The Guardian by Margaret Mallory

The Guardian by Margaret MalloryThe Guardian by Margaret Mallory
on May 1, 2011
Source: Library

After years of fighting abroad, Ian MacDonald comes home to find his clan in peril. To save his kin, he must right the wrongs from his past . . . and claim the bride he's long resisted.
As a young lass, Sìleas depended on Ian to play her knight in shining armor. But when his rescue attempt compromised her virtue, Ian was forced to marry against his wishes. Five years later, Sìleas has grown from an awkward girl into an independent beauty who knows she deserves better than the reluctant husband who preferred war to his wife. Now this devilishly handsome Highlander is finally falling in love. He wants a second chance with Sìleas - and he won't take no for an answer.

After reading a review of The Guardian on one of the blogs I like to visit (Bookworm Brandee) I wanted to read it right then. I went to Overdrive to see if any of my libraries had it available and found a winner! Oh I was so excited to jump into The Guardian, until I wasn’t.

I love stories where the hero has done the heroine wrong and has to redeem himself, and I have to admit that this was the main reason why I wanted to read The Guardian (I was in the mood for an angsty read). Yeah, I got what I wanted but then the story took a few unappealing turns.

Sileas, at first made a cheerleader out of me, then she fell for Ian’s ice blue eyes and night black hair again and so quickly . Of course I knew that eventually they’ll work out their differences and get back together, but the execution of this, as well as the aftermath, left a bad taste in my mouth.

Not only did Sileas too quickly fall for Ian’s charms again she became a simpering woman. It was her strength and resolve that made her an easy favorite early on in The Guardian. *Sniff* I would like it to be known that I never liked Ian, I might have warmed up to him a little towards the end, but I really disliked him 95% of the time I was reading The Guardian.

So many of the issues in The Guardian stemmed from the actions, and most importantly, the inactions of almost all of the characters. Sileas and Niall were probably the most blameless, but everyone else just had a field day in ruining the possible peace of others lives.

If I haven’t made it known, The Guardian really disappointed me, as bad as I hate to say it. Again, I’m glad the library had it since I would’ve hated to have paid for this.

Fly With Me by Chanel Cleeton

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Fly With Me by Chanel CleetonFly With Me by Chanel Cleeton
on May 3, 2016
Source: Publisher

U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Noah Miller—call sign Burn—loves nothing more than flying hard and fast. When he meets a gorgeous and sassy woman while partying in Las Vegas, he immediately locks on to her.
Jordan Callahan owns a thriving clothing boutique, but her love life is far less successful. Her luck changes when six feet, two inches of sexy swagger asks her to dance and turns her world upside down.
One scorching weekend becomes an undeniable chemistry that they can’t leave in Vegas. But the long distance relationship and their different lives threaten to ground their romance. And when the dangers of Noah’s job become all too real, Jordan learns being with a fighter pilot means risking it all for a shot at love…

With Jordan’s sassiness, and having a solid and unique type of hero in Noah, I found myself engrossed in the pages of Fly With Me. I knew as soon as the story started with Jordan’s inner dialogue and pink penis headband that Fly With Me wasn’t going to be like any contemporary romance I’ve read before. While Fly With Me was highly entertaining there were some things that helped it from reaching that great read status.

In Fly With Me, both Jordan and Noah are at a place in their lives where the ho hum of hooking up and having meaningless relationships no longer holds any appeal. With that being said the build up to their first meeting was so entertaining, especially on Jordan’s side of things (her inner dialogue supplied many tongue-in-cheek moments), that the giddiness I felt was close to bursting. When Jordan described Noah for the first time I had to fan myself a little, that man was hot!

Seeing as they were grouped with people who were getting ready to be married, were married, or didn’t plan on letting the single life go any time soon, sort of helped to see their unhappiness with the way their love life was going and that it wasn’t based on peer pressure or was something that they just thought up, their failed pass experiences also feed into this reality.

While I understood Jordan’s hesitancy in going for a relationship between her and Noah, the fact that she allowed fear to sometime try and rule her decisions where they mattered irritated me. In the beginning of Fly With Me, after reading about how much Noah was her perfect guy, the fact that she would entertain thoughts of breaking off a possible relationship with him didn’t make sense to me, either you want the type of guy you’ve been crying for or you really don’t know what you want. Although things worked out in the end for Jordan and Noah I couldn’t take trust Jordan throughout the book. Wishy washy heroines leave me on edge.

About Chanel Cleeton

Originally a Florida girl, CHANEL CLEETON moved to London where she received a bachelor’s degree from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever, until fate intervened on a Caribbean cruise and a fighter pilot with smooth dance moves swept her off her feet. Now, a happily ever after later, Chanel is living her next adventure.
Law school made Chanel realize she’d rather spend her days writing sexy stories than in a courtroom, and she hasn’t looked back since. An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she’s happiest curled up with a book. She has a weakness for handbags, her three pups, and her husband.
Chanel writes contemporary romances, women’s fiction, and thrillers. She is published by Harlequin HQN, Penguin/InterMix, and Penguin/Berkley and is the author of the International School, Capital Confessions, Assassins, and Wild Aces series.

Sidebarred by Emma Chase

Sidebarred by Emma ChaseSidebarred by Emma Chase
on April 24, 2016
Source: Purchased

There was a time when Jake Becker had it all together. He was controlled, driven, ruthless—in and out of the courtroom.
Then, six irresistible orphans and their heartbreakingly beautiful aunt crashed into his perfectly ordered life. They changed everything. They changed him. Now he’s a husband, an upstanding member of society, a father figure—a family man. And he’s pretty damn good at it.
Sure, he has to referee sibling smackdowns, re-learn algebra, ensure his clients stay of jail, and keep his wife happy—but it finally feels like he’s got it together again....
So, of course something has to screw it all up. It’s huge. Life-changing. Kind of terrifying.
And it will be the most amazing, perfect thing he’ll ever do.

Being someone who has only read one book out of this series, Sustained, I should feel guilty because Sidebarred is the last book of the series. Looking on the bright side of things, since I’ve jumped around in this series it goes to show that each book in the Legal Briefs series can be read as a standalone.

Now to the review of Sidebarred

I almost want to cry because Sidebarred is the last of the Legal Briefs series, but I’ll refrain because the execution was done so brilliantly that I can’t feel nothing but happiness because of it.

Sustained quickly became an easy favorite of mine in 2016 and I couldn’t see nothing but greatness for Sidebarred. That vision wasn’t far off.

Sidebarred took the groundwork of Sustained and tied up Chelsea and Jake’s love story, as well as the other characters’ lives, in the best way possible. Jake and Chelsea are still going strong, the McQuaid brood are a little older but still as much of a handful as when they were younger. Everything is great and then Chelsea drops a potential bomb, thankfully and sadly it was a false alarm. Then another bomb, happily not a false alarm. There’s never a dull moment with Jake and Chelsea and the fam. Regardless of the challenges the Becker/McQuaid family faced – there’s still quite a few if the one’s they faced in Sidebarred were anything to go by- every one of them pulls their weight, and no matter how unsure Jake was in the beginning he would never let anyone or anything jeopardize their well-being.

Sidebarred was a beautiful, charming, and a hilarious finish to what I’m sure is a great series – once I read/listen the other two books. Also, if you want to sample this series I would recommend Sidebarred since you get glimpses of all the characters in the Legal Brief series.

Great read, and not to be missed.

About Emma Chase

Emma Chase lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two misbehaving (but really cute) dogs. She has a long standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.

Emma is an avid reader. Before her children were born she was known to consume whole books in a single day. Writing has also always been a passion and with the 2013 release of her debut romantic comedy, Tangled, the ability to now call herself an author is nothing less than a dream come true.

Kaleidoscope by Kristen Ashley

Kaleidoscope by Kristen AshleyKaleidoscope by Kristen Ashley
Series: Colorado Mountain #6
Published by Forever on December 16, 2014
Pages: 376 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased

When old friends become new lovers...anything can happen.
Sexy, gifted, and loyal, PI Jacob Decker is a tall, cool drink of perfection who had Emmanuelle Holmes at "hello." His relationship with Emme's best friend kept them apart for years, but things have changed. Now that a case has brought him to Gnaw Bone, Colorado, the road is wide open for Emme and Deck to explore something hotter and deeper than Emme dreamed possible. So why is she sabotaging the best thing that's ever happened to her?
It isn't easy to catch Deck off guard, but Emme does just that when she walks back into his life after nine long years. The curvy brunette had her charms back in the day, but now she's a bona fide knockout . . . and she wants to rekindle their friendship. Deck, however, wants more. Emme's always been the one; she excites Deck's body and mind like no other woman can. But a dark chapter from Emme's past overshadows their future together. Now only Deck can help her turn the page-if she'll let him . . .

October 2017 Update:

What I am about to say is a testament to the fact that not all things are going to be received at any given time, there is definitely a time and place for everything.

The biggest bone I had with Kaleidoscope by Kristen Ashley was the fact that I felt that Decker was pressuring Emme into a decision that she wasn’t sold on, but if I had instead chalked this flaw and the flaws of the other characters that I felt were wrong up to a lapse in judgement on their part I would’ve been able to experience another great story by Kristen Ashley.

But as I am thinking about it, I have to wonder that if I had read Kaleidoscope all the way the first time around would I have been able to appreciate the entirety of its story, or would I have still been fixated on this one issue? I don’t know, but I do know that in re-reading Kristen Ashley’s Colorado Mountain series being able to read the entirety of Kaleidoscope made this series a definite favorite of mine, hands down.

After finding it difficult to actually read Kaleidoscope, I picked up the audiobook from Audible and was blown away with how much better I liked it to reading it myself. Emma Taylor did an amazing job with Kaleidoscope, I can definitely see myself picking up more books with her narration.

Other than The Gamble, I haven’t had any issues with a Kristen Ashley read. Also, other than wanting to put down With Everything I Am because of my inability to connect with the characters, I’ve never not finished a Kristen Ashley story.

According to how the first half of Kaleidoscope was going I didn’t envision that I would so angrily close this book for good 66% into it, but there’s only so much character shaming I could take!

Initially, I wasn’t a big Deck fan just with how the situation with Emme’s friend played out. and the fact that despite his chemistry with Emme he chose to say with Elsbeth. But it was when the scene of Deck taking Emme to task for being late in meeting his parents because she was working on her house, the stiffness she portrayed while in front of his parents having nothing to do with his dad being cold towards her, and trying to tell her she did it deliberately because she’s pulling away from him pissed me off. Realizing that the couples in almost every Kristen Ashley book goes through some uncomfortable and irritating fights, I let it go.

” “Babe.”

At Jacob’s call, I opened my eyes and announced in a quiet voice, “Time for me to be getting home.”

“You’re sleeping’ here,” he stated, and I shook my head.

“I think maybe your folks will want to have an Emme-Free Zone when they get up in the morning…It’s also important to me that they don’t think I’m a floozy.” “Today hasn’t been good, honey,” I pointed out quietly. “My fault, but also, I think maybe they need some quality time with their son.” “Okay, let me rephrase,” I began. “Today hasn’t been good for me. Your dad isn’t my biggest fan…he was totally pissed I was late. He didn’t get over it all day and let me know it.”

“Last woman I got serious about was Elsbeth,” he remarked.

I shut my mouth and leaned a bit away. “It’s been nine years and I’m not Elsbeth,” I replied.

“I been hung up on her for nine years and you’re not Elsbeth but you knew her. You know she was notoriously late for every-fuckin’-thing. He probably got a flashback and if you wouldn’t pull away or act like my touch burns every time I get close, he’d get over it.”

“Okay, how about this?” I asked. “I want to go home because I need a break. I need to regroup and maybe you can bring them around tomorrow for a tour of my house and I’ll try again.”

“Baby, I could [understand] if you hadn’t fuckin’ forgotten my fuckin’ parents were coming’ to town. Something’ you’ve known for weeks. Something’ we made concrete plans about days ago. Something’ you gotta know means something’ to all involved. Then you show and act not you, which, since we’re having’ this conversation, I’ll point out, you been actin’ not you for a while.”

“So I got close and whispered, “Okay, I was late. That was bad. I forgot. That was worse. I shouldn’t have done either, but I apologized. I know you love him and you’re close but it was your dad who was uncool with me, Jacob. All day. And if you’re so close with him and can’t see it, hard back to how your mom reacted to it. She was not pleased because she knows, like I know, it was uncool.”

It wasn’t until Emme expressed to Deck that she doesn’t want kids and his response was, “That’s a game changer,” that I moved from just pissed to being beyond pissed.

If you profess to love someone, having them express something as firmly and gently as Emme did to Deck, you should respect their decision and still work on building your relationship with them, unless that ‘something’ was so huge that you can’t see being in a relationship with the anymore. Love is uncompromising. Either you love the person and all that comes with them or you’re confusing that forever type of love with a friendship type of love with lust mixed in.

What bulldozed me from pissed to boiling mad was when the other ladies from the other books of the Colorado Mountain series tried to persuade Emme to change her mind or to bend a little to Deck’s side of things. I agree that there are some things you compromise on, but bringing another human being into your life should always be a mutual desire. If you are that adamant about something that life changing, stick to your guns because you feel and think that way for a reason.

Deck disappointed me in Kaleidoscope and so did the other heroines from the previous books. All of them did Emme a disservice all throughout this book, that if I wasn’t an avid reader of Kristen Ashley’s books I would be hesitant to read another book by her for a while.

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Enemy Red by Marie Harte

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Enemy Red by Marie HarteEnemy Red by Marie Harte
on March 15, 2016
Source: Publisher

The magic of love lies in the arms of his fiery enemy.
No one likes an arranged marriage, and Fenris, a golden wolf in the Silver Clan, plans to avoid it as long as he can. But the Wolf in the Forest has heard the prayers of another and grants the female her wish.
Unfortunately for Fenris, his destined mate is an alpha in her own right, and an enemy who plans on taking the Silver Clan, and Fenris, apart one bite at a time.
Until Fenris bites back.

I petitioned the publisher on NetGalley to read and review Enemy Red for a few reasons:

  1. It was a new-to-me author,
  2. It was a paranormal romance (a weakness of mine), and
  3. The synopsis left much to be desired

With all these great points and reasons for reading Enemy Red, why didn’t it work out for me? In an effort of transparency I’d have to say that it fell to two very big reasons; the overwhelming amount of conflicts without giving the adequate amount of page time to address them all, and the incompatibility of the characters that had great sexual chemistry but had none as a couple.

After reading the synopsis on NetGalley of Enemy Red, there was such promise for where this story could’ve gone, but now that I’ve finished I have to say that the execution of it was poorly done. While it’s common for the first book in any series to be full of world building for the rest of the books to come, it should be understood that by dumping a lot of information on in your reader’s lap, then adding really good sex scenes does not equal a win. Enemy Red had so many conflicts – the animosity between the Red wolves and the Gold/Silver wolves, the human/sifter dynamic and the animosity there, the complete story instead of the cliff notes version behind the sorcerer attacking the Reds, and a clear idea of what Fenris really is and how he’s different from the other wolves. With the sex scenes taking a few pages each throughout the book, can you imagine that maneuvering needed to give this story justice?! Either some things should’ve been cut out for later books in the series (maybe just focusing on the Red wolves and the Gold/Silver wolves conflict for Enemy Red, and working towards the sorcerer for the next book), or it should’ve been longer to house everything that was included in this story.

While the promise of unique characters were there – with Fenris being a Silver/Gold wolf and Rudra being a Red wolf, and trying to figuring out how a relationship with them would work out – the depth of their characters was on the shallow end. As I said before, other than the sexual chemistry that started burning in their first meeting, early on in Enemy Red, their compatibility as a couple was nonexistent. The sex scenes and chemistry between them was done to almost perfection, but I found myself skipping over them in loo of wanting to read the actual story. So much development needed to be done.

There was a lot going on in Enemy Red, and I feel that if instead of trying to fit it into the mold of so many of those popular erotica paranormal stories, the team behind Enemy Red could’ve put a serious effort into explaining a lot of the elements presented, therefore making Enemy Red a lot better.