Book Review: Stark September by C.D. Bradley

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I have added to my book boyfriend list! Owen Stark is HOT, HOT, HOT!!!

What an amazing start to a new trilogy by new author, C.D. Bradley. Stark September has characters that could walk off the page, a story that keeps you reading and sex scenes that had me pulling out the fan. Owen Stark and Kira Riley are well matched and the cast of secondary characters are interesting and as well fleshed out as the H/h.

Captain Kira Riley has reached her dream of becoming a physician and now she owes the Army time for their investment in her. She knows all about the Army having grown up an Army brat until the age of 12 when her father in Special Forces was killed. She wants to pay back the Army and get out with no attachments or complications.


Owen Stark has other plans the minute he sees Kira as he accidently knocks her down. Stark is a Special Forces sergeant who has used the past decade to become a member of a band of brothers he can always count on as he heals from a personal tragedy. Both have secrets that they are afraid to share, not to mention that fraternization is against military regulations, but they just can’t stay away from each other.

As Kira and Stark’s relationship grows, you learn about Kira’s sexual assault and stalking while in college and that Stark dealt with his personal pain in the Special Forces, but also in a BDSM club and at home with a housemate named Paige. I feel the author did an excellent job of growing this relationship and revealing their differences and the problems that popped up because of those differences. The sex scenes were never gratuitous, but were perfectly suited to the growing romance and Kira’s sexual experimentation. Be warned that there is some BDSM and spanking in this book.

I cannot recommend this forbidden love story enough. There are two small problems for me though. First, Stark and Kira exchange one dog tag each. Although this is very romantic, it would never happen in the real military. Second, I wish the author would have wrapped up the suspense portion of this story in this book, while only leaving the romance open ended for the next book. Ms. Bradley’s writing is strong enough and her characters intriguing enough to carry me into her future books without the cliffhanger epilogue. That said, I still loved this book and am getting started on the next in this trilogy right away!

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

 

Book Review: A Teaspoon of Trouble by Shirley Jump

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

A TEASPOON OF TROUBLE by Shirley Jump is the first in The Bachelor Bake-Off series all set in Marietta, Montana and written by various authors. This is both a funny and heartbreaking contemporary romance that is an enjoyable read.

Carolyn Hanson left small town Marietta and her high school boyfriend in her rear view mirror after graduation for her dream of being a top chef in NYC. For ten years she is singularly focused and is about to realize her dream and be named the sous chef of a trendy Manhattan restaurant when she gets the call that her sister and husband where killed in a car crash. What she finds completely surprising is that her sister named her the guardian of her 4 year old niece, Emma and her puppy, Roscoe. She returns to her hometown hoping her parents will take Emma, but they are devastated with grief and barely functioning.

Matthew West has stayed and flourished in his home town of Marietta as a small animal veterinarian. When a beloved first responder is killed, the town proposes a Bachelor Bake-Off to raise funds to build a Boys & Girls club in his memory. Matthew enters to help, but he can barely boil water let alone bake. He is shocked when his old girlfriend walks into his clinic with a little girl and puppy in tow.

Carolyn and Matthew make a deal. They will swap their talents to help the other out for the time Carolyn is in town. Carolyn will teach Matthew how to bake and Matthew will teach Carolyn how to train Roscoe. When the old sparks start to fly, Matthew begins to hope that Carolyn will stay in Marietta to raise Emma and be a part of his life again.

I laughed as much as I teared up while reading this story. It is well balanced between fun with the dogs, Emma and learning to bake with the grief Carolyn and her family were dealing with, not always well. At first, Carolyn came across as self-centered, but when you learn more of her fears and grief, you begin to empathize with her and watch the growth of her and Emma’s relationship. I felt the author handled the scenes where the family dealt with their grief were realistically written. This second chance story leaves you with a HEA smile and is well worth your reading time.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: Brothers In Blue : Marc by Jeanne St. James

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Another HOT book about a Bryson brother from Manning Grove!

BROTHERS IN BLUE: MARC (Brothers in Blue #2) by Jeanne St. James has the second Bryson brother having to train the new police recruit who just happens to be female. For an alpha male like Marc, who also happens to still believe there should not be any female officers, being made her FTO (field training officer) by his brother the chief seems like a sick joke.

Leah Grant is determined to be a police officer just like her deceased father. She has fought all the stereotypes and risen to the top of her training class to have no one, but Max offer her a job. Manning Grove is very small town to her old home of Philly, but she is determined to make it, even with the chauvinist beliefs of her FTO.

As Marc and Leah train and ride together, their chemistry starts to override their common sense. They try to keep their work life separate from their increasing attraction, but Marc wants her in his bed as much as Leah wants to prove she is as capable as any male officer. The taboo of trainer and trainee does not stop these two, but they do keep it out of work hours.

These two have explosive chemistry in bed and are so perfect for each other. There are explicit sex scenes that are well written and have a surprising appearance of nipple rings and other sex toys. I also loved that Leah stayed at Marc’s parents’ house when she moved to town so that we continue to be involved with the whole family from Max’s story in Book #1. This romance can be read as a standalone because of its own HEA, but the family ties and small town life carry over.

I love that Ms. St. James has made each of these books in this series unique so far. I appreciate that they are not both the same premise with new names inserted. I am looking forward to what happens with the last Bryson boy, if he ever comes home!

Written for and posted first on the Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: Twisted Irish by Sara Brookes

RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

I am completely surprised by how much I loved this hero and heroine. I was not sure what to expect with a biker club BDSM contemporary romance, but Ms. Brookes has written a romance that delivers!

TWISTED IRISH (Sinner & Saints Book 4) by Sara Brookes opens at the Riding Irish Biker Club’s Valentine’s Day cookout on Oahu. Olivia Woo is invited by her boss from the tech company she works for, who also happens to be the president of the club. She is always chasing excitement, danger and chaos in her computer simulations and real life. Secretly she runs simulations of BDSM sex. She is not sure if it is right or wrong, but she wants to find someone to help her explore her fantasies. Looking for a place to evade all the men she is being introduced to at the cookout, she finds the club’s secret basement dungeon.

Jon Swagger has worked hard to keep his darker side in check since leaving the Marines. He has been afraid that no one will ever understand his killer past and has only had casual sexual encounters, but the rest of the club is finding love and he finds that he wants that for himself. He is a DOM and designed the dungeon and a very special chair that plays an intriguing part in this story. When he sees the blue haired vixen, he is immediately drawn to her. When he catches her in his dungeon, he wants to give Olivia the sexual experience of her life. What neither of them expects is that they are exactly what each of them needs.

This is a short book that is full of empathy, exploration and love between the H/h. It does make references to previous situations from previous books in the series, but not enough to confuse or detract from this story. The sex scenes are well written and extremely explicit, sexy and hot. This story is well worth the read for a fast romance and romantic introduction to BDSM.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: Brothers In Blue: Max by Jeanne St. James

max

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

BROTHERS IN BLUE: MAX (Brothers in Blue #1) by Jeanne St. James is a HOT contemporary romance read that introduces the reader to a rich, immature party girl that has her whole life turned upside down and a small town cop, who is an ex-Marine and all Alpha.

Amanda Barber is a young, rich girl partying all over Miami with her friends and no responsibilities. Suddenly, she has to move to small town PA to live in her dead father and stepmother’s home to care for her 22 year old special needs half-brother and his dog. She has never met Greg and Chaos due the messy divorce of her parents and has no idea how to deal with him or his needs.

I did not like Amanda at first, but as the story progresses and you see how she is trying to learn to help Greg and stand on her own two feet for a change, she pulled me to her side. You learn her backstory slowly, and like me, the small town folk did not care for Amanda at first either. She makes mistakes, but you also watch her mature quickly. She wants to go back to her old life at first, but things conspire to make her want to stay more and more as the story progresses.

Max Bryson is a third generation police officer in his hometown and the oldest of three Bryson boys. When he first runs into Amanda, he has trouble believing such an immature girl has been assigned the care of Greg, but even as her attitude chafes, he finds her extremely hot. The back and forth between these two was extremely well written. You can see in each encounter the strength in Amanda continues to grow as she stands up to him and takes control her own life and Greg’s. How much Max’s attitude changes towards Amanda is also realistically written. The emotional growth of both Amanda and Max is what makes this an engaging romance.

It was great getting to know all the secondary characters in this story, also. Max’s loving and stable parents and his teasing younger brothers. Not so nice, but necessary to understand Amanda were her mother and ex-boyfriend from Miami. I am looking forward to reading Marc’s story next.

Please Note: Although this is a small town love story it does contain many explicit sex scenes throughout the story. They are well written, integrated into the story and very, very hot!

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Book Review: Embattled SEAL by J.M. Madden

embattled SEAL

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

EMBATTLED SEAL (Lost and Found #4) by J.M. Madden is a character driven romance that had me reading straight through the night, crying sad tears and then happy tears.

Harper Preston was a Navy SEAL sniper and nearly fatally wounded on Lost and Found’s last operation. As his boss and friend wait for him to wake from surgery, a woman shows up and takes control. She is Harper’s estranged wife that no one knew existed.

Catherine “Cat” Preston has come to Harper’s hospital bedside once again. She has always understood what she signed up for by being a SEAL’s wife. His job would always come first, he couldn’t talk about his time away and she would basically be a single parent, but 18 months ago he left his family and cut all communication thinking he was doing what was best for them. Cat disagrees and she has plans to abduct her husband and settle the future of their marriage and family once and for all.

I loved that so much of this story was told from Cat’s point of view. She loves and understands her husband. She was strong and took care of their home and children while he was away. She took care of him when he was home, so when he just left, she was devastated. She knew he was having problems adjusting to civilian life, but he didn’t communicated how bad it was and he wouldn’t go for help until LNF hired him and made it mandatory. LNF saved his life and now he wants to save his marriage.

This story delves into the mind and marriage of a military man that his country has turned into a killing machine that has seen and lived through the horrors of war. Injuries, PTSD in all its forms and the fear of accidentally hurting those he loves are discussed. The stigmatism, even if it is only in his own mind, of seeking psychiatric help is also discussed. I feel this book handled the communication issues between Cat and Harper realistically and with a lot of mutual love.

Another great addition to the LNF series!