Tag Archives: Irish

Sloe Ride (Sinners #4) by Rhys Ford

Sloe RideReleased 4 September 2015

Published by Dreamspinner Press

Cover Art by Reece Notley

Blurb:

It isn’t easy being a Morgan. Especially when dead bodies start piling up and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

Quinn Morgan never quite fit into the family mold. He dreamed of a life with books instead of badges and knowledge instead of law—and a life with Rafe Andrade, his older brothers’ bad boy friend and the man who broke his very young heart.

Rafe Andrade returned home to lick his wounds following his ejection from the band he helped form. A recovering drug addict, Rafe spends his time wallowing in guilt, until he finds himself faced with his original addiction, Quinn Morgan—the reason he fled the city in the first place.

When Rafe hears the Sinners are looking for a bassist, it’s a chance to redeem himself, but as a crazed murderer draws closer to Quinn, Rafe’s willing to sacrifice everything—including himself—to keep his quixotic Morgan safe and sound.

Sales links: Dreamspinner Press  •  Amazon  •  All Romance eBooks

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Our thoughts:

Rhys Ford has done it again. She’s written one of the best Sinners books since the series started. Wait. I think I say that every time!

Truth though, Quinn and Rafe are nearly perfection. A long attraction that never amounted to much for either of them. Just causing them to go in different directions out of necessity, that necessity…. Quinn’ s age!

Rafe has fallen hard and fast from his band and its stardom. Now, he’s just trying to live and stay in control after being out of control for so long. Back home and trying to avoid his adopted family, the Morgans. Mama Morgan will have none of that. Neither will Con, Kane or Quinn. Of course they all have their own reasons and agenda. Only Quinn wants Rafe to clear the noise in his head, to hold the man he’s always dreamed of holding. Will Rafe want him?

Quinn is so full of static and knowledge it’s overwhelming for himself, let alone the people around him. Except Rafe. Rafe has always known how to calm Quinn. To let him talk and feed into the frenzy instead of blowing him off and asking if he’s taken his meds. Poor lamb has always felt trapped, prodded, sheltered and he’s sick of the condescension.

Out of Quinn’s need and Rafe’s understanding, a need grows that can’t be ignored. I love these two together. Seriously sensual and blazing. Creating vivid, bright colors together. Hues of a true and deep love. Rafe is just the man to take on Quinn and his quirks. Someone to listen, not judge and definitely adore and stimulate. They’re beyond compare.

I enjoyed yet another book that sheds light on a person struggling with being different. Different as in, hard-wired differently in the head. I know a person like this. A member of my immediate family and seeing Quinn’s struggle and hardship to put into words his feelings and needs hits so close to home. Loved Quinn. Loved that he had a soul mate in Rafe.

I liked where the Sinners stories have gone. The suspense really brings all the brothers in blue together and keeps readers on their toes. Also, we see a few brothers that were a bit more quiet in the first couple books: Brae and Ian. Between the new faces and a new band, I’m excited to see where Sinners will go from here!

Rhys Ford is a master writer and we are all at her mercy, screaming and pacing for the next book to grace our devices.

RATING: STILETTOS!!

5 Reasons to Read The O’Leary’s by Shannyn Schroeder

While reading this latest installment in Shannyn Schroeder’s O’Leary’s series, Just a Taste, I wondered to myself why everyone isn’t reading these books. I mean, they’re fantastic and probably one of my favorite recent contemporary romance series. So I decided to put together a list of reasons why you should pick them up, and I’m sharing my Top 5.

Janette’s Top 5 Reasons to Read The O’Leary’s

1. Fantastic Writing

At the top of this list has to be Shannyn Schroeder’s fantastic style and delivery. It totally guarantees you’ll get completely lost in the story every single time.

2. Hot Irishmen

Whether you’re looking for tall, dark and Irish or a ginger with a creamy ivory complexion, the O’Leary’s have a guy for you.

3. Family Drama

What’s that saying? You always hurt the ones you love? The O’Leary’s have no shortage of conflict, controversy and sibling rivalry, but at the end of the day I think any one of them would thrown down for another. That kind of loyalty and devotion makes this one passionate clan.

4. Chicago

Okay, so this one’s personal. You can take the girl out of Chicago, but you can’t take Chicago out of the girl. :) I love books that are set in the Windy City, because reading them is like a little slice of home.

5. Romance

Somehow Shannyn Schroeder manages to make romance new and exciting in every single story. The basic idea is the same – a sweet romance mixed with a little bit of tension and heartache –  but each scenario is unique and interesting. I just love seeing how things unfold.

Did we mention the hot Irishmen? ;) Here’s a little bit about the newest O’Leary’s story – 

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Just a Taste CoverGrief has brought them together again—will love open the door to their future? When it’s an O’Leary in the picture, finding out is just part of the adventure…

Carmen Delgado is left reeling when her father dies. Taking care of him has been her sole purpose for so long, she’s forgotten what it’s like to have dreams of her own. And with steady, sexy Liam O’Leary inheriting a share in her dad’s successful food truck, Carmen is suddenly free to explore her life’s possibilities. She never expected Liam to provide the kind of temptation she’s not sure she can resist…

A talented chef, Liam O’Leary has been itching to open his own restaurant for years—and the death of his mentor is a reminder that time passes too quickly. Gus’s Taco Taxi isn’t exactly what he dreamed of, but he can’t desert Gus’s daughter. Working side by side is an unexpected pleasure—and grownup Carmen is alluring in all new ways. Is love on the menu—or will old fears and insecurities drive them apart?

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OUR THOUGHTS:
It’s always the quiet ones. ;)

Liam O’Leary is full of surprises. He and Carmen are thrown together as business partners after Carmen’s father suddenly passes away, leaving each half of his food truck business. From the start their interactions are easy and comfortable. They have a similar demeanor, a friendliness that’s not overly extroverted. They enjoy their quiet and, while they love their large families, relish in taking a little break from the chaos they can bring. It’s clear early on they have the makings of a solid team and possibly a great couple.

I started this book expecting the same sweet romance laced with sexual tension I’ve come to expect from Shannyn Schroeder. Those expectations are definitely met –  there’s enough happiness and heartache to go around. But along with it come some very real, very sensitive issues: body image, racial discrimination and prejudice.

Thank you, Shannyn Schroeder, for tackling these issues, because rarely in romance do we see a woman who acknowledges feeling less than sexy or shares real insecurity about her body. Carmen is a very likable character who embodies so much discomfort, uncertainty, and vulnerability. Her struggles with food are easy to relate to for most women, and while they may not be sexy, they’re real. Schroeder subtly hints at Carmen’s struggle early on, gradually escalating until it’s plainly laid out with the enchiladas and Liam’s cheesecake.

In turn, Liam is endlessly patient with Carmen. He sees her for the person inside, and while I’m sure he doesn’t share her opinions, he’s empathetic. This appeals to the inner romantic in all of us, because who doesn’t want to be valued for more than just their physical appearance? I like that Schroeder doesn’t expect Carmen to immediately capitulate and love her body. That type of relationship with food and association with her body wasn’t forged overnight, and any fight to make a lasting change will take time. I know many people argue that a man’s opinion shouldn’t determine how a woman feels about her body, and to an extent I agree. On the other hand it’s simple biology – appearance is usually the first thing you notice about someone. Every species of animals – don’t forget we are technically animals – has some form of attention-getting behavior or flashy coloring to attract mates. Humans are no different. Mating is an inherent instinct, something we’re born to do whether we acknowledge it or not. In that sense it can do some serious damage to someone’s self-confidence if he or she feels undesirable or others act as if they find him/her repulsive regardless of how positive his/her body image. Our culture and society tie sex and romance together in such a way that they’re not mutually exclusive; we often feel to have one you need to have the other. If a girl’s longing for love, she might feel like her sex appeal is the place to start. So complicated this whole romance thing!

One of my favorite parts of this book was possibly the hardest to read. When Liam and Carmen are finally getting intimate, at least once the sexual encounter is less than perfect, something that’s practically taboo in romance but totally perfect in this situation. So much of what happens in that moment really demonstrates the struggle Carmen is having, and I was glad to see that her desire for Liam didn’t just magically fix everything else. Women are insecure sometimes, and this causes them to strategically avoid or manipulate the situation in order to be comfortable. Many romances gloss over this, because really the love of a good man should fix everything, right? I’m happy Carmen has someone who’s patient and kind who will help her learn to love herself and conquer her fears.

As for the racial discrimination and prejudice, that aspect of the story almost caught me off guard. I’m so happy here in my secluded corner of the open-minded world that I often forget everyone doesn’t view the world the same way. Of my grandparents only one was a second-generation American – the others were either children of immigrants or immigrants themselves. I grew up knowing the kind of pride and devotion a family has in their heritage, and I understand the way the old neighborhoods were established in the big city. People didn’t readily mix like we do now; they kept to their own, doing what was comfortable and known rather than try to assimilate or accept the unknown. I hate the way Liam’s mother behaves toward Carmen, but it’s a painful reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go. Liam and his siblings are a testament to the way attitudes of acceptance are evolving, however slow the process may be.

With the ups and downs of this story, it’s clear the O’Leary’s have plenty of excitment still to come. I always love the way Schroeder continues previous story lines in the background of the main story arc; it’s great to see those characters continuing to evolve. I’m hoping Maggie’s story is next, and I have a good feeling it might be since we’re kind of running out of O’Leary’s. Her book will be a challenging read with her past history of rape, but I look forward to her journey of hope and healing. And Shane. Please let him be a major part of it. For whatever reason I love the strong, protective type. ;)

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS

 

Catch Your Breath (The O’Leary’s #4) by Shannyn Schroeder

Catch Your Breath CoverRelease Date: July 3, 2014
Published by Kensington Books
Review Copy from NetGalley

Is it worth the risk? Is love worth the risk?

That’s what I kept asking myself as I delved into this story – each of these characters has a lot on the line personally and professionally. It’s easy for me to imagine fiery Moira O’Leary willing to jeopardize it all to get what she wants in life. She’s a no-holds-barred kind of heroine, one who acts first and asks questions later. That kind of enthusiasm is contagious, pulling you in with her passion and liveliness.

Jimmy O’Malley, on the other hand, doesn’t seem like much of a risk taker. He’s cautious beyond fault and always carefully assessing a situation. Sounds like perfect traits for a cop, right? Except in order to find what he’s looking for at work and in love, he’s got to put himself out there. He realizes this, but getting up the courage to do it is another matter completely.

As soon as Moira and Jimmy lock eyes at that first event, sparks fly. These two are combustible. There’s no question of chemistry – they’ve got it. What frustrates me is how Jimmy keeps shutting it down – darn Jimmy! Why do you have to be so careful?  I can only imagine how it is for Moira, although with her hot, Irish temper, she certainly doesn’t hold back. The tension between the two mounts deliciously until it finally spills over. And by spills, I mean things get pretty messy.

The case Jimmy’s working on thrusts them together, and the boundaries between personal and professional get a little blurry. They’re both trying to find their footing, and Jimmy’s doing his best to try to maintain control. The problem is Moira’s impulsive and unpredictable which is tough to get a handle on, leaving plenty of occasions for the two to clash. To say they’re like mixing oil and water is putting it mildly. I often wondered how Schroeder would manage to resolve their differences without sacrificing their independent natures, but she does it brilliantly.  It’s there in between the explosions, in the quiet time when they’re relaxed and not trying so hard or concentrating too much on outside pressures.  They’re genuinely into each other regardless of how they fight it.

Building the history between the two wasn’t hard – they’ve known each other forever, and Schroeder paints a clear picture that makes it simple to see how their feelings have evolved over time. I could even understand why Jimmy denies their connection for so long – they each have a lot to lose if this ends badly. It definitely doesn’t bode well when their families get involved.

Speaking of family – it’s obviously a big part of the story, and really this entire series. The O’Leary’s are a tight-knit Irish clan who are always looking out for each other. The same could be said for the O’Malley’s, but they seem to have had a rougher time of it. With a big family sometimes comes big baggage, and Moira and Jimmy definitely spend a significant amount of time coping with it.

While the relationship between Moira and Jimmy is riveting enough, what really makes this book for me is Jimmy’s investigation. I love the excitement, action, mystery and suspense that comes along with the case. Schroeder intertwines the two story lines in all the right places to keep things complicated.  There are a few times when I could throttle Jimmy for being a bit stubborn and overprotective, but he usually gets his act together pretty quickly. If Moira can forgive him, I guess so can I. ;)

If I’m being honest, Liam O’Leary’s story is the one I’m dying to get my hands on. We see quite a bit of him in this book, since he figures so prominently in both Jimmy’s and Moira’s lives. He’s a bit different, solitary, and a loner which has me totally intrigued. I can’t wait to see if or how he’ll find his happily ever after.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS

The Devil’s Brew (Sinners #2.5) by Rhys Ford

The Devil's BrewPublishes 21 May 2014
Published by Dreamspinner Press
Copy obtained from author for review.

The Devil’s Brew is the perfect novella for fans of the Sinners series by Rhys Ford. Miki and Kane are back in this sweet tale about Miki struggling over Valentine’s Day. Sionn and Damien are also present but the main focus is on Miki and Kane.

We get to see where their relationship has progressed to and how they are managing their lives together. Have there been growing pains? Are they still madly and deeply in love. No spoilers so I can’t tell you exactly, but I will say the chemistry is just as hot and intense as it ever was between Miki and Kane in Sinner’s Gin.

Miki is struggling to wrap his mind around Valentine’s Day, its significance to their relationship and what he should do for Kane. He bought a gift he is doubting, then lets Damien talk him into buying something else. Miki is so worked up by time he gets home after shopping with Damien. Kane is called away at the last minute so Miki has way too much time to think…and doubt.

Donal, ever the strong, stoic calm in the storm comes over to lend support. Rhys Ford puts into words the best gift Miki could get on Valentine’s Day and it comes from Donal. It is acceptance and love and family. He is there to bring Miki into the fold, to really make him his son and that is a true gift of love Miki wasn’t expecting. It pretty much made my heart break out of sheer joy and happiness for Miki.

Once Kane and Miki are finally reunited, Miki shares his gifts with Kane. If that doesn’t make you melt into a puddle, I don’t know what would! Rhys Ford gives us the perfect little love story, complete with two of our favorite guys. The love, support, patience and passion in Miki and Kane’s relationship is perfection.

This novella is the perfect chance to revisit the Sinners series before book three, Tequila Mockingbird, releases in June! If you haven’t read Sinner’s Gin or Whiskey and Wry, I would highly recommend them. There is nothing better than a soulful lead singer and his protective Irish detective or a sassy guitarist and his bad ass Irish bodyguard turned brew master. The series is a nice mix of suspense, mystery, drama, romance, sweetness and a bit or snark! Pretty much perfection on every page!

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!