Down and Dirty Quickie Reviews

Mate Bond by Jennifer AshleySeries: Shifters Unbound #7

Available: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Berkley

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki

To cement the leadership of his North Carolina Shiftertown, Bowman O’Donnell agreed to a “mating of convenience.” Two powerful wolf shifters, he and Kenzie keep the pack in order and are adored by all. Bowman would do anything to protect Kenzie, for in each other’s arms they’ve found far more than friendship. But as strong as their attachment is, they still haven’t formed the elusive mate bond—the almost magical joining of true mates.

Now with a monster ravaging the countryside and threatening the Shiftertown community, some in the pack fear that a pair without a true mate bond isn’t strong enough to lead. Bowman and Kenzie will have to rely on their instinctive trust in one another to save their Shifters—and the ensuing battle will either destroy them or give them the chance to seize the love they’ve always craved.

I really enjoy this shifter series, but Mate Bond blew me away! I loved it! I think it mainly had to do with the fact that these two, Bowman and Kenzie, were already mated and had been for quite some time. Yet that elusive bond that shifters share was no where to be found. It was clear from the beginning that they had feelings for each other that ran deep and even had a child, but for whatever reason were unable to complete the bond. When their town is threatened by an unknown, genetically engineered, shifter Bowman and Kenzie must figure out the hows and whys as the alphas/leaders.

Mate Bond had more action in it than we’ve seen in previous books making this a real page turner. Humans have been trying for several books to build their own shifters so it was really no surprise that story arc has continued here. As in the “real world” humans don’t know when to leave well enough alone and end up creating something that was never meant to be. There is a wide array of supporting characters giving Jennifer Ashley more stories to tell in the future (I hope).

This can be read as a stand alone but in order to enjoy the full story line, you should start from the beginning. Jennifer Ashley has another winner penned with Mate Bond!

I give Mate Bond by Jennifer Ashley 4 stars!

Flirting With Fire by Kate MeaderSeries: Hot in Chicago #1

Available: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Pocket

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki

Savvy PR guru Kinsey Taylor has always defined herself by her career, not her gender. That is, until she moved from San Francisco to Chicago to be with her fiancé who thought she wasn’t taking her “job” of supporting himin his high-powered career seriously enough—and promptly dumped her for a more supportive and “feminine” nurse. Now, as the new assistant press secretary to Chicago’s dynamic mayor, she’s determined to keep her eye on the prize: no time to feel inferior because she’s a strong, kick-ass woman, and certainly no time for men.

But that all changes when she meets Luke Almeida, a firefighter as searingly sexy as he is quick-tempered. He’s also the second oldest of the Firefightin’ Dempseys, a family of foster siblings who have committed their lives to the service—if Luke’s antics don’t get him fired first. When Luke goes one step too far and gets into a bar brawl with the Chicago Police Department, Kinsey marches into Luke’s firehouse and lays down the law on orders from the mayor. But at Engine Co. 6, Luke Almeida is the law. And he’s not about to let Kinsey make the rules.

Flirting With Fire is a cute contemporary romance that lovers of Probst, Shalvis and Foster are sure to embrace! As the first in any series, readers are introduced to a large cast of characters, in this case, the Dempsey family. Although not related by blood, this gang of foster kids were raised together by a loving and generous firefighting family. Each of them, in turn, became a firefighter themselves and now all serve at the same firehouse.

Luke is a wildcard, a rebel who has no problem punching someone out instead of talking to them. As a result of his short temper he’s found himself at the mercy of the mayor and his PR attack dog if he wants to keep his family together at the firehouse. That attack dog, Kinsey, has no interest in splitting them up and just wants to do her job. Both of their lives have recently taken a drastic turn in the opposite direction of where they thought they were headed and so both are in a holding pattern of sorts.

I don’t think this one quite blew me away, but it was a fun, relaxing read in between those darker, edgier books that I crave. I loved the interactions between characters and the sassiness of the females. These are independent, head strong women who do not take shit from any man. I also enjoyed the POV changes and the side story of Luke’s brother Gage and his attempt to hook one very quiet chef and bear of a man. Book two, out this fall, will feature the sole female Dempsey and the very annoying, chauvinistic  Mayor of Chicago. I am definitely looking forward to those two being at each others throats for about 300 pages.

I give Flirting With Fire by Kate Meader 3.25 stars!

Vicious Cycle by Katie AshleySeries: Vicious Cycle #1

Available: June 2, 2015 Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: NAL

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki

Deacon Malloy’s life is dedicated to the Hell’s Raiders motorcycle club. Tough, hard, and fast with his fists, he serves the group as sergeant at arms. But his devil-may-care approach to life is thrown for a loop when the five-year-old daughter he never knew existed lands on the club steps.

Alexandra Evans is devoted to all her students—but there’s always been something about Willow Malloy that tugs at her heart. There’s an aura of sadness about her, a girl in need of all the love Alexandra can give. When Willow stops coming to school, Alexandra’s search leads to a clubhouse full of bikers…and a father hell-bent on keeping his daughter always within sight.

The moment Deacon sees Alexandra, he has to have her in his bed—and he’s never met a woman yet who couldn’t be persuaded. No matter how attracted she is to Deacon, Alexandra refuses to be just another conquest. But it’s Deacon himself who could be seduced—into a brighter future for himself, his daughter, and the woman he’s falling for against all odds.

Book one of the Vicious Cycle series was an extremely well done MC romance that has me eagerly anticipating more. Deacon’s world gets thrown upside down with the appearance of a small child he never knew he had. Having witnessed her mothers murder, Willow wants nothing more than to belong somewhere, yet is unwilling to speak. Until she meets a teacher who brings the light back into her eyes. Alex cares deeply for the little girl and thinks nothing of walking into a MC clubhouse to find out why she hasn’t been in school in several days. What she finds within those walls is something she wasn’t prepared for yet craves like nothing else.

Deacon did not want the burden of having a daughter but now that she’s here, he will protect her until his last breath. Having Alex come teach the girl at home solves the problem of education but puts the sassy teacher within his line of sight way too much. Knowing she can’t ever be a part of his MC world he pushes her away at every turn until her life too is threatened in an attempt to get to him.

Vicious Cycle is a semi dark, smoking hot, MC romance that was not short on the action. I loved Deacon and Alex together and thought their polar opposites brought out the other side to each person nicely. Alex, though not from their world, never backed down and I loved that about her. She stood strong and in light of some story line developments towards the latter half of the book, composed. The addition of the innocent little girl Willow and her need for a family was heart warming and showed another side to the typical, MC world. This tight knit group of men have no problems getting their hands dirty but when it came to Willow they were all huge teddy bears.

Book two will feature new head of the club, Rev who never seemed like the type of guy to resort to killing. His sheer size being enough to make most people back off. I have no doubt he’s capable of anything with his shadowy past no one seems to wants to talk about. I can’t wait!

I give Vicious Cycle by Katie Ashley 4.50 stars!

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