Shattered Promises – 4 Stars – Jessica Sorensen

     Instant gratification this is not!  I wasn’t sure if it was possible for me as a reader to be this frustrated, aggravated, pent up and flabbergasted all at the same time.  Mission accomplished by this writer in generating all of those feelings simultaneously with this first offering in her Shattered Promises Series.  I get tension, I love build up, but after a while it just became old.  Unlike other reviews, I did like her character development and came to care about her two main ones, Alex and Gemma.  Young men handle new emotions differently and don’t like being cornered, especially while conflicted, and her portrayal of Alex was spot on in my opinion.  The dude has secrets and issues.  She paints Gemma as a mature young lady who just had her world turned upside down, but handles it with grace and a calmness which was a relief.
     Now, let’s get back to why this book was literally yelled at and periodically thrown across the room shall we?  The sexual buildup between the two primary characters was enough to overheat my e-reader, but then the writer takes it away like she’s snatching the most delicious ice-cream cone right out of your hands because she wants it for herself.  The hot and cold between the two main characters adds to the buildup, but again, it takes too damn long.
     There was also the lack of credibility factor.  Not necessarily because of the world the writer paints, but in how she resolves the main character escaping almost uncertain death.  I came to the point where while I was reading those scenes, I would roll my eyes and tell myself that Gemma is about to wake up any minute, yet again, and all will be well and she and Alex can go back to their sexual pent up aggression towards each other.
     This book for me was a struggle to get through, not because it’s not my favorite genre to read or hoping it was the next Twilight, but the angst and delay had me agitated.  I nearly bailed and didn’t finish it; however, the story was good enough that I stuck with it.  I never take this long to read a story, but it just didn’t become a priority for me.  It was one I could put down and walk away from and do other things and then hope it will be over with soon.  In addition, due to the long and drawn out angst between the two main characters, I made the decision not to put myself through this torture any longer and will not be continuing on in the series.
    If the writer were to clean up the language, ease back a bit on the sexual aggressiveness, this would be the perfect book for the new adult genre and despite my negative feedback, would make for an interesting series on cable.

Judgment Road – 4 Stars – Christine Feehan

An MC series with a twist.  A uniquely crafted tale I became engulfed in.  The writer doesn’t throw the background of this club at the reader all at once which I appreciated and through her main character Reaper, you understand the horrors that shaped him and the rest of the members of Torpedo Ink.  She puts you through highs and lows, especially when the heroine Anya is introduced.  Just when you think you have this story figured out, the author throws another twist at you to become engrossed with.  The reason for the lack of five stars is my typical critique of any writer who fails to have her main characters practice safe sex.  The subject is mentioned and worried over by both characters and then simply abandoned.  The other part of the full star drop was the transition of scene changes within the chapters.  This responsibility rests solely on the shoulders of the editor.  Too much was cut out in my opinion, so much so a lot of read back had to happen, which is never a good thing.  It won’t stop me from continuing this series, which I can tell will be huge and enthralling.  Her characters are ones you want to get to know and learn more of their background and I for one can’t wait to find out.

Jacked - 4 Stars - Tina Reber
   Enjoyed this tale woven by the awesome Tina Reber!  I would have read it sooner, but besides having to write my own novels, this title couldn’t be found through any other outlet other than Amazon, so it missed my radar when it was released…four years ago.  Not all of us are strictly Kindle users, just food for thought.  Anyway, when I came across this, I was elated due to the fact her Love Series is in my Top 20 list of all-time favorites.  It feels as it’s been an eternity since she came out with a new title and I am looking forward to her next work Amped.  She can’t write fast enough.  Okay then, if I enjoyed it so much, why only four stars you ask?  The beginning hook was a bit confusing, so I had to reread it again and the buildup was too long and drawn out.  I read other reviews which readers admitted to bailing on the story due to this fact.  There was a lot of unnecessary back and forth that could have been left out and the story would have remained strong.  In addition, while everyone has gone through past relationships and constantly compare them to the one they are about to enter into, I have to say, it got tiresome after a while.  I felt as though the characters were whining.  Yes, we’ve all had bad ones in the past, there’s always a Nikki in the background somewhere, but grow up already.  The final intense sexual scene between the two characters where Erin admits as to her reasoning of why she won’t have children left me a bit angry.  It went a bit too far.  I was on the fence about Adam throughout the entire book, but his deep insecurities and anger never should have been taken out on Erin like that, no matter what the goal.  So, in the end, he fell on the side of me not liking him at all.  However, after taking a step back and looking at the whole picture, I get it.  Two fractured souls trying desperately to embrace the new, while guarding their hearts at the same time.  I laughed where I should have, cringed where I was supposed to, and my jaw dropped on cue.  It’s a great and lengthy read I highly recommend from an extremely talented author.

A Beautiful Heartbreak – 4 Stars – Alora Kate

This is the first book by this author I’ve ever read, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it.  Alora’s character development is well done, especially with the villains she created.  While I would have loved more detail in their backgrounds to fill in some gaps, the bad guys, especially Prescot’s abusive mother had me reeling.  There were times I was actually audibly yelling at the book like the characters could actually hear me and that says something about this writer.  She envelopes you into her world and keeps you engaged.  I wish there had been more detail to fill in gaps and maybe this will be taken care of in future books in the series, but overall, I enjoyed this work very much and have put this series on my to read list.

2018 Goodreads Personal Reading Challenge = 50 Books! 

This number may seem rather small compared to some of your numbers, but in my defense, I am a writer, work full time and I must truly make time for binge watching cooking shows.  It’s my thing.  However, despite the killer goals set by many readers, many will not leave a review.  It’s a sad thing really, because how are we, the ones you depend on to write and craft these worlds you want to know about know how we’re doing?  EVERY BOOK I read, no matter how bad or good, gets a review.  It’s a matter of respect.  See below my latest reviews for this year and please make a resolution that this year you too will leave your feedback on what you thought of the latest book you read.  It means more to the writer than you’ll ever know.  Love J.S.

Dearest Ivie - 5 Stars - J.R. Ward

Great novella! It was heartwarming, made you snot rag cry and gave you hope. This novella had everything in it and a special sneak peek at the first two chapters of her next novel was a great bonus. You can’t go wrong with J.R. Ward and this is a must get!

Dec the Holls - 5 Stars - Jasinda Wilder

Fantastic feel good short story from a writer I absolutely adore.  Her Big Girls Series was how I found her and this was indeed a pleasure to read and was the perfect length!  If you haven't checked out her stuff, do so now, you won't regret it!

Want to know my Top 20 Favorites?  Then click right here and see who ranked as my favorite series and standalone authors!

Dark Lover – 5 Stars – J.R. Ward
     This review is for the re-reading of the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, Dark Lover.  I originally read this story in 2011 and have read all subsequent books in the series.  Why did I read it again?  Now that I’m a writer myself and entertaining writing in this genre, I thought it best to go to the expert in all things Vampire Paranormal and you can’t get any better than J.R. Ward!  I also can’t for the life of me remember if I ever left a review for this book to begin with!
     I read this on the recommendation from a friend of mine and resisted, but she insisted it was worth it and it is.  The set up to this story is brilliantly done and the premise that vampires could actually be the good guys was an interesting one I thoroughly enjoyed it.  J.R.’s character development is spot on, the dialogue is quick and funny and her writing style is one you come to embrace early on.  In the subsequent books, you fall harder in love with her characters and her story telling and writing gets even better.  Not to say this was a substandard effort or even a new one, no way.  J.R. or otherwise known as Jessica Bird is a seasoned professional who knows what she’s doing and puts a lot of thought into the worlds she creates.
     Overall, it was a joy revisiting these characters in their infancy again and it was fun marveling at how much all of them have grown and flourished in this world.  I for one hope it never ends.

Saving Poughkeepsie – 5 Stars - Debra Anastasia

FLOVE this series!  This is the third book in this trilogy and there is a prequel available for those who are interested in how it all started, but the three books that comprise this incredible tail filled with amazing characters remains at the top of my all-time favorites.  The first book, aptly titled Poughkeepsie remains one of my favorites to this day.  A heartwarming story which will stay with you forever, you get a clear idea of how this writer rolls, and it works.  This final story to the trilogy wraps things up in a neat bow and gives the reader the HEA they crave while keeping them on the edge of their seat.  Just when you think you have these characters figured out, the writer changes things up on you, and it’s terrific.  You even begin to bond with several of the douchebags in Beckett’s circle and by the time you’re done, you will become a full fledge believer in all things redemption.  Great job by a phenomenal writer.

Updated  3/15/18!

Blood Fury – 4.75 Stars – J.R. Ward

Loved this installment and particularly how this author has managed to continue the series in such a way where we get more bang for our yearly buck.  With so many characters to keep track of and pay homage to, this series was a smart call by this author.  I love the interjection of the main characters from the series, but critical readers need to remember, this is an offspring series and they aren’t meant to be the stars of the show.  The only reason for the drop in a quarter star was the punctuation was just…off.  Question marks where there should have been periods and vice versa.  Other than that, it’s beautifully written and edited.  Cheers to Saxton and Peyton for finally getting their happy endings!

Shot on Gold – 3.5 Stars – Jaci Burton

     While I’ve loved this series, this book simply fell flat for me. The only thing I can equate it too was like it was watching one of those feel good Hallmark movies, without the swearing of course, and then suddenly someone flips the channel and now you’re watching the porn channel.
     Jaci’s character development made no sense whatsoever in this book and I could tell early on, she was running out of steam. The premise of the book is the Olympic Games or International Games as she calls them in this novel. Every character who speaks is so politically correct; you couldn’t help but roll your eyes. Now, I understand self-confidence, and no doubt, professional athletes of this caliber have to have it, but realistically, do they sit around and talk about it endlessly like a self-help video? Not so much.
     The complete turn off for me was the sudden switch in dialogue when it came time for the sex scenes. The writer goes from zero to erotica in under two seconds. It didn’t fit, especially for Amber, the heroine of the story. I know of no virgin who first of all uses dildos and vibrators and second, has such a filthy mouth and doesn’t at least stutter or blush when saying cock. Invasion of the Body Snatchers must have been the movie the writer saw before outlining this thing. She was so uncomfortable with crafting characters you could believe in, that she simply swapped them out with a couple of bad porn actors so she wouldn’t have to deal with it.
    While I have loved this series from the beginning, it’s finally time to bid it farewell. It’s obvious the writer has given up on this world she created and that’s fine, I just won’t be exploring her others.