Unforgotten (Forgiven #2) by Garrett Leigh

Billy Daley hasn’t been home in years, and he likes it that way. He’s just fine on his own—he has a cash-in-hand job at a scrapyard, a half-feral cat to keep him company, and many miles between him, his hometown and all the baggage that comes with it.
Until the job goes sideways. Suddenly he’s back in Rushmere, working for none other than his brother’s best friend—a man whose kiss Billy can’t seem to forget.
Gus Amour’s memories of Billy Daley are all spiky edges, lips crushed against lips and a reckless streak that always ended in trouble. But when Billy needs a place to stay, Gus steps in. He’d do anything for the Daley family, including living, and working, side by side with a man who makes his heart beat too fast and his blood run too hot—two things he’s been running from for years.
It doesn’t take long before their easy banter, lingering touches and heated glances become a temptation too hard to resist. But falling into bed and falling in love are two different things, and love has never come easy to either Billy or Gus. Only when fate threatens to steal away their opportunity for a second chance will they realize they don’t need easy.
They just need each other.

In a strange turn of events, Luke turned out to be my least favorite character in Unforgotten, while he was my favorite in Forgiven. Go figure – it’s usually the other way around. He eventually redeemed himself, but I had a hard time at first with his attitude toward his brother. *sigh*

I adored both Billy and Gus, even though I felt like knocking their heads together more often than not. Neither one of them wanted to admit that the kiss that they shared when they were practically kids meant as much as it did. So much that neither one of them ever forgot it and no one else quite measured up.

Even though Luke didn’t quite trust Billy, he still didn’t want to see him get hurt. Gus had reputation as a player. Billy knew it too, but what neither Billy or Luke understood was that once Gus had Luke under his roof, he had no desire to go in search of anyone else. It was crazy because there was no way that Billy felt the same way, right?

Billy and Gus spent most of Unforgotten circling around each other. Everyone saw their growing attraction toward each other, except them. It was as frustrating as it was sweet. I just wish they weren’t so hard headed, but then sometimes it takes almost losing something before you realize that you had it all along. So yeah, I loved spending time with these totally broken characters as they slowly helped put each other back together. Which seems to be a Garrett Leigh specialty. ❤

Leather and Lace (Southern Gothic #1) by Magen Cubed

Falling in love with a vampire bites—and sometimes loving a human bites back.
Dorian Villeneuve is an unlucky vampire from the slums of Devil’s Row. He makes ends meet for himself and his emotional support Chihuahua by working sleazy bars and nightclubs, doing what it takes to get by. Cash Leroy is a monster hunter from East Texas with a golden voice and an unrivaled devotion to Stevie Nicks. Hunting does not leave time for friends, let alone love.
When their paths cross during a bloody run-in with the vampire mob, Cash upends Dorian’s life—and takes Dorian under his wing to teach how to hunt monsters.
The unlikely pair become partners, and soon, best friends. However, their deepening bond grows complicated when Dorian falls in love with Cash. Their friendship is too important to throw away over an interspecies attraction, especially in a career that is already nasty, brutish, and short.
And things become even more complicated when Cash finds himself returning the vampire’s affections.
When an unusually deadly case lands in the hunters’ laps, their ill-fated affair takes a backseat. A pair of man-eating weredeer are on the loose taking victims’ hearts. With the pressure on to end the killing spree, Dorian and Cash must set aside their feelings and hunt down the blood-thirsty deer.
Can Dorian and Cash’s friendship survive this monstrous romance, or will they lose their hearts in the process?

What a different spin on vampires! I think that was my favorite part of Leather and Lace. I also liked the relationship between Cash and Dorian – even though they took a while to figure out that they were both on the same page.

Honestly, the only issue I had at all with Leather and Lace was the back and forth in the story telling. I’m actually a fan of multiple POVs and I usually don’t have a problem with getting characters’ back stories through flashbacks. In this case though, the combination was a little much. Not enough for me to not enjoy the story, but just enough to make me notice it and be just a little distracting. Other than that minor detail, I liked getting to know Cash and Dorian and I found myself rooting for them to find their HEA even with everything stacked against them.

Since this is the beginning of a series, I’m looking forward to getting to know Cash and Dorian even better, as well as some of the supporting characters. 😉

The Transylvania Twist (Monster M*A*S*H #2) by Angie Fox

A shaky truce. A pregnant Medusa. And a dedicated doctor who keeps legends alive.
Even during a truce, I have my hands full as a MASH surgeon to an army of warring gods—especially when Medusa herself turns up pregnant. I frankly have no idea what to expect when a Gorgon’s expecting, but I have an even bigger problem when my presumed-dead former-fiancé sneaks into my tent with enough emotional baggage to fill a tank.
He’s been fighting for the other side, which technically makes him my enemy, and now he needs me and the power I’ve kept secret for so long: I can see the dead. It’s a blessing and a curse. Literally. Because the gods will smite me in a second if they suspect.
But the other side is developing a terrible new weapon, and the only person who can stop the carnage was just murdered in a covert lab behind enemy lines. So I have no choice but to pull on my combat boots and go AWOL with my ex and a moody berserker to confront a ghost with a terrible secret.
Too bad uncovering the truth could make me enemy #1…

This is one of those books that I really liked, but I’m still not sure about the direction that it took. *sigh* I don’t like giving things away, but since it was mentioned in the description… I was not happy about Mark’s return…. for a lot of reasons.

The rest of the story was just as good as Monster M*A*S*H, the first book in the series. I just really liked Galen and Petra’s relationship in the first book. He brought out the best in her or at least made her feel that things that she doubted were totally possible. I didn’t get that same feeling from Mark. It felt like he was using her most of the time and I just really didn’t like him. Petty, I know… *sigh*

As for the rest of the story, it was just as full of action, mystery, loyal friends and humor as readers have come to expect – not just from this series, but from Angie Fox books in general. Werewolves in London is next and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Ghost of an Enchantment (Wickwood Chronicles #2) by J.E. McDonald

Something extraordinary hides beneath Wickwood’s picturesque façade… and this time it’s not staying buried.
Stella Campfield might be having a string of bad luck, but she has her witch’s intuition telling her it will turn around. That is until her best friend accidentally opens a portal to another dimension!
When the police arrive, she’s dismayed to learn the officer she’s been obsessing over is on the case. As an energy reader, she’s drawn to him like no other, but she can’t explain why.
And that changes everything.
When Lucas Martinez ends up on the alluring lady’s doorstep because of a noise disturbance call, he is unexpectedly pulled into the world of the paranormal.
Burn marks on the floor and floating books? Nothing is as it seems.
As his attraction for the secretive witch grows, and as he digs into the mysteries surrounding her, he’s even more convinced Stella is at the center of it all.
Can the unlikely pair learn to trust each other or will the sinister forces surrounding them tear their burning romance—and the world—apart?

I realized when I started reading Ghost of an Enchantment that I have a thing for characters that are clueless. Actually beyond clueless when it comes to the existence of the unexplained. To be honest, I probably realized it before I read Ghost of an Enchantment, but Lucas and his adamance against anything that couldn’t be explained by anything outside the norm reinforced it.

Lucas and Stella are drawn together regardless of how hard they try to deny it – and they tried really hard. Fate had different plans for them and it became to hard to fight the inevitable. It also became harder for Lucas to explain the strange things that were happening without admitting that there were things beyond the normal world that he thought he lived in.

As for Stella, she’d been brought up to not trust the police. Those warnings were centered around secrets- some that she was purposely keeping from Lucas and some that had been kept from her all her life. There were a lot of strange things happening in Wickwood and as the secrets were revealed, the more those strange things seemed to be totally related.

Ghost of an Enchantment was full of twists, turns, mystery, magic and danger. It also included a sweet romance and a strong sense of family. Everything I like in a new series.

Even though this is the second book in the Wickwood Chronicles, it’s the first book that I’ve read in the series. I wasn’t confused at all, but there are definitely some characters that I now want to get to know better. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be catching up with the rest of the series soon. 😉

The Beautiful Things Shoppe (Seasons of New Hope #2) by Philip William Stover

Moving to eclectic New Hope, Pennsylvania, and running The Beautiful Things Shoppe is a dream come true for elegant and reserved fine arts dealer Prescott J. Henderson. He never agreed to share the space with Danny Roman, an easygoing extrovert who collects retro toys and colorful knickknacks.
And yet here they are, trapped together in the quaint shop as they scramble to open in time for New Hope’s charming Winter Festival.
Danny has spent years leading with his heart instead of his head. The Beautiful Things Shoppe is his chance to ground himself and build something permanent and joyful. The last thing he needs is an uptight snob who doesn’t appreciate his whimsy occupying half his shop.
It’s only when two of New Hope’s historic landmarks—each as different as Danny and Prescott—are threatened that a tentative alliance forms. And with it, the first blush of romance. Suddenly, running The Beautiful Things Shoppe together doesn’t seem so bad…until Danny’s secret threatens to ruin it all.

Talk about a prickly pair. On paper, Prescott and Danny should be named the least likely couple. Yet, the previous owner of The Beautiful Things Shoppe, saw something in both of them that they couldn’t see in each other. Regardless, they started butting heads from the moment they met. It didn’t help that their mentor didn’t clue them in. He probably knew that one or the other, or even both of them would refuse if he had mentioned that they were meant to run the antique shop together. It definitely wasn’t a match made in heaven… at least in the beginning.

Prescott and Danny each had something to prove and their stubborness overruled their frustration because neither one of them could afford to back down. They slowly come to an uneasy alliance and find out that sharing space isn’t all bad, especially when they find a common goal. Danny has more than one secret he’s keeping from Prescott and it all most blows everything. Sometimes it takes a village, and it turns out that New Hope is aptly named. 😉

Just like Tack and Vince from The Hidaway Inn, Prescott and Danny took a while to win me over, but once they did I couldn’t get enough of this unlikely couple. FYI – Tack and Vince are part of the supporting cast in The Beautiful Things Shoppe and it was fun to check in on them. I’m not sure if readers will be treated to more quality time in New Hope, but I hope there’s more to come.

No Holding Back (McKenzies of Ridge Trail #1) by Lori Foster

Not needing him won’t stop her from wanting him…
Trucker Sterling (Star) Parson is no stranger to the challenges a woman faces, both in her industry and in life. But she can take care of herself. She’s never needed—or wanted—a man around…until she meets Cade McKenzie. The take-charge bar owner sets off all kinds of alarm bells for Sterling, but he also sets her heart racing.
Cade’s lived in Ridge Trail long enough to know trouble when he sees it, and the moment Sterling—Star—walks into his bar, he knows trouble’s come to call. Secrets run deep in the small town and Cade can tell Star’s got as many as he does, leaving him itching to uncover every last one. But finding common ground will mean trusting one another, further feeding an intense attraction that’s growing impossible to resist.

Another great start to a new Lori Foster series. 😉

Full disclosure, I’ve been a fan of Lori Foster since I picked up my first book in the Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor – which I’m still back-tracking with BTW. I think that the thing that I like most about her books is her use of strong, protective men who are paired with equally strong women. No Holding Back was most definitely no exception.

Cade and Sterling had secrets and more than enough reasons to have trust issues. For reasons that couldn’t explain, they couldn’t help but slowly reveal those secrets to each other. Cade realized what was going on and gave into his feelings way before Sterling – which was totally understandable given everything she had gone through.

As with many of this author’s series and books, the supporting characters were an important part of the story – both the good guys and the bad. Cade’s father was a driving force and I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about him… in the beginning. He kind of grew on me eventually though – just like he grew on Sterling.

There was plenty of action, twists, turns, danger, plenty of romance and even a touch of humor that kept the pages turning – even while setting the stage for the rest of the series. There were plenty of hints about what’s in store for the McKenzies of Ridge Trail next and I can’t wait to see what happens next. 😉

Forgiven (Forgiven #1) by Garrett Leigh

When Mia Amour returns to England to open a florist shop, all she wants to do is put her lousy ex behind her and never look back. But getting a fresh start is easier said than done when her first love, the boy who once broke her teenage heart, strolls back into her life. He’s every bit as sexy as she remembers, and the urge to melt back into his arms almost makes her forget how devastated she was when he took off without a word. Almost.
Left with no choice, Luke Daley did what he had to do, leaving town to earn enough money to save his broken family, though it just about broke him, too. But now he’s back, running his uncle’s business and trying desperately to forget about Mia, the girl he left behind all those years ago. When he runs into her in town, the shock of seeing her again brings an intense rush of emotions: love, guilt…and an overwhelming urge to find out if it’s still as amazing between them as it used to be.
It doesn’t take either of them long to give in to desire and discover the fiery passion they once shared burns hotter than ever. With each new touch, each moment of forgiveness, old hurts heal and the future they’d hoped for ten years ago becomes possible again. But their fragile connection is tested by a threat neither of them saw coming—a threat that could end their second chance before it even gets started.

This isn’t my first Garrett Leigh read, but it is my first M/F read by her. Unlike some other readers, I love it when writers mix it up and branch out a little. My first reaction that I walked away with was that even though I loved the story, I had a hard time connecting with Mia. *sigh*

Luke didn’t handle the way he left Mia and everyone else when he was younger, but he was a kid who was trying to do what he thought was best. I understood Mia’s initial reaction and she had a right to be hurt, but I just wish she would have looked at what happened in the past with adult eyes. I think my main problem with her was the way she treated Luke.

I adored Luke from the beginning and to be fair, Mia eventually won me over. I also adored the supporting characters. There was a strong family feel to Forgiven, both blood and “found”, which always pulls me into a book. There was a touch of danger, plenty of heat and a bit of mystery. Plenty of reasons to keep the pages turning.

Next up in the Forgiven series is Unforgotten and it’s already on my TBR list. Given the description and knowing who the main characters are, I can’t wait to pick it up.

Kelpie Blue (Out of Underhill #1) by Mell Eight

When a beautiful blue horse asks Rin to go for a swim, Rin doesn’t realize how much his life is about to change. Blue is unlike anyone else Rin has ever met, and the magic of the fae, and of this particular kelpie, is wondrous, but deadly. Rin learns too late he might be in for a swim he won’t survive.

Kelpie Blue is so much more than its description might lead readers to believe. I’ve been a fan of Mell Eight’s since I discovered the re-release of her Supernatural Consultant series. When I found this one, I knew I had to read it. Although it doesn’t have the same “feel” as the stories about the young dragons I’ve come to adore, that’s not a bad thing – and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.

I really liked the relationship between Rin and Blue. I also liked the relationship between Rin and his mom. They gave Blue a family – something he hadn’t had in a long time.

There was a bit of mystery, danger, magic, a sweet romance and more than a few surprises. Pretty much everything I enjoy in a fantasy. The next book in the series is If a Butterfly Don’t Fly. Even though I’d love to spend more time with Rin and Blue, I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

Bjorn Cursed (Forgotten Brotherhood #4) by N.J. Walters

Lucifer is up to his old tricks, causing problems for the Forgotten Brotherhood. This time, he’s had a woman removed from the Norse afterlife and placed her right in the path of Bjorn Knutson. After the slaughter of his wife and family centuries ago, tortured and broken, Bjorn was cursed as the first Norse werewolf. Now he’s been tasked by Odin himself with killing the woman who escaped. Failure is not an option.
Before he can track her, he stumbles across a woman being accosted by three men in the middle of the night. Even though she’s human, he intervenes and is shocked to recognize the face of the one woman he could never kill — his wife Anja.
She’s also the one he’s hunting…and if he doesn’t kill her then both their lives are at stake.

The members of the Forgotten Brotherhood once again find themselves being used as pawns to entertain the Gods and Goddesses. At least that’s what it seems like. This time it’s Bjorn that they’re toying with and the situation that they have put him in is beyond cruel. As if his hasn’t tortured him enough, he finds his long lost wife, only to be charged with the task of killing her.

I’ve only read two books in this series, so my opinion might change, but as of right now, Bjorn Cursed is my favorite. It’s not just because of Bjorn and Anja though. The Forgotten Brotherhood is a formidable force mainly because they consider themselves family. If one of them is threatened, they don’t stand alone. That sense of family is what has really pulled me into this series.

The odds seemed stacked against Anja or Bjorn. If Anja was taken away from him again, Bjorn wouldn’t stop seeking revenge and his friends wouldn’t be able to bring him back this time. This was a fast paced story with danger pretty much around every corner – as well as a few surprises.

I’m not sure what’s next for the Forgotten Brotherhood, but I still have some back tracking to do. Fury Unleashed and Arctic Bite are the first two books in the series so maybe I can pick up at least one of them before the next book is released. 😉

Cry Wolf (Big Bad Wolf #5) by Charlie Adhara

Agent Cooper Dayton never thought anything could be harder than solving murders. Until he had to plan a wedding.
After taking down an old adversary, Agent Cooper Dayton of the Bureau of Special Investigations has earned a break. Not that planning a wedding to his sexy shifter partner, Oliver Park, is necessarily stress free, but it’s better than worrying about the ominous warning, delivered months ago, that Cooper’s life is in danger.
When he’s dragged to an event by his family, Cooper braces for an awkward evening, but instead finds himself in the middle of an ugly feud between Park’s ex and a rebel pack leader. What was supposed to be a quick outing turns into a full-blown murder investigation after the pack leader ends up dead, Park’s ex goes missing, and Cooper and Park are sent a series of disturbing wedding gifts that are somehow connected to it all.
The list of potential suspects is long, and with the bodies piling up, Cooper must turn to the one person he trusts the least: the villain he’s already put behind bars once and who has nothing to lose by lying and everything to gain if Cooper is out of the picture—for good.

I think it’s safe to say that Charlie Adhara’s Big Bad Wolf series is among one of my favorites in this genre. The world building is unique, yet familiar. The relationship between Cooper and Park is beyond complicated, yet it works for them and the supporting characters keep things interesting. It should come as no surprise that I considered Cry Wolf an excellent addition to the series.

Readers got to know Cooper’s family a little better in Cry Wolf. We were also treated to more time with Park’s ex, Eli. It was a toss up at times to figure out which bothered Cooper more.

There were some interesting twists and turns – so many that at times it was hard to keep track of who it was safe to trust. It was also hard to figure out exactly who was being targeted. There’s also Cooper’s unusual tie to the werewolf community in general – not just his relationship with Park.

Through it all, the relationship between Park and Cooper is the one constant. It’s grown stronger with each installment of the Big Bad Wolf series. I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for them next.