wife…

At thirty-five, Marcus Carelli has it all: wealth, power, and the kind of looks that leave women breathless. A self-made billionaire, he heads one of the largest hedge funds on Wall Street and can take down major corporations with a single word. The only thing he’s missing? A wife who’d be as big of an achievement as the billions in his bank account.

A cat lady who needs a date…

Twenty-six-year-old bookstore clerk Emma Walsh has it on good authority that she’s a cat lady. She doesn’t necessarily agree with that assessment, but it’s hard to argue with the facts. Raggedy clothes covered with cat hair? Check. Last professional haircut? Over a year ago. Oh, and three cats in a tiny Brooklyn studio? Yep, she’s got those.

And yes, fine, she hasn’t had a date since… well, she can’t recall. But that part is fixable. Isn’t that what the dating sites are for?

A case of mistaken identity…

One high-end matchmaker, one dating app, one mix-up that changes everything… Opposites may attract, but can this last?

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* I received a free ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.

Wall Street Titan is the first book I have read from Anna Zaires that was not a dark romance, so I wasn’t if I would enjoy reading a regular romance as much I love her darker stories. Luckily, it was awesome!

Marcus is a total alpha male, and very dominant, even if he is not “dark”. I feel like the billionaire romance genre cannot help but compare every book to Fifty Shades and Christian Grey, and I am happy to report that Marcus completely stands on his own. Marcus and Emma are a cute couple with instant chemistry, much to their chagrin.

Let’s be honest though. The real star of this book is Mr. Puffs. The shenanigans he gets into is hilarious and reminds me of my own not-so-little furball.

Wall Street Titan is the first in a series, so expect to wait a few months before Marcus and Emma meet their happily ever after.

I highly recommend this book and will definitely be one-clicking the sequel when it is available for preorder.

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Leopard’s Wrath (Leopard People #11)

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He’s a man used to getting what he wants, but she’s not the type of woman to take things lying down….

Born into a life of crime, Mitya Amurov has had a hard life, and his leopard has developed into a feral beast to protect him. It’s constantly trying to claw its way to the surface—until a chance encounter with a stranger instantly calms the predator inside him. While Mitya wants Ania desperately, it’s only a matter of time before his past catches up with him, and he’d rather die than put her in danger. But Ania is dealing with dangers of her own….

Considering her family’s history, Ania Dover should know better than to get mixed up with a criminal like Mitya, but she just can’t stay away. Something wild in her responds to his presence. A need so strong it scares her. But she’s not sure she can accept what he’s offering. Ania has always been an independent woman, and Mitya expects to be obeyed in all things.

Even with her body calling out for his, Ania won’t let anything stop her from settling a deadly score years in the making—not even the man who wants to claim her as his mate.

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I have been a huge fan of Ms. Feehan for nearly two decades now and even though I have outgrown some of her series as a reader, others I have thankfully grown into. The Leopard People series is definitely included in the latter category and Leopard’s Wrath is an amazing new addition to the existing canon.

I really enjoyed Ania and Mitya and the developments their story brought to the series. LW wrapped up some arcing plot points that have carried through the last several books, while at the same time, creating new threads that will clearly be carried forward in future.

This was a really emotional book. I wasn’t expecting some of that heartache going into it, and to be honest, there was one late night of reading when I cried myself to sleep. I could relate to Ania’s troubles on a personal connection, making it difficult to separate the character’s emotions from my own. I love how this led to a few emotionally explosive scenes, some of my favourites in this series, and how Mitya and Ania dealt with it.

Mitya is a super sexy, Russian lead character and I have to give him the title of my latest book boyfriend! Though, Sevastyan has certainly piqued my interest and I really really hope that he stars in the next instalment.

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How to be Happy (or at least less sad)

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Author and illustrator Lee Crutchley brings his lively interactive approach to a little-discussed but very common issue: the struggle with depression and anxiety.

Through a series of supportive, surprising, and engaging prompts, HOW TO BE HAPPY (OR AT LEAST LESS SAD) helps readers see things in a new light, and rediscover simple pleasures and everyday joy…or at least feel a little less sad. By turns a workbook, trusted friend, creative outlet, security blanket, and secret diary, the pages of this book will offer solace, distraction, engagement, a fresh perspective, and hopeful new beginnings—for readers of all ages and walks of life.

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I haven’t been very active online lately. The title of this post might give a hint as to why. Depression has been a constant struggle for me this year. I’m not really sure why, given that I’ve been trying to address it, and a lot of good things have happened for me this year, but depression is like most diseases – you can’t control when it attacks.

How to be less happy is a wonderful tool that has been working really well for me. As well – or better – than any of the tools professionals have given me so far.

This book has text broken down into small chunks that are not overwhelming. It is very interactive, and has many different ways to engage with the ideas presented. I think the should appeal to artsy and non-artsy folks alike.

If you are anyone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, or just feeling lost in their life, I highly encourage you to buy a copy of this book. Below, I have included snapshots of a few of the pages to give you an idea of the types of exercises you will do as you move through it.

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Secret Obsession (Cordova Empire #3)

secret obsession

Layla

From the moment of my birth I’ve been rejected by those who should have loved me, labeled as a freak because of my birthmark, bullied and tormented because I look different. When you’re told every day that you’re ugly and worthless you start to believe it. I managed to escape my malicious family and build a life for myself, but they’d broken something inside of me. I’m afraid to go outside, afraid to be around large groups of people, afraid of any type of confrontation and my panic attacks have left me pretty much house bound. If it wasn’t for my online friends I probably would have given up on life long ago. But there is one special friend, a man by the name of Mark, who keeps me going. He’s brave, smart, strong, and kind…and has no idea that I’m secretly in love with him.

Mark

Once I was a good man with a perfect life. I had a job I loved training dogs for the police with my wife, had a great family who filled our lives with laughter, and I woke up every day with a smile on my face. I was completely content in my blissful ignorance. I had no idea about the criminal world that thrived all around me, no idea that I’d made some powerful enemies who do anything to destroy me. Including killing my wife. I swore my revenge, and got it, but in the process I lost my soul. It was during these dark times, after my vengeance was fulfilled and I was drifting in anguish, that a beautiful soul rescued me from my own personal hell. I tried to keep my distance, tried to shield her from the villains of the world, myself included, but the evil that surrounds me wouldn’t be denied. Despite my best attempts to keep her safe, someone is out to destroy Layla, and I’m the only one who can protect her.

But who’s going to save her from me?

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Secret Obsession is the third book in the Cordova mafia series, written by Ann Mayburn. This series would best be enjoyed if read in order, but each could be read as a standalone.

Ms. Mayburn is an excellent writer who has crafted an intricate and detailed world in for the Cordovas. It is linked to two of her other series, the Iron Horse MC and Submissive’s Wish.

Unfortunately, Secret Obsession did not live up to the expectations that she has previously built. SO felt much shorter than the previous two books, and the storyline was simpler, predictable. In addition, there was less interaction between the main couple and their friends and family, compared to the first two books.

Mark and Layla do not engage in a physical relationship until about halfway through the novel. This can be done really well and make complete sense for the characters in some novels, but felt like wasted time in this instance. Mark’s inability to accept his love for Layla grew tedious long before he overcame it.

Overall, this is not a book I enjoyed or would read again.

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