15 Of My Favorite Sports Romances

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I am linking up today at The Broke and the Bookish's link up "Top Ten Tuesday".  They have a different topic every week and it's a lot of fun to meet some new bloggers and find a bunch of new books to add to my list!  This week's topic is: Ten Books that Feature Characters ____ (ex: mental illness, characters who play sports, certain jobs, etc).

I've mentioned on my blog before that I'm a pretty big fan of sports romances.  I am a pretty big sports nut, so when you combine sports and romance together, I am happy as can be.  Who doesn't love a strong alpha male type??  I've been going through some major hockey withdrawal, so I had a lot of fun making this list.  Hockey romances are my absolute favorite.

Him by Sarina Bowen (hockey) - 5 stars
Off Limits by Kelly Jamieson (hockey) - 5 stars

Lucky by Carina Adams (football) - 5 stars
Strong Side by Alison Hendricks (football) - 4 stars

Ryker by Sawyer Bennett (hockey) - 4 stars
Penalty Play by Lynda Aicher (hockey) - 4 stars

Have you read any of these?
What's your favorite sports romance?

Review: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Friday, September 22, 2017

Title: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young Adult
Publication date: April 7th 2015

 Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

 Simon is a sixteen-year-old boy, who is not openly gay and is being blackmailed with his private emails with Blue by a fellow student.  Blue is an anonymous and also closeted boy from the same high school. Simon and Blue have developed a flirtatious relationship through messaging, but neither one is aware of who the other is in real life because they use fake screen names.  The student that is blackmailing Simon wants him to help get the attention of one of Simon's best friends that he has a crush on.  Simon struggles to keep his sexuality a secret and protect his and Blue's blossoming romance from being revealed, while also trying to survive the usual high school drama.

I loved the adorable “You’ve Got Mail” feeling where both characters meet online due to a tumblr post and have no idea who each other are. They continue to email each other back and forth and what begins as a friendship eventually turns into more. I'm such a sucker for stories like this that include love letters, text, emails, etc.  The emailing was such an important addition in this book.  It really sold the romance for me. I loved that this wasn’t just two teenagers meeting and instantly falling in “teenage love”.  Simon and Blue got to know each other through their messages, without any influence of social status or appearances. It made it that much sweeter.  And I loved reading the flirty and fun banter between these two.

I won't give any clues as to who the love interest, Blue, is because half of the fun was trying to guess who it was.  I thought I had it figured out and changed my mind a bunch of times.  I did finally figure it out though, and I was so happy when it was revealed.  I kind of want to go back and read the book again now that I know and read all of the clues again. lol!  I have to admit that I did wish that we got to see more of Blue and Simon, together, in the end. They were so adorable!

Simon is definitely going on my list as one of my favorite YA characters ever. I loved his voice and being in his head was so much fun. Simon is a theater geek who enjoys comics, Harry Potter and Oreos. He’s both confident and vulnerable and I it just made me want to hug him. His character felt so real and genuine and I’m sure anyone who reads Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda will be able to identify with at least some of the struggles Simon faces.  He is such a relateable and fleshed out character that it’s impossible not to feel invested in his story.

There were also a lot of great secondary characters (that I'm hoping eventually get their own books).  We have Simon's three best friends Leah, Abby, and Nick.  Abby was the bubbly, happy one that ended up being a really great supportive friend to him.  Leah is the one that has known Simon the longest.  She came off kind of harsh and bitchy at times, but I thought it made sense for her character.  She is dealing with a one-sided crush on Nick, while watching him fall at Abby's feet.  She also shows jealous moments when it comes to Simon and Abby's close friendship. There's also Nick, but we don't really get to know much about him other than the fact that he has a crush on Abby.  He didn't get too much character development.  There was just enough drama within their little social group for it to feel real without being over the top.

This is another one of those rare young adult books that have great supportive parents involved in their son's life.  I love that!  I've said this in another review, but I feel like often times in YA books the parents are written as "the bane of their existence" or just aren't mentioned at all.  They wanted to know what was going on in Simon's life, and set him straight when he needed it.  His sisters were also a lot of fun.

I can’t wait to pick up more of Becky Albertalli’s books. This is definitely a book I would recommend to anybody and everybody. It's a relatable and well-written story, and it has the most realistic yet likable characters. There are so many funny and humorous moments but it also deals with important themes in a very delicate and appropriate way.  I kind of want to pick this up and start reading it all over again, and I just finished it!  I didn't want it to end at all, and  I already miss the characters.  I own The Upside of Unrequited and I can't wait to pick it up soon!

Find it here:

Waiting on Wednesday

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme where we have the opportunity to let others know about books that we are eagerly waiting for.

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: So Over You
Title: Kate Meader
Series: Chicago Rebels, #2
Genre: Hockey Romance
Publisher: Pocket Star
Find it on Goodreads

Releases on December 4th 2017!

Three estranged sisters struggle to sustain their late father’s failing hockey franchise in Kate Meader’s sizzling Chicago Rebels series. In this second entry, middle sister Isobel is at a crossroads in her personal and professional lives. But both are about to get a significant boost with the addition of a domineering Russian powerhouse to the Rebels....

Isobel Chase knows hockey. She played NCAA, won Olympic silver, and made it thirty-seven minutes into the new National Women’s Hockey League before an injury sidelined her dreams. Those who can’t, coach, and a position as a skating consultant to her late father’s hockey franchise, the Chicago Rebels, seems like a perfect fit. Until she’s assigned her first job: the man who skated into her heart as a teen and relieved her of her pesky virginity. These days, left-winger Vadim Petrov is known as the Czar of Pleasure, a magnet for puck bunnies and the tabloids alike. But back then... let’s just say his inability to sink the puck left Isobel frustratingly scoreless.

Vadim has a first name that means “ruler,” and it doesn’t stop at his birth certificate. He dominates on the ice, the practice rink, and in the backseat of a limo. But a knee injury has produced a bad year, and bad years in the NHL don’t go unrewarded. His penance? To be traded to a troubled team where his personal coach is Isobel Chase, the woman who drove him wild years ago when they were hormonal teens. But apparently the feeling was not entirely mutual.

That Vadim might have failed to give Isobel the pleasure that was her right is intolerable, and he plans to make it up to her—one bone-melting orgasm at a time. After all, no player can perfect his game without a helluva lot of practice...

Why I'm Waiting:  4 reasons: I LOVE Kate Meader's romances, I really loved the first book in this series, and I'm a big sucker for a second chance romance, and I also really love sports romances (especially when it's hockey).  I'm really excited about this one!

What books are you excited about?

10 Books on my Fall TBR list

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I am linking up today at The Broke and the Bookish's link up "Top Ten Tuesday".  They have a different topic every week and it's a lot of fun to meet some new bloggers and find a bunch of new books to add to my list!  This week's topic is: My Fall TBR List

I love mystery/thrillers in the Fall.  I'm not sure why but I always seem to want to read them around this time of year.  Maybe it's my way of getting ready for Halloween.  I've also been in a romance mood (as always), so I made a list with a little bit of both.



What's on you Fall TBR list?

Review: Rank & File by L.A. Witt

Monday, September 18, 2017

Title: Rank & File
Author: L.A. Witt
Series: Anchor Point, #4
Genre: MM Romance
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publication date: September 25th 2017
Find it Here: Goodreads

 Senior Chief Will Curtis is as straitlaced as they come. While his fellow Sailors have partied their way through their enlistments, he’s had his eye on the prize—making master chief and retiring after thirty years of service.

Lieutenant Brent Jameson is a Navy brat turned Annapolis grad. He’s lived and breathed the military his whole life, and he knows he’s destined for great things—once he’s done paying his dues at the bottom of the ladder.

When their paths cross, both men know better than to give in to temptation, but that doesn’t stop them. It also doesn’t keep them from coming back for more, even though being discovered would sink their careers. Something has to give—Will can retire, Brent can resign, or they’ll both face court-martial.

But there’s also the option neither wants to acknowledge: jump ship and walk away from each other instead of ending their careers over a fledgling relationship. And they should probably decide before they fall in love.

Except—too late.

Rank & File is the 4th book in L.A. Witt's Anchor Point series but can easily be read as a stand alone.  We get to see a couple of characters from previous stories but for their roles in this story it isn't necessary to read the series in order to understand what is happening in this one.  L.A. Witt's romances are ones that I always scoop up as soon as I see them.  Sometimes they can be hit or miss for me, but I still grab them all.  This one wasn't a hit or miss for me.  It fell somewhere in between.  I didn't feel as if it lived up to the others in the series.

Will and Brent meet one night when Will responds to a domestic call.  After their first meeting they are not able to get the other out of their mind, so when they meet by chance at a local gay bar they decide to give into the chemistry between them.  While DADT is a thing of the past, the no fraternization of officers and enlisted men is still very much in affect. If they are found out, it would result in them both being forced out of the service. They both know it's a bad idea to continue their forbidden romance but they can't seem to keep their hands or minds off of each other.  What begins as a friends-with-benefits situation starts to quickly feel much more serious and feelings become involved.

As with the other books in this series, the chemistry between them is absolutely sizzling.  There were lots of steamy moments between the two of them.  But maybe TOO many steamy scenes, in my opinion.  I felt the the plot really took a back seat in this one and it was mostly just one steamy scene after another.  Don't get me wrong, I love the smexy times, but I really need a plot too.  This one felt like it was really lacking in that area.

I did really love some of the sweet moments that they had together tho.  Like when they took their weekend trip and were able to be affectionate in public.  I enjoyed them getting to know each other more and watch them recognize their feelings for each other (even if they didn't voice them right away).  I also love that while this romance has a big of an age gap, it's never really made into a huge deal.  Will mentions feeling insecure about Brent finding someone better/younger but I feel like that had more to do with his issues of being cheated on in the past than their actual ages.

I felt as if things were left a little unfinished in some areas.  At the end of the book, Brent makes a huge decision that we are told his father is not happy about at all, and that's it.  The book ends without us finding out any more about it.  I wanted a little more closure there!  Does the dad continue being mad at him forever?  Do they reconcile?  Same thing goes for Will's family.  They are aware that he is gay but chose not to talk about it or even acknowledge it, but it is deeply effecting Will.  Does he continue living that way, or does he eventually decide he is going to live completely freely?  I also thought that the mention of marriage was WAY too soon.  I hate when marriage is tossed in at the end just to give the illusion of a more secure HEA.

* I received an ARC of this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. *

Sunday Post

Sunday, September 17, 2017

I am linking up today with Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer for Sunday Post to share all of the books I picked up lately, share my posts for the past week, and also share what's coming up soon! 

For Review:

Freebies from Amazon:


Kindle Unlimited:

Life lately:
I feel like I've been in a "funk" lately.  I don't have any motivation to read at all.  I tried rereading a book that I loved earlier this year and I still really enjoyed it, but as soon as I finished it I was back to the same "blah" feeling.  I don't know if it's stress, the sinus infection that attacked me out of nowhere, or what the issue is.  I struggle with anxiety and insomnia and I have been having a rougher time with them both lately so that probably has a lot to do with it, along with the gross sinus funk.  I haven't been around visiting/commenting on other blogs either much these past couple weeks, and I feel awful about that.  If I continue in this funk I've been in, I may take a little blogging break...or at least cut back.  I typically blog 6 days a week, so maybe if I cut that in half it would be easier??

On a happier note, I mentioned last week that my grandmother was in the hospital;  Well she is doing much better now.  They released her and she is currently staying with my aunt (who happens to be a nurse practitioner) so she's in good hands.

In other news, I am going to be picking up a couple hours here and there at one of my previous employers.  I really loved the people I worked with and the patients that came to visit so I am really excited to go back.  Also a little nervous tho, because it's been almost 5 years since I worked there! haha!  Maybe this will help pull me out of my funk.

I also got a bit carried away with books this week.  I had an Amazon gift card so I tried to do some retail therapy. lol!  

Recently on my blog:
Waiting on Wednesday - Tender with a Twist by Annabeth Albert

Coming up next on my blog:
Rank & File by L.A. Witt - Review
Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR List
Waiting on Wednesday
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli -Review (hopefully!!)

Follow Me Here:

What have you read lately?

My Bookish Art: Beauty and the Beast

Friday, September 15, 2017

Just in case you are new here: I've been sharing my artwork on my blog for a couple months now.  I was a little unsure about sharing it at first because this is primarily a bookish blog, so I decided to share my book inspired artwork to sort of tie it in.  I've got plans to eventually start an Etsy/Society 6 site but I STILL haven't made the jump.  I'm just nervous to take that first step, I think.  I hoping to have things started and ready for the beginning of 2018.  That's my goal, at least.

This is the 7th painting of mine that I've shared so far on my blog.  I've included the links to the others below my newest painting. I decided to give Beauty and the Beast a try since so many people seemed excited about it. Even though Belle didn't end up looking like Emma Watson, I am still pretty happy with the way she came out.  The Beast gave me a lot of problems.  I put the most work into him, but I'm still not 100% happy with the way he looks. lol!  I'm my worst critic, I swear.  I'm happy to say that I do have a buyer lined up for this one already (as long as nothing falls through)!

Right now, I'm trying to decide what painting I want to try next.  I'm thinking something fun for Halloween, like: Hocus Pocus or something...we'll see.  Any fun suggestions for me?

(some progress shots because I think they are fun to share. lol)

Other art posts:

What do you think?

Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: May 30th 2017

 Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Ahhh!!  The cuteness!!!  I just had to go ahead and get that out of the way really quick. lol!   When Dimple Met Rishi left my heart feeling full and squishy with happiness.  I can't even handle how much I enjoyed this one. This was a book that constantly had me smiling and made me laugh out loud.  I felt all of the feels.

Dimple Shah is a recent high school graduate that is dedicated to learning coding and having a career. Her mother would rather her grow out her hair, put on some makeup and get married already. So when she gets her parents to agree to send her to a summer web developers competition, Dimple decides not to push it and question her good luck. What she doesn't know is that the main reason she's being allowed to go there is because they have arranged for a boy named Rishi Patel to meet her there.  Oh, and also that he is under the impression that they will have an arranged marriage. 

One of the things about this book that I really enjoyed reading about was Indian cultures. I don't actually know too much at all about Indian culture so that was really fun and interesting for me to read about.  I thought it was really interesting to read about modern day teenagers with an Indian heritage, and their take on their beliefs and culture while living in and "fitting in" in America. I thought the culture was presented in an informative and relatable way. I loved reading about it!

Dimple was a hilarious, unique, and strong-willed character. She didn't care what other people thought about her.  She refused to be a girl that needed to fix her hair and makeup and become obsessed with finding a husband. Dimple was never afraid to truly be herself. At first I thought she came off a bit harsh, but she eventually opened up and showed her kind and caring side. I admired Dimple's need to be independent and her focus on her career but I thought she took it too far at times, and it frustrated me because of how she treated Rishi a few times.

I can't handle how much a loved Rishi. He was definitely book boyfriend material. My heart hurt for him at times because he got his feelings stomped on quite a few times by Dimple.  He was very patient, loving, and sweet with her. But also very determined.  He took his time and really "woo-ed" her.  I loved every second of it.

The romance between them was really cute and well developed. It didn't feel rushed at all to me.  Dimple started out not trusting him at all and being pretty mean to him, but he eventually grows on her and they have an adorable friendship that leads to more.  They made an adorable couple.  They also had great chemistry with one another.  There is a scene between them where things get intimate but it wasn't graphic and I thought it was handled really well.  Things sort of "fade to black" before it gets to that point.  And yay for another YA book that tackles consent really well!

Obviously, I really ended up loving this book. lol. It was the lighthearted, funny, and super adorable book that I was hoping it would be.  I would recommend to anyone that is looking for something a little light and fluffy, and low on angst.  I'm excited to read more from this author in the future.

Find It Here:

Waiting on Wednesday

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme where we have the opportunity to let others know about books that we are eagerly waiting for.

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Annabeth Albert
Title: Tender with a Twist
Series: Rainbow Cove,  #2
Genre: MM Romance
Find it on Goodreads

Releases On October 2nd 2017!

One kinky wood carver. One younger chef looking to try new things. A series of lessons that bring both men more than they bargained for…

Curtis Hunt has made a name for himself as a chainsaw wood carver, winning national competitions and operating a small business in Rainbow Cove, Oregon. As winter whittles away his tourist traffic, his goal is just to survive the season and try to not get lost in grief for his dead lover. It’s been two years, but he’s sure he’ll never be over the love of a lifetime. However, his body has a certain restlessness that he doesn’t quite know how to calm.

Logan Rosner knows a thing or two about restlessness. It’s what drove him to Rainbow Cove to be a chef at a bar and grill run by his friends. And it’s what drives him to a single sizzling encounter with the local legendary lumberjack. Both men get far more than they expected and learn that first impressions aren’t always accurate…

But when Logan proposes a series of sexy lessons, Curtis must decide how much he’s willing to risk. He knows he can’t afford to get attached to Logan’s good cooking, his easy smiles, or his caretaking, but he keeps going back for more, even as deeper emotions become involved. Soon, Curtis must decide whether to risk his heart again or risk losing Logan for good. 

Why I'm waiting: Okay, I have to be honest, I really hate the covers for the books in this series so far. haha!  That being said, Annabeth Albert is another one of those authors that I will read just about anything from.  I really enjoyed the first book in the series and I'm excited to see some of the other characters get their HEAs.

What books are you excited about?

Quickie Reviews: The Current Between Us & Someone to Call My Own

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Current Between Us by Kindle Alexander

Synopsis: Gage Synclair, international, hard-hitting investigative photojournalist, is preparing for the final special report of his career. A story of deception and murder six long years in the making. After spending ten years in some of the worst parts of the world, he's ready to settle life down and open an art gallery in his hometown of Chicago.

Trent Cooper, electrical contractor, is surprised by the last minute request for a fast-paced electrical remodel, little did he know he'd be immediately propositioned by the gallery's owner. Being gay in the construction industry isn't easy, nor is being father to his two young adopted children. Trent keeps his life in separate zones to avoid a short circuit. Will their high-voltage passion break the currents between them forever?

Review: I didn't end up loving this one as much as I had hoped.  I've loved every other book that I've read from Kindle Alexander so I automatically expected to enjoy this one too.  Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it?  It definitely seems like a "it's not you, it's me" kind of problem because everyone else I know enjoyed it.  Gage is supposed to be the type of guy that never makes connections with the guys he falls into bed with, but he is instantly drawn to Trent and can't get him out of his mind.  He even came across as extremely needy for most of the book.  Begging Trent to tell him that he feels the same way (repeatedly!!) and invites himself over because he misses him after being away from him for a couple hours.  He was a big time clinger! lol!  I loved Trent's interactions with his family and how he tried to do everything he could to provide a good life for them.  The feelings seemed a little too fast for me tho, and everything worked a little too well. I don't know why, I just didn't "click" with these guys.  I thought they were cute but it never really "wowed" me.

Someone to Call My Own by Aimee Nicole Walker

Synopsis: Psychic Emory Jackson and former black ops specialist Jonathon Silver are men from two completely different worlds with one thing in common: heartbreak. Emory still mourns the loss of his husband five years prior, and Jon is reeling with grief from the recent death of his twin brother.

Sparks fly when mutual friends introduce them, but it’s so much more than basic attraction. There’s an undeniable awareness and a sense of belonging that neither man can deny. Despite Emory’s premonition of a future with Jon, he has vowed never to love again. Jon is convinced that his tainted soul is the reason he will never have someone to call his own. What if they’re both wrong?

Maybe these broken men with their jagged edges could somehow align perfectly to form something whole and beautiful. But will that realization come too late for them?

Someone to Call My Own is the second book in the Road to Blissville series. These books can be read as standalone or as part of the series. The author first introduced these characters in the Curl Up and Dye Mysteries, but it isn’t necessary to read that series first. This book contains sexually explicit material and is intended for adults 18 and older. 

Review:  This really bums me out to write, but I really didn't enjoy this one at all.  Normally, I really love Aimee Nicole Walker's MM romances, but this one drove me nuts.  In the synopsis, it says that it can be read as a standalone but I'm not too sure if that's true.  Although the first (at least) 25% of the book was rehashing things that have already happened in the both the Road to Blissville AND Curl Up and Dye Mysteries.  I was so bored because I've already read all of the previous books.  I didn't want to be retold all of the things that already happened.  Then there's also the fact that at 49% Jon is still sleeping with other people.   This is an extreme slow burn between the two of them but once things finally start they are instantly in love.  It felt really awkward and strange.  Close to the end there's also a unnecessary health scare to add drama. This one just wasn't for me, I guess.

Have you read anything from these authors before?

Review: Blood Guard by Megan Erickson

Monday, September 11, 2017

Title: Blood Guard
Author: Megan Erickson
Series: Mission, #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication date: September 12th 2017

 Enter a world of immortal danger and desire—and discover an incredible fate borne of blood.

Tendra: One minute, I’m a bartender in gritty Mission City; the next, I’m whisked away by a vampire named Athan who tells me that I’m the lifeblood of his clan. It sounds unbelievable, but he’s got evidence I can’t deny. Turns out, Athan belongs to an underground society of vampires who feed only on humans with their consent. Their enemies have no such qualms, and they want me dead. The only thing standing in their way is strong, sexy Athan. And the closer we get, the more tempted I am to let Athan feed. . . .

Athan: How could I have known when I snatched this snarky, beautiful human off the streets that she would change mydestiny? As a loyal soldier, I must deliver Tendra to our future king—my brother. Empowered with the blood of ten generations of the Gregorie breed, she is fated to rule as our queen. But there’s something between us that’s so intoxicating, so carnal, I can’t help wanting Tendra for myself . . . even if it’s treason.

Megan Erickson is one of my favorite romance authors ever.  Any time I see any of her books I automatically have to pick it up, whether it's MF or MM, paranormal, super steamy, whatever.  I can't say no!  I love just about every book I've read from her so I was really excited to give this one a try, especially because with Halloween on it's way.  I've really been in the mood for vampires. lol!  I have to be honest, I didn't love this one as much as I expected to.

Tendra is a waitress who one night gets kidnapped and is thrown into this world she had no idea existed. A world where vampires are real.   Not only are vampires real but she is destined fulfill a prophesy which says she will give her "special" blood to the future king, giving him strength to overthrow a rival vampire clan and also save the human race. Athan is her vampire bodyguard, who is tasked with making sure she gets to the king’s (who is his brother) place safely. They’re on the run throughout the story avoiding deadly assassins, members of the rival clan, and members of their own clan that have betrayed them.

I really loved both of the MCs, Athen and Tendra!  It was great to have a strong female character that didn't come off as "too tough" either.  There was a great balance.  She knew how to defend herself but she also has her really vulnerable moments where she needs to have a good cry.  She's kind of a badass and doesn't take crap from anybody. She was also really funny.  Then there's Athen. He hasn't been around normal humans (ones that haven't agreed to hang around and let vampires suck their blood when they need it) enough to understand them.  He's only ever used them for a fresh feed and/or occasionally slept with them.  I enjoyed his totally clueless moments, but I really loved how caring he was when it came to Tendra. He treated Tendra with respect and care. She wasn't an object or just his duty, but a person with feelings, fears, and a future she didn't choose.  I loved that he "got" that.

I loved the slow build-up of chemistry between them.  They both do their best to ignore it because they are aware that she is to be with his brother to fulfill the prophesy.  But as they spend more time together a deep bond is formed between the two that's impossible to ignore.  They have a ton of chemistry together but they don't act on it for a long time so I guess I would call this a slower burn?  I also have to note that a lot of Erickson's romances that I've read recently are heavier on the steamier scenes but this one only has maybe 3 or 4 and they weren't until well over the half way point.  They never really became the focus of the story either.

One of the biggest issues I had with this one was how easily Tendra seemed to accept her "new life" within the clan.  Athan basically tells her that she's going to be the future king's blood bank so he can have special powers and possibly protect the human race.  Oh and also she has to sleep with him too.  This random man that she's never met.  But apparently that's okay because their saliva secretes something that makes them overcome with lust.  ANYWAY.....She never really tries to fight against her fate and that bothered me a lot.  I'm pretty sure I would have a problem being someone's suck toy for all of eternity...just saying!  I may even throw a giant hissy fit about it!  She was way too reasonable about it.  I get that she could potentially save the human race from another race of vampires that is determined to enslave them and torture them for their blood...but I don't think I could just accept my place like that.  Could be my fear of blood/having my blood taken talking tho.

While this wasn't my favorite Erickson story and I had a few issues with it, I still ended up getting sucked in and enjoying it a lot.  I kind of guessed what was going on plot-wise fairly early, but that didn't necessarily take anything away from the story.  I thought the pacing was really great and there wasn't really a dull moment.  I read through the book very quickly and had trouble putting it down.  I really loved the world building in this one and I can't wait to pick up the next one in the series.  I need to know what happens.  And I want to know more about Athen's brother, Idris.

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