Veiled by Karina Halle

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.

Veiled by Karina HalleVeiled by Karina Halle
Published by Tantor Audio on October 25, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

Death. It's something that Ada Palomino has always known so well, having grown up in a house of horrors, surrounded by a family plagued by ghosts and demons and things that go bump in the night. But after the sudden and tragic death of her mother two years ago, death has never felt so personal. Or so close. Now eighteen, Ada is trying to move on with her life, and the last month of summer holds nothing but sunshine and promises with her first year at a Portland design school just around the bend. That is, until her increasingly violent and realistic dreams, dreams of other worlds, of portals and veils where her mother is tortured and souls bleed for mercy, start to blend into reality. Ada has to lean on her older sister, Perry, to try and make sense of it all, but even then, she's never felt more alone. Then there's Jay. Tall, handsome, and deeply mysterious, Jay would be just another stranger, a familiar face on the bus, if it wasn't for the fact that Ada has met him before. Every night. In every single dream. And the more that Ada is drawn to him in both worlds, the more she's in danger of losing everything-including her heart, and her very soul. Contains mature themes.

Veiled in audiobook format has reinstated the truth that not every narrator can narrate any book. Or maybe the message for me is that ‘not every books can be listened to in audiobook format.’ I think because of the hard time I had in listening to Veiled I will try to re-read this for myself and see if I’m able to connect with the story, and being the type of person I am I think I’m also going to try another Jo Raylan narration for second chance sake.

I don’t know the mechanics behind the production of Veiled, or whether Karina Halle had any say so or what, but Raylan somewhat ruined this story for me. The breathy way she acted out Ada’s character made it hard to want to continue on with Veiled. I couldn’t help but reflexively shout in my head, “No, that’s not how she’s supposed to sound!”

Karina Halle’s writing really saved Veiled, I would’ve hated to have miss out on its story with all the paranormal elements, and its smooth flow because I have a feeling that this will be a story I’ll have a hard time putting down once I do get my hands on the actual book and read it for myself.

The romance interspersed within Veiled prompted me to practice my eye rolling skills. I usually love romance in a paranormal stories but with the tone set for Veiled I felt that the romance was unnecessary – again, I probably shouldn’t commit to these thoughts because I have a feeling they’ll probably change during the re-read. It’s not that I hate romance now or anything, it’s just I’m tired of it coming in and ruining a good thing lol.

Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley @KristenAshley68 @ForeverRomance

Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley @KristenAshley68 @ForeverRomanceSweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley
Series: Colorado Mountain #2
Published by Forever on December 11, 2012
Pages: 562 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
five-stars

Lauren Grahame is looking to reinvent herself. After leaving her cheating husband, Lauren moves to Carnal, Colorado, and gets a job as a waitress in a biker bar called Bubbas. Its a nothing job in a nowhere joint . . . until Tatum Jackson walks in. Lauren has never seen a man with such good looks, muscles, and attitude. But when he insults her, Lauren doesnt want anything to do with him. Too bad for Lauren hes also the bars part owner and bartender.

When the rough-around-the-edges Tate meets the high-class Lauren, he thinks she wont fit in at Bubbas. Yet theres more to Lauren than meets the eye, and Tate soon sets his mind on claiming her as his own. Before long, the desire burning between them is heating up the cold mountain air. But when violence strikes the town, Tate must reveal a dark secret to Lauren-one that may put an end to their sweet dreams.

I love the simple fact that I can jump into any Kristen Ashley story both knowing that I’ll get to experience it’s story with new eyes and that I’ll get to fall in love with a favorite read all over again.

Sweet Dreams is unlike any contemporary romance, or romantic suspense story I’ve ever had the privilege to read and then re-read. In all the books I have read, I’ve never come across characters that Ashley thinks up and then places them within stories that transport you into another place, situation, and life. That’s why I’m glad that I’m not a writer because I know that I don’t have it in me to weave the type of stories that you can’t do anything but sit back and try not to get lost in everything that’s going on.

There was a time when I was not a fan of reading stories with heroines that were 10+ years older than me, but it’s just something about Ashley’s writing that makes you enjoy being a fly on the wall and to take in everything written and fall in love right along with the characters. I seriously went on the emotional rollercoaster that Lauren and Tate went through in trying to navigate the ups and downs they encountered throughout Sweet Dreams. When Lauren was peeved at Tate I was right there with her, and when Tate was being a freaking awesome father to his son I couldn’t help but get choked up.

During this re-read I had forgot the intricate details that had made Sweet Dreams such a favorite and it was because of this lapse in memory I was able to experience Sweet Dreams as if I was reading it for the first time. Any reader will attest to how rare something like this is. When I choose to re-read an Ashley story this is never my goal, but it always turns out to be the reality whenever I open one of her story’s pages – if you don’t believe me ask me how many times I’ve read and re-read Knight and if the experience has been the same every time.

Tatum Jackson and Lauren Grahame were so perfect for each other and not in the stereotypical way, but in a way that was 100% real and relatable. Even being 10+ years younger than both Tate and Lauren I was able to understand their motivations, goals, and aspirations – well I might not be the ideal younger reader because I’ve been told I have an old (seasoned) soul.

With this re-read under my belt I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series and experience those over again.

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.

When I’m With You by Harper Sloan @TantorAudio

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.

When I’m With You by Harper Sloan @TantorAudioWhen I'm With You by Harper Sloan
Series: Hope Town #3
Published by Tantor Audio on July 20, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars

Nate: It's nearly impossible to be surrounded by love but not understand it. My parents, my sister, and just about everyone around us has no trouble accepting that love. To give your trust to someone else and believe they would die before hurting you. I've witnessed it-I've seen the power of it-but I've also seen the pain. Because for me, I've only loved someone I could never have, and my biggest fear is that by giving her my love, all I would do is ruin her. I should have tried harder, but I'm not sure I can because I only feel complete when I'm with her.

Emberlyn: The only time I feel like I belong is when he's near. His infectious smile warms me straight to my bones. Any insecurities I have vanish with just a wink from him. A sliver of his attention makes me feel invincible. But all it took was one drunken night of truths for me to lose everything I had begun to crave. Now, I'm not sure how to move on because I only feel complete when I'm with him.He said I was too young. I said he was perfect. He said our families wouldn't understand. I said we could weather any storm. He said he would ruin me. And he was right.

When it was made known that Harper Sloan was going to work on stories for the second generation of the characters from her Corps Security series I was ecstatic. I won’t say that Sloan’s Corps Security series was a favorite, but her alpha males were some of the first that I had ever read, so her stories will always hold a special place for me.

As soon as When I’m With You started, with Shirl Rae’s narration and all, I immediately knew that the heroine and I were going to have a problem connecting. It’s been a minute since I’ve read a new adult story, and this would be the first time that I’ve actually listened to a new adult story, so I guess I forgot why I shied away from these type of stories for so long.

Before Emberlyn initiated the play she felt she had to make with Nate I was sort of digging her ballsy attitude in going for what she wanted dang the consequences. So while I understand why she did what she did, I was still pissed especially after Nate said what he said once she walked away…UGH talk about unnecessary angst. Regardless of all of that, I am seriously thankful for not only Sloan’s writing but also for Rae’s narration of Nate’s character; her voice sort of made Emberlyn more annoying that what I think she should’ve been.

Nate I will have to say carried the same things that made me enjoy Cooper, Cage and the rest the alpha male’s from Sloan’s Corps Security series, but just like with Emberlyn his actions at the start of When I’m With You disappointed me and made it hard to want to connect with him. I did struggle with his character but since Rae’s narration was so on point for his perspective I just sat back and tried to enjoy as much as I could of the story; like I said “unnecessary angst.”

I do want to try another Shirl Rae narration just from the potential she showed with When I’m With You, as for Harper Sloan I think I’ve sort of moved pass her writing style and my tastes have drastically changed.

Son of a Beard by Lani Lynn Vale @LaniLynnVale

Son of a Beard by Lani Lynn Vale @LaniLynnValeSon of a Beard by Lani Lynn Vale
Series: The Dixie Wardens Rejects MC #3
Published by Self Published on April 27, 2017
Pages: 242 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-stars

Truth Alan Reacher was a biker. He was a bladesmith. What he was not, was a fool.

The moment he walked in on his girl screwing his cousin on his bike, he does the only thing he can do.
He ditches the bike seat—and the girl—riding right out of her life without a backwards glance.

That is until he’s forced to attend the marriage of his cousin to his cheating ex-girlfriend. The only bright spot of the entire thing was watching some chick go off on the groom—the groom’s ex-fiancé—right in the middle of the bouquet toss.

***

Verity Ruthann Cassidy was supposed to be here today attending this wedding as the bride, not watching the festivities as a guest from the chairs she’d painstakingly purchased covers for while her fiancé—now her ex-fiancé—screwed around on her with another woman.

The icing on the wedding cake that she refuses to eat? She’s forced to attend the wedding due to her mother being the wedding planner.

However, the night doesn’t turn out quite the way she expects it due to the hot-as-hell biker sitting in the chair directly beside her. The man gave one hell of a speech during the reception that sounded like something that could have come straight out of her own mouth, and she enjoyed every single second of it.

***

Thrown together under similarly lousy circumstances, the two newly single jilted former lovers of the happy couple decide to go to Vegas on what was to be Verity’s honeymoon trip.

One thing leads to another, and the next thing they know, their night has gone from a celebration of being single to a marriage—to each other.

Verity and Truth now have to figure out if everything that happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas.

I’m no longer iffy with any Lani Lynn Vale story I read from now on. I’m learning to simply take them as they are, no expectations.

Son of a Beard was an entertaining story, but didn’t hit 100 on everything, especially on the consistency of the character’s actions, namely Truth’s.

The first portion, not half, of Son of a Beard had me engaged because of all that was going on with Truth and Verity, I couldn’t put the story down. From the cheating ex’s to the trip to Vegas to the aftermath of their stay in Vegas I was glued to my Kindle. While my excitement that was connected to Verity’s character never waned, or at least I can’t think of a moment when it did, Truth’s character gave me motion sickness with the ups and downs he went through. I didn’t know if we were on on team #HATECOUSINANDEXGIRLFRIEND or if Truth was such a good guy that he was there for his family and anybody who needed his help regardless of what they’ve done to him no matter what.

The conflicts of Truth’s parents and Verity’s mom was introduced then given enough page space that I thought something more was going to come out of it, but that didn’t happen. I would’ve seriously loved to have had these elements included within the story for more than the paragraph or two that they were given. I really think that the beef between Truth and his parents would’ve given more to his character development and while I felt that Verity was a solid enough character it would’ve also been great it we would’ve gotten a deeper glimpse into why the relationship between Verity and her mother was what it was.

I promise it almost feels like Vale is dangling Ghost’s story in our faces to keep us committed to this series, and I’ll admit that regardless of how I feel about the other stories I’ve read in this series he’s the one character I know will become a second Silas to me. With each story in this series we’re given just a little bit more to his story and background to keep us coming back for more, and while I hate what I feel is manipulation I can’t seem to stop reading this series until Ghost’s story comes out. So, in sticking it out until Ghost’s story is released I hope the remaining two stories are on par with Son of Beard or at least surpasses it.

About Lani Lynn Vale

Lani Lynn Vale is a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary and Romantic Suspense and has a love for all things romance. Lani is married to the love of her life that she met in high school. She fell in love with him because he was wearing baseball pants. Ten years later they have three perfectly crazy children and a cat named Demon who likes to wake her up at ungodly times in the night. They live in the greatest state in the world, Texas. You can find Lani in front of her computer writing away in her fictional characters world…that is until her husband and kids demand sustenance in the form of food and drink.

Casanova and Cassidy: Thug Relationship Goals by Briana Crosby

Casanova and Cassidy: Thug Relationship Goals by Briana CrosbyCasanova and Cassidy: Thug Relationship Goals by Briana Crosby
Published by David Weaver Presents on December 6, 2016
Pages: 218 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Goodreads
four-stars

Meet Cassidy, a beautiful twenty-five year old, with a good head on her shoulders and a loving heart. Being determined to care for those that she loves draws her to a new city. Luckily for her, she ends up scoring a win by getting a position at the Alcatraz of the South - Angola, Louisiana State Penitentiary.
What seems like a promising job, turns out to be something that she has never experienced. She gets sucked in by a force she never knew existed. He's domineering, dangerous, powerful, and of course a thug that you just can't get enough of.
This romance will pull you in from the very first page, and will have you wanting more Casanova... find out how Cassidy copes with this possessive force in Casanova & Cassidy: Thug Relationship Goals.

My gosh it’s been a minute since I’ve read a story where I was so torn on whether the heroine should give the hero a chance or to simply go on the run because he was a bat crap crazy. Who am I kidding, I love the crazy ones, the crazier the better lol.

From the craziness that was going on in the prison to trying to figure out what all Casanova was involved in to learning how he, as a prisoner, was able to run the prison like he did made Casanova and Cassidy: Thug Relationship Goals a non-stop thrill ride I was too scared to get off. The tone of the story was so different than what I’m used to with an African American Urban Fiction story. Right off the bat Cassidy didn’t move or carry herself as the heroines I was used to reading about from this genre/sub-genre, so this immediately grabbed my attention.

The main issue I had with Casanova and Cassidy: Thug Relationship Goals was how different I felt Casanova was once he got out of prison. He went from being this ruthless man who was so in control of everything and savage with it to this almost cookie cutter guy unless he was killing someone. I don’t know, it just felt like I was reading two different heroes.

Also, I got the vibe that everyone that Cassidy met while at the prison should’ve been people that she keep both eyes, ears, and nostrils on because I seriously felt like there was more to them than what was revealed. In book two I hope Cassidy starts to tighten up her circle even more especially with how her one friend started to act at the end of Casanova and Cassidy: Thug Relationship Goals.

I’m crossing all kinds of fingers and toes for book two to be released sometime soon because the ending of Casanova and Cassidy: Thug Relationship Goals literally had my jaw dropping.