July 2022 Bookish Recap

August 03, 2022

July 2022 Romance Book Recap

Hello everyone and welcome to another recap of whatever the heck I'm reading.

I've actually made great strides in knocking some books off of my Kindle TBR. I'm not the only one who has numerous to-read lists, am I?

So yeah, most of the books I've read this month are oldies (mostly goodies) that I finally got to, way after their release dates. Better late than never, right?

I'd say that July was an incredible reading month for me. I found not one, not two, but three 5-star worthy reads. I call that something amazing!!

I do hope that your July treated you as well (or even better) as it has treated me and I wish you all the best for August!!


Total Books Read: 33
Total Pages Read: 10,042
DNFs or No Rating: 10
From my TBR: 28
Avg. Rating: 3.13

All the Books

My favorite books of the month were:

The other books I still found worthwhile (and would recommend) were:
I'm With You by Bijou Hunter
Drowning to Breathe by A.L. Jackson
Fatal Affair by Marie Force
Feyness by E.S. Carter
Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas
Dark Sexy Knight by Katy Regnery
Badd Motherf*cker by Jasinda Wilder
Badd Ass by Jasinda Wilder

Added to my tbr

* A Kingdom of Stars and Shadows by Holly Renee
* The Shadow Princess by Sawyer Bennett
Book Haul

Nothing, which is a great thing kinda. I do want to read some of the new releases so hopefully I'll find more of a balance for August.

I hope you find only the best reads!

Talk soon,

xo, Natalie

Review // Badd to the Bone by Jasinda Wilder

August 01, 2022

Badd to the Bone by Jasinda Wilder

One look at Brock, just from the neck up, and I get a case of the dropsies—as in oops, I drop to my knees.

────── ♔ ──────

Badd to the Bone by Jasinda Wilder

Badd to the Bone by Jasinda Wilder

Standalone - Badd Brothers #3
Release - May 8, 2017
Genre - Erotica
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat - 5 out of 5 / several explicit scenes
Format/Source - ebook purchase from Amazon
Length - 379 pages
Publisher - Indie

Brock Badd is everything except bad. He’s sexy, sweet, strong, and every other good thing I never thought I wanted in a man. I always thought I needed the real bad boys, the ones that screw you senseless and pull your hair and aren’t there to talk about it in the morning.

I’ve always been a one-night stand kind of girl, and sometimes I wouldn’t even stick around for a full night. Brock was supposed to be a one-night stand—that’s how it started out, at least. Only, what was supposed to be a fun one-time-only hookup with a hot local guy ended up with me discovering Brock’s potency six different ways by breakfast.

That was all it took. One night with Brock, and I was hooked. But hooked doesn’t mean ready for a relationship.

That’s what he wants. And deep down, I’m starting to fear that’s what I want too.

I’m just not sure I’m ready for it.

I mean, he’s the literal epitome of tall, dark, and handsome, plus he’s a pilot…with a six-pack and perfect hair and a smile to melt me from the inside out. How’s a girl supposed to resist that? I couldn’t. I can’t. I’ve tried, but I keep going back for more.

I’ve got it bad, real BADD.

My Two Cents

4 "Earning it" stars

Here's the thing... the issues I had with Mara in the last book (Badd Ass), I didn't have with Claire. Go freaking figure!

Both women knew they were sluts.
Both women felt they had reasons for being sluts.
But only one of them (ahem... Claire) actually sold me on it.

If a man sleeps with everything that walks, he's a slut. Same goes for women. So it's not like I'm sitting here saying one without calling the other out. I think it's gross from all sides. However, I felt like I could understand Claire better than I could Mara. Claire knew she lacked self-respect. She felt so poorly about herself that she willingly settled for anything. She was punishing herself, which was sad because I could see the good person she was. She didn't need to be so hard on herself (and really, she just needed professional help) and Brock was the perfect guy to show her how different life with intimacy and value could be.

I loved how the author made it clear that Claire needed to work on herself. That she needed to learn to love herself, forgive herself, before she could try to love someone else. I also loved how devoted they were to each other, both before and during their separation.

My heart went out to these characters and I felt that Claire's journey was difficult, with her happily ever after both hard-won and much-deserved.

About the Author

NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, WALL STREET JOURNAL AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR, Jasinda Wilder is a Michigan native with a penchant for titillating tales about sexy men and strong women. Her bestselling titles include ALPHA, STRIPPED, WOUNDED, and the #1 Amazon and international bestseller FALLING INTO YOU.

You can find her on her farm in Northern Michigan with her husband, author Jack Wilder, her six children and menagerie of animals.

Visit http://www.jasindawilder.com for more information

Review // Badd Ass by Jasinda Wilder

July 31, 2022

Badd Ass by Jasinda Wilder

This was supposed to be a week of fun with a gorgeous, charismatic, down-to-f*ck girl, with a little extra non-sexual fun on the side.

────── ♔ ──────

Badd Ass by Jasinda Wilder

Badd Ass by Jasinda Wilder

Standalone - Badd Brothers #2
Release - January 18, 2017
Genre - Contemporary Romance
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat Level - 5 out of 5 / several explicit scenes
Format/Source - ebook purchase from Amazon
Length - 345 pages
Publisher - Indie

I was a Sixty-Eight Whiskey—a combat medic. So when I hear someone shout “MEDIC!” training just kicks in. It’s automatic, immediate. I don’t think I even saw the guy whose leg I tended to, not really. All I saw was him. Zane Badd. His tuxedo fit him like he’d been sewn into it, and his eyes reflected the fury and the hardness of a combat veteran, but when he looked at me, he just…softened. By the time I had his brother patched, Zane and I were both covered in blood, and I knew I had to have him.

The trouble with Zane isn’t getting him, it’s keeping him.

And the trouble with me is, even if I could hold onto a man like Zane, I wouldn’t know what to do with him. It’s not in my nature, and if life has taught me anything, it’s to not trust anyone, least of all men like Zane. He’s a warrior through and through, hard, muscular, gorgeous, tenacious, and yet oddly tender toward me.

Experience and instincts are telling me to run from Zane Badd as fast as possible, but my heart and my body are telling me to stay, to hold on and not let go. Yeah, it’s a conflict as old as humanity itself, but it’s brand new for me.

* * *

Life as Navy SEAL doesn’t exactly prepare you for normality. Yeah, I can tend bar and goof off with my seven crazy brothers, but what do I do when the woman of my dreams—dreams I didn’t know I’d had until I saw her—explodes into my life like a frag grenade? I’m trained to attack, to win, to survive at any costs, and figuring out what to do about a woman like Amarantha Quinn will take every scrap of tenacity and courage I possess. Combat is easy, it turns out, in comparison to facing your own fears and scars.

And then sometimes, just when you think you’ve got it finally figured out, fate throws you a screwball and sends everything FUBAR.

My Two Cents

3.5 "Zane deserved the best" stars

Coming home to Alaska to fulfill his father's dying wish, Zane retired from the Navy. A badass SEAL, he was used to having no roots. No home, no girl, no ties. And then Mara abruptly steps into his life and nothing will be the same again.

I adored Zane. He was a bit broken, suffering from survivor's guilt, and didn't believe he deserved all of the blessings coming his way. He was sweet, sexy, and fiiiiiiiine!

I know you're tired of me going after heroines.
Shoot, I'm tired of going after heroines.
However, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. Right?

And for the most part, I really liked Mara. She was a great person when she wanted to be. I just didn't like how she was characterized and it kind of soured me on this story. She and her bestie are self-proclaimed sluts. I'm not sure if anyone else saw them this way and honestly, why can't women be as free as men and not be judged?

And I'm not judging.

I just didn't think it was necessary to include that detail to her backstory. Her being afraid to commit, afraid to get attached, afraid to feel... for reasons that you'll discover by reading this book ... they could have all been explained and understood without making her out to be someone who slept with a lot of randoms and enjoyed walks of shame.

It wasn't necessary and tainted her in my mind's eye. That's truth.

I also had an issue with the fact that she was an Army medic, and yet, she lacked knowledge of standard military terms. Why did Zane have to break down everything for her when she served too? Odd.

About the Author

NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, WALL STREET JOURNAL AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR, Jasinda Wilder is a Michigan native with a penchant for titillating tales about sexy men and strong women. Her bestselling titles include ALPHA, STRIPPED, WOUNDED, and the #1 Amazon and international bestseller FALLING INTO YOU.

You can find her on her farm in Northern Michigan with her husband, author Jack Wilder, her six children and menagerie of animals.

Visit http://www.jasindawilder.com for more information

Review // Badd Motherf*cker by Jasinda Wilder

July 30, 2022

Badd Motherf*cker by Jasinda Wilder

The look on his face in that moment made my legs shake and my core clench. I was pretty sure Sebastian Badd was about to f*ck me senseless.

────── ♔ ──────

Badd Motherf*cker by Jasinda Wilder

Badd Motherf*cker by Jasinda Wilder

Standalone - Badd Brothers #1
Release - October 28, 2016
Genre - Contemporary Romance
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat - 4 out of 5 / several explicit scenes
Format/Source - ebook purchase from Amazon
Length - 356 pages
Publisher - Indie

Your wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, right? That’s what they say, at least. I went into that day hoping I’d get the happiest day of my life. What I got? The worst. I mean, you really can’t get any worse of a day without someone actually dying.

So…I may have gotten just a little drunk, and maybe just a tad impetuous…

And landed myself in a dive bar somewhere in Alaska, alone, still in my wedding dress, half-wasted and heart-broken.


Eight brothers, one bar.

Sounds like the beginning to a bad joke, yeah?

I kinda think so.

Wanna hear another joke? A girl walks into a bar, soaking wet and wearing a wedding dress.

I knew I shouldn’t have touched her. She was hammered, for one thing, and heartbroken for another. I’ve chased enough tail to know better. That kinda thing only leads to clinginess, and a clingy female is the last thing on this earth I need.

I got a bar needs running, and only me to run it—at least until my seven wayward brothers decide to show their asses up…

Then this chick walks in, fine as hell, wearing a soaked wedding dress that leaves little enough to the imagination—and I’ve got a hell of an imagination.

I knew I shouldn’t have touched her. Not so much as a finger, not even innocently.

But I did.

My Two Cents

4 "She walked into the BADD guys bar..." stars

This story was nothing like what I expected and yet everything I could have wanted!

➳ the hero, Bast, was hot AF. Dirty talker, knew his way around a woman's body, no playing around. He did have initial hesitation because all he knew was being a manwhore, but that ended quickly and the rest was HOT!
➳ the heroine, Dru, was a badass in her own right. While Bast was brute force, she had black belts and could handle herself. She did come off a bit harsh at times, and at times could be perceived as a tad ridiculous, but she was a good match.
➳ the brothers... Oh man, I can't wait to get my hands on their stories. These Badd brothers are scrumptious. So different yet so alike. I'm excited to learn more about them all.

This story was sexy, delicious, and fun and if the rest of this series is anything like this, I'll definitely be reading it!

About the Author

NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, WALL STREET JOURNAL AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR, Jasinda Wilder is a Michigan native with a penchant for titillating tales about sexy men and strong women. Her bestselling titles include ALPHA, STRIPPED, WOUNDED, and the #1 Amazon and international bestseller FALLING INTO YOU.

You can find her on her farm in Northern Michigan with her husband, author Jack Wilder, her six children and menagerie of animals.

Visit http://www.jasindawilder.com for more information

Review // Dark Sexy Knight by Katy Regnery

July 29, 2022

Dark Sexy Knight by Katy Regnery

Verity Gwynn was exactly the sort of girl that he quietly dreamed of but never attracted.

────── ♔ ──────

Dark Sexy Knight by Katy Regnery

Dark Sexy Knight by Katy Regnery

Standalone - A Modern Fairytale #4
Release - June 3, 2016
Genre - Contemporary Romance / Retelling
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat - 3 out of 5 / a couple of descriptive scenes
Format/Source - ebook purchase from Amazon
Length - 292 pages
Publisher - Indie

Goodreads * Amazon (FREE with KU)

Loosely inspired by the legend of Camelot, Dark Sexy Knight tells the story of dinner theater knight Colt Lane, who meets down-on-her-luck Verity Gwynn on the worst day of her life. Evicted from their home, Verity and her special-needs brother, Ryan, must find jobs or risk being separated. Colt, who is the furthest-possible thing from a white knight in real life, comes to their unlikely rescue, quickly cementing his place in Verity's heart.

Colt has dark, deeply buried secrets that keep his smile hidden and his eyes down, which has kept people away . . . until he meets Verity, who seems immune to his gruff manners and taciturn ways. The more time Colt spends with her, the more he longs for her sweetness in his life and yearns to be the knight in shining armor she so desperately needs. Certain he will lose her if she learns the truth about his past, he must decide if he can trust her with his yesterday in order to build a beautiful tomorrow.

My Two Cents

4 "Living the impossible dream" stars

I'm a huge fan of unique meet-cutes and the one that happened between Colt and Verity was definitely original.

When he saved the damsel-in-distress not once, not twice, not even three times, but four times... I knew he was going to be a swoon-worthy hero.

Without a word she had soothed the raging beast inside him, her touch transforming him from a maniac to a man. What powerful magic she wielded inside her small body, and how desperately he craved its peace.

Both had what they viewed as baggage: Colt had IED and a special needs cousin that he was devoted to; Verity had a special needs brother that she was devoted to; and so, with all they had in common and all of the hopeful and warm feelings in the air, there was no resisting the pull of each other.

The author injected just the right amount of drama and angst to push the plot forward and I found it to be quite the emotional read.

You were meant for me. And I was meant for you. and I will never let you go.

My Notes: I took issue with the legal part of the story. It was a bit far-fetched and while I'm not an expert on the law of each state or the courts of each state (because I practice law in Canada), it seemed inaccurate.

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Regnery started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract, and Katy’s first novel was published in September 2013.

Several dozen books and three RITA® nominations later, Katy claims authorship of the multititled Blueberry Lane series, the A Modern Fairytale collection, the Summerhaven series, the Odds Are Good collection, the Arranged duo, and several other stand-alone romances, including the critically acclaimed mainstream fiction novel Unloved, a love story.

Visit https://www.katyregnery.com for more information

Review // Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

July 26, 2022

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

Now get inside and take off your clothes. I’ve had a whole day to dream up the theme park I’m going to make of your body tonight, girl.

────── ♔ ──────

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

Release - April 15, 2018
Genre - Contemporary Romance / age gap / forbidden
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat Level - 3 out of 5 / a couple of scenes, not very graphic
Format/Source - ebook purchase from Amazon / own the paperback
Length - 407 pages
Publisher - Indie

Goodreads * Amazon (FREE with KU)


He took me in when I had nowhere else to go. He doesn’t use me, hurt me, or forget about me. He listens to me, protects me, and sees me. I can feel his eyes on me over the breakfast table, and my heart pumps so hard when I hear him pull in the driveway after work.

I have to stop this. It can’t happen.

My sister once told me there are no good men, and if you find one, he’s probably unavailable. Only Pike Lawson isn’t the unavailable one.
I am.


I took her in, because I thought I was helping. As the days go by, though, it’s becoming anything but easy. I have to stop my mind from drifting to her and stop holding my breath every time I bump into her in the house. I can’t touch her, and I shouldn’t want to.

But we’re not free to give into this. She’s nineteen, and I’m thirty-eight.

And her boyfriend’s father.

Unfortunately, they both just moved into my house.

My Two Cents

4 "Touching the Untouchable" stars

This story was as messy as I expected it to be.
I enjoyed the meet-cute between Jordan and Pike. They realized right away how compatible and easy things were between them. Too bad she's his son's girlfriend. And when they're practically forced to move in with him, the tension... the angst...Next level, my friends.

Pike was definitely swoon-worthy. He did everything in his power to resist the pull of all that was Jordan. He had the patience of a saint when she threw tantrums or generally acted her age. He loved the heck out of his loser son. He was a great friend, boss, dad, etc. He was awesome!

And this story...

I'll admit, it left me feeling a bit dirty, which is good because it is a taboo read. But I kept thinking to myself, "Am I supposed to forget she was banging his son?" and "Does the comparison between son and father, at least sexually, ever come up?" and then, overall, I've got "Ewww."

All together, it worked. It was full of angst, the push and pull to be expected of a forbidden relationship, the bits of romance sprinkled in inappropriate ways, and the ick. It worked and I'd gladly recommend it to those who love love, in all of its forms.

About the Author

Penelope Douglas is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Their books have been translated into nineteen languages and include The Fall Away Series, The Devil’s Night Series, and the stand-alones, Misconduct, Punk 57, Birthday Girl, Credence, and Tryst Six Venom.

From Penelope Douglas's website:

Hi! My name is Penelope Douglas, and I write romance. New adult, erotica, a little contemporary… Really whatever is calling me at the moment. I believe a good writer can spin any story in a way with which you’ll connect, and I endeavor to do just that with every book I write. Not many topics are too taboo for me. I love breaking rules, and I love taking myself out of my comfort zone.

Visit https://pendouglas.com for more information

Review // One by Jewel E. Ann

July 22, 2022

One by Jewel E. Ann

Fuck gravity.
We would be Cage and Lake.
We would be unpredictable.
We would be reckless.
We would push the boundaries of sanity and give normality the middle finger.

────── ♔ ──────

One by Jewel E. Ann

One by Jewel E. Ann

Standalone - part of the Jack & Jill world of books
Release - July 28, 2016
Genre - Contemporary Romance / second chance
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat - 2.5 out of 5 / more talking than doing, no actually descriptive scenes
Format/Source - ebook purchase from Amazon
Length - 444 pages
Publisher - Indie

Goodreads * Amazon (FREE with KU)

Lake Jones is a cover girl for cutting-edge prosthetic legs, a binge-watcher of Netflix, known to spy on her neighbor through her door’s peephole, and fond of laser games with her hairless cat. She’s also a bit sexually-frustrated.

Until …

God bestows a breath of mercy upon her in the form of Minnesota’s NFL starting quarterback. But this gift is no stranger. Lake met Cage Monaghan three years earlier.

It was one day.
One moment.
One kiss that resurrected her dreams of finding love.

His dimpled smile distracts from his imperfections, which include: a love for country music, fishing, and a feline-hating girlfriend.

When life finally gives them their chance, it’s a humorous and heart-wrenching journey to find their place in the world.

My Two Cents

5 "Living and thriving" stars

I loved this book so much and my only issue is that I can't give it more stars!

With how much I absolutely adored the Jack & Jill series, I was hoping that this story would have a huge impact on me. And it did!!

Not only was I gifted with an incredible heroine in Lake, but I was blessed with one heck of a new book boyfriend in all that was amazing in Cage. After a chance encounter years ago, time and circumstance bring them back into each other's orbits and they didn't let this opportunity go to waste.

I wanted the man.
I wanted him.
I wanted to always remember that all my yesterdays didn't matter.
When he looked at me, when he touched me... that became my reality, my truth.

I starting loving this story from the start and at 17% I said to myself, you know what would make this story perfect? Cage's perspective. And do you know what happened?


It's like the author predicted my wants and needs and delivered them in the next instant. And that happened every. Single. Time!

When Cage and Lake got into a dispute and I wanted it resolved a certain way... the author delivered. When Cage or Lake became overwhelmed with emotion, almost sabotaging the magic that they shared, and I wanted it to stop... the author delivered. She delivered and delivered and created a story of beauty, simplicity and wonder.

He didn't complete me with a part of himself; he just put me back together with all my own pieces. I shattered and he crawled aroud on the floor handing me my confidence, my hope, my dreams, my voice, my future. He mended me then kissed my scars and looked at me like I was nothing short of a timeless masterpiece.

These characters were human. They made mistakes, acted restless, exhibited immaturity, and created drama for drama's sake. Their story was full of tragedy, grief, understanding, compassion, and so much love. Seriously, people would give up just about anything for an ounce of the feelings that were shown here. We all want to be loved in all the ways that Cage and Lake loved each other. All the ugly, crazy, silly, and beautiful ways. And let's not forget the laughs. I laughed so much during this read. SO. MUCH!

My Notes: I'm so happy that I already read Flint's book, Look the Part, which I loved, and was able to see him in a different light. I adore him harder now! And is it weird that I want a book for the genius known as Thaddeus? Is there a book out there for him?

About the Author

Jewel is a Wall Street Journal & USA Today best selling author with a quirky sense of humor.

When she's not saving the planet one tree at a time, you can find her role modeling questionable behavior to her three boys, walking her doodle, binge-watching Netflix with her husband, and writing mind-bending romance.

Visit http://www.jeweleann.com for more information

Review // Feyness by E.S. Carter

July 20, 2022

Feyness by E.S. Carter

I am Snow White and he is the poisoned apple and despite this knowledge, right here, right now, I would die for just one bite of flesh.

────── ♔ ──────

Feyness by E.S. Carter

Feyness by E.S. Carter

Standalone - Red Order #1
Release - August 23, 2016
Genre - Dark Romance / arranged marriage
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat - 3.5 out of 5 / no sex until the end
Format/Source - ebook purchase from Amazon
Length - 258 pages
Publisher - Indie

I don't see dead people.
I see you.
I see every incarnation of you.
I see the history of your soul.
I can see your aura soaked in the blood of your previous lives.
Most people are inherently good or evil.
Some flit between darkness and light.
Few can change the fabric of their essence; it's a fight that most are too weak to win.
He was once darkness.
An evil so pure that his very soul is black and yet I am drawn to him like a moth to a flame.
Some days, I feel like I am drowning, the waves of my feelings stealing the very air from my lungs.
Other days, I feel nothing at all.
I'm unsure which is worse; gasping for air or dying from this thirst.
Can you learn to breathe underwater when you find someone worth drowning for?

My Two Cents

4 "Nothing like I expected and yet it gave me just what I needed" stars

Faye always knew that she was worth no more than a pawn in her father's dangerous game of human trafficking, torture and enslavement. A decades-long feud lands her in the hands of the man who should be her enemy. Could her new captor also be her savior?

Tonight, I will no longer be me. I will be owned. I will lose the moniker of Faye Craven and become a Hunter. A more fitting name would be prey.

I wasn't sure what to think of Cole. Aside from participating in tons of brutality, there was a kernel of a heart buried deep inside of him. His darkness and hints of light made him a delicious character to read.

This man slays me with desire. Sick, twisted, dirty desire.

I don't really care about the side characters (I'm looking at you, Luke and Grim), however, I think the author could change my mind. It's just that I don't feel like Cole's story is over. The ending wasn't much of an end and I would like to see some sort of conclusive resolution.

Ah well. Cole conquered Faye, she conquered him in return, and the story seems to continue. I'm still not sure what to make of Faye's ESP. I guess it was added to make Cole's history and his reasons for being the way he is part of the story. To make sense. Hopefully it continues to make some sort of sense. We'll see.

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author, ES Carter, lives in Cardiff, South Wales—the home of castles, dragons, and folklore.

Her family joke that she was born with a book in her hand, and the urge to write stories soon followed.
At eleven, she won her school's literary prize. At ages fourteen to sixteen - her poetry phase after falling in love with Dylan Thomas and e.e. cummings - she had a few poems published, but life, love, and family overtook her dreams, and she was in her thirties when she began the scary journey of self-publishing.
Her debut and internationally best-selling series, 'Love by Numbers', are a set of interconnected stand-alone romances, all with varying themes of love. From second-chance to romantic comedy and M/M romance. These stories do not need to be read in order (apart from the opening duet Nineteen/Twenty One), in fact, she is often guilty of advising readers to start at the last book and work their way back through.
Contemporary romance is not the only genre she writes, her second series, 'The Red Order', is as dark and twisted as you can get, but there is beauty there too if you can open your eyes and look.

Visit https://www.escarter.com for more information

Review // Ancient Desire by N.J. Walters

July 18, 2022

Ancient Desire by N.J. Walters

She's dangerous.
As much as he was drawn to her and as innocent as she seemed, he couldn't forget she'd done the impossible—awakened him and convinced him to leave the cave. He was a fierce drakon, once feared by the mightiest nations of the world, yet he was unable to walk away.

────── ♔ ──────

Ancient Desire by N.J. Walters

Ancient Desire by N.J. Walters

Standalone - Forgotten Brotherhood #5
Release - August 15, 2022
Genre - Paranormal Romance / fated mates
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat - 3.5 out of 5 / several scenes
Format/Source - eARC provided by the publisher
Length - approx. 300 pages
Publisher - Entangled Publishing, LLC

Nothing was supposed to wake half dragon, half human Lucius from his Deep Sleep. Nothing. And yet something, or rather someone has. The unexpectedly attractive human not only touched him. She kissed him. Now Lucius is awake, and more powerful than he has ever been in his 4,000 years of existence. And once he finds out who led her to his cave, he’ll deal with his 300 years of hunger…

College professor Raine Carson spent her life obsessed with myths and legends. And now she’s woken one up. Only, Lucius is nothing like anything she’s ever seen or read about in her history books. Because this man is part sexy badass and part terrifying…monster. Yet she wants him with a hunger like nothing she’s ever felt before.

Lucius used to be part of the Forgotten Brotherhood—a ruthless group of paranormal assassins. Now he’s unsure if his former Brothers are their allies…or enemies. All he knows is that someone is hunting him, and Raine is just as tangled up in this mess as he is. And he’ll protect her—even if it means unleashing his Dragon and all of its power.

My Two Cents

4.5 "Release the Drakon" stars

There's something about the Forgotten Brotherhood series that really gets me going!

Raine is a dreamer, obsessed with myths and legends, without believing them to be true. So when she's trapped in a cave with a stone dragon, she talks to it—never expecting it to respond.

Lucius entered the Deep Sleep of his kind over 300 years ago, done with humankind and their never-ending hunt to decimate his people. He never imagined that a mere human female would be the only person to wake him up, much less be his mate.

"I have seen the seven wonders of the ancient world... You are the eighth. No, you are the wonder of wonders."

I loved just about everything about this book. From Raine's chattiness, Lucius's initial wariness and inevitable humility, the guest appearances from past characters, the action scenes, the attempts by too many people trying to tear the Brotherhood apart, and even the unresolved suspense angle that I hope continues in the next book, it was all incredibly entertaining.

I loved seeing more of Maccus. He was my first beloved hero from this author and he will always be my favorite. And with Sven making a huge appearance with a giant tease for a plot to come, I'm hoping his story is next.

About the Author

Once upon a time N.J. had the idea that she would like to quit her job at the bookstore, sell everything she owned, leave her hometown, and write romance novels in a place where no one knew her. And she did. Two years later, she went back to the bookstore and her hometown and settled in for another seven years.

One day she gave notice at her job on a Friday morning. On Sunday afternoon, she received a tentative acceptance for her first erotic romance novel and life would never be the same. N.J. has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Visit http://www.njwalters.com for more information!

Review // Fatal Affair by Marie Force

July 16, 2022

Fatal Affair by Marie Force

“Why haven’t you ever gotten married?”
“I don’t know. Just never happened.”
“Surely there had to have been someone you might’ve married.”
“There was this one girl...”
“What happened?”
“She never returned my calls.”

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Fatal Affair by Marie Force

Fatal Affair by Marie Force

Standalone - Fatal #1
Release - June 30, 2021 (new edition)
Genre - Romantic Suspense / second chance
Primarily Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat - 3 out of 5 / a few scenes
Format/Source - ebook purchase from Amazon
Length - 476 pages
Publisher - HTJB, Inc

Washington, D.C., Metro Police Detective Sergeant Sam Holland needs a big win to salvage her career—and her confidence—after a disastrous investigation.

The perfect opportunity arises when Senator John O’Connor is found brutally murdered in his bed, and Sam is assigned to the case. Things get complicated when Sam has to team up with Nick Cappuano, O’Connor’s friend and chief of staff…and the man Sam had a memorable one-night stand with years earlier. Their sexual chemistry still sizzles, and Sam has to fight to stay focused on the case. Sleeping with a material witness is another mistake she can’t afford—especially when the bodies keep piling up.

My Two Cents

4 "Love and... Murder?" stars

Nick, the man behind the man, finds the man in his bed... murdered. And who happens to catch the case? The woman who he hasn't been able to stop thinking about since their one night together. It's been six years since he's seen Sam, but she has never been far from his mind... or he hers.

I really enjoyed this story and how the author meshed the romance with the chaos of the murder investigation. And while I did find Sam's attitude to be too aggressive and irksome on occasion, it wasn't enough to overshadow how truly wonderful she was. It was probably because of how well her character played off of Nick. She constantly had something to prove, but she had her reasons (psycho ex that she should never have married, boys club on the police force, legacy of her cop father, etc.)

I didn't enjoy the way that Sam worked the case. She created theories and tried to fit the evidence to her theories, which wasn't what I would expect from a seasoned investigator. It's like the evidence didn't mean as much as the story she was hoping the murder would tell. I knew from the start that she was offbase, however, I didn't know who the murderer was and loved being surprised.

My favorite person was obviously Nick (with Freddie coming a close second and I'm looking forward to reading more about the virgin homicide detective) and he definitely made this story for me. His compassion, strength of character, and capacity for love and understanding made him a standout in this story. So for every moment I was annoyed by Sam, I had to only remember that Nick was worth it.

Side Note:
I did have issues with the accuracy of police procedure in this book. I've both prosecuted and defended defendants and here in Ontario, the police don't have the power to throw around the way Sam did. She threatened arrests without probable cause, she demanded persons of interest to stay in town under threat, and basically abused the power of her station. Probable cause and evidence didn't seem to carry any weight. Not to mention the way she processed a case. Theories before evidence... just no.

About the Author

Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, romantic suspense and erotic romance. Her series include Gansett Island, Fatal, Treading Water, Butler Vermont and Quantum.

Her books have sold nearly 10 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller more than 30 times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, as well as a Speigel bestseller in Germany.

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

Visit http://marieforce.com for more information