Book Review: Mind Waves

review-cover-Mind WavesTitle: Mind Waves [Mind Hackers 1]

Author: Amanda Uhl

Genre: Paranormal, Thriller, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

If he can control her mind…

Government operative David Jenkins is skilled at controlling his emotions. Feelings are lethal when your job is to infiltrate minds, erase and implant thoughts, and guard the nation’s intellectual capital. But even he can’t fight his strange attraction to Grace Woznisky. He’ll do whatever it takes to protect her from a madman intent on possessing both their minds. Neither suspect their dangerous enemy has a larger motive, and David may be Grace’s only chance for survival.

Can he control her heart?

All freelance artist Grace wants is steady-paying work and to see her flighty sister to the altar. But after David offers her a job, she finds herself in the middle of a mental tug of war—one that has her reeling from nightmares and fighting for her life. She must decide: Are her growing feelings for her new boss authentic, or is she a victim of his mind-altering abilities?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

To be honest, Mind Waves by Amanda Uhl isn’t my typical pick for a romance. Sure, it has all the elements I love in fiction: Suspense, Romance, Paranormal… but I don’t often look to combine all three. However, I find that I enjoyed this book regardless. There was a lot of tension in this book and a sense of imminent danger. The romance was equal parts dangerous, sweet, and sexy.

The only thing that didn’t quite sit right with me was the mind-reading bits (and I’ll admit that’s a pretty significant part of the book). I couldn’t get over the weird in-mind visuals of the guys fighting with long whip-like arms, the constant referral to “portals” and “happy place”. It came across as a bit cheesy. Although I can’t quite put my finger on it, it felt almost… dated… reminding me of similar books I read in the late 90’s. I’m sure it’s probably just a personal hang up… but I just couldn’t get over it.

I also wish the sweet and sometimes sexy romance between the two main characters had been a little more sexually charged. The couple spent so much time doubting and arguing with each other that I sometimes forgot they were in love. It would have been nice to see a little more sexual tension thrown in, and a few more endearing moments to round it out.

That being said–it wasn’t all bad. I found the plot compelling. I liked the characters (even the evil ones). The writing was impeccable; the pace moved along steadily and I never ran into any jarring grammatical issues or structure hang-ups. Despite my rather tepid feelings towards how the mind-reading was handled, I did enjoy the book quite a bit. Which why I gave it four stars. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of readers out there that enjoy certain aspects of the books more than I did, and I encourage you to give this book a try if it sounds like something you might be interested in. I’d say it leans a little more heavily towards the suspenseful side of the plot than the romance, but there’s still a good measure of romance to it. Give it a try.

Book Review: About A Dog

review-cover-about a dogTitle: About a Dog [A Bluff Point Romance 1]

Author: Jenn McKinlay

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Mackenzie “Mac” Harris fled her hometown of Bluff Point, Maine, after being left at the altar–and seeking solace in the arms of her best friend’s off-limits brother. Now, seven years later, she’s back to attend her best friend’s wedding–safe, or so she thinks, from the mistakes of her youth.

But Gavin Tolliver has never forgotten the woman who has always held his heart. And when Mac rescues a stray puppy named Tulip, only Gavin, the town’s veterinarian, can help. With a little assistance from Tulip, Gavin vows to make Mac realize that their feelings are more than just puppy love…

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

About a Dog by Jenn McKinlay was a heart-warming, sexy read from start-to-finish. This was one of those books that I like to label a “sure read”. The book falls back on some common contemporary romance tropes, but the familiarity of those tropes is one of the reasons why the book works so well to begin with. This is one of those books that you pick up, and you know you’re going to get the warm fuzzies.

Technically speaking, the book was well written. The narrative flowed well, moved at a good, steady pace, and I didn’t run into a lot of typos or grammatical errors that would have brought me out of the story. The characters were interesting, distinct, and likable for the most part (okay, maybe not Mac’s underwhelming “boyfriend”. It’s real hard to like that guy. The humor and witty dialogue really made the story engaging. Overall, it was a solid read.

So why’d I give it four stars, and not five? Well, honestly, I think there could have, and even should have, been more to it. This was an incredibly quick read, and I wish I’d had longer to really sink into the relationship between Mac and Gavin. Their romance was so adorable and steamy at times, that I was really drawn to the main couple, and it was kind of disappointing that my time with them was over so quickly. Yes, I am complaining that this book ended too soon. That’s not all though. There were a few opportunities in the book when I felt like there could have easily been more tension added to the plot—especially between Mac and Gavin. It felt like there were these secrets and lies built up throughout the story that didn’t really go anywhere. The conflict was just kind of glossed over in the end, and everyone forgave everyone else, and they lived happily ever after—and I have no problem with happily ever after… I just expected more of a journey to get there.

All that aside, I really did enjoy the book. It was cute, and if you like contemporary romance and you want a sexy, feel-good book, this is a safe bet.

Free Fiction Friday #79

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday #79! For those of you who are new to this blog, or who may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays—every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre, and on sale for less than $5.

I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum—so you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is: YA Dystopian!

 

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THE BARGAINS

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Book Review: As We Know It

review-cover-as we know itTitle: As We Know It

Author: Carrie Butler

Genre: Romance, Survival, Adventure, Natural Disaster

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Deep beneath the ocean, stretching hundreds of miles alongside the Pacific Northwest coastline, lies the Cascadia subduction zone—a fault on the verge of unleashing a catastrophic earthquake, thirty times more powerful than the San Andreas. Unfortunately, like most tourists, Elena Cordova is oblivious.

She’s got her own pent-up stress to deal with, a humiliating breakup that’s driven her to end her tenure as a human doormat once and for all. So, when a pickpocket makes off with the last remnant of her relationship, she takes action—only to get trapped with him when disaster strikes.

Now, if either one hopes to survive, they’ll have to get past their initial impressions and work together . . . because in fifteen minutes, half the town will be underwater.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

What a fantastic read. Honestly. I’ll admit, I was a little thrown off by how this book began. I opened it up, and for a few short minutes, I sank into what felt every bit to be a contemporary romance. I forgot for a moment that the cover looked apocalyptic, and then BOOM, everything changed—much like, I imagine, it changed for Elena and Vincent.

As We Know It by Carrie Butler was a gripping survival tale that I felt, portrayed a natural disaster situation in a reasonably accurate light. The situation felt not only real, but plausible every step of the way, and I was sucked into the harrowing world of Elena and Vincent for a few hours. The book was wonderfully well written. I only found a couple of typos, and nothing jarring enough to pull me out of the story. The characters were complex and imperfect, but genuine. The romance was surprisingly sweet, and the banter between the two lead characters was compelling and dynamic.

I honestly don’t have anything to complain about with this book. I absolutely adored it. It was tense, gritty, believable, and heartwarming all at once. If you’re looking for a gripping adventure story, look no further.

Book Review: Protected by the Mountain Wolf

review-cover-protected by the mountain wolf

Title: Protected by the Mountain Wolf [Mountain Wolf Protectors 1]

Author: Emilia Hartley

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Amara’s life changed the moment she was attacked by a group of wolves. She was only 15 at the time, who could blame her for ignoring her grandfather’s warnings? She quickly began to believe all those stories he told her about the wolves who protected their town, Strathford. The wolves who could turn into humans. Shifters, as she learned they were called.

Ten years had passed since then, and Nova still couldn’t forgive himself for letting the Valley Clan slip into their territory unnoticed. If only he had been there in time. Since that day, he made a vow to himself to protect her, no matter what happens. Though he didn’t personally know Amara, he felt a connection to her after watching over her all these years. With his curiosity growing each day, he finally decided to visit her at work. He’d talk to her for an hour, settle his curiosity and then never speak to her again. Or so he thought…

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Protected by the Mountain Wolf is the first book I’ve read by Emilia Hartley and I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

The book was well edited and easy to read. I didn’t run into any glaring mistakes or structural issues. The narrative moved along quickly. I will admit though, that the quick pace of the book was also one of the drawbacks for me. Personally, I like to sink into my fiction and live there for awhile, and I felt like I couldn’t necessarily do that with this book. Also, perhaps because of the pace, the sex scenes seemed to lack some of the sexual tension I was expecting.

That being said,  I adored the characters, the romance, and the danger of the plot. It was a good story, and if wishing a book were a little longer is its only flaw—that’s a pretty good flaw to have. If anything, I wish there had been more to the story.

If you’re looking for a fast paced, easy paranormal romance to read through over the weekend or an afternoon, this would probably be a solid choice for you. I look forward to reading more by this author in the very near future.

Book Review: Dirty Like Brody

review-cover-Dirty Like BrodyTitle: Dirty Like Brody [Dirty 2]

Author: Jaine Diamond

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

As longtime manager of Dirty, the hottest rock band on the planet, gorgeous and brooding Brody Mason has had his share of beautiful women. Yet the only one he’s ever wanted is the one he never had—the one who tore his heart out.

Beautiful and elusive Jessa Mayes appears to have it all. Talent, money, and a glamorous life. But she also has a secret. Six years ago, she ran away—from her dream career as a songwriter with Dirty, and the only man she’s ever loved—without telling anyone why.

Now Jessa’s doing the one thing she swore she’d never do. She’s coming home—to be a bridesmaid in her brother’s rock star wedding… and face the mistakes of her past.

It won’t be easy.

Love this intense never is.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Jaine Diamond is quickly becoming one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. Dirty Like Brody was another great addition to the Dirty Series. The characters were complex and vivid. They were complicated and realistic, even though they lived in this larger than life world of modeling and rock stars, motorcycle clubs, and drug addicts. It was so easy to sink into their world and be drawn in by their drama.

The book was exceedingly well written. I didn’t feel bogged down by the narrative or distracted from the overall focus of the plot–and with a book that had so much conflict and backstory, that was rather amazing. I didn’t run into any typos or structural errors that pulled me out of the narrative.

The romance between Brody and Jessa was equal parts sweet, broken, and steamy. The sex scenes were hot and very well written. They didn’t feel rushed or exaggerated in the way I find a lot of sex scenes to be written in romance books at times. It was the perfect balance of romance and raunchy. I loved Brody and Jessa as a couple. They had a good balance of sexual tension, hatred, and undying love that made you want to root for them. The author did an excellent job of dangling the unknown drama of Jessa’s past in front of us, making us wonder what her big secret was, without teasing the reader to the point of frustration.

I think the book was very well handled, and I was thoroughly entertained for the couple of hours it took me to get through it. If you enjoy contemporary romance with an undertone of “bad boy” drama, a whole lot of conflict and tension, and steamy sex scenes, this book is going to be right up your alley. I highly recommend you give it a try.

Free Fiction Friday #78

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday #78! For those of you who are new to this blog, or who may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays—every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre, and on sale for less than $5.

I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum—so you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is: Fantasy & Paranormal!

THE FREE

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THE BARGAINS

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