Saturday, March 20, 2021

Recent Read


Once We Were Starlight by Mia Sheridan

While I was reading this book, I tweeted asking if anyone else has read a book that is painful to read.  And I meant in a good way.  It’s a book that is so well written that it’s as if you are there, a part of the story, like a silent observer.  Such is the case with this book.  It’s not an easy read in many ways but oh so well worth reading


The first part of the book takes place in a mid-east country in some kind of small city and the main characters are Karys and Zakai, two young people who have lived in this place since they were very young.  From the very beginning there was a very strong bond between them and as they got older, this strong bond turned physical.  Only this place wasn’t paradise, it was a place people came from all over the world to watch deviant sexual acts and once the owner was aware of what was going on between Karys and Zakai, they became part of the “entertainment” as brother and sister having sex with each other.  Thankfully, the book isn’t very descriptive in this area.


Karys is very naïve and doesn’t really understand what’s really going on and in order to protect her, Zakai makes almost a game of it.  All the other ‘prisoners’ also try and shield her so she doesn’t see how depraved it all is and sees everyone as almost family.  Eventually Karys and Zakai are rescued and Karys is sent to live with an uncle she has never met.  Zakai was a beggar and an orphan and has nowhere to go but he is also sent to New York.  Karys finds things very difficult as she has always had Kai with her and now her uncle tries to discourage their special bond.


Then for reasons Karys doesn’t understand, Zakai smashes the bond and they are estranged.  They are still in each other’s orbit in a way.  Zakai goes on to become a very successful model and she sees him on billboards and print adds.  Karys has become a successful author of YA fantasy books.


The story opens and then ends with a confrontation between the two and the story in between is their history.

This is just a very brief synopsis of this heartbreaking romance and I know I don’t have the words to adequately describe how very impactful it is.  Karys and Zakai are beautiful together and the love between them is intense and passionate.  It’s the kind of book that haunts you and stays with you even when you aren’t reading and long after you’ve finished  My heart broke for both of them.

It is told entirely from Karys’ point of view except for the final chapter which is from Zakai.  I know in the past the author has written duets from each POV and I’m really hoping this is the plan for this book too.  We can infer quite a bit what Zakai is going through but I’d love to see it directly through his eyes.


This is such a beautiful, haunting, painful, amazing book and I’m at risk of overdosing on superlatives.


Mia Sheridan can write such powerful and emotional books and in this book she is at her finest.

Grade: A+

One last thing just in case you aren't sure and wondering, this is a romance and the number one criteria for a romance is the HEA

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

2021 TBR Challenge for March

 Wicked Dangerous by Julie Kriss

This is my choice for this month’s #TBR Challenge, Books by a Favourite Author.  And Julie Kriss certainly qualifies for this.  I have and have read all of her backlist.  This is the fourth and final book of her Filthy Rich series about 4 lifelong friends who banded together and made it rich. 


This is Alex story.  It’s been hinted at throughout the series that he was the only married one but it ended in divorce and this is a second chance romance.  Kat is his ex and though the marriage is over, Alex has never really been able to let her go completely and keeps tabs on her and how she’s doing through a private detective.  Sadly, Kat’s life hasn’t been that great.  She travels around like a tumbleweed working as a bar tender.  After observing from a distance, Alex charges back in her life when one night after work Kat is accosted and there is an attempt to kidnap her and she ends up in the hospital.  Blake rushes to her rescue and they conclude that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time and she saw something she shouldn’t have.  And that means she isn’t safe.  Almost against her will because these are both very stubborn people, Alex whisks her out of the hospital and takes her to his home to keep her safe until they figure out who it is trying to kidnap her.


They were very young when they met and eloped and this is also a wrong side of the tracks story.  Alex lived almost hand to mouth with his friends and Kat came from wealth.  However the attraction between them was so strong they couldn’t stay away from each other.  Because they were young and stubborn, their marriage was almost doomed to fail.  When a third party interfered, rather than talk things out, they both went off the handle and called things off and though they have both moved on, well except for Alex who kept watch from afar, they have never really gotten over each other and though they fight it, Kat in particular, the feelings and attraction is still there.  Will they get a second chance with each other?  That is the story.


I’ll admit, this book wasn’t in the TBR pile for very long.  Julie Kriss is an autobuy author and I probably would have read this book even sooner but I was committed to my Black author reads for the month of February.  This is a rather short book as are most of her books but it’s still very good.  You can feel the draw between them and I love that Alex has pined for Kat for years even though he would never call it pining.  We get just enough of the previous characters.  Julie Kriss is an author who is undervalued in my opinion.  She’s written some very good books and a number of them have been 5 stars for me and I’m glad to highlight her for this months challenge.

Grade B+

Monday, March 15, 2021

An author I found while in lock down


Ball Peen Hammer (The Morgan Brothers, #3)Ball Peen Hammer by Lauren Rowe


This book is a riot and I think I was either smiling or laughing through most of it. I’ve never read a hero quite like Keane Morgan before. He struck me as being over the top at the beginning of the book and to be honest I wasn’t sure how far I was going to make it. However, once I got used to him, I couldn’t read this book fast enough and I just adored him.
Keane is a stripper by trade and according to him, he’s the best in the world. His stage name is Ball Peen Hammer. I think I’m a bit naïve as I’m not sure what exactly what that means in the world outside of actual hammers. Stripping isn’t his first choice of career and while it takes a while, we do see what his first choice was and it’s sad he didn’t get to succeed. He’s determined to be the best at his second choice though.
He’s also the world’s greatest lover – according to him – and every woman wants him. He claims he knows everything there is to know about women and he has no problems at all confirming this to everyone he meets. He’s just a hoot and I just love him to pieces.

There is one woman though who doesn’t seem to fall at his feet and that is of course our heroine Maddy. She is on a road trip to California to attend college and her older sister doesn’t want her traveling alone so she arranges for Keane to be her travel buddy for the trip. Keane had been planning on heading to L.A to do some auditions and visit his younger brother, an aspiring singer. Keane almost doesn’t make it though as he doesn’t listen to his voice mail or read his text messages. That whole screw up is so cute and so funny. They finally do get things sorted out and start their road trip. And every single bit of the journey is a delight. Keane is completely unfiltered and says whatever he thinks, most of all about sex and what a sex god he is. Maddy describes Keane as Daffy Duck trapped inside Prince Charming’s body. Throughout their trip they are both determined not to fall for each other but they do become fast friends. And of course, because they aren’t supposed to be anything other than pals, they do begin to fall for each other but neither really clues in on their changing feelings. Keane in particular is hilarious as he is in total denial about what’s happening. They are both bummed when the 3-day trip is over, they gotten so close.

In addition to the relationship between Keane and Maddy, there is an equally well done, touching, and hilarious relationship between Keane and his roommate Zander. Never have I read such a close bond between friends and I bow to the author for writing this relationship.

It’s a bit frustrating, as no matter how I write this review, I can’t seem to do the book justice. There’s a whole lot I haven’t written about. I think it would take at least three pages to share everything that makes this book a book that blows me away. It took until close to the end of the year, but this is my favourite book of 2020 and as I’ve read more books than ever, the fact Ball Peen Hammer is my number one book of the year just says how much I loved it. This is a new too me author and as this is the second in a series you can bet your bottom dollar I’m going to be reading the whole set of them and her other books as well. In a year full of darkness, this book shone such a bright light.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Recent Read


This is the second book in this series and Olivia Dyer is the heroine.  She is the youngest one of the Dyer family and like her older brother and sister works at the family distillery.  She is in charge of the events and advertising and she is slowly trying to come back from a breakdown she had when things went very wrong at the distillery and she took the entire thing on her shoulders.  She’s recovering but she’s still a work in progress.  She’s working a wedding at the distillery when near disaster strikes with the kitchen staff and she is rescued by a very unlikely person.


Anders Berg is the very sexy pro hockey playing hero.  His brother plays for the local team and he is in town for his brother’s wedding, being held at said distillery.  He sees Olivia and right away is attracted to her and ends up spending much of the wedding helping in the kitchen.  She is as attracted to Anders as he is to her and they enjoy some ‘personal’ time together.  But as he plays in a different city and his whole focus in on hockey, it’s to remain a one night stand.


Several months later he happens to be traded to the local team his brother plays on and he happens to run into Olivia.  Their attraction is just as strong but Ice (as he is called) is still focused on moving ahead in his hockey career which means he’s only on a pit stop before he moves to a more hockey focused city and Olivia is still in the healing stage and very vulnerable and not sure she is ready for any kind of permanent relationship.  But they do agree to a no string thing.  And you know what happens when it’s supposed to be no strings.  All of a sudden there are all kinds of them.  Olivia opens up to Ice and he gives her more support and encouragement than she’s ever had before.  And while he doesn’t realize it, Ice is falling equally hard for her.


I love this book.  What can be sexier than a Swedish hockey player who is still learning the English language and still thinks in his native tongue.  While his professional life is all out of whack, he is so good for Olivia, the reader can’t help but fall for him too.


And I love Olivia.  The way Ms. Cole writes about her struggles is so true.  As on who experiences from depression I know there was one scene with her and while reading it, I was thinking YES!!  This is exactly how I’m feeling.  The author gets it.

The way Scarlett Cole writes is amazing and I so recommend her to anyone who loves a good romance.

Grade: A

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Kind of a Recent Read- but not really


During my absence I still wrote reveiws on GoodReads.  I've signed up for their reading challenge for the past few years and this is a book I first read in October of 2021.  I just finished the second book in this series so before I post a review of it, I thought I'd post the review of this first book.  Plus this is a test to see if I could still copy and paste the review from GoodReads here.  I know I could but as I've been away for a while and some things have changed, I wasn't sure I could figure out if I still could.  Turns out I can so I did.

I'm ever so glad because now when my brain is stuck for something to post, until it unfreezes I can post a review.  And since I read and reviewed 177 books in 2020 even though my goal was 140 books, which means I scored 126% I can afford a number of brain freezes and still post.  Yeah.

Love in Numbers (Love Distilled #1)Love in Numbers by Scarlett Cole

4.5 out of 5

I’m a huge fan of this author. I’ve really enjoyed reading The Second Circle Tattoos series and I’m simply mad for the Preload series. I’ve read all of the books in this series at least twice, some (Jordan Reclaimed) at least 4 times. So when I saw her tweet that she would be releasing a new book the next day, well guess what the first thing I did was. And guess what I started reading the same day.

Connor is the hero. He’s been working for his father’s liquor distribution company for a while now and as his father is due to retire soon, Connor is ready to take over and make a number of changes hoping to go for higher quality.
Emmerson is the heroine and she has what seems the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her beloved father recently passed away very unexpectedly and she becomes head of Dyers Distillery. While she has a younger brother and sister to help, she doesn’t want to burden them so feels she has to handle everything herself. She and Connor meet on a plane when they are both headed to the same awards ceremony and Connor is a jerk to her. He’s a jerk, but a very hot jerk and despite the off putting meeting, she does find him very fine. But as soon as he hears her name, Connor knows who she is. She’s the daughter of the man his father holds responsible for all the hard times he had when he got their company up and running.

One of the things Connor thinks of is acquiring Dyers Distillery. But when they end up sitting together at the award ceremony, the both see that the first impression they had of each other is all wrong. The more Connor gets to know Emmerson, the more he admires her for her strength and loyalty to her family and the business. It isn’t long before they become very close and Connor sees what a real family company is.

This book isn’t as angsty as the Preload series and has a totally different vibe to it. But I still was smitten with it and definitely keeps Scarlet Cole as one of my top favourite authors. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a book that gives you the warm and fuzzies.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

So! You want to buy me a book and you want to know which one


This can be a tricky question you are asking.  I’m a picky eater and unfortunately a picky reader too.  The first ones up are by a small group of authors that I either pre-order if that is an option or I’m on their mailing list and the second I see the book is out, I snap it right up.  And I do believe I have the entire back lists of all these author.  These include, in no particular order

 Pamela Clare   Carian Cole   Scarlet Cole   Lisa Kleypas

Julie Kriss,   LH Cosway   Ellen O’Connell

There’s no sense in getting a book for me by any of these authors as chance are I already own it or will have it on Day 1

Now that’s not all my autobuy authors.  I have rather a large group, but with this next group of authors,  I tend to check the price and read the synopsis.  Chances are about 95% I will still get the book, but it’s not as instantaneous.  This list is much larger.  Again in no particular order

Mia Sheridan   Brenda Rothert   Emma Scott   Vi Keeland

Penelope Ward   Jo Goodman   Kristin Callihan   A. Meredith Walter

Brittainy C Cherry   Jane Harvey-Berrick   Lisa B Kamps   Elle Kennedy

Aly Martinez   Courtney Milan   Sara Ney   Winter Renshaw   Samantha Towle


So you might not want to get me a book from any of these authors as I may or may not have a copy.  Since that’s the case, I’ll instead use tropes rather than specific authors as I’m sure I could add a few more authors to the list above.


I don’t care for romance books that have royal characters, either real or made up.  I see them and pass right by.  When you think of it though this is a rather odd eliminator as what are fairy tales at heart but romance stories for young girls.



I have read vampire romance but never been a real fan of them.  I read the first two books of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward for example and while I enjoyed them well enough, the enjoyment didn’t reach the height it did for many romance readers. I read a couple of Christine Feehan Dark series and it was the same thing except they creeped me out.  So no, don’t waste your money on Vampire books.

I don’t have the same issues with werewolves or other shifter type heroes but keep in mind, I don’t really read a lot of them.



I see these books and pass right by them.  As with other tropes, I may read them if a favoured author has written any but that’s pretty much the only exception.  To go along with this I could also add any high falutin’ white collar romances.  Give me a good carpenter or auto mechanic and I’m on board, but a lawyer or doctor – not so much.



(Simon, Duke of Hastings excluded of course)
Here I’m referring more to historicals.  Again, I won’t ignore books by favoured authors such as Lisa Kleypas but I’m so much more drawn to a non-titled hero such as Derek Craven then I am to Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent.  So if the hero is a boxer or the owner of a gambling establishment, then I think you are safe but a duke or a viscount or earl, you shouldn’t risk it.  There are exceptions but it’s too confusing to explain them all.


Angel or demons

Not interested so again a money waster.  I know they are popular now and I did read one years ago, Angel for Hire by Justine Davis that I adored but that was a rarity.


Motorcycle Gangs

I know these type are very popular with many a romance reader but on the whole, not so much for me.  When I see a freebie or one on sale, I tend to skip it.  And while Charlie Hunnam is indeed very fine to look at, I never watched and never wanted to watch Sons of Anarchy.


On the other hand, here are some suggestions as to books I do go for



I love a good SciFi romance so unless the hero has scales or is lizard like, I’m willing to give it a try.  And of course, just like everything else, there is an exception. I love Radiance by Grace Draven and I think he might be on the more lizard-like of the scale.



Though I haven’t read as many lately, I do love this genre so it’s another good choice should you wish to buy me a book.  Reformed outlaws are the best.  Who doesn’t love a bad boy whether in a contemporary or historical book eh?



Back in the day there were a lot of medieval being written (and read by me) but there don’t seem to be as many these days.  Hopefully they will make a resurgence


Sports romance

I’m a big sports fan so I love this trope.  The only sport I’m not interested in really is basketball.  I don’t follow that sport.  Though as will every type of book, there is an exception. I loved Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan.

Bowlers though are one you can stay away from.  I don’t think professional bowlers are inherently sexy.  To be on the safe side and being Canadian, hockey players are the best bet.

Blue collar romance

As mentioned up above, I’m a huge fan of blue collar type heroes


Unjustly imprisoned

I really and I like really like this trope.  It would be interesting to get inside my brain to try and figure out the reason why


Rock Stars

This is another trope I can’t seem to get enough of reading.  Three of my auto buy authors have written books about rock stars and I’ve read all of them multiple times.  So you are pretty save on getting me one of these.


So there you have it.  I think it’s a good wide choice of what and what not to get me in the way of romance books.



Just in case you aren't 100% sure and wondering what is up with this blogger, this is 100% not serious - well, it is in the types of books I prefer - but I neither want, hope, expect, anticipate etc anyone getting me any books.  It's a total leg pull.

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

My Very First Blog Post

 Just for the heck of it I went back to my very first ever blog post.  Believe it or note it was back on Feb 17, 2005.  Wow!!  That was a long, long time ago.  And the topic of my very first post is just as relevant today as it was back then even though just about everything else in my life has changed.  Here's what I had to say back then.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Why Romance??

Since this blog is about my romance reading habits, the first question one would ask is why romance? Why not mystery? Why not horror?
The main reason would be fear of the unkown. I've been an avid reader all my life. From those very first days of 'See Dick Run' - yes I'm that old - I have been hooked on reading. My first series of books I checked out of our local bookmobile were Freddy the Pig books. To this day I seem to be the only one who has read that wonderful series about Freddy the talking pig detective and all his various friends; the cat, the mice, the cow and the horse.
I've read all types of books in my life. I went through a Stephen King phase. I went through a true crime phase. I went through a biography and autobiographical phase. I even went through a sports book phase. I read Don Cherry's book. But now my choice of reading material is strictly romance. Many years ago, long before I settled on romance, I read a book called The Balloonist. Many of the details are sketchy; we are talking quite a few years ago, but the gist of the story is a young woman and small crew took a long flight in a hot air balloon over the Atlantic. Things did not go well. They ran into many difficulties and their journey was doomed. I wish I could remember exactly how it ended. It would strengthen my case, but suffice it to say, they didn't survive the journey. It was a totally unexpected ending. I even turned the book over, opened it again and checked to make sure I didn't miss some pages where they miraculously escaped. But there wasn't, and they didn't.
With that end and similar type endings in other books, I realized over time that when I closed the cover on a book, I wanted to feel better than when I first opened the book. I wanted to KNOW that there would be a happy ending. Romance books fill that need. And with all the different genres in romance today, I can still have different choices.