Review: Take This Man (Give & Take #3.5) by Kelli Maine


Title: Take this Man
Author:  Kelli Maine
Publisher/Year:  Grand Central Publishing 3/4/14
Length:  100 Pages
Series: Give & Take #3.5


A man never wanted a woman as much as he wants her.

Merrick Rocha is the kind of man who makes a woman yearn for more. And for Rachael DeSalvo, he’s the kind of man who could easily fit into her picture of happily-ever-after. With each touch, each kiss, her body is thrilled as she never knows what to expect next. Their wedding day-and night-are no exception.

Now, as they come together as one, free to trust as deeply as their bodies connect, Rachael is finally ready to . . . 


My Thoughts

My hones opinion here, there wasn’t a need to have another novella – this would have served just fine as the epilogue to the last book Given – but oh well.  i’m not the author.  The thing here is that there was nothing unexpected or even tension developing – it was just a tale of a marriage that we were all expecting.  It was nicely done though and what this final installment shows us is that the story has come to a great conclusion – where things are finally beginning to fall into place and relationships all around are growing stronger.

We see that Merrick’s actions from the very beginning were right for this pair, and that Rachael’s passion is what Merrick needed in order to move on with his life.  Its all nice and sweet – yet rather un-fulfilling in the sense that i feel like i kept waiting for something to happen.

Review: Given (Give & Take #3) by Kelli Maine


Title: Given
Author:  Kelli Maine
Publisher/Year:  Grand Central Publishing 3/4/14
Length:  288 Pages
Series: Give & Take #3



For Merrick and Rachael, Turtle Tear Island has become their own private paradise with days of unimaginable bliss and sizzling nights in the bedroom-and beyond. But Rachael and Merrick’s happiness is shattered when his daughter, Nadia, suddenly becomes increasingly demanding of his time and devotion. It soon becomes clear that Merrick will have to make an agonizing choice: the woman whose love saved his tortured soul or the daughter he never knew existed . . .


Rachael can’t stand the thought of losing Merrick after everything she’s sacrificed to be with him. She had thought she and Merrick were done with secrets, that the passion that burned so brightly between them had forged an unbreakable connection, but she begins to wonder if she ever really knew the man at all. Now the love they’ve fought so desperately to protect may not be enough to save them . . .

My Thoughts

As we knew from the last few books, the happiness that Merrick and Rachael shared would have to have some bumpy road up ahead in order to survive, and this installment is exactly what we were expecting.  We remember that Nadia had left to go back to her mother but it seems like that’s not necessarily what she wants – yet she’s not making it easy for Merrrick to get her back.  This story takes us on the journey of these guys – following Nadia to Paris and then to the South of France in the hopes that Nadia will choose Merrick over her mother and grandfather.  That doesn’t happen quite so easily….until it happens a little too easily.

It’s a good thing that Rachael is so suspicious – since we’re beginning to see Nadia’s true intentions come out, but Merrick is too blinded by the fact that she’s his daughter and he feels this huge sense of guilt that he wasn’t in her life.  Because of this, there’s a huge question looming whether Rachael and he will survive, since it seems like he’s going to choose his children and ex over her.

I think that it’s a nice twist on what we’ve been reading so far – we get alternating chapters in the POV of both Merrick and Rachael which makes things much easier to follow and much better than a full book in the 2nd person.  We also get to see what the other is thinking in the moment, vs. getting a one sided re-telling.

I have to say that i fully expected some of what happened to happened  it wasn’t a surprise to me based on how some things were set up – but the deaths that happened in this book – i don’t know that i was expecting those to happen.  It made for some great tension at least.  The return of Enzo pulling the puppet master strings was also exactly what we knew was going to happen, although i kept waiting and keep waiting for the shoe to drop in what he did to Mr Simcoe.

So – i believe there’s still one more novella in this series to read- so i guess our journey continues – but….for the most part – the biggest pieces of the story are complete.  There’s still the resolutions for Beck/Joan that we’re waiting on since they seem to have their own little bubble in life.  especially after Merrick fires Beck and tells him to go back home and be a professional cellist.  Maddie and MJ still need their happy ending as well and now that the dynamic has changed in this story – it’ll be nice to see where they end up and how.

I don’t know about anyone else  but are you waiting to hear more about the montgomery tie and relationship to Gina?  I have to admit that i didn’t pick up on that at all before, and it was only when she pointed out the relation that it made me wonder what she was after…i still wonder.

Anyhow – i’m glad that i stuck with this series – it definitely got better as things progressed and i hope that you guys choose to take the journey as well.  Enjoy!

Review: Take Me Back (Give & Take #2.5) by Kelli Maine


Title: Take Me Back
Author:  Kelli Maine
Publisher/Year:  Grand Central Publishing 6/4/13
Length:  112 Pages
Series: Give & Take #2.5



Rachael DeSalvo is haunted by the past. She’s come home to her beloved Turtle Tear Island, where she looks forward to happy days and bliss-filled nights in the arms of Merrick Rocha. But when she finds a trunk full of old photo albums and handwritten notes, Rachael soon realizes that the island has not given up all its secrets . . . 

For long before Rachael and Merrick made Turtle Tear Resort their home, this historic island was a haven for sensual, forbidden affairs. As Rachael and Merrick work to restore the grand hotel to its former glory, they will be caught in the perfect maelstrom of conflict and desire.

My Thoughts

In the last installment, we see that Merrick has purchased the Plantation that is part of the history of the owners that have Turtle Tear, and there’s much more there going on.  there’s this ‘legend’ so to speak that the ghost / soul of Ingrid – the owner is still in the home, and wants to be returned to Turtle Tear where she loved it so much and her body is.  Rachael has become so involved and obsessed with the story of these lovers, that she does everything that she can to uncover the story and the history and help return Ingrid’s soul.

Where this story takes us though is on a portion of Rachael and Merrick’s romance, where Rachael’s obsession has become so much that it’s taken away from her responsibilities on the island and things begin to fall through the cracks.  She begins to lie to Merrick about where she’s going in the hopes that she can help return Ingrid, and this puts a riff between them.  So much so that Merrick sends her home to Cleveland to ‘think things through’ and decides that they need to be on a break.

I think that what’s really interesting about this is that we know that neither of these 2 have a stable history of relationships, and this is something that comes to the forefront in this novella installment.  Because they are both really bad at communicating, it puts the future of their relationship in jeopardy and you begin to wonder what it will to keep them together and if it’s even possible.

At the same time as this duo is going through their ‘stuff’, we see Maddie and MJ in an even better place.  In the end of book 2, MJ put a promise ring on her finger and it seems like things are going well for this couple.  You can’t help but be really happy for them.

I guess my question now is whether this is the calm before the storm and if we’re going to see things get thrown all about since we know that Enzo is still on the run and he’s not going to let things go so easily.  I also wonder what’s going to happen with the Twin that we just met in the last book, and with Gina – since there’s something that’s not quite right.  I think that what was hinted at – at the liklihood of a 12 yr old fathering a child on his first time having sex being slim to none – i’m curious is there’s more to the story there.  I don’t know about you guys – but part of me wonders if it was Enzo and not Merrick that fathered the twins.  just sayin….

So i guess it’s now off to reading Given – the 3rd full installment to see where things go.  While i’m not sold on the 2nd person that we often get when Rachael is the narrator – at least the story itself is getting better to keep me engaged.

Review: Taken by Storm (Give & Take #2) by Kelli Maine


Title: Taken by Storm
Author:  Kelli Maine
Publisher/Year:  Grand Central Publishing 5/7/13
Length:  291 Pages
Series: Give & Take #2



Maddie Simcoe knows the devastation that comes from keeping secrets. Now, she’s desperate to move on from the heartbreak that almost destroyed her — trading wild passion that once made her knees weak for a life of comfortable stability. But before Maddie can start over, she must return home to put the past behind her once and for all…


When Maddie blows back into MJ Rocha’s life, nothing will stop him from proving to her that walking away from him was the biggest mistake of her life — not even the engagement ring she wears. Her every look, every touch tells MJ that the fire that once raged between them still burns hot, and MJ won’t give up until Maddie gives in to the inferno.


Trapped by a hurricane roaring through Turtle Tear Island, MJ and Maddie find shelter in each others’ arms. While the lightning flashes, MJ and Maddie are helpless to fight bonds of desire that tie them together. But just as they’re about to surrender to the torturous longing that consumes them both, the storm unleashes violent secrets from MJ’s past…secrets that could wash away all MJ and Maddie’s hopes of forever…

My Thoughts

so, all in all, this series is getting much more complicated – but in a decent way.  The one thing that i’m going to say – and i’d love to hear your thoughts – in the first installment, we were under the impression that Merrick got his babysitter preggo – and that she had ‘taken care of it’ – and in this book, we are told that she had the baby and died…and then there were hints that Merrick knew this – or that he knew she died, but didn’t know that she had a baby – and then there were hints that he knew that she had a baby.  so…i’m all confused on that front.

Anyhow, we’re reintroduced to this mix when Rachael has gone back with ‘grandfather’ to meet MJ and try to help build that relationship between Merrick and his son.  At the same time, we see MJ who’s 20, having trouble finding his place in the world.  He knew all along that his father didn’t know about him – for the most part, and nowt hat he’s in college, he’s trying to find his path, but not doing in the right way.  He’s getting into fights (like his father) and being a bit impulsive rather than thinking things through (also like his father).  So this story takes us on his journey, with his impulsiveness driving an even bigger wedge between him and Madddie – his past lover, hope to be future and forever lover – and daughter of the caretaker of his grandfather’s mansion.

So…complicated right?  Let’s see, the sense that we’re given is that Maddie ran away from MJ about a year prior and didn’t tell MJ why she was leaving.  While she was gone, she ‘fell in love’ with someone else who’s proposed, but since Maddie feels like she still has some connection with MJ, she’s asked for time…and takes it back where MJ is.  At the same time, we learn that there’s a reason that Maddie left – some secret that she’s keeping for Enzo – MJ’s grandfather – and this secret keeps coming up throughout the book, in thought only since we don’t learn what it is.

Following the path of these folks, we end up back at Turtle Tear island, with the family reunited – and trying to get to know each other again.  We get to see Rachael and Merrick really trying to make something work of their family, and trying to give Maddie and MJ space to sort out their own relationship.

What’s nice about this story is that we still see the ques to make the bigger family work with Merrick and Heidi, even though we don’t get a great impression of Roger – Heidi’s husband here either.  I just don’t like him, and i think that we begin to see a much darker side to him as this story progresses.  Merrick doesn’t trust him, and MJ gets a similar impression.

The questions that we’re posing throughout are whether MJ and Maddie will get together, and what will bring them together since we all know how stories like this happen.  We also really want to know what the secret is since it seems like a really big one to keep Maddie away and to be fearful of – since Enzo continues to hold it over her and threatens her and her father if it’s revealed.

I’m curious to see how things progress here since we meet someone new that no one expected, and we find out about others from the past and their history – and all the while, wondering what Enzo will do next and who’s going to pay for his actions.

There’s a sweet next step though here – we see that there’s a bond between the current story line and the past owners of Turtle Tear, and we get to see the story there progress in the sense that we continue on to their plantation in FL – which is the next real estate purchase – all for good reason.

So, i guess i’m not quite giving up on this series, and i’ll have to read #2.5 before i get to the ARC that i got from Netgalley on #3.  I’m sure i’ll be back tomorrow with a follow up – so enjoy for now!

Review: No Take Backs (Give & Take #1.5) by Kelli Maine


Title: No Take Backs
Author:  Kelli Maine
Publisher/Year:  Grand Central Publishing 1/8/13
Length:  150 Pages
Series: Give & Take #1.5



The man Rachael DeSalvo loves more than anything is suffering in silence. The grand opening of Turtle Tear Resort should be a time of celebration for Merrick Rocha. But he’s suddenly intent on selling off the business he built from the ground up-and Rachael’s hell-bent on finding out why. Only one man can give her the answers she seeks, but meeting with him would be the ultimate betrayal to Merrick. Merrick once asked Rachael to trust him against all odds . . . can he do the same? 

My Thoughts

We’re just getting settled back into the relationship between Rachael and Merrick when the hotel is set to open – at least for one weekend so family friends and crew can come and enjoy.  Rachael and Merrick have found their rhythm together, and they are in their blissful honeymoon stage – while everything continues to move around them.

If you remember from the end of book 1,  Merrick’s assistant now works for Beck – who is the hot foreman of the builders, and that’s a good and bad thing.  it gets her out of Rachael’s hair and into someone else’s bed.  It’ll be interesting to see if that friendship ever happens though between the girls.

At the same time, we’re reminded that Merrick has a very strained family relationship – his father is suing him for the company that Merrick took through the roof, and at the same time, he doesn’t have much of a relationship with his sister because her husband thinks that Merrick is a bad influence.

Bring these folks along with Rachael’s mom and aunt, and best friend Shannon to the island and things are going to get dicey.  Not only do we see tempers flare, but we see all sorts of sexcapades taking place, which is to be expected.

It’s kind of sad to say, but it’s the last chapter or 2 that really piqued my interest, and while fully expected given some hints and comments in book 1, it was still a nice surprise and lead in to the next installment.  Do you know what i’m talking about w/o giving away spoilers?

Anyhow, i’m off to book 2 in the hopes that this series will redeem itself from the half fail that i found in book 1.  Enjoy!

Review: Taken (Give & Take #1) by Kelli Maine


Title: Taken
Author:  Kelli Maine
Publisher/Year:  Grand Central Publishing 1/8/13
Length:  256 Pages
Series: Give & Take #1



He steals her away to a deserted island, to the one place she’s dreamed of being-the one place she can’t go. He’s used to buying whatever he wants, but he can’t buy her.


How can she resist the magnetism of his body, the longing ache deep inside her? She wants him to take her-on her terms.


Every attempt he makes to love her only hurts her. How can they go on like this? This is the story of how she was . . .


My Thoughts

So….i got an ARC of Given – the third book in the series, so of course that meant that i had to start reading from the beginning.  Now though, the question that i have is …..Do i still read the rest of it?  I don’t know.  Knowing me, i’ll tough it out, but let me get into why i’m saying that.

What we have here is a story about Rachael, our leading lady – a girl who has always put others first because of necessity and well, it’s time for her to take control…although that control is taken away from her.  We also have our leading man Merrick – the billionaire CEO of a company that wants Rachael to project manage a renovation of a hotel property that they both seem passionate about.  When we first meet them, it’s during a skype interview of sorts when we see Rachael being drawn into the appeal of Merrick, and he offers her the job based on how much she seems to love the property.

fast forward 3 months and we are in a bar with Rachael and her friend Shannon and she sees a stunningly handsome man walking her way.  He feels familiar yet she doesn’t know why.  Us readers of course connect the dots and know that it’s Merrick, but she’s slow on the uptake.  It’s only after he buys her a drink, she blacks out and wakes up to find herself tied to a bed that she begins to learn that this stranger has taken her and is none other than Merrick.

That’s not really where the story goes wrong for me – it’s the POV and the writing style that does it in for me.  The plot itself has so much potential, but there’s something that just bugs me about the constant ‘you’ reference – like it’s in the 2nd person tense and that we get it at 100% rachael’s POV – but it’s just awkward.

The entire story though is of the 2 of them fighting their attraction from each other or at least Rachael fighting it, all the while working with Merrick to renovate the place and make it what it once was.  There’s a lot of sexual tension among these two, and Rachael keeps pushing him away.

At best, i feel like this story was passable as it was written.  i think that if the style had been better, or the heated scenes at the end just been re-worded, there could have been so much more that could have gone right.  The only thing that i can hope for is what i’ve seen in other series that i’ve been less than thrilled with the intro – that the next installment gets better – by force of the editor or just the author getting her footing a bit more.  we’ll have to see.