A Reckless Note (Brilliance Trilogy #1) by Lisa Renee Jones

Passion, seduction, and my family’s secret that could change everything. I went looking for my missing brother, but instead, I found him: Kace August. He’s dark. He’s dangerous. He makes me want things I can’t have and brings me into a world of forbidden seduction. But I just can’t seem to walk away.

I’m going to apologize in advance for the vagueness of this review. Mostly because I absolutely refuse to give any spoilers and so much happens, so many little secrets are revealed along the way that I don’t want to take a chance on giving anything away. *sigh*

This book is told from Aria’s POV and as much as I love stories that are told from alternating POVs, there’s a reason for not getting inside Kace’s head. Aria doesn’t reveal her secrets, even to the reader, right away. She’s kept them close for as long as she can remember. She was taught at a young age how to keep herself safe from those who might want to harm her and her family. Kace makes her want things that she never dared to even wish for. He makes her want to let her guard down, but he seems to be hiding some secrets as well…

It’s fitting that this book and series are centered around music because the writing has the same kind of flow. It wasn’t flowery, but it as close. I found myself getting lost in the story. It was hard to put down and before I knew it, it was over… for now. It’s a good thing that there isn’t a long time span between A Reckless Note and A Wicked Song because the signature cliff hanger was brutal.

Just a FYI – there are a lot of references and characters from previous series, but I didn’t find it confusing or distracting. If anything, those references made me want to go back and discover what I’ve missed from this author. If anything, I think the fact that Aria didn’t know any of the characters added to the mystery behind them.

The Dark Tide (Adrien English Mysteries #5) by Josh Lanyon

Like recovering from heart surgery beneath the gaze of his over-protective family isn’t exasperating enough, someone keeps trying to break into Adrien English’s bookstore. What is this determined midnight intruder searching for?
When a half-century old skeleton tumbles out of the wall in the midst of Cloak and Dagger Bookstore’s renovation, Adrien turns to hot and handsome ex-lover Jake Riordan — now out-of-the closet and working as a private detective.
Jake is only too happy to have reason to stay in close contact with Adrien, but there are more surprises in Adrien’s past than either one of them expects — and one of them may prove hazardous to Jake’s own heart.

In The Dark Tide, the tables were turned. Not that Adrien was ever the “pursuer,” but he definitely seemed more interested in a relationship than Jack ever did. He was usually the one left by Jake with little or no commitment. In fact, he made it abundantly clear more than once that there could never be a relationship between them. Things changed in Death of a Pirate King though – drastically. Now it’s Jake’s turn to wait for Adrien to make a choice. It was fun to watch Jake squirm for a change, but I also felt for him… just a little bit.

As with the rest of the books in this series, The Dark Tide was about much more than the relationship between Adrien and Jake. The mystery was front and center and it was another good one that kept me guessing and the pages turning.

The Dark Tide was a fitting finale to The Adrien English Mysteries series, but that doesn’t mean that I’m ready to say goodbye. There’s one more story left and the last short story, So This is Christmas, has most definitely made it onto my TBR pile. I doubt that it will be enough though *sigh* The good news is that I can now revisit the series whenever I want – that’s what re-reads are for, right?

A Reckless Note Blog Tour

Title: A Reckless Note

Series: The Brilliance Trilogy #1

Author: Lisa Renee Jones

Release Date: June 23, 2020

ABOUT A RECKLESS NOTE

Book one in the Brilliance Trilogy…

Passion, seduction, and my family’s secret that could change everything. I went looking for my missing brother, but I found him: Kace August. He’s dark. He’s dangerous. He makes me want things I can’t have and brings me into a world of forbidden seduction. But I just can’t seem to walk away.

BUY A RECKLESS NOTE

Amazon → http://mybook.to/RecklessNote
Apple → https://apple.co/34pvt4o
Nook → http://bit.ly/34pLTtA
Kobo → http://bit.ly/2pAlvOO
Audio → https://adbl.co/2UprCSc
Paperback → http://mybook.to/RecklessNotePB  

EXCERPT

I kiss him with abandon, with passion. I kiss him with my own demand, and then he tears his mouth from mine and backs me up until I’m pressed against his grand piano. “What are you doing to me?” he demands. 

“This,” I say, pressing my hands under his T-shirt. 

In reply, he tugs the shirt over his head and tosses it aside. “Is that what you want?”

“Yes,” I say with no hesitation, my hand caressing the musical notes on his arm, tattoos that say he claims who he is, he embraces who he is. I want this man. I give myself permission to own my desires the way he owns me just by being in the same room as me. And I’m not afraid of that. Not here. Not now. Not this night. 

He grips the piano behind me, “Do you know what I want, Aria?” 

There’s an edge to him again now, a dark edge that shouldn’t appeal to me, but it does, it so does. I ask the question he’s demanded. “What do you want, Kace?”  

“Too much,” he says. “Too much, Aria.”

He means it. It’s in this moment that I understand the hot and cold I’ve experienced with this man is far more than I realized. He wants me. He doesn’t want to want me. He doesn’t believe I should be here. My defenses flare and my hand presses to his bare chest. “Why am I here then? You don’t want me here.”

“I want you, Aria. Very much. Too much. That’s the point.”

“But you don’t want me here.”

He cups my face and stares down at me, the hardness, somehow tender. “I do very much want you here.”

“You’re confusing me.”

“The feeling is mutual, baby,” he says, his voice thick with emotion that I don’t understand, that I’m not sure I’ll ever understand. But it moves me. He moves me and I reach up and cup his hand on my face. 

“What are we doing, Kace?” I whisper.

He leans in and brushes his lips over my lips, a feather-light seduction that trembles through me. “This.” His mouth closes down on mine and his tongue licks past my teeth, a long, deep stroke that is seduction and power, passion, and dominance. I’m panting when his lips part from mine, linger there, his finger stroking my cheek. 

“You, woman,” he murmurs, a hint of torment in his voice. “You are going to be my undoing.” 

I don’t know what that means, and I don’t have time to analyze it anyway. Not when he reaches up and catches the zipper at the front of my dress, and heat pools low in my belly, every inch of me alive. I am alive with this man, a ball of nerves and desire like I have never known. Slowly, so very slowly, he lowers it, but his gaze is locked with my gaze. The zipper slides past my belly and halts at the top of my thighs.

His hands settle at my waist, and he leans in and kisses me. I can taste that dark edge on his tongue again, I can taste the demand, the absolute control. In this moment, I remain acutely aware of how much that control arouses me, how much it calls to me.

His lips leave mine, the hunger in his stare ravenous, but I have this sense that this is still about control to him—he allows me to see this. His control is a need, an absolute need that I understand. It’s the kind of need that we aren’t born with. It’s created. I find myself in contradiction to what I need, in wanting to give him what he wants. I am in fact wet and trembling with the idea of giving him the control. 

But that means trust, the kind of trust that has left me alone and that I give no one.

And yet I am here with him. Haven’t I already made the decision to trust him, not with my secrets, but with my body?

His hands go to my shoulders, sliding under my dress, scooting the straps halfway down my arms. He captures me with the material, holds me with one hand, but I’m not thinking about being held captive. I’m thinking about his lips lingering above mine again, his breath a warm tease that promises a taste that does not come. He doesn’t kiss me. I want him to kiss me, I want it so badly that it hurts. 

But still, he doesn’t. 

He pulls back, his gaze lowering to the swell of my breasts, his fingers stroking the sensitive skin just above the black lace of my bra, my nipples puckering beneath the silk. His gaze lifts to mine and he catches the front clasp of my bra. He shoves aside the cups, his attention returning to my breasts, and my lashes lower with the heat of his inspection, a wave of unexpected shyness overtaking me. He has this way of making me feel owned and it’s intense, so very intense. 

THE SERIES

A Reckless Note (book one) – Available Now
Amazon → http://mybook.to/RecklessNote
Apple → https://apple.co/34pvt4o
Nook → http://bit.ly/34pLTtA
Kobo → http://bit.ly/2pAlvOO
Audio → https://adbl.co/2UprCSc
Paperback → http://mybook.to/RecklessNotePB  

A Wicked Song (book two) – August 18, 2020
Amazon → http://mybook.to/WickedSong
Apple → https://apple.co/2NAiB4E
Nook → http://bit.ly/2r2v5u1
Kobo → http://bit.ly/34nJEa4
Audio → https://adbl.co/2AmG46T 

A Sinful Encore (book three) – September 22, 2020
Amazon → http://mybook.to/SinfulEncore
Apple → https://apple.co/2JHJX7R
Nook → http://bit.ly/2JKITQB
Kobo → http://bit.ly/2PIwEaW
Audio → https://adbl.co/3dYRUTa 

 

ABOUT LISA

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, she has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is also the author of the bestselling WHITE LIES and LILAH LOVE series.

Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

CONNECT WITH LISA

Newsletter ➜ http://lisareneejones.com/newsletter-sign-up/
Bookbub ➜ http://bookbub.com/authors/lisa-renee-jones
Amazon ➜ https://amzn.to/2MoWosB
Twitter ➜ https://twitter.com/LisaReneeJones
Instagram ➜  http://instagram.com/lisareneejones
Goodreads ➜ https://www.goodreads.com/LisaReneeJones 

Burning Dawn (Angels of the Dark #3, Lords of the Underworld #10.5) by Gena Showalter

A tormented past has left Thane with an insatiable need for violence, making him the most dangerous assassin in the skies.
He lives by a single code: no mercy. And as he unleashes his fury on his most recent captor, he learns no battle could have prepared him for the slave he rescues from his enemy’s clutches—a beauty who stokes the fires of his darkest desires.
Elin Vale has her own deep-rooted scars, and her attraction to the exquisite warrior who freed her challenges her every boundary.
But Thane’s unwavering determination to protect her means she must face her greatest fears—and enter a world in which passion is power, and victory means breathtaking surrender.

I’ve neglected this world way too long, but I’m slowly making up for it. 😉

Both Thane and Elin are more than just a little bit broken. It’s pretty safe to say that normal beings would have been crushed by just a fraction of what each of these characters had been through. Through strength and more than a little stubbornness, they’ve survived but the cost was high. So high that it was hard for them to trust and left them with a few emotional and physical scars.

They were an unlikely pair for a lot of reasons. They both had their secrets and some of those secrets made them an even more unlikely pair. Things aren’t always what they seem though and some prejudices – regardless of how personal they are – are worth letting go of…

One of my favorite parts of an ongoing series are the supporting characters and Burning Dawn was no exception. Since I’m way behind, I know that I’m not going to get more from a few characters that I really want, at least not for now, but there’s still hope. Since I’m reading these in order and Burning Dawn seems to be the last of the Angels of the Dark series available, next up is The Darkest Touch, Torin’s book in the Lords of the Underworld series.

The Hideaway Inn (Seasons of New Hope #1) by Philip William Stover

No one in the charming river town of New Hope, Pennsylvania, needs to know that Vince Amato plans on flipping The Hideaway Inn to the highest bidder and returning to his luxury lifestyle in New York City. He needs to make his last remaining investment turn a profit…even if that means temporarily relocating to the quirky small town where he endured growing up. He’s spent years reinventing himself and won’t let his past dictate his future.
But on his way to New Hope, Vince gets stuck in the middle of nowhere and his past might be the only thing that can get him to his future. Specifically Tack O’Leary, the gorgeous, easygoing farm boy who broke his heart and who picks Vince up in his dilapidated truck.
Tack comes to the rescue not only with a ride but also by signing on to be the chef at The Hideaway for the summer. As Vince and Tack open their hearts to each other again, Vince learns that being true to himself doesn’t mean shutting down a second chance with Tack—it means starting over and letting love in.

This is one of those stories that grew on me. It’s not fair, but I totally blame my reluctance to get totally sucked into The Hideaway Inn on my initial dislike of Vince. It took me a while, but the more I got of his back story, the more his attitude and standoffishness began to make sense. I’m thankful that Tack gave him more of a chance than I would have…

The funny thing is that it should have been Tack that had to work to win me over, but his personality was so open, it was hard to see him as the “stupid teenage boy” that crushed Vince all those years ago. (I tend to use “stupid teenage boy” a lot because it was a phrase that I used frequently when my 3 daughters were growing up – and also – it’s true… not that teenage girls aren’t stupid at times too – but I spent those years on the defensive end of things – with 6 grandsons, I’m sure that the tables will turn…) Anyway… it was kind of hard to be upset with Tack – especially when readers see how he interacts with the side characters in The Hideaway Inn, which, by the way were a wonderful addition to this story.

This is my first read by Philip William Stover and I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last. 😉

 

Tempting the Dragon King (Dragon Lords #1) by Kiersten Fay

On his way to reestablish an old alliance, Tristan Okora, king of the dragon shifters, discovers a beautiful human female aboard an enemy vessel. He offers his protection until she can be safely returned to Earth. But the more time he spends with Juniper Jacobs, the faster he falls for the little mortal. Meanwhile, amidst the trouble brewing in his kingdom—a terrible rumor that threatens his crown—Tristan must make a difficult decision; accept an arranged marriage with a neighboring princess, or risk everything for the beguiling human.
TEMPTING THE DRAGON KING is the first book in this Shadow Quest spin-off series. And while this series will focus on hunky dragon shifters and witches, there are plenty of cameos from the original series.

And… here I go again. As mentioned in the description, Tempting the Dragon King is a spin-off of the Shadow Quest series. I’ve only read The Demon’s Possession, the first book in the Shadow Quest series. The good news is that it didn’t make a lot of difference in reading Tempting the Dragon King from a confusion standpoint. One of these days I shall follow the rules! (Obviously that day will not be today.) *sigh*

Tempting the Dragon King isn’t a fairytale dragon story. It’s more of a shape-shifter alien story, where the kingdom is ruled by a dragon king and his family. Tristan took over as king after the unexpected death of his father. He had planned on going through with an arranged marriage until June showed up. That’s when everything changed. The attraction took them both by surprise, but it was too strong for them to ignore. Things got even more complicated when rumors were spread in the kingdom that about more than the new king’s love interest. Needless to say, Tempting the Dragon King was more than just a sweet romance, although that was front and center.

There were a few loose ends at the end of Tempting the Dragon King, which means I can’t wait to continue the series.

 

The Somerset Girls by Lori Foster

No one knows you quite like a sister…
Summer in Sunset, Kentucky, means long, hot days—and sometimes surprising new beginnings. Through it all, the ties of sisterhood will be there, guiding Autumn and Ember to the lives, and loves, they need…
When they’re running the animal-rescue farm they inherited from their grandparents, Autumn and Ember Somerset are perfectly in sync. At all other times, not so much. Dependable Autumn would rather curl up with a good book than paint the town red with Ember. After the disaster that was Autumn’s last relationship, it’s pure self-protection. But when her high school crush comes back to town with his adorable young daughter, igniting memories best left forgotten, there’s only one person Autumn can turn to…
Beneath Ember’s free-spirited facade is a layer of deep hurt. She’ll gladly nudge Autumn toward a second chance. But risk her own heart? Not likely. The closer Autumn gets to her own happily-ever-after, the more Ember wonders what she might be missing—and if it isn’t her time to be bold, too.

I’ve been a fan of Lori Foster for a while now. The first book that I read by her was A Perfect Storm, which happens to be the last book in her Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series. I know, I know – not the best way to dive into a series, but it got me hooked and I’ve recently started at the beginning of the series, so there is that. What I’ve discovered is that although I love the sweet romances, I think I get wrapped up in the romantic suspense more. For the record, I knew that little tidbit before I picked up The Somerset Girls. My reading’s eclectic, remember? So I won’t turn down a book from pretty much any genre, especially when it’s written by an author I love and this author definitely falls into that category. 😉

Which brings us to The Somerset Girls… It follows two sisters and their search for love… even if they didn’t realize they were looking. Autumn and Ember are almost total opposites. The one thing that they have in common is their fierce love of each other and animals. They’ve also experienced their own share of heartbreak and it’s pretty much turned them off romance – at least they thought that it had. Ember is determined to make sure that Autumn gets another chance at love and Autumn is determined to make sure that Ember gets that same chance. With well-meaning yet clueless parents; a precociously adorable, yet heartbroken little girl; an old flame that knows exactly how much he screwed up the first time around and a farm hand determined to prove he cares and can be trusted to help mend a broken heart, The Somerset Girls was a sweet story filled with love and hope. Aren’t those the best kind?

The Tell Tale Cat (The Psychic Cat Mysteries #2) by S.M. Reine

The multiverse’s greatest detective returns! When left for a weekend trip, Mr. Poe finds himself searching for a missing clock containing the infernal soul of Ronald Hickenbotham, a not-so-remarkable warlock and beloved husband. The clock needs to be wound every three days to preserve Ronald’s soul. It’s already been gone for over twenty-four hours. Mr. Poe can hear the clock’s tell tale ticking throughout Haven, but can a werehuman kitten psychic detective solve the mystery before Ronald is lost forever?

I adore Mr. Poe, but then, who doesn’t? He’s the perfect feline and such a good boy, but when his owners leave him behind he seeks out a way to find some company. Who better to keep him busy than Sheriff Gwyn, especially when there’s a mystery to solve. It works out even better because she’s the only one who knows Mr. Poe’s secret – he can change into a human, even though he prefers his much more attractive and graceful feline form.

The Tell Tale Cat is a short, sweet romp in SM Reine’s Descentverse. The Psychic Cat Mysteries is much lighter than the rest of the books in this world, but no less entertaining. It’s fun to see familiar characters through different eyes. I can even forgive him for his opinion of Cèsar (who happens to be one of my favorites) 😉

The next book in the series is The Masque of the Red Cat (don’t you just love the play on the titles from another famous Mr. Poe?) and I just so happen to have it ready and waiting to be read.

A Carriage of Misjustice (Lindenshaw Mysteries #5) by Charlie Cochrane

Murder doesn’t care if you’re a newlywed.
Detective Chief Inspector Robin Bright and Deputy Headteacher Adam Matthews have just tied the knot, and all they want to do is sink into blissful domesticity. Unfortunately, there’s no chance of that when a chilling murder at a rugby ground takes Robin miles away to help his old boss solve it.
The mystery seems impossible to crack. Everyone with a motive has an alibi, and those without alibis don’t have a motive. Robin’s determined that this won’t be the case he’s unable to unravel. Not when he’s got his old boss to impress and a new team to lick into shape.
Back at home, Adam joins a fundraising choir to keep himself occupied. Surely a case that’s so far away won’t draw him in this time? Fate has other ideas, though, and danger turns up—quite literally—on his doorstep. He’ll need Campbell the Newfoundland for both company and protection this time around.

I have to admit that although I really liked A Carriage of Misjustice, it wasn’t my favorite in the Lindenshaw Mysteries series so far. I don’t think that it had as much to do with the story as it had to do with the fact that Robin and Adam spent way too much time apart in this installment. As much as Robin picks on Adam about getting way too involved in his murder cases, he depends on Adam to not only bounce ideas off of but to offer him a fresh perspective. He found out it wasn’t quite so easy when they were forced to be miles apart and could only communicate by phone. Not a great way to start their married life together, but they managed.

The mystery part of A Carriage of Misjustice was a good one and although I had my suspicions, I wasn’t positive until everything was revealed. There were almost too many suspects with too many secrets and more than one mystery to unravel. I can’t say more than that because I don’t want to give anything away.

I’m hoping that readers are treated to more from Robin, Adam and Campbell and next time I hope they spend much more time together rather than apart. A Carriage of Misjustice proved that they’re much more fun that way. 😉

Big Love (Big Love #1) by Rick R. Reed

Teacher Dane Bernard is a gentle giant, loved by all at Summitville High School. He has a beautiful wife, two kids, and an easy rapport with staff and students alike. But Dane has a secret, one he expects to keep hidden for the rest of his life—he’s gay. But when he loses his wife, Dane finally confronts his attraction to men.
A new teacher, Seth Wolcott, immediately catches his eye. Seth is also starting over, licking his wounds from a breakup, and the last thing Seth wants is another relationship—but when he spies Dane on his first day at Summitville High, his attraction is immediate and electric.
As the two men enter into a dance of discovery and new love, they’re called upon to come to the aid of bullied gay student Truman Reid. Truman is out and proud, which not everyone at his small-town high school approves of. As the two men work to help Truman ignore the bullies and love himself without reservation, they all learn life-changing lessons about coming out, coming to terms, acceptance, heartbreak, and falling in love.

I guess my way of warning people of trigger warnings in a book is tagging it with “tough issues” and Big Love was loaded with them. Coming out, grief that involves both a partner and children, attempted suicide, bullying are all included, so if want to stay clear of any or all of these topics, this book is definitely not for you. Although I haven’t been reading books by this author for very long, I’ve now read enough to realize that shouldn’t consider anything that he writes to be an “easy” read so I brace myself going in.

Another important point about Big Love is that although there is a bit of romance, it’s more of a book about relationships than a true romance. It’s also about characters finding themselves and being comfortable with who they are. The story centers around Dane and his prior relationship with his wife and his current relationship with his kids, his his relationship with his students (especially Truman) and Seth. There is a lot that all of these characters have to come to terms with in Big Love and none of it is easy. Readers spend time getting to know not just Seth and Dane, but are given Truman’s POV as well. This is one of those books that wasn’t easy to read, but it was well worth the emotional time spent with each of them.

The next book in the Big Love series centers on Truman. He was in a good place at the end of Big Love and I’m hoping he’s still there by the time readers catch up with him in Bigger Love.