Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mine by Katy Evans

3.5 out of 5 stars

This review was difficult for me. I am going against the grain on this one, and I know that my viewpoint will not be a popular one.  I did not love “Mine”.  I liked it, but I struggled through this read. I really, really tried to get into it, but certain things bothered me and they could not be over looked.  Regardless, I would like to thank the author for sharing her story and Remy, who is an amazing alpha-male.

Remy’s character saved the book for me.  He was strong, both physically as well as emotionally.  He maintained control of his circumstances and the highly sensitive, erratic train wreck that was Brooke, in spite of his ailments.  I adored the way he handled her, loved her, worshipped her, and soothed her.  He is a powerful and erotically sensual man. He’s the example of the perfect alpha-male and his flaws made his character more appealing. All that is Remy, the lion, kept my interest in this story.

Brooke, on the other hand, was far from appealing to me.  What makes a character fascinating is watching their persona grow and evolve as the story progresses.  It just did not happen with Brooke. She was immature, selfish and irrational at times.  Towards the very end of the story, her character began to show a slight growth, which was a bit too late in the game.

I felt an opportunity was missed in this tale.  Most of the story was dedicated to Brooke’s amorous feelings for Remy.  How she loved him, how he turned her on, how horny he made her feel, how protective and “proprietary “ Remy is of her. The description of her feelings  and affections seemed to go on and on, page after page. Leaving me to wonder when will the story pick up? Where’s the angst? Why not more conflict with Scorpion (Remy’s nemesis)? I wanted fewer declarations of love and more “meat and potatoes” in this story. Again, by the time it started to pull together, it was towards the finale.

Lastly, to end on a positive note, the love scenes were sizzling hot, proving that Remy is “the man”.  Brooke’s love letter was sweet and, as always, I adored the way these two lovebirds communicated their feelings through song.  I do look forward to reading Remy’s POV in the next installment of this series.  His character is fascinating and cannot wait to see the world through his eyes.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pulse by Gail McHugh

5 out of 5 pulsating stars

Oh sweet Gavin, I adore you and your bottle caps. 

Gavin is a sexy, intelligent, powerful, cocky, yet gentle soul. Each time he calls Emily “doll” or "sweets", I swoon.  What I admired most about Gavin was how he stood firm by Emily's side, even after she totally shattered his heart.  All his sugary sweetness gave me a toothache.  I craved for him to possess a more alpha personality, but loved him regardless.  Gavin Blake is the epitome of the perfect book boyfriend.

At the end of “Collide”, I was ranting and screaming…Emily, get your head out of your ass!  Dillon…you are a huge Dumbledick son-of-a-bitch. Ugh, what a frustrating ending and  I could not wait to read the continuing love story between Gavin Blake and Emily Cooper.  

The story line in "Pulse" took an unexpected turn for me.  I did not envision the way the story played out at all. I was pleased none-the-less (Except for Dillon - I want revenge…grrr! I wanted to see him hang from the highest rafter).

Emily’s character surprised me.  After all the experiences she had endured by the hands of Dillon, she grew to be strong-willed and did not crumble. Her strength comes from within, but also from Gavin.  

Gavin's persona amazed me as well.  His love for Em changed him, from a playboy to a dedicated boyfriend. I was in awe of his determination to move their relationship forward, despite all the trials and tribulations they suffered.  He was unwavering regardless of Dillon’s efforts.  It is his undying love for Emily that gave Gavin the fortitude to put back the pieces of her broken spirit.

“I’m going to break you, Emily Cooper. I’m going to break you down and slowly build you back up. Second by second, piece by piece, and memory by memory, I’m going to make you realize you’re worth what I’m going to give to you. If I have to open a dictionary every day and make you stare at the word ‘worth,’ I’ll do it.” 

As fate steps in and plays a role in turning Emily's life upside down, it is Gavin that holds the key to her happiness and hope.  Gavin's forgiveness is a blessing to Emily.

“You make me feel like I’m in a dream,...Like I’m sleepwalking and I don’t even know it.” 
“I’m able to close my eyes and just… trust you. You’re the color on my blank canvas, the light in my dark, the air in my lungs, and I almost let you go. I almost erased us from ever happening. I can’t imagine not having you here with me. Please tell me you know how much I love you, Gavin. I need to hear it right now. Please.”
Gavin is a sexy, hopeless romantic.  He has such a sensual way with words that are panty melting. His proclamations of love, as well as his actions, touched my soul.

“Emily Cooper, the only thing you have to fear is how much I’m going to love you for the rest of your life. And… how many times I’m going to make those legs shake."

“Look at me, Emily... Right there, doll. You said every look I’ve given you was without judgment. Well, every look you’ve given me is untouched, pure in all it is for my eyes. You look at me like you’ve never seen a man before. There’s no way for me, as a man, to ever explain what that feels like.” He reached for her hand and laid it against his heart. “You said every touch I’ve given was without judgment. Every time you touch me, your hands shake. You have no idea how that makes me shake. I’m not talking sexually, either. You shake everything I’ve ever know myself to be.”

 O.M.G....Sigh.... Gavin - how can I not love you? 

This story had it all..... Angst, steamy love scenes, immense sorrow, boundless joy, nail biting moments and a happily ever after that swelled my heart.  I could not put this book down and I long to see what Gail McHugh has in store for us next.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

5 Kleenex worthy Stars
Arc provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Wow, just WOW!  Yes, “Making Faces” is a story of friendship, family, heroes, loss and beauty but it is also a story of love. Love of family, love between friends and unconditional, innocent love between two broken souls. 

Fern Taylor may not have been a pretty girl, but her beauty radiates from deep with in her soul, and it shines as bright as the sun.  It is that “beauty” which causes Ambrose to fall deeply in love.

The saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” has never meant more to me than when I was reading this tale. Fern, an ugly duckling, is a gifted girl.  She is loving, caring, intelligent, imaginative and loyal. We see all the good that is Fern in the way she loves and cares for Bailey, her cousin and best friend who suffers from Muscular Dystrophy.  She is a true heroine that possesses immeasurable strength.  Her relationship with Bailey is symbiotic – Bailey depends on Fern physically and he is her emotional rock.  The bond between these delightful characters made me laugh out loud as much as they brought tears to my eyes. 

As a little girl, Fern fell head over heals for Ambrose “Brosey” Young, the all American jock and school wrestling champion. His good looks are as great as his talents.   He is a combination of Adonis and Hercules, the embodiment of beauty and strength.  But “Brosey” overlooks Fern.  When given the opportunity to express her feelings for him through writing love letters, Fern poses as her friend, Rita (a drop dead gorgeous girl) and aids in the blossoming relationship between the two. Once the truth is revealed that Fern has penned these amorous notes, the results are disastrous. Ambrose does not take kindly to being duped. Leaving Fern broken hearted.

"Victory is in the battle"
After high school graduation, Ambrose, as well as his friends, enlist in the armed services and stationed in the Middle East.  After a tragic accident, Ambrose must learn how to live his life sans his physical handsomeness.  But Ambrose is no monster.  His inner beauty, which now emanates more than ever, causes Fern to fall deeper in love. It is Fern’s strength that saves him from a life of painful loneliness and it is Fern who fills the void when his loved ones are lost.  

Fern’s journey into Ambrose’s heart is an inspiring story.  It brought tears to my eyes and filled me with joy. I could not get enough of this story….I wanted more,  more insight into Ambrose and Fern’s life together.  And the letters – I craved to see his reaction to Fern’s notes written while he was overseas. I fell in love with the gentle giant that is Ambrose. He is a softhearted, tender man... SWOON.

“Making Faces” is a story that will stay with me for a very long time. It is not a steamy read, but it is passionate in so many different ways.  The events of 9/11 play a small part in this story, but had a huge effect on me.  I have lost friends that day, in a place where my footsteps were imprinted, wondering if the family members that work near by the WTC would come home. (Thankfully, they have). But difficult stories are often the most beautiful.  And the most difficult story line, for me, was Bailey. His character is seared within my soul.  Oh Bailey, you are truly an insightful sage.  Your story is one of beauty as well.  Where others may have seen only weakness, it is you who lives life with such vigor and displays Herculean courage. Your story shredded me. It is a gift when one’s words stir so many feelings.  Amy Harmon’s masterful writing talents sent my emotions into a tailspin. 
"There are times when I think I just can't take anymore...But there are times when you just need to acknowledge the shit..."