Breaking in Bella (Cloudcroft Ranch #1)

bella

After Bella Mikelson wrecks her car while driving drunk, the spoiled twenty-two-year-old faces a difficult choice. If she wants to stay out of jail and keep her trust fund, she must accept a plea bargain which will require her to spend a year working on a Wyoming ranch under the strict supervision of Jackson Sullivan and his brother Lincoln, two tough, handsome cowboys who will not hesitate to provide the stern discipline she has been missing.

Seeing no other way out of her predicament, Bella agrees to the terms, but it is only a matter of moments before her defiant attitude earns her a painful, humiliating spanking that leaves her cheeks blushing and her bare bottom burning.

As she grows accustomed to life on the ranch, however, Jackson’s firm-handed dominance sets her once-hidden passion on fire, and soon she is yearning for him to claim her properly. But is she just a project for him, or is he ready to be the master she has desperately needed for so long?

Publisher’s Note: Breaking in Bella is the first book of the Cloudcroft Ranch series. It is a stand-alone erotic romance novel which includes spankings, sexual scenes including a threesome, and more. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

—                         —                         —

Breaking in Bella was a very interesting read. This book was not at all what I expected, but I still enjoyed it very much. I actually sped through all four books in this series in three days and will absolutely read more if the author writes them!

Bella is a difficult main character to identify with and like. She is spoiled, unskilled, whiny and constantly lands herself in situations far beyond her depth. The author had a tough job to make the reader fall in love with Bella, and I don’t quite think she managed, at least for me. That being said, Bella’s history shaped who she is and this is explained to the reader, and she makes huge strides to better herself throughout the course of the story.

The hero, Jack, is super sexy and so are the others, who happily have books of their own 🙂

The book is billed as a MMf romance but it is NOT. Although there are some menage scenes, the relationship is strictly between Bella and Jack.

There are plenty of sexy spanking scenes and emotional outbursts in Breaking in Bella, but few other instances of BDSM. I was dubious when I stumbled upon this book because of the title, but I was very relieved to find that the dominant characters always treat their submissives – and all women – with respect. The term “breaking” in this case wasn’t used in a sinister manner.

I love western romances. Maybe its because I am a country girl at heart, but something about the mountains and cowboy country just gets me every time.

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xx

 

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Magic in the Wind (Drake Sisters #1)

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“Sarah’s coming home.” Ever since Damon Wilder sought refuge in Sea Haven, he’s heard the same breathless rumor pass the lips of nearly every local in the sleepy coastal town. Even the wind seems to whisper her name – a reverie so powerfully suggestive that it carries the curious Damon to Sarah’s clifftop home, and seeks to shelter him there.

But Damon has not arrived alone. Two men have tracked him to Sea Haven, and into the shadows of Drake House, where Sarah hides her own secrets. And danger- as well as a desire more urgent than either has ever known- is just a whisper away…

—                         —                         —

The Drake Sisters series is one that I have read many, many times in the past. It is one of my favourite series ever but I have never shared my love for these books on this blog. I have started re-reading the books this summer to try and get out of this book slump I feel stuck in, and now I remember just why I loved these books so much. They are so FUNNY!

I literally LOL when reading the Drakes. The interactions between them and Jonas are hilarious. 

Sarah is the oldest sister. Her story is told in the book Magic in the Wind. It is a novella, something I have always regretted. Her story is also included at the start of Sea Storm, which contains book four in this series as well.

I never really liked Sarah all that much, nor did I warm to her fiance, Damon. Sarah is the oldest of the seven magical Drake sisters and as such, is bossy, a bit self-righteous and seemed like a stick in the mud. In re-reading her story though, I rediscovered her generosity, kindness, patience and sense of humour. She is also hugely protective of her family!

We don’t get too much of Damon in this novella – probably due to the word count – but fans of the series learn more in other books.

I think that the reason I never warmed to Sarah is because her book was such a short introduction to the series. It is less than half the word count of Abbey’s book! Poor Sarah really drew the short straw. In addition, I am nothing like Sarah, whereas I can relate much more easily to some of her sisters.

I enjoyed rereading this book and am excited to keep moving through this series. Now the dilemma though – do I keep going right away because I am in the mood to read them, or do I wait until Christmastime, (the second novel in the series is set at Christmas) to continue???

* * * *    (it would have been 5 if it was novel-length!)

xx

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

guest

We can’t choose the strangers we meet.

As the guests arrive at beautiful, remote Mitchell’s Inn, they’re all looking forward to a relaxing weekend deep in the forest, miles from anywhere. They watch their fellow guests with interest, from a polite distance.

Usually we can avoid the people who make us nervous, make us afraid.

With a violent storm raging, the group finds itself completely cut off from the outside world. Nobody can get in – or out. And then the first body is found . . . and the horrifying truth comes to light. There’s a killer among them – and nowhere to run.

Until we find ourselves in a situation we can’t escape. Trapped.

—                         —                         —

I am a huge fan of Lapena’s writing and have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of this book for several months. I listened to the two previous novels, The Couple Next Door and The Stranger in the House, but switched to the eBook after about an hour on this one. An Unwanted Guest has many characters, and most share the POV scenes. It is was too much for me to listen to the book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it after I switched to reading it.

Throughout most of the story, I kept guessing as to who the murderer was. There were a couple of characters that I immediately deemed “safe” and never really suspected, but the author did a great job of leading you on in several directions. The anguish, fear and suspense that the characters felt as their companions dropped one by one was clearly communicated.

This is a very fast paced book that most readers could likely finished in one sitting. The text is broken up by date and time updates, such as, “Sunday morning, 4:03 am”. In doing so, and by excluding traditional chapter headings, the story seems to flow more smoothly and it encourages the reader to keep reading towards the end of the book without breaks.

The style of the book is very similar to Insp. Poirot and The Orient Express, which the author actually references at one point in the story.

I was deeply engrossed in this novel. My Mum also loved it, and finished it even faster than I did. I will definitely be reading the next novel that Lapena pens, as soon as it is released.

* * * * *

xx

Strong Hold (Redemption #5)

strong

Fight promoter Zack Grayson is on the prowl for a rising star. As the top recruiter of a prestigious MMA promotion company, he wants to take someone where he was never able to go: the top of the professional league. He didn’t expect that someone to be the woman he loved…and left.

Top-ranked MMA amateur fighter Shayla “Shilla the Killa” Tyler built walls around her heart when Zack left her seven years ago–and again when her husband turned violent. Now, seeing Zack is nearly enough to send those walls crumbling. But she can’t risk the exposure of the limelight, and she definitely can’t risk another heartbreak.

As Shayla and Zack grow closer, though, business turns personal. And once their passion unleashes, there’s no going back…

—                         —                         —

This book had a somewhat different perspective than the others in the series because the heroine is a fighter. The hero is as well, but the previous female leads did not start off in the cage. Beyond that point, the books follow the same general format that all the rest of them have.

I read this book in two sittings although it did not have the same draw as the first in the series did.

There is less cage-fighting in this book than in the past, as least so far as I recall, with more of the story focused on the emotional connection between Shayla and Zack.

Strong Hold is a second chance romance and will likely be followed by the sixth book in the Redemption series in a year or so.

Although there is nothing that I can point to and say this is why I didn’t like the book, it just didn’t draw me in or stick with me. Not one I would read again or that I find memorable.

xx

Born a Crime (Trevor Noah)

crime

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime New York Times bestseller about one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humour and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

—                          —                          —

I recently listened to Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, which is read by the author, Trevor Noah. His narration is smooth and his accent enchanting.

I found this collection of essays to be thoroughly engrossing. They completely changed my perspective of who Noah is, which was formed by admittedly minimal viewing of The Daily Show, which he currently hosts. Noah isn’t uptight the way I imagined him to be. Nor is he the shining example of his neighbourhood, to have risen out of poverty and oppression in Apartheid South Africa and made it big in America. Or if he is, he isn’t ‘the golden child’.

Noah was one naughty kid and I bet he still is a bucket full of trouble (and laughs) as a grown man. I also had no idea that he has a comedy show and just recently learned that he was in the 2018 film Black Panther.

The description pretty much tells you everything you need to read about this book. It is a collection of stories from his childhood. It was not as heavily focused on oppression in a police state as I expected. The stories flow together so smoothly that I didn’t realize it was considered a collection of essays until I finished the audiobook and was reviewing the synopsis on Goodreads.

If you like memoirs, this is definitely one that I would recommend.

* * * * *

xx

Get to Know me Tag

You see these 20 things about me lists on social media all the time and I thought it might be fun to do something like that on here. So here are 20 random facts about the author of this blog…

  1. If I could wish for any superpower, it would be the ability to breathe underwater (while still being able to breathe above as well!)
  2. I am the youngest of three girls
  3. I plan to homeschool my children, at least through their elementary years
  4. I have a ginger cat named Meow Meow. He has a temper.
  5. I work in a public library – branch life for me!
  6. I have tattoos
  7. I am pretty old-fashioned I guess?
  8. I am almost always early to work and usually late to everything else
  9. Other than libraries, I have worked as a server, a nanny, a cashier, a groundskeeper and for an engineering company
  10. My favourite season is Autumn, spring is second.
  11. The most difficult thing I have ever achieved is my undergraduate degree. I had to work through financial issues, the breakdown on my family and emotional disorders. I eventually completed it online, part-time. It took me 9 years but I persevered and earned that degree!
  12. I constantly dream about home renovation and what I would do if I won big in the lottery (which I don’t play…)
  13. The places I am most excited to travel to are NewFoundland, Iceland, Scotland, Ireland and New Zealand
  14. My next trip will be to Mexico in 2019 for my best friend’s wedding
  15. I want to have a larger family, at least 4 kids
  16. I cannot leave the house without some form of payment card, lipgloss/lipchap, my phone, and keys
  17. I have had two near death experiences
  18. I do not drink coffee or tea
  19. I prefer Youtube to TV. Currently, I mostly watch this gathered nest, this gathered schoolhouse, this is how we bingham, jesssfam, and joyful chaos
  20. I prefer to sleep with my closet doors shut and my room tidy, but leaving them open wouldn’t prevent me falling asleep either.

Bonus: I am a leader with Girl Guides of Canada and I actually maintain another blog about that aspect of my life. If you are interested, you can follow me here.

xx

Callie & The Cats (The Wolf’s Mate #3)

callie

Callie Hunter, best friend to alpha half-wolf Cadence, has had enough of the pack life. Setting her sights on anyplace without wolves, she heads north only to be sidetracked by a devastating car crash that brings her face to face with twin mountain lions.

Ethan and Eryx, small town sheriff’s deputies, knew the moment they touched Callie that she was the mate they’d always wanted. But mountain lion females don’t take kindly to sharing their males with anyone else and will do anything in their power to discourage Callie from sticking around. Will Ethan and Eryx’s desire for Callie cost them everything, or will Callie find her inner wolf and the home she’s always dreamed of?

This novel contains menage-a-trois, hunky cops, handcuffs, an on-the-run she-wolf, sex in every room in the house, and inappropriate use of the phrase “assault with a deadly weapon”.

—                          —                          —

Not gonna lie, I hated this book. I started this series on the recommendation of a friend, and thought that I would push through even though I didn’t love the first two. Not everything has to be a five star book right?!

Nope, should have trusted my instincts on this one.

Callie is a bitch!

Her whole life, she has hidden behind her best friend Cadence. I understand that “Cades” is an alpha and Callie is extremely submissive, and unconfident, but she is still her “best friend”. Cadence was willing to fight with her Alpha and husband over Callie, but as soon as Callie leaves town she turns on back on the one person who has been her true friend and supporter all these years.

Callie forgets to invite Cadence and anyone else from the wolf pack she grew up in to her wedding, even though she has only been gone for a few weeks. When they invite themselves and travel across the country to attend, things go so badly that the Pack leaves without attending the wedding and their friendship ends.

I also hated that the author has Cadence question her relationship with her mate Jason in this book. They were the hero/ine of the first novel. It is super weird to start tearing their relationship apart in the third book of a romance series.

The author finishes off the book by suggesting that we outgrow our friends and that this is the natural order of things. She is right that this can happen, except that isn’t the case in this instance and to suggest otherwise is insulting. I truly feel like Cadence is better off without Callie and her cats in her life. I won’t be returning to this series either.

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xx