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ChristinasLair

Christina

I love to read and chat about books.  I'm always honest in my reviews and I enjoy  hearing varied opinions and different point of views.

Silent - Sara Alva

I don't think I have the words to do this book justice. I'm just going to say that I don't give out 5 stars lightly but this one deserves every last one of them. 

Everything in this story felt so real and alive. The characters, the environment and atmosphere, it all sucked me into a world I didn't want to be in, but at the same time, I just couldn't leave it. I needed Alex and Seb to be safe and happy. 

This was a raw and emotional read. I was rooting and praying for Alex and Seb until the very end. It made me angry and brought me to tears, but there was always some hope and I clung to it with everything I had. It was amazing because even through the sadness, the author managed to make me smile. It was beautifully written. Alex is just a child who had to struggle for everything, love, acceptance, the basic necessities of life, like a pair of shoes. Both Alex and Seb showed so much courage and strength but under all that they were both scared children who wanted someone to love them and take care of them. Their relationship was a true friendship and even in this cruel and devastating world they had to live in, there was still an innocence about them. 

This was a journey of friendship and love where two people found pure happiness in a dollar meal burger, a ride on a Ferris wheel, playing in the sand, or in one of Seb's smirks. They didn't always make the right decisions, but how could they? They were abused children living in poverty, who had no one to hold them and tell them everything would be alright, but somehow they found a will and desire for more. 

This was a journey of two boys who were able to find safety and peace within each other.

Trust Me If You Dare - LB Gregg

Just as crazy as the first and Caesar is still as zany as ever but I think the novelty wore off a little. I should have given it a bit more time in between the two books. 

Nevertheless, my love for Caesar did not diminish!

Catch Me If You Can - L.B. Gregg

3.5 Stars rounded up…… 

because of how crazy and lovable Caesar is, 
because he made me laugh, 
because of the completely outrageous situations Caesar got himself into (he blinks and he's in trouble),
because of Caesar’s sweet tooth,
because of Caesar’s Nana, 
because of Poppy, 
because of the clowns, 
because of Caesar's Italian family (even though it was stereotypical), and lastly
because of HOT Detective Dan.


This was fun!

Lying with Scorpions - Aleksandr Voinov

Lying With Scorpions picks up right where book one ends. Adrastes is on his way to claim the throne of Dalman with Kendras at his side. Adrastes and the Scorpios are walking into a mess of trouble. The fear of political power games, the lies, conspiracies, assassination attempts, revenge, betrayal, are all very real threats. This is a journey that both Adrastes and Kendras have to take, both together and separately. Adrastes was born a leader but he now needs to figure out how to become a King that the masses will follow. As leader of the Scorpions, Kendras has to learn to trust his decisions while trying to deal with his past and how he and his men fit into Adrastes' plans. He is pulled in many directions. You can feel the war within himself and his struggle with his feelings for Adrastes. 

Now on to the details. Where the first book takes off from page one, this book has a slower pace. In fact, the beginning was too slow for my liking. Adrastes' political dealings dragged a bit and Kendras' inner thoughts were a little repetitive. I wish he didn't doubt himself so much. This got annoying at times. I was hoping that he found that inner strength sooner.

Around 40% the book changes. We get the action and tension akin to the first book. There are twists and turns and unexpected reveals. The emotional impact of the second half of the book hits hard.

Book two brings many new characters, plus more of my old favorites and some romance! I was so happy when Widow came into the picture. I love all his craziness! Of course Selvan also has a very special warm place in my heart. He is always there when Kendras needs his calming presence. I wish we saw more of Kendras with his men, especially Selvan. I love him. 

Voinov brings great characters to this series. He deals with race, gender, and sexual identity like no other. My favorite new character was Amrash, the Jaishani Ambassador. There's a deadly quiet, mystery, and power that surrounds Amrash. Then there's Runner, the new badass female Scorpion recruit. I can't wait for this to be explored more. 

Finally, there's Graukar, the Commander of Eagle’s Test. He's wise and passionate and in many ways brings a very real threat to Adrastes. At first, I thought Graukar could have his own agenda, which I liked, but then it seemed like his character flattened out. It's funny because he brought so much to Kendras but I lost the mystery behind him. I really hope there's more to him in the next book because I really like him. 

He wouldn't have stepped back from this if it destroyed him, or Graukar, or both of them. It felt rather like two fires uniting and eating into each other -- they ceased to exist, yet flared higher and brighter than they would have on their own. And there was glory in burning.  

(show spoiler)

Beautiful! 

Never kneel and mean it. If you have to crawl, be the scorpion under the rock — ready to strike at the hand turning the stone.

Kendras must now find his own path. I can't wait to see him become the leader he was meant to be!

Between Sinners and Saints - Marie Sexton

This was a solid 4.5 stars pushing 5, up until the very last couple of chapters. Grrr....
Even so, I still really enjoyed this book. 

I connected to the characters instantly. I think the author did a very good job in dealing with Jaime's past. I felt every bit of his turmoil without it being OTT. On the other hand, the religious aspects of the story got a bit preachy and heavy-handed. Plus, most of Levi's family were sanctimonious and I always felt like Levi was getting attacked. Their disapproval was disheartening. I understand and see how these issues would bother a lot of people. However, Levi's family didn't turn me off to the story. I had a difficult time dealing with how they treated Levi but I accepted the fact that this is how many families are. It's sad but true.

Here's my major complaint: 

at the end, it upset me that Jamie's sexual abuse was used as a way for Levi's father to accept their relationship. We all know his family believes homosexuality is a sin but using Jamie's abuse to prove that homosexuality is "less of a sin" doesn't sit well with me. I think the author went wrong here. It would have been better if the situation with Levi's father was dropped. It would have been more realistic. Some of Levi's family were already coming around. Levi should have stood by his love for Jamie without the "excuse" or the explanation of why his love for Jamie is justified. There is no need for a justification! He deserves to love who he wishes. 

(show spoiler)

 

This will definitely go in my re-read pile, skipping the little visit at the end :)

Dance With Me - Heidi Cullinan

4.5 Stars

This was a simple but beautiful love story. No big misunderstandings, no drama thrown in for the sake of drama. Ed and Laurie must come to terms with their new lives after they were both hit with life altering changes. This is about real men dealing with their pain on a daily basis. 

Did I have a few issues? Sure. There was some repetitive word usage and it also seemed that dancing came exceptionally easy for Ed, too easy. Ed referred to Laurie as being one of the best coaches he ever had, I wished we saw more of Laurie teaching Ed techniques and Ed's learning of them. I also wish there were more references to Ed not being able to complete certain dance moves because of his neck. It almost seemed that his neck injury didn't matter in dancing. Yes, he had to be careful and he couldn't dance if he was in pain but there should have been more said about his limitations with dancing. 

Also, I didn't need the details of the hot tub scene. This was imagery that I could have done without.

(show spoiler)

 

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Custom Ride - K.A. Mitchell

 

I love Mitchell and really liked these characters but I needed more!!!!!

Basic Training - Marquesate

This was ok but nothing special. I enjoyed the first 30% but the middle was boring. Basically, Col told us what Chris was up to during his training, he contemplated his relationship with Chris, then when Chris came home, they had sex. That was it. It picked up a little at the end but nothing gripped me. I liked the characters well enough and there were some touching parts but all and all this is one I'll probably forget by tomorrow.

American Love Songs - Ashlyn Kane

This book made me happy. It doesn't have an adrenaline pumping intensity but it has a quiet strength to it. Many of my friends described it as a sweet comfort read and I have to agree. The plot is simple and has an easy flow to it. We follow the day to day life of Jake, a guy from Kansas who’s in a small-town band and wants nothing more than to become a rock-star and make it big. I love Jake’s “voice” and the blog updates. It was fun and entertaining. 

What I loved the most was that all the guys felt real and the story unfolded with such ease. There was an extremely slow build-up to the romantic aspect of Jake and Parker’s relationship but that didn't bother me at all. I was so invested in Jake and his life that I didn't care.   The only issue I had was 

 I thought Jake was a little dense not to realize Parker was gay sooner than when it came out. I realize Jake is young and he never really reflects too deeply on any given situation but I wish we got a little more of Jake contemplating this. It would have made it more realistic.

(show spoiler)


This is a book that I will definitely re-visit and that has made my go-to-happy shelf!

I have a love/hate relationship with this book.

Bone Rider - J. Fally

How could I love something so much and hate it at the same time? Well, let me tell you. The characters and the plot get 5 stars, holes and all and there were many. But I still freakin loved it!!!! The non-stop action, the humor, and the freshness, it all kept me completely engrossed. I can ignore most of the holes, however some bugged me, like when 

Misha and his boys left General Young alive in the parking garage. No way would the mob do that. Yes, they needed him for cover but since he was out cold anyway why leave him alive as a liability? 

(show spoiler)

Plus, I had many eye-rolling moments by the stupid decisions made by the Military/Government. One was when they 

opened fire in a diner parking lot jam-packed with people, using heavy explosives, and of course there were no repercussions. The author tried to explain this by using the government’s strong-hold on the police and media but some things go too far to believe and this was one of them for me. Also, I could not believe that the government’s first instinct was to destroy the alien. Yes, they did rethink that decision and go with capture first but this was not their first choice. This seemed very strange to me. 

(show spoiler)

You really have to suspend disbelief with this book. 

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The Douglas Fir - Anyta Sunday

 

This was ok.  I liked the characters.  The Douglas Fir gift idea was cute and sweet, however the ending was rushed.    The problem was that the entire book was focused on Jason’s feelings for Noah.  Then at the end of the book

Noah suddenly wants Dave and BAM they have sex! Where’s the build-up?  There was not even a hint that they would get together.  

(show spoiler)



 

This was disappointing and ruined the story. 

Winter Warmers - 'Chrissy Munder',  'Clare London',  'JL Merrow',  'Josephine Myles',  'Lou Harper'

 

Lucky Dip by Clare London: 3.0 Stars

Butterscotch Kisses by Chrissy Munder: 3.0 Stars

Wintertide by Lou Harper: 4.0 Stars

When in Amsterdam by Josephine Myles: 1.5 Stars

A Pint of Beer, a Bag of Chips, and Thou by JL Merrow: 4.0 Stars

Blame It On The Mistletoe - Eli Easton

This had all the potential to make my go-to-happy shelf. I fell in love with Fielding as soon as he walked into the room. He is all sorts of geeky adorableness!!!! 

The chemistry and sexual tension were off the charts. You could feel the sparks between them, and that first kiss was deeelish!!!!!

I'm ignoring the sappy epilogue because it's a holiday short, but I cannot ignore the following:

When Mick recalled a sexual experience he had with his friend's aunt who was thirty while he was only fourteen at the time! Fourteen!!!! Maybe this hits harder because I'm a mom but either way you cut it, it's sexual abuse. Mick didn't see it this way but it didn't get past me. This image does not belong in my head when I'm reading a fluffy sweet holiday short. It put a huge damper over the entire story. 

(show spoiler)

This was only mentioned briefly and there were no descriptions but I still couldn't ignore it. It was disturbing.

*Sigh* This had everything that I adore, but sadly I couldn't get over what happened to Mick.

New York Christmas - RJ Scott

This was ok. The two MC's definitely had chemistry going on but it was a little too sugary for my taste. Daniel seemed way to perfect. He said all the right things, which was completely unrealistic. He was radiating romance in every direction. 

Let's not forget the insta-love factor. 

I enjoyed Ame and there were several times that I did smile so I do not regret reading it. This just was not my cuppa.

Meh, not a good Mitchell.

Wish List - K.A. Mitchell

The characters were detached and the entire story had an almost clinical feel to it. Both characters were likable but unfortunately the lack of communication seemed unnatural and forced. As far as the BDSM aspects go, I believed Jonah's desire to delve into the lifestyle, but Evan came off as robotic and unfeeling. I didn't feel much of a connection between them. The BDSM was mild and the sex was written good but the relationship and the characters were not developed enough.

Life After Death  - Andrea Speed
3.5 Stars


Life after Death = 4 stars
Hysteria = 3 stars