Sassafrass

Sassafrass

From smut to sweet and everything in between...

Review
5 Stars
What a great start to a new series!
Lost Rider (The Coming Home Series) - Harper Sloan

Lost Rider (The Coming Home Series) - Harper Sloan 

 

 

*4.5 STARS*

 

I became familiar with Harper Sloan through her Corps Security series which I loved. Those hot, alpha, ex-military men were something else. So, when I saw that she was going to have a new series featuring cowboys, I couldn't wait to see what it was all about.

LOST RIDER was full of loss and redemption, love and pain, family and hope and so many other things that I felt like my heart was going to burst right out of my chest reading it.

We start with Maverick Davis, a rodeo star who has just been grounded for good. He had one injury too many and now the doctors won't clear him to go back to competing. Feeling at a loss, he now not only has to turn his back on the one thing in his life that meant something to him, but he's also has to head back home to the place he swore he'd never return to when he left it and all those in it behind ten years ago. He knows that there is a lot more than ghosts waiting for him there.

When he gets there though he ends up pissing off the one person he was most scared of seeing, the woman he ran from all those years ago, but seeing her again is like no time has been lost at all. Only, she's spitting mad and wants nothing to do with him.

Leighton James didn't expect to see Maverick Davis again, but when she does it's like a punch to her gut. The boy she was in love with her whole life is back and her traitorous heart beats him like he never left. She's not going to let him waltz back in and trample all over love again. She wouldn't be able to take it.

But, he now knows what he's meant to do and he's meant to do it with Leighton at his side. He just has to convince her that it's safe to give him her heart again.

This was just so many things. So many things. I hated how much pain both Maverick and Leighton went through but that made their HEA that much more sweeter. Seeing all of the back story and understanding why things happened the way that they did really made how hard they worked to be together that much more important. Maverick was really dealt a crap hand, but I was glad to see how whole he was when he came out of other side. And it doesn't hurt that Mav and Leigh were hot as hades between the sheets, or outside, or up against a door. *sigh*

The rest of the Davises, Mav's older brother, Clayton, and his younger sister, Quinn, were integral to the story as well. I look forward to seeing them get their own stories as well.

LOST RIDER is the first book in the Coming Home series and I look forward to seeing where the series will be going next. The author hinted that maybe it will be Quinn's turn next, but I'm really looking to see what's going to happen when Clayton finally falls.

So, LOST RIDER was a definite hit for me. I can't wait to go back the little Texas town and visit with the Davis's and the James's again.

*Advanced Reader's Copy provided by NetGalley and Publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Review
4 Stars
Sometimes love is served with a twist!
Twist (Dive Bar) - Kylie Scott

Twist (Dive Bar) - Kylie Scott 

 

TWIST is the latest installment of the Dive Bar series by Kylie Scott. The gang's all here again but this time it's Joe Collins in the hot seat. And the big, burly, lumbersexual hottie is trouble when what he thought of as an innocent deception blows up in his face.

It was supposed to be innocent. When Joe starts using his brother Eric's online dating profile instead of closing it like he was asked to do, he really didn't think much of it. But when the woman he has been chatting with over the last several months shows up at the Dive Bar, ready to meet the man she thought she had been building a relationship with, it all comes to a head.

Alex Parks has no idea that when she shows up at the Dive Bar to see her online friend, that he'll have no idea who she even is. But, when she finds out about the deception, her humiliation has her wanting to run back to her home in Seattle as soon as possible. Fate will have other ideas and she is left grounded in northern Idaho for several days. Days in which she is left getting to know the big, blonde hunk who is the cause of all of the problems.

And although neither Joe nor Alex wants to admit it, the more time they spend together, the more time they have to realize that they are just what the other needs.

I really thought TWIST was cute. From the horrible mix up when Alex showed up at the Dive Bar unannounced, I knew that I was going to be in for a treat. Joe for all the trouble he caused was adorable and sweet. I was glad that he got someone that could appreciate him and not just what he was doing for them.

And Alex was a lot stronger than she gave herself credit for despite all of her neuroses. I was just happy she was able to get past most of them in order to get the ending that she deserved.

All of the drama between Nell, Eric and Patrick continued as well, but we got some resolution with that. That was bittersweet, but I was glad that things worked out the way that we all thought that it should have.

TWIST is the second book in the Dive Bar series, but it could be easily read as a standalone. The Dive Bar crew makes recurring appearances but you'll get the gist if don't read the first one. However, I recommend reading the first book because it was just as fun as this one.

My only problem with TWIST was the fact that Joe totally shut down there in that last third. I didn't understand why he just wouldn't talk to Alex and avoid all of the heartache he put them both through. I felt like he should have had to work just a bit harder to get back into her good graces after that, but who am kidding? I probably wouldn't have been able to hold out very long either.

All in all, I thought TWIST was fun, sweet, and sexy. Just what I was expecting from this author. I love the characters, the stories, and the setting. I can't wait to see what kind of trouble they will get into next.

*Advanced Reader's Copy provided by NetGalley and Publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Review
4 Stars
Who's the Boss?
Bossed - Sloane Howell

BOSSED had so many of the best things I love in romantic comedy: excellent chemistry between the main characters, laugh out loud banter, smoking hot sex, and situations that leave me smirking long after I'm finished reading. 

In all of those ways, BOSSED was pretty perfect in my opinion. It was just the infuriating way that the heroine acted that made this one a little less than perfect.

Ethan and Jenny started off on the wrong foot. Imagine telling a guy off in the park and then seeing him fifteen minutes later when he's interviewing you for a job. YEP, that happened here. But underneath all of their snark is a undeniable chemistry that you know will eventually combust. Both Ethan and Jenny have issues and protect their hearts at all costs, but in order to make things work, they will have to let the other in.

As I stated earlier, I thought this was pretty much perfect for the most part. I loved Jenny and Ethan's back and forth, their chemistry, and the story overall. But, I wasn't happy with the way handled many things during the book. It took some of my enjoyment out of the book because I was too busy screaming at her for acting like a ninny.

So, BOSSED was a solid *4 STARS* for me. I've only read one other book by this author and I really enjoyed that one too. I definitely will be keeping him on my radar!

*Advanced Reader's Copy provided by NetGalley and Publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Review
4 Stars
Ok, so I guess I like the Alpha male caveman thing?
His Alone - Alexa Riley

I really thought that it was a fluke that I liked the first book in this series. I mean the man was a total stalker, completely obsessed and a total control freak. But, for some reason it worked for me. And at the end of the book, I mentioned that I thought book two would be better because the hero and heroine would be on more equal ground.

Well, let me just say that we've got stalker, obsessed, total control freak part two here because HIS ALONE was cut from the same cloth as the first book in the story but this just worked for me too. I don't know what this writing duo called Alexa Riley have going on but they certainly have some writing mojo.

Anyway, this story involves Paige Turner, who is Miles Osborne's --the hero from the first book- younger half sister, and Ryan Justice, who is the head of Miles's security team. They have a love/hate type of relationship that is basically just repressed sexual tension but once Miles and his fiancé, Mallory get together, things come to a head for Ryan and Paige. Unable to deny what they feel any longer they start a relationship.

They both want each other but they both have secrets. But, Ryan's hiding a lot more than Paige can even fathom and it may be enough to destroy what they just started.

Ryan, Ryan, Ryan. Captain America, indeed. He was so alpha, so controlling, so caveman, but he just worked it. I think I would have succumbed to his machinations just as much as Paige did. Seriously the man was ridiculously irresistible in the book. And at this point, I'm just thinking that this is this author(s) thing: Insta-love and a hot but crazy male lead because HIS ALONE was like that and so was the first. I'm not familiar enough with this writing duo's work to say that for a fact, but hey, it totally works.

HIS ALONE is the second book in the For Her series, and it can be read as a standalone, but the first book has a lot of backstory that will make the reading experience of this one a lot fuller. I definitely recommend reading the first book before this one but it's not necessary.

I totally devoured this book. Paige and Ryan were on fire right from the start. It was nice to see Paige's vulnerable side since she always puts up a hard as nails persona. I loved the way Ryan was able to break down her walls. I loved the epilogues at the end. I was hoping for more and more glimpses into the future and was sad to see the last one end. They were just a enjoyable as the main story.

I'm not sure if this book will be the last in the series or if they will continue on with other characters. But, if they do continue on, I'm there. I love the way these author's pull me in and literally make me care for their characters. I said that I was going to look into the backlist of the authors and I haven't yet, but I need to get on it right away.

I definitely recommend this book to those who want an HEA, don't mind their hero being slightly warped, and like a good story. If those qualities suit you, you definitely won't be disappointed!

*Advanced Reader's Copy provided by NetGalley and Publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Review
5 Stars
Murder, history, and diamonds...oh my!
Big Jack - J.D. Robb

This was a bit of a departure from the normal Eve Dallas books and I really enjoyed it.  Loved the intrigue about the story that happened 50 years previously crossing over into Eve's world.

 

I haven't read the back story on this because I didn't realize that there actually was one until I was finished with this one, so I will definitely be going back and reading that.

 

Loved seeing Peabody get into her role as detective, even if she can't get her clothes right just yet. LOL, Eve having a fit about that was hilarious.  

 

I really love this series and can't wait to continue.  I've listened to the whole thing on audio and Susan Ericksen has become my ear crack.  :)

Review
4 Stars
So cute!
Full Package - Lauren Blakely

Full Package - Lauren Blakely 

 

Awww, what a sweet friends to lovers story. And although I wanted to beat them both over the head when they wouldn't fess up about their true feelings, I loved the way they finally got themselves together.

Loved both the epilogues and can't wait to see more book set in this world. I'm enjoying them all thoroughly so far.

Review
2.5 Stars
Just didn't work for me
Becoming Elite (Sin City #1) - Tricia Owens

*2.5 STARS*

 

So, I was trying very hard to like this one but there were a lot of things that turned me off. First, I listened to this one on audio, LOL.
The way the narrator did Maxmillian's voice was hilarious. For some reason, I just kept thinking of the movie Austin Powers and I'm not even sure why. Needless to say there was a lot of giggling that ensued.

Secondly, I'm not sure I liked this Max guy as a "master". He seemed really irresponsible to me. Ethan was a title newbie to the lifestyle and he didn't seem to help enlighten him too much prior to him uprooting his whole life to be with Max.

Next, it just seemed so weird that Ethan was a PI and a model. Did that strike anyone else as odd? I don't know, I guess it just seems to be that someone that is supposed to be blending into the shadows shouldn't be model hot. 

Anyway, there were just too many things about this one for me to really get into it. And with the fact that it was extremely short, the story itself fell (wait for it) short for me too. 

Review
4 Stars
Loved Bailey!
My Kind of Wonderful - Jill Shalvis

I thought this was really cute.  I thoroughly adored it.  I was happy to be back in the world of the Kincaid family.  They have really made something out of he crap hat their father left them, but what really made this one for me was the heroine, Bailey Moore.

 

I loved the way that (even if sometimes it was misguided) she was making the most out of life. After everything that she went through, I don't blame her.  I was also really happy that she wasn't just going to be a pushover for Hudson.

 

Hudson, I thought had his head up his butt for most of he story but he pulled it together at then end when it counted.   

 

I really look forward to spending more time with this family.  I'll be getting the next book in the series ASAP.

Review
4 Stars
So, I thought I knew where this was going but...NO
Behind Closed Doors - B. A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors - B. A. Paris 

 

So, I just knew I had this all figured out.  We all know that Jack's a bad guy right.  It's pretty obvious that  that is going to be the big twist.  But, You just have no idea how bad of a guy this guy is.  Seriously. A special place in hell for that one.

 

My thoughts are just so jumbled, I'm not sure I can really do a review justice for this one.

 

Jack was a creepy bastard.


Millie was my hero! Such a smart girl and so incredibly strong

I started to get a little upset with the back and forth but I get why it was done (to keep the reader confused for the course of the book, LOL).

But ultimately, I was a bit disappointed by how tidily everything was wrapped up in the end even though I loved how Esther proved herself. 

I will definitely read more of this author's work. This is her debut effort and if this book is anything to go by, she's got a great career ahead of her.

 

The audio was decent as well, so overall I think it was a great read.  One I will definitely talk about long after reading.

Review
4 Stars
Sullivan Insta-love Strikes Again!
Now That I've Found You (New York Sullivans #1) (The Sullivans Book 15) - Bella Andre

Now That I've Found You (New York Sullivans #1) (The Sullivans Book 15) - Bella Andre 

 

I really love the Sullivans.  This family has become a mainstay in my reading over the last couple of years.  I've been through the San Francisco Sullivans and the Seattle Sullivans, and now we've come to the New York ones.  And  the first story was just as enjoyable as the the ones I've read previously.

 

Drake Sullivan is a famous artist but he's in a slump.  He can't find the inspiration that he needs to keep painting.  That is until he saw a woman standing on the cliff outside his isolated lake house.  She's crying but she's the most beautiful woman he's ever since.  And suddenly he can paint.

 

Rosa on the other hand is running for the mess that is her life.  She's a reality TV star and someone took nude photos of her without her permission so she just wants to escape for a while so she can figure out what to do next.  The last thing that she needs is a man in her life, but Drake Sullivan approaches her on the cliff and her life will never be the same.

 

I enjoyed Drake and Rosa's story.  As usual, we have the insta-love that all the Sullivans are known for.  But, it's just become par for the course with this family so I just go with it.  I got the warm and fuzzies with these two and I loved the way that Drake protected Rosa from the fall out of those pictures.  I was happy to see their HEA and can't wait for Suzanne's story next.

Review
5 Stars
I've got goosebumps!
You - Caroline Kepnes

You - Caroline Kepnes 

 

This book was creepy!  So creepy!!!  I couldn't put it down though. It was fascinating to be in the mind of someone so screwed up (I really want to say another word but I'll keep things PG).

 

Joe Goldberg's mind was so screwed up it was amazing the way he was able to twist things to satisfy his psyche.  Such interesting stuff.  I found this enthralling the way I did Dexter when he graced my TV (I haven't read the books...yet).

 

Anyway, I don't know what happened but while I never liked Joe, I did kinda want to root for him at some points because I really wasn't a fan of Beck.  She was spoiled and self-centered and really just wanted everyone to be gaga over her.

 

I thought the writing was brilliant, but what really REALLY made this book for me was the narrator, Santino Fantana.  I've never listened to him before but seriously, he was amazing.  The way he interpreted this character was so spot on, I would never have been able to do it justice in my head.  It was an amazing performance. I will definitely try to find more of his narrations in the future.

Review
5 Stars
Give me Mercy!
Silence Fallen - Patricia Briggs

Silence Fallen - Patricia Briggs 

 

*4.5 STARS*

SILENCE FALLEN is the latest installment of the Mercy Thompson series and it's amazing. It's got an interesting perspective this time with shifting POV between Mercy and Adam and there's a whole lot of deception that's got to be uncovered. And while it was exciting, suspenseful, and intriguing, I felt like there was something missing in the Mercy that I'm used to.


SILENCE FALLEN starts off with a bang when Mercy is abducted by unknown vampires. The entire book consists of she and Adam trying to find their way back to each other, but this whole sinister vampire plot is uncovered along the way.


I really thought that the shifting perspectives from Mercy to Adam was neat but they were all done in the third person so it wasn't like we were we in his head or anything. It was just that since Mercy and Adam were apart for the majority of the book we had to go from one character to another in order to see everything that was going on.

It was certainly interesting to get a more in depth view of some of our recurring characters like Elizaveta and Marsilia as they have been a bit of mystery. I'm sure that there is lots more to uncover there.

My only issue with SILENCE FALLEN was that I felt like Mercy was so helpless for most of the story. That may have been the point, but I didn't like seeing her that way. She was either unconscious, chained up, or caged almost the whole story. I mean it's still pretty badass the way she was still able to best her foes even at the sever disadvantage, but she was very unsure of herself and came off weak. I know that it's possible for her to be strong all the time, but for some reason this just didn't sit well with me.

On the other hand though, I loved Adam and his hot alpha vengeance trying to find his injured mate. I loved the faith he had in Mercy even though he was scared out of his mind.

SILENCE FALLEN is the tenth book in the Mercy Thompson series. And I suppose it could be read as a standalone but why on earth would anyone do that at this point? Go back and read the whole series, it's wonderful and there is so much backstory that you'd miss if you started with this one. 

Ultimately, I thought this book was excellent--almost perfect really. Patricia Briggs has really done an amazing job with this one. And I can't wait to see what's going to happen next in this series.

*Advanced Reader's Copy provided by NetGalley and Publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Review
5 Stars
Perfection!
Etched in Bone  - Anne Bishop

Etched in Bone - Anne Bishop 

 

What do I saw about this book? It was mesmerizing, brilliantly written, eerily prophetic, but ultimately hopeful? Yes, it was all those things, but it was also much more. More than I can put into exact words, but I couldn't put it down.

ETCHED IN BONE is the fifth book in the Others series by Anne Bishop and it picks right up where the last one left off. We are considering how much human to keep at this point. Humans have reared their ugly heads once again and a few bigoted jerks are really messing things up for everyone else. Now there's fall out. People are having to start over and the Elders, the really scary Others, are trying to figure out if the humans that remain are worth keeping or not.

So their solution to the problem is to observe the Lakeside Courtyard where Meg, her human pack, Simon, and his Other pack live. They all seem to get along so the Elders want to know what traits they should be looking out for in other humans. Well, a monkey wrench gets thrown into the plan when a new human family comes to town.

This one was so good. There were so many moving parts. I loved the way the author is just able to bring all those moving parts together seamlessly. Even when I don't see how it could possibly be connected, the plot just weaves together in a way that I want to smack myself for ever doubting in the first place.

Meg is trying to adjust to not cutting herself and it has caused her some problems, but she's really coming into her own. But she and Simon's relationship was strained through this one. There's a shift there. They both know it but know exactly what to do about it.

This story wasn't pretty, in fact there were times it was down right brutal. But it was true to the story arc and to the characters. It couldn't have been any other way. And the ending. WOW, all I can say is that I'm going to die waiting another year to get the next book.

ETCHED IN BONE is a just altogether perfect. I love this series and this book was no exception. Anne Bishop does such an amazing job with this story and these characters. I'm hooked and there's no way I'm going to stop with this series now. I think we're just skimming the surface now. There's lot more we've got to uncover with Lakeside and the Others.

*Advanced Reader's Copy provided by NetGalley and Publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Review
5 Stars
I have no words. I HAVE NO WORDS!
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race - Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race - Margot Lee Shetterly 

 

Well, I actually do have words, but I am in such awe of this story.  This story that was completely unknown to me...a woman of science.  I am so inspired by this story, I want everyone young girl to know it.  Heck, I want every young BOY to know it too. 

 

These women were so amazing.  I just can't even put my feelings into a coherent thought right now.  But, seriously.  The brilliance that shone through despite all the obstacles, just gives me all kinds of joy.

 

Ms. Johnson, Jackson, and Vaughan and so many others are really pioneered the way for women like me to have success in their fields and I didn't even freakin' know it.   And the strength of conviction that these women had.  To do the kind of work that they did, make the contributions that they did and still not even be able to use the bathrooms at their work...man, how frustrating that must have been.

 

But, it's stories like these that keep me trying to inspire my children to work hard and not just accept average.  Because these women fought hard to break down the barriers that we have taken for granted and it would be a great disservice to them to waste the opportunities that they made possible for us. 

Review
4 Stars
Funny, witty, and a little absurd, but all true!
I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman - Nora Ephron

I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman - Nora Ephron   

 

Nora Ephron is a woman I have a lot of respect for.  She wrote my favorite movie of all time, When Harry Met Sally.  I adore that movie and watch at least one per month much to my husband's chagrin (but I digress).

 

I had no idea that she wrote books, so I surprised when I found this book while trying to find something yellow for a reading challenge that I'm in.

 

This book was funny, witty, and sometimes absurd but it was all true.  It was so spot on in the about aging as a woman.  I've been trying to do it with grace but sometimes I wish that I could have appreciated the way everything on body stayed where it was supposed to in my twenties.  I was so worried about being perfect then that I didn't really appreciate that I was perfectly me.

 

Ms. Ephron eloquently described a lot of the things we go through as we age (although I couldn't relate to all of them yet), and I really appreciated her humorous and witty commentary.  But, I will say that now I will probably be spending a lot of time looking at my neck...

 

Review
4 Stars
Fun and Sweet!
After the Kiss: The Stiletto Series - Lauren Layne

After the Kiss: The Stiletto Series - Lauren Layne 

 

I really enjoyed this one.  It was so fun and sweet.  Loved the banter between these two who didn't seem suited at all.  Not at first anyway.  I loved to see them come around to understanding just how right they were together.  And even though I could see the big blowup coming from a mile away, my gut still ached at the loss of these two not together.

 

But you know it all had to work out in the end, right?  I just wish they had had a little more time to build up the relationship before the HEA came, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

 

I will definitely have to continue on with this series.   I want to see what the other ladies get up to.