Monthly Archives: November 2015

Calling the Play (Birmingham Rebels, #2) by Samantha Kane

Calling the Play (Birmingham Rebels, #2)Calling the Play by Samantha Kane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Calling the Play
Author: Samantha Kane
Series: Birmingham Rebels
Pages: 223
Publisher: Loveswept
Date: December 1, 2015

Summary:

Quarterback Tyler Oakes plays hard and parties even harder. That reckless lifestyle nearly derailed his career, and now the Birmingham Rebels are Ty’s last shot at football immortality. But staying out of trouble can take its toll—especially for a man with a taste for girls and guys. Because curvy, gorgeous Randi McInish is just the kind of trouble he’d like to get into.

A tough-as-nails undercover cop, Randi meets her match in Ty. After they get wrapped up together in a drug bust and a high-speed car chase, Randi’s eager to take the notorious bad boy for another wild ride. Turns out Ty already has something in mind. When he introduces her to the Rebels’ sexy new quarterback coach, things start heating up a little too fast for Randi.

Brian Mason coached Ty in college, and boy do they have history together. With Brian taking control on the field and in the bedroom, they were an unstoppable team. But Brian, blindsided by love, ran from his feelings for Ty. He won’t let Randi make the same mistake. Both men agree they need more than each other. They want a woman they can share. And when they make a pleasure play for Randi, all three are sure to score.

Review:

I’m a big fan of Samantha Kane’s historical menage novels and this contemporary title is no exception. Calling the Play is the second book in her Birmingham Rebels series. The Rebels are a new NFL franchise and the players are, for the most part, the ones no one else wants. They have had personal and professional problems and are trying to get their lives together again.

What these guys are not though is losers.

They want to win and they want to be a team that works together to win . . . but, they also want to be a team that is a family.

In the first book, Broken Play, Marian, and assistant coach, and two of the players, Cass and Beau, form a menage relationship. This relationship is some ways draws the team closer together, but with some of the other players, it drives a wedge between them.

The stress of this relationship is still felt in Calling the Play.

Ty, the quarterback of the team, has to stay on the straight and narrow. The Rebels is his last chance at professional football and any bad publicity could get him kicked off the team. So, of course, he ends up in a bar where a drug bust is going down.

Randi (and I just realized what a cliche that name is) works for the local police force. She normally works burglary, but has been brought in undercover for this one case. She realizes that Ty is not part of the drug deal and tries to get him out of the bar before things go wrong.

Too late.

There is a high speed car chase, a shooting, and sparks flying between Ty and Randi. So, of course, she takes him home with her.

Enter Brian, a new coach who worked with Ty in the past. They participated in menages at that time, but never had a sexual relationship with each other. Brian has been brought in because he did such a good job of coaching Ty to be a winning quarterback in college. However, Brian took the job because he is still in love with Ty and wants another chance.

Three people, all with emotional issues in their backgrounds that interfere with any relationship, and they have to fall in love with each other.

Of course, it all works out in the end. It’s not easy. It’s not perfect, but they are all willing to work at what they have together. And that’s what makes it such a good romance. It’s not a “and they lived happily ever after.” It’s we love each other and there are going to be problems, but we will stick together and work things out.

I enjoyed the first book in the series, but I think I liked this one even better. My only criticism is Randi comes off as really raunchy. It’s intentional. That’s her personality. She is very open about sex and what she enjoys. It’s just to start with, it’s a little jarring.

The series is called the Birmingham Rebels, so I am assuming all of the books will be about the team. However, Randi has a brother named Moon and I really want to know his story. Maybe there will be a spinoff series? When you meet him, you’ll understand my fascination.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Filed under Contemporary, Erotica, Realistic, Romance

A Mackenzie Clan Gathering (Mackenzie & MacBride, #8.5) by Jennifer Ashley

A MacKenzie Clan Gathering (MacKenzies & McBrides, #8.5)A MacKenzie Clan Gathering by Jennifer Ashley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: A Mackenzie Clan Gathering
Author: Jennifer Ashley
Series: Mackenzie & MacBrides, #8.5
Pages: 190
Publisher: InterMix
Date: November 17, 2015

Summary:

Ian Mackenzie is awakened at Kilmorgan Castle one night to find robbers stealing the priceless art collection of his oldest brother, Hart. Since Ian and Beth are the only ones in resident at Kilmorgan at the moment, Ian decides he must find the art and the culprits before the family shows up for Hart’s birthday gathering. With Inspector Fellows and Beth, he investigates, though Ian is somewhat worried by Beth’s late husband’s brother, a retired missionary, who decides to visit. Does John Ackerley hold the “cure” to Ian’s madness? And can Ian discover what has happened to Hart’s treasures, and who is targeting the Mackenzies before the enemy strikes again?

Return to Kilmorgan Castle to visit the Victorian branch of the Mackenzie family, and catch up on the brothers and friends, their children, and their lives.

Review:

According to the author, this was supposed to be a book about the Mackenzie clan, hence the title. Although the entire clan is well represented, this is an Ian book and I AM SO EXCITED!

I love Ian. I love Ian and Beth. I love seeing Ian cope with the world without giving up who he is. And I really love this chance to see how much he has moved forward with his ability to interact with others.

Even though this is a relatively short book (less than 200 pages), there is so much to it.

First, a new character is introduced.

Beth’s former brother-in-law John is introduced and he thinks he has a “cure” for Ian’s madness. I was not certain whether or not he was evil or just misguided. Ian does not need a cure. His “madness” is what makes him Ian. However, the scenes where he talks about his family and the things that were done to him were disturbing and enlightening. What was really heartbreaking is when Ian wondered if Beth wouldn’t be better off with a “normal” man.

And a mystery needs solving.

Someone is targeting the Mackenzies or are they really after Hart and why? It’s not like Hart doesn’t have plenty of enemies after him. Who is going to suffer in the attacks?
And it’s Christmas!

Even with “the cure”, and burglars, and physical attacks on the family, Christmas must go on.

Of course, everything works out in the end. The bad guy is caught. Ian and Beth are fine. And Christmas goes on.

The best part of the book was seeing how Ian’s mind worked. He and Beth have been married for ten years and she and the children are the center of his life. Like any human, he questions his decisions. He wonders if he is good enough for his family. He worries about the stigma is children will have because their father is mad.

His daughter Belle nails it though.

“‘Papa,’ Belle said to Ian as Beth settled Megan. “Aunt Eleanor says you’ve asked Uncle John to cure you of your madness. But you’re not mad, Papa.” Her expressive face furrowed, “Centric, certainly. Not mad.”

She goes on to explain about how she’s been reading about madness and Ian doesn’t have any of the symptoms. Ian tries to tell her it’s a different type of madness.

“There isn’t another sort,” Belle answered with conviction. “I’m going to be a doctor, you know. I’ve been studying.”

Beth and Ian have no response to that and Belle goes on to say,

“You see? You are not mad, Papa. You may cease worrying about it.”

And out of the mouths of babes, that is that.

Read this book! I’m not sure it’s not the best of the series and that’s really saying something.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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1001 Islands by K. T. Munson

1001 Islands1001 Islands by K.T. Munson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: 1001 Islands
Author: K. T. Munson
Series: n/a
Pages: 196
Publisher: CreateSpace
Date: July 27, 2015

Summary:

The sliver of moonlight cast eerie shadows across the deck of The Dark Revenge. The Silence at the helm stood embracing the obscurity. His foreboding presence matched the anticipation aboard the ship, and no one spoke for fear they would break the stillness that encompassed them.

Tonight, everything changed.

The Dark Revenge gained on the Regatta. The raiders said nothing but he could hear the shuffle of taut female clothing and the tension in the air. It hadn’t sensed their existence, and drifted like heedless prey. Princess Roxana slept, unsuspecting of what was hunting her in the inky blackness of the night.

There was only one thing on the minds of The Silence’s crew as they drew near; Hang the Kings, Crown the People.

Review:

My opinion of this book changed throughout the reading. At first I didn’t care for it simply because each of the beginning chapters focussed on a different character/situation. I figured they would all come together eventually, but I still found it confusing. I didn’t like the feeling that I need to be taking notes to keep everyone straight.

However, when the plots did come together, it was wonderful. I really liked all of the “good guys” and the “bad guys” all came to a bad end (pun intended). The female characters were strong even if they had been taught they were not supposed to be. The male characters were also strong, but not obnoxious with it. At least, the good guys weren’t.

There was a plot twist in the character’s roles that I did not see coming and I really appreciated. It made perfect sense once it became apparent, but I was totally blindsided up until the reveal.

It’s hard to define the genre. It’s definitely science fiction because it takes place on another planet . . . or is it just another world, one where witches and elementals exist which would make it fantasy? It’s almost historical because of the methods of travel and way of life of the characters. It is definitely an adventure novel (there are pirates after all) with a little bit of romance thrown in.

Like I said, it’s hard to define.

What it is though is good. I enjoyed reading it. I liked the protagonists. I like the way the plot worked out for everyone.

But, . . .

the ending is abrupt . . .

and the author acknowledges that in the notes. She said there is a possibility of further adventures which is all well and good,

but . . .

I don’t like to be left hanging and it reduced my enjoyment of the book.

Read it. The ending is not a cliffhanger; it just doesn’t go far enough to suit me.

This book was sent to me by the author in return for an honest review.

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Filed under Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Science Fiction