Jade Cary-First a Lady

Jade is another first-timer to the blog. One of the things I love about blogging, outside of getting to read all the books, is getting to read authors that I wouldn’t otherwise have read. I’ve picked up several authors that are now on my must-read list because of that. But, enough of that, let’s talk about Jade Cary’s book, First a Lady.

The story goes thusly. Lady Grace Aston was the daughter of a duke. Her mother was American, so she spent a lot of time in the US. While in the US, she met Matt Coolidge, fell in love, and married him. Then, the politicking started. First Matt went into Congress, then he became POTUS. He was a 3rd party president, a Libertarian, the person that no one expected to be president, but there he was. He had a good 1st term, and was running for his second term. On a campaign stop in New Orleans, after having just been introduced by a speech given by Grace, he is killed by two men who were in his Secret Service detail. John Marin, who was also part of the detail, saw what was going to happen milliseconds before it happened, and he tackled Grace while the shooting was happening, and then grabbed her and carried her away from the building, into a limo, and drove her away from the scene. He was, of course, keeping her safe. But he had to be questioned to make sure that he wasn’t in on it.

Fast forward a year, and Grace is living in London. She has turned down the Secret Service’s protection, which I totally would too. But, she’s about to participate in an event at the US Embassy in London and then fly to the US for a memorial service for her husband. The current president has decided to force her hand and told her that she has to have protection. She said fine, she would get her own security. That’s when she turned in John Marin.

For his part, John has spent the last year hip-deep in a bottle of rum on a boat in the Caribean. When Grace’s private secretary called to ask him if he would protect Grace, he turned the man down. But when Grace showed up on the pier outside his boat, it was harder to turn her down, so he didn’t. But he told her that she would have to do whatever he told her to and that she wasn’t to keep anything from him. Of course, if it were that easy, we wouldn’t have a book, now would we?

So, I love John and Grace together. They very much drive each other crazy, both in a sexual way and in a purely frustrated way. I think that’s awesome. They are both strong, stubborn people who butt heads like a pair of rams looking at a pretty ewe. Overall, I do  like the book. However, it danced a fine line with some conspiracy theories going on and nearly crossed over, at least for my liking. But, it didn’t mess with my enjoyment of the book, so it’s all good.

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I’m really not going to put anything down here, except for this. I don’t know that I would be worried about the conspiracies going on in this one if the US political scene wasn’t what it is now. I don’t have to have total escapism when I read a book, but that’s my thought on the matter. If I read this 2 years ago? I don’t know if the line would be where it is currently, but it isn’t, so I can’t tell you for sure. Anyway, I liked the book and had a hard time putting it down, one way or the other, so I guess it wasn’t that much of a problem.

That’s all I have to say about this one. Go on over to the Almighty Zon and check it out. Remember, if you do read it and you like it, make sure to leave a review. It doesn’t have to be a long one, it can be as simple as saying that you like something, but leaving reviews helps out authors. Happy reading!

Soraya Naomi-The Man in Black

I may not like a lot of country-western music, but I like Johnny Cash. So what does Johnny Cash have to do with Soraya Naomi’s new mafia book? Well, Johnny was known as The Man in Black, and the whole time I was reading this, I imagined Michael looking like a devilishly handsome younger Johnny Cash.

This one is part of a series, but it is a standalone. I think that the series is more of an interconnected series about a lot of friends who are getting their relationships and then showing up as side characters in other books more than it is as a serial kind of series that builds on each book and if you miss one, you’re kind of SOL. I haven’t read the other books, so don’t quote me on that, but I had no problem with wondering what had gone on before and there didn’t seem to be a lot of overall story that I had to work up to understanding.

So, let’s talk about Michael and Brielle.  Brielle moved to Chicago when she was 18 in order to go to school, and because she needed a change from New York after her parents died. Now she’s the new pastry chef at the hot new upscale restaurant, Palermo. She’s thrilled about that because it’s her first job out of culinary school and she got a great starting wage and her desserts are already making a big splash. One night, after everyone else has left and she’s just about to leave, she hears a strange noise. When she turns around and looks, she finds a gun, just sitting on a counter that she knows was empty just a minute ago. When someone walks into the kitchen, she raises the gun and points it at him, at which point Michael asks her to not point his own gun at him.

Michael was the former boss of the Syndicate in New York, but after his finace was gunned down, he moved back to Chicago to work with his friends. Now he’s a high up in the Syndicate and is working as security director for the restaurant. He tells Brielle that’s why he carries a gun. Now, she’s tweaked his radar, because of the bracelet she wears. it’s related to his past, and he needs to know what she knows or if it’s just some weird coincidence and cosmic joke that she’s working at the Palermo. He’s going to have to get closer to her in order to find out.

OK, and this is why I wanted to smack Michael for a lot of the book. He really pushed and pulled at Brielle. One minute he’s kissing her, the next he’s literally pushing her away and telling her that nothing can happen between them. He gives her a ride home and fixes her door, but wants to have nothing to do with her. It’s confusing as hell, especially since when he’s pulling her towards him, he’s doing things that men interested in a relationship would do. Of course, he’s doing it all for his own motives, but he’s so far into his grief that he can’t really see what it looks like from the other side. Brielle just ends up reacting like any reasonable person would. When he flirts with her, she flirts back. When he pays attention to her, she basks in it. When he pushes her away, she gets mad and hurt, and then he pulls her back in. How the fuck is anyone supposed to feel when that is going on? Michael makes a point of emphasizing that he’s 12 years older than Brielle, but there’s a lot of the time I think that she’s the more mature one.

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See, young Johnny Cash was pretty hot.

OK, I overall enjoyed the book, but one thing that I wasn’t a big fan off is the fact that it appears to have only been 4 months from when Michael’s fiance died to the start of the book. That’s not my problem. My problem is that people kept acting like he should be totally over everything and that he’s closing himself off because he’s still grieving. Grief takes a while, and if it has only been 4 months, then he still has a lot of things to work through. If, on the other hand, it has been 4 years, I could see that he was stuck. But that’s just me, and I may have the time period off. It wasn’t enough for me to not read the book or to dislike it, but it was just one of those things that caught my attention.

If Michael had just asked Brielle about her bracelet at the beginning, things would’ve been much easier on everyone, especially Brielle. I do think he really kind of drug her through hell with the way that he was acting. She really forgave him a whole hell of a lot faster than I would’ve. Then again, I’ve been known to hold a grudge.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Measha Stone-Suspicion

So, the Black Light books are one of those series where several different authors get together and write stories in the same world. In this case, the books all have to have something to do with Black Light BDSM club. Until now, they’ve all been focused in the DC club, but with the LA club opening up (Livia Grant’s Complicated Love) and some of our former couples living out there, I expect that we will see some stories that are based out there.

On top of having related standalone books, there are also two anthologies, the Valentine Roulette books. Those books are novellas that all take place within the same three hours on the same night. Subs and Doms spin  the roulette wheel. Doms spin to see what sub they’ll be matched with, and subs spin to see what activities they’ll be doing. We’ve seen some stories come out of the couples from the Valentine’s Roulette books, but generally we’ve gotten to see them a little bit before their book starts. With Sophie and Scott, we don’t. However, in the last Roulette book, there is a moment when a sub faints and a Dom rushes to her aid. That’s Sophie and Scott. And that’s where Measha and her Suspicion come in.

Scott and Sophia are cops and partners. She transferred out of her old district and is working in a new one, so their partnership is still pretty new, even though it is pretty successful to this point. On Valentine’s night, she walks into Black Light. She’s been a member for a while but hasn’t ever been. She signed up for the Roulette event though. She’s a complete newbie, but she thinks this may be a good way to get some experience. Then, the unthinkable happens. She sees Scott. All of a sudden, the streams have crossed and her private life and work life are starting to collide, and she just can’t be having with that. Between that and the fact that she hasn’t eaten all day because she was afraid of an upset stomach, she has a crash and faints. Luckily, Scott is Johnny-on-the-spot and is able to help her and takes her home and puts her to bed.

Scott realizes one thing during this. Sophia is a sub, and he wants her. However, Sophia isn’t quite as sure. She’s very nervous about everything, from the fact that she’s never played at all, to the fact that they are partners and if everything goes pear-shaped, things would turn really ugly.

I really loved this one. I  mean, I like most books that I read, otherwise I wouldn’t read them, but this one really got to me and wormed its way into my heart. There’s something about Sophie that I can really relate to. I feel like she could be me. It let me really get into the story and feel very affected by everything that happened. I think the Sophia and Scott work well together, especially when they both pull their heads out of their asses. One thing I really like that Measha did was that she showed Doms aren’t perfect and they make dumbass mistakes just like the rest of the world. I know I’ve said it before, but Doms often get a pass just because they are the Doms and make the rules. But I’ve seen Doms making mistakes and having to deal with it in several books lately, and I’m loving it. Yes, the Domly ones have to be the ones in control and in charge and confident, but as Dani says in the book, an apologetic Dom is a sexy Dom. If I had a Dom, I would want one who let me know they weren’t perfect and when they screwed up, they apologized and did what was necessary to make it right. So yay for Measha!

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OMG, I wanted to fucking strangle Scott. He didn’t give Sophia a chance to explain, he just assumed he knew what was going on, and when she tried, he just shut it down and shut her out. I can’t even imagine how she felt about that because she had serious trust issues and for him to do that to her? I’m glad Gray smacked him around and even happier that Sophie blocked him for a while. Let him feel like shit. Of course, that doesn’t mean that she didn’t feel like shit too, but he’s the one who earned it.

That doesn’t absolve Sophie of things, though. She should’ve told him what was going on before it got to the point it did.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this. You should totally go check out all the Black Light books. They are all totally worth it. It will be easier to find them if you look for Black Light or Black Collar Press. There are a lot of authors in the series. Happy reading!

Natasha Knight-Giovanni

Natasha Knight writes a lot of mafia romances. She has a series about the Benedetti brothers. Giovanni is not one of those books, but it is a standalone spinoff from those books. You don’t have to have read the Benedetti books in order to know what’s going on here, and they are only side characters in this book.

Emilia is a cartel princess. Her father is dead. The head of the cartel is now her only living family, her twin brother. She’s spent the last 4 years trying to hide. She’s even gone so far as to change her name, going from Emilia, cartel princess to just plan Em, event planner for a boutique hotel. She’s doing really well staying hidden, until the night she comes home and there are 5 men in her apartment. She knows that something bad has happened, and that nothing good is going to be happening because of that.

Giovanni is way up in the Benedetti organization. He made a deal with Em’s twin brother, and he got screwed over. Now he’s out to get ahold of Alessandro, and since he knows where Emilia is, he figures that she can get him in touch with Alessandro, so he and some of his men break into her apartment and wait for her. What he doesn’t expect is a woman who has been broken and who has learned when to accept what she can’t fight while fighting when she can. Including pulling a gun on him when she gets into her kitchen and wants him out of her house.

I have to admit that I didn’t particularly care for Giovanni for huge parts of the book. When I liked him, I really liked him, but I don’t think that he listened to Emilia as much as he should’ve. I think he sometimes got a little too Alpha-y and he just made some decisions that weren’t in her best interests. However, he does redeem himself, and even when I don’t particularly care for him, he does still appear to care for Em, even when he’s being an asshole. I do like Emilia and I really enjoyed following her story. She is strong, even if she’s broken, and she’s a fighter. She may accept that there are times she can’t fight, but she does wait and watch to see what she can do and she will do that. She’s overcome a flawed past and made herself successful in her present. Altogether, I really enjoyed the story, and the like I had for Em took care of anything I may have felt for Giovanni, and I had no problems reading the book and staying in the story.

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I thought that Em was really tricksy with what she did with her dad. It took some serious guts to do that. She had ovaries of steel, for sure.

I thought the storyline with Giovanni’s dad was interesting. It would have been interesting to see more of that, I think.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Livia Grant-Complicated Love

I think that Livia Grant’s Infamous Love was my first Mmf menage. It was definitely a good one to start with, and I’m glad that I did. But, I’ve been waiting for the next part of the story to come out ever since. We’d get to see Jaxson, Chase, and Emma a little bit in the Black Light stories, and it was a nice way to check in with them, but we never got to really see their story. So Livia finally decided to take pity on us and give us their story with Complicated Love.

So, Jaxson, Emma, and Chase have decided that they are going to open Runway and Black Light West in Los Angeles, since the originals are doing so well. That means that they are currently living in a small rental house near the site where they are going to have the club while they are waiting for all the reno work to get done. As if that’s not enough of a problem, there is the fact that Jax wants to have the clubs open on an insanely tight schedule. That puts a lot of stress on everyone, mostly because that’s just a lot of work anyway. As an added bonus, Emma is very unhappy and seems to be feeling ill, but she isn’t talking to either Chase or Jaxson about it.

Then there’s Lola, who I hated from the very first moment we saw her. She’s Jaxson’s assistant, and she acts like she owns him. She just walks into their house whenever, disrespects Chase and Emma, and is an all-around nasty person. I mean, I think the first time we saw her, she walked into the house, literally took the coffee cup out of Emma’s hand, filled it, and started drinking from it, all the while ignoring Chase and Emma and pushing Jaxon around. I could tell that she was into Jaxson, or at least I thought she was. Of course, he doesn’t see it, and he’s already stressed enough.

Chase gets hit on by a reporter who was his old babysitter, but he shut her down beautifully. I just laughed at that. And Emma was happy that he did it too.

Of course nothing goes smoothly because do you really want to read a book where everything goes smoothly and there are never any problems? Emma’s keeping secrets, Jaxson is stressed trying to get everything done, Chase is running around like a crazy person, and the whole relationship is just stressed. It can be hard enough to keep 2 people together and in a healthy relationship, but with three, that must be really difficult.

One of the things that I really loved about this book is the fact that it showed the day-to-day work that a relationship needs. Yay! You get your HEA! But that HEA still needs work, and we see that in this book. We also see how a healthy D/s relationship should work. Well, mostly healthy, there are some bumps, but again, no one and no relationship are perfect. I love these 3 and have from the very second that I read their first book.

 

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OK, the first thing that I need to say is I WAS RIGHT! Anyone in Livia’s group will know what I mean. Yay for me!

I really, really, really hated Lola. I mean I really hated her, but I didn’t think that she would go to the lengths that she did. That was just cruel and evil on her part. Good thing that Jaxson usually hires exceptional people.

I loved it when Emma smacked the interior decorator down. He was so out of line in so many ways, but Emma was a goddess. Go Emma!

I was so surprised that Jaxson went so far that Emma had to safeword, but the awesome thing is that we get to see that being honored and that’s just awesome.

OK, you have to go read this for yourself. It’s a wonderful book and I love them so much. Happy reading!

Tess Thompson-Jaded:Zane and Honor

This is the 3rd book in Tess Thompson’s Cliffside Bay series, which takes place in a tiny little California seaside town. While you could read it as a standalone, if you really, really, really, really wanted to, I would whole-heartedly recommend that you read Traded and Deleted first. The characters in the stories are very much interconnected and if you don’t read them in order, you will be lost. But enough of that, on to Jaded.

So Zane is the owner of the local bar and grill, The Oar. He has serious abandonment issues. He has a brand new sister, who actually isn’t all that brand new, just new to him. He and his best friend Maggie discovered that they had a half-sister who was adopted years ago. Now she’s in Cliffside with him, helping to run the bar and getting to see their father, who has Alzheimer’s.

Then, there’s Honor. Honor is feisty, smart, stubborn, and just an all around badass. She’s Zane’s friend’s Brody’s business manager. She keeps Brody’s life running the way that it should.

Honor and Zane are definitely attracted to each other and very probably in love. The problem is that they both have issues, and they both have a hard time trusting anyone. Their one night stand ended badly, with Honor sneaking out and feeling bad for doing so and Zane feeling abandoned. But, at their friends’ urging, they finally go out on a date. Sort of. Zane takes her to a business dinner, where she proceeds to lay a can of whoopass on some “investors”. It was awesome to watch, and Zane got hard over it.

So, overall I enjoyed the book. There were some twists that I didn’t expect, and some interesting surprises that came up out of Honor’s past, which kind of mirrored a lot of things that happened to Honor as a child. There are also bad things. Sophie, Zane’s sister, smacked him around a little bit to help him get out of his head, which helped the whole thing.

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OMG, Gorham went to all kinds of measures, didn’t he? That’s just cruel what he did to a young woman like Honor was. He deserved what happened to him. He deserved more than what happened to him.

I love the Princess Jubie, King, and Queen bit. That let’s Jubie have her own names for them without disrespecting mommy or anything.

Ok, that’s all I have to say about this one. Happy reading!

Natalie Bennett-Ace of Spades

Stop! Hammer time!

Seriously, no, stop. If you haven’t read the first two books in this series, put this review down, put Ace of Spades down and go pick up Queen of Hearts and start the series. If you don’t, you will not know what’s going on, and you will spoil yourself. If you continue to read past my warning, you will be spoiled for the first two books. Sorry, it’s the nature of the beast. I try really hard to not spoil, you know that I do, but talking about the current book will spoil the first two, just because of the way it’s written. So, be sure that this is what you want to do.

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So, we’re back to Elena who has just found a box of ashes with her twin sister’s necklace in it. She knows that this means that her beloved twin sister, the other half of her soul is dead. Elena has to run to get some space so that she can think and make some plans. She calls Mateo and tells him that she’s not running away, she just needs a few days to take a break and think. Of course, we all know what this means, We all know how Mateo is. He’s freaking out over the whole thing, well, freaking out to the extent Mateo actually does. He demands that everyone find her, but do it quietly, so as not to warn the Ace and their people that Elena is missing.

Elena calls her buds, Mel and Peyton so that they can come and help her figure out what’s going on. They make her think of some things that she hadn’t before. Elena has spent a lot of time reacting instead of acting. Sadly, Mateo puts her in that position sometimes. I don’t think that he is doing it to be mean. He is doing it purposely though. There is a reason for him to do everything he does. Here’s one reason that I think that he’s doing it, at least my opinion. If he tells Elena who the Ace is, everything that’s going on, without making her work for it and without making her do things that she doesn’t agree with, then she wouldn’t believe him and wouldn’t appreciate all the facts. The fact that she had to go through all these steps, no matter how painful they were, she’s going to know that the facts that she found are true facts. And she’s going to know that all the steps that have been taken to keep her safe and to find out the truth were necessary.

OK, there have been times when I said I didn’t trust Elena’s BFFs because I thought that they were in on some conspiracy of Mateo’s, and I’m not too proud to say that I’m glad that I’m wrong. This book also changed my POV on Mateo. I was always in the love to hate him hate to love him camp, depending on what’s going on with him, but this book changed him for me. This book made me understand why he did the things that he did. Do I necessarily like what he did? Nope. Do I understand why he did it? Yup, or at least more yup. Overall, the book answered a lot of questions that I had. It left me satisfied and that’s always a good thing. One more thing, the Ace of Spades is often called the death card, so I found that an interesting title for the last book in this series.

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I figured the Ace was a relative, but not the relative that it was. It was kind of both a surprise and a non-surprise, if that makes sense.

I understood better why Elena’s father made the choices that he did with Mateo. It was the only thing that he could do. I would’ve done pretty much the same thing or my version of the same thing. I would want to make sure that my children would be safe.

OK, that’s all I have to say on this one. Go read the entire series. It’s awesome, and since AoS is out, there is no worry about cliffies. Happy reading!