A Scot’s Surrender (The Townsends #3)

A Scot’s Surrender by Lily Maxton: Review by Lost in a Book

Synopsis:

When his brother leaves him in charge of Llynmore Castle, Robert Townsend is determined to make everything go smoothly. What does it matter if he’s inexplicably drawn to Ian Cameron, the estate’s stoic steward? Robert is sure he can ignore the way the Highlander’s apparent dislike of him gets under his skin. They’ll muddle along just fine so long as they avoid one another. An excellent plan…until a fire forces Ian into the castle—and Robert’s personal space.

Ian Cameron has worked for everything he owns, unlike spoiled Robert Townsend. And he may not have friends, but he has the Highlands and the stars, and what more could he really need? But when a guest’s stolen possession appears in his room, he doesn’t have much choice but to admit to the handsome and aggravatingly charming Townsend brother that he needs help. To solve this mystery, they’ll have to put aside their differences. And as Ian learns more about Robert, he’ll have to guard his heart…or it may be the next thing stolen.

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Review

4 Stars

This book made me happy.

Historical? Uh huh!
Scottish Highlands? Yep!
Ginger? Yassssss! UNF!
A KILT wearing ginger? Hell to the Yassss!

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Scot’s Surrender is an enjoyable historical that’s humorous with well written characters. The angst is minimal, the plot simple, but the actual romance is well crafted. As mentioned in the synopsis, Robert Townsend is running the castle while his brother is away. One of the cottages on his estate caught fire and the occupant, a frustratingly handsome steward named Ian Cameron is relocated to the main castle. Robert and Ian do not get along. Both are attracted to the other but Cameron keeps an icy facade at Robert’s attempts to connect. After a series of unfortunate events, Cameron and Robert have to join forces to solve a mystery of missing houseguest items.

Cameron is harsh and judgmental towards Robert and the idea of surrendering any part of himself. He has survived much in his life and isn’t about to let Robert tear down the walls he has built. Cameron is very much a man of few words. Robert is likable, social, and whimsy. He has insecurities that he covers with a disarming smile. Their journey is *very* slow paced but follows a natural progression of enemies to lovers and is befitting of the customs and the legal implications of being with a man in 1814. This isn’t a case of insta-love and I felt like a fly on the wall while watching two men form bonds of friendship, love, and intimacy. The chemistry and connection is there even if it isn’t loaded with sex. However, when there is sex, it’s hot! When the “Ask me nicely.” came during smexy times…sheee-it.

Then…

“Press me into the mattress. Fuck me like you mean it.”

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I adored Robert’s family. They were accepting, loving, and loyal. I didn’t read the first books in this series but the past characters were present and likable. I was pleasantly surprised how cohesive this third book was and didn’t feel lost at any time due to skipping the first two books. I will definitely read Lily Maxton again and absolutely recommend this book for fans of historical romance.

“Say but little and say it well,”

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5)

Squared Away by Annabeth Albert: Review by Lost in a Book

Synopsis: 

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

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Review

3 Stars

Well, *sigh* this wasn’t my favorite book in the series. I had a very “meh, this is an ok read,” vibe going on throughout.  However, I’m still a fan of all things Navy and especially all things SEALs.

Too bad Isaiah wasn’t a SEAL because this one could have been the inspiration. 🔥🔥

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Did you get an eye full of the………. dog tags?

Sorry, where were we?

In Squared Away, we get to know the confident virgin, Isaiah. He’s 18 and determined to lose his virginity to the hot AF Navy SEAL, Mark. While at a family wedding, Isaiah makes his intentions clear and Mark shoots him down.

Fast forward six years and the death of Isaiah’s cousin along with Mark’s sister pushes both men together again as they attempt to pick up the pieces and determine the best arrangements for the three children left without parents. Contradicting wills set off some heated disagreements on how to proceed. Mark has been ghosting Isaiah for the past six years and Isaiah has played nanny for those children many times throughout their lives.  Unfortunately, Mark can’t get past his prior knowledge of Isaiah or take the time to process and become comfortable with his sexuality.

While I liked both men separately, they were never simpatico. I never had that feeling of them being on the same page. Mark’s very insecure, has trust issues, and his inner monologue of people always letting him down became frustrating. I don’t expect nor want everything tied up in a pretty bow but I would have appreciated them having some cohesiveness as they navigate their daily life and eventual relationship.

Isaiah is a very sexual person which is opposite of Mark’s gray ace or demisexual identity. I did enjoy how patient and understanding Isaiah was as Mark finds his comfort with intimacy. I also appreciate the diversity Albert provided with an interracial couple and a varying spectrum of sexual comfort and identity.

The kids. They were the spotlight of the story and understandably the focus of their lives. There was authenticity to their growing pains as they learn that children don’t come with an on/off switch. Especially as young as these little ones are. Isaiah and Mark learned that when life kicks you in the ass, sometimes you have to paste a smile on and give the performance of a lifetime so the little ones don’t feel the stress and grief that creep up.

Editing point of contention which I believe I mentioned in the last release were the POV and time lapses. These aren’t indicated and would randomly change in the middle of a page from one sentence to the next. Once again, I’m hoping this is sorted before the official release.

Isaiah is very relatable with his feisty personality and big heart. The men got their HEA even if it went from no I can’t have a relationship to I must be with you always within a couple pages. *shrug*

I think this is the end of the road for me- but if you’re a fan of the series, you’ll probably be a fan of this one too.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Double Dose

Double Dose by Katie Allen: Review by Cupcake

Synopsis:

A double dose of happily-ever-after… 

Speech therapist Daphne’s neat, orderly life takes a turn for the dramatic when she’s kidnapped and spirited away to a hideout deep in the Colorado mountains. Her captors? Gorgeous men—all escaped from a secret laboratory designed to build perfect supersoldiers.

Trauma associated with his engineering left Benjy mute, and Ari thinks Daphne’s just the girl to help him recover. Held against her will, Daphne will be damned before she helps any of them—regardless of how electrifying she finds their touches.

But as Daphne’s hunger for Benjy and Ari grows, so does her empathy for the other soldiers hiding out at the lodge. With danger from her own past threatening to resurface and an overeager FBI agent sniffing around, she needs to free herself, her men and the others.

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 2 Stars

Books like this make my head tilt. Just when I think I’ve gotten a handle on this suspending disbelief deal a book like this comes along and I’m all…

Those of you that have superior suspension of disbelief powers might could enjoy this, because it is very… cutesy. Instalove fans will likely adore this too. I do recognize that it’s supposed to be romantic rather than bad wrong, but it was just a little too weird for me and I was never able to alter my thinking from WTF to warm fuzzy.

Daphne is a speech pathologist and tells this story. Aristotle/Ari/A kidnaps her ostensibly to “fix” his best buddy Benjy’s muteness. Only that never happens! Apparently ole Benjy’s cup of care is empty which begs the question of why the hell his bestie doesn’t know this. Nevertheless, Benjy is WAY more interested in doing the shilly shally with her than talking, though his voice returns later under… dubious circumstances. *side eyes*

Allow me to set this stage, Ari drugs and kidnaps Daphne, takes her to a secluded compound lodge, when she wakes it’s to a room full of strangers gawking at her. She tries to escape. YAY! She’s discovered immediately and taken to Ari’s and Benjy’s loft where he puts her to bed. Like a toddler. She wakes to not just Ari but Benjy. In bed. With her. Her reaction is along the lines of, “this is cozy”. NAY!

I maybe would’ve been less floored by this reaction were it more believable gradual? But within days she’s thinking of quitting her job and staying on the compound at the lodge forever with her two dudes and the rest of these fugitives then learning how to use various weapons to aid them in fighting the baddies. Ummmm first, when did they become a committed throuple? Second…

The suspend disbelief doubled down with her being a virgin at 25 who during her deflowering was deep throating one and taking the sizable dick of the other simultaneously. Like a porn star. Approximately 2.5 seconds later she’s DPing like a champ.

I’m not sure if I was more disturbed by her meteoric rise to pornstardom or the fact that the guys essentially treat her like a fuck doll. They carry her around, arrange her like a body pillow, dress and undress her, smack her ass a whole lot and basically dictate how she spends her time. What’s more, she seems to like it! She giggles and swoons whilst walking around making the moony eyes at them.

WHAT.THE.FUCK? There’s making lemonade out of lemons and then there’s HAVE YOU LOST YOUR DAMN MIND?

The saddest part is… well, two things really, the first being I got Jedi mindtricked into believing this was MMF when in reality it’s MFM. I blame myself for this. The cover should’ve tipped me off. I clearly saw what I wanted to see, so technically I Jedi mindtricked myself which is just… sad. Second, the sex is lame. Oral and DP. Only on her though which I found unrealistic seeing as how these two dudes were sharing a bed before Dolly, I mean Daphne, came along and they never cross the swords?

I’ve not read the other books in this series and was able to catch up relatively quickly so it can be read as a standalone. The ongoing plot is a little bit sci-fi divided by cyberpunk multiplied by action/suspense with the characters from the previous books playing a significant role in the narrative. The way it concluded was much the same as the romance plot-a little bit hokey and a lot unbelievable. I didn’t hate it and can admit that there were some sweet moments but Daphne was too bizarre and that coupled with the speed of their “connection” was too much for me.

Recommend to fans of cutesy reads who can suspend disbelief like a BOSS!

A review copy was provided by NetGalley.

Make Me Want

Make Me Want by Katee Robert: Review by Cupcake

Synopsis:

“I want everything.”

She’s taking control. And it’s driving him wild!

Lucy Baudin’s ex did a number on her self-esteem, but it’s time for her to regain control. In her job as a lawyer she’s bold, confident. But in the bedroom she needs inspiration to reawaken her inner seductress. Asking her friend Gideon Novak for help seems wrong…yet so deliciously right!

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3.5 Stars

Helllllooooooo Katee Robert.

Welcome! Glad to meet ya.

Sorry for the serenade but… THIS GIRL IS ON FIIIIIIIYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Still. While reading this I considered dialing a friend, because HHHHHAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLPPPPPPPPP!!!

Reading Make Me Want I more than once wished for a warning label and maybe my own personal freezer. Someone should put a blast chiller option on kindles. I needed one.

What prompted me to click the request button are:

(a) The dude on the cover kinda looks like Carter Dane so my first thought was, “why is CD on the cover of some MF smutticilicicousness?” which quickly segued into a brief episode of wish fulfillment along the lines of, “has CD decided to widen the playing field?” Then I expanded the photo and realized my mistake.

*epic sad face is epic*

Congrats, Alex Mecum!

*fake smile*
*grumbles*

(b) The main character’s name is Gideon!

What? I have a name kink. Don’t judge.

This Gideon is eerily reminiscent of another (also slightly Neanderthalish) Gideon I’ve lusted over read before and while Sylvia Day might take exception to the similarities, my thoughts are more akin to…

The story itself is not groundbreaking and rife with non/miscommunication with a heaping of martyr syndrome that I loathe. Lucy is up for a promotion at her good ole boys law firm and won’t get it unless someone puts a ring on it. Gideon’s a friend of her ex-fiancé and was once hers too, so that coupled with his reputation as a skilled headhunter, leads her to hire him to find her a suitable husband. His reputation as a sex gawd leads her to ask him for “lessons” on how to have the HILLY DILLY amazingly since her ex told her she was a bad lay. Can you say projecting, boys and girls?

Regardless, the boning is top-notch! On the couch, on a conference table AT A FANCY SCHMANCY CLUB, a naughty video chat, in a lingerie dressing room and they did make it to the bedroom a couple times. Gideon’s also on the bossy/toppy side too! I mean…

Seriously, this thing should come with a complimentary box of wipes, a pack of cigs and some Gatorade.

I will most definitely be reading the next in this series. One-handed, but still. Now that I know what I’m in for I will be prepared like the devoted Girl Scout I am to see Roman getting his swerve on!

Recommend to… hells bells, you know who you are.

An ARC was provided by NetGalley.

To Seek and To Find

2.5 Stars

Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

Kyle is a Sub looking for a long term Dom. He has his sights set on a Dom that is new to the club. Taking the initiative, Kyle creates Project: Notice Me where he sets up scenes with other Doms in hopes of catching Aiden’s attention. He does. They decide on a trial period before a full commitment, contact, and eventual collar come into play.

The positives:

~I really liked the premise of a Sub getting creative to catch a Dom’s attention. Project: Notice Me had me requesting this story and looking forward to how it would play out.

~The characters. I liked the potential they had for a “relationship” together. Kyle was desperately wanting to find the one– a long term Dom and partner to share his life with in and out of scenes.

What didn’t work for me:

~The writing style. *smh* The third person/present tense made me want to bang my head at times. It took a good long while to get in a groove and get past it. Another thing that drove me crazy was the pronoun/proper noun usage. Sometimes they were used well and others, I was BEGGING for an editor.

Example:

”Kyle stares up at Richard and lets him see the flush in Kyle’s cheeks”

WHYYYYyyyYYyyy? Kyle, Kyle, Kyle!!!  NO MORE KYLE!!!! *deep breath*

~Minutiae: The fat needs to be cut from this story. A lot of unnecessary information was included that didn’t serve a purpose. Instead of character development, I read a lot about folding clothes, washing dishes, how many pieces of tomatoes or avocados were cut and saved for later, folding his clothes again, etc…

~If I pretend that this isn’t a romance, how everything played out would make more sense: IMO this doesn’t read like a romance. It reads like a Sub wanting to find a Dom. 99% of their “relationship” took place in scenes. I know their kink preferences, how they role play, the aftercare steps, and their expectations for D/s. What I don’t know is much about them. With barely any backstory or personal information beyond sex, I wasn’t able to connect with either character. Kyle’s relationship with Aiden wasn’t any different than the ones he had with other Doms he did demonstrations with. There was heat and chemistry in the scenes but nothing substantial that made me think they would go beyond the D/s scenes that he wanted. It read like clinical negotiations which is what it was with the HFN.

Warning: This next isn’t a positive or negative. Kyle is bisexual and although this is shelved as a M/M romance, there are *explicit* M/F scenes with Kyle and a female Domme. Kyle being a switch Sub worked in the context of the story but I thought it was worth noting for those that are interested in a switch or those that want only M/M.

If you can get past the writing style, the content reads like BDSM 101. It’s very explanatory and could be an ok starting point for those that wanna dip their toe into the D/s kink pool. I liked the premise but the execution was a little lacking.

Copy provided by publisher through NetGalley for an honest review.