A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review:Anhaga by Lisa Henry — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 This is written in the third person point of view of Aramin, or Min, who I wasn’t sure had anything to recommend his character except his adopted nephew Harry. This is the first clue that he has a heart in his cynical, morally flexible shell and if he lashes […]

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A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Never a Hero (Tucker Springs #5) by Marie Sexton — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 This is part of the Tucker Springs series. The books have different authors, so although some of the characters are featured in other books, this can be read as a standalone. This is a meet cute with depth. Having Owen’s first person POV lets the reader see and feel […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Never a Hero (Tucker Springs #5) by Marie Sexton — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Save The Date by RJ Scott and V.L. Locey, Harrisburg Railers Railers 9

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Cover design by Meredith Russell

I would rate this 4.5 stars.

I don’t think we need a whole lot of paraphrasing the plot–it’s a wedding! The wedding we have all been waiting for. This is the ninth story, so this not the place to jump in. It is a short novella and for what it is, accomplishes everything it sets out to do. Tennant’s mom, Lisa, and Lisa (his sisters-in-law), are trying to help plan the wedding…but the guys haven’t been helping a whole lot. They decide to hire a professional wedding planner three weeks before the wedding. Snort. Luckily, Trent comes to the rescue! What could possibly go wrong? Thankfully nothing too important because the relationship is the real thing, and the wedding is just a million details that are less important. The way all of their friends rally around them to plan the bachelor weekend and the venue lead to so many touching moments. Right when it might jump into schmaltzy territory, the authors rein it back in. This is all good fun with hot, sexy moments sprinkled throughout.

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When both authors write together: MM Hockey Romance

*The authors move their books in and out of KU to give everyone a chance to buy them. If you read this review at a later date and the links don’t work, check their website and subscribe to their newsletter. They are great at communicating when the books will be sold where and for how long, with link to all the sites and countries, not just US Amazon. I wish all authors did this.

Review: The Bucket List by RJ Scott

BucketList
Cover design by Meredith Russell

I would rate this 4.5 stars.

Jason contacts Mark about the death of his brother Andrew. Andrew and Mark had been best friends when they were young, but didn’t keep in touch after Mark left town at 15. Now at 33, all the memories Mark buried away are back. It was Andrew’s last wish that Jason complete his bucket list of things he wanted to do and Mark is made a part of it with his 15th high school reunion. Throughout this book they both face grief of a life lost, lost chances, and regret for bad decisions and might have beens. This is tapered with some of the best memories of their lives. Questions of all the missed years are painful. At first, both have things they are hiding; watching them earn those secrets is an emotional rollercoaster. The flashbacks they both have keep the emotional punches coming.

This was a bit unexpectedly triggering for me. Be advised much of this is about child abuse and bullying. The grief and shared history gives them something to bond over initially, but it is being together daily that makes it mean more, letting their relationship blossom. This book come across as very real to me with enough sweet and sexy parts to make it believable they can make it work and not just as a vacation romance. I liked the honest communication between them, both about the past and what they are feeling for each other as it happens. This is about righting old wrongs and really living because life is short, not revenge or comeuppance, although the reader gets a bit of that too.

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RJ Scott’s Website

 

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Healing Glass (Gifted Guilds #1) by Jackie Keswick — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 This is an intriguing fantasy novel about the political machinations amongst the Craft Guild. Most of the story revolves around a city made of glass that is suspended over the ocean. When the Craft Guild arrived and needed shelter they took it over, but the glass in the city is failing and no […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Healing Glass (Gifted Guilds #1) by Jackie Keswick — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Rook by T. Strange — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 Rook is sent to the alien prison planet B-226 for twenty three years for killing his husband. The average life span on the hostile planet is three weeks. His plan is to live as long as possible to honor his husband’s wishes, and then die and join him. Upon landing […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Rook by T. Strange — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Best Behaviour by Matthew Metzger — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 Jim does everything in his power to not have to ask his sister Sarah for help, but when it’s not enough, he ends up staying at her house until he can get back on his feet. Sarah’s husband is a reverend and his flavor of religion can’t coexist with […]

via A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Best Behaviour by Matthew Metzger — Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Review: Arctic Sun by Annabeth Albert

Artic Sun Cover
Cover Art Copyright by Harlequin Enterprises Limited

I would rate this 4.5 stars

Griffin Barrett is ex-military and a recovering alcoholic mourning the loss of his best friend and a series of bad decisions. Griff’s dream is to have his own little cabin in the middle of nowhere. The only thing keeping him from being a lone mountain man is helping with his family’s wilderness adventures business. When his uncle’s surgery means he has to be the tour guide for a group booked for photography, he is way out of his comfort zone having to deal with the customers on a 10 day trip. His mother and uncle seem determined to use this as an excuse to meddle: make Griff be more social, more involved in the family business, and more involved in life in general. But Griff is using the isolation and routine to help manage his demons.

One of said customers is River Vale, a former supermodel and now travel writer. Known as a foodie and “professional nomad,” he doesn’t have or want a home. Or is that true? It seems he’s been on the run from one place to another since his mother died. It becomes clear right away he has an eating disorder but he’s not quite the pampered, spoiled model Griff was expecting. Griff’s antisocial behavor intrigues River, who is used to everyone liking him and doesn’t know what to make of Griff’s attitude. The author does a good job of setting up a dynamic where both of them are off balance during their interactions.

There is an instant opposites attract dynamic. It soon becomes apparent they both have enough baggage for an airport, and more in common than either would have thought. The seduction of a reluctant Griff is strangely fun to witness. River is enticing. What is supposed to be a casual fling gets complicated. The love scenes are meant to further the characters’ intimacy and it’s great to see that they match the personality of the characters–the scenes are about them, not just to tantalize the reader. Yes, they are still hot.

Unused to letting people know him, Griff gets attached to the one man he has finally let in. River starts to get attached to the one man who seems to actually take care of him. It’s easier to be the best you, when you are in an environment you can control. The best part of the book comes when Griff visits River in Vancouver and meets his friends; it really highlights all of the challenges they will face if they are going to be a couple. I still would have liked to see more interactions with both families and friends (even flashbacks), which would have added more depth.

One of things that often frustrates me in books is where a miscommunication about something not that important is the plot device that keeps the MCs apart just a little longer. This book is a perfect example of how to use the fear everyone has that if someone really gets to know you, warts and all, they won’t like you. The author gets into the psychology of the characters to show their vulnerabilities and coping mechanisms. But what helps these characters in survival mode, often doesn’t benefit them the rest of the time. There is no overnight fix, just the slow working out of things over time and actually talking about the difficult things. In the end, they are sweet building their life together and planning for new adventures.

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Annabeth Albert’s Website

 

Review: Heated Rivalry by Rachel Reid, Game Changers 2

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Cover Art Copyright © 2018 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited

I would rate this 4.5 stars.

Although this is a follow-up to Game Changer, this can be read as a standalone. In fact, most of this takes place before book one and then catches up to that timeline, so you could read them in either order. Scott from book one has a brief appearance.

Shane Hollander is on the Montreal ice hockey team and Ilya Rozanov is on their historic rival team of Boston. The author gives the reader a glimpse at what their relationship is like, and then flashes back to when they first met eight years ago. Each interaction over the following seven years is highlighted, showing the personal rivalry both on and off the ice in dual POV. But having hot, steamy encounters for so many years draws them closer. Their status and similar positions in the hockey world make for a strange connection that no one else could really understand. This is an enemies to lovers story and they are not romantic or a couple for the majority of the book, so if it will bother you that they have sex (off page) with other people, this might not be the book for you. While Shane has to confront the fact that he’s gay, Ilya has to confront that even though he’s bisexual, he only really wants Shane anymore. When their dynamic shifts in a way that frightens them both, they have to decide if this is worth their careers.

I loved these guys from start to finish. I loved when they were enemeies, loved how they strangely became friends, and I loved them as a couple. This was a hot, entertaining erotic romance. I also found it a bit more realistic and evenly written than the first book. I was fine with how it ended, although some might not like the practicality.

*Please be aware you can no longer buy books from Carina Press; you must buy them directly from Harlequin and they are in a proprietary format, meaning you have to have their ereader app.*

Rachel Reid’s Website

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Review: Empire Of Light by Alex Harrow, Voyance 1

 

EmpireOfLightCover
Cover Art by Natasha Snow

I would rate this 4.5 stars.

Damien is a guy trying to survive by making the hard choices. He’s loyal and will do anything for the family that’s been cobbled together in this dystopian future, especially his lover Aris, which puts him right between a rock and a hard place. He’s working as an assassin for the Watch, the police force of the Empire of Consolidated Nations, run by Commander Faelle Valyr. The story is set in Helos, previously New York before the Wars of 2090. Everyone is corrupt. When Damien gets sent to take out a corporate guy named Mael Taerien, he’s caught and blackmailed into killing Valyr instead. Taerien’s henchman Raeyn sticks close to his side to make sure he cooperates. As the action intensifies, battle lines are drawn but they are fluid and everyone has to adjust to the ever changing landscape.

This is a gritty story with an almost frantic pace. Damien is like a mountain goat, stubborn yet quickly adapting to all terrains. It’s not like he has any choice. The poor guy is in one fight after another (beaten, choked, kicked, stabbed, and shot). Darien tries to play whichever side will help save Aris, himself, and their friends. Aris has his own plans and his own lovers. He’s between his own rocks and hard places. The thing is Damien and Aris are both broken and the pieces don’t quite match together. That doesn’t change anything that is going to happen as everyone runs head first into their future. Damien doesn’t ignore things as well as he thinks he does, so the reader understands he sees what he wants to about the people he loves. He also forgets that everyone he loves is not like him. I’m of two minds about the secondary characters not being that fleshed out: that’s a huge missed opportunity for emotional connection to the story, and thank goodness or I’d be a blubbering mess.

As Damien gets closer to Raeyn, I wasn’t sure who to root for, or against. In many ways Raeyn is a better match for Damien, but there are some major obstacles and their relationship has it’s own dysfunction. About halfway through this story my mind was partially blown, because a good author foreshadows. At about three quarters of the way in, my mind was fully blown. The only way this story works at all is because the reader only has Damien’s POV. There is no way at all to describe this plot without spoilers. It’s an impossible task and I don’t want to do that. Just trust that there is a plot twist around every corner in this complicated web of lies and conspiracies. Yes, some seem improbable but that’s half the fun. This is action packed from beginning to end and could have benefited from some more quiet moments. They are there, but they are usually gut wrenching in their mental dysfunction, so they are not restful for the reader. They are necessary to understand the psychology of the characters. I also think the unrelenting pace is to stop the reader from looking at holes in the plot, or to try and work out what will happen. But after going through this journey, the end is too optimistic for all the brutal world building that has taken place. Even though this has an ending, I was left floundering around wondering what now, but that might just be that I kept moving after the ride stopped. I’m going to say I enjoyed the ride.

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Alex Harrow’s Website