See Jane Read

I'm a people watcher at heart.  People are interesting.  I love trying to figure them out...why they do the things they do, say the things they do, respond the way they do.  Books are an extension of that obsession.

 

I read pretty much everything within the Romance genre with the exception of historical.  I like books that make me feel and although I have a few boundaries, I'm not afraid of reading outside of them, especially when they help me understand someone else's point of view.

 

Authors amaze me, especially indy authors.  I think they are some of the bravest people out there.  They pour their heart into the pages and allow others to judge.  Crazy brave. 

 

 

Beautifully Dark

Dark Soul: The Complete Collection - Aleksandr Voinov

Proceed with caution.  I'm not sure if this can really be considered a review as much as me rambling about how this series made me feel.  Expect a good bit a overly dramatic but honest fan-girling followed by why these books touched me deeply.

There are some authors that just do it for you.  They just suck you into their work and you never, ever want to leave.  They have the ability to draw out such emotion that you begin to take things that happen to the characters personally.  Aleksandr Voinov does that for me.  He allows me to escape into his imagination and something deeply personal happens.  I read "Special Forces" over a year ago and I still haven't been able to write a review because of the profound impact it had on me.  I'm just funny that way.   

I have to admit I'm a bit of a hoarder.  Not the "my house is so cluttered that I can't move kind of way", but when I get something that I know will mean something to me I tend to save it until I'm able to fully appreciate it.  (True story, I once saved a new set of silverware for 8 years and continued to use my garage sale utensils that were bent and dinged up.)  I have had the Dark Soul series on my kindle for MONTHS.  I finally read them last week and nothing about them disappointed.

Stefano is the head of a Mafia family.  He's young, good looking, and very happily married.  During a trip to pay his respects to a dying boss from another family he meets Sylvio (*sigh*) who is the hit man, heir and lover to the head of another very powerful family.  Stefano and Sylvio end up engaged in one brutal encounter (involving a gun and some gun oil) and in that moment it seems their fate is sealed without either of them realizing it.  This all happens in book one and the remainder of the series is spent fighting a mafia war, preventing a hostile takeover, and the evolution of their relationship.  It is fast paced, riveting, and completely fantastic.

For me, Aleksandr's strength lies in character development.  His characters are beautifully written, deep, complex, and raw.  I loved watching the evolution of Stefano.  I could feel Stefano's struggle with his attraction to Sylvio.  I honestly bought into the fact that Stefano deeply loved his wife.  I sympathized with his guilt.  I felt a personal relief when Sylvio took care of him.  I loved his strength.  I loved his capacity care for others.  I loved his intelligence and integrity with himself and those he loved.

Sylvio....He completely took my heart.  Such a dichotomy.  He is strength and fragility.  He's self assured but wildly insecure.  Powerful yet weak.  Brutal and gentle.  All man while decidedly feminine and graceful.  Deadly and...ok, just deadly.  The way he was slowly "unwrapped" in the series was perfection.  Page by page you gained insight into who he was and how he came to be.  He seems so cold and brutal to begin with, but by the end of the series you see him in a completely different light and all his previous actions take on new meaning.  Per-fec-tion.

There were some things that were a little bit uncomfortable to read.  It was a relatively minor part of the storyline that ended quickly.  I would also add that it wasn't gratuitous.  The relationship had purpose and made complete sense in light of what we find out about Sylvio.

One last thing.  For the record, I am a big fan of ménage storylines.  And Aleks can write one hell of a scene.  Here's my big but...As with Vadim in "Special Forces", I became completely protective of Sylvio.  Again though, it made sense in the scheme of things, especially in staying true to Stefano's character, and third was really likeable and tender towards Sylvio.

Loved every crazy word of the series.  Straight to my favorites shelf. 5+++ stars.

Dusty by: YellowBella

I'm so technologically challenged!  I can't figure out how to add this book, but this is my review.

 

"Love is battling cocaine for love's attention.  She's created a trio out of our duo, and I hate her.  I hate her more than anything else.  She's the other girl, his bitch on the side...she's the lipstick on his collar.  And she makes him so fucking unpredictable."

This book was pure angst on massive doses of steroids.  The writing was undiluted emotion.  It was raw and dark and lyrical. It made my heart beat faster.  It made me hold my breath.  It made me cry and curse and want more.  It's been a good while since I cried like that over a book.  It's hard watching hope die.

“Fate, suffering, changing, expected outcomes, killing dreams, rupturing hearts and hopes, Fate blanks the disappointment in my chest with suffering, then slaps me right across the face with it.”

It is an incredibly long read, but part of the beauty of the length of this book is being able to experience the progression of Edward and Bella's relationship in it's entirety.  We see almost 10 years of their secret life together.  I don't even know what to say about those years except that they were some of the most touching scattered moments surrounded by utter devastation.

"The tip of his nose glides up the side of my throat.  If it were a razor it would cut me.  I'd welcome the sweet satisfaction of death.  That's what it felt like when he was away.  A part of me died when he was gone, some soft, righteous, oblivious part passed away in his absence."


This book isn't going to be for everyone, but it was definitely for me.  Although it was odd seeing all the characters from "Twilight" in a different light, after awhile, they took on new life and "Twilight" was forgotten.  5 painful stars.

 

You can read this book for FREE  at:  http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7659651/1/Dusty

Mmm, Mmm Good!

Double Full - Kindle Alexander

 

Amy Lane has been the angst-queen of my heart for a while now, but she needs to watch out cause Kindle Alexander is quickly taking over.  There are so many things I like about her writing style.  She just grabs me and doesn't let go.  I tend to have to force myself to slow down and really read her words because there is such an urgent need to find out what happens.  I took NUMEROUS breaks while reading this one because I just wanted to savor the emotion that I was feeling and make it last as long as possible.
Gotta give it up for the series name, "A Nice Guys Series".  Although I love my bad boys, I did thoroughly enjoy having a book based on the ups, downs, and mistakes of nice guys.  It's who they were at the core even though there were periods of screw-upedness while they were manipulated by asshats.

So once upon a time there were two nice guys, Colt and Jace

Colt is the closeted top ranked college quarterback set to go pro.    Jace is a cheerleader for the same college and lives his life openly.  Colt has watched him from a distance their during their entire time at college.  At the end of their senior year, Colt finally has the guts and opportunity to man-up and reveal his feelings for Jace.

"I'm not gonna say it now, but I hope you see where I'm going with this.  I want the promise of someday from you.  That's all I'm asking, Jace."

Promises and plans are made and Colt is ready to publicly embrace  Jace.  Unfortunately for them those who hold power in Colt's life have a different plan in mind.  And so the downward spiral begins as they both live their lives.  Each handling heartache differently.

It's 10 years later before they are able to reconnect and Jace is finally able to get some answers as to why Colt left, but it's not all rainbows and butterflies.  There are still things to be resolved and people still trying to drive them apart.
About 70% of the way through the book I could literally feel my heart coming up through my throat.  I barely recovered.
The story was heartbreaking and beautiful.  I loved Jace's strength, heart, and simply the way he embraced and took care of Colt. 
Colt was just as remarkable.  He was all tough athlete on the outside, but also willing and able to put his feeling out there.

"I love you, Jace.  I always have, and through all my mistakes, I wanted you to know I've never said that to anyone else.  Only you."


Highly recommend to fellow angst lovers! 5 heartfelt stars

In the words of Hootie, "Let Her Cry"

Finding You (The Bad Boy Series) - S.K. Hartley

For those of you intrigued by the incredible cover, just to clear it up for you, this isn't a ménage story. Such a shame.  However I did find it entertaining to re-write it in my head as a MMF story.  Anyway, to the book...

Neva lost her dad 10 years ago in a drunk driving accident.  She has never been able to get over it and it has ruled her life...how she sees herself, how she functions, and how she loves.  She has, however, muddled through it with the help of her brother and his best friend, Logan.

Logan is exactly what you want in your brother's best friend.  Hot, sculpted, affectionate, and fun.  He's always been there for Neva protecting and holding her when her nightmares are at their worst.  Oh yeah, and he's a man whore.  OK, maybe you wouldn't want that quality, but you can't win them all.

Logan and Neva's feelings for each other finally begin to surface, but there's a problem...bad boy Angel.  Fasten your seat belts and keep your hands and feet in the car at all times because from here the ride gets bumpy and there is a sharp drop off in the form of a cliffhanger.  So don't expect any kind of resolution.

So, what did I think?  This is my style of book.  I like high drama, triangles with hot men, and ooey, gooey, angsty goodness.  This book certainly has those qualities.  Something got in the way of my enjoyment though...tears.  Lots and lots and lots of tears.  Silent tears.  Loud tears.  Falling down on the ground tears.  Sobbing.  I got that Neva was dealing with some heavy things and CLEARLY her decision making skills and reasoning ability were greatly impaired, but please, just stop crying!  I know I'm being a little flip here and certainly Neva had reason to be sad, but at some point it got in the way of the enjoyment of the story and my connection to her.

Regardless of the waterworks, I'm invested enough in the story that I'll be looking for book 2 in the series.  3.5 wet stars

Straight Forward and Steamy

Playing With Her Heart - Lauren Blakely

Jill is an actress trying to catch a break on Broadway.  As a result of her painful past, she has mastered the art of acting both professionally and personally.  When she lands an audition to play the lead opposite Patrick, an actor she met briefly six years ago and never forgot, it seems as though the life she mentally constructed has a possibility of taking flight.  Until she meets the director, Davis Milo.

Davis is a scorching hot, driven alpha male with a past of his own.  He is known for being able to bring out the best in his cast, but tends to remain aloof.  However, when Jill walks on stage for her audition it becomes a constant struggle to hold himself back even though she reminds him of every reason he doesn't date actresses.

I have to admit, I found Davis to be a really compelling character.  (He reminded me a bit of Christian but without the props.)  I loved his intensity and his focused desire.  And I swear, for a book not completely driven by sex, he travelled south often.  Wow!  The banter between the Jill and Davis was a lot of fun.  And Jill's flirty sense of humor was fabulous.

Overall, I found it to be fairly straight forward and steamy. 

It was well written and quite sweet really.  I think the thing that threw me was it was a single note conflict.  Personally, I could've used more obstacles for them to overcome.  Even so, it was an enjoyable read that will appeal to the romantic. 3.5 stars  

Beautiful and Realistic

A Moment - Marie Hall

Ever know what you want to say, but can't quite decide the best way to put it in words?  Yeah?  That's where I am because this is supposed to be about the book, but every now and then art reflects life.  When the two intersect it's hard to separate one from the other.  So here I am.

Lili is young, beautiful, and has way too much responsibility for someone her age...no wait, it would be to much for anyone, but especially for a 21 year old who should be out dancing, flirting, and eating up life.  Instead she has a terminally ill mother.  She has a 7 year old autistic son who owns her heart, but is unable to reciprocate that love demonstratively.  Her father left her when it was too much.  Just left.  No financial support.  No emotional support.  Nothing.  Bastard.  (Gotta throw in a statistic here...there is an 80%-90% divorce rate when there are kids with special needs or significant health problems.)  Lili is strength personified.  She keeps it together, keeps her priorities straight, and loves fully without self pity.

Enter Ryan.  An ex-Marine and an up and coming MMA fighter.  Totally hot.  Totally intense.  Totally broken by his past.  Where Lili is the epitome of strength, Ryan is the epitome of someone unable to get past his pain, betrayal, and shame (no matter how displaced it is).  He meets Lili and recognizes that she is the balm to his struggles, but trust doesn't come easy for someone who has lived his life.

"I've got demons, Lili.  And sometimes they drown me.  Then let me be your life raft"

This book definitely made me feel.  One of the things I appreciated most is that the author kept it realistic.  Although there was definitely some drama and angst it was all very believable and not overblown.  There were confrontations I expected that never came to be, but at the same time it fit the story.  The ending bothered me a bit.  The other 99% of the book was so expressive and the ending just seemed almost abrupt to me.  It went from angst to HEA in a few sentences.  The epilogue helped, but I can't help but wish for a little more.

So, back to the opening paragraph of my review. *takes a deep breath, sits back and stares at the screen for more than a few moments* I thought Ms. Hall did a remarkable job nailing life with a special needs child.  The guilt you feel, the fleeting, occasional desire to run away, the hesitation to allow people into your life, the split second of jealousy when your child responds to someone else, the fear of public meltdowns, and the immeasurable joy they bring.  Even though Lili's son, Javier, wasn't the main plot point, I appreciated the care Ms. Hall took in his part in the story.  Thank you.  It was beautifully done.

Vampires and Lycans and Hellcats, Oh my!

Cinnamon  - Derekica Snake

I really do love this series.  It took me a bit to really get enmeshed in this one mainly because I have a difficult time keeping all the personalities straight and who belongs to whom.  This series continues to be full of intrigue, sex, dry humor, and lots of fun.  The scene at Reggie's grave was so very sweet and made me cry.  I HATE it that he was killed off in book 2.  Hades deserves a mention here because I really hate his guts, but he added to the book as well.   One of my favorite lines in the book, "Damn it. Now I had a dog."  Curious to see where the next installment will take us.                  

Cinnamon (Blood Nation, #3)

Cinnamon - Derekica Snake I really do love this series. It took me a bit to really get enmeshed in this one mainly because I have a difficult time keeping all the personalities straight and who belongs to whom. This series continues to be full of intrigue, sex, dry humor, and lots of fun. The scene at Reggie's grave was so very sweet and made me cry. I HATE it that he was killed off in book 2. Hades deserves a mention here because I really hate his guts, but he added to the book as well. One of my favorite lines in the book, "Damn it. Now I had a dog." Curious to see where the next installment will take us. 4.5 stars
Heller's Decision (Heller, #5) - J.D. Nixon I absolutely love this series and have from the beginning. I re-read them all before reading this one and they were just as good the second time through. It's funny and angsty at the same time. The situations Tilly finds herself in border on ridiculous at times, but they always make me laugh. I seriously have to give kuddos to the imagination of Ms. Towle. The dancing penis was really hilarious. And while I'm here in the spoiler section, I'm very, very thankful that Heller chose to remain faithful. Although this still will definitely end up on my favorites shelf, I missed Tilly working for Heller. It took something away for me. So glad she's back in action for the next in series. I hope the wait between books isn't as long this time.

Unattainable (Undeniable, #3)

Unattainable - Madeline Sheehan Still love Deuce the most, but Dirty grew on me even though he is beyond messed up.
Cake - Derekica Snake Can I just simply say that I really liked this book without analyzing why? Enjoyed the suspense, relationships, dry humor, and even the paranormal aspects. I didn't find it harsh and the non-con storyline wasn't really very dark at all from my POV. It kept my attention and left me wanting to read Cinder right away. 4.5 stars
Finding Zach - Rowan Speedwell The first twenty percent of the book broke my heart and the last 80 percent put it back together. Super good, sweet, painful, and beautiful story of enduring strength and love.

Addicted to You (Addicted, #1)

Addicted to You (Addicted, #1) -  Becca Ritchie, Krista Ritchie I don't even know how to process this book nor what to say. It was just so incredibly painful to read. Despite the enabling behavior, I thought Lo and Lily's relationship (in all forms) was beautiful. Anxious to see where book 2 goes.
Damned - Bec Botefuhr Here, I can sum up how I feel about this book in four words, SON OF A BITCH!!!!! I seriously want to do some harm to Jax right now. I get that there are reasons that he is the way he is, but, I'm sorry, he's an asshat. OK, back to the book....

Such a strange mixture of things. It's about freakin' pirates, but set in modern society. It had a historical/bodice ripper feel to it, yet it wasn't. I almost forgot about the paranormal aspects of it at times. There was something about adding Poseidon to the story that I never was able to buy into, but who am I to throw stones? This was a seriously angsty story which made it a true page turner for me. Really close to a 5 star read. I will be diving into book 2 as soon as I hit the enter button.
Stardust - Mimi Strong There is just enough of a 15 year old left in this 40 plus something girl that makes me a sucker for these kinds of books...the whole celebrity and girl next door scenario. For those of you who enjoy humor in your romance, you will definitely like this one. It is packed with funny dialogue and embarrassing situations. I prefer my reading to be a good bit edgier, but I did laugh out loud quite a few times. The humor makes me think a bit of [b:Wallbanger|15858248|Wallbanger|Alice Clayton|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1369091282s/15858248.jpg|21607771] which wasn't quite up my alley either. This kind of humor always throws me because it makes me think YA even though it isn't in the least. Dalton. Hot, yes, but I have no idea what else to say about him. So many questions. The author did a great job at keeping me off balance. I never felt like I knew where I stood with him. After reading the ending, I'm sure that was by design. I'm still pissed as hell as him even though I suspected it at times. And the porn story....true or false? I did like Peaches. She was a lot of fun and I loved that she was a BBW. I didn't feel like her insecurities were overdone or that they completely overshadowed every other aspect of the story. 3.5 stars
Nut Cream - Jade Buchanan Once I got over giggling over the title I enjoyed this little book. It was just a short, simple, and sweet story. 3.5 stars