Friday, June 5, 2020

Series Review: Don't Deny Me by Megan Hart

This series is great for weekend reading--once you start it, you will want to finish it. Here's a brief review of each book:

In part one, I felt myself immediately sink into the story--it reminded me of The Big Chill minus the death of a friend. There was a familiarity between the characters and a sense of longing and nostalgia that pervaded the space between the words. This first part introduced us to the most recent past of Alice and Mick and gave us the angsty moments of their first meeting in ten years, their sexual encounters, and a ton of questions about their anger, remorse, and all of the things unsaid. 

Between each section were letters that the characters sent each other (or didn't) and I loved that Hart put these in. 

Part one--gave me a ton to think about and hope for what would come in the next two parts.

Megan Hart. You made me crazy with Mick. How can he be so clueless?! UGH. I seriously wanted to smack him around and force him to have uncomfortable conversations. Thank god for his sister, Mary. Dude. She laid down the truth in the best way and HE STILL DIDN'T take it to heart. GAH. 


Alice wasn't perfect but I loved how honest and open she was; she'd willingly put herself out there and confront issues or explain how she was feeling, even after he didn't respond the way most people would want. If anything, she gave him more chances than I think I would have. Kudos to her. 

Side Note: I loved what a good friend Alice was to Jay. 

So the moral to part 2 is that Mick was a dick wad. (And the letters between the two are still in the series and really great).

In part 3, we get the complete picture--we know what's happened in the past and we're back to their present. Mick had moments when I felt he'd redeemed himself and moments when I just had to scratch my head and wonder how ... w... could he STILL be so clueless. Alice remained consistently Alice--she was strong and vulnerable and fairly up front about things, for the most part. 

These two just had the worst time communicating in a way that made sense to the other and it frequently mucked things up for them. But their letters...their letters were perfect.

The end came to fast and I suppose if there's any flaw with this series is that because these are novellas they weren't always as fleshed out as I'd like. That being said, the writing was great, the chemistry between the characters was hot, and the story was an interesting take on the 'second chance at romance' theme.

If these sound like a good read for you, click below and it'll take you to Amazon to buy them. :)


Megan Hart has written in almost every genre of romantic fiction, including historical, contemporary, romantic suspense, romantic comedy, futuristic, fantasy and perhaps most notably, erotic. She also writes non-erotic fantasy and science fiction, as well as continuing to occasionally dabble in horror.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

REVIEW: One Night Unveiled by Jodi Ellen Malpas

A life without secrets and a passion without end . . .The story of Livy and M's passionate love affair comes to a stunning conclusion in the final book in the One Night trilogy!

Livy has never known pure desire like this. The gorgeous Miller Hart captivates her, seduces her, and worships her in deliciously sinful ways. He knows her innermost thoughts, drawing her ever deeper into his dangerous world. 

Miller will do anything to keep Livy safe, even if it means risking his own life. But his dark history isn't the only thing that threatens their future together. As the truth of Livy's family legacy unravels, an unsettling parallel between past and present comes to light. Her world spinning out of control, Livy finds herself caught between the rapture of an all-consuming love-and a deadly obsession that could destroy them both . . .

Shel: If you saw my review of the second book in this series, you saw that I was a little frustrated--I thought the writing was a little uneven and even though I was getting answers, I wanted MORE answers. (Fairly typical of my reviews of 2nd books in a trilogy, shocking right?!) Never fear, Jodi Ellen Malpas fans, I was very satisfied with the final book in this series. 

There was still lots of angsty drama between the characters, lots of steamy sex scenes, and swoony British-isms but even better than that, there were ANSWERS--all of the loose ends were tied up. I also found the writing and pacing smoother and the epilogue should be renamed epic-logue because it was pretty effing epic in detail and information.

After this series, I'm wondering if I'm seeing a pattern emerge with JEM series? She favors strong heroines and heros, funny dialogue, interlopers who inevitably cause all sorts of trouble, she takes on risky characters and situations, but most importantly she creates these intense and enduring love affairs that don't seem to be contained and qualified by words and actions and years on this earth but seem destined to remain in the world long after the characters are gone. 


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

REVIEW: One Night Denied by Jodi Ellen Malpas

The passion that burned between Livy and Miller in One Night: Promised may end up destroying them both in this new novel of overwhelming desire and shocking discoveries...

He's amazingly wealthy, sinfully gorgeous, and can bring her to heights of pleasure she's never before known. For Livy, there's no turning back. She's determined to be the light in Miller Hart's dark world. Yet this new life comes with a steep price... 

Miller knows that the power he possesses hasn't come without sacrifices-but he won't let Livy be one of them. Though he wants nothing more than to have her in every way, his first duty is to protect her at all costs...from his sins, his enemies, and especially himself.

But as their insatiable affair intensifies, the two attract the attention of an obsessive-and dangerous-third party. Discovering new revelations about Miller that rock her to the core, Livy will have to decide whether he's ruined beyond repair. And he must face his fear that in order to save her, he may have to lose her after all...

Shel: I think the best thing for me to do from now on is to hold off on reading book 2 until I have book 3 (or the rest of the series) in hand because OMG, if I had to wait to read the last book in this series, I think I'd be dead now. HOW DID YOU GUYS DO IT? #loyalfans #betterthanIam #I'mtheworst

This book has got me all kinds of crazy and if you haven't read it yet, you'll understand why as you begin reading it...but in the meantime here's what's got me all out of sorts:

  • I WANT MORE ANSWERS. I mean, yeah, we got more intel on the background of Miller but I found myself wanting to call Malpas a tease constantly because she teased out these details all book long!
  • The relationship between Olivia and Miller is confounding--at any given moment one of them is willing to throw in the towel and then BOOM! things are smoothed over. GAH. He's so controlling and she's so maddening in her hot and cold demeanor but at the end of the day, I'll confess that even though I didn't always *get* their relationship, it was evident they were completely enamored (obsessed?!) with each other.
  • WHO THE FRICK is following her? Why can't he quit? Why does William feel that it's suddenly his duty to be Olivia's protector? How does she even have a job at this point? Why isn't Nan suspicious? And will Gregory ever come around? And OMFG, that last scene?!!!!! *picks up Kindle, threatens to throw it* 
If I'm going to be completely honest here, and I am, there were parts in this book that seemed a little off or disjointed. There were times I felt that I was missing some information or plot? I don't know, I can't put my finger on it ..I guess I just felt that it was uneven. That being said, I can't imagine having to write book 2 when you know you still have one more and you have to appease the masses and keep the story going. Even if this wasn't what I think was her best work, I'm 100% curious about how she's going to end this and if all of my questions will be answered. Plus there are hot British people and their great British-ism in this series so I feel like there's no way in hell I'll quit it now!

As you can see, I'm emotionally wrought after reading book 2 and I have so much stuff to do in the next few days but you know what? EFF IT. I'm going to pick up book 3 and read it. Screw my obligations. I'll let you know how it goes. Stay tuned~

Sunday, May 31, 2020


He's in for the fight of his life . . .

Army captain Trent Davila loved his wife, Laura, and their two beautiful children. But when he almost lost his life in combat, something inside him died. He couldn't explain the emptiness he felt or bridge the growing distance between him and his family—so he deployed again. And again. And again . . . until his marriage reached its breaking point. Now, with everything on the line, Trent has one last chance to prove to his wife that he can be the man she needs . . . if she'll have him

. . . to win back his only love.

Laura is blindsided when Trent returns home. Time and again, he chose his men over his family, and she's just beginning to put the pieces of her shattered heart back together. But when Trent faces a court martial on false charges, only Laura can save him. What begins as an act of kindness to protect his career inflames a desire she thought long buried—and a love that won't be denied. But can she trust that this time he's back to stay?
Paperback304 pages
Published July 29th 2014 by Forever (first published January 1st 2014)

Shel: You know I suppose in some ways readers would find this predictable and there are some of the usual suspects: a soldier trying to deal 
with the struggle of being at home after seeing what he's seen at war; a soldier who feels more comfortable in the chaos of war than in the
quiet and mundane life at home.  But, it felt less forced than other military romance reads--the emotional landscape that Jessica Scott has her 
characters traverse felt authentic. 

Both Trent and Laura struggled with the consequences of him going to war and it's the struggle for them to try to "reset" to normal that we 
plunged into. How will Trent handle being present in their lives? Will Laura be able to get over her anger and hurt at his lies and betrayal? In 
the midst of them trying to figure all of this out there's a military hearing hanging over their heads.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel--the angst was low, the sexiness was seductive, the emotions were legitimate and all of that worked. I thought 
there were parts that lagged and parts of the plot that were a little glossed over and those things were distracting but it was still a sweet story
of love and redemption.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

REVIEW: The Last Post by Renee Carlino


When I think about The Last Post, I think about Laya and Micah being in this bubble of grief, and longing, with a sense of hope encircling them. These two characters were, as all of the characters I’ve read from Renee Carlino are, quirky and interesting and a lot in their heads. These two in particular seemed to live more in their heads than in the world—the world seems to be too much many times and so a lot of the novel was them backing away, pondering and working through things and then trying to venture out into life again. Understandable for Laya and a little harder for me to figure out when it came to Micah. 

Laya was working through tragedy and grief and a sense of being doomed to losing those she loved. She felt so lonely to me and I just wanted to hug her and show her some happiness. Micah, on the other hand, was harder for me to grasp. He was going through that mid-20s crisis of finding himself and trying to find his space in the world—the one that felt like a life he wanted to live and that made him relatable. It was the way he engaged with Laya that I found so strange. I couldn’t understand why he was so unaware of how bizarre his good intentions were. 

Their relationship was also something unconventional and I can’t quite put my finger on what made it feel a little unusually disconnected? I don’t know. I think I was trying to see how they worked. What he felt for her seemed so deep so soon and I don’t think I truly understood what triggered it other than her beauty and his curiosity.If I were Laya I would’ve been a little freaked out by Micah. And if I were Micah I maybe would've tried alternate ways to express my feelings, earlier, rather than scare her by using her posts as a reference point??? 

These two had a lot of stops and starts before it seemed to click and it was in those in betweens that they both started understanding themselves and each other better. It made the ending, which really seemed like their beginning, sweet and earned because their path to getting there was so bumpy.

So to end this rambling weird review, I’ll say that this pair has got to be one of the most unusual pairings I’ve read —not because either is so strange or bizarre—but it’s the way they worked that was unusual and interesting. It’s unlike any other love story I’ve read. There are a lot of spaces between their meeting and their ending that I’d love to know more and understand them better, but maybe that wasn’t the point. Maybe the point was to see that on their own, and together, they figured some things out—one being that them being together was way better than being apart. 

I know these will be characters, like all of Renee Carlino's characters,I won’t forget and will wonder about them for a long time. 



In this evocative and poignant novel from the USA TODAY bestselling author of Blind Kiss and Wish You Were Here, a young widow in the midst of grieving her late husband through Facebook posts learns to heal and fall in love again.

“See you on the other side.”

Laya Marston’s husband, Cameron, a daredevil enthusiast, always said this before heading off on his next adventure. He was the complete opposite of her, ready and willing to dive off a cliff-face, or parachute across a canyon—and Laya loved him for it. But she was different: pragmatic, regimented, devoted to her career and to supporting Cameron from the sidelines of his death-defying feats.

Opposites attract, right?

But when Cameron dies suddenly and tragically, all the stages of grief go out the window. Laya becomes lost in denial, living in the delusion that Cameron will come back to her. She begins posting on his Facebook page, reminiscing about their life together, and imagining new adventures for the two of them.

Micah Evans, a young and handsome architect at Laya’s father’s firm, is also stuck––paralyzed by the banal details of his career, his friendships, and his love life. He doesn’t know what he’s looking for, only that there is someone out there who can bring energy and spirit to the humdrum of his life.

When Micah discovers Laya’s tragic and bizarre Facebook posts, he’s determined to show Laya her life is still worth living. Leaving her anonymous gifts and notes, trying to recreate the sense of adventure she once shared with her late husband, Micah finds a new passion watching Laya come out of the darkness. And Laya finds a new joy in the experiences Micah has created for her.

But for Laya, letting another man in still feels like a betrayal to her late husband. Even though Micah may be everything she could wish for, she wonders if she deserves to find happiness again.

Written with RenĂ©e Carlino’s signature “tender and satisfying” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Maybe in Another Life) prose, this warm and compassionate novel shows us how powerful the courage to love and live again truly is.
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