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New Adult

REVIEW:  Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young

REVIEW: Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young

EOSS

Dear Ms. Young:

Shannon MacLeod is on the run. She’s fled Glasgow, her home town, to escape her last boyfriend, who beat her to a pulp. She’s come to Edinburgh  to start her life over. First order of business, find a job. She reluctantly goes to INKarnate, an award winning shop in town known for boasting the best tattoo artists. She’s reluctant because she’s a bit of a bad boy magnet, always attracting men who are bad for her, many of whom have abused the trust she puts into them. She knows the chances are high that she’ll meet someone unsuitable. But she tells herself that she’ll just be on her own, finally free to do as she pleases, including honing her skills as an artist, which she’s kept secret since her ex-boyfriend mocked her skills.

She gets the job at the shop, and soon meets Cole Walker, the shop’s manager and lead artist. Fans of the series know Cole. He’s the younger brother of Johanna from Down London Road, book 2 in the series. We first met Cole as a talented child who loved art and wanted to be a tattoo artist when he grew up. Sure enough, Cole is not only a tattoo artist, but a highly sought after one at that. He’s also gorgeous, and a genuinely kind person. Shannon is immediately wary of Cole. He recognizes her immediately, knowing that they met briefly when they were teenagers, but Shannon pretends not to remember, thoroughly intimidated by this obvious bad boy. Cole begins to flirt with Shannon, attracted to her “wee fairy” looks. But Shannon shuts him down in the harshest way possible.

Shannon is dealing with her own issues. On top of having been beaten and nearly raped by her ex-boyfriend, when she left him, she ran straight to her brother, Logan. Logan took it upon himself to beat the boyfriend so badly he was hospitalized. This landed Logan in jail and lead her family to blame her utterly for his imprisonment. Shannon knows they’re right. Her continued bad decisions about men have brought nothing but heartache to her, but now they’re affecting her family too. She’s completely resolved not to get involved with anyone.

But she’s deeply attracted to Cole. She knows that he’d be bad for her, but being around him all the time is torture. Needless to say, Cole is pissed and offended that Shannon made assumptions about the kind of person he is and their cold war is uncomfortable for everyone. Soon Shannon learns that she’s drastically misjudged Cole. Cole is not only universally known as a genuinely good guy, he’s got a wonderful family that loves him and a ton of friends. He’s on good terms with the women he’s been involved with in the past. It turns out Shannon has misjudged him. She apologizes, and Cole decides that they can be friends. But their attraction is still smoldering and one night they end up acting on it. Cole, of course, wants a relationship, but Shannon is afraid. She’s not sure she can trust anyone ever again, and she’s even more afraid that she’ll hurt Cole making him hate her. Cole assures her he realizes the risk, and is willing to take it, but when Shannon’s family insists that Cole is bad for her and she make a choice between them or him, what will she do?

I quite enjoyed this book, which is probably not a surprise to anyone. Cole is a classic Caregiving Alpha, wanting nothing more than to love and adore Shannon. He’s hot, amazing in bed, talented, sweet and generous. What’s not to like? Sadly, Shannon has a harder time than I would have liked learning to trust him. She’s got a ton of baggage and seems to be determined to make Cole carry it, despite the fact that he’s nothing but patient and loving to her. Because this is a New Adult book, I’m generally willing to allow for a level of immaturity from the characters, but Shannon pushing Cole away repeatedly was a bit tiresome. In the end, she messes up big, and at the urging of her brother gives a most excellent grovel, which was refreshing, as I felt strongly that it was her who needed to be worthy of him. Overall though, I felt like this couple was well matched and enjoyable to read. I always love revisiting past characters, and given that Cole and Hannah (the last book’s heroine) are a bit younger than the first group of characters, it’s really fun to see older characters with families now. Your sex scenes continue to be extremely hot and inventive, which I appreciate. In the end, I believed wholeheartedly in Cole and Shannon’s Happily Ever After and was glad to see the series get on back track after what I felt was a miss with Fall from India Place. Echoes of Scotland Street gets a happy recommendation from me. Final grade: B.

Kind regards,
Kati

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REVIEW:  Risk by Cora Brent

REVIEW: Risk by Cora Brent

Risk (Gentry Boys #2) by Cora Brent

Dear Ms. Brent:

I read the first book in the Gentry Boys series, Draw, when it lingered at the top of the Kindle charts a couple of months ago. I’d found it on Scribd and felt it was a no risk proposition (and by found it, I mean, it was part of the subscription service).  There was something very alluring about your voice, the slow southern lyricism of your characters’ internal monologue, the occasionally witty dialogue, and the certain we’ll love before our doom theme that provides the overriding suspense.

Risk isn’t terrible different than Draw but that’s part of the appeal, I think. I know what I’m getting and it’s comfortable.

Tallulah Rae Lee is a waitress at Cluck This, a fried chicken establishment near Arizona State University. She rooms with a quiet, secretive girl and has only a few friends. Her past is a roadmap of wrong turns marked by increasingly bad male choices starting her falling for her mother’s boyfriend at the age of seventeen and ending with being a kept woman of a wealthy married man. At some point, she realizes she’s never going to find the love she needed between the legs of a male and she focuses on making enough money to pay her bills. She misses her three sisters who she walked away from when her mother threw her out, but she doesn’t know how to reconnect. In short, Truly is lonely but trying.

Creedence Gentry is one of three Gentry triplets who grew up under the abusive hand of their dad. The father would either beat them all or beat one or make Creed choose who he should beat, promising a terrible retribution to the other two brothers if he wouldn’t choose. The Gentry boys escape their oppressive small town and make their way to Phoenix. The one brother has started classes and the other brother Cord (the hero of Draw) is a burgeoning tattoo artist. Creed drinks and serves as security for ASU football games. Oh, and he’s committed himself to a shady promoter who sets up fights to the death between poor schmucks like Creed and ex cons.

In Draw, Chase is beat up and in exchange for information about the perpetrators behind the deed, Creed offers himself up as tribute in a dangerous game. All three brothers know that this is very close to a death sentence and Creed’s response is to ramp up his drinking and his screwing around. His eyes light upon Truly and she can’t resist.

There are a couple of problems in the book. First, Creed is portrayed as super rough around the edges and appears to view women as “holes” in the first POV. This is abandoned later, but the set up of Creed as this foul mouthed misogynist does little to serve the story. Second, he’s portrayed as having a heavy drinking problem but fortunately for him Truly makes his thirst go away. That’s not really how alcoholism works and it’s a little frustrating to see it portrayed like that.

Truly and Creed fall quickly for each other but the threat of Creed’s fight and his possibly short time on this earth is a dark cloud over their romance.

Despite the problems, I really liked Truly and because she wanted Creed, I wanted Creed for her. I didn’t think Creed was as interesting as Truly’s character. Yes he came from an abusive household; yes, he was in unfortunate circumstances, but a lot of those circumstances were his own making and I never felt like he owned those like Truly owned her mistakes.

But for readers that like the gruff alpha who is head over heels for his woman, this will be appealing but the book was made for me with the Truly character. If she’d been less interesting, less spirited then I wouldn’t have liked the romance or Creed as much.

Interestingly while the characters have sex quite a bit, the scenes themselves are very short (only a few of paragraphs) I wouldn’t qualify this as an erotic romance but a sexy contemporary. B-

Best regards,

Jane

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