Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: "Taking Chase" by Lauren Dane

Taking Chase (Chase Brothers, #2)Taking Chase by Lauren Dane

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Taking Chase is the second book in Lauren Dane's Chase Brothers series and it's older brother Shane's story.

Shane was introduced in Giving Chase, where he pretty much acted like a jerk and failed to endear himself to me, but I knew he would have to change in this book if Ms. Dane had any intention of making him a likable hero. What I didn't expect to see was how abrupt his change was, so it was hard to believe it at first. Right from the start of this book, previously callous and relationship-shy Shane was turned into a gentle and caring man who never hesitated to pursue a serious relationship with Cassie. Huh? Where was the guy who was so afraid of being cheated again that he avoided getting emotionally involved with any woman who might endanger his heart? I know that romantic heroes are supposed to reform when they meet "the one", but there's usually some degree of inner struggle before they take the fall. This didn't happen with Shane, and I was disappointed because I had been wondering how the mighty would fall since I finished Giving Chase. Anyway, once I decided to "accept" Shane's new demeanor without trying to understand it, it was easy to fall in love with him and wish him the best luck in his pursuit of Cassie's love.

Cassie was a difficult heroine to me. I really liked her at first and I completely understood where she was coming from, but she grated on my nerves with her OTT attitude when it came to refusing any help, which she saw as "managing", in her life. Come on, Shane was not only her boyfriend but he was also a cop, and only a stupid woman would refuse his help! She also annoyed me with the way she kept comparing Shane's actions with her ex's. Yes, she did that all the time, and no matter how many times she said she wasn't doing it, her actions said otherwise. Okay, Shane had issues too and dumped them on her now and then, so their relationship was bound to have some bumps along the way. But why was he the one who always made the effort to patch it up? He took the blame for everything, and I didn't think that was right.

As for the plot, the romance was slow paced - as it should be, considering Cassie's history - and sweet, but there were some jarring "holes" in Cassie's plan to build herself a completely new identity and escape her ex-husband's pursuit. Her being in constant contact with her brother was an extremely easy way for her ex to track her down, and I was actually surprised to see how long it took until her crazy ex finally caught up with her. Maybe I've read too many romantic suspense novels and I've become too jaded to believe that "normal" people on the run do make mistakes like that, but Cassie and her brother weren't acting on their own and had the assistance of people who were - or should have been - experts on the subject.

As it happened before, Ms. Dane's writing wasn't exactly to my liking. I still can't put my finger on it, but I found myself skimming through some scenes involving a secondary character, as I felt that they didn't add much to the story. Regardless, reading this book wasn't a hardship at all, as Shane and Cassie were engaging characters and I was really rooting for their HEA.

All things considered, this was a nice and sweet read, but I still haven't joined the "Chase Brothers's wagon". Oh, I love all the hunkalicious Chase men and I want to marry them all, but there was something lacking in the 2 books I've read so far. Anyway, I intend to read the next 2 books in this series - not because I'm particularly hooked on it, but because I'm curious about Marc and Matt, the remaining Chase brothers who haven't found their HEA yet. Plus, I enjoy reading "feel good" stories now and then, even though the Chase family can be a bit too sweet sometimes.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review: "Giving Chase" by Lauren Dane

Giving Chase (Chase Brothers, #1)Giving Chase by Lauren Dane

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After reading so many good reviews about this series, I finally caved and decided to see what all the fuss was about. Now I know... It's all about the hunky and sweet Chase brothers, of course! ;)

Giving Chase is Kyle's story, and what a charmer he is! Honorable, caring, passionate and protective, he's the son-in-law every mother dreams of - not to mention the husband every woman hopes to find. He doesn't fall fast for Maggie, but when he does... Oh boy, can I say what a charmer he is again?

Maggie doesn't fall fast for Kyle either. In fact, they've known in each other all their lives - that's a given when you live in a small town - but they've never been more than friendly acquaintances. In the beginning of this story, she actually dates other guys before hooking up with him. Naturally, all that is moot when Kyle sets out to woo and conquer her. Maggie has some big self-esteem issues - thanks to her b!tchy mother and sister - and Kyle has to keep convincing her that he's truly attracted to her and that he's in for the long haul. Is there any doubt about his persuasion powers? ;)

As the story begun, I was a bit put off by Maggie dating the creepy Alex and then hooking up with Kyle's older brother Shane, but that was short-lived - thankfully! - and once Kyle stepped in, those shenanigans were over. Kyle and Maggie made a cute couple, and she was definitely better off with him than with his brother. There wasn't much tension in their relationship, aside from Maggie's insecurities about herself, and I have to say, that was a bit dull. It was obvious they did get along and their love scenes were hot but, at one point, I felt like I was reading a premature extended epilogue. I mean, they'd already said their ILY and were basically living together 2/3 through the book, what else was going to happen? Well, I've never been happier to see a stalker in action when creepy Alex made his comeback near the end of the story, LOL.

Some people will think I'm crazy, but this book had a chick-lit vibe to me. Not in its structure per se, but in the way it seemed more focused on Maggie's overcoming her insecurities and becoming a more assertive woman than on her relationship with Kyle. Don't get me wrong, the romance part played a big role in the story, but the lack of conflict between Maggie and Kyle made the other parts of the story more interesting.

As for Ms. Lane's writing style, there was something "off" about it. The story didn't flow smoothly, and sometimes I felt like she was just describing a series of events instead of telling a story, if you know what I mean. Even so, her writing was good enough to make me care and root for the characters, so it wasn't difficult to keep reading.

All in all, this was an enjoyable, light and sweet read. It wasn't perfect, but it was entertaining. Granted, the Chase family was too good to be true, but it was nice to read an uplifting story about people who were kindhearted for a change. Many reviewers have said it before, and I agree: this book made me feel good, and sometimes that's just what the doctor ordered.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: "Something About You" by Julie James

Something About You (FBI, #1)Something About You by Julie James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3 1/2 stars

When I added this book to my GR bookshelves, I put it in the "romantic suspense" shelf because what else should I think considering that the hero is an FBI agent and the heroine is an assistant U.S. attorney, right? Well, now that I finished reading it, I had to move it from the "romantic suspense" shelf to the straight "contemporary romance" shelf, because the suspense is almost nonexistent - the reader is aware of who the bad guy is and what his next moves are all the time. To be strict, the romance isn't that strong either - it was nowhere to be seen in the first half of the story and it didn't take my breath away when it finally started - but I think "contemporary romance" is the genre that fits this book the most.

Overall, everything in the story was kind of subdued, I don't know exactly how to explain it. Strangely enough, that didn't make reading the book boring and I actually had fun doing it - mostly because I liked the main characters (Jack, Cameron, his partner Wilkins, her friends Collin and Amy). I enjoyed "watching" their interactions and wouldn't mind having them as RL friends. Ms. James's solid writing helped the plot to move smoothly and easily, without major bumps in the way, but she could have used a bit more showing than telling. Jack's and Cameron's reminiscences about the past read like a recap sometimes, not the most exciting way to find out about a character's history.

All things considered, this was a good read. I didn't love it like many of my GR friends did, but it's still a book I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone looking for a nice contemporary romance.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Review: "Indecent Suggestion" by Elizabeth Bevarly

Indecent Suggestion (Harlequin Blaze, #189)Indecent Suggestion by Elizabeth Bevarly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, this was one smoking hot Blaze novel! *fans herself*

Turner McCloud (gotta love this name!) and Becca Mercer are best friends who have know each other since first grade and now work together at the same advertising agency. As the story opens, their smoking addition gets them in trouble with their boss, who doesn't allow smoking inside the office. They've tried to quit smoking many times before, with no success, so they - or better, Becca - decides it's time they took one final "drastic" measure to quit: to visit a hypnotherapist. The problem is, they arrive early to their appointment, the hypnotherapist mistakes them for another couple - who's seeking the hypnotherapist to help them with their sexual inhibitions - and, there you have it, Turner and Becca end up being hypnothized to respond sexually to each other.

Turner has been in love with Becca for years, so the hypnosis doesn't really change anything in him. On the other hand, Becca finds herself very unable to control her lust for him. Unlike Turner, she's not really in love with him yet, but she's always been attracted to him and the only reason she's avoided "getting horizontal" with him so far is the fear of losing their friendship. But now that she's been hypnothized to let go of her inhibitions, there's no stopping her. But as they get closer and closer and she falls in love with him, the truth about her hypnosis session comes to light and Turner wonders how real her feelings are. Is it all due to the hypnotherapist's indecent suggestion?

I really enjoyed this book. The writing was LOL funny - the opening scene was amazing -, the plot was a bit quirky, and Turner and Becca were adorable. And the love scenes... Wow, they were sizzling hot and borderline erotica. I wasn't completely comfortable with their love scene in her cubicle - I mean, at least get inside one of the conference rooms! - but Ms. Beverly's writing was so engaging that I gave it a pass. All in all, this was one of the best HQ Blaze novels I've read, and I'm going to dream about Turner tonight. ;)

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: "No Rest for the Wicked" by Kresley Cole

No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark, #3)No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I guess third time is the charm... At least, with the Immortals After Dark series. I wasn't impressed with The Warlord Wants Forever and A Hunger Like No Other, the first two entries in the series, but now I understand what all the fuss is about. To be honest, I wasn't "feeling the love" in the first half of this book, but things got much better in the second half.

Back in 1709, Sebastian Wroth was turned into a vampire by his brother Nikolai, the hero in The Warlord Wants Forever. That happened against his will, and Sebastian has never forgiven his older brother for it. When Valkyrie Kaderin the Cold Hearted shows up at his castle to kill him, he's more than happy to oblige... until he realizes she's his Bride, the one and only female destined to be his eternal wife. Now he doesn't want to die anymore. Too bad Valkyries hate vampires and Kaderin is the best vampire slayer on the face of the Earth, er, the Lore.

Kaderin isn't called "the Cold Hearted" for nothing. She hasn't felt any emotion in a thousand years, ever since her two sisters died by the hand of a vampire whose life Kaderin had just spared out of pity. Devastated by guilt and grief, she was given the blessing of feeling nothing so she could move on with her life. She's cold, fearless and ruthless, the ultimate vampire killer. But all that changes when she meets Sebastian and she starts feeling and experiencing emotions again. However, she isn't the least interested in consorting with a vampire, and she pushes him away.

Besides, she needs to focus on the Talisman's Hie, which is basically an immortal version of the TV show The Amazing Race. Kaderin is the Hie's reigning champion and has won every single edition of the deadly competition, so winning the Hie is a must. But there's more than pride and ego at stake this time around... This Hie, the winner will be given Thrane's Key, a powerful weapon that enables its possessor to time travel to the past. Here's Kaderin chance to go back in time and save her sisters! Her competitors are fierce, but she's positive she'll be able to defeat them. Sebastian offers to join her in the competition, but she flatly refuses his help. So he decides to enter the Hie himself and win the prize for her - after all, she's his Bride and he'll do anything for her. And while they're "globetrotting" in search of the talismans, he'll make her see they're meant for each other. Or will he?

Awww, I loved, loved, loved Sebastian! How could I not? He was adorable, protective, caring, honorable, and sexy as hell. And I think he was a virgin! I loved how he got all nervous and tentative around Kaderin, before he realized she wasn't fragile like the women he knew in his previous human life. I have to say I didn't fully understand why he didn't end his own life in all the three hundred years he lived as an unwilling vampire before he met Kaderin and found a purpose to live, though. I guess I should believe it was fate and he was just waiting to meet her, but Kaderin's behavior didn't make it easy to go along with that idea because she was so not worthy of him... Not in the beginning, at least.

I wanted to throttle Kaderin for the most part of this book. She was cold as expected, given her nickname, but I had a hard time figuring her out. I just couldn't understand how she remained imune to Sebastian for so long. At one point, she even lied to him and tried to use his feelings for her to get her out of a jammy so she could complete a task in the Hie. Thankfully, she came to her senses later in a wonderful scene that made my heart skip a beat. Was it enough to win me over? Not completely, but it was enough to stop me from wanting to smack her, LOL.

The pace of the story was a bit uneven to me. I struggled to get through the first half, when Sebastian and Kaderin didn't really spend much time together and I couldn't see how they would manage to fall in love if they didn't get to know each other. Following the Hie was fun, but it wasn't enough to hold my interest for itself. Once Sebastian and Kaderin started to interact more often, things improved. The second half of the story had a nice mix of action and romance, and I would have read it in one sitting if it wasn't for the darn power outage that took my country by surprise last night. All in all, the final half of the story saved the book for me and the ending had a nice tease - not exactly a cliffhanger - that made me want to read the next book, Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night. Yay!

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review: "A Hunger Like No Other" by Kresley Cole

A Hunger Like No Other (Immortals After Dark, #2)A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the first full-length story in the Immortals After Dark series, following the novella The Warlord Wants Forever that introduced the Lore, the mythical strata created by Kresley Cole "where those sentient creatures that are not human live". You don’t have to read that short story to understand A Hunger Like No Other, but I did and I think it helps to get a better grasp of the overall scenario as some events in the two stories take place at the same time.

Lachlain MacRieve is the Lykae King, a 1,200-year-old werewolf who’s been searching for his mate for a long, long time. For the past 150 years, he’s been imprisoned in the catacombs beneath Paris, where he’s been tortured by the Vampire Horde and subjected to die from the fires of hell only to be resurrected by his immortality - over and over again. The only thing that keeps him alive and somewhat sane is the thought of finding his mate, so when he unexpectedly scents her nearby one night, he finds the strength to break free from the bonds that keep him captive. When he finally escapes the catacombs and finds his way to the surface, then into a darkened alley, his mate is gone. He’s not defeated, though, because once a Lykae scents his mate, she’s his forever – and he will find her again… However, Lachlain has the shock of his life when he catches up with her one week later and discovers she’s, gasp!, a vampire. No, this cannot be! Lykaes and vampires are mortal enemies, so why would fate give him a vampire as a mate?

Emmaline “Emma” Troy is actually half vampire and half Valkyrie. Her mother Helen (of Troy?) was a Valkyrie who died when Emma was still a baby. As for her father, all Emma knows is that he is/was a vampire. Determined to finally find out his identity, Emma’s left the Valkyrie coven in New Orleans for the first time in her 70 years – wow, she’s almost a newborn compared to Lachlain! – and flies to Paris, where her parents are believed to have met and lived together for a while. Imagine her surprise when, one night, she’s kidnapped by a strange non-human male who seems to be a bit "deranged", to say the least.

Lachlain is torn between lust and disgust. His "beast" wants to claim Emma as his mate, but he’s having a hard time reconciling the fact that she’s a vampire. He ends up "convincing" her to travel with him to his home in Scotland, with the promise that he’ll let her go when they get there. He’s lying through his teeth, of course, as he has no intention of letting her go – ever! He’s only buying time, before she accepts her position as his mate. But there are people after her – not only her Valkyrie foster mother and aunts, but some bad vampires too – and Lachlain has to fight all of them to keep Emma safe. Not an easy task, when he has to woo her and convince her she belongs with him at the same time.

When I read the Prologue, I thought Lachlain would end up being one of my favorite heroes. I was sure he would be a dark, brooding and intense hero – come on, he severed one of his leg to free it from its bonds to get to his mate! – but that was not to be. He had a brief bout of "insanity" in the beginning, which was completely expected considering his 150-year imprisonment, but he recovered from it quite easily and I found it too unbelievable. Strangely enough, I wasn’t put off by his lying to Emma. I’m usually not a fan of deceitful heroes, but I was OK with Lachlain’s lying because it was consistent with his initial "madness". He kept lying later, when he was "sane" again, but that was another story...

As for Emma, she got on my nerves. She started out as a wuss – by her own words – and ended up as a strong and independent vampire/Valkyrie – kudos to her! – but the journey in between was uneven. I guess she was supposed to be funny and witty, but I found myself wanting to shake some sense into her a couple of times. Some of her conversations with her crazy Valkyrie aunts were hilarious, but I got tired of their antics after a while. There’s a time to joke around, and there’s a time to get down to business. JMHO.

I could have "ignored" Lachlan’s and Emma’s shortcomings if the plot had been engaging enough but, alas, that wasn’t the case. Some jarring inconsistencies kept pestering me while I was reading this book, and I just couldn’t get over them. A) Lachlain’s escape from the catacombs wasn’t as difficult as it should have been. I mean, not a single guard intercepted his way! B) Why did Lachlain waited 150 years to escape? Don’t tell me that he only felt compelled to do it when he scented Emma, because I can’t believe he didn’t find ending his torture as soon as possible compelling enough. C) Why didn’t the Vampire Horde go after Lachlain when he escaped? He couldn’t be that "insignificant", could he? D) Why did Demestriu, the Vampire King, … Okay, I’ll stop ranting now because I’m about to enter into spoiler territory.

All things considered, this was a fun read but, as it happened with The Warlord Wants Forever, I wasn’t wowed by the story. I’m feeling kind of weird here, because many readers love this series and I just don’t get it. I do love the idea of having all kinds of non-human beings living together – mostly at war but some in peace – in the same universe, the Lore, but that’s all. Ms. Cole’s writing was humorous and easy to read, the love scenes were hot and the story was fast paced and entertaining despite its inconsistencies, but I’m still unsure about this series. Does it get better? Should I give the next book a try? Decisions, decisions…

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review: "The Warlord Wants Forever" by Kresley Cole

The Warlord Wants Forever (Immortals After Dark, #1)The Warlord Wants Forever by Kresley Cole

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Warlord Wants Forever is the short story that introduces the Immortal After Dark series...

From Kresley Cole's website:

Nikolai Wroth, once a ruthless human warlord in the 1700s and now a general in the rebel vampire army, needs to find his Bride, the one woman who can render him truly alive. As a turned human, he doesn’t enjoy a heartbeat or breaths and is consequently weaker than fully blooded vampires. He wants his Bride for the power she will bring him and can hardly believe it when his heart beats for Myst the Coveted, a mad, fey, mythological creature.

Myst is known throughout the world as the most beautiful Valkyrie, part chillingly fierce warrior, part beguiling seductress who can “make you want her even as she’s killing you.” She has devoted her life to protecting an ancient, powerful jewel and to fighting the vampires, and she now sees a way to torment one—for with Wroth’s heartbeat comes consuming sexual desire that can only be slaked by her.

She eludes him for five years, but he has finally chased her to ground and stolen the jewel which commands her, giving him absolute power over her. While he possesses it, he can make her do anything, and he plans to in order for her to experience first hand the agonizing, unending lust she’d purposely subjected him to for half a decade. Yet when Wroth realizes he wants more from her and frees her, will she come back to him?

As the introduction to the IAD series, this story did its job. I wasn't wowed by it but I'm interested enough to give the next book a try. The PNR world created by Ms. Cole is unique - at least, to me - with its mixture of all kinds of PNR beings. I mean, I'm used to series being about one kind of PNR being - vampires, shapeshifters, psychics, or whatever - but it looks like the IAD series has them all "mixing and matching", and this should be fun.

I had to struggle a bit in the first half of story, because Wroth and Myst weren't exactly likable. He started out being somewhat cold and unemotional and then turned into an obsessive domineering "master", ugh. As for Myst, she just seemed to be too ditzy and slutty for my taste. Okay, the sexual tension between them was sizzling hot and their love scenes got me "hot and bothered", but I couldn't help feeling uncomfortable when he took her free will away from her. Every time he commanded her to do something against her will, I cringed a little because I'm not into D/s and there was definitely a D/s vibe there. Thankfully, Wroth came to his senses in the end and Myst had more depth in her than she'd led me to believe, and I ended up liking both of them.

The following books in this series are supposed to be better than this one, so I'm off to reading A Hunger Like No Other. We shall see how I like it...

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Review: "Highland Fling" by Jennifer LaBrecque

Highland Fling (Harlequin Blaze, #262)Highland Fling by Jennifer LaBrecque

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'd read only two books by Ms. LaBrecque before this one and I wasn't very impressed, but she's a favorite author among several GR members so I thought I'd give her another try when I found this book at the UBS. Well, the old saying is true: third time is the charm...

Kate Wexford is an ER doctor who finds herself attracted to an 18th-century painting of a Scottish laird, Darach MacTavish. The painting is part of a sex exhibit being held at the museum, and she can't help visiting the museum and ogling the painting every day after work. On the last day of the exhibit, she is approached by a strange man who gives her some info about the man in the painting and then just pushes her into it. When Kate "wakes up", she finds herself lying naked on the Scottish laird's bed.

Darach is more than surprised to find a naked wench on his bed and, not knowing how she could have sneaked into his castle undetected, suspects she's a spy sent by his enemies. This impression is short-lived, as Kate and Darach soon realize she somehow traveled back in time. At first, they don't understand why she's there and don't know how to get her back to her time, but they eventually figure out she's to help him prevent his death and the destruction of his clan in the near future (his future, not hers). As they work together and travel through time (his and hers) in search of the answer to his imminent problem, Kate and Darach fall in love with each other and are faced with another dilemma, as she doesn't particularly like life in the 18th century and he can't abandon his clan and stay with her in the 21st century. As this is a romance novel, they sort things out and get their HEA, of course.

I know suspension of disbelief is a must when I read time travel stories and I don't necessarily expect them to have a scientific approach based on the laws of physics, but I do expect them to have some consistency within the logic the author creates to explain the phenomenon. Here's what bothered me in this book: the first time Kate time traveled, she reached her "destination" without her clothes on but with her watch on her wrist and her purse on her shoulder; the following times she time-travelled, she didn't "lose" anything during the "journey" and arrived at the "other space in time" fully clothed and accessorized. What was the logic behind that? As far as I could tell, there was only one explanation: Darach needed to see Kate naked so he could appreciate what a bonny lass she was, LOL.

The other thing that bothered me was how easily Darach fit into the 21st century. For example, he was surfing the internet less than one hour after Kate explained him what a computer was! No matter how intelligent he was, I found that very hard to believe.

Anyway, those were only small annoyances that didn't prevent me from enjoying this read, probably because I fell in love with Darach and was willing to buy anything Ms. LaBrecque wrote, LOL. Darach was a wonderful Highlander hero - strong, protective and a bit arrogant, just the way he was supposed to be - and Kate was a funny and charming modern-day heroine. Their scenes were sweet and funny, and they had great chemistry together. All in all, the time travel "logic" was a bit convoluted but the romance part of the story was very good and worth reading.

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Review: "Miss January" by Madison Hayes

Miss January (Calendar Girls)Miss January by Madison Hayes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nice H/h, even though they were sometimes too quick to jump to conclusions, interesting setup - I really liked the way they "met" and I know what I'll be doing the next time a sexy stranger with a velvet voice dials the wrong number and reaches me - and smoking hawt love scenes. That's what I call good smut! ;)

If you're wondering what Cash looks like, here's a pic that fits him - and the story - perfectly:


Seriously, there's a scene in the book that's exactly like that pic!

Note: After I read this book, I found out that it isn't the first in the series. How come? Isn't January the first month of the year? Darn, my OCD can't process that, LOL!

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Review: "The Broken H" by J.L. Langley

The Broken H (Ranch Series, #2)The Broken H by J.L. Langley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As the sequel to The Tin Star, The Broken H features Sheriff Grayson Hunter, who played a secondary character in the previous book, and Shane Cortez, the man he's loved all his life.

Shane has been part of Gray's life since Shane was sixteen and Gray was three, when Gray's parents took an almost starving and battered Shane off the street and offered him a home to live. Despite the big age difference between them, the two boys became inseparable friends almost immediately. That changed when Gray turned eighteen, realized that his feelings for Shane went beyond mere friendship and tried to tell the older man how he felt. Shane's reaction (and apparent rejection) sent Gray running away from his parents' ranch, the Broken H, and he's stayed away from Shane since then. Fate has a way to bring lovers back together, though. When Gray's father suffers a heart attack, he's called home and there's no denying his feelings for Shane anymore. Surprisingly, it looks like Shane has something to say in the matter too...

Here's the deal: I loved Shane and Gray individually, but their relationship was a bit uncomfortable to me. The flashbacks from their past, when Shane was still a young man and Gray was a child, were filled with brotherly affection, so I had a hard time adjusting to the change in their relationship. In itself, the age gap between them wasn't the issue - Ethan and Jamie, from The Tin Star, had eleven years between them and I didn't have a problem with it - but the fact that Shane and Gray had basically grown up like "brothers". Heck, Gray's parents even treated Shane like a son!

Besides that, there were just too many editing errors in this book. I'm not the best person to point them out, since English isn't my mother language, but they were too bizarre and obvious. Sadly, they got in the way of my enjoying this read, because I found myself having to reread entire sentences to understand their meaning. That didn't happen once or twice, but several times - especially in the second half of the book.

Overall, this ended up being just an OK read to me, with likable characters, sweet and funny love scenes - I especially liked Gray's fetishes - and a bit of tension to keep the story going. It would have been a 4-star read to me if it weren't for the things I mentioned above.

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Review: "The Christmas Tree Bargain" by J.L. Langley

The Christmas Tree Bargain (Ranch Series, #3)The Christmas Tree Bargain by J.L. Langley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3 1/2 stars

If you've read The Tin Star, like I have, this quickie works as a very nice extra epilogue to that book. Being alreay familiar with Ethan and Jamie, you get to understand their dynamics, why their Christmas tree is so ugly and Ethan's early Christmas gift gets a new meaning. Plus, their dog Fred helping with the Christmas tree decorations makes it all sweeter as you remember how that "tradition" started.

If you haven't read that book, this quickie is nothing more than a steamy m/m sex scene between two "married" men celebrating Christmas.

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