Quick Reads, Quick Reviews 40

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Tiny Dancer: A Cold Case Psychic Spin off Novella (Cold Case Psychic Spin off Novellas Book 7) by [Pine, Pandora]Despite being a novella, this felt like a fully fleshed out relationship based on something solid and not just a supernatural enhancement of insta-love.  When Riordan jumps on stage to dance with his daughters because of stage fright I was just as charmed as everyone else.  His innate strength of character allowed him to push on despite his grief and his lack of pride let him accept help where it was available.  I loved his humility.  And for a loving, supportive partner, there was no man better than Faulkner.  While I had reservations about him before this point, he more than redeemed himself with his stellar care and concern for Riordan as well as his adoration of all the children.  His heart was so obvious in this story that I couldn't help but fall head over heels for him.

The only thing I had an issue with was the four year old speaking like she was seven or eight.  I enjoyed her role and pure childlike acceptance of the supernatural, but it was the age and verbalization capabilities that took me out of the story quite a few times.  I also wish I got a lot more of Faulkner's background, but I liked what we did get.  Overall though, this was a fantastically sweet story that fit in with the parent series and introduced me to new characters to love.  4 stars.
 Tiny Dancer: Cold Case Psychic Spin Off Novella 7, Pandora Pine

Whole Again: A Contemporary Non-shifter Mpreg Romance (Orchard Ridge Omegas Book 1) by [Black, Braylon]It's not every day you get a second chance with your first love, but for Houston and Emmett the embers of attraction and warmth of youthful love spark into a full-blown forest fire.  Except the past holds them hostage and they'll have to decide if a future together is more important than holding on to the pain of the past.  I liked the threads of making amends and embracing your history in order to become the person you were always meant to be.  Those ideas were really well done in this story.

Houston's difficulties with his father were incredibly painful and legitimate reasons for him to leave the town behind.  His shortsightedness when it comes to his situation with Emmett, however, is a bit frustrating.  Emmett's painful past is truly heartbreaking.  His insistence on pushing Houston away at every turn, even when he willingly makes a family with him is beyond annoying.  I had a really hard time taking him seriously after a while because his fierce need to believe in a curse truly hurt Houston over and over again.  They figured things out and I appreciated the way the story ended because it went a long way to soothing my feelings for both men.  With an interesting cast this series holds quite a bit of promise.  3 stars.
 Whole Again: Orchard Ridge Omegas Book 1, Braylon Black

My Maine Man: Book 4.5 (The Johnson Family) by [Martin, Holly J.]When Noah first meets Ned it's definitely lust at first sight, but when they give one another a chance to see beyond the surface, they find something truly special with a partner they'd never expected to find.  I know Ned was a big bully growing up and that he really did some awful things, but if there was anyone who needed redemption and love, it was the big, gruff antisocial lumberjack.  I liked Noah's feisty attitude and positivity too.  Together they could be wonderful.  I truly loved the quiet way Ned went about seeking redemption.  It was his heart, his intent, and his humility all while feeling like he didn't deserve forgiveness that broke my heart and made me love him so hard.

But any time (read every time) the outside world or even the community entered the picture, Noah got on my nerves.  He was wonderful with what he was doing for the Boys & Girls Club and was so open-hearted and generous, but the way he made Ned feel in public was often unfeeling and disappointing.  Noah did come around and I'm glad he didn't get haughty or make Ned grovel because he really was the best match for Ned.  Ned's Grand Gesture was heartfelt and great, but by the end of his speech it felt off because it should have circled back to the purpose behind the event.  It just didn't feel right for the situation, story, and intention behind it.  With Ned's pure soul and Noah's openness to change and the beauty of a town that felt like home, this was a nice story with a very sweet ending.  3.5 stars.
 My Maine Man: The Johnson Family Book 4, Holly J. Martin

Trickster by [Cameron, Nicola]An unexpected mate brings Delaney to his knees and despite all that stands in the way of their mating, he's determined to make Mark his in the most loving way possible.  What I loved about this story was that it was moved along by passion, but it was the forbearance of the lust in favor of the solid connections, the creation of comfort, and the honesty Delaney was determined to have before he gave in that won me over.  Everything happened quickly but it felt more natural than so many other insta-love shifter stories I've read.

I appreciated the villain being a predictable mystery and not overly complicated.  Another awesome point of the story is when Mark uses his brain to find a solution without resorting to making amends and hoping for forgiveness after giving in to coercion.  Using his resources and not going it alone because of threats was admirable and it showed true strength to me.  Mark and Delaney made a great pair with their sweet moments, their intelligence, their chemistry, and their commitment.  This was a surprisingly fantastic read.  4.5 stars.
 Trickster, Nicola Cameron

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