Elle (theroadtoelle) wrote,

Books read in June

Next To You - Julia Gabriel *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Jared - Kristina Weaver *Star**Star**Starw**Starw**Starw*

Knox - Becca Fanning *Star**Star**Starw**Starw**Starw*

Absolution - Sloane Kennedy *Star**Star**Star**Star**Starw*

Billionaire Undaunted - J S Scott *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Lukas - Carian Cole *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

The Harder He Falls - Lynda Aicher *Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

Don't Ask - Jerry Cole *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Signs of Attraction - Laura Brown *Star**Star**Star**Star**Star*

Releasing Rage - Cynthia Sax *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Mated to the Werewolves - Crystal L Shaw *Star**Star**Starw**Starw**Starw*

The Dragon's Dilemma - Jessie Donovan *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

A Highlander's Obsession - Vonnie Davis *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Ace of Hearts - Devyn Morgan *Star**Star**Starw**Starw**Starw*

The Unexpected Storm - Lorhainne Eckhart *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

Accidentally Compromising The Duke - Stacy Reid *Star**Star**Star**Starw**Starw*

The Harder He Falls - Lynda Aicher
Grady is a white water rafting guide, and his cousin invites him to join up with his company. On his first trip in the new job, Grady's raft hits a submerged log, killing a man and putting his cousin in a coma.

Grady is overwhelmed with guilt, and currently waiting to hear if his name is cleared or if he is going to jail. In the meantime, he is visiting his cousin in hospital and trying desperately just to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Micah has experience with comas, and enjoys reading to coma patients. When he meets Grady, he offers to help him by answering some questions, talking things through and generally being a friend. But Micah works at a leather bar frequented by most of the guys that work at Grady's job. The last thing Grady needs is for any of those dominant men to find out he has a submissive streak. No way can he work with them once they know that, they'll never respect him.

This book was emotionally intense, and I got sucked in by both the main characters. They both have secrets and issues, which makes for a really well balanced book. Both characters grew and evolved over the course of the book, and both had to learn to accept themselves as they were and fight through their obstacles. Neither one was magically 'healed' of their issues, rather they had to learn to embrace themselves and figure out how to make their relationship work with those issues.

I'm not into the BDSM scene, but these characters are not heavily into it either. They're more on the fringe of it. There are some scenes, but the actual relationship between the two men is very equal (which I liked). I think the next book will be heavier on that side of things, as the main character in the next book has already admitted to being a sadist. Whether the book is accurate about such things, I can't say, you'll have to form your own opinion.

Releasing Rage - Cynthia Sax
Rage is a cyborg, created as a weapon by the Humanoid Alliance. He is not treated as a person, and those in command don't consider him to be human enough to have feelings or be worth treating with decency. He is experimented on and allowed no freedom except when fighting the enemy.

But Rage is far more than they realise, and he has been plotting not only his escape, but the escape of the other cyborgs on his ship. Shortly, their time will come. 

Joan is the only female on the ship, and the men want to make a point with her. If she fails, no other women will be allowed, so they will set her up for failure. After Rage brutally kills his previous handler, they give Joan the job, fully expecting her to be slaughtered. But Joan treats Rage with respect and decency, and the two soon discover that they can work together to free the cyborgs.
I never expected to enjoy a book about a human and a cyborg. I was just intrigued enough to try it, and got sucked in. There were a few times I thought 'Seriously?' but the book was very easy to read and before I knew it, I'd finished it.

I loved the cyborg characters. Rage's close friends in particular were amusing and gave the whole book that feeling of being realistic even though it clearly wasn't. I loved reading their interaction and their thoughts about Joan. They were easily my favourite part of the book.

I'm not into the whole dom/sub scene, preferring a balance of power and respect, and so I found the submission of Joan to be a little grating. A little demeaning. But that's probably just me.

This book features rape and torture, although both are alluded to more than graphically described. If this is likely to upset you, don't read this book.

A Highlander's Obsession - Vonnie Davis
Paisley has always been able to communicate with animals, and this has led to a career in veterinary medicine (and a fiance who wants to exploit her abilities), but when she accompanies her grandmother to Scotland, she suddenly starts hearing a man's thoughts. Is her gift changing?

Creighton is a bear shifter, so maybe a human who can communicate with animals is perfect for him? But are these Americans trustworthy or are they going to ruin everything for his clan?

The story was very easy to read, and had a good pace, with a blend of action and slower moments. Although some of the outcomes were predictable, there were enough surprises to keep me guessing exactly what was going to happen next.

It's a paranormal romance, so you expect to have to suspend your sense of disbelief, but I thought this book pushed that much further than necessary. The animals used human-like thoughts and were giving advice and all sorts, even though they weren't shifters, just regular animals. There was memory wiping and telepathy and witches with love potions and... Just too much.

Also, they plan to get married three days before Creighton's 30th birthday to break a curse that would otherwise kill him, but the story finishes before they marry, so we never know if she is really the one who breaks the curse (even though it's kind of obvious that she is going to be).

Ace of Hearts - Devyn Morgan
Brendan goes to a meeting of a social club for members of the queer community, hoping to meet some new friends. He admits that he is asexual rather than gay, and is kicked out by the group founder. Lucas stands up to his boyfriend on Brendan's behalf and ends up dumped and thrown out of their apartment, so Brendan offers his spare room.

The two grow close, but how can a romance work when one partner is gay and the other is asexual?

While I admit that I shouldn't have been, I was waiting for Brendan to realise he 'just needed to meet the right man' and he would be gay instead of asexual.  *Blush* The author was smarter than me, and Brendan's sexuality does not change during the course of the book. How the relationship works within those restrictions? You'll have to read to find out.

The book ended very abruptly. Although we recognise that time is passing and the two men are slowly growing closer over time, I was genuinely shocked by the marriage proposal and the end of the book. I thought they were still figuring things out, and the author clearly thought all the figuring out was done.  *Rolleyes* I would have liked the book to have been longer.

Also there were a lot of 'convenient' things that happened. Just as Brendan is thinking about some guys, they turn up. Just as Lucas is thinking about Chad, he texts. Brendan's local coffee shop owner mentions he needs an assistant and that evening Brendan meets someone who needs a job. And so on and so forth. Lots of convenient things happen, which just isn't realistic. There's also very little (or no) conflict, so everything is smooth sailing, which doesn't make for an especially interesting book.

I can't comment on how realistic a portrayal of an asexual person or their potential relationship this is. It seemed fairly realistic, but I have no idea if it was or not.

The Unexpected Storm - Lorhainne Eckhart
Candy has inherited an expensive piece of real estate, but she doesn't wish to sell her home even though she is struggling to make ends meet. All she cares about are her animals. 

Neil wants to build a resort on Candy's property, and has offered her huge amounts of money for it. Candy's father warned her not to trust Neil, and she will do all she can to avoid him getting his hands on her property.

Then a hurricane hits, and when Neil checks on his neighbour, he feels compelled to save her from her own stupidty. They end up sheltering in Neil's house and finally have a chance to get to know each other and find out the truth about each other.

I thought the description of the hurricane, the damage it caused, etc were very well done, and the action scenes (when Candy is trying to get her property and animals prepared for the onslaught) were fairly gripping.

The book ended really abruptly. They had only been together about a week, he intends to lie to her about the fate of her beloved animals, and the end. Wait, what? They barely know each other, and suddenly they're getting married and living happily ever after? And he's lying to her about things that are vitally important to her? It honestly felt like the author got to a point and then just went 'I've had enough, blah blah blah, the end.' The book was really good until it ended, and I was left quite unsatisfied.

Accidentally Compromising The Duke - Stacy Reid
Miss Adeline Hays was attacked by a lord, and when she tells her father about it expecting his protection, her father agrees for her to marry her attacker. In desperation, Adeline seeks to compromise a male friend who had previously offered for her, knowing that even if they didn't love each other, they would be happy, and she would be safe.

Adeline's friend has been asked to marry the Mad Duke, a situation she finds intolerable because the man she loves is his best friend. She arranges it so that Adeline is found with the duke rather than Adeline's friend.

The Duke of Wolverton doesn't much mind which bride he ends up with, as he's only looking for a mother for his two young daughters. But both Edmond and Adeline find that marriage is not always as simple and emotion-free as they pictured.

This book is well written, and we find ourselves cheering Edmond and Adeline on. It is easy to understand the reasoning for their actions and how they come to the decisions they do. The author never has them acting out of character (other than the bedroom scenes which are more out of character for the era rather than the characters themselves), and the book is easy and smooth to read.

There is nothing new or novel about this story, and it is highly predictable. There are no surprises.

The story requires Edmond to get over the fears left behind after his first wife died in childbirth, but it doesn't require anything of Adeline. As a character, I didn't feel that Adeline grew or evolved. All the changing was done on Edmond's side.

The sex scenes were far beyond what is traditional for a Regency era romance, and not appropriate to the behaviour of upper class women at the time. The author does try to have Adeline express some shock at the acts they engage in, but it's not believable, and frankly the things they do (and the places they do them in) are not believable for the style of book or the era in which the story is set.
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