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Cowboy Up 2 - Allison Merritt, Leslie Garcia, Melissa Keir, Autumn Piper, Sara Walter Ellwood, D'Ann Lindun

*Good Ride, Cowboy by Allison Merritt*
This is a sweet story of Sommer, a girl who seems to just have the worst luck imaginable; and Perry, a bull rider who turns out to be her knight in a shiny pick-up. The storyline is simple and believable, and despite it's semi-slowness it still keeps readers enthralled and turning the pages. I would gladly read and recommend other works by this author.

*Cowboy In Waiting by Leslie P. Garcia*
I really liked this story. The troubled border patrol officer, the widowed military wife... it was sweet with a very real life feel. The story flows nicely, though I think I'd have liked to see Ray on Josie and maybe busting his butt like he thought he'd do! I think any reader that's a fan of second chances at love and learning to move on will enjoy this story.

*The Heartbroken Cowboy by Melissa Keir*
This story touches on the very real issue of Alcoholism. Our cowboy was hurt to the point that only alcohol eased the pain, our heroine has a secret concerning herself and the all mighty bottle. This story is maybe more realistically written than the others because it covers the fears and the doubts and the hardships that recovering alcoholics go through on a daily basis. I truly appreciate the debt in this story and other readers will as well.

*Cowboy in Trouble by Autumn Piper*
Another sweet cowboy love story, this one may leave the reader a bit wanting. With how it begins, the reader expects there to be action, maybe some danger, but it falls flat in this department; leaving the reader instead with the story of a cowboy needing a place to hide out and a soon to be divorcee who realizes she needs help around her farm more than she'd have liked to admit. Aside from the lack of action and danger, the story is sweet and shows how quickly love can bloom between kindred spirits.

*A Cowboy's Heaven by Sara Walter Ellwood*
A widow rancher, and widower doctor discover their second chance at love. The ending of this one choked me up a bit. I won't even lie. The story was beautifully written; but the ending, while expected, was still enough to bring tears to my eyes. The author definitely has a way with words and the reader won't be disappointed.

*Cowboy Proud by D'Ann Lindun*
I really must admit, this is probably my favorite story of the entire anthology. A woman who selfishly leaves her newborn son and his father to pursue her dreams. A father who selfishly won't compromised with the mother of his child. This one is definitely a tearjerker, it would be wise for the reader to have some tissues at hand.

The anthology as a whole is definitely not what expected. Each of these six authors has brought something new and refreshing to the table, and I can almost guarantee that even readers who aren't fans of cowboys will enjoy each and every one of these stories.

I wish I had gotten to known the stories in the first Cowboy Up anthology, I bet they're just as good as these.

I give Cowboy Up 2 5 of 5 paws

Lost & Found: A Gay Romance Novel (Surf Bay Book 1) - Ashley John

***I was given this book by the Author, Ashley John, in exchange for an honest review***

Lost & Found follows Charlie and Oliver. Charlie is a boy fresh out of high school that's done nothing but be dragged around the United States by his mother who seems to mess everything up. Oliver is a boy a little older than Charlie that is a notorious player.

This has to be one of the sweetest love story I've ever read in my life. The way Charlie comes to terms with who he is, is simply beautiful and very much realistic. Oliver is a bit annoying in the beginning as he seems to want nothing more than to just get in Charlie's pants, but the reader, as well as Charlie, start to see another side of Oliver, one that scares Oliver, himself, since he's never acted this way toward anyone else.

The storyline is phenomenal, it flows smoothly with no hiccups. There are what appears to be a scattering of errors here and there but I'm leaving that on the "translation" from British dialect into the messier American dialect.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Charlie and Oliver come into themselves, I fell in love with the story and the characters. The book is a roller-coaster of emotion that will keep the reader turning the pages.

I would recommend this book to any lover of true romance, even if you don't like LGBT reads, this one is worth the read.

I look forward to reading Full Circle, book 2 in the Surf Bay series.

I give this book 5 of 5 paws

Summer's Angel - Tiffany Ann

***I was given this copy by the author via N K Author Services in exchange for an Honest Review***

Summer's Angel follows Summer Addison, great grand niece of Walter Addison; a mogul in the translating rare and ancient texts and artifacts. It also follows Leviah Angelo, a fallen angel who has given up on any chance of redemption.

This story is sweet, there's a few parts where it's a bit repetitive, but overall the story will keep the reader turning the pages.

I personally enjoyed the history and lore that were mixed into the story concerning the fallen angels, as well as the war in Heaven and some interesting tidbits about Salem and the witch trials.

I would recommend this book to lovers of angels and romance, this book has both in abundance.

I give this book 4 of 5 paws

Jailhouse Rock - A.R. Von

***I was gifted this book by the A.R. Von in exchange for an Honest Review***

Jailhouse Rock follows Bonnie, a girl who visits her only living relative in a correctional facility; and Dean, an officer at the jail.

This story is short and to the point. There's not much that goes on beyond the attraction Bonnie and Dean feel for each other, since that's the focus of the short. If you're looking for hot steamy sex scenes, you'll have to look elsewhere, this story is a bit milder in that department than Ms. Von's other works, I would say it's safe to let a 10th grader read.

While the story is short, it's by no means boring. I found myself amused reading Dean swoon over the little things Bonnie does. Bonnie is your typical shy girl who works herself into the grave.

I thought this was a cute romance. It's definitely a good nightcap before bed and one I think will be become a favorite for those who like the genre.

I give this book 4 of 5 paws.

In The Moment: Part One - Rachael Orman

While I do like a bit of hot steamy sex in my stories, I like there to be more story than sex. Sometimes, though, I get asked to review the exact opposite. Such was the case with In the Moment. I do have to admit that this story is alright. Granted, there's sex pretty much on every page, but the characters are developed just enough to give the reader a feel for them, to let the reader know that these fictional characters aren't just generic creations. The banter between Ace and, well, anyone is enough to bring a smile and the occasional chuckle to the reader's lips, and Alicia is more confused about what she wants than I think she even knows. What little actual plotline there is in the first part of this series, was enough for me to eagerly turn the page. It's also enough to leave me in anticipation of part 2. Well done Ms. Orman, you've accomplished what so few others have concerning my enjoyment of this genre.

I give this book 5 of 5 paws

Ghost - Dani-Lyn Alexander

Ghost is a short, but sweet, story of Jess who wakes up one morning not where she'd gone to sleep and Noah who helps her learns the truth of a few things.

The story has a few heart-pounding spots but is over all sad and sweet. There's no answer to the final question asked, but the reader is left with a small sense of peace nonetheless.

I'm a huge believer in the veil and of spirits and it's nice to see a story where the spirits aren't malicious but truly trying to get a message across and to help.

I would recommend any lover of ghost stories read this book.

I give this book 4 of 5 paws

Stronger - Becki Brannen

Stronger follows Haley Cross... a survivor of domestic violence. I say survivor, because we who have suffered through the abuse of domestic violence really dislike being called "victims". We are NOT victims, we are survivors if we live through it.

This story is not for the weak of heart, however, I would recommend anyone currently in or a survivor of an abusive relationship to read this book. Domestic Violence has a pattern, one that is seen no matter who's story it is, or where it comes from. The belittling, the alienation from the outside world, the physical abuse, eventually death if the "victim" doesn't find an out. There's an order to domestic violence, and this book follows it flawlessly.

I didn't find any errors in the work, and the storyline flows seamlessly between the present and past events. The reader will find no confusion or holes within the work and even at a slow pace, it should only take a few hours to read it from beginning to end.

Being a survivor myself, I really wish I'd had the strength and the guts to do what she did. She got fed up and she found a way to fight back. Not of us have that strength, though perhaps this book will give those of us still hiding in fear and shame the knowledge that we are not alone and we don't have to live that way.

I have to wonder if Ms. Brannen is a survivor too. This story hits so close to home I can't make myself believe it's drawn entirely off the imagination of someone who has never been in the situation themself.

This is the first work by this author I've read, and it's good enough to make me want to read more by her.

I give this book 5 of 5 paws

Blood Dance - A.R. Von, Leanore Elliott, Josh Thornbrugh

***Since my copy of this book is an ARC, I cannot speak of any errors I may have or may not have found***

This story is told from Sean's PoV. He loathes Valentine's Day and all it stands for, so when his best friend convinces him to go to this "awesome" haunted Valentine's thing, he's a bit iffy... And he has good reason to be! The story is fast-paced and will make the reader giggle. While it's a horror, the reader won't be able to help but snicker at the thoughts that run through poor Sean's head as he tries to escape from the house of horrors.

The characters are pretty average, Sean could be any single computer nerd who obsesses over porn, and Stacey could be any average girl who wants to fit in. Valentine, on the other hand, is a demon... One the author created and ran with in many twisted and sadistic ways. I guess Valentine could be compared to like the "mother" of all Incubi and Succubi, even though Valentine has no known gender, Valentine can be anything it wants... and it lives off sex much like the sex demons.

The story is interesting, it's definitely a fun read for those who aren't fond of the holiday, call it the Anti-Valentine's Day person's prayers answered. There's tons of blood and gore, and of course sex. As a quick read it shouldn't take more than an hour if even that long.

I recommend anyone who likes their horror with a bit a comedy to read Blood Dance, it's sure to please.

I give this book 4 of 5 paws.

Seduced by Power: A New Adult Paranormal Romance of Shifters & Witches (Rose's Trilogy, #3) (The Seduced Saga) - Karpov Kinrade

***Since my copy is an ARC, I cannot speak of any errors I may have or may not have found***

Seduced by Power picks up where Seduced by Pain leaves off. The joy and laughter from book 2 are definitely lacking in book 3. The story has taken a dark turn and other emotions are invoked big time as we draw to the climax of this part of Rose's story. The strength and power of Derek and Rose's love is prevalent in this book, and we learn so much more about Blake as this part of the story comes to a close.

This one absolutely will make the reader reach for a tissue more than once. There's a few twists that come out of nowhere, some are a bit predictable, others not so much. While there is a nice ending, there's still that nice sunny ledge for the reader to sun themself on while waiting to read the next book >~.^<

I can't wait to jump into book 4, Seduced by Lies to see what happens next!

I give this book 5 of 5 paws

Seduced: Rose's Story - Karpov Kinrade

SEDUCED BY INNOCENCE
Seduced by innocence is pretty much a paranormal Romeo & Juliet. Rose's family, a coven of witches, is at war with Derek's, a family of shape-shifting druids. Just like Romeo & Juliet, Rose and Derek's love sprouted from their only hate.

I'm not sure if the copy of this I was given is an edited ARC since the book is already released. If it isn't, I'd suggest the author have their current editor go over the work, there's an entire chapter with small errors that while most may miss... I did not.

This book is amazing. The characters are very developed, and the storyline, thus far, has no holes that I was able to find. The story, being told from Rose and Derek's, and occasionally Blake's, point of views, leaves the reader as much in the dark about events as it does the character who's telling the part. There's a lot of emotion of all kinds almost charging the pages of this book, and the way it's told will leave the reader a bit disoriented when it finishes, since their senses will return to the now as they leave the story behind.

This book is NOT for those who dislike cliffhanger endings, this book ends with a cliffhanger that leads the reader into book 2, Seduced by Pain. I am anxious to read book 2.

I give this book 5 of 5 paws

SEDUCED BY PAIN
Seduced by Pain picks up where Seduced by Innocence leaves off. Blake plays a bigger role in this book, though things have definitely changed. Book two delves deeper into Rose's "dark" gift as she seeks a way to control it. There's a lot more adult scenes in this one that are strategically placed so the story flows. This book is also a bit funny then book 1. Ocean proves herself to be quite the comedienne.

All in all, the storyline once again leaves readers with a mild cliffhanger. There's not so much a cliff as a sunny ledge to sprawl out on while waiting to read Seduced by Power, book 3 in the saga. The ending leaves the reader knowing there's book 3 without the growl factor that book 1's cliffhanger left us in.

I give this book 5 of 5 paws

SEDUCED BY POWER
Seduced by Power picks up where Seduced by Pain leaves off. The joy and laughter from book 2 are definitely lacking in book 3. The story has taken a dark turn and other emotions are invoked big time as we draw to the climax of this part of Rose's story. The strength and power of Derek and Rose's love is prevalent in this book, and we learn so much more about Blake as this part of the story comes to a close.

This one absolutely will make the reader reach for a tissue more than once. There's a few twists that come out of nowhere, some are a bit predictable, others not so much. While there is a nice ending, there's still that nice sunny ledge for the reader to sun themself on while waiting to read the next book >~.^<

I can't wait to jump into book 4, Seduced by Lies to see what happens next!

I give this book 5 of 5 paws

Seduced by Pain - Karpov Kinrade

***Since my copy is an ARC, I cannot speak of any errors I may have or may not have found***

Seduced by Pain picks up where Seduced by Innocence leaves off. Blake plays a bigger role in this book, though things have definitely changed. Book two delves deeper into Rose's "dark" gift as she seeks a way to control it. There's a lot more adult scenes in this one that are strategically placed so the story flows. This book is also a bit funny then book 1. Ocean proves herself to be quite the comedienne.

All in all, the storyline once again leaves readers with a mild cliffhanger. There's not so much a cliff as a sunny ledge to sprawl out on while waiting to read Seduced by Power, book 3 in the saga. The ending leaves the reader knowing there's book 3 without the growl factor that book 1's cliffhanger left us in.

I give this book 5 of 5 paws

Seduced by Innocence - Karpov Kinrade

Seduced by innocence is pretty much a paranormal Romeo & Juliet. Rose's family, a coven of witches, is at war with Derek's, a family of shape-shifting druids. Just like Romeo & Juliet, Rose and Derek's love sprouted from their only hate.

I'm not sure if the copy of this I was given is an edited ARC since the book is already released. If it isn't, I'd suggest the author have their current editor go over the work, there's an entire chapter with small errors that while most may miss... I did not.

This book is amazing. The characters are very developed, and the storyline, thus far, has no holes that I was able to find. The story, being told from Rose and Derek's, and occasionally Blake's, point of views, leaves the reader as much in the dark about events as it does the character who's telling the part. There's a lot of emotion of all kinds almost charging the pages of this book, and the way it's told will leave the reader a bit disoriented when it finishes, since their senses will return to the now as they leave the story behind.

This book is NOT for those who dislike cliffhanger endings, this book ends with a cliffhanger that leads the reader into book 2, Seduced by Pain. I am anxious to read book 2.

I give this book 5 of 5 paws

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier - Ishmael Beah

I remember being young when I first heard about the war in Sierra Leone.. it wasn't long after we had finished discussing the start of the Gulf War "Current Events" class. (long before the war actually started in '98). These wars always perplex me, because it's never truly known why they happen. The RUF and the army were doing the same things and for the same reason, and yet they were enemies. To me, that makes no sense.

There's controversy surrounding this book, as there are with ANY book on a topic such as this. Whether this book is fact or fiction is really irrelevant. The events of the war took place just as described; whether or not the boy named Ishmael in the story is actually the author doesn't matter. This book could have been written by ANYONE who had a place as a soldier in the war. Don't let the controversy take away from the very real problem of militant and rebel armies recruiting young boys (usually between the ages of 7-16) to die for their causes. This is an issue that's been known to our world since before the war in Sierra Leone and will continue to be a problem until there's a way to prevent it from continuing.

This book takes you "behind the scenes". Told through the eyes of a boy who was forced to become a soldier in Sierra Leone. It tells how it happened, what went on while he was a soldier, and how he coped and rediscovered who he really is. The story is heartbreaking and I cried for Ishmael more than once while reading of the things that went on. My heart broke for the childhood so brutally ripped away from him because of the war, and for each and every friend and family member he lost. There were times I smiled to, his first trip to New York is amazing story all on its own, but the reader is quickly reminded that was just a small intermission to the main focus of the story. There are many many tribe stories interwoven in this book, each one is told exactly where it needs to be to help the reader better understand what Ishmael was thinking at that point in time.

I hope Ishmael has found some peace in his heart and his soul after writing his account.. I hope every person who reads this book understands and realizes that Sierra Leone isn't the only country to use children as soldiers.. and that it could just as easily be our country some day.

This book is NOT for the casual reader, obviously given what the book is about, there is a lot of talk about death and how commanders would brainwash the boys into killing the enemy. There are a few very detailed scenes that I wouldn't recommend the weak of heart or mind read as well. This book isn't a walk in the park, it's not going to bring a smile to the reader's face when it ends... But perhaps it will open the reader's eyes to the things people in war torn countries have to endure.

I give this book 5 of 5 paws

A Child Called "It" - Dave Pelzer

I'm kind of conflicted on this story. Aside from some telling me it's true, and others telling me it isn't, the manner in which the mother treats Dave is a bit off. Being a survivor of child abuse myself, I know all about the random beatings, the "games", and the starvation methods. While my mother didn't do any of them (except the beating part, child services was a common visitor at my house from 1st-5th grade), I at least knew why my mother hated me. Dave seems to never actually be told the reasons for his mother hatred toward ONLY him and not his other four or five brothers who seemed to never punished let alone beaten. Normally if a child's singled out from a group of siblings it's because that child reminds the parent either of the other parent or themselves, but there seemed to be absolutely no reason that she started to abuse Dave who at the time was the youngest. Normally in abuse cases, it's the oldest or middle child. Now by the end of the book, Dave is the middle child I think, but he was the youngest in the beginning.

Another inconstancy I found in this work was the father. The man was a firefighter and yet cowed and allowed his wife to not only beat and starve his son, but watched her pour ammonia down his throat? I don't know about the rest of you, but that doesn't sit right with me. Firefighters are not cowards, it's not in the job description, yet this man was portrayed as anything but a man. I don't know a single man in a job like that that would allow that behavior to go on.

Despite my feeling that this story is less than accurately told, it's still one that will tug at the heart strings. Any story where a child suffers like the one in this story is. And while it IS inconsistent in a lot of things, the message is still there. I believe this book should be mandatory reading for parents who have had their children taken by child services. I believe the greatest punishment they parents can ever receive is reading what their brands of torture do the child they could have easily given up for adoption rather than torture than torment or in some cases either kill.

For the messages this book hold and ONLY for those, I give this book 3 of 5 paws.

The Neverending Story - Roswitha Quadflieg, Michael Ende, Ralph Manheim

I first read this book when I was 10 or 11. Over twenty years later, it's still one of my favorites. This story has so much depth that each time it's read, it may as well be a different story altogether. Like Mr. Correander points out to Bastian, "The Neverending Story is different for each person", this holds true. This has to be the sixth or seventh time in my life that I've read this and still it was like a brand-new adventure. I smiled as I read chapters that remembered, and was in awe of ones I didn't. To this day, a piece of my heart belongs to Atreyu who has to be the bravest boy I've ever "met".

This story carries a lot of emotion in it, and more than one cloaked lesson between its pages. It's definite must read by parents to their children. Not only will it teach children valuable life lessons, it will help parents to better see the world through their children's eyes and hearts. Perhaps it will remind parents of their own adventures in Fantastica, after all, we adults tend to forget the many times we've been there and have given the Childlike Empress her name >~.^<

I hope the magic of The Neverending Story remains in my heart until "Men are myth and books are written by rabbits" (Quote is from The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, another book I believe is a gateway to Fantastica)

Whipped (Hitched) - Karpov Kinrade

***I received this ARC from the Author in exchange for an honest review***

Since this book is an Advanced Reader Copy, I cannot speak of any errors I may have or may not have found.

Vi and Zoe have opened a sex shop named Whipped and Lach is a dancer for the Aussie Posse, who also happens to be the shop's biggest customer. Vi thought the Dom life was for her, until she gets to know Lach.. then wonders if change is really so bad.

While a stand alone in the series, Whipped takes place a bit after Hitched ends. Tate, Kacie, and Sebastian have quite a few cameo appearances, (not near as many as Vi had in Hitched) and we get to know Zoe and Lach.

I enjoyed Whipped, probably a little more than I did Hitched honestly. Whipped was more raw and a bit more realistic in how things went. I found Vi very easy to relate to. Lach was kind of take him or leave him. While his character is believable, there were still some things that seemed off about him, he seemed almost too perfect. That could just be me though. I feel Chad should have made at least a second appearance. I mean with what he said in the brief cameo he had, sub or not, he should have tried a little harder.

Whipped combines erotica and comedy in a way that only Kimberly Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov are capable of pulling off. Just when the reader is getting drawn into all the sex and serious, something funny is said, done, or thought that makes the reader crack a smile, or in my case, snort and giggle at four in the morning lol.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves light reads with a bit of sex in them.

I absolutely look forward to the next installment of The Red Shoe Memoirs, as well as of course anything else this amazing duo puts out.

I give this book 5 of 5 paws