Review: Private Property (Rochester Trilogy #1) by Skye Warren

TitlePrivate Property
Author: Skye Warren
Publisher/Year:  Amber Shah 3/9/21
Length:  282 pages
Series: Rochester Trilogy #1

Overview

When I signed up for the nanny agency, I didn’t expect a remote mansion on a windswept isle. Or a brooding billionaire who resents his new role. His brother’s death means he’s now in charge of a moody seven year old girl. She’s lashing out at the world, but I can handle her. I have to. I need the money to finish my college degree. As long as I can avoid the boss who alternately mocks me and coaxes me to reveal my darkest secrets.

My Thoughts

What we get in this summary doesn’t even scratch the surface of the story that we have embarked on. It’s one that is as moody and broody as the Maine island that they live on, and because of that emotion, we get something that’s intense.

True to form, we have Jane Mendoza, our leading lady in this story – a nineteen year old from Texas who has lived a tough tough life in the foster system, and now wants something better for her future. She’s bounced from house to house, and she’s trying to make her way to college, and to do so she needs money. So she gets a job as a live in nanny and boy is she clueless to what her life will be.

Enter Beau Rochester – a man who made his fortune forming a shipping company that earned him billions. While Jane doesn’t know who he is, he clues us into his past – how he was a playboy and a very bad guy. someone who played too hard after working hard and that is something that we watch him deal with even in this story.

As the summary stated, we’re in Maine after Beau’s brother and SIL pass away in an accident and he’s left to watch over Paige – their daughter. She’s young and dealing with the trauma in a way that he doesn’t know how to cope and so he’s hired Jane to help.

The journey that we go on here is one that’s quite complex but really intense and enjoyable. We watch how the trauma of the past turns into something that sustains life now, with hope for the future (at least for some). We watch how trust is something that has to be earned, but when that’s done, there’s such great success and prize from it. We watch how Jane grows into the woman that she should have been if she didn’t deal with all the loss from her past, and how Beau is someone who could potentially give her security even though he’s not the person to be in her future. There’s discovery of sexuality and what makes you feel wanted and safe, all while realizing that what is good for someone in the now is a response to things that happened in the past.

There’s are some entertaining side scenes that happen in this one. We watch how Beau’s world is introduced to Jane and the impact of that. He’s got friends who are actors, models, all wealthy and from another world. We see how the wide eyes of a nineteen year hold from Texas deals with that, and how jealousy and temptation all play into those scenes. We learn about the ghosts from the past and how they haunt several people’s dreams, and wonder if those ghosts aren’t quite dead yet.

Just when we feel things start to settle, and a rhythm comes into their routine, there’s a fire and all is lost. not just possessions but likely lives too. we have to wonder what this means for our characters and for the progress of our story. I fear for the life and future of our mains, and i’m sure that’s the Intention so that the reader has to quickly jump into the next one. I’ve just picked up book 2 and off I go! Enjoy!

Review: Fatal Marriage (Wedlocked #3) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleFatal Marriage
Author: Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 5/19/20
Length:  186 pages
Series: Wedlocked Trilogy #3

Overview

I was forced into this marriage to save my father’s life and our family’s empire, but my husband has other plans. 

He wants to sell Tate Media for parts and make himself billions in the process. 

The only way I can stop him is to expose his not-so-secret life. 

Franklin Parks is a monster. We have all heard the rumors, but anyone who has dared to stand up to him has been silenced. Now, it’s my turn. 

He is protected by all of the rich and powerful because he protects their secrets in return. 

There’s only person I can trust: Henry Asher, the love of my life. 

I shouldn’t get him involved. It’s too dangerous, but we can’t stay away from each other. 

Can I escape my marriage and save my legacy or will I lose everything and everyone I love in the process?

My Thoughts

Finally we get to the final installment of this series, and it hasn’t come a moment too soon. While I enjoy the idea of what this story has to tell us, it’s not one of my ultimate favs so i’m glad that we’ve resolved things and moved on.

There’s been a lot of drama throughout this series, with Aurora being forced into a situation that isn’t fair to her, and yet the she still feels the need to ‘do the right thing’ since she knows that there’s so much more going on that she’s not aware of.

We spend our time in a few different plot lines.

There’s the one where the marriage is a thing now – she’s stuck with Franklin and she needs to make that her new normal. She’s able to keep him at arms length because she just doesn’t trust him, and she’s got plenty of reasons. She find that he’s cheating on her, walking in on 2 different women with him, and he uses the excuse that since she won’t sleep with him, he has to get it somewhere else.

Then there’s the plot line of Henry and Aurora. They can’t stay away from each other and stop trying. What they have is something real, and once they realized that Franklin was trying to keep them apart, they stop caring and let things take them where they need to go. It’s hot and steamy and yet dangerous at the same time, since for some reason Franklin always knows where she is and this gets dicey.

Add to that, we see a side of Franklin that we didn’t expect. Two actually. There are moments where we actually like frankln – he has these tender and sweet moments and we watch how Aurora wonders if she’s gotten him all wrong. If there’s something worth saving in their ‘relationship’. And then there are the moments that are completely opposite – where he’s hit her and slapped her and then we know that he’s truly evil. How evil? we don’t find out until later.

There are rumors that he’s involved in something that’s quite illegal. They set up a sting and hope that they can catch him without getting caught, and what they find is so much worse. What this does though is takes us on a fast trip to the end of the story.

We lose faith in family and we find hope in the future and what happens to get us to the end of this story makes spending time with these characters worth while. So, on that note, happy to be finished with this series and excited to find something else to read. Enjoy!

Blog Tour – Next Stop: Digging Up Love by Chandra Blumberg

Hello friends! I hope everyone’s had a lovely New Years and that you’re all staying healthy! It’s hard these days! Today’s blog tour is a bit of an expanded one with lots of goodies so please make sure to read through! We have an Interview with our amazing DEBUT author Chandra, an excerpt from her new book Digging Up Love, and a GIVEAWAY!

As a debut author, what are some things readers should know about you?

I was born in Michigan and moved to the Chicago area shortly after college. I’m the mom of four amazing children. I love to bake and I’m always on the lookout for new recipes to try, and though they often turn out less-than Pinterest-worthy, my baked goods almost always taste great.

Lifting weights is another one of my passions. I enjoy the physical challenge and the boost from achieving new goals. I also love to travel and explore, whether it be other countries or nearby towns. One of my greatest joys is finding new places to visit and experience for the first time.

And of course, I love to read! I devour books from a wide variety of genres, from science fiction to mystery, historical fiction to fantasy, but romance captured my heart and never let go.

Describe your novel Digging Up Love in just one sentence.

A commitment-phobic baker who plans to escape small-town life for Chicago hits a roadblock when an enormous dinosaur bone is unearthed in her backyard, and she falls hard for the paleontologist sent to excavate.

Including dinosaurs as a major part of the plot is unique in a romance novel. What inspired you to include dinosaurs (or at least their bones) in your story?

My kids love learning about dinosaurs, so between books, shows, movies, and time spent visiting museums to see fossils, dinosaurs have been a big part of my life for awhile now, and that might be part of what sparked the idea. Plus, I’ve been a fan of Jurassic Park since I was a kid, and I thought it would be really fun to write a romance with a paleontologist love interest.

As I was drafting the novel, I remembered reading a news article about mammoth bones turning up on a farmer’s property in my home state of Michigan, and I thought: what if it had been a dinosaur bone? There haven’t been any dinosaur fossils discovered in most of the Midwest, so that offered a lot of possibilities to explore.

Was there a moment when Quentin and Alisha’s story really came to life for you?

I wrote a sketch of a scene where a woman was on a date with a paleontologist at the Field Museum in Chicago. He was super enthusiastic about showing her the fossils, and they had this flirty, fun dynamic with a lot of banter. There was immediate chemistry, and I wanted to dive deeper into their story. At one point in the scene, the woman tripped, and her response was, “Whoopsie-daisy.” So I had this young woman who was using this sort of old-school exclamation, and I thought, why would she say that? Well, maybe she was raised by her grandparents. And the story evolved from there.

Was there a time during the writing process that you were really surprised by the story or your characters?

I was sharing an early draft of the story with critique partners and one of them mentioned how Quentin was a paleontologist like Ross from Friends, and my reaction was total shock. I used to love watching Friends, but for some reason—maybe my age at the time I watched it—even though Ross was one of my favorite characters, I had no idea what he did for a living. I decided to include my reaction into the book, because how could I not? Ross is such an iconic character, and here I had totally blanked on another paleontologist in pop culture.

Digging Up Love is very much a small-town romance, but it also includes scenes in Chicago. What made you choose to include both settings in your novel?

I knew I wanted a city-meets-country love story because it offers so many interesting and fun dynamics. Since I grew up in a fairly rural community and participated in the county fair, 4-H, horseback riding, and so on, I had that experience to draw from. I also enjoy living in the Chicago area immensely and wanted to incorporate elements of the city as well.

What do you most want readers to take away from reading Digging Up Love?

First and foremost, a happily-ever-after. While this book delves into some deep issues, this is Alisha and Quentin’s love story, and I want to leave readers with all the swoony feels! I hope to tug on readers’ heartstrings and make them laugh in the next moment. I also wanted to depict a heroine who is unapologetically into lifting heavy weights, and to include body positivity in the narrative. I hope the sense of love, both romantic and in relationships with family and friends, comes through in this story. Ultimately, this is a book about finding joy and the person who makes you feel happy and fully loved.

***

About forty yards behind the house, Mrs. S sat on her trusty motorized steed. Granny stood next to her, the top of her blonde bob a good foot shy of the reflective orange safety flag jutting up out of the back of the seat. 

Opposite the women, a backhoe perched motionless on the edge of the crater like a mechanical gargoyle, motor silent. Granny was holding a whispered conference with Mrs. Snyder, doused in her trademark rose-scented perfume so strong it could penetrate a gas mask. 

Alisha slinked up to the women like an uninvited guest at a funeral. She couldn’t help but address them in a hushed tone. “Hi, ladies.” 

Mrs. Snyder let out an almighty yelp and revved her engine. The scooter lurched forward toward the edge of the hole. Alisha dove for the kill switch, and Granny wrapped both arms around her friend’s ample waist, the heels of her Wellington boots making furrows in the grass. The scooter skidded to a halt like a clown car dumping its occupants at center stage. 

Alisha collapsed on her knees, panting. “So sorry, Mrs. S!” 

“Janet.” Fanning her flushed face, she leveled a beady gaze at Alisha. “If I’ve told you once, I told you a thousand times. Call me Janet.” She adjusted one of her clip-on earrings, blue-veined hand trembling. “‘Mrs. S’ makes me feel about a thousand years old.” 

Alisha nodded just to pacify her. The switch would be impossible. Mrs. Snyder was Hawksburg’s answer to Mr. Feeny: a seventh-grade math teacher, religious ed catechist, and after retirement, a high school substitute teacher. No sense in arguing, though. 

She pushed off the freezing ground and turned to Granny. “What’s this I hear about a skeleton in our new swimming pool?” 

Pulling the sides of her coat around herself, her grandma said, “I was gonna tell you when you got home, sweetie. But you never get much time to yourself. I didn’t want to interrupt your visit with Simone. And I doubt it’s anything. Janet just said we should be sure.” 

Surprise, surprise. Mrs. Snyder had called in the professionals, not Granny. 

“I’m sure we’ll have this whole thing resolved today.” Granny patted her arm in reassurance. 

Alisha relaxed a bit at her grandma’s touch. The Blake women looked nothing alike. Her grandma was a fine-boned peroxide blonde and fair as winter moonlight. But temperament wise, they were a match. If Granny wasn’t fussed, everything would be fine. But still . . . 

“So there is a bone?” 

Granny nodded. “A big one. See for yourself.” 

Obediently, Alisha took a step forward to peer down into the pit. The man—and it was a man, after all—crouched in the mud, squinting against a battered digital camera, wasn’t wearing the khaki uniform she’d expected. 

Instead, a dark-gray zip-up hoodie showed the curve of strong biceps and wide shoulders. He sat on his haunches in worn-in jeans and brown work boots. A cobalt-blue beanie was pulled down over his ears, accentuating the line of a straight, clean-shaven jaw. Definitely not middle aged either. 

This was fine. Totally fine. Well, he was fine, that much was certain. 

Keep it together, Alisha. 

No worries. She tugged at her cropped leather jacket. She was perfectly capable of sending a fit young scientist packing. 

Just then, he rested the camera on his thigh and looked up at them through the snow, his gaze as dazzling as a burst of sunshine after a storm. 

Alisha’s knees almost gave way. Up until this moment, she would’ve put weak knees right up there with Bigfoot in the realm of myth. But the man’s electric gray-green eyes short-circuited her nerve endings and left her legs wobbly as Bambi. 

He pulled his full lips to the side, gaze unfocused, clearly deep in thought. Then he dropped those striking eyes to the ground and stood up, rubbing a hand absently along his chiseled jaw. Her stomach turned itself inside out. It wasn’t every day she encountered a man who looked like her fantasies incarnate. But the biting wind and snowflakes swirling through the air hit her like a bucket of ice water. Not a daydream, then. Which begged the question, What to do now? 

The textbook definition of a sexy scientist stood a few feet away, smack-dab in the middle of her grandparents’ future swimming pool. Chills that had nothing to do with the freezing temps collided with the heated flush of a heart gone into hyperdrive. A magnetic tug drew her a step closer, vying with a hysterical urge to turn tail and run. 

Heavens to Betsy, cool it, Blake. 

Without another thought, Alisha took a breath and jumped into the deep end.

***

About the Book

Title: Digging Up Love

Author: Chandra Blumberg

Release Date: January 1, 2022

Series: Taste of Love, Book 1

Summary

Alisha Blake works her magic in the kitchen, creating delectable desserts for her grandfather’s restaurant in rural Illinois. Though Alisha relishes the close relationship she has with her family, she can’t help but dream about opening a cookie shop in Chicago. She may be a small-town baker, but Alisha has big ambitions.

Then a dinosaur bone turns up in her grandparents’ backyard. When paleontologist Quentin Harris arrives to see the discovery for himself, he’s hoping that the fossil will distract him from a recent painful breakup. Instead, he finds Alisha—and sparks fly. The big-city academic and the hometown baker seem destined for a happily ever after.

But Alisha is scared to fall in love. And Quentin’s trying to make a name for himself in a competitive field, which gets even more complicated when the press shows up at the dig site. For love to prevail, the two may have to put old bones aside—and focus on the future.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Digging-Up-Love-Chandra-Blumberg-ebook/dp/B092J5RTX2 

Social Media Links

Website: https://chandrablumberg.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chandrablumberg.author 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chandrablumberg/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/chandrablumberg 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21413895.Chandra_Blumberg 

Rafflecopter Giveaway. click HERE for your chance to win an Amazon Gift Card and a digital copy of the book!

Review: Lethal Wedding (Wedlocked #2) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleLethal Wedding
Author: Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 4/14/20
Length:  175 pages
Series: Wedlocked Trilogy #2

Overview

To save my father’s life and our family’s legacy, I have to marry a cruel man who wants me only as a trophy.

I thought Franklin Parks was a bad man before, but now I know he’s a monster.

To survive, I will have to beat him at his own game. But then Henry Asher, my one and only love, comes back into my life and things get a lot more complicated.

Franklin is not only my fiancé but also Henry’s boss, and he will stop at nothing to get everything he wants…

Henry Asher

I was a fool to let her go. Now, I’ll have to do everything to get her back…

Aurora never thought I could be a rich dirtbag who would do anything to get what he wants but I am proving her wrong.

To help her, I had to teach myself a few things.

To protect her, I had to become my worst enemy.

To save her, I will have to do the unthinkable.

The problem is that she doesn’t want saving. She has her own plans. But the wedding is approaching and time is running out…

My Thoughts

This sad sad story continues and we’re about to see things get not only more complicated but worse. for everyone involved.

So we know that in the end of book 1, the proverbial shit hit the fan when Tate Media was on the verge of despair. Aurora’s father was arrested, and had a heart attack and her mother blames it all on her because she wasn’t willing or eager to marry Franklin. When she realizes that she’s truly got no other choice since it’s not just her family’s livelihood at stake, but everyone who’s worked at the company for years, she has no choice and does what she needs to.

this second installment of this series spends much of our time wondering what’s truly at the core of what’s going on with our characters and what that means in the long run. We know that Franklin is well connected and it comes to our attention that it’s likely not in all the most savory ways as well. Then there’s the fact that Aurora isn’t being true to herself at all, and there’s only so much she’s willing to compromise on her beliefs and her self worth.

Then there’s Henry. He’s in various cities/states working on his podcast and he’s still not willing to let Aurora go. He knows that what happened wasn’t something that he wanted, breaking up with her wasn’t the right move, and then when the news of the engagement to his boss comes up – that forces him to take pause even more since things just don’t add up. Add to that, his mother is incredibly sick and didn’t let him know, so that’s an underlying story for him to cope with.

We go around and around in circles in this story – wondering what it’s going to take for Aurora to either marry Franklin or walk away to deal with the consequences. We don’t know how it’s going to end up, but we know that we’ll likely uncover so many secrets that will turn this series on it’s head again. When we leave off, there are things revealed, and alliances that are formed that we wonder what the ultimate end goal will be. So that means that I of course have to read the next book and so off I go to see this series resolve. Enjoy!

Review: Dangerous Engagement (Wedlocked Trilogy #1) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleDangerous Engagement
Author: Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 3/17/20
Length:  310 pages
Series: Wedlocked Trilogy #1

Overview

Not long ago, there was nothing I couldn’t have. Now, I don’t even have the choice of whom to marry.

To save my father’s life and our family’s legacy, I have to marry a cruel man who wants me only as a trophy.

Henry Asher was just supposed to be a summer fling, but we fell in love. We thought we would be together forever, but life got in the way. After we broke up, I vowed to never tell Henry the truth about my engagement.

What happens when the lies that were supposed to save me start to drown me?

Henry Asher

I didn’t always have wealth or power. There was even a time when I didn’t want any of that.

Then I met her: Aurora Tate is an heiress to a billion-dollar fortune. She grew up on Park Avenue, had a house in the Hamptons and skied in Aspen. Our first summer together was magical. We were naive enough to think that love was going to be enough.

Now, she’s forced to marry a man she hates to save her father’s life.

To get her back and to make her my wife, I need to become the man she needs me to be.

Can I do it in time?

My Thoughts

The summary doesn’t really do this story justice since it makes you think that we’re going to go in one direction and we go in another. Yes, Aurora and Henry are our leading characters, but they have a very complicated way that they came together and how their relationship progressed.

Aurora is the heiress to the Tate Media empire – a company that was started by her parents, and hopefully would go to her, yet she’s got a different hankering in life, although she doesn’t know what that is. She’s been raised in a life of privilege but that’s not who she is – she struggles to relate to what her friends in that world enjoy and that’s something that Henry alleviates for her.

Enter Henry – a guy who’s working on her father’s boat, but someone that changes her world in an unexpected way. After one meeting at the pool, that continues on to a date and overnight stay, well, Aurorat’s entire path of life has changed. While she’ still following the path of her PhD she’s got a romance that consumes her.

Sadly, that’s not a romance that her family will agree to given the world that they live in. Henry meets her parents, and makes a decent impression, but it’s not an impression that gives them fait that he’s the man for her. He doesn’t have a long term goal, and he’s not able to provide for the kind of life that Aurora is accustomed to, but she’s not willing to listen to reason.

So this first installment takes us on the journey of watching them try to become what they think they could be, yet find all of the obstacles in life taking bits of their enjoyment and romance away. Aurora’s mother gives her an ultimatum which she’s not willing to agree to and stays with Henry. They move to Henry’s apartment which isn’t ideal, and then Henry loses his job. Which means they lose their apartment since it’s subsidized by his job. So their life is in turmoil.

Enter Auroria’s parents, and we see that things are always able to get more complex. There are workings under the radar here – and while they seem to offer a solution to their worries, what happens in the unexpected. They offer Henry a way to get a job now that he’s unemployed, and at the same time, they give Aurora back her apartment. what happens though is the following.

  1. he gets the job, but they grow apart
  2. she gets her PhD but wonders why no one cares
  3. She’s set up with a man that is now employed by Tate Media, and while he’s a predator on her, she’s forced to endure

so we’re left at the end of this story with a romance turned sour, a family in ruins, and the unknown of an arrangement without consent. So of course I have to read on to see where this one goes and how it plays out. On that note, i’m off to the 2nd book since I cannot go to bed without seeing what happens next. Enjoy!

Review: Dark Inheritance (Dark Temptations #5) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleDark Inheritance
Author: Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 12/26/21
Length:  190 Pages
Series: Dark Intentions #5

Overview

Now that all of our secrets are out in the open, we must live with the choices we made and the truth of who we really are.

Jacqueline has found out the truth about her brother, the secret that I vowed to never reveal. She wants to see him again and doesn’t care that it will endanger not only her life but all of ours.

The thing that I have feared has happened. The worst of the worst men are after us and they only have one goal: to take our lives.

It’s time to RUN.
Darkness descends. Yet hope remains.

The danger that I tried to keep at bay this whole time has come for us with a vengeance.
Will we ever have a happily ever after or will our life together (what’s possibly left of it) continue to teeter on the edge?

My Thoughts

We left book four in the parking garage of the hospital, Lincoln and Marguarite were waiting the impending birth of their baby, Jacqueline and Marguarite were threatened by assassins who were were trying to kill off the entire family since they were in one place, but the girls were able to pay them off a million dollars for them to go away. What happens next though to end the book is crazy. There’s a shooting in the parking garage and it’s Dante’s father who’s in dire straights.

Book five takes us a bit into the future, everyone has scattered around so that there’s no way to get the entire family together anymore. Lincoln and Marguarite are in North Carolina trying to make their life work there. Dante is still always on the road for work – he’s gone around the world and finds his way to various family members to check on them from time to time. Jacqueline, her mother and Michael (who’s now really alive) are in Boston – although Jacqueline lives on her own there – away from her mom and brother. Dante learns that his mother is in Mexico, with his father and that is unsettling in itself.

Jacquline continues to be our focus, watching how she’s reinventing herself as a writer – going back to school and trying to make her life into something worthwhile. She of course misses Dante but doesn’t know if their future is ever meant to be together. When she learns that Michael is in touch with him and that they have plans to meet, that’s something that she’s got to hold on to and we watch how that has the potential to implode – with Jacquline going against what’s smart and tagging along on that trip.

The reason for the trip -a need to take out all the people who have a hit on the family so that they can live their lives more freely. It’s something that they all want since they miss aspects of what they had, friends, comfort, jobs etc. But the outcome here is nothing at all what we expect and yet we should have expected it all along.

There’s another story line happening at the same time – Allison and her fiance are still in their bubble until a plane crash changes the trajectory of things. There’s a small plane crash that happens off of Cape Cod and there are 2 people on that plane that make us take pause. One is her Fiance’s best friend – a man that he’s known for ever, had as a manager, and now who’s passed. The impact that the death has on their relationship is one that has miserable intentions. while initially they cling to each other for support, they find that they are slowly losing the spark and the need to have something with each other. Instead, Richard finds solace with his deceased friends wife, a woman that he had feelings for all those years ago, and it results in an affair. When the affair is uncovered, there are threats made to Jacqueline for her own safety and that leaves an uncertain future all around.

Then there’s the dark underbelly of this story. We know that the family wants to kill all those that have a hit on them, but it’s easier said than done. Dante has a plan that no one wants to listen to, and then there’s a plan that they can’t walk away from once they realize that their safety bubble spread out around the world isn’t so safe. What happens when they corner the assassins, well that’s an entirely different twist of fate, and not everyone that we’ve grown close to in this series makes it out alive.

So, what we end up with in this series finale is closure for sure, a glimpse into the future in some cases, and a curiosity of whether anyone is ever safe and what the motivations are for that. So, on that note, if you haven’t read this story yet, you should (esp since I didn’t realize that book 5 literally just came out days ago), and now i’m off to another cast of characters to enjoy.

Review: Dark Temptations (Dark Intentions #4) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleDark Temptations
Author: Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 9/20/21
Length:  180 Pages
Series: Dark Intentions #4

Overview

I pushed her away to keep my secrets to myself. What I don’t yet know is that her life is already in danger.
I have so many regrets. If we had never met, she’d be safe now.
Some love stories are a slow burn. Ours was quick to ignite, scorching and branding our souls before we’ve even taken that first breath.

From bestselling author Charlotte Byrd comes an intense romance about debts, lies and secrets and the extent to which people go for love.

Everything around me blurred and all that existed were his lips, his touch… 
The chase and the heat between us became addictive.
Our nights together were a distraction; one we craved to the point of letting the world crumble around us.
We should have paid attention; we should have known that it would come to this.
We both knew it couldn’t last, but that didn’t change what we desired most. 
All we wanted was each other…

My Thoughts

What a roller coaster we’ve been on in this series and I actually thought that it was the final installment, NOPE! thank goodness because get so much more complicated in this 4th installment. there’s so much uncertainty around just about everything in this story. We watch as Jacqueline tries to dig into the truth around her brother’s death, and comes to the realization that her brother isn’t dead – so that means that there’s more to the story than anyone knows, and when she learns that Dante not only knows her brother, but knows more about what was going on, well…..the story gets deep!

There’s the side story around Dante, Lincoln and their father – how he’s roped them back into the profession and life that they tried so hard to get away from, and what happens isn’t the outcome that they needed. Instead, they are all put more at risk and that means that the flow of this story is going to be one filled with risk and angst.

There are many things that happen in this story that make you wonder who’s on the up and up. There are things that the police detective does and says that gives me pause because I feel like he shouldn’t have access to things that he does, and Jacqueline’s friend Allison makes the same point, but nothing comes of it. On the other hand, we keep learning more and more things about the past, about what Jacqueline’s mother knew about Michael’s life before he ‘died’ and how they all kept her Jacqueline in the dark.

So we spend the entirety of this story back on the east coast, away from Vasko and that initial goal, and on a roller coaster of emotions. It seems like there’s no bridge that can be built to bring Dante and Jacqueline together, yet through a series of unfortunate events, they are pushed together for an uncertain amount of time.

There’s heat and passion, hatred and emotion. An attempt on a life, the impending entry of a new life and a gun battle. We don’t know what that all means for the future, and we know that plans have to be devised but whatever we thought could happen for their safety is blown out the window in the last scene of this book. So on that note, while I was going to take a break from this series, i’m now going to read book 5 and see what happens. Enjoy!

Review: Because I Can (Necklace Trilogy #2) by Lisa Renee Jones

TitleBecause I Can
Author: Lisa Renee Jones
Publisher/Year:  Julie Patra Publishing 12/14/21
Length:  200 Pages
Series: Necklace Trilogy #2

Overview

To the world, Dash Black is famous, wealthy, wildly good-looking, and intriguing. To say that he came into my life and shook my world is an understatement. He looked into my eyes and I swear our souls connected, but then, I saw what no one else was ever allowed to see. I saw a complicated man with secrets, a man who hides behind a persona that tells only part of his story. And ultimately, I felt his pain and he felt mine. He told me I belonged with him. I believed I did. But in the book of life, the pages don’t turn with a simple flip of a sheet of paper. In life, sometimes the page won’t turn. Sometimes we discover that what is right is more terrifying than what is wrong.

I love Dash Black, but he terrifies me.
I believe he feels the same about me.
And I’m not sure where that leaves us or what comes next.

My Thoughts

We left book one in a very scary moment for our leading lady Allie. She’s hiding in the wine cellar of the house that she’s staying in (which Tyler her ‘boss’ owns) and someone has disarmed the alarm and is in her house. The lights have gone out and she hears steps above her. To make matters worse, she’s not able to call 911 and she’s had a fight with Dash because of his self destructive behavior so she’s basically on her own. Until she’s not.

Thankfully Dash comes to her rescue and she can leave the house unscathed. What we don’t know is who the intruder was or what they wanted, but as a result of this scary moment, Dash and Allie are on more sturdy ground and they go back to his apartment together.

This second installment is about obsession. That’s really the only way that I can level set here. Allie is obsessed with finding Allison, the girl that’s gone missing that has put her in this new world in Nashville. Dash is obsessed with Allie and while it seems like a great thing at times (their chemistry is off the charts) we know that they both have such troubled pasts that there’s no way that it can work out. Then there’s Tyler who’s obsessed with bringing Dash down, and as this story goes, we learn of others who have similar motivations.

While all this insanity is going on, we watch a few great things happen. We see Allie thrive in her role pulling together a winning auction, however it means that she has to come to terms with what that means for her future at RipTide. We watch the relationship between Dash’s sister and Allie grow, and we see how Allie’s mother grows to appreciate Dash as well.

On the flip side we see what Allie’s past can do to haunt these two, with her ex fiance scheming a way into her life in a bad way. All the progress that’s been made throughout this story with obsessing over what happened to Allison, what that means for Allie and what the future holds if and when they find her is nullified at the very end through a series of unfortunate events.

There’s heat and passion throughout this story that keeps us intrigued and there are mysteries that we only get hints to and not full clear insights to carry us to to the finale. If you’ve read In and Out by LRJ, then you know that there’s not always a happy ending with the missing person, and I fear that’s what we’re going to find in this series as well. I”m positive that one of the men that we’ve met is the one that made her feel like she had to disappear, and I am pretty sure that i’ve guessed it. What I wonder though is the motivation given that there seem to be so many men that care about her.

Thankfully we only have to wait until next month to see how this all resolves, but I will say that the sexual tension here was enough to keep a reader engaged, but I wonder if it’s enough to keep the couple together. Dash and Allie know what they’re capable of, but don’t trust each other enough to see it play out. Hopefully identifying who sent the necklace and why he needs to be forgiven will not only lead us to Allison, but to a happy ending as well. Enjoy!

Review: Dark Sins (Dark Intentions #3) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleDark Sins
Author: Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 8/13/21
Length:  190 Pages
Series: Dark Intentions #3

Overview

When I saved her mother’s life, I didn’t do it with my own money. I took out a debt. Now I have to go back to my old life. 

I have certain skills that people are willing to pay a lot of money for. 
Everything has a price, and Jacqueline was worth it.
But what happens when I make mistakes? What happens when the debt I have to pay becomes too great and the darkness that envelops me becomes too much?

A letter arrives. 
It was not an accident. It was murder. 
But who did it? Why? 
The cops think it’s a false lead. There’s no other evidence, but I have to do everything to find out the truth. 
My brother’s death is no longer a tragedy to get over, but a wrong to put right. It becomes my obsession. 
What happens when I start to uncover the lies?

My Thoughts

These characters are digging themselves into far more holes than anyone could even imagine and there are parts to this story that we are still in the dark about. We ended the last book with the idea that Michael’s death wasn’t an accident and we somehow know that Dante was involved, so….this book we hope to get resolution. Well, we do not, but I guess that’s how an author keeps us engaged for the next book!

This third book is a ROLLER COASTER of emotions. We watch how Dante and Jacqueline get closer and how they find their rhythm. And at the same time we know the other shoe will drop. We watch how Jacqueline finds her footing as a woman with a motivation. She’s trying to get a job, she’s back at school, and she’s trying to move on with her life. She and her re-roommate Allison get closer together and have found their own way to make like into something new and great. They end up on a weekend trip to the Hamptons that changes their lives yet again.

Allison find a man that redirects her trajectory and everyone’s skeptical of what this means. We don’t know this man and we don’t know what it’s going to mean for her in the future. Then we see Jacqueline and Dante reunite after going their separate ways, and we see what that means as well. Do they find themselves back in a place where they are happy or are there too many lies between them to get back on track?

Well, we all know that they have a connection that doesn’t make sense, so, we know that they will find their flow. At the detriment to many other things, but oh well.

In this story, we see what Dante has to do to survive. We watch how his mom realizes that he’s taken money from his trust fund and how she wants it back in a month since she’s not one to fool around with money. We learn that he and his brother and father have done less than savory things to make money in the past and Dante is forced back into that life in order to get the money that he needs to return it to his mom. Problem is that once he’s back in that world, he’s going to get pulled in even more and that’s what we see at the end of this book. We don’t know the long term implications, but i’m sure we’ll see it play out in book 4.

While this is all happening, we know that Dante is still uncertain about an investment that he made via his company with Vasko and has this plan to set Jacqueline up as a spy in the company. She gets the job, moves out to Seattle to work there and many many alarm bells go off for us. Vasko digs into her background and realizes that she’s not what she seems so that puts him on alert. Jacqueline reconnects with someone from her past at potentially the worst time that blows things up for her again in her personal life and we’re left upside down again.

What does all this mean for Jacqueline in her life? will she be safe in her new job or does she need to watch her back? are things over for her and Dante forever, and is he even safe with his father and brother? What about Allison and her new man? how does this all factor into the grand scheme of things?

So many questions and so few answers right now. I can’t wait to see what happens next so off I go into the next book. Enjoy!

Review: Dark Redemption (Dark Intentions #2) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleDark Redemption
Author: Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 7/5/21
Length:  186 Pages
Series: Dark Intentions #2

Overview

He saved my mother’s life. Now, I owe him a debt. But I don’t even know who he is. 

Dante Langston is man of extreme wealth and privilege and just as much darkness. 
Our time together was supposed to be a one night stand. 
No names. No phone numbers. No other way to get in touch. 
But I keep going back to look for him. 
What I don’t yet know is that he already knows me. 
He has been watching and waiting. He needs to stay away to protect his secrets but he can’t. 
Neither can I.
I’m addicted to his lips and his touch. He’s addicted to our shared pain. 
What happens when I find out the debt I owe is to him? 
What happens when I find out the other secrets that he is much more desperate to keep? 

My Thoughts

Again, the summary doesn’t quite tie to the book but you get the gist. This is a couple that can’t be together, but they can’t stay away from each other either. Jacqueline sees something in Dante that’s perfect for her – she truly is addicted but what he did, well that’s not something that she’s ready for yet she doesn’t realize that the lie she learned about who paid for her mother’s treatment isn’t the worst lie.

Dante on the other hand has a mess to get out of and we don’t quite know the full extent just yet. We know that he’s struggling in his business – he’s being forced to agree to something that he doesn’t want, and there’s clearly a tie to Jacqueline’s brother that he’s forced to deal with that we don’t yet know. Then on top of that, he’s bound to Jacqueline – and as much as he tries to walk away, he can’t.

So we watch the roller coaster (train wreck?) unfold. They go their separate ways for the best. We see how life starts to take a new form. Now that Jacquelines mom is on the mend, she’s about jump into the life that she put on hold. She goes back to school and finishes her degree. She gets back on her feet and starts to become more independent. She and Allison. find a rhythm to their friendship and enjoy what it’s like to be in life.

She wants to forget Dante – but she can’t. She wants to get a job and be on her own but she can’t. And when she literally runs into Dante in the park, her life is flipped again.

We start this installment in a dark place, and watch how there’s promise of something more. We hope there’s something good that will come out of everything, but what we see instead are relationships broken as a result of ones that were repaired, and there is still uncertainty looming.

Dante had to borrow money to help out Jacqueline and now the piper wants to be paid. We also see that he’s probably in over his head in a deal with work, a hunch that leads him to believe that he’s been forced to invest in a company that is laundering money in some way and he tries to get Jacqueline to spy / investigate what’s going on. What we all can expect though is that it’s going to come to haunt Dante some how in the future – he’s going to be taken down with the ship instead of looking like the hero . (that’s my guess at least).

The last scene is when we know the story will take a sharp turn. Jacqueline’s mom gets a letter there Michael didn’t die in an accident but instead was murdered. Who did it and why? And of course as the reader, we want to know how Dante is connected. soooooo i’m off to read book 3. Enjoy!