Book Review – One Hot December – Tiffany Reisz

Tiffany Reisz is a god amongst mere mortals. Fact. Her Original Sinners series is pure perfection. Fact. I, like anyone else I know who’s read her books, is in love with her writing – her wit and her ability to infuse the darkest tales with such light and humor. So when I saw this book, I immediately snatched it up and read it in a day and a half.

What’s it about? Veronica Redding is a welder and an artist. People have nicknamed her Flash, after Flashdance🙂 Flash is in love with her boss Ian Asher. Flash and Ian slept together but then Ian dumped her. So now Flash is intent on making Ian regret that decision. And regret it he does. Ian wants Flash but can’t have her when he’s still her boss. So when Flash quits, Ian get the perfect opportunity to pursue her.

I should have already told from the cover and the Harlequin logo that this would be one of those sweet short holiday reads. The kind that introduced me to the romance genre when I was a teenager. Having read a million books since then, I should have stayed away from this one, but it was Tiffany Reisz, so I went in anyway.

The problem with these short Harlequin reads is that the backstory is never fully explored. It is told to us in a few short paragraphs. The love is instantaneous and I felt as if I walked into the story halfway and someone caught me up very quickly. Also, they end pretty fast and everything is tied up very neatly. I’m just not a fan of this concept. I like angst, I like when characters bleed for each other. I love it when characters have to work hard to get to the happy ending. There was none of that here. If you’ve read The Original Sinners, then you know just how much the characters have to fight for happiness.

Another thing is that I’m drawn to Tiffany Reisz’ books for three reasons. I read these books for the wit, the pain and the unconventional nature of the story. I’ve admittedly come to associate Tiffany Reisz with those three things. So when I read this book, I expected the wit (and I got it), I expected pain and that something extra. I unfortunately did not get that. I got a conventional short story that I suppose is meant to be read at Christmas around the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate. All well and good but just not Tiffany Reisz to me.

That said, it is a sweet story meant to warm your heart around my favorite holiday. It’s classic contemporary romance with a bit of BDSM thrown in. We have a strong heroine (wouldn’t expect anything less from Tiffany Reisz) and a handsome good hero. We have humor and steam which is my perfect combination. I think that if it had been written by any other author I might not have expected so much out of it. But maybe if it had been written by any other author I wouldn’t have picked it up in the first place.

3 stars.

Amazon Buy Link -> One Hot December by Tiffany Reisz

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I’d like to thank the publisher for providing this copy for my review.

 

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Book Review – Blood & Roses Series – Callie Hart

I might be the last person in the world to read this series, but just in case I’m not, here is why I loved it so much and why you should buy it immediately.

First of all, I had actually read Deviant book #1 in the series when it was a freebie on Amazon. I loved it. In my review, I lamented that I wished it was longer, but that I couldn’t wait to read more. But as it happens with short stories, you read so many you lose track. Then one day I see the entire box set is out and for 99c! Had to have it. Yet again as anyone with having a 1-click addiction will tell you, we buy a lot of books, particularly while they’re on sale, which leaves us with hundreds of books in our kindles. So months later, I’m trying to decide what to read, I have one criteria, dark(ish), incredibly steamy and hopefully, has an amazing storyline to go with it. I stumbled across the Blood and Roses thumbnail on my kindle and stopped. So so glad I did!!!

So the boxset contains all 6 books, that’s over 800 pages! It sounded daunting at first, but the longest book I’d read prior to this was 600+ pages of brilliance, so… not so daunting after all. It took me 3 weeks to read this one (full-time job, second blog, baby, husband…) but it was the most incredible 3 weeks of book reading. So let’s get to the synopsis.

Sloan Romera is looking for her younger sister Alexis. She pays an undercover investigator to do the work. The investigator, a shady fella, tells Sloan that she will have to have sex with some guy in exchange for information. Sloan agrees to it, despite all that she’ll lose in the process, it will be worth it to find her sister. Needless to say, she doesn’t get the information she needs. She does however have the most incredible sexual encounter of her life.

Some years pass and Sloane is still looking for her sister. And it turns out her only hope might be the guy she slept with. See, Sloane is a doctor, and a good girl. She knows nothing about the seedy underbelly of Chicago. She needs someone who does. Zeth Mayfair. And that’s how they’re thrown back together, fighting the mafia, biker gangs, getting shot at and indulging in their attraction to each other🙂

Let’s start with the steam – SCORCHING! I mean, these two were something else. Zeth is dark and dangerous and into BDSM. Sloane is sweet and his complete opposite in everyday, so it was all about Zeth taking charge and wowza. Sometimes when you read an incredibly long book you find that the sex scenes are too few and far between. Or you could go ahead and buy an erotic short where it’s one sex scene after the other. I find that I love the in-between. That in-between is hard to achieve but Callie Hart did it.

Then the suspense or the grittier side of the book. What I loved most was that the author didn’t hold back in making Zeth the anti-hero. Maybe anti-hero isn’t the exact word but you read a lot of these romance books with dark heroes who from the very beginning start to reform. Or who are never really that dark so the reader can always find ways to find him redeemable. Not Zeth. Seth is a mafia enforcer. He kills for a living. So yes, the book had violence, and murder. Half the time I felt like I was watching an episode of The Sopranos.

Then the writing. It flowed. It was beautiful and it was witty. The thing with serials is that most of the time you read them one by one with some weeks going in between the next release. The biggest problem for me as a reader and as a reviewer is having to remember where I left off. This was the first time I read a full collection of serials all at once. My biggest worry then became that I would notice the disconnect. That the author would veer off the plot between one serial and the next, or forget a crucial detail and leave it unresolved, but not this author. It read as a complete novel. And that I commend Callie Hart for. That she also tied in those lose ends, that she excited me from begin to end. It’s no mean feat.

And last but not least, the love. I absolutely loved that it wasn’t some instalove kind of thing. It was gradual and it was well done. And when a man like Zeth starts falling…

… her arms lace around my neck, clinging onto me, my heart starts thumping in my chest. It’s like it’s been lying dormant in my chest, gathering dust the past thirty-three years and this is the very first time it’s properly beating.

But of course it takes some time. It takes some mistakes and some learning but in the end, I loved how meant to be they were. Nothing could beat that.

An incredible story. Wonderfully written. It got my heart racing, I cried sometimes, I laughed out loud, I swooned… It had everything I love in a book.

5 stars!

Amazon Buy Link -> The Blood and Roses Series by Callie Hart

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Book Review -Fire & Dark (Night Horde SoCal #3) – Susan Fanetti

I’m bound to start every Susan Fanetti book review by reminding everyone what amazing books Move the Sun and Behold the Stars were! Up there with my favorite books of all time! So I use that as my standard for every book she writes. And some of the others have been just as good. Touch for example, brilliant brilliant book. Fire & Dark? Not so much.

But first a synopsis. Connor Elliot is Hoosier’s son and Sergeant at Arms of the Night Horde MC. He’s 36, and prefers them young. We’re speaking 18 to 21 age bracket. He just doesn’t want complications and the young ones are easier. Until he meets Pilar Cordero. Pilar is a firefighter. Much too ballsy and bold for the kind he goes after but she’s hot and she’s definitely not shy. Pilar goes for what she wants and she wants Connor. Just for sex though. She uses sex to forget all the crap she sees at work and she’s set her eyes on Connor. Only Connor is exactly her type. And they both start feeling much too much, much too soon.

Susan Fannetti is one of my guaranteed ‘must-read’ authors. And while this one wasn’t her best, it wasn’t bad either. See, she writes gritty biker books. She doesn’t shy away from the edgy stuff and she certainly doesn’t over romanticize biker life. They’re outlaws, they kill, that’s that. But this one felt too soft for me.

They fall in love too soon. I loved how in other books she made the characters fight for it. In this one there was some fight but only a halfhearted one. They saw each other and fell for each other. Life did give them a humongous bridge to cross but they crossed it with hardly any problems. I mean, that whole Hugo thing should have been near insurmountable but it was resolved in too few pages.

The sex is also usually hotter than it was here. I mean I still remember scenes from Move the Sun… wowza! But this one… sigh. I mean, Pilar had a particular kink, and I’m never one to judge, to each his own and all that, but man was she confusing to me. If I were a man I’d probably run the opposite direction. I mean she had too many rules, she didn’t want to be called Pilar, she wanted it hard, but not that hard… I mean come on! .

But I have got to say, even though this was not the best book I’ve read, it’s only because Susan Fanetti has written such amazing books. I can only judge this one from the benchmark set and Move the Sun is the highest benchmark one can set. So saying that, it was a sweet read… for contemporary romance. It wasn’t as gritty, as edgy, as deep as the other books I’ve read from this author, but it was kinda sweet. It’s not super memorable but it had its moments and for that I give it…

3 stars.

Amazon Buy Link -> Fire and Dark by Susan Fanetti

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Book Review -Softer Than Steel (Love &Steel #2) -Jessica Topper

I fell so deep in love with Louder than Love! It was one of those unexpected finds that bind you to an author. So I spent the last couple of months googling Softer than Steel to make sure I wouldn’t miss its release. I did, but that’s besides the point🙂 I finally got to read it and for those who like to know from the get go whether I loved a book or not I will say this, it was not Louder than Love, but it has its appeal.

Softer than Steel is the story of Rick Rottenburg, or if you’d like, Riff Rotten🙂 Riff lost the love of his life Simone to cancer. She was everything to him and saying that he lost his will to really live would not be a stretch. However, now that he has his best friend Adrian back and his band reunited. He has started finding a lot to live for. Unfortunately for him, Adrian is not living and breathing the band as he used to. He’s in love. And Rick is not as thrilled about that. Add to that the panic attacks and Rick knows he has to do something to save himself. That’s how he ends up in a yoga studio with the gorgeous half Indian, half Irish instructor Sidra. Sidra is done dating musicians however. Her last love attempt with a musician left her heratbroken so she’s done with that. But Rick is something else… and so their story begins🙂

I was so excited to start this book! Like I said, I’d been waiting for such a long time for it to come out. And maybe I built up too many expectations because it sadly didn’t live up to them. Was it well written? Incredibly. The author has this way of paying attention to detail. It really makes you feel like these are real people and not just fictional characters. The way they talk to each other and laugh and love, its detailed and beautiful. That said, I’m not a yoga fan. i mean I have nothing against yoga, I gave it a try when i was pregnant and it just wasn’t my thing. So all the detail in the book about the yoga just sort of lost me. I wanted to skim through it but that would have been skimming half the book.

The misunderstanding between Rick and Sidra on the building could also have been avoided. I don’t mind miscommunication being the central tension point of the story. I love angst in any form. But this just felt like it could have been avoided from the get go. So when it hit i couldn’t help but roll my eyes. And then it took them forever to resolve it… sigh. Lastly on my list of critique is the lack of steam. Adrian and Kat had it in spades, I just couldn’t get into Rick and Sidra. i mean i get it, this is a contemporary romance story, not erotica, but I always need some heat in the book for me to love it and this one just lacked in that department. I mean, it could be a case of me not you but well…

All that said, I will repeat that this author has a way with words. I love how the British guy sounds British all way through. How the characters are so well rounded. How the details make the book. It’s a journey with her. It’s not churning out 50 books a year, its taking time to craft a story and this author does that. It just didn’t work as well for me this time.

3 stars.

Amazon Buy Link -> Softer than Steel by Jessica Topper

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Book Review – The Anatomy of Jane (WJM #1) – Amelia LeFay

This is the kind of book I’m never sure how to rate. On the one hand, an intriguing story with thought out characters. On the other, needs a lot of editing.

Let’s start with the story. We have Jane. Jane was abandoned at birth and now works at a strip club as everything else other than a stripper. Jane quits after finding out that the owner of the strip club is engaged in dirty business. She becomes a maid and that’s how she meets Max and Wes. Both handsome, both rich, both gay. But turns out they both want her…

“Max was the first person to ever capture my attention like this and now here she was like a damn hurricane I couldn’t ignore.”

.. and it becomes a very steamy menage🙂 But despite the steamy steamy sex, the problems start piling up. Can they love each other equally? Is that possible?

“You can’t like two people equally,” she whispered as I leaned into her.

“Watch me.”

 Is it even necessary to figure that out?

How do you measure how much you love someone? If they were both hanging off a cliff and I could only choose one, I’d join them on the cliff and hope we could go together. I can’t divide myself from them.

And one other problem, due to Max’s status in society, he kinda has to keep the whole menage thing hidden… he’s already kept the gay thing hidden for years. It’s all okay because Jane is enjoying it and it has to come to an end some time, right? And Wes is okay being the undercover lover, right?

And there we have quite the intriguing storyline. I mean, it kept me hooked even when the typos tried to force me to quite. Yes, quite some misspelled words and generally the book is begging to be edited. That said, its witty and the characters are thought out. I was surprised to find myself at 90% and when I was done I was rushing to find the next book because we have huge cliffhangers. To my disappointment, it will only be released in December. So I will be waiting for book #2. I’m really hoping it’s edited this time because if it’s just as good as this one AND edited? Definitely one to watch.

3 stars.

Amazon Buy Link -> The Anatomy of Jane by Amelia LeFay

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Book Review – The Goal (Off Campus #4) – Elle Kennedy

So this is definitely the best college/New Adult series out there. It’s witty, it’s steamy and it carries with it a healthy does of angst. While this was not the best installment in the series, it had its really good moments.

It’s the story of Tucker, the quiet one of the bunch. If you read the previous book, The Score (a masterpiece!) then the events of this book will not come as a surprise. Tucker is one of those old fashioned men who believe in love at first sight and the whole marriage – baby carriage thing. That’s what he wants in his life, and when Sabrina comes along, then he just might be halfway there.

Unfortunately for him, Sabrina is the opposite of old fashioned. Having been abandoned by her mother at a young age, and having to work for everything she has, she doesn’t believe in the happily ever after. At least as far as marriage and children are concerned. She wants to go to Harvard, become a lawyer and move out of her crappy home. They both want different things, but soon enough it doesn’t matter because life makes a decision for them🙂

It was a sweet book. I could put it down and I wasn’t feeling the urge to pick it up but it was sweet. I might be as cynical as Sabrina so I don’t believe men like John Tucker exist, particularly at that age, so this might have factored into my (lack of) enjoyment of the book. I loved Sabrina’s drive and how hard she pushed herself – I might have seen parallels with myself which is why I kept on reading.

The steam was hot. I mean, who doesn’t love a gentleman on the streets but a freak in the bed? Well Tucker wasn’t exactly a freak but he can dirty talk with the best of them.

So all in all it was a nice read. A bit predictable, a bit too nicely wrapped up for us cynics… and perhaps not as witty as the previous books but it was on the enjoyable side.

3 stars.

Amazon Buy Link -> The Goal by Elle Kennedy

Click the cover to read a free sample.

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I’d like to thank the author and her amazing publicist for providing this copy for my review.

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Book Review – Take (Temptation #2) – Ella Frank

I’d been missing MM romance and couldn’t think of a single go to author. Then I remembered a hot book I’d read which had a sequel that I never got to and voila! I found Take and immersed myself in the world of hot men who love hot men🙂

Take is the sequel to Try. Try was incredibly hot though it didn’t particularly pull me in when it came to the storyline but like I said, I was in it for the heat and Take did not disappoint. Following the footsteps of Try, i again wasn’t really sold on the storyline but I absolutely loved the heat. I will say that the storyline does deepen. We have Tate having to come out to his family and we have Logan dealing with his past and commitment issues.

It had its sweet moments and moments where my heart hurt – sometimes the people you love let you down and there’s nothing much you can do about that other than moving on with your life and trying to be happy. Yes, that kind of hurt. I suppose you could say it was slightly angsty but again, I was mostly there for the heat.

And that heat, man! These two steam it up for sure. I mean, you just have to look at the cover and know this one would be the kind you don’t read in public. I had some issues with the third person point of view. I mean, I have no problem with this kind of POV in general, just the way it was done here. It felt a bit disjointed at times. But again, there were some really good moments and some really good dialogue.

All in all, in the shortest review I’ve ever written, hot hot incredibly hot book. Grab it if you’re in the mood for something sexy and steamy. It might be a good idea to go with book #1 first since it’s a continuing story but both are equally hot. If you’re in the mood for something deeper and angstier, then this might not be for you.

3 stars.

 Amazon Buy Link -> Take by Ella Frank

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Book Review -Visions of Heat (Psy-Changeling #2) – Nalini Singh

I have got to say, this is one confusing series. The thing is, I love it, and every time I pick it up I’m yet again enthralled by the world Nalini Singh has created. Yet, I’m able to put the book down for long stretches at a time- that’s the confusing bit. I feel like to be totally I love with a book is when I’m either reading it or thinking about it when I’m doing something else. That’s not the case with this series. Yet I’m fascinated by the complexity of the world and I love that the steamy scenes are getting steamier and the men more possessive🙂

So it’s Vaughn’s story. We met Vaughn in book one and we know him as the changeling whose’ animal is closest to the skin. He’s actually a jaguar not a leopard but is bonded to the leopards and is very loyal to their alpha. However so whiny happened to him when he was young and unlike the others had to love for some period in animal form.

He’s probably one of the least expected to mate until he meets Faith. Faith is an F-Psy. She can tell the future and due to this designation and the accuracy of her fore tellings, she’s an asset to the psy and is kept under monitored seclusion. Faith is conditioned to only foretell anything that is of monetory gain to the psy. So when she starts having visions of a murderer, she thinks she might be losing her mind. She decides to venture into the DarkRover territory to find some answers and that’s how she meets Vaughn.

From the beginning I loved that Vaughn was more raw and therefore more  open about what he wants. I loved how possessive and protective he was. However, it was another murder mystery and another formulaic possessive alpha and virgin heroine kind of story. The concept wasn’t exactly breaking any new grounds. What is however, is the running story – the world the author has created is incredible. I can actually visualize it as a movie and it’s incredible.

I loved that the sex scenes were steamier and more than in the first book. However, like I said, I out the book down, forgot about it for a

Couple of days, picked it back up and was again intrigued for a bit till I put it down again.

I am however very committed to the series and just got the next book. I feel like it’s the kind of thing that just gets better and better so I don’t want to quit before I hit the mother of all jackpots🙂

4 stars.

Amazon Buy Link -> Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh

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Book Review – The Muse (Irresistible #5) – Anne Calhoun

I have go-to authors. These are 4 authors that are tried and tested and have yet to ‘fail’ me. So anytime I’m in a book slump and I want to read something good, I go to those four authors and immediately my slump is turned into a high. Anne Calhoun is now officially in that list. Just the other day I was thinking to myself, I need something beautifully written with really hot sex scenes and she immediately came to mind. So I browsed her books and came across The Muse. I had loved Evening Storm (book #4 in this series) so I thought why not. Except this one cost 14 dollars! It’s a long time since I saw a kindle book cost that much but it’s Anne Calhoun, I just had to get it. Best.decision.ever.

The Muse is the story of Arden MacCarren. The last name might sound familiar if you’ve read Evening Storm. Arden is part of that MacCarren family that was involved in the ponzi scheme. Her brother and father have been arrested and the rest of the MacCarren’s are being investigated in case they were also involved in the scheme. Arden’s family is old money, she’s what you would call a socialite. With the news of the MacCarren downfall, Arden is having to deal with paparazzi everywhere, including outside her house.

Arden has suffered from panic attacks since she was a teenager. Add to that the whole ponzi scheme business and she really needs an outlet before she implodes. Her best friend Betsy suggests a private art class at her home. Enter Seth Miller, the model. Arden is drawn to Seth and a no strings attached sounds like a good deal. However, Seth is battling his own demons. As a Marine stationed in Afghanistan, Seth witnessed the death of three of his best friends. Their families are now his responsibility. He has no time for a woman.

He was a former Marine with obligations to the dead, working as a bike messenger and an artist’s model, and he had no regrets. As much as he wanted her, it wasn’t going to happen. The last thing Arden needed was a man like him.

Just like any other Anne Calhoun book I’ve read, this one had me from the first page. I not only love her stories, I love the way she tells them. The way they draw you in slowly… the way you understand why they fall for each other. I’ve read so many books where I just don’t understand why the characters fall for each other. Why the player finally settles. I’m not even talking about instalove. I just feel like a lot of authors try to explain it but it leaves me wanting more. Not Anne Calhoun, and especially not in this book. I don’t know if I can explain it. It’s the way they see each other, that is different from how others see them. I particularly loved how Seth saw Arden’s strength where others saw her as weak. How he saw strength in things that made her weak in other people’s eyes.

She wanted him, a man who’d fought real battles, who saw her as strong. Maybe she could learn to be the woman he saw.

I mean the whole thing just warmed my heart. And that’s not even getting into how they anchored each other. How they just fit.

They were lost in each other. Found in each other.

Sigh. And the steamy scenes – wowza! Rarely do I read sex scenes that are more than just an experience for the body. These two used sex to communicate… and it was beautiful. Add to that the art that was part of each sexual experience and I couldn’t have loved it more.

When she settled in and started to draw, it was like she saw every single cell in his body. There was a longing, a want in her eyes, all the more powerful for the fierceness in every line of her body. But the real kicker was the way he responded to it. She wanted like he wanted, from so deep in the body it felt raw and red and hot, like an open wound.

I do feel as though the end was rushed. I feel like I walked with Arden towards her breakthrough. But I feel like Seth’s breakthrough happened in one big scene. I would also have loved to more of them after they’d decided to be together. Maybe an incredibly long epilogue. Yes, it’s possible I just wanted a longer book🙂

And in the end –

He’d made her promises the only way he knew how to make them. He’d made them with his body, with his heart. He’s ridden beside her while she conquered her fears, lain still so she could find a way to see the world, tucked her into the curve of his hip while the swat dried on their bodies after they burned each other to cinders.

See what else I loved about it? The writing. God the writing was so beautiful!

4.5 stars!

Amazon Buy Link -> The Muse by Anne Calhoun

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Book Review – In the Absence of Light – Adrienne Wilder

Best MM book I’ve ever read. But even more than that, definitely top two of my favorite books ever. Ever. I’m not even sure where to begin describing how this book made me feel. I read it in two weeks while I normally read a book in 3 days max. Thing is, I put it down because it made me feel so many emotions all at ones – things I haven’t felt before. It made me re-evaluate myself in a way I haven’t done before. And while I put it down, it never left my mind. I had discussions with my husband about this book. With my friends. With myself. Thought provoking and perfect in a way many books in this genre aren’t.

So what’s it about? Grant is in the smuggling business. Basically straddles the line between legal and illegal. But there are things he won’t do. And when he realizes that his job is leading him towards that direction, he retires. He wants to wait until the FBI loses interest in him so he can finally use his money to retire somewhere close to the beach. In the meantime, he moves to a nowhere town called Durstrand. In Durstrand Grant meets Morgan. Morgan is severely autistic so even though Grant is attracted to Morgan, he keeps away. Grant, like most people, doesn’t know how to deal with a severely autistic person. He is also 12 years older than Morgan, so he wants to do the right thing… or what he thinks is the right thing, and leave Morgan alone. Morgan however, is not having it. He is attracted to Grant and he is determined to show him.

So part of why this book was so superior to others I’ve read is because the author chose an incredibly tough topic, but wrote it with such insight and humor. I loved that Morgan was funny and cheeky. That his character made me re-evaluate how I look at autistic people. I have never read a character quite like him. I mean it’s an erotic book so he was also incredibly hot but also… I can’t find a description that does him justice. But in Grant’s words…

…a gorgeous man who would never be normal. Not because of the autism, but because he was too extraordinary.

Yup. That’s our Morgan. But then in comes Grant. A man with a past, an ex who is also an FBI agent. A man looking to disappear but discovers the love of his life in the most unexpected of places. I loved that Grant saw Morgan’s perfection. That he looked past what he could see and saw what most don’t.

“No way to put into words how he made me feel. How touching him connected me to the world. How tasting him breathed life into my lungs. How I hadn’t been alive until the moment I saw him and even then I’d resisted, afraid of what I’d felt, fighting what I feared. How I thought I knew what love was only to realize, standing in front of him, I knew nothing.”

Sigh. And you know what else I loved? That the book also had that element of mystery… the whole FBI story-line that was everything I look for in Romantic suspense, yet, I can’t quite place this book in that genre. It has erotic scenes that will have you reaching for your fan, it has humor, it has suspense, it has the kind of angst that makes you bleed. It had everything I love in a book. And it was not only just right,it was perfection.

I’m annoyed at myself because such a perfect book requires a perfect review. I can’t do it justice. I just can’t. You have to read it to see why it’s competing with Broken as my favorite book of all time. PURE PERFECTION.

5 stars!

Amazon Buy link -> In the Absence of Light by Adrienne Wilder

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