Open Library-borrow books for free.

Did you know that there’s a free lending library online? OpenLibrary allows access to plenty of books with a free account. You may borrow up to 5 books at a time. It’s kind of a random little library. You won’t find a ton of the newest bestsellers, and some very popular authors are under represented (there are some but it isn’t the backbone of this collection). But what you may find are little hidden treasures of books that may be out of print and may never see release as an ebook. These are scanned copies, often of older books, so even if epub is available, you will want to request the pdf version. Adobe Digital Editions is required for downloading most books, but there is often a read in browser version too.

For the visually impaired, they also offer protected Daisy files. I am unsure how those work, but they are available.

It’s a free and legal alternative to pirating for the voracious reader on a budget, especially if that reader either doesn’t want to deal with their public library or their library doesn’t have a connection to OverDrive.

Murphy’s Child

Murphy’s Child
by Judith Duncan

This book kept popping up in the comments of blogs about “realism” in fiction. I was able to find it on OpenLibrary. Do yourself a favor though, if you do the Read Online thing, just don’t try it on a phone.

Murphy is shocked and shaken when the woman he loves, the one who left him, comes up to him on a job-site announcing she is pregnant with his child. They do manage to reach détente for the duration of the pregnancy, and even do a little better after the birth.

This book was published in 1999, but honestly the writing made it seem a bit older. The book is told completely from Murphy’s point of view so it is kind of an anomaly. Everything comes from his thoughts. Overall I kind of enjoyed this book. Neither Murphy nor Jordan were perfect or long suffering. They were just two frazzled new parents. The book dealt well with a colicky baby, the effects of sleeplessness, the hazards of nursing, and breast pumping. And there was a slow buildup of a relationship between the two main characters in between all that. But, as I said, they aren’t perfect. Jordan is too closed off and Murphy gives up too easy. But in the end we have our very happy ending, and excepting a few spots that seem to be obligatory romance convention, it is pretty realistic. No one got married because they discovered they were pregnant, the baby wasn’t perfect and neither were the parents, and neither was Murphy’s family. A fairly solid three stars. Probably best for people who want to step out of fantasy for a bit.


Cynthia Eden Phoenix Fire Series

With the second installment coming out I re-read the first book. These two stories (and likely the as yet unpublished 3rd) run fairly concurrently, as such, minor spoilers for each of the books may be revealed in each of the reviews.

Burn for Me

My initial rating was for 4 Stars, however the re-read netted only 3 Stars.

In a world where supernaturals are out of the closet, Eve Bradley is a reporter who has entered into a secretive government facility, under false credentials, where experiments are being run on supernaturals who are volunteering to help the U.S. military. Eve and others doubt the claims being made by the facility officials, and as one might expect, the “volunteers” are actually conscripts.

Cain O’Connor, subject thirteen, is one of the conscripts. He’s chained in a supernatural proof lab where he’s murdered regularly, and he comes back a little more insane each time.

For supporting cast you have a mysterious starving vampire and Trace, a mega rich genius wolf shifter. The vampire is sold to the facility and while there finds something he can’t live without, so even when he escapes he still has to go back. Trace gets involved with disastrous consequences because Eve is his friend. For a villain we have Dr. Richard Wyatt the megalomaniac sociopath with daddy issues.

This is an insta-mate trope though Cain is initially reluctant to form any sort of bond besides sex. They’re two lost people with tragic pasts fearful of getting close to one another.

What worked for me is that it’s fast paced and the character traits and the mystery is interesting. The first read sucked me in with a vengeance. What made me rate it down on the second read is that the main characters are just a bit too one note to be repeatedly enthralling. They were interesting, they made me smile or cringe or choke up in turn, but everything was right up front and there wasn’t anything new to learn or notice with repeat readings. It’s still a fun read, and it’s nothing that will bother the first time reader, but it’s not anything I’ll return to repeatedly.

Once Bitten, Twice Burned

3 Stars

Ryder Duncan has been held starving for months at the Genesis facility. Sabine Acadia doesn’t know what she is or why she has been held at the facility and thrown into a cage with a starving vampire. For obvious reasons this does not go well for Sabine, and while Ryder does try to do the right thing at the end, Dr. Wyatt of course wants more out of his sick experiments and so Ryder gets the surprise of his life. Being murdered by the hero is sadly not the worst way I’ve read for two main characters to meet, but this does rank right up there at the top.

Ryder and Sabine are thrown together and then separated and we get to learn a whole lot more about what drives Dr. Wyatt. Ryder and Sabine were bonded and while their love was central to the story, it made even less sense to me than Cain and Eve. I could see their attraction and how they would be interested in each other, but true love? Nope. Discounting that, Ryder and Sabine’s backgrounds were fascinating and the story itself is exciting and fast paced. It’s definitely a fun read and I can’t wait for Cassie and Dante’s story.

I just have one question though, what the hell has happened to Trace? I will be ridiculously disappointed if that story isn’t tied up.


Fighting Fair

Fighting Fair
by Anne Calhoun

Natalie Copeland is tired of fighting for a marriage that in her eyes doesn’t even exist anymore. Her husband basically ignores her and takes her for granted in favor of his business goals. She makes a last ditch effort to save her marriage with couple’s counseling, which her husband can’t even be bothered to show up on time to. Shane doesn’t really see the problem, as far as he is concerned Natalie knew what she was going into and the time it would take to meet his goals.

Frankly speaking, I did not care for this story. It is all about Shane’s wants and needs. When he meets a goal at work he looks around the celebratory party and realizes he has no clue where his wife is. When he tracks her down he finds her having a business dinner with another man and sparks fly. I’ll admit it is really well written, I empathized with Natalie and it was all too easy to get into her head at the start of the book. But it doesn’t get better after the start of the fight scene. Shane’s method of “winning” her back feels like it is STILL all about him and his wants and needs and nothing really about her. Some of my issue with this is likely due to the shorter format, there simply was not enough time for me to make the transition between anger and hurt to passion, which means there was a really spicy scene that normally I would have enjoyed but instead left me cold.

Since it was well written I will probably try another longer book to see how it pans out, but this probably isn’t a good intro as a new reader to Anne Calhoun’s works.

3.5 star review

Sin Brother’s Series

Sin Brother’s Series
by Rebecca Zanetti

“Romantic Suspense with a slight paranormal twist about a band of brothers who carry unnatural powers genetically engineered into them by a black ops military unit.”

I received an ARC of Blind Faith from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.
However, I found it difficult to drop into it without the background knowledge of the rest of the series. So here are my reviews of the series so far.
We meet four young boys; Matt, Nathan, Shane, and Jory, sneaking out at night to watch a sitcom about families. They are child soldiers and have no clue what a family or a mom is. Twenty years later we meet Josie who is going to the hospital to identify the husband, Shane, who disappeared on her two years ago. She has to identify him because he has amnesia.Two years ago they had a whirlwind romance and a quickie Vegas marriage, and then two months later he left without a word, breaking Josie’s heart. This time despite the flashbacks telling Shane he might not be a good man, and because of the absence of memories of why he held himself back previously, the two protagonists are finally getting to know each other in a meaningful way.
Shane is aggressive, protective, and terribly sexy and Josie is a spitfire accountant who looks like an “Angel” or a cream puff. There are plot twists and action galore but in the context of the world building they don’t seem ridiculous. And the hero and heroine are smoking hot together.
This book picks up right after Forgotten Sins and follows Matt. He’s searching for the surgeon that can give them answers and possibly save their lives. The trail leads to Charmed, Idaho where he meets Laney who tires to help him but promptly faints at the sight of his blood.
Matt is the oldest and has been the protector and defender of his brothers and despite his bossy and domineering ways he’s really kind of sweet. Laney owns a bar is also a caretaker in her own way and when what she does to take care of the people around her exposes the secrets she is hiding to Matt it opens up a whole new can of worms. There’s mystery, plot twists, betrayal, and redemption.

Nate is the second oldest brother and has been the bridge between the oldest brother and the two youngest brothers. Before the brothers’ escape from the military compound he was betrayed by Audrey, the only woman he’s ever loved. Audrey has her own secrets and a toxic relationship with her evil mother.

Unlike most books with the re-meet after betrayal trope, these characters actually communicate which is a nice change of pace. While they are still keeping secrets there seems to be a willingness to trust and forgive almost from the outset. And the plot actually revolved around the overall story arc of these brothers rather than the big misunderstanding and the past. This romantic suspense story is sexy and sweet.

These heroes are kind of like a cross between Christine Feehan’s Ghost Walker series and Lora Leigh’s Breeds series, but without the kink. The series and heroes are enthralling and addictive and really needs to be read in order. It’s also one of those series where the plot twists need to remain spoiler free. I’m completely on tenterhooks waiting for the next installment.


A Kiss of Red

A Kiss of Red
by Garrett Zephyr

A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

First of all, this story was way more interesting and clearly written than the blurb might suggest. Secondly, and probably the first thing people consider with indie books, is the spelling and grammar, which I am pleased to say was very good. The one notable issue is that the writing is extremely proper and grammatically correct, to the point of an almost complete lack of contractions even in the dialogue, however considering the state of many indie books on this matter-I consider it a breath of fresh air. Just fair warning, it took me a couple of chapters to slide into the story because of it.

The story revolves around the mysterious happenings in Brook Falls, Oregon and around one family consisting of the grandmother Ellen, and three cousins who were raised by her-Marie, Tanya and Lily (who we don’t see until the end).

When Ellen mysteriously winds up in a coma, Marie (the main protagonist) returns to the home town she had left behind. She’s caught between James Powell and Eugene Spencer, two men who are dangerous but only one of whom means to protect her. 

This is a paranormal romantic suspense so we have both world building and the mystery, and the author does an excellent job of avoiding info dumping on both counts. There are several plot twists that keep the reader guessing til the very end and there’s a nice set up for Tanya’s story.

All in all, a rather solid first book from a new author.


The Professional

The Professional
by Kresley Cole

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

This was originally published as a three part serial.

Another reviewer labeled this as “glitterkink” and that seemed oddly apt to me. To that I’ll add – BDSM plotporn meets superromance. It’s over the top in many areas from the hero, to the heroine, to their backgrounds and the events of the story itself. He’s a mafia enforcer with a tragic past and she’s the unknown daughter of a mafia boss. It isn’t safe or sane and should probably not be any one’s idea of a healthy relationship. The other thing the story is over the top on (this time not in a cheesy way) is emotional impact, though I found myself empathizing more with Sevastyan than with Natalie. Putting all that together created a luscious romp as long as you use a bit of willful suspension of disbelief.


Otherwise Engaged

Otherwise Engaged
by Amanda Quick

The first thing to know about this book is that despite how many lists have it as part of the Lantern Street series, this is a standalone with absolutely no paranormal element. And it was nice to go back a more traditional historical story.

Amity Doncaster is a globe trotting adventuress who is writing a lady’s travel book and has learned a variety of useful skills. During her time on one island she finds a man shot in an alley. He asks her a favor of getting a letter to his Uncle in London. While she does take the letter, she also takes Mr. Benedict Stanbridge and manages to save his life.

He levered himself partway up on one elbow. Pain tightened the corners of his eyes. “Do not tell anyone else about the letter-not any of the passengers or any members of the crew. It is vitally important that you not trust anyone who is on board now or who may come aboard between here and New York. Is that clear?”

“Quite clear.” She gripped the doorknob. “I must say, you are certainly a man of mystery, Mr. Stanbridge.”

He sank wearily back onto the pillow. “Not at all Miss Doncaster. I’m an engineer.”

Unfortunately for Amity, saving Benedict doesn’t come without some risk, namely a lot of gossip of an illicit nature, which brings her to the attention of a serial killer, the Bridegroom. Fortunately, Amity is intrepid and skilled so the bridegroom seriously underestimates her and manages to escape.

I love how Krentz’s books are so intricate and this one is no exception. There are several well crafted sub plots and a cast of secondary characters that are portrayed realistically and have their own relationships and lives separate from the hero and heroine. I also love how researched Krentz’s novels tend to be, she usually slips in some interesting tidbit or historical fact. In this case what seems to be an anachronistic bit of whimsy is actually a historic fact. Photovoltaic cells and solar power were around for the 1800’s. Granted, Krentz has written so many books at this point and her writing style is so very distinctive that it is hard to stop comparing her current books to previous ones, but in my opinion this one holds up on its own merits and was a fun historical romp with hilarious characters.


Inn at Last Chance

Inn at Last Chance
by Hope Ramsey

This is the 7th full length book in the last chance series.

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Jenny Carpenter, pie baker extraordinaire and spinster, purchased Jonquil House to set up a bed and breakfast when she realized her dreams of a husband and family were not going to happen. Gabriel Raintree is the former owner of Jonquil House and a famous writer. He’s currently suffering from writer’s block and heartache from a past he can’t quite remember. When he decides that his former home is the best place to hide out from his editor and rabid fans he finds that a spinster can be a heck of a lot more stubborn than he’d thought.

This is an odd book. The prose is florid, and the dialogue is stilted. There’s also a ton of internal monologue. It takes telling instead of showing to an extreme. It’s also odd in that it has heavy Christian themes of the typical inspirational type, but it’s also got a supernatural element in the form of a ghost, and there is premarital sex. There’s also a fairly nice plot twist but due to the heavy foreshadowing some readers may find it easy to see ahead of time.

While I can’t say that this is my particular cup of tea, it’s oddly readable for all that the story is very slow until about the last 50 pages.


Six Pack Ranch Series

Six Pack Ranch (6 books)

by Vivian Arend

“The Coleman family has ranched in the Rocky Mountain House area of Alberta for generations. These modern day contemporary cowboy romance stories follow the extended family as they find both their place in the community and a happy-ever-after.”

These are published through Samhain so you can expect a bit more kink than your average contemporary provides. But overall the heroes are pretty sweet so it also isn’t what I would consider a traditional Samhain either.

I will be reviewing the entire series here so there may be mild spoilers for the previous books if you read all the reviews.

Rocky Mountain Heat (Six Pack Ranch, #1)

Blake Coleman is the oldest of the Coleman’s and as such tends to be the more sober and proper of the siblings. Jaxi is almost a decade younger and of course she has always loved him. When we first meet her, she is dating Blake’s younger brother Travis, and there are obviously secrets involved there. Overall I was not especially fond of Jaxi, she pulls a few rather childish stunts that I felt rather proved the Blake’s concerns.

This is the first entry to this series and this family. So we meet probably all the characters and get quite a bit of background and plot involving them. This story seems to be less about Blake and Jaxi and more about setting up for the rest of the series. And that’s ok, because I don’t think Blake and Jaxi were interesting enough, or compelling enough to be the main attraction. I didn’t dislike the story, but those two didn’t draw me in. More of the focus and interest, in my opinion, was on Travis, Matt, and Gabe. This is a light, mildly entertaining read with no real punch, but read it anyway to get the background you will need for the rest of the series.

Rocky Mountain Haven (Six Pack Ranch, #2)

Beth Danube is a recent widow with two boys. Her husband was emotionally abusive so she has some hang ups about herself and sexuality. Daniel Coleman has recently had some very hard knocks in life but he’s doing his best to take it in stride and to build a new future.

When they meet Beth is looking for no strings and Daniel has happily ever after written all over him, so it is a nice reverse. It was really very enjoyable to watch this couple’s relationship unfold and change. Additionally the way we see them try to fit her kids into the relationship and the way boundaries were established and changed felt very realistic.

Plus we get to see quite a bit more of how Matt’s life is changing.

Rocky Mountain Desire (Six Pack Ranch, #3)

Matt Coleman (as seen in the previous novel) has had his heart stepped on and his pride ripped to shreds. Hope Meridian is struggling to stay afloat after her sister abandons the business and the apartment they had been planning on, leaving her with all the responsibility.

This is a really sweet and sexy friends-to-lovers story with the additional baggage that Hope’s sister is the one who screwed them both over and of course, the one who causes the most drama between them. There’s actually a relationship between Matt and Hope, and it progresses in a logical manner. And the ending is over the top romantic and sweet.

Rocky Mountain Angel (Six Pack Ranch, #4)

Gabe Coleman (a cousin to the six main Coleman brothers) played a big part in previous books and was probably one of the more interesting characters. He has an acrimonious relationship with his father, and his father is a complete hateful ass. Gabe is struggling to get around his father and save the ranch. Allison is looking for an excuse to move back to her home town without alerting her mother to her real reasons. So she offers Gabe a deal, if he’ll pretend to be her fiancé she’ll help him do what needs to be done to make the ranch profitable again.

This is another friends to lovers story but there is a lot of sadness and grief to go along with the heat that creates a truly enjoyable three dimensional tale.

Rocky Mountain Rebel (Six Pack Ranch, #5)

Vicki Hansol is known as one of the town “bad girls” due to the actions of her family members. The only thing bad about her is her temper, but based on the actions of the rest of the town, she’s completely justified at that. Joel Coleman is trying to change his own reputation and step away from the antics of his twin brother Jesse. In order for Vicki to be able to take a job that gets her out of town, she needs to get over her fear of horses, so she turns to Joel who it looks like is the only person to have been nice to her in a long while.

This story gave me a completely different perspective of the town and the Coleman family. It made them all seem more human. And Vicki and Joel were really good together with both of them having things to teach the other. Fair warning, this story is more of a happily for now rather than a happily ever after, but considering their ages and their integration into the fabric of the community, it feels completely appropriate instead of a letdown like most happily for now stories.

Rocky Mountain Freedom (Six Pack Ranch, #6)

Travis Coleman was probably the most mysterious of the Coleman brother’s we have seen snippets of his character throughout this series, so I was highly anticipating his story, and it doesn’t disappoint. This is an M/M/F ménage relationship with a lot of heart and some pretty serious kink. Cassidy was Travis’s best friend (we met him in Rocky Mountain Angel) but he left because he could not deal with some of his own hang ups and feared repercussions with Travis. Ashley Sims left because she felt like she wasn’t enough for Travis and she has some of her own trauma and drama to deal with, but she returned to set down roots and to return to Travis.

This is an equal triad relationship (which is my favorite type of ménage) and there were no big misunderstandings. There were issues and some miscommunications, but they were all very believable and relatable in the context of their society and their individual backgrounds. This is one of my favorites in the series so far.