Book Review

Review //\\ No Love Lost by Lexi Blake

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When Ezra Fain joined the ranks of the CIA, the last thing on his mind was romance. After meeting Kim Soloman, it was difficult to think of anything else. A tragic mistake drove them apart, leaving him shattered and unable to forgive the woman he loved. But when his greatest enemy threatens her life, Ezra leaps into action, prepared to do anything to try to save her.

Solo accepted long ago that she won’t get over Ezra. She’s worked for years to get back into his life, looking for any way to reignite the love they once shared. Unfortunately, nothing seems to penetrate the wall he has built between them. When she’s arrested for a crime she didn’t commit, she believes she’s on her own.

Racing across the globe, Ezra and Solo find themselves together again, caught in the crosshairs of the agency they sacrificed so much to serve. Days on the run soon turn to steamy nights, but Levi Green isn’t about to let them find their happily ever after. And when the smoke clears, the men and women of McKay-Taggart will never be the same again.

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“Kim, stop.” Beck sighed, an exhausted sound. “Please.”
It was the please that did it. He was so rarely polite to her. She took a deep breath and turned to him. They needed to ratchet down the emotion. It was what always tripped them up. “I don’t think we can work together.”
“We certainly can’t if I continue to be a massive asshole.” He moved toward her, putting his hands on her shoulders. “I’m sorry. You’re still a touchy subject for me.”
She nodded, unable to say a word for fear of unleashing a tidal wave. Not seconds before she’d told herself to tamp down the emotion, but here it was, threatening to overwhelm her and all he’d had to do was touch her.
“How about we agree that Levi Green is a problem for both of us and we work together to solve it,” he offered. “Kim, we’ve been going in circles for years. Maybe it’s time we find a way to move on. I know I’m tired of hating you.”
She stepped back. She couldn’t have his hands on her when he used that word. It was wrong when all she’d ever done was love him. “Ariel pointed out that it would be easier on both of us if I stopped showing up in your life.”
His gaze softened. “Would it? I didn’t see you for a couple of years and it didn’t feel any easier.”
She let a moment pass. How was it she felt even more vulnerable than she had when she was with Levi? “I know. I’ve tried to move on. I don’t seem to be able to.”
His hands moved as if he wanted to touch her, but he seemed to rethink the idea. “So maybe we should go about this another way. Maybe we should take this time and do what we didn’t do before. Talk. Try to find a way to get through this. I’m sorry I said what I did about you and Levi. It still hurts and I’m lashing out. All I know is when I thought you were in danger, I knew I couldn’t sit on my hands and let it happen. I can’t do it now either. Let me come with you. Let me help fix this.”
No. It was the only word she should say to him, and then she should turn and walk out and never look back. If she let him in, he would hurt her no matter how good his intentions were. Beck had always had a well of rage inside him that he wouldn’t deal with, wouldn’t acknowledge even existed. He hadn’t changed.
“Okay.” She hadn’t changed either. She was still helpless when it came to this man. She was still in love with him and likely always would be.
He let go of a heavy breath. “Good.” He was silent for a moment, looking her over. “Did he hurt you? Are your wrists okay?”
She’d managed to get what was left of the zip ties off in the car. She had some red marks on her wrists. “They’re sore, but all right. He didn’t slap me around this time.”
She watched as Beck’s hands formed fists and wished she hadn’t said that. His rage was always simmering under the surface when she was around.
He seemed to let it go. “All right. We should get on the road. Can you grab some water and protein bars? I don’t know what we’ll find when we get to Paris.”
She kind of thought she did know. She’d done a lot of homework on Big Tag, and if Rene was who she thought he was, then Beck would feel right at home.
Still, she grabbed the water bottles and bars and stuffed them in the duffel Steph had provided for her. There were a couple of T-shirts and a pair of sweatpants that would likely be too short, but beggars couldn’t be choosers.
This was all she had in the world. It was odd. She would have said possessions were meaningless, but now that she had no access to any of the things that brought her comfort, she missed them with all her heart.
She had one thing. She reached up and found some peace knowing her ring was still there. All these years and she still had her wedding ring. It hung low around her neck, and she always hid it under her shirt when Beck was around.
It was all she had left of her marriage.
“You ready?” Beck fitted a cap to his head and passed her another. “You might want to put your hair up. I know if I was looking for you, all that hair would be the first thing to catch my eye.”
How many nights had he tangled his fingers in her hair and gently tugged, had he told her how beautiful it was and that he never wanted her to cut it? “Yeah. I’m ready.”
He stepped in front of her and placed the cap on her head, his gorgeous eyes staring down at her. “I really am sorry I said what I did. Can you forgive me?”
Her whole soul threatened to melt. She nodded.
“Can I hug you? I want to. I want to reassure myself that you’re really okay.”
She nodded again and then she was in his arms for the first time in years.
“Promise me he didn’t get a chance to hurt you,” Beck whispered.
He sounded like he actually cared. His arms around her made her feel safer than she had in forever. “He threatened me with a bunch of stuff, but I don’t want to talk about it. I will, but not now.”
They stood there for the longest time, the sound of his heartbeat the only thing she could hear.

I did enjoy this, but I just can’t say I loved it. I adored the first 4 or 5 books in the original Masters and Mercenaries series, they had kink, passion, a story that didn’t drag and a fresh feel. Whilst I’m sure Lexi Blake fans will love No Love Lost, for me it didn’t bring anything new to the table.

It had great characters and plot twists galore, but those twists seemed to come out of nowhere. With a plot twist, I like to know there were clues and hints to it scatted throughout the story. This felt more like new facts or information was introduced to move the plot on, rather than revealed secrets where hindsight allows us to see the foreshadowing.

1 – It’s a second chance romance, which I’m a total sucker for.
2 – The story is well written, the characters had depth and were believable. Most of all was how convincing the emotions of the main protagonists were. Despite the con mentioned below, I could feel their emotions, they definitely felt authentic.
3 – Beck recognising his mistakes in the past, seeking help to change, and genuinely attoning for them.

1 – The huge amount of time this couple spent apart (view spoiler) whilst supposedly being so madly in love and such utter soul mates they barely/didn’t have any other relationships in the meantime. They were together as a couple for about two years in their early/mid-20’s and I’m meant to believe that all those many, many years later they are STILL in love with one another. Too much, sorry.
2 – The pace was too slow. There is a LOT of intrigue and plenty of twists but I felt like the actual relationship was going nowhere for far too long. At 75% we’d had a bit of spanking and a few, very basic sex scenes.

It’s really difficult for me to rate this because it is a good read but, for me, it’s also a fairly forgettable one. That’s partly due to the large number of books I read every week, many of them are forgotten, but it just didn’t have that edge to it that I needed. It’s still a good romantic suspense, but for a series that mentions BDSM clubs so much, there has been a noted absence of any significant kinky action in it.

About Lexi Blake

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance that she found success. She likes to find humor in the strangest places. Lexi believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome or foursome may seem.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR

I can’t really take credit for the photo or the flowers – my daughter took the picture and my Mum grew the flowers from seed, although I did plant them in my garden a few months ago, so I’ve had some hand in growing them.

Well unbelievably it’s Monday again, and whilst the weather here in the East Midlands is much more autumnal in regards to temperature, we have had a couple of lovely days in regards to blue skies and dry weather. Yesterday we took a walk around the local countryside. We are incredibly lucky to be within walking or very short driving distance of a lot of beautiful places and footpaths.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a wonderful place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be, reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! Everyone is welcome. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn over at The Book Date.

Last Week’s Reads

There were a couple of other books that I started reading that just weren’t clicking with me. I’m going to give both of them another shot next month. Ray and Five Stars were both great reads, No Love Lost was OK but a little slow and the story just didn’t offer anything I haven’t read countless times before.

Currently Reading

The author very kindly sent me a copy of this, and I LOVE Adrien, James and Lois. I’m a very happy bunny indeed!

Upcoming Reads

After a total break down in reading mojo, I’m finding it helps not to place too much expectation on myself in terms of what books I need/want to read over a week. I’m hoping that I will at least have started my re-read of Beautiful Tears by this time next week, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it if I haven’t. Reading is meant to be about enjoyment, afterall.

I’ve not decided whether to do a monthly round up on the 1st, or whether to do that next Monday. It all depends on time and motivation. So that’s all from me – happy reading!

Book Review

Review //\\ Henry by Raisa Greywood

Henry (Dad Bod Doms #2)

by Raisa Greywood

Wow, I’ve not read a Raisa Greywood book before but she is very definitely on my radar now!

The Dad Bod Doms series had really caught my eye – as an more mature reader it was great to see a set of books dealing with the impact of growing older, having kids and trying to balance everything. I decided to buy all the books, and I’m so glad I did. Henry is such a wonderful story, full of emotion, full of the truth of growing older in ANY type of sexual relationship, not just a kink one.

I have to say that at first I felt the title character was getting off lightly, that Natalie forgave his stupid action, or reaction, following her debut art show. I think I personally would have been angry for longer. However as the story progressed he acknowledge repeatedly that he had behaved stupidly and he realised how lucky he was at how forgiving Natalie was. Harry wasn’t afraid to recognise, accept and learn from his mistakes, and I loved how his sole focus was in making Natalie happy.

This was a “can’t put it down” read for me. I fell into it’s pages and lived the story. It was at times emotionally intense, ranging from lust, to anger, to sadness, to longing and everywhere in between. I wish I could unread this books, just so I could enjoy discovering its delights all over again for the first time. The mix of scorching hot sex scenes, tender moments of reconnection and a wonderful couple rebuilding their trust and relationship was perfect. I hugely recommend this to those who don’t mind power exchanges in a story and want a well written love story.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Genre – Erotic Romance
Goodreads –

Four men… One challenge. The Dad Bod Doms are ready to put the spark back in their relationships and prove their mettle.
Nearly two decades ago, Henry was at the top of his game. He had a rewarding job, a beautiful bride, and the respect due to him as a skilled dominant.
But with his career over and his marriage in shambles, his life seems as empty as his basement playroom. His wife might think they’re done, but he’s not about to let her go without a fight.
He’s determined to get her back — even if he has to break the law to do it.

Book Review

Review //\\ Make Me Yours Evermore

Make Me Yours Evermore
by Cari Silverwood

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Oh my lord I believe I may have fallen down a dark, dark rabbit hole straight into a very depraved Wonderland.

I enjoyed Take Me Break Me and Bind and Keep Me, in which both Kat and Chris have fairly minor roles. Book 2 in particular had some darker aspects, though the situation in that book happened more by accident than design. However Make Me Yours Evermore totally bypasses ANY sense of morality and dives straight in at the dark end. On a side note this book can be read stand alone.

I’m pleased I took a break between reading books 2 and 3, because my love for Klaus and Jodie might have altered my perception of this one. I might not have disapproved of Chris quite so much and found as much empathy for Kat. Chris uses the flimsiest of excuses, or at least fairly convenient circumstances, to take do something very, very bad. Only you know what they say about the best laid plans…

There might be those who find Kat too much, maybe too bitchy and belligerent (I’m always surprised by that – as though an alpha male is so wonderful a woman should be perfect at all times around him). I really, really liked her. To me her actions were those of a strong woman, determined to not be broken by the situation she finds herself in. I loved how she, along with Andreas, had more effect on Chris than he did on her.

I’ve felt recently like I’m suffering from dark-lag, no longer seeing the depravity and horror that others did. Well hot diggity dang, in this one I felt every single moment of the corrupt degeneracy of morals and the total lack of compassion or humanity demonstrated by Chris. I was shocked by the immoral and debauched desires that he not only gave free rein to, but considered his by right. I cheered every single time Kat fought back, supported every rebellion, commiserated when her libido ruled her mind. Especially since her feisty attitude led to ever more inventive punishments and humiliations. Never was a book more NSFW than this one!

Added in to all the hot kink and general steamy smexiness was an intriguing plot and some very unexpected twists. I loved every word, page and paragraph of the book, it dragged me out of a reading slump, fizzing my brain and enervating my reading mojo. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre – Dark BDSM Menage Romance

Goodreads –

This book is part of a dark kinky fiction series and may disturb some readers.
Taking what you want may come at a terrifying price.
Chris calls his darkest, nastiest fantasy into the light of day when he has to kidnap Kat to save a friend. For years, he’s wanted to bring her to her knees.
But claiming her draws attention. Andreas wants to save Kat, until he sees her response to raw male dominance. More dangerous are the human traffickers, who regard the acquisition and selling of women as a very high stakes business. And they’re watching. Everything.
Death. The perversion of love. The loss of freedom. Sometimes there is no choice.
Also contains one Dom gone bad who believes obsession means never having to say you’re sorry.

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Friday Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer @ Crazy-For-Books. It is now hosted by Billy @Coffee Addicted Writings. Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end the following Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog. 

Today’s question is
“Do you have a pet peeve about books?” (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

This week seems like quite an open ended and open to interpretation question, so it’s going to be interesting comparing what I thought and answered to everyone else’s answers!

I have plenty of peeves, lol. In terms of writing style, I cannot enjoy a story where I am told things instead of being shown them through thoughts, words, actions and emotions. I’m a very character driven reader, I need to feel their emotions and “hear” their reasoning. I don’t want to read that “She was happy”, I want to experience it, I want to know how that happiness felt, how it affected her mentally, physically and emotionally.

So peeve #1 is Telling not Showing.

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I’m a huge fan of dark erotica/ dark romance. First of all I have an issue with “dark” being used, or rather mis-used, as a description when really the book isn’t dark at all. The male lead being in an MC, or a bit of a bad boy, or just very alpha does NOT make a book dark. Kidnapping the heroine but then treating her with kid gloves, as though she were a delicate princess, is NOT dark. At the very least a dark book should contain dubious or non-consensual sexual situations. If those situations do not impact emotionally or psychologically on the heroine then I’m unlikely to find the story to be dark either, though at least I accept the labelling.

What peeves the heck out of me is when the antihero forces the heroine into dub-con or non-con situations but no acknowledgement is made of his behaviour being wrong. I’ve read many books where the heroine is given Hobson’s choice over being stripped bare, forced into a sub/slave type role and punished for not following rules she either didn’t know about or never agreed too. I’ve enjoyed the ones where the antihero acknowledges that his actions are wrong and that he is a bad man, even if he doesn’t care. However if the author tries to make out that because the antihero told her not to try and escape her enforced captivity, somehow the punishment she receives for doing that is totally her own fault. No normal person would NOT make an escape attempt in those circumstances, should an opportunity arise.

Peeve #2 – Acknowledge when something isn’t consensual.

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The final one is more to do with books that don’t exist. I acknowledge that having bought a book in a series, it doesn’t entitle me to future books from that series. I paid for the book I’ve read and (hopefully) enjoyed and that’s the transaction complete. I don’t even mind the series not ever being finished – life happens, books don’t sell, there are lots of possible reasons . What I do mind is when the author releases lots of other books and never explains why that hanging series is incomplete. Even worse is when they then go on to leave another series unfinished.

Peeve #3 – Not finishing what you started

Another peeve I have also involves duets/series and it is when there was enough story for 1 book but the author stuffed in loads of fluff and filler so that they could release it as a duet or trilogy. Or when a story is released as a series of 3 or 4 books, but when you add up the page count it was just one longer book AND would have worked as one book. I’m happy to pay £5 or £6 for a decent length ebook, authors can’t live on fresh air alone. However I don’t like paying £3 each for parts of a novel.

Peeve #4 – Sell me a whole book

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My final book peeve are the inconsiderate, selfish, stealing, lying, cheating scumbags who pirate books and upload them to pirate sites, or who download pirated books to read. I expect to be paid for the work I do, why would I expect an author to accept any less than I would? You wouldn’t walk into a bookstore and walk out without paying for a book, so why would any decent person not pay for an ebook?

Peeve #5 – Book pirating.