Monday, April 27, 2020

Billionaire in Wolf's Clothing by Terry Spear

Real estate mogul werewolf Rafe Denali didn’t get where he is in life by being a pushover. When sexy she-wolf Jade Ashton nearly drowns in the surf outside his beach house, he knows better than to bring her into his home and his heart. But there’s something about her that brings out his strongest instincts…

Rafe has good reason to be suspicious. Jade Ashton and her baby son are pawns in an evil wolf’s fatal plan. How can Jade betray the gorgeous man who rescued her? But if she doesn’t, her baby will die, and her own life hangs in the balance…

To get to the truth, Rafe is going to have to gain Jade’s trust. If he can do that, he just might be her last—and best—hope…
Series: Billionaire Wolf #1 | Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca | Genre: Paranormal Romance | Source: Publisher  | Rating: 4 Cups

Challenges Read For:   Literary Pickers  -  Laptop/Tablet
I’ve had this one sitting on my shelf since before it released. I tried to read it a few times and, for some reason, I couldn’t get into it but I decided to pick it up and give it one more go. I’m glad I did because I ended up really enjoying it this time around.
Here’s what’s going on. Jade’s son has been kidnapped by her brother and the only way to get him back is if she gets close enough to Rafe to betray him. Jade’s willing to do anything to get her son back but she’s not willing to betray Rafe. Now working together, they find themselves falling for each other.
Rafe and Jade were great together. Even though they had a few trust issues, they had a great connection and amazing chemistry. They were also very likable. Jade’s a bit of a damsel in distress and Rafe’s an alpha who will stop at nothing to protect those he cares about.
While there is a bit of action in this one there’s also an interesting thing going on with Toby, Jade’s son. With his father being a human, they’re not sure if Toby has the ability to shift. It was interesting watching this aspect play out.
Overall, this was a fun read. The main characters were amazing and the secondary characters were just as great. The romance was slow burn, which worked for me. I can’t wait to check out the rest of the series.

Billionaire Wolf Series
#1 Billionaire in Wolf’s Clothing
#2 A Billionaire Wolf for Christmas
#3 Night of the Billionaire Wolf


Friday, April 24, 2020

The Stolen Boys by Joy Ellis

A crime wave has hit town. The target is a highly sought-after brand of streetwear called Hybird X, clothing that costs a fortune and resells for unbelievable prices. Houses are burgled, kids mugged on the streets...and finally a young man dies, all for the sake of his shoes. 

Then another boy’s body is found in a pile of rubbish. Meanwhile illegal steroids are flooding the streets. And there are dark movements on the marshes. 

Clothes that people will kill to own.

A shadowy figure called Darke and his teams of young criminals seem to be behind it all. 

Detectives Jackman and Evans must take on a fiendish criminal, while still haunted by Alistair Ashcroft, the serial killer they never caught. 

Who is Darke and what does he really want?

Full of twists and turns, this is a crime thriller that will grip you until the shocking ending. Set in the atmospheric Lincolnshire Fens whose towns and isolated villages hide many dark secrets. 
Series: Jackman and Evans #5 | Publisher: Audible  | Narrator: Richard Armitage  | Length:11 Hrs 29 Minutes  | Release Date: | Genre: Contemporary  Mystery/Thriller | Source: Publisher | Rating: 4 Cups

Challenges Read For:  - Audiobook Challenge
I’ve had my ups and downs with this series. It started out strong then something happened with the third book (The Fourth Friend) and it’s taken a minute for the series to find its footing again. Thankfully, this one seems to be getting back on track.
Here’s what’s going on. Still reeling from the previous case, Jackman and his team now find themselves on the hunt for someone taking in young men and murdering them once they’ve served their purpose. As the team chases down the killer, things get more complicated when they realize the deaths are linked to a clothing theft ring. Now with two of their detectives undercover, Jackman will stop at nothing to make sure the killer is caught before he can escape.
There’s been a lot going on with Jackman—he feels guilty by the way the previous case ended, he also feels like he’s let his family down—but we finally see him getting back to the person he was before. He’s put a lot of pressure on himself to make sure nothing like that happens again so he’s making sure he and the team are all in with this one. He’s also sorting out his love life, which has taken a beating due to his work. We also see Marie Evans coming back into her own—she suffered a lot in last book and see’s starting to realize she can’t let it define her.
The mystery in this one was rather dark and twisted. The murders are tied into a theft ring that centers around high-end street wear. Darke is a Fagin type that takes in street kids, trains them up as thieves, then disposes of them when they’ve served their purpose. While Jackman and Evans know that Darke is the one they’re looking for, they have no clue who Darke really is.
This one wasn’t as easy to work out as the previous ones. It took me a while to even have an inkling who Darke really was and then I wasn’t entirely sure until the end. There’s also a mystery in this one that has another thread—I’m not going to give anything away but it made me eager for the next book.
Richard Armitage narrates this one brilliantly as always.
Overall, I feel like the series is finally regaining its strength. The mystery was solid, the characters are back to the ones I enjoyed at the start of the series, and there’s was more clarity of plot in this one.

Jackman & Evans Series (recommended listening order)

The Stolen Boys
The Patient Man


Thursday, April 23, 2020

Ipsy: Full Bloom April 2020 Glam Bag Review

Each month I receive two Ipsy Glam Bags and I thought it would be fun to start posting what I receive in them each month.
For those who don’t know, Ipsy Glam Bag is a $12 monthly beauty subscription where you receive 5 deluxe-sized—occasionally full-size—beauty products plus a makeup bag (more info can be found at the bottom of the bottom of the page). Each bag also comes with a card telling you about the product and the full size MSRP.

My ‘Regular’ Bag matches my real profile: brown hair, brown eyes, fair skin, dry, sensitive skin. I’m comfortable with makeup and like all shades of lipstick/eyeshadow/blushers. My ‘Adventurous’ Bag still has my same skin and complexion profile but I say my eyes are violet, my hair is other, and I prefer all the adventurous/bright/bold shades; no neutrals for me.

Do they get it right? Sometimes, but having two different profiles usually means I receive two different sets of beauty products.
 Now onto my Glam Bags for April…

April’s bag is adorable with it wooden ring zip pull, orchid coloring, and lovely floating flower blossoms. It’s perfect for spring.
Here’s what I received this month…
Ipsy Full Bloom—Regular Bag

Youth To The People: Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask—I’ve been getting into overnight/sleep masks lately—they add a nice bit of extra hydration to my face while I sleep—so I’m eager to try this one out. This was my Choice product pick.
Aromatica:  Calendula Juicy Cream—this one’s a new-to-me brand and I’m eager to try it out. It’s a natural cream that contains 48% Calendula extract and calendula is supposed to minimize redness and itching, which I often get in the spring due to seasonal allergies.
Luxie:  209 Large Shader Summer Daze Tan Brush $12—I will never say no to brushes of any kind in subscription bags/boxes but these Luxie shader brushes are some of my favorites.
Helios: Livin' Lovely Nail Polish $12.50—I wasn’t too sure about this orchid shade—I’m usually a dark nail polish type, but I actually really like this color. It’s the perfect spring color, goes on smooth, and doesn’t look streaky. I’m planning on doing a spa/pamper day so I’ll let you know how this polish works out on my Sunday Post.
Sugar Cosmetics Liquid Eyeliner in I'll Be Black $11.99—this is something I could have done without; I’m not the liquid eyeliner type so this will go to a friend or be thrown into a giveaway bag.
My thoughts on this bag: I liked 4 out of 5 products this in this bag and will get use out of four of them them. I received three full-sized products (brush, nail polish, liquid eyeliner) that had a value of $36.49.
Ipsy Full Bloom—Adventurous Bag

YC Collection Loose Setting Powder in #213—I’ve not opened this yet—I have a few open setting powders that I’m currently using up—but I’m always eager to try out new brands.
Kismet Pure Vitamin C Primer—again, this is another product I’m always glad to get. I’ll be opening this one once I use up a few of my other primers.
Neogen Dermalogy Real Vita C Serum—I just used up my previous Vitamin C ‘Brightening’ serum so this one came at a good time. This serum is lightweight, non-greasy, and sinks right into my skin.
Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich—this was my Choice pick for this bag and I couldn’t be happier. Not only does this offer moisture to my skin, it gives me a nice dewy glow, which I love.
Space Case Cosmetics Fakecation Bronzer—when I pulled this out of my bag I was less than thrilled because every product that I’ve received from Space Case has been a cream to powder product and I’ve never been a fan of cream products. This one surprised me being that it’s actually a lovely powder bronzer. It’s a warmer shade of bronzer (thankfully, it’s not reddish) with a slight shimmer to it. I have a feeling I get a lot of use out of this one.
SOO’AE Panda Eye Brightening Mask—I redeemed my points that I received from reviewing my bags for this item. This is one of my favorite eye masks to use in the morning after having a long night—not only does it hydrate, it brightens my under eyes.
My thoughts on this bag: while I didn’t receive any full-sized products in this bag, the products I did receive were a nice size and I will be using all of them.
 Overall, other than the liquid eyeliner, I loved all of the products I received this month. While the bags weren’t makeup heavy, I liked that they included a lot of natural skincare items. Ipsy did a good job this month with both bags.
I do want to mention that if you’re new to Vitamin C serum (and you received some in your Ipsy Bag) there’s a few things you should know. While Vitamin C serums is one of the best serums for the health of your skin—especially in the summer—, it’s one of the trickiest vitamin serums in a skincare regimen. It can be used in your morning and evening routine but it’s most beneficial when used as part of your morning routine.  
Here’s a few tips when using a Vitamin C serum:
  1. Wait 30 minutes to apply niacinamide (vitamin B3) or retinol (vitamin A) after applying Vitamin C so they won’t interact with each other and cause a skin reaction.
  2. Make sure the Vitamin C serum hasn’t oxidized. Vitamin C serums should be white, clear (as in the case of the one received in the bag), or a light champagne color. It should also have little to no odor. If it looks cloudy, dark, or smells sour, toss it. Store it in a dark, cool place with the lid on tightly to keep it from oxidizing.
  3. Wear sunscreen when using Vitamin C serum. While Vitamin C serum protects your skin from free radical damage caused by UV light, sun exposure (without sunscreen) causes the Vitamin C serum to oxidize, which can cause an interaction with your skin.

Ipsy Glam Bag is a monthly beauty subscription that includes 5 deluxe-sized samples (sometimes full-sized products) and a makeup bag valued at $50+ for just $12 a month. The products are a mix of makeup products, haircare products, skincare products and the occasional beauty tool that have been selected based on an in-depth beauty quiz each subscriber takes. Each month you’ll be able to choose one product in your bag as your Choice option.
Other perks include:

1-Earning points when reviewing your Glam Bag Products that can be used to redeem extra products.

2-Purchasing add-ons at a discount price

3-Shopping Ipsy Offers at Member Prices

Monthly: $12  (plus tax where applicable)
Yearly: $132 (plus tax where applicable)
Shipping is free in the U.S. and  $2.95 for Canada.
You can join HERE 

The links used in this post are affiliate links. If you subscribe to IPSY using the links in this post, I will receive points that can be used to redeem extra products.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Not According to Plan by A.M. Madden

For one night of my life, I dared to do something reckless.
My birthday. A bar. Karaoke. And a man so hot he could melt the sun.
Sparks flew. Lust took over. For one night of my life, I felt alive.

Then I was back to my “boring” life. Career-driven. Goal-oriented. Always planning ahead.But nothing could have prepared me for the positive pregnancy test. We weren’t that reckless.

There goes my “boring” life. And what happens when I tell the father?

Publisher: Amara/Engtangled |  Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Publisher | Rating: 1 Cups
Challenges Read For:  - Literary Pickers  -  Salad

Ummm, okay….wow—not a good wow, either. I’m just over here scratching my head trying to figure out if anyone actually liked this book. Okay, I’m actually over here wondering why I finished the bloody book. I should have DNF’d it after the second chapter but I’m blaming my insomnia—people do weird things when they can’t sleep.
The blurb sounds interesting but it left out one huge plot point: Max has impregnated two women—in two different states—within 5 months of each other. So there’s Jade—whom he met at his brother’s bar—then there’s the first woman Tracey—she’s his best friend with benefits who lives in Miami with her fiancĂ©.
There’s no chemistry between Jade and Max. Even though they’re happy little shaggers, they just lack any emotional connection. It almost seemed like Jade was his second choice. His priorities were definitely tied up in Miami—the impending arrival of baby number one and his new gym. He wasn’t willing to give an inch yet Jade was ready and willing to give everything up for him. And it was just strange that both women were okay with the situation.
I feel like the author could have made this work. I mean, it’s not an ideal plot device but I’ve have seen it work in historical romance/ historical fiction. There’s one book in particular—a Scottish historical fiction—that’s one of my favorite books. It can be done; however, this one was just a train wreck.
Overall, given the premise of this one, the author needed to sell me on the fact Jade and Max had earth shattering, I can’t live without you, you’re the only one for me chemistry/connection and that just wasn’t there. What was there was a self-centered man and a woman happy to be treated like a doormat.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Mate by Abigail Owens

Maddie Thompson’s life just fell down a rabbit hole. Finding out she's a dragon shifter was one thing — she never quite fit into the human world, and this new reality feels… strangely right. However, discovering the next step is to choose a mate, and if she chooses wrong she'll die, is the other side of crazy. Especially when she already left a piece of her heart with someone who didn't want it.

To say dragon enforcer Fallon Conleth was shocked when the Mating Council summoned him as a potential mate for a newly found dragon doesn’t quite cover it. A mate is rare and precious and many dragons never find theirs. Fallon isn’t sure he’s worthy of the honor, not when so many deserve it more. He’ll just go through the motions and return home alone… until he sees Maddie. The human woman he reluctantly let walk away.
Series: Fire's Edge #0.5  | Publisher: Amara (Entangled) | Genre: Paranormal Romance | Source: Freebie | Rating: 2 Cups

Challenges Read For:  Literary Pickers  - Picnic Food 
Fallon already broke Maddie's heart once, but if he can't convince her that they're meant to be, she'll die... and he won't be far behind.
Review: This was the next book on my Kindle cleanout and while it was a quick read, it was lacking.
Maddie just discovered that she’s a dragon shifter, now she must choose a mate. There’s only one catch, if she chooses wrong, she’ll die. Enter Fallon, he’s been summoned by the Mating Council but little does he know that his potential mate is the woman he’s had the hots for in the human world. The only thing left to do is make her see that he’s the mate for her.
I finished this one with more questions than answers. This one didn’t have that prequel feel, it felt more like a novella that would be between book one and two. There was no world building, which would have come in handy seeing as there’s a war brewing and coup taking place. There was also no backstory for Fallon and Maddie, who knew each other before the book started.
Overall, this one seemed like an odd dragon version of the Bachelorette with a side of danger and no knowledge about what led up to any of this. There was no growth, no development. After reading the novella, I just don’t have any desire to dive into the full-length books.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Always Be My Banshee by Molly Harper

Cordelia Canton is on a top-secret assignment: travel to Mystic Bayou and use her powers as a touch-know psychic to learn more about the mysterious artifact that’s been pulled from the rift site. She’s partnered with Brendan O’Connor, a rare male banshee whose tall, dark, and broody good looks are a major distraction. Before long, it becomes clear that the artifact they’re studying is sentient - and brimming with supernatural power. Can they harness its magic in time to stop the secret forces conspiring to steal it?
Series: Mystic Bayou #4 | Publisher: Audible  | Narrator:Amanda Ronconi, Jonathan Davis  | Length: 7 hours 11 minutes | Genre: Paranormal Romance  | Source: Purchased  | Rating: 4.5 Cups
Challenges Read For:  - Audiobook Challenge  - Literary Pickers  -  Tea
I’m always a little giddy when a new Molly Harper paranormal romance is released, so when the fourth book in her snark-filled Mystic Bayou series was released on the seventeenth day of Ohio’s quarantine, I had to purchase this.
Cordelia and Brendan were perfect for each other. She’s a touch-know, she has the ability to read an object by touching it, so she’s the perfect person to figure out what the object found in the rift wants yet there’s a limit to how much time she can spend near it without her body giving out. Enter Brendan—he’s a rare male banshee—because he’s technically dead the object’s pull won’t affect him so he’s working alongside Cordelia acting as her bodyguard of sorts.
I liked the relationship between Cordelia and Brendan. Their ‘gifts’ worked together nicely both professionally and personally. Normally, anyone Cordelia touches she can read everything about them and it becomes overwhelming but since Brendan’s a banshee, she can’t read him so she’s able to relax her guard around him. Both have some things to work through—he’s still coming to terms with the weight of his ability and she’s not had the best of childhoods—her mother paraded her around the circus circuit as a meal ticket. It was nice to see them trusting each other and growing close to another person without fear their gifts would popup.
There’s a bit mystery about who the bad guy is and I was a little shocked when the reveal come. I had a feeling it was going in that direction but I was hoping I was wrong. The outcome of the object in the rift was a little different than I was expecting and I’m wondering if it’s going to appear in future Mystic Bayou books.  
As always, the Mystic Bayou series is a community affair and the characters from the previous books always pop up. While I love seeing what everyone’s up to, I think Zed and his forehead licking adoption of Cordelia wins the secondary character cake—or maybe it should be pie in this case.
Amanda Ronconi is the perfect narrator for Molly Harper’s work. Normally, I like the way Jonathan Davis narrates this series although, this time, his Irish accent was a little wonky. I still enjoyed the narration but it was a bit off this time.
Overall, another great addition to this series that I devoured in one listening.

Mystic Bayou Series
#4 Always Be My Banshee