The Wedding from Hell – 5 Stars – J.R. Ward

     Great taste of things to come from the Warden!  She’s launching a new series and a new set of characters to fall in love with.  This is a serial series leading up to the release of Consumed and the next installment will be in August, so be forewarned that there is a drop off.  I’m not going to call it a cliffy as the writer is offering these gems up to her readers as a freebie and a thank you.
     As always, I love her writing, want to be her when I grow up and dig on her character development and writing style.  After reading quite a number of stinkers over the last several weeks, it’s been nice getting back to some real writing.

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.

Rock Me Baby – 2 Stars – Lynn Faye

     A slow read that dragged unnecessarily.  Another book that I think would be better told in a narrative format, especially when the writer is using descriptive for body movements.  A lot of head tilting.  Thoughts were never fully explained, a lot of skipping around and I failed to find significant conflict within the story.
     It was painful to get through, slow going considering the size of the book and in the end it was a bit insulting that I took this long to read it.

Raw Deal - 4 Stars - Cherrie Lynn


     Shame I had to knock this one down a star because it truly is a fiver, but a few rolls in the hay doesn’t give way to the condoms being chucked just because the bag is inconveniently across the room.  I will never let my feelings on safe sex between two characters go, no matter how much I love a book.
     And this one is so well written and loved!  I was turned on to Cherrie’s writing years ago with her Ross Siblings series, for which I gobbled up like it was my last meal on earth.  I always feel a bit of trepidation when trying a new series from an author I love, because I’m always afraid it won’t live up to the characters in the series which made me fall for their writing to begin with.
    I’m happy to say I was mistaken in this instance.  I am definitely picking up the other two in this series and will gobble those down and then I might dip into her paranormal stuff I noticed she has out.  Sorry I’m slow on the uptake, but I’ve had a few books to produce myself.
     If you haven’t checked out Cherrie’s writing, then your library is sorely lacking some quality heartfelt stuff that will have you cheering and feeling warm and fuzzy all over.

Raw Heat – 4.5 Stars Cherrie Lynn

     The third and final book in this series, Raw Heat, I enjoyed, but not near as much as book two. The characters Damien and Emma not sticking to their guns was my reason for the half point drop.  Emma constantly contradicts herself and doesn’t stick to her guns until the very end.  For someone determined not to give into him, she sure does quickly and then the L-word comes out at the most inopportune time in my opinion.

     Damien never really puts himself out there for her.  The readers catches a glimpse into why he is the way he is, but if entering into something significant with someone else, you have to be willing to take a chance and put yourself completely out there.  Not to borrow from the books overall theme, but you have to lay all your cards out on the table.  He doesn’t truly show any kind of emotion until he loses a game of cards to her.  I found that to be a bit shallow.
     This series is still a favorite of mine as well as this author whose writing touches your heart, keeps your engaged and wanting more.  I will continue to read her work and look forward to tapping into her brain more in the years to come.

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!

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.

Author J.S. Snow's Book Reviews

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  7/29/18!

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!

Fifteen Inches – 2 Stars – Madison Faye


     Not really for me.  This is a short story and while it had promise, I quickly discovered it was intended to be a one handed read.  Repetitiveness reigned supreme, spelling errors here and there and the sudden Jekyll and Hyde switch of the two characters made me roll my eyes.
     I don’t care what kind of leeway erotica gets, blatant disregard for condom usage will never be forgiven by me.  Also, the three word spelling of a specific product resulting from an action just grates on my last nerve.  This is NOT a word.  The ending too left me reeling as the female character tries to ward him off from finishing inside of her without him wearing a condom and then doesn’t even approach the subject after they are both spent.  They act all congenial to one another instead.  It made zero sense.  Why did the writer put this in if the thought wasn’t going to be finished?
     If you’re in to bad porno movies minus the cheesy music, this could be for you and porn hub will no doubt mourn the loss of your business.

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.

Storm – 4 Stars – Nina Levine

     From what I understand, this is this author’s first work. I commend her on taking the leap into writing and with such a tough sub-genre to write.  The book was edited well; unfortunately, this is where my praise ends. The story line was all over the place and not in a typical chronological order.  This affected the character development and made the second half of the book tough to get through.  Regurgitation seemed to become a theme after a while and it got to a point where I wanted to reach in the book and slap around the main heroine.

     The author left in mundane details that didn’t need to be in the story in my opinion and left out key elements that would have given it more depth.  She can write a sex scene, I’ll give her props for that, but the story became shallow after a while because that’s all it ended up being filled with.  Everything should have stopped at the halfway point due in fact I kept questioning why it was continuing when the enemies had been eliminated.  There was also the point of her main character being flaky as hell.  She would drone on and on for pages about why she chose to get out of the life, but in a matter of minutes, was right back where she started and even faster than that? Moving back home full time.  It was eye roller.

     Maybe this series gets better as the books continue on and the writer catches these things, and as with everything practice makes perfect, but I found my curiosity for the world she created just wasn’t peaked and I won’t be returning to the world of the Storm MC.

Jersey Girl – 4 Stars – J.A. Heron
     

     A terrific and well written book.  The book was unexpected and delightfully so.  A young woman’s journey through life’s up and downs all the while fighting her past and the demons which haunt her was well told by the writer.  While I enjoyed her character development, I found myself gravitating more towards her sub characters than her main one.
     Being in recovery myself for the last twenty-four years, there were times I wanted to reach in and shake Kat half to death, however, I have a pretty direct approach when it comes to the those I sponsor.  The folks she has in her inner circle truly have her back.
     I knocked this book down a star for two reasons.  The main of course was a huge pet peeve of mine and that’s for lack of condom usage. I won’t back down on this rule for any writer.  Kat and Conner barely know each other and he’s in a rock band.  Oh dear.  The other was the scene transitions were a bit problematic.  I caught myself blinking wondering if I missed something, scrolling back and re-reading.  A little more painting the picture would have helped.
    Overall, an enjoyable read that kept my attention, had me engage and swiping until the very end.

Savage Stalker - 3 Stars – Kathleen Kelly
     Automatic knock down in my rating for the abrupt lack of condom usage.  She knows the guy for like five minutes and with no discussion, they just stop using them?  Careless to the story line if you ask me.  It also went to the unrealistic side of things when all of the sudden the two main characters Kat and Dane were suddenly so devoted to one another.
    The chapters were abrupt and short, maybe too much so.  Chapter breaks instead would have made for better flow.  The grammatical and editing errors found throughout also took it down a star.  Repetitive strings reigned throughout and for the dead character Ma, the main characters dead mother, she was talked about as if she was alive and you wanted to end her again.
    For the overall story, it did keep my interest and I like the writers character development, but I think it would have been better served being told in third person narrative versus first.
    For this writer’s first effort, it was a good story and decent beginning to the series.  There’s always a learning curve and I’m sure with future installments things get better.  My hat’s off to this author.

Raw Need – 5 Stars – Cherrie Lynn


     Wow, wow and wow in that order!  One of the best books I’ve read in a very long time.  I was on the edge of my seat.  For the first time in what felt like forever, I didn’t feel the need to reach in a choke a character, didn’t roll my eyes and grumbled relentlessly when I had to be away from the book to handle real life stuff.
     This series has a definite twist to it which may come across to some as unrealistic, but for those out there who truly grasp what forgiveness truly is, it all makes perfect sense.
     Sacrifices sometimes do lead to salvation.
     I love Cherrie’s character development, her writing style, the flow… there’s very little to harp on with her books and this series is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Now onto book three.

Love Notes – 4 Stars - Kendall Grey

     Great snip it into the lives of the band members of Cherry Buzz Float.  One always wonders about the complexities of two sub’s who find themselves together, but both still needing and craving the domination they need to feel whole.  The writer shows the complexities of this wonderfully through the POV of both main characters.
     I knocked this one down a star simply due to a pet peeve of mine and that’s for the use of the three letter word I never will consider a word.  Yes, it describes the product of a males orgasm, but again with the spelling. This writer I know for a fact has unbelievable class and intelligence to NOT use this dialect, but, it happened. However, one could say this debate is as old as – less filling, tastes great – kind of thing.
     I look forward to continuing the series and regret taking so long with catching up.  This series is a definite do not miss and one of my favorites of all time.

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.

The Thief – 5 Stars – J.R. Ward


     Yet another triumph from J.R. Ward!  This story centers around V and Jane and Assail and Marisol.  With a new threat to the vampire’s way of life establishing a foothold, the author weaves a fantastic story around what happens when you fail to pay attention to your marriage and what happens when you try to hide who you really are.  As with all of her stories, this one is full of belly laughs and touches your heart and makes you cry in the next chapter.

     An amazing piece of work as always from this writer and I have loved every minute of the Black Dagger Brotherhood world.  Now with Mhurder returning and it is looking like Xhex and John Matthew being the focus of the next book, it can only get better.  Oh, and she puts a beautiful bow on the Scribe Virgin issue.  She borrowed from Christianity to do this, but I’ll let it pass, because it was so well done.
     The question I have now is, when are the other angels featured in The Fallen Angel series going to come along and help Lassiter out?  It sounds like he’s going to need some help.  Can’t wait to find out.

Built to Last – 5 Stars - Julie Ann Walker

     A terrific ending to a spectacular series that still serves as one of my favorites.  The writer’s sense of humor shines through as always and her heart pounding action sequences leave you on the edge of your seat.  Her heroes are sexy and her heroines compliment them well.  She wrapped things up in a nice bow with giving us the HEA we all demand and clued us in on how everyone at BKI is now living their lives and what they want for their futures.  She dropped a hint that there could possibly be a future with BKI, but whether that will be in other books remains to be seen.
    As a writer myself, I know how hard it is to say goodbye to beloved characters, especially ones you can’t seem to forget.  The legacy she established is secured though and I hope to revisit these beloved heroes in future books.

His Claim – 4 Stars – Ilsa Ames

     Wonderfully written and a great read!  When a book grabs and keeps your interest at only four paragraphs in, you know you have a winner.  I love the unique storyline and this writer’s character development is spot on in Avery and Chris.  Told from both of their point of views, you understand the depth of who they are as individuals while grappling with the unexpected development of falling in love.
     There’s no over the top angst and despair as you would typically find in a romance novel, and the situations the characters find themselves in are realistic.  The crescendo to the story is heartbreaking, but don’t despair, things have a happy ending.
     Knocked down a star for lack of condom usage after their first time, but I was actually going to take it back due to the story being so good until the dreaded three letter non-word I loathe more than anything was used in the second to last paragraph of the book.  This is a romance novel, not an erotica, poorly written short story, so please stop using that spelling!
     Will I read this author’s works again?  Absolutely, great job!

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!