Review: Rare and Precious Things (The Blackstone Affair #4) by Raine Miller

Title: Rare and Precious Things
Author:  Raine Miller
Publisher/Year:  Atria Books 2/26/14
Length:   263 Pages
Series:  The Blackstone Affair #4


Fresh from an idyllic honeymoon along the Italian coast, the Blackstones prepare for the birth of their precious baby while facing the challenges of settling into a new home and married life. But when specters from the past resurface, so do their lingering doubts. Fears about those things they struggle to understand about each other, threaten the very foundation of their relationship. 
The story of two souls who both need the other in order to be complete…
A husband and a wife who learn just how rare their love truly is when faced with losing it…
Two lovers who will have to lay bare their darkest fears so that they may find peace… 

“I need you like I need air to breathe. You are my air, Brynne.” -Ethan Blackstone

My Thoughts

Silly me – here i thought that book three was the final one and that this was a trilogy. Whoopsies! What we have instead is a great forth book to this series – seeing how life continues and hoping that things will finally smooth out for this couple. Like that’s really possible.

We’ve left off from the last installment with Ethan and Brynne living somewhat of their happily ever after. Now they are married, they have a baby on the way and life seems like it’s going in the right direction. We know Brynne’s past and she’s trying to cope – especially now that we know her life is no longer in danger. Ethan however still has his nightmares and his ghosts from the past and we’ve yet to truly get to the bottom of it. Are they strong enough of a couple to help each other through the darkness? that’s the biggest question in this forth installment.

Throughout this story, we’re kept in the romantic bubble between these two. Their chemistry continues to be off the chart, but what i would want to be true happiness that brings them together is often a need for pain and a need to hide from pain. They share that – the fact that their past torments them and as a result they cling to each other for survival.

There are several different paths that this next book takes us down. We see at Neil and Elaina’s wedding that the past is now the present with the appearance of Sarah – the wife of a fallen soldier from when Ethan was held captive. That brings so much to the forefront for him, and makes Brynne question her role in life. Sarah makes Brynne uncomfortable and jealous and uncertain, and being pregnant doesn’t help.

Then there’s Lance – he’s reappeared through a trauma of his own and he’s trying to get time with Brynne to iron out the past. There’s so much weighing on Brynne in the sense that she’s wary to listen to him because she doesn’t know his motivations, and she also doesn’t know if it’s healthy for her to let him have a chance.

Add to that yet even more life and death situations, and well we’ve got an exciting finale to this series. Even the best laid plans don’t ensure that we’re going to have a happy ending and when we find ourselves in dire straights again, well, we can only hope that there are angels looking down on this family to be. We can only hope that they’ve built up enough good juju that things will work out on the positive. To learn that – you’ll have to read! Enjoy!

Review: Eyes Wide Open (The Blackstone Affair #3) by Raine Miller

Title: Eyes Wide Open
Author:  Raine Miller
Publisher/Year:  Atria Books 8/20/13
Length:   352 Pages
Series:  The Blackstone Affair #3


Big surprises are on the horizon for Ethan and Brynne as they struggle to adjust to what life has thrown at them.

Demons from the past are threatening to destroy the passionate bond they’ve forged despite their vow that nothing will ever keep them apart. A truly devastating loss coupled with the promise of a new hope opens their eyes to what is most important, but is it possible for the lovers to move on from the painful histories that continue to haunt them? Still lurking in the shadows is a stalker, plotting evil amidst the distraction of the London Olympic Games. Brynne and Ethan are on the cusp of losing everything as the stakes rise. Will they yield to circumstances beyond their control or will they give every ounce of fight they have left to save each other and win the ultimate prize of a life together?

Eyes Wide Open is a passion-wrought story that shows us what pure love can achieve when tested, and what the heart can accomplish, despite danger and adversity.

My Thoughts

We’ve spent quite a bit of time with these characters over the past two installments that it was about time to see how things would play out for them. We know that Ethan’s on edge even more in this third book because it seems like the person who he’s trying to protect Brynne from is getting closer, and he doesn’t know how that’s even possible. How can you protect the woman you love when you don’t know exactly what you’re protecting them from?

This is a deeper installment than the others i think. Our mains are faced with unexpected challenges that truly test their love for one another. We saw Brynne’s secrets revealed and we know what haunts her and what brought her to London, therefore prompting the need for Ethan to protect her. We knew that Ethan was tormented by something from his time in the military but it takes much of this third book to find out exactly what. He’s not overly excited to share that part of his life with Brynne or anyone but he finds that he has no choice.

Add to that some relationship changing moments that come along and you can imagine that if we had a roller coaster before, we would have an inverted free falling coaster now. There are deaths that are unexpected, deaths that we wished would happen, friendships and bonds strengthening and some interesting moments of chance that come up to keep us engaged.

True to form of what we’ve seen in the previous two books, the scenes between Ethan and Brynne are constantly intense. If they aren’t pushing each other physically and emotionally at all times, they are also pushing each other mentally and that’s something that they both need. The romance and passion that comes from that as well takes us to another higher level and it’s hot and flaming throughout the story. They use each other as a means to escape how they feel inside and they use each other because of the connection that they share.

Some of the supporting characters take on important roles here, Jonathan, Ethan’s father surprisingly comes to save the day at one point. Brynne’s Aunt Marie surprises us in another way. Gaby and Ethan’s cousin Ivan are another duo that have a nice bit to add to the story as are Hannah and Freddy (Ethan’s sister and brother in law). So all in all, much to be read here in this third story and so much brings us a conclusion that we want and at one point truly expect. I hope you guys enjoy this one and pick it up!

Review: All In (The Blackstone Affair #2) by Raine Miller

Title: All In
Author:  Raine Miller
Publisher/Year:  Atria Books 6/25/13
Length:   227 Pages
Series:  The Blackstone Affair #2


Ethan Blackstone has a problem on his hands. He’s broken Brynne’s trust and she’s left him. He’s unwilling to live without her and isn’t giving up—he’s dead-set on getting his beautiful American girl back. The passion between them was explosive, but the secrets they hid from each other are dark and chilling and are powerful enough to destroy their shot at a life together. With political threats now directed at Brynne, Ethan is running out of time and will need to gather all his strength and agility to protect her from the dangers that could take her away from him forever. Will Ethan be able to save Brynne from a past that keeps her locked in fear? Will he ever feel the warmth of her touch, the solidity of her trust again? This is a lovestruck man who is willing to do whatever it takes to possess the heart of the woman he loves. He’ll go to any lengths to protect her. He’ll go all in. Here is the fiery story of what happens when two people surrender to a love so great it can heal the scars of the past and give way to a life of pure, rapturous ecstasy.

My Thoughts

I was really intrigued by where we were left off in the first book that I honestly couldn’t wait to get right back into this second installment. This story is getting more and more complex, as we learn about Brynne’s secret, and how Ethan has to come back from withholding information from her. As the reader, we know that the first few bits of this story will be emotionally taxing, and explosive all at the same time. It’s in stories and scenarios like these where our alpha males are taken down a few notches and fall off their pedestals when they have to atone for not being honest entirely and that’s what Ethan’s forced to do.

Brynne needs to feel safe and secure – that’s one of the biggest things that she’s made into a non negotiable coming out of what she endured as a teen, and that’s what she thought she found with Ethan. It’s nice to see that both she and Ethan quickly come to their senses and figure out how to listen to one another for what they truly need, especially since they both know that there’s something bigger at stake – not just love, while that big in itself, but true need for safety.

This installment has two paths, one that’s in the single minded goal of keeping tabs on Brynne for her safety, while not truly knowing which direction a threat will come, while also watching Ethan and Brynne build their lives together. If we focus on the relationship piece first, we have to acknowledge that it’s uncharted territory for them, figuring out how to be together, blend their lives and be open to the people who come in and out. It’s tough for both to accept certain things and that adds to the entertainment factor that we get with this book.

Then we have to ground ourselves once again in the reason that Ethan is in this story – that he’s protecting Brynne from various directions. we spend much of the story really waiting for something to happen, until it does, and then we’re at a loss for who’s behind it, what it means, what the immediate threat is and what the resolution will be. We’re left on the edge of our seats waiting for clarity and things to be revealed and that means that i must dive right into book three now so i can figure it out. Enjoy!

Review: Naked (The Blackstone Affair #1) by Raine Miller

Title: Naked
Author:  Raine Miller
Publisher/Year:  Atria Books 5/14/13
Length:   164 Pages
Series:  The Blackstone Affair #1


Naked desire. Secret satisfaction. An affair you’ll never forget.

Brynne Bennett has left scandal in her past and is living the good life. An American grad student at the University of London and part-time photographic model, she’s getting back on track with lots of hard work and focus on a career in art conservation. When London businessman Ethan Blackstone buys her nude portrait, he wants to possess more than just her image. He wants Brynne in his bed, serving him in every way possible. He has no trouble voicing his desires, and he isn’t taking no for an answer.

At first his dominant nature captivates her, but it isn’t clear if the force of his powerful desire will ultimately awaken or dispel the demons Brynne is carrying inside. There are secrets on both sides of this relationship—huge ones. Can Ethan erase the scars of Brynne’s past so that she can reveal her true self to him? Or will the shadows cast by Ethan’s own mysterious former life destroy their chance at happiness?

Naked is the sizzling, unforgettable story of what happens when a strong woman meets the one man powerful enough to strip away all her defenses, leaving her standing naked and perfect before him.

My Thoughts

I feel like i’m often at a loss to find something to read from my favorite authors since i have make my way through their portfolios through the years so it’s time that i open my list to a few new ones.  Thank you Listopia over at Goodreads for giving me some new inspiration.

With this book, i read the reviews first and they were mixed, but i like to form my own opinion.  I think that i’m in the middle of how folks felt and let me tell you why.  The summary in the overview doesn’t quite do the story justice.  There’s so much more to it and i think that perhaps we miss out on the whole set up for things.

Brynne is an art student living in London, but there’s something in her past that she’s run from that we don’t quite understand yet.  She’s from the states, and something terrible happened which caused her both to leave the US and to seek the help of a therapist to cope, and there are teases of what that could be but it’s yet to be spelled out.  When circumstances change in the US and someone powerful gains recognition, we quickly learn that this could put Brynne’s safety at risk and that’s where Ethan comes into the picture.

Ethan, British and powerful, also the owner of his own security firm, and an acquaintance of Brynne’s father, so a quick call to make in the hopes of ensuring her safety.  What happens though is that Ethan’s drawn to her for more than just a job and that spells trouble.

We’re quickly pulled into a romance here with Ethan’s true domination side coming out.  He wants / needs control in everything and that means over Brynne.  Not just because he’s paid to protect her but because he wants her in a way that he can’t understand.  Brynne however has fought for control for so long – she suffered from something six years earlier and control is the only way that she can survive.

So for the rest of this first installment, we see how things grown between them, how they work to find compromise while fighting each other every step of the way.  Ethan puts Neil a bodyguard on her tail and she discovers this before he has time to tell her.  Then there’s the phone conversation with her father where she reveals that she’s dating Ethan, and you can only imagine what ensues afterwards because he’s supposed to be protecting her…..and that’s where we are left at the end of this book.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this author since this is the first writing that i’ve read.  I think there were moments of great depth and intrigue which kept me going, but there were also moments where i just wanted to skim through pages since i was losing interest in the conversation.  The upshot though was that there were some fairly steaming and romantic scenes between our mains, and that’s what tends to carry books in this genre through.  The cliff that we’re left on at the end of the book makes me all that more interested to see what happens, so now i’m off to find book 2 of this series.  Enjoy!