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Vaughn’s Xena (Dirty Rockhard Billionaire Book 1) by M.I. Rosegold – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Vaughn's Xena (Dirty Rockhard Series, #1)Vaughn’s Xena by M.I. Rosegold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, Vaughn’s Xena was one of the smuttiest books I have read in a while. If you like a raunchy, best friend’s brother trope, this one is for you. This story is about a college student named Xena who fantasizes about her roommate’s (and best friend’s) brother, Vaughn. Vaughn is a wealthy, handsome, fit man, but one who is also private and apparently hates women, besides his sister, Ronnie. Vaughn has not been seen with a woman for quite some time and he seems to be super private, Xena knows from the start that her fantasies will stay just that. But, on a weekend break, Xena and Ron go to stay at Ronnie’s mansion and her brother is making the trip too. Xena comes to find out that Vaughn has been pining for her for a very long time. This is the start of their raunchy adventures. Xena, while very happy that Vaughn also wants her, she is worried about Ronnie. Will she be mad at Xena for being with Vaughn? Will the sibling relationship, which is very strong, weaken by this development? These questions haunt Xena so the relationship starts as a secret and we all know that never ends well! Will they be able to all find a way to be happy?
I enjoyed this book! I thought that the characters were loveable, but it has to be your cup of tea. Vaughn, well he is just all man, but he is the jealous and possessive, somewhat stalker type. What I love about him though is that the domination mainly revolves around the aspects of sex, in the real world he is always proud of Xena and how she handles business. He is also always showing her how he thought about her in many of the decisions that he made which was sweet. Xena is a quiet, secret sex craze woman, but one that knows what she wants. There are very vivid and explicit sex scenes and degradation – so if that isn’t for you don’t read. It is a story that progresses pretty fast, with feelings -one-day “strangers” and the next they are “in love”. I will say that one thing that really annoyed me, and it is probably just a “me” thing, was that the author said “gosh” a good amount. Now, this word normally doesn’t bother me, but when you are vividly stating what is happening, with all the juicy words that go with it, but then constantly say “gosh” it just throws off the vibe for me. Overall though, it was a pretty good read.

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Fear Inc: Volume 3 by Melinda Valentine – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Fear Inc.: Volume ThreeFear Inc.: Volume Three by Melinda Valentine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just love a good love story between the brother’s best friend and the little sister. One thing I really enjoyed was right off the bat they are together – there was no build-up – no angst – until there was. It starts off with a hidden relationship between Kasper and Krysta. Krysta was 19 and Kasper was a couple of years older and completely in love. However, as most of these books go it is a secret, but then Krysta becomes pregnant. Kasper didn’t have a great upbringing and never thought he would make a good parent and completely dropped the ball. They broke up and Krysta was destroyed. Six years later, Krysta and Kasper have a love-hate relationship because her brother is still best friends with him and her brother and Kasper work together. However, Krysta has “moved on” with her life and is engaged to be married, but the feelings are not the same for that man. Krysta is also getting over a trauma where her fiance is not the most supportive person. As the story progresses, both Krysta and Kasper realize that their feelings have never really changes and Kasper is now ready to make her officially his. That may take some work since she “hates” him so much, but slowly she starts to let him in. Can they get back what they had lost? Will Krysta’s brother be okay with that? Can you come back from such heartache?
There is a lot that happens in this story, I just didn’t want to give too much away. However, I really enjoyed the story, the banter, the characters. Krysta is a sassy, smart, independent woman just trying to figure things out. Kasper is a badboy-type playboy, but it really is a cover-up for the love he never lost for Krysta. Now that he is growing up, a little, he wants her back. He is loveable, jealous type, but also goes after what he wants. He teases her a lot which was intriguing and sexy. The chemistry both have coming off the page was great. While I have never read anything else from this author, I will most likely be going back and reading the first 2 books!

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Bees in Loretta’s Bonnet (Loretta’s Insects) by Lois Wickstrom – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Bees in Loretta's BonnetBees in Loretta’s Bonnet by Lois J. Wickstrom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bees in Loretta’s Bonnet is an okay children’s book. In the story, Loretta loses her bonnet, while looking for wood for the fireplace. When she was preparing the wood, she found a strange brown tube. Her mother explains that it was made by the bees, it was their nest where the mom lays her eggs. Loretta returned the nest outside so the bees would be able to hatch and find flowers. She found a lot of clues that the bees had hatched and were flying about. She wanted to find them so she went walking in the woods and she finds that bees have actually made a nest in her lost bonnet. She wanted her bonnet back but realized she shouldn’t mess with the bees and allowed them to keep it. When she got home. Her dad suggests they made a home for the bees in the yard and Loretta was happy because she wanted more bees.
The book was cute if you like bees. I am not a bee person but I do love how the author teaches the reader about the different lives the insects may live – this one just happens to be about bees. I do also like that the author put in instructions for kids to make their own bee hives for their backyards. The best thing this author does is teach and make it a hands-on experience. However, I always feel there are pieces of the story missing when I read this author’s work.

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My Pearl Heart by J.N. Sheats – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

My Pearl HeartMy Pearl Heart by J.N. Sheats
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My Pearl Heart is a story about a woman named Jasmine Hayes. She is a witty, beautiful, smart business owner of Divine Events. She comes from a socialite family and after her parents died, she went into business with her best friend, Cadence. Cadence is an unreliable, money-hungry, selfish business partner. The first chapter actually starts with Jasmine making out with a stranger in Cadence’s kitchen. She quickly comes to find out this stranger is James Conner, an old client’s arrogant son and Cadence’s new fiance. Needless to say, Jasmine is shocked to find out this news, and even more when hears that Cadence wants her to plan her wedding. Jasmine is professional, but how is she going to get through this when she has never had a feeling like the one James gave her? Throughout the story, James is super flirty and comes clean that he wants her and the marriage is just a “scam” to help each other’s needs. She also wants him but they just can’t for so many reasons. However, will they find a way to make it work, will it be worth it, and will Jasmine allow Cadence to continue treating the business and people around her like crap?
I really enjoyed this book. I think it was a storyline different than the normal enemies-to-lovers/friends-to-lovers mentality. Cadence was that annoying, thinks she is better than everyone character that you just want to punch her in the face. However, Jasmine and James were great characters. Jasmine is a confident, established, smart woman who is also very down to earth. James is a pain in the ass, but no bullshit type of man. He has always made his feelings pretty known to Jasmine and really continues to fight for what he wants. The banter, the description of how he looks at her, etc were all really sexy. The building of a love story was a good one!

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Underboss’s Retaliation (Sicilian Gods Book 2) by Via Mari – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Underboss's Retaliation (Sicilian Gods Book 2)Underboss’s Retaliation by Via Mari
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Underboss’s Retaliation is a dark mafia romance about enemy families. Dominic is the new underboss of the Larussio family. The Larussio family is trying to retaliate against the De Rosa family ever since they attacked and killed a handful of people from their family at a wedding. While Dominic is getting his revenge on the De Rosa’s, they capture the boss’s daughter. Emelia De Rosa is an educated female, but very much hidden from the work of her father’s life. She was taught how to somewhat protect herself, but not enough. She is feisty, and Dominic is highly attracted to that. While she tries to escape, she realizes that she is highly attracted to Dominic as well. The two of them know that this match can not happen, but can they resist each other? What does this mean for Emelia – she is the prisoner and the enemy’s daughter?
I enjoyed this book very much. I love a good dark mafia romance, enemies-to-lovers trope. I thought the story was quickly moving which kept my interest. The main characters were also loveable, even Dominic. Dominic is demanding, strong, and a little possessive, but also has respect for women. He shows a lot of honesty in her presence when he can. This mafia family takes care of their own which allows Emelia to feel pretty safe, even when she shouldn’t. Emelia is a great character. She is feisty, smart, and witty, but also very understanding. She also shows how much family means to her and that she too is willing to protect family, if they are deserving of it. This is the second of the series that I have read and probably will continue to follow the story.

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Married Blind (King of Screen Book 2) by Morgana Bevan – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Married Blind (Kings of Screen, #2)Married Blind by Morgana Bevan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Married Blind: A Marriage of Convenience was a great romance book. Finn is one of the “Kings of Screen”, in Hollywood, with a bad boy reputation. He had a relationship that destroyed his image and continued to make poor decisions. His agent thought it would be best to marry a stranger on the show “Married Blind” to improve his image, but he would not be marrying another celebrity. Abi is a woman living in New York taking care of her sister who is in remission from cancer. They need help paying off their medical bills and this show is willing to pay her to marry a celebrity. Both go into the marriage thinking it is a stunt to improve both of their lives, but when both are highly attracted to each other that task becomes difficult. After their honeymoon, they both decide to give it a real try. However, will Abi’s responsibilities lead her away from love, and/or will Finn’s history get in the way of trusting a relationship can work?
I just adored the characters in this book, and they had great banter. The spicy scenes were pretty good too. Finn just screamed Hollywood hotty to me! He was portrayed as a playboy, but someone who didn’t want to be. He was honest, but brutal at times. However, when he let his guard down, you could not help but fall in love with him. He loves hard and honestly, but can’t let his past go. Abi is adorable. From the beginning, she is sassy and strong but also caring. However, like Finn, she also can overthink, which leads to miscommunication. I would say that young people should read more books where miscommunication is the main issue – things can be solved so easily if someone just speaks lol!

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Ladybugs for Loretta (Loretta’s Insects) by Lois Wickstrom – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Ladybugs for Loretta (Loretta's Insects)Ladybugs for Loretta by Lois Wickstrom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read a couple books by this author and I think this is my favorite so far. This children’s story is actually semi-”normal” for this author and provides children with a lot of information. Loretta is a little girl who loves to be mischievous, who one day stumbles upon a group of ladybugs all huddled together. She decided to bring them home where she learns that ladybugs stay in one spot and don’t eat while it is cold. So, Loretta decides to store them in her refrigerator to keep them to help her garden grow in the spring. However, everyday she was bringing more and more ladybugs home and the fridge had no more room left. Finally, though, spring came and it was time for the ladybugs to do their job in the garden. That summer they had the best crops their garden had ever seen, but when winter came, once again they would go under a rock till the next spring.
I actually learned something reading this book. I always knew that ladybugs were great for the garden. I went to a college that lived near a farm and each spring we would be bombarded with ladybugs in our dorm rooms because they used the ladybugs to keep all their plants healthy. However, I did not know about their habits in the winter. I found it strange and intriguing that Loretta kept the ladybugs in the fridge and they would be just fine once it was warm again. I love when I can read something that would teach my children and me something new and useful!!

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Where Do Pirates Go on Vacation? by Kim Ann – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Where Do Pirates Go on Vacation? : Fun pirate story that encourages imaginative and creative thinking. Ages 3 to 8, preschool to 2nd grade.Where Do Pirates Go on Vacation? : Fun pirate story that encourages imaginative and creative thinking. Ages 3 to 8, preschool to 2nd grade. by Kim Ann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a cute children’s book “Where Do Pirates Go on Vacation?” is!! Because pirates are always sailing on adventures, the kids in the book wondered if pirates ever go on vacation. Do they relax, go camping, play games, dance, ever leave their ships? The message the book sends to kids is that they probably never need a vacation because everything they love is always with them. This was a cute book. It had a great message, diverse characters, great illustrations, and I loved the double layout of the book.

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Love Tools (Bluestone Series Book 1) by Isobel Reed – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Love Tools (Bluestone Series, #1)Love Tools by Isobel Reed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love Tools is a romance story about a lost girl, Lily,  from London who tries to rediscover herself in Bluestone County, USA. Lily’s estranged father left her his hardware store to run. Lily wasn’t happy in London lately so the change came at a good time. As she is trying to adjust to her new life in a small town, she runs into a gorgeous, cocky cowboy named Jake. There is an instant banter that stirs, but there is no denying the attraction they have for each other. They are forced to become closer when she befriends his sister. However, Jake has a reputation of a playboy who can’t commit so is warned to stay away. Due to her never running a business, she runs into a little bit of trouble and Jale offers to help. This is the start of a brewing romance. However, can the two of them figure out their own baggage to appreciate the connection they have found?

I enjoyed this romance novel. Both characters were very loveable. They had great banter and chemistry. She was portrayed as a strong independent woman trying to find her way, while Jake was the cowboy gentleman with an edge. The build of the romance seemed natural, not rushed, and really developed on the page. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

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Defying Ella: A Close Proximity Rock Star Romance (True Platinum Series) by Morgana Bevan – Reviewed by Dr. Anya Schultz

Defying Ella (True Platinum #4)Defying Ella by Morgana Bevan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love a good enemy to lovers romance? Ella is a free spirit who had a weeklong romance with Jared, a rock star. At the time Ella did not know who this man was, but after he left her with a semi-broken heart, he showed up at her sister’s apartment because, SURPRISE, he is a bandmate to her brother-in-law. This was not going to be a good time for Ella since she had already agreed to be her niece’s nanny while they were on tour. While on tour, Jared made life a living hell for Ella. She never understood why he was always so angry with her and trying to put her down. The tour was finally over and she and the girls were doing a two-week vacation in the Alps, in Italy. Ella went ahead of all the girls for some relaxation, especially from Jared, but guess who shows up? Now, these two enemies have to share a space together, and they are snowed in. Will they end up killing each other? Will they re-spark “unfinished” business? Will they each learn the truth behind what the past was all about?
I always enjoy a good enemy-to-lovers story. Ella was a firecracker character who is sweet, but a little lost. Jared is an overbearing drummer who doesn’t know when to take his head out of his ass. However, he becomes a character that you could start to love once he settles down and learns to communicate. He has a sweet side, and Ella constantly falls for it.

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Degrees of Innocence: Dark Mafia Romance (Cruel Deceptions Book 1) By Via Mari – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Degrees of Innocence (Prestian Series, #1)Degrees of Innocence by Via Mari
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, it is unlike a dark mafia romance that I have read in the past. This story is about a woman named Katrina who is in Aruba for a week-long “business meeting” she is running. She is helping a big wig corporation change the face of hospitals. Her story starts when she is physically saving the life of another customer staying in the hotel. A gentleman, Chase, comes to assist her; we later find out this man owns the hotel and is the enterprise in charge of Katrina’s project. These two have instant chemistry, but she is shocked to find out that he is her present boss. Because of past experiences, she is completely against this, but for some reason just cannot do without him. During her stay, she starts to spend a lot of physical time with Chase and the two produce a bond that neither has experienced before. This bond is strengthened when she is attacked, twice. Katrina learns quickly what it is like to be in a relationship with a wealthy, possessive man.
The story itself has many twists and turns. Many times you never see them coming. This is considered a mafia romance, but for much of the book, you would have no idea that that is the genre. The concept of Chase having ties to the underworld of society is not a storyline for much of the book. Do her past history, his secrets and over-possessiveness build a recipe for disaster? Even though there is a lot happening in the book, it was enjoyable. There is much spice, with a side of erotica. The characters are enjoyable to see grow together. Katrina is a woman figuring out what she sexually likes, while Chase is awakening her senses. The two have great flirtatious ways and playful banter. I am interested to find out what will occur in the rest of the series.

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Practically Pagan – An Alternative Guide to Magical Living by Maria DeBlassie – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Practically Pagan - An Alternative Guide to Magical LivingPractically Pagan – An Alternative Guide to Magical Living by Maria DeBlassie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, this book was just what I needed! “Practically Pagan – An Alternative Guide to Magical Living is an inspirational, self-help guide to opening up your own magic. I am formally of the Pagan faith, meaning I have not practiced in some time. However, lately a lot of my life has been leading me back to this way of thinking, believing, and living. I haven’t quite dived fully back in, but as I was pondering my next moves in life, this was the book I happened to stumble upon. The author says, that there is no coincidence that I was reading this book and I believe her. Now, I have read many of these types of books, but this one seemed a little different. One, I like how she gave background and explained the perspective that she is coming from. She makes it clear the message, but also allows you space for your own pagan awakening. Two, I love an author who gets personal with you. She provides her story about how she rediscovers the magic in her life. Her story was very relatable as I was reading, but I also realized I have already made many of the changes she speaks of having to do to heal. She provides a guide of where to start, what to look for, and that it is hard work, not only to recognize and wake up the magic within us, but to maintain that magic. Last, but not least, she discusses very easy ways to rid “toxins” from your life, making a routine to allow yourself time to enjoy life, and most importantly the importance of self-care. I was happy after reading that I am on a “cleansing” path and I hope to continue to awaken the magic within myself, and find the enjoyable ways that life is supposed to present us.

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The Sneaky Kitten (Invisible Magic Wand Book 4) by Lois Wickstrom – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

The Sneaky Kitten: Invisible Magic Wand Book FourThe Sneaky Kitten: Invisible Magic Wand Book Four by Lois Wickstrom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Sneaky Kitten is a charming, imaginative book. This author has a great imagination and it comes through on the pages. In “The Sneaky Kitten” Caspian and his Grandfather follow a frisbee that seems to belong to no one. When the frisbee gets stuck in a tree, Caspian remembers one of his Unbirthday gifts, hot cocoa socks. The hot cocoa socks let Caspian fly, so he uses them to try and retrieve the frisbee, but is surprised to find a kitten in the tree too. Caspian thought the kitten needed saving so he got him out of the tree. However, throughout the whole story, the silly kitten gets himself into many different predicaments. In the end, the kitten finds his way back to the frisbee which seems to be the kitten’s UFO transportation!! As usual, Caspian’s journey will lead kids on an imaginative adventure! The author always produces a story that can get kids thinking outside of the box, even if as an adult I feel the storylines are a little weird.

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If I Had a Magic Wand by Melissa Lavi – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

If I had a Magic WandIf I had a Magic Wand by Melissa Lavi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a cute, uplifting kids book. It definitely wasn’t just a book for kids, as a mom I find it very endearing. Moms (and Dads) are hard-working, love unconditionally, and only want the very best for their children. However, as parents we learn quickly that we are not perfect, we can’t fix everything, and our children will hurt, cry, etc. Oohh, but we all wish we had a magic wand to make sure our little ones never have to deal with the struggles of life! If we did, we would use it all the time. This story reminded me that we are not perfect, but that we strive for that perfection for our children. In addition, from the child’s point of view, the story also lets them in on the secret that while we may not always succeed in the perfection journey, we do try very hard!!

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Master Catteneo (Masters of the Consulate Book 5) by Sylvia Black – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Master CatteneoMaster Catteneo by Sylvia Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Master Catteneo was another great vampire romance by this author. I believe I had read most of this series and I just love it. This story starts with Overmaster Descalia (head of the vampires) mate being kidnapped by her sister who is trying to take over the underworld and overthrow the vampires. If you have read any of these stories, you know that the vampire men love their mates something fierce. Master Catteneo is also a head of a vampire territory and is helping to find his leader’s mate. He decides that he is going to get help from a respected “seer” in his territory. What he didn’t expect was the woman’s granddaughter, Alessia. Master Catteneo is not worried about the stories he has heard about the granddaughter because he is known as the life bachelor of vampire masters. Alessia also has many of the “seer” abilities and while trying to help the vampires find the mate, she realizes she has a mental connection to Catteneo. This connection could be the direct line they need to fine Overmaster’s mate. Can they learn to trust each other, trust the love and connection that is developing, and see past the fact that she is human?
I enjoyed this story. I won’t say it is my favorite in the series, but it still had loveable characters and a strong female presence. I liked that one of the characters was human, Alessia was sassy, smart, and assertive. I feel the connection between the two was good but super fast and unrealistic in nature. There was no process of thought before they were getting together physically – even after all this talk about trying to understand what the connection was, etc. I also think is it one of the more sexually tame editions in the series. They also kind of leave it as a cliff hanger. Granted, the story of Alessia and Catteneo did finish, but when I read the last page and turned, I expected more and it just ended. Now, I know I will end up reading the others, but I never felt the other stories ended in this way.

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Devlin by Angela K. Parker – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

DevlinDevlin by Angela K. Parker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Devlin: A Forbidden Office Romance was a great enemy to lovers read. Eve and Devlin are coworkers at a toy company. Eve is an independent, hard-working woman who will not let herself be wooed by Devlin’s charm. Devlin has always been attracted to Eve but understood not to mess business with pleasure. That was until he heard she broke up with her long-term boyfriend and saw his chance. Eve is not having that since Devlin is known as the bachelor with no hopes for anything but a physical relationship. What the two of them don’t realize is that the sexual chemistry just couldn’t be denied. Devlin starts to realize he can no longer deny his feelings and can’t believe that Eve made her way into his heart. There is a problem however, Devlin has kept a pretty big secret that could destroy everything, along with the fact that he is going to also be her boss. Can they keep their relationship a “dirty little secret” to save their jobs and their hearts?
I always enjoy a good enemy-to-lovers story. Both characters were very enjoyable and engaged in a no-bullshit type of way. The banter and progression of their story were romantic, realistic, and sexy. I thought Eve portrayed a character that was relatable and confident. She didn’t let Devlin in without him knowing what she wanted and didn’t. Devlin also had a way of “handling” her, he was portrayed as a confident, but not narcissistic man which came across the page as very sexy. The ending left me feeling meh. I love that it progressed to where it did, however, I feel we went from one feeling to something way beyond that. I liked that there was an epilogue but I almost wished I found out a little more about where they go.

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A Christmas to Remember by 5 Prince Publishing – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

A Christmas to Remember: An Anthology from 5 Prince PublishingA Christmas to Remember: An Anthology from 5 Prince Publishing by Bernadette Marie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Christmas to Remember is a Hallmark lover’s dream read. This is a compilation of 5, short, charming stories. Each story reminded me of a sweet, Hallmark romance read. Every story was good. I enjoyed all the characters. I enjoyed the plots of most of the books. My favorite is between “Mistletoe Memories” and “Falling for Christmas”. “Mistletoe Memories” is a story about an ex-couple who are competitors in the baking world. There are ups, downs, competition, and devotions of love. “Falling for Christmas” is about a city boy, Gabe, coming into a small town. Gabe is taking over the bank and all the loans from the small business town. The town is not happy about the changes being made, but he is a man willing to learn. Like many books about small towns, he falls in love with one of the locals and truly learns about the miracle of Christmas. The one book that I really enjoyed but was left wanting more was “Copper Penny Christmas”. This particular book is about a girl who follows her boyfriend across the country so he can go to school to be a lawyer. She is a vet tech, with dreams of becoming a veterinarian. She finds out her boyfriend isn’t as faithful as she thought. I love the fact that she stood her ground in this relationship. However, towards the end of the book, she starts to recognize what could be a great friendship or more with a man whose dog is a patient. There is some sadness to the story, but the male interest seems like such an amazing man. The story ended with the implication of a possible romance, but nothing more. I really was left wanting to know how the romance would have bloomed. However, no matter, I am a sucker for Christmas, feel-good stories so I enjoyed every bit of this read.

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Breathe Underwater by Anise Storm & Taylor L. Ray – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Breathe UnderwaterBreathe Underwater by Anise Storm
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Breathe Underwater is a mafia romance. At the beginning of this story, you learn about a mismatched companionship between Evelyn and Damian. Evelyn is tutoring Damian and the two build a young kinship of “romance” but it is quickly put out due to Evelyn’s controlling father. Her father convinces Damian to leave and never look back. Unfortunately due to the father’s weight within Texas, he is left with no choice. However, each one is left a little brokenhearted, not really understanding what has taken place. 13 years later, Evelyn is a professor and living an independent life, and Damian is moving back to Texas, the state that haunts his past. Damian is coming back, but as a different person with a new last name because he is working undercover as a mafia son. When the two of them finally meet again after so long, there is a lot of misunderstanding and confusion. Evelyn wants answers to why she was left so brokenhearted. She follows him to Italy, while he is there on business. She begins to learn that he is not the same person she once knew, but she still has a connection to him that she can’t let go of. They both know that this relationship can’t be more because of the position Damian is in. They are connecting in a web of so many lies, but can’t seem to resist the pull to each other. Can they find a way to have what they want without anyone getting hurt, or worse killed?

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Euphoric Wonderland by Ryan M. Becker – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Euphoric Wonderland: An Eclectic Collection of Psychedelic Poetry to Stimulate the Senses and Open the MindEuphoric Wonderland: An Eclectic Collection of Psychedelic Poetry to Stimulate the Senses and Open the Mind by Ryan M. Becker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Euphoric Wonderland is a collection of the author’s poetry. The poetry represents many different experiences of his life brought about in a moment of understanding while listening to the Beatles. He states that not that long ago, he discovered the music of the Beatles, on vinyl, and his life was changed. I am not sure how to describe what I just read if I am being honest. There were times that I didn’t really understand what he was trying to say and felt I was reading something similar to a Dr. Seuss book. However, there were also many poems that were very relatable to things today (p.s. You may need a dictionary, a lot of extensive vocabulary is used). That is what I enjoyed the most, his poetry used phrasing, words, lyrics, etc. that were recognizable by today’s society. I also enjoyed the aestetics of the book, the art matched much of what was being portrayed so helped, at times, with understanding. Overall, I feel poetry is a little bit of a lost art and for that alone, I enjoyed the process of reading this collection.

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Boss’s Vendetta (Sicilian Gods Book 1) by Via Mari – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Boss's Vendetta: Dark Mafia Romance (Sicilian Gods Book 1)Boss’s Vendetta: Dark Mafia Romance by Via Mari
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Boss’s Vendetta is a dark, mafia, romance. Dr. Adrianna Palento sought out a job with the Larussio mob family, in Las Vegas. She secretly is looking for her father’s killer and believes it was someone in the Larussio family, even though she has never known her father. What she didn’t expect was Salvatore Larussio. Salvatore is the next in line to become don of the family and is also instantly taken by the new doctor. However, in the family, not just anyone is allowed to infiltrate their walls, so Salvatore trys to ignore the feeling. Whether or not Adrianna “hates” Salvatore and what he stands for, she refuses to let any one person suffer when hurt. The family is attacked during a wedding and many had to go into hiding, including the doctor. While “trapped” underground, Salvatore and Adrianna have a little bit of time to explore this attraction. However, what will happen when he finds out Adrianna’s secrets? Can he find a way to keep her safe from his own family?
Mafia romance is one of my favorite genres. I thought this particular mafia romance was a little different then the ones that I have recently read. I guess I feel that way because it seems more realistic then most. I enjoyed the mystery of the characters and the development of the romance between Salvatore and Adrianna. As characters go, Salvatore was your typical dark, semi-souless mafia boss. But I did enjoy that he was honest with her throughout the book about his darkness and what would happen to her if certain things took place. Adrianna, she was an amazing character. I thought she was realistic, smart, cunning, honest, and I really loved how she never showed fear to Salvatore. She always stood her ground even in the face of evil which made me love her even more. Adrianna was also brave as hell ever step of the way and in every decision she made!

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Master Romano (Masters of the Consulate Book 4) by Sylvia Black – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Master RomanoMaster Romano by Sylvia Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Master Romano: Dark Vampire Romance is a vampire romance – the 4th book in the author’s series. Master Romano is a vampire who is the “leader” of vampires in the Romania area. He is said to be a “dark-souled beast”. He is under investigation by the head Master of Vampires because they have come to find out that a loyal confidant has gone rogue and they need to understand if Romano is behind it. Romano has stated that he is innocent in all of this, but will help find out what is going on because he is being set up. When arriving home, he encounters a witch named Raven, and witches and vampires have been long- time enemies. However, Raven (even though slightly scared due to the legends of the vampires) and Romano (even though states to not trust witches) feels something different, an energy, a connection that neither understands. However, not growing up in the witch world, Raven tends to be creative, defiant, and curiosity always gets the better of her. Their first meeting is very short since Raven transports herself out of danger, however they meet again at a local bar that both tend to be patroning. The “come get me eyes” are being projected by both of them, but are cut off when her aunt and sister enter the bar to take her back to their haven. In the midst of this event, other vampire and vampire confidants come in and grab the 3 witches. Romano has a bad feeling about this and ends up saving Raven even though it went against his better judgment. This encounter starts an alliance between the two and a budding romance. Can the two of them work together well enough, trust each other enough, to save her family and his reputation in the vampire world?
I have read the entire series thus far and I love this vampire romance. Romano was a great character. Even though he is stated to be an evil beast, I found him to be burly, but with a sweet, loving, and understanding side to him, as well. He is portrayed as a leader, smart, cunning, protective, but also cautious, at the same time. Raven was also a great compliment to his burliness. She is spunky, smart, witty, playful, and comically could stand up to Romano. I loved their dynamic when it came to the romantic part of their relationship. I am not a “let it build up” type of book lover, so when they just let all their feelings out almost upfront at the beginning, I was there for that. This was a quick read, action filled, a twisty plot, with great characters. I am excited for the last book in the series to come out!

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A Love Restrained by Becky Flade – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

A Love RestrainedA Love Restrained by Becky Flade
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Love Restrained is a contemporary, suspense romance about two people who had a short highschool history together, but find each other again years later. Kylee Parker is a Philadelphia police officer who loves her job. While observing the streets, she sees a drug deal go down and chases down the dealer. While she is trying to arrest him, she recognizes that voice, Jayson Donovan, the boy who broke her heart in highschool. Jayson is quite excited to be getting arrested by her, because what she doesn’t know is that he had always had a thing for her and the fact that her heart was broken was a lot of misunderstandings. Jayson was abused and had a rough home life, but he did have a savior! After being arrested by Kylee, Donovan sees this as his chance to make amends and go after what he has always wanted, so he sends her different plants and flowers, with a note asking her to dinner. Kylee is cautious but can’t seem to eventually keep saying no. That original yes turns into the two of them dating and falling for each other. However, Donovan’s past is sad, complicated, and his present seems to go against all of her morals. Can all of his past and the secrets of his present continue in their relationship or will it eventually ruin this beautiful love story?
I really enjoyed this story. As a person who works in the field of psychology, it was great to see just how much love, even from strangers, can change the course of someone’s life within this story. I thought the flow of the story made you feel like you were walking through their life. While on this “walk”, you could feel all the things they were going through, the ups, the downs, the love, the secrets, etc. However, at no point in time did I ever not like one of the main characters, even through the hardship. Just the way the information was presented you felt like something was going on you couldn’t put your finger on, but knew it would work out in the end (I am not really sure why, it has been a while since I felt that in a book). You truly feel for each of these characters at all the twists and turns that the story takes you on. I was actually pretty surprised, in some sense, about how the story turned out.

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Battling Beckett by T. Christensen – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Battling Beckett: A Contemporary Step Brother RomanceBattling Beckett: A Contemporary Step Brother Romance by T. Christensen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Battling Beckett is a sports, enemy to lovers, taboo stepbrother romance. Greer Smith and her mother just move in with her soon to be stepfather and stepbrother. The problem with the merger is that Greer and her mother have always worked for everything that they have, and now they are living with people who are millionaires. Beckett is the most popular kid, at a private school, and the quarterback of the football team. Beckett is not happy about these women coming into their home and lives. He was taught to never trust women, they all are after their money. Due to this thinking, he is mad that Greer is there and now attending his expensive private school. At the beginning he tried to deny they knew each other and was rude and mean to her all the time. Throughout the story, Beckett tries many different things to get Greer to show her “true self”. Greer, while not happy about her situation, doesn’t want to get him in trouble in any way, and kind of starts to crush on him. Slowly, the two get close and that starts to bring a lot of attention to Greer, which she hates. One night she gets hurt and that is when Beckett starts to change his tune. Greer doesn’t try to change Beckett on purpose, but there is something about her that Beckett can’t seem to stay away from.

I really enjoyed this book. I am a sucker for taboo topics and enemy to lovers tropes. Greer was always an independent woman, but she turns into a woman who also starts to come out of her shell and stand up for herself, even through all the mixed signals and hurt. I loved watching her character development. I too loved Beckett, even though he was an ass at the beginning. Like Greer, you couldn’t blame him for his way of thinking, due to the past. Also, while he was an ass, you also saw, from the beginning, that he did care, even though he didn’t want to. His growth and love was evident as he started to care more and more for her, which I loved. The sexual tension between the two was also amazing. I felt like I was always waiting for it to happen, and when it did, it was slow but good. (Try to overlook the bad editing because the story is good)

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Remember to Forget Me (Too Lost to Love Book 1) by Hazel Storm Review By Dr. Anya Schultz

Remember to Forget Me (Too Lost To Love, #1)Remember to Forget Me by Hazel Storm
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Remember to Forget Me is a contemporary romance about a forgotten love story between a genius and a musician. 10 years prior, Wesley, the musician, is a teenager who falls in love with a poet. Together they write beautiful music, however, one day that all changed when Wesley was left for dead from a bully. He almost dies and loses 6 months worth of memory. With this memory loss, he forgets about the girl he loves, Addison. Addison, however, over the 10 years, has never fallen out of love with Wesley, but was told by his mother to never see him again. She followed his career and even moved to LA to be near him. Addison feels responsible for Wesley almost losing his life. However, one day they are face to face again. Wesley feels a pull towards her and doesn’t understand why. However, Addison knows it will never last because she is scared to tell him the truth. What happens when a relationship that was amazing, rekindles, but under false pretenses?

I really enjoyed this story. The story unfolded little by little which made you just want to keep on reading. I also really loved the characters. Wesley was sweet, caring, and down to earth for a person who is famous. Addison, I felt for her but also thought she was impulsive too, in a way. You felt the love she had for him, but can’t believe someone would do everything she did when she believed there was no future – a little crazy. However, I enjoyed watching them develop and have intimate moments! I like that this love story had a different plot than many others I have read.

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Ashes of Sin and Stardust (AnchorX) by Lindsay Murray – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Ashes of Sin and StardustAshes of Sin and Stardust by Lindsay Murray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reuben is a sadist dom who has been having visions of his one true submissive for almost 25 years. Even from a young age, Reuben was completely elated by causing others pain. However, over the last handful of years, Reuben had taken a step back from “playing” with submissives or slaves after losing his last partner. That was until the girl from his visions finally showed up in his life, however, he hates “brats” and that is exactly what Alice is. So you can only imagine their first couple of meetings were completely crazy because he couldn’t believe this was the girl he had been dreaming about. Alice, however, has also been in the kink community for many years as a masochist submissive. Alice is also diagnosed with many mental health disorders, her most challenging being borderline personality disorder. However, she also had a terrible upbringing, and abusive “doms”. Due to her history she has sworn off doms and only wants a dynamic but no relationships. The two of them try their hand at a dynamic and quickly realize this is more than both of them bargained for, but when feelings get involved it is hard to walk away. This story is about this dynamic and the push and pull that both of their messed up ways bring to the table. Can they find the balance in each one of them to accept each other for who they are, and learn to embrace the scary?

There is a lot to say about his book. One, it is long as hell so be prepared. I normally can read a book in a couple of days, but this took me over a week. Two, READ THE TRIGGER WARNINGS – there is a ton of abuse and sadistic/masochistic BDSM play – mental health struggles, etc. Three, be prepared for your emotions to feel exhausted. I am sure most can read this for what it is so I may be exaggerating, but as a former counselor, those with borderline disorders can be very challenging. I tend to be pulled in many directions emotionally which may have just been a PTSD thing for me. Either way, you will probably feel exhausted as you read the mood swings that Alice encountered multiple times a day. With all that being said, however, it was a crazy, exhausting, beautiful story. The author captures this part of the BDSM community very well (makes me think she ventures down that avenue) and is very educated in the information. I also believe that the author gives amazing descriptions about Alice and how she is feeling and hits borderline personality right on the head. While each character had many flaws, on purpose, there was a part of me that just couldn’t help but love them. As I mentioned before I was mentally drained by these characters, but I didn’t consider it necessarily a bad thing. I think that if people are dealing with borderline and don’t know how to comprehend it, this may give them words to express their emotions. I think this is going to be a book that people either love or don’t. While I do not take full part in the kink community, I do enjoy different kinks so reading this was not that big of a problem for me – but I did learn that pain is not a way to my orgasm – lol.

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Blood Sector (V-Clan Book 1) by Lexi C. Foss – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Blood Sector (V-Clan #1)Blood Sector by Lexi C. Foss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blood Sector is about an Omega wolf, Quinnlynn, who is seeking out her parent’s killers (the king and queen). Now that she is the sole heir to the throne, all the Alpha princes want her hand in marriage. When you mate in the wolf community, the shared experience opens up your secrets to your mates. Quinnlynn was worried that one of these Alphas only wanted her secrets that she wasn’t ready to share. In order to safeguard her secret, she asked an Alpha to marry her that wasn’t already trying for her hand, Alpha Kieran. After some convincing, he accepted her proposal. While they did not mate fully, he shared his blood with her which also provided her with whatever powers Kieran possessed. She used these powers to not only evade him, for 100 years, but to also help other Omegas around the world. After 100 years of chasing her, Kieran finally caught up with Quinnlynn and they started the process of courtship. The relationship was strained for a long period because both of them have issues with trust. However, they continued to prove to each other that they were meant to be, and by uniting they could work together to aid in her secrets. What are these secrets? Can Kieran be trusted with the secret? Will their courtship sustain and hold real value to rule their sector?
I love a great shifter book, and this one was pretty good. The story line itself I thought was interesting. At the beginning there was some confusion because you were still trying to understand the dynamics, but eventually things fell into place. I won’t lie though, I really hoped that the secret she was keeping was going to be a little more dramatic. Maybe the author didn’t explain the reasoning of why the secret was so important; you know the players involved are important but I don’t think the author ever fully gave a reason why this “place” was necessary. What I think made the story enjoyable was the characters. The dynamic between Quinn and Kieran was beautiful, entangled, chaos. Quinn got on my nerves at times because she just couldn’t get out of her own way. However, Kieran was a wonderful character. You could feel his Alpha male status, but at the same time he was caring, thoughtful, and truly wanting to be a helpful partner to her. He also had an arrogance that was really intriguing, but it showed you that he is willing to bend but don’t forget that he is the Alpha male type of vibe. I think their growth as a couple really made the story. I will read book 2 when it comes out, but I am mad that I have to wait till next year to do so.

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Dragonslayer Dragon Heart (Dragon Heart Book 1) Audiobook by Isobelle Cate – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

This book is based in Greek Mythology, the story of dragons and their slayers. The story is that the dragonslayer will not be a complete person until they slay their dragons. By slaying one’s dragon, they release their soul into themselves in order to live their complete, fulfilled life. One night, dragonslayer Apollo, aka Saxton, meets a woman named Orelle, in a club. Her dancing and scent intoxicates him and he is immediately attracted and doesn’t understand why. Orelle, is a dragon disguised in her human form. The two of them have a mutual attraction, but Orelle is not supposed to be out amongst the crowds. However, the two of them keep finding each other and finally give in to their whims of sexual attraction. Each of them, though, are keeping many secrets. How long can these secrets stay hidden? Will they figure out why the attraction is there, and if they do, what does that mean since they are mortal enemies?

Overall, I thought this book was okay. I like the idea of the story and the Greek Mythology behind it. I thought that the characters were interesting. Orelle, I liked her ambition and straight-forward aspects. With Saxton, he was extremely straight-forward which I don’t normally have issues with, but I found it unattractive in this character. I think a lot of that comes from the wording that the author uses. There were times where I just thought the wording was cringy, and I like dirty talk, etc. He did grow on me toward the end of the story, however. I also didn’t really like the narrator of the audiobook, he sounded Scottish. This could be a big reason why I thought that the book was just okay. The accent was pretty thick so I, at times, lost interest in the story.

Rivals (Mafia Elite Book 7) by Amy McKinley – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Rivals (Mafia Elite, #7)Rivals by Amy McKinley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well I feel like a broken record, lol. I have said the same about the last 6 books in this series, I loved it. This is my favorite mafia romance series I have read. In Rivals, this is about Mia, one of the New York mob boss’ daughter. Mia grew up sheltered by her father, Joey, and abused by her step-brother Ricco. Her family is not a respected mafia family and she also come to learn about her family’s hand in a sex traffiking ring. Mia wants out and her freedom but her only way to do that is to escape. Mia needs to escape and find Nico La Rosa for protection through marrying him. Since they are technically not allies, Nico has a hard time trusting her when she shows up demanding this marriage. However, the benefits seem to outweigh the red flags. The two of them, after marriage, work to take down her old family. During this process, the two of them find out that they actually have come to care for each other, which completely surprises Nico since he never thought he would marry. Are the two of them able to take down the New York family and find the love Mia never thought she would have?
I have already said it, I loved this book in the series. Once again, the author always knows how to blend love, loyalty, protection, and strong characters into an amazing romance story. Mia is great. While she may have been sheltered, she still grew up in the mafia life and could kick some major ass. She is extremely cunning and a strong character. Nico, just like the rest of the Chicago family mafia men, is amazing. He is a calm present, but deadly. Nico is also low key caring, protective, but also a lover who values honesty and freedom. He never takes that freedom away from Mia, even when he is not trusting her fully. The two of them did not have much banter because of their circumstances, but the author progressed their story so well, the love just shown through the whole story. If you have not read any of these mafia books yet, you are missing out.

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Key to His Heart by Kristina Beck – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Key To His HeartKey To His Heart by Kristina Beck
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a great love story the “Key To His Heart” was. This is a story about Katrina, “Kat”, who is pregnant and recently divorced. She felt she needed to start life over and moved to a small town in PA. While in her new town, she meets the man she has envisioned for eight years, TJ. TJ is a retired football player, turned chemistry teacher, with family all around town. They first meet in his parents’ store and feel a weird connection, but she leaves without looking further into it. His aunt rents a house out to Kat, but they don’t realize it until TJ stops by to work on the house and finds her in labor. This is the real start to their crazy love story and you will never guess all the little twists, turns, and fate that make it all possible.
I really enjoyed this romantic love story. It reminded me of a good ole fashion Hallmark romance that had good plot, love, and a happy ending. I think the most enjoyable aspect was the characters, all of them from Kat to TJ, but also all of TJ’s family members. While I don’t normally enjoy stories when a pregnancy is involved, I think the personality of TJ made it more enjoyable. He was my favorite character by far. He is kind, masculine, thoughtful, sensitive, strong, educated, etc. TJ is everything I think a man should be and he handled all of the situations with such grace. This story really gave a positive spin on the single parent topic, showing that it isn’t hopeless, the right person always comes along, and that there are men who can take on responsibility, take and love children completely, and that a “stepparent” can be just as amazing!!

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Undeniable (Central Florida Stories Book 2) by Victoria Saccenti – Review by Dr. Anya Schultz

Undeniable (Central Florida Stories, #2)Undeniable by Victoria Saccenti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Undeniable is a BDSM themed romance between Arley and Kurt (some spoilers). Arley and Kurt grew up as neighbors, but he is five years older and her brother’s best friend, while growing up. After the death of her father, Arley’s brother started to change, becoming more secretive and abusive; Kurt was always there though to soften the blow. They decided after her brother beat her up for the last time, it was time for them to move back to their motherland, Puerto Rico. Next thing you know, fifteen years have gone by and everyone is living their own lives. However, while Arley is living in Tennessee, as a teacher, she is attacked and kidnapped to join a sex traffick ring. Luckily, she is rescued, but has to hide out, which she does in Florida with a childhood friend. Little did she know Kurt, the boy she loved but could never have, was back living in Florida. After all her trauma, she wanted to get back to some resemblance of normal and get a job as a bartender at a BDSM club. Kurt happens to be a part owner of this club and their journey begins. He continues to be her protector as a group of men are trying to find and claim her, but during this protection their attraction grows and he brings her little by little into his world.
While I enjoyed this book I was surprised that there was more plot than BDSM. I really did fall in love with these characters. Arley is a strong, intelligent, curious, submissive woman (and I say that in a positive way). She mentally gets through all the crazy that happens by leaning on others and being open to different possibilities. Kurt, made a great dom in this scenario. He is a retired Marine who is a true protector. He is open with his feelings, doesn’t deal with the bullshit, is patient, and shows his caring side often. Even though, as you read, you can tell and hear the dominance in his “voice”, he knows the boundaries that people are capable of. He made Arley feel safe, loved, protected, and sexy as hell. Their relationship was truly enjoyable to watch as it deepened.

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