Book #60: Blood and Magic by R.L. Weeks

Kate’s is attempting to get back to normal following her dad’s unexpected death at the start of summer. Sleepless nights, numbness, and dreams of an abandoned house and a mystery boy forces Kate into isolation – cutting herself off from her friends and mom.
However, on the first day back she is forced to face reality in the form of Nicholas Nightshade – the school’s bad boy that everyone loves to hate – and he has plenty of secrets of his own.
Struggling to come around to her new-found powers, people are thrown into harms away until she is forced to deal with the magic inside of her.
Nicholas will do anything to keep the truth from her – even if it means distancing himself from Kate and leaving her to be a ticking time bomb of dark magic.

With students dying in freak accidents, two covens playing a tug of war with Nicholas and Kate’s souls, and a terrifying foresight between their relationship, shrouding her future with darkness – senior year will be more exciting than Kate could have ever anticipated.

Warning: This book is intended for adults. It has some scenes of a sexual nature, strong language and violence, with references to occultism. This novel is fictional, and all spells and rituals performed are not intended to be instructional. The references made to witchcraft are not accurate to the study and practice of modern-day witchcraft or the pagan religion.

I want to first state that I actually received a copy of this book from the author alongside a book box. At the end of this review is the link to my video on YouTube. You can follow it for future unboxings and writing/book related stuff. What follows is my opinion on the book itself and there was no compensation for this review.

I have read a few of R.L. Weeks’ books and she has a good imagination. Each story is better than the other. And though I prefer her short stories, her books aren’t bad. This includes Blood & Magic.

Blood & Magic follows the life of Kate Bathory, a senior in high school and a girl who pretty much secluded herself after the death of her father. Upon coming back into the real world, she learns something that was kept hidden. It is both something beautiful and dangerous, two sides of the same coin.

The magic part had to be the most interesting to me. The world is dark and beautiful and well thought out. I felt Weeks made her own witches, but was also understanding to the witches of today. They could coexist together in this world without really being an impact to one another, and I liked that. This world also made me think of Sabrina on Netflix, another witchy story where magic can be dark and beautiful at the same time.

The romance wasn’t bad. There were parts where I could see the chemistry between Kate and Nicholas, but I feel there might have been something missing. Maybe it’s more quality time? I’m not sure. They are well written and you could see how the romance grows. As for Nicholas being a bad boy, lies! He’s actually a cuddly teddy bear and intuited Kate’s needs. Dude, this guy isn’t a teenager, he’s closer to his twenties or thirties with the amount of presence he has with Kate.

I bet you can guess who I really liked in the book. Yep, it was Nicholas. Though you are seeing the story through Kate and she isn’t a bad character, it was Nicholas who I found to be a bit more interesting. You don’t get much about his personal background, but what you do know, you are interested in what he has to bring. He may have made some stupid choices, but I feel he was just an overall more thought out character.

All in all, the book wasn’t bad and it hasn’t pulled me away from supporting R.L. Weeks and her writing. If you like paranormal reads, but don’t want a series per se, you should check out the Supernatural New Order books. Each book is set in the same world, but all are standalones. Blood & Magic is the first and coming soon is Dead Girls.

Final Rating: 3/5

Want to see the unboxing? Look below! Be sure to find me and subscribe on YouTube!

Book #54: The Haunting of Hillwood Farm by Kathryn Knight

After tragedy strikes, Callie Sinclair is left with a gift she never wanted—the ability to communicate with ghosts. But when a desperate widow begs for her help, she reluctantly agrees to investigate the strange occurrences at Hillwood Farm. She quickly realizes she’s dealing with a dangerous presence beyond anything she’s ever experienced, and something else becomes equally clear—the only other living person in the house, Mrs. Turner’s handsome grandson, thinks she’s a scam artist. While she’d prefer to just ignore him, her heart beats a little faster every time he’s nearby. 

Luke Turner doesn’t believe in spirits. He’s moved back to restore the family farm, but living on the property serves a dual purpose—he can watch out for his grandmother. He’s not happy about the sudden appearance of a self-described psychic, or his inexplicable attraction to her. His initial suspicions crumble as evidence points to an actual haunting, but he’s still determined not to fall for Callie—the past has taught him it’s best to avoid relationships. 

As Callie is drawn deeper into the mystery, she becomes the target of a vengeful spirit, and Luke can no longer fight his feelings for her. Unable to resist their desire, passion ignites…even as the paranormal activity escalates to a final deadly confrontation. 

BEST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE OF 2018 at N.N. Light’s Book Heaven Reviews 

This title previously published in the USA TODAY Bestselling Love Under Fire Romantic Suspense Thrillers Box Set

I received an audible code via Audiobook Obsession, a Facebook group for audiobook lovers and romance. What follows is my honest opinion on what I’ve listened to. There was no compensation made for this review.

The Haunting of Hillwood Farm is equal parts spooky and romance. There were scenes that I was genuinely feeling the shivers over. One scene in particular, but I don’t want to go too into depth because it will spoil everything.

The romance was well written and the intimate scenes are okay with little ears around. I accidentally forgot to stop my audiobook in front of my son. He didn’t start asking questions, so it was good.

I loved that the main issue, aside from the ghostie problem, was an internal one. The story didn’t focus on a non-believer and believer dynamic, but the personal struggle on whether or not a relationship was something either of the characters wanted.

All in all, the book was well written and I was definitely rooting for the two. They have great energy between them and it made for a good spooky romance. I would love to see this in a Hallmark movie.

Final Rating: 4/5

BOOK TOUR (REVIEW): When Summer Ends by Jessica Pennington

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (April 9, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250187338
ISBN-13: 978-1250187338



Praise for WHEN SUMMER ENDS

“Bringing the small-town Michigan setting evocatively to the forefront, Pennington’s sophomore novel captures the pleasures of new love.” ―Kirkus Reviews

Praise for LOVE SONGS & OTHER LIES

“A captivating read and a great pick for fans of Morgan Matson and Emery Lord!” ―RT Book Reviews

“Filled with lyrics, love, and late nights, Pennington’s debut novel will appeal to romance fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti.” ―School Library Journal

“Pennington’s debut is a light road-tripping romance about redemption and the love of music.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Reading Cam & Vee’s past and present romance reminds me of This is Us! This is going on my keeper shelf.” ―Simone Elkeles, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author

Love Songs & Other Lies is a music-infused romance about a pair of perfectly imperfect teenagers who will have readers rooting for their happily ever after.” ―Katy Upperman, author of Kissing Max Holden

“Boys in bands, second chance romance, and pitch-perfect chemistry. Love Songs & Other Lies hits all the right notes!” ―Gina Ciocca, author of Last Year’s Mistake

“Fun and full of heart, with a hero who stole my heart!” ―Katie McGarry, author of Pushing the Limits

Aiden Emerson is an all-star pitcher and the all-around golden boy of Riverton. Or at least he was, before he quit the team the last day of junior year without any explanation. How could he tell people he’s losing his vision at seventeen?

Straight-laced Olivia thought she had life all figured out. But when her dream internship falls apart, her estranged mother comes back into her life, and her long-time boyfriend ghosts her right before summer break, she’s starting to think fate has a weird sense of humor.

Each struggling to find a new direction, Aiden and Olivia decide to live summer by chance. Every fleeting adventure and stolen kiss is as fragile as a coin flip in this heartfelt journey to love and self-discovery from the author of Love Songs & Other Lies.

You can purchaseWhen Summer Ends at the following Retailers:
       
MY REVIEW
I received a copy of When Summer Ends for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.
This is Jessica Pennington’s second contemporary fiction. I pretty much fell in love with her writing style in the first book and knew I had to try for this one. I’m glad I did.
The story itself is a fluffy one. One where the romance goes strong, but the struggles aren’t so bad that you are yelling at the insanity of the main leads. You know the type.
Anyways, When Summer Ends, is about two teenagers who are going through big things in their lives and are brought together through their job and a test of fate. Olivia is a very controlled individual, but for the summer, she is ready to let fate decide by the flip of a coin. It isn’t that Aiden is not controlled, it’s more that he has something taken from him and is forced to work around it.
Instead of each chapter being separated by the individuals, both of them are narrating the same chapter. Actually, a better way to describe it is not that the chapters are rewritten with two points of view. They are written in a way where you get two points of view. Like, Chapter One has Olivia talking and then we see Aiden. Chapter Two is in the same format and so forth. It is a different way of writing this type of book and I’m not sure if I’ve seen it before.
And I love it.
I honestly really loved this book. I loved the adorable togetherness Aiden and Olivia have for each other. They are flirty, but awkward. They are sweet and understanding. They are willing to talk out their issues and not give in to the typical romance tropes of misunderstandings and hidden messages.
I can’t help but smile every time I think about the book. I’ve giggled during parts with sheer giddiness. The kind I have with a seriously adorkable Hallmark movie. So, yes,  Jessica Pennington, I’m sold. I’ll be reading more of your stories. Please keep writing them.
Final Rating: 5/5
Photo Credit: Sheena Pearce

Jessica Pennington is no stranger to the combination of love and drama. She’s a wedding planner, after all. A writer since the age of ten—when she sought publication for her poem about a tree—Jessica likes the challenge of finding the humor in a sad situation or highlighting the awkwardness in a romantic one. She lives in a Michigan beach town suspiciously similar to the one in her novel, with her husband Josh and their son, Rory. Love Songs & Other Lies is her debut novel.

WEEK ONE

JULY 22nd MONDAY JeanBookNerd GUEST POST
JULY 22nd MONDAY A Court of Coffee and Books REVIEW
JULY 23rd TUESDAY A Dream Within A Dream EXCERPT
JULY 23rd TUESDAY Nay’s Pink Bookshelf REVIEW
JULY 24th WEDNESDAY Kait Plus Books EXCERPT
JULY 24th WEDNESDAY Two Points of Interest REVIEW
JULY 25th THURSDAY Cover2CoverBlog REVIEW
JULY 25th THURSDAY Bookish Kali REVIEW
JULY 26th FRIDAY Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT
JULY 26th FRIDAY A Bella Fairy Tale REVIEW


WEEK TWO
JULY 29th MONDAY Twirling Book Princess EXCERPT
JULY 29th MONDAY Insane About Books REVIEW
JULY 30th TUESDAY Casia’s Corner REVIEW
JULY 30th TUESDAY Pages and Pugs REVIEW
JULY 31st WEDNESDAY Gwendalyn’s Books REVIEW
JULY 31st WEDNESDAY A Bookish Dream REVIEW
AUGUST 1st THURSDAY Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace REVIEW
AUGUST 1st THURSDAY Starlight Reads REVIEW
AUGUST 1st THURSDAY TTC Books and More EXCERPT
AUGUST 2nd FRIDAY Crossroad Reviews REVIEW
AUGUST 2nd FRIDAY BookHounds YA REVIEW
*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*

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Book #48: If the Shoe Fits by Laura Greenwood


Even Cinderella didn’t have it this hard…When Sadie goes to the royal wedding against her step-mother’s wishes, she didn’t expect to be swept off her feet by the groom’s brother. Leo is everything she could have dreamed of; charming, handsome, accomplished…the only problem is that he’s also a crown prince.Dare Sadie follow her heart?

I received an Audible code via Audiobook Obsession for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

If the Shoe Fits is a standalone Cinderella retelling set in the same world as her ME series (a series of reverse harem romances). This book is not a reverse harem. It is a contemporary story about a lady of the gentry falling for a man who turns out to be a prince.

This is actually not my first Greenwood book, but I do like this one more than the other book. It is a well written and quick read with a good cast of characters. Cinderella isn’t my favorite fairy tale, but there is something about a retelling that hooks me. This book is a retelling but with a sexy twist.

The narrator was a perfect choice. I could see Sadie, Rita, and Enrique. I also saw Leo, but I didn’t hear a difference in accent. That said, his voice was well done and the narrator was able to separate the characters for the listener.

All in all, I do hope Greenwood will write more fairy tale retellings. I love the modern feel and the royalty/gentry side of things. It was a fun read and I do recommend for someone in need for a quick romance with a fairy tale twist.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #45: Chasing His Squirrel by Golden Angel

When Brady Bunson first meets Jesse O’Neal, she’s sick and dying from one of the illnesses that have ravaged the small shifter population. As a shifter squirrel with a tiger ancestor way back in her family line, Jesse is actually an ideal candidate for Dr. Montgomery’s work… all the pain the Bunson family has gone through will finally save a life instead of ruining one.

Although Brady is falling for Jesse, he doesn’t really know what to do with his emotions. The Company is still out there and his family won’t be safe until they’re taken down – and now that Jesse is a successful experiment using the same science, she won’t be either. Having spent most of his prime dating years in a lab, all of his relationship experience from high school tells him it’s unfair to ask Jesse to put her life on hold for him in a long distance relationship while his focus is entirely on taking down The Company to ensure the safety of those he loves, even if she’s included in that group.

But he has more trouble letting her go than he thought he would.

Chasing His Squirrel is approximately 65k words and contains some sizzling hot sexy times between an alpha male and a young woman grabbing hold of her second chance at life with both hands.

I received an Audible code from Audiobook Obsession (a Facebook group) for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

Chasing His Squirrel is the second in a many book series of shifter romances. Each book has a romantic storyline, but is a part of the overarching story about an evil group, known as The Company, and the shifters who work with the government to stop the illegal testing of humans and shifters alike.

The good thing is, I didn’t really need to read book one to understand what was going on. The author makes sure to put in the important information down for the reader. However, it did seem to be a bit repetitive at times. I feel that once, maybe twice, is enough, but Chasing His Squirrel had it happen enough for me to really take notice. It did pull me away from the story for a few seconds, but I was back on it after that.

The story itself is a cute romance with the characters actually communicating with each other instead of having the normal misunderstandings that I’ve seen in other romances. I like that they were adults and acted like adults. I think I may have been reading less adult-oriented romances if this isn’t a new thing, but still, I appreciate the maturity level of the characters and made me like their relationship more.

The narrator did a good job overall. There were moments that I was pulled away from the story, but I think that may have had more to do with the repetitiveness instead of the actual execution of the audiobook.

All in all, the story is cute, was fun, and had a bit of something different (the shifter hybridization in particular). I wouldn’t mind reading more of the series.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #44: Shades of Fury by Heather Renee

Taya’s just been named alpha-in-training. First order of business: avenging her twin brother’s death. 

When Cord connected a rival pack to the disappearances of humans, he paid the ultimate price. Now it’s up to Taya to pick up where he left off and find justice for those who have been harmed.

As she closes in on her brother’s murderer, the threats only escalate. He wasn’t the only target, and now everyone she loves is in danger, further fueling Taya’s need for revenge.

With the help of an irresistible shifter named Liam, they set out in search of the only witch coven strong enough to set things right. Only Taya isn’t sure who to trust and if she doesn’t decide soon, she could lose not only her heart, but the people she loves most.

I received an Audible code from the author for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review

Shades of Fury is the first book in the series. It centers around Taya, a wolf shifter, and her mission to protect not only her pack but also humankind. Right off the bat, I was into this story. You may think this is more romance from the blurb, but I felt it as more an urban fantasy with a romantic element.

The writing is well done. It’s engaging and pulls you in. Likewise, the narrator was a great choice. She gave an already well written Taya a voice. Also, she wasn’t bad with her male voices. I didn’t have any trouble discerning who was who.

As a story, it is fast paced and ends on a cliffhanger. I do want to listen to the second book and I do really like Heather Renee’ as an author. I’m going to have to read more.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #43: Theodore Gale in Oz by KuroKoneko Kamen

A genderbent reimagining of the classic fairytale The Wonderful Wizard of Oz… 

Theodore Gale is a twenty-five-year-old, unemployed, playboy cowboy with the propensity for getting into fights. After winning a bronco riding competition he decides to celebrate with a southern belle he sneaks to the barn at the Gale Farm. The following morning should have started with some kinky fun, but instead his life is turned upside down when a green tornado appears and takes Theo’s barn to another world. 

With only his gray horse, Toto, as a companion Theo arrives in Oz. As he tries to make heads or tails out of this strange new world, he ends up liberating various villages from the tyranny of first, the Wicked Warlock of the East, who was killed accidentally when Theo’s barn dropped on top of him, and secondly, the Wicked Warlock of the West, Jadyn, who’d turned an entire village into toys, enslaved them, and was forcing them to brew potions. 

It’s on the outskirts of Toy Village that Theo meets a damsel in distress, who is about to get ripped apart by crows. Her name is Anne Raggedy. She calls herself a Scarecrow, but Theo doesn’t find her very frightening, and actually ends up getting confused boners for the life-size doll. When Theo discovers that Anne used to be human, he decides to travel with her to the Emerald City in order to find a way to break her curse, so he can get laid. Joining them on their quest is a Cowardly Lioness and Cyborg Assassin named Tina Woodcutter. 

Genderbent Fairytales Collection: 
Handsome and the Yeti 
Petra Pan 
Alister in Wonderland 
King of Hearts: A Wonderland Story 
Theodore Gale in Oz 

I received an Audible code from the author via Audiobook Obsession for an honest review. What follows is that review. There was no compensation for what is about to be said.

Okay. This is not my first KuroKoneko Kamen genderbent fairytale and it’s definitely not going to be my last. This is by far the better of the two I’ve read and I can’t wait for the sequel. I’m not joking around.

There is a fine line when you put in pop culture references into your fiction. On one hand, you can inspire the giggles and nostalgia feels. On the other, you can end up dating your book once it hits a certain age. Theodore Gale in Oz straddles that line like Theodore straddles his horse, Toto.

There were great one-liners, awesome pop references, and I found myself rooting for the main characters. Close to the end of the book, my Bug was getting into the story. He doesn’t like me listening to audiobooks in the car, but this kid wasn’t leaving the car until I turned it off. Because, and I quote, “I want to hear this.”

Note. There are sex scenes. I do not advise listening to those scenes with little ears around and I personally didn’t do that.

The writing is well done and pulls the reader in. It is a well-made retelling, following most of the original story, but being its own narrative at the same time. And I have to add that there is definitely a sequel! Which, I’m going to be listening to.

My only complaint is that sometimes the narrator read with an accent and other times not. It did on occasion turn me off of the story, but I was able to jump right back in a few seconds later.

All in all, this is a fun read, the laugh out loud and smile kind.

Final Rating: 4/5

Book #41: Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick


A SACRED OATH
A FALLEN ANGEL
A FORBIDDEN LOVE

Romance was not part of Nora Grey’s plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.

My friend, Mack, and I decided to try out Hush Hush after we had read Fallen by Lauren Kate. Whereas she was a quick reader, it took me a while to actually finish the book. That said, when you compare the two fallen angel books, Hush Hush is better in my opinion.

Okay. Let me just start by saying that I found Hush Hush more enjoyable for the entertaining factor. Nora was a more engaging and the minor characters had just a bit more to them as well.

The writing is also better. That isn’t to say Fallen was poorly written. I just mean that Hush Hush had more to it in the narrative itself. There are story plotlines I liked in Fallen and there are ones I liked more for Hush Hush.

However, I wouldn’t say that I cared for the ending per se. The ending isn’t bad and it does go well with the rest of the story. I just found it to be a bit busy.

All in all though, the book was fun and there were moments I actively yelled at characters. I do plan on continuing the series and probably comparing the books with the Fallen series. Because, why not?

Final Rating: 3/5

Book #34: Cyber Match by Lexi Ostrow

Matthew Cobral is CEO of the hottest company on the web, Cyber Room. Cyber Room finds sexual compatibility through cyber encounters instead of looking for a personality match. Matthew has been successful in everything but finding love for himself. He’s never been tempted by his clients. Until Virginia. 

Virginia has been alone for three years, since her husband passed away. She’d never looked for love in person or on online. Until she heard about Cyber Room. While the conservative in her is nervous, she’s ready to move and jumps into all Cyber Room offers. 

When Matthew sees her profile he does the one thing he’d sworn he’d never do, use his company for personal gain. But when a cyber session goes awry, will Virginia still want the person on the other side of the screen.

I received a copy from the author for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation given for this review.

Cyber Match is a short erotic fiction about a rising dating company that centers on the idea that the couple needs to be sexually compatible along with the personality and moral traits. The CEO, Matthew Cobral, has a serious case of lust at first sight and does something he swore he’d never do… he makes a dating profile.

The story itself is very short and, because of that, it’s difficult to properly give a review. That said, it is well written and you are pulled into the steamy encounters between Matthew and Virginia. If you just want a quickie (pun intended), this is a good story to read. My only complaint is that there isn’t more. I actually want to see their relationship grow.

Maybe there will be more. Maybe there won’t. Either way, I am always going to read Ostrow’s work.

Final Rating: 3/5

BLOG TOUR (REVIEW): Off the Grid by Kay Marie

One part Pride and Prejudice.

One part Romancing the Stone.

All the feels.

 Don’t miss this laugh-out-loud, action-packed romantic comedy, new from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis, writing as Kay Marie.

Agent Leo Alvarez is on his way to Hawaii when his partner calls in a favor–the mob is after a pastry chef in NYC, and he’s the only one who can get to her in time. With his dreams of Mai Tais and sandy shores ruined, Leo rushes to her rescue. But when he arrives at her apartment, he’s greeted by an upturned nose and an icy blue stare. This damsel in distress doesn’t need saving. Good thing he’s a retired marine who never backs down without a fight.

After a childhood racked by scandal, McKenzie Harper has learned to loathe surprises. So when a strange man knocks on her door, interrupting her morning routine, she has no choice but to politely shut it in his face–no matter how deeply his hazel eyes might pierce. She has places to go, pastries to bake, and promotions to secure. Or she did, until three masked men kidnap her and throw her into the back of a van… Suddenly, that white knight doesn’t seem so scary.

He’s a cocky Fed with a killer smile. She’s an uptown beauty with a biting tongue. If they want to survive, they’ll have to learn to work together–assuming they don’t kill each other first.

**To Catch a Thief is a romantic comedy series that’s one part humorous and one part heartfelt, with a dash of adventure, a hint of criminal activity, and a whole heap of fun! Each book is a stand-alone romance with a HEA.

MY REVIEW

I want to first thank the author, Kay Marie, for asking me if I wanted to participate in the blog tour. Thank you and I will love to be in any future ones.

I received a copy from the author for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. The was no compensation for this review.

Off the Grid is the third book in the To Catch a Thief trilogy. It centers on the couple, Leo Alvarez (Nate’s, from book one, partner) and McKenzie Harper (Jo’s second baking buddy). It is a battle of the wits meets a woodsy expedition. And it’s filled with laughs.

I had always liked Leo even in book one so when I found out his book was the third, I had to jump in. From reading it, I fell for him even more. The playful teasing exterior is only made more interesting with the strong and troubled interior. Here is a guy who struggles hard to give the shirt off his back, protect, and provide without asking for anything in return. It’s the kind of personality that had me falling for my husband, so clearly, Leo and I are meant to be.

McKenzie starts off seeming like this closed individual with OCD tendencies and a very New Yorker attitude. They are… at least in media… a more jaded group of people. Stern. In control. Not in the mood to deal with BS and has no problem dishing out the sarcasm. And though I am not New Yorker, I can get behind that with McKenzie. I understand her. I can be like her at times.

I too, McKenzie, think that squirrels are the assholes of nature (I absolutely loved that moment).

I think you can see where I’m getting at. This book, though completely different from my own love life, resonates well with me.

All in all, this is the perfect ending to a fun trilogy. I am definitely a fan of Kay Marie and plan on reading more in the future.

Final Rating: 4/5

Excerpt:

 

The door to the kitchen swung open.

“You’re early,” McKenzie groaned, trying and failing to stifle her sigh. How many times had she asked the line chefs to give her a few hours alone to prep? “I’m supposed to have the kitchen to myself until— Oh. It’s you.”

The federal agent she’d ditched in the subway leaned against the wall with his arms folded and a single dark eyebrow raised. “It’s me.”

McKenzie frowned. “What are you doing here? Who let you in?”

“Someone who respects authority.”

Must’ve been one of the waiters. McKenzie shrugged and returned her gaze to her papers. “I thought I made myself abundantly clear before. Thank you, but no thank you.”

“So did I,” he said. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him use his foot to push off the wall. When he reached the prep area, he put his palms against the table and leaned forward, gaze so piercing McKenzie couldn’t help but look up. “When I make a promise to protect someone, I honor it. So, I’m here. And I’ll be here. Whether you want me to be or not.”

The golden highlights in his eyes flared with unspoken challenge. McKenzie was more than happy to oblige. This was her kitchen, her safe place, and she wouldn’t be intimidated here. He didn’t seem more than an inch or two taller than her, so she put her hands on the table and leaned in, meeting him at eye level. “Some people might call that harassment.”

The muscles in his arms flexed, drawing her attention. His bronze skin was contoured and hard in all the right places. “Some people might call it admirable.”

“Some people understand how to take a hint.”

“Some people understand how to show some gratitude.”

“For what?” She scoffed. “Barging into my place of work and promising to stalk me?”

“No,” he clapped back, shaking his head. “For sacrificing my time and energy in order to keep you safe.”

“I’m not in danger!”

“Yes. You are.”

Somehow, their faces had moved closer, a little too close. McKenzie could feel the warm brush of his breath on her skin. The muscles in his square jaw were clenched. A layer of scruff covered his cheeks. His hair swept over his eyes, steeping them in shadow, so only the barest hint of glittering green was visible. She felt that stare in every part of her, as though it were a physical caress. The heat in the kitchen spiked, even though she hadn’t had a chance to turn the ovens on yet.

The ovens!

Crap!

McKenzie tore her gaze away, finding the clock on the wall. She was ten minutes behind. She needed to preheat all the ovens, and she needed to start baking, dammit! With a sigh, she slumped her shoulders and relented, if only for the sake of her rapidly disintegrating schedule.

“Fine,” she murmured, using her palms to push back off the table and break away from this Fed who had seemingly made it his life mission to babysit her. “Fine, if you’re so hell-bent on protecting me, do it. I don’t care. But I am not leaving this kitchen and there’s nothing you can do to make me. So, go stand in the corner or something, and don’t under any circumstances get in my way. Got it?”

“Got it.”

Title:

Off the Grid (To Catch a Thief Book 3) by Kay Marie

Links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MQ6B83J

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07MQ6B83J

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07MQ6B83J

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07MQ6B83J

Hot Pursuit will be free on 4/10 and 4/11.

Stolen Goods will be discounted to $0.99 on 4/10 thru 4/14.