Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Review: RoomHate ~ Penelope Ward

Penelope Ward
Contemporary Romance
Insatiable Press/May 2016

Sharing a summer house with a hot-as-hell roommate should be a dream come true, right?

Not when it’s Justin…the only person I’d ever loved…who now hates me.

When my grandmother died and left me half of the house on Aquidneck Island, there was a catch: the other half would go to the boy she helped raise.

The same boy who turned into the teenager whose heart I broke years ago.

The same teenager who’s now a man with a hard body and a hardass personality to match.

I hadn’t seen him in years, and now we’re living together because neither one of us is willing to give up the house.

The worst part? He didn’t come alone.

I’d soon realize there’s a thin line between love and hate. I could see through that smug smile. Beneath it all…the boy is still there. So is our connection.

The problem is…now that I can’t have Justin, I’ve never wanted him more.

Oh, boy. . . I wasn't expecting the hero to be such an ass. I did finish the book and I'm glad I did but Justin pissed me off so much I was at the point where I didn't want a HEA for Amelia and Justin. He was that bad! There was a little bit of redemption towards the end but at that point I was ready to be done with him.

I did enjoy the writing. Penelope Ward does well in creating the atmosphere of a house inhabited by two people with such strong emotions towards each other - you know it's only a matter of time before they explode. She certainly writes characters that leave an impact on the reader. Not sure if I would say Justin's impact was good. He absolutely made an impression so in that sense it was better than fading into the background. But good?

Amelia is a teacher, taking the summer off to spend it at the home her grandmother left her. She knows of the conditions of the willing and is both anticipating and dreading the possibility of seeing Justin again. She isn't sure how he will react at seeing her after all these years, but isn't prepared for how cruel he is. I couldn't help but feel sorry for Amelia. When Justin does show up, he brings his girlfriend Jade with. Jade is actually nice and I felt sorry for her because she is with Justin. lol  I also felt sorry for Amelia when she had to listen to Justin and Jade having sex. And especially when Justin acted proud in front of Amelia for making all the noise, knowing Amelia had heard him and Jade.

Justin. I've already mentioned him a lot so you have a good idea of my feelings for him. I don't get why he had to be such an ass for something that happened when he and Amelia were teenagers. When Amelia and Justin do sit down and discuss what happened to cause the animosity, I couldn't help but think he was over-reacting. When it happened - sure, he had every right to be hurt and upset with Amelia but she was fifteen at the time and they are both now in their twenties. Past time to get over it and act like an adult. And what happened when they were teenagers was traumatic for Amelia. It wasn't only Justin who was hurt.

They do eventually get on better terms and actually find they enjoy spending time together - when Justin stops being an ass. He still has his asshat moments, but they lessen and are not as severe. And if you are wondering if there is any cheating going on, no. You could say there is a love triangle since Amelia still has feelings for Justin but she does try to fight those feelings and genuinely doesn't want to hurt Jade. I kind of wished Jade had been a bitch, then it would have made it easier to cheer on Amelia and Justin. And to be fair to Justin, he treats Jade well, so he can be a nice guy, he just happens to hold a grudge. There are a couple of twists that keep the story moving, one in a direction I did not anticipate. I liked the plot, it's just that damn Justin and his first impression left a lot to be desired.

I'm not sure how to rate this. I've gone back an forth between a C/B. I'll compromise and give it a B-. Or should that be a C+? I do think many readers will not have the strong dislike I had for Justin. I would suggest reading other reviews from readers who enjoyed this more than I did rather than base your buying decision on this review alone. :)

Monday, June 27, 2016

This Week's New Releases

End of June and the summer is already flying by. This week there are a some familiar authors as well as a couple of new-to-me authors.

If you have any you'd like to add to the list, please leave the info in the comments. :)

Two girls, one who is blind, on a road trip. I'm liking the premise a lot! There will most likely be a boy or two somewhere in the mix. I'm kind of hoping not. I'd like to see the focus on the girls and their bond of best friends.

Kody Keplinger
Young Adult/Contemporary

Bo Dickinson is a girl with a wild reputation, a deadbeat dad, and a mama who's not exactly sober most of the time. Everyone in town knows the Dickinsons are a bad lot, but Bo doesn't care what anyone thinks.

Agnes Atwood has never gone on a date, never even stayed out past ten, and never broken any of her parents' overbearing rules. Rules that are meant to protect their legally blind daughter -- protect her from what, Agnes isn't quite sure.

Despite everything, Bo and Agnes become best friends. And it's the sort of friendship that runs truer and deeper than anything else.

So when Bo shows up in the middle of the night, with police sirens wailing in the distance, desperate to get out of town, Agnes doesn't hesitate to take off with her. But running away and not getting caught will require stealing a car, tracking down Bo's dad, staying ahead of the authorities, and -- worst of all -- confronting some ugly secrets.

A new series from Jill Shalvis! She's been a favorite author of mine for years so it's a happy day whenever she has a book coming out. And this new series has a heroine who is a boat captain and hero who is a hottie. Can't ask for more!

Sweet Little Lies
Jill Shalvis
Contemporary Romance
Heartbreaker Bay/Book 1

Choose the one guy you can’t have...

As captain of a San Francisco Bay tour boat, Pru can handle rough seas—the hard part is life on dry land. Pru loves her new apartment and her neighbors; problem is, she’s in danger of stumbling into love with Mr. Right for Anybody But Her.

Fall For Him - Hard...

Pub owner Finn O’Riley is six-foot-plus of hard-working hottie who always makes time for his friends. When Pru becomes one of them, she discovers how amazing it feels to be on the receiving end of that deep green gaze. But when a freak accident involving darts (don’t ask) leads to shirtless first aid, things rush way past the friend zone. Fast. 

And then tell him the truth. 

Pru only wants Finn to be happy; it’s what she wishes for at the historic fountain that’s supposed to grant her heart’s desire. But wanting him for herself is a different story—because Pru’s been keeping a secret that could change everything...

It's been a while since I read anything from Christine Feehan. I've read many of her Dark series novels and Ghost Walker series. I enjoyed both series but haven't kept up. This is a new series with elements of magic.

Shadow Rider
Christine Feehan
Paranormal Romance
Shadow/Book 1

Whether it’s fast cars or fast women, Stefano Ferraro gets what he wants. When he’s not fodder for the paparazzi, he commands Ferraro family businesses—both legitimate and illegitimate.

While their criminal activity is simply a rumor yet to be proven, no one knows the real truth. The Ferraros are a family of shadow riders capable of manipulating light and dark, an ability Stefano thought ran in his family alone—until now…

With little left to her name, Francesca Cappello has come to Chicago in hopes of a new life. She wasn’t expecting to attract the attention of a man with primal hunger in his eyes, driven to claim her as his to protect and to please. And if he discovers her secret, it could ruin her...

I like the not-so-sweet princess. I wonder how brutal she will be? And who she will be more loyal to - her brother or her love interest? The author has said the trilogy is loosely based on the story of Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula. The big difference is that Vlad is a girl in this story.

And I Darken
Kiersten White
Young Adult/Paranormal/Historical
The Conquerors Saga/Book 1


And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Winner's Crime ~ Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Crime
Marie Rutkoski
Young Adult/Fantasy
The Winner's Trilogy/Book 2
Farrar Straus Giroux/March 2, 2015

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement... if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

 As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

I could make this an incredibly short review. If I did, I wouldn't tell you about the plot, the world building or the characters. I would simply write - READ THIS TRILOGY - NOW.

And that would be the end. But I'm guessing you'd like a little more. Since I don't want to disappoint, I will attempt to tell you how much love I have not only for the plot, the world building and the characters but also for Marie Rutkoski's ability to weave all of those things into an experience in reading not soon forgotten.

First - This is a trilogy with each book building on the next. You can read my review of the first book here. If you have not read the first book, be warned, there are spoilers ahead. You don't want to spoil the infinite pleasure of the first book so only read on if you have read book one.

In the first book, The Winner's Curse, Kestrel buys a slave and has no idea the events she sets in motion by bringing Arin, the slave, into her home. In The Winner's Crime, we find Arin in charge of the resistance and Kestrel living in exile, engaged to a prince. This is the one aspect of the story I wasn't crazy about - they spend much of the book apart. I understand why the plot must go in this direction and The Winner's Crime is a part of the whole, you can't read one book without the other two.

Kestrel is walking a fine line in the capital city. She is engaged to the prince but engaging in spying for the rebels. At any moment she could be accused of treason against the crown. She is desperate to see Arin, if only to assure herself that he is alright. But she must also keep up the pretense of being loyal to the crown and with the emperor keeping a close eye on his son's fiancée, Kestrel could at any moment be caught helping the rebels. The tension is such an integral part of the setting. There was more than one moment when I thought, "This is it, she's going to get caught." It was nerve-racking since I had come to like Kestrel and want her and Arin to get their HEA. Not easy to do if she's locked up for treason. She is an intelligent, strong-willed character which was infinitely thrilling to read.

Arin, oh Arin. What have you done? He was not who he claimed to be in the first book and now in this second installment I feel like I'm getting to know him much better. Which makes it so interesting to read his scenes. He is an enigma, although he wants to free his people, the Herrani, but he doesn't always show complete hatred for their conquers. He came to care deeply about Kestrel and she bought him at auction! Things are not always black and white for Arin which is why he sometimes wavers in his decisions regarding the governing of Herran. He was appointed governor by the emperor which might seem a victory but Arin knows he can not trust the emperor and must still use spies to obtain critical information.

While Kestrel and Arin are residing in different cities, they still have beautiful, if somewhat painful, moments together. Arin doesn't know that Kestrel trader her freedom for his. He sees her as the fiancée of the prince, living in luxury in the capital. While he and his people are barely surviving despite having won their freedom.  He still has strong feelings for her which play havoc with his loyalty to his people. Kestrel wants only to help Arin however she can but it is dangerous spying right under the nose of the emperor.

Their romance is volatile, with outside influences creating distance, both physical and emotional, between Kestrel and Arin. The author does well in showing the struggle Kestrel and Arin go through with their feelings for each other as well as their feelings for their people. Kestrel's loyalty isn't as strong towards the empire as Arin's is towards the Herrani. When she bought Arin and came to know him, it made her see the Herrani people as more than slaves. Arin's hatred of the slave owners is a strong, burning in his gut but Kestrel shows him that not all of the Valorians are the evil conquerors he's believed they are. I think their romance, when they finally get their HEA, will be hard won and make it that much more satisfying.

The secondary characters are a variety of both cunning, evil and kind. The prince was not what I was expecting and surprisingly likable.  Arin has some loyal compatriots who have his back. One such is his cousin Sarsine who is headstrong and doesn't always agree with Arin's decisions but is fiercely loyal to him. Arin also has a wise mentor in Tensen who is the contact for Arin's spy in the capital. Tensen also helped Kestrel when he could. The secondary characters keep the connection between Kestrel and Arin when it looks like they will be kept apart.

I have the third book in the trilogy, The Winner's Kiss, waiting patiently for me. I've put off reading it partly because I have other books I needed to read but also because I want to hold off on finishing this wonderful trilogy.

Rating: A-

The Winner's Trilogy ~

The Winner's Curse
The Winner's Crime
The Winner's Kiss

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review: After Hours ~ Cara McKenna

After Hours
Cara McKenna
Contemporary Romance
Penguin/April 16, 2013

Erin Coffey has been a nurse for years, but nothing’s prepared her for the physical and emotional demands of her new position. Needing to move closer to her dysfunctional family, she takes a dangerous job at Larkhaven Psychiatric Hospital, where she quickly learns that she needs protection—and she meets the strong, over-confident coworker who’s more than willing to provide it.

Kelly Robak is the type of guy that Erin has sworn she’d never get involved with. She’s seen firsthand, via her mess of a sister, what chaos guys like him can bring into a woman’s life. But she finds herself drawn to him anyway, even when he shows up at her door, not eager to take no for an answer.

What Erin finds even more shocking than Kelly’s indecent proposal is how much she enjoys submitting to his every command. But he can’t play the tough guy indefinitely. If they want to have more than just an affair, both will have to open up and reveal what they truly need.

I'm not always certain what to expect from Cara McKenna. She writes such a diversity of characters, settings, and situations. But I'm always able to find something about her writing to relate to. If not something I've personally experienced, then something I can apply to my own experiences.

One of the ways McKenna differentiates her stories is by the characters careers. After Hours is different in that neither the hero nor heroine have high profile jobs. Erin is a nurse and Kelly is an orderly. Neither would be considered glamorous or well paying. But both Erin and Kelly have the desire to do their jobs well. The care they show to the patients, both while working and away from jobs, comes through in their actions and words. These broken, sometimes violent patients have a profound affect on Erin and Kelly and what they want out of life.

The heroine of Erin Coffey is, in my mind, a true heroine for what she does. Erin is a nurse and has taken a job at psychiatric hospital, not an easy gig by any means. It's an environment the author paints with vivid strokes, giving readers an idea of the work required to take care of and help these patients. Erin has no experience in this specific type of environment but she bravely jumps in, and finds she is thankful for the formidable presence of Kelly Robak.

Kelly Robak is an orderly. Not exactly the type of career we think of when thinking of heroes. But Kelly has the same qualities I look for in a hero. He's this gentle giant who knows when not to be so gentle. When he cares about someone, he cares deeply. He's smart even though he doesn't have a college degree. I loved how he treated Erin. He's honest, and tells her upfront what he expects from her. I would have liked Kelly's POV. He was such an interesting character, to get into his head would have been heaven.

The patients Erin and Kelly take care of are not the only ones who are broken. Both Erin and Kelly come from childhoods that are less than ideal. They each have trust issues and have this way of looking at life as if they don't dare to ask for too much, for fear of being disappointed. The way McKenna shows how Erin and Kelly deal differently with their troubles goes to how different these two characters are and how they compliment each other with those differences.

I have yet to read a novel by Cara McKenna that didn't have scorching love scenes. After Hours is no different. Erin and Kelly have chemistry from the first look but they are not teenagers who can't control their hormones. They do let their wild side come out in full force with no doubt as to how attracted they are to each other. But they also talk and enjoy each others' company like mature adults. I liked this side of them - the intelligence and cleverness of their talks. Intelligence is sexy.

It looks like another winner from Cara McKenna!

Rating: A

Monday, June 20, 2016

This Week's New Releases

Today is the longest day of the year, the Summer Solistic. Which means, if you enjoy reading outside, you had more daylight to enjoying your outside reading nook.  As the summer continues to heat up, you might have to seek the cool of the inside but that won't stop any of us from buying new books!

It looks like it's the week of the contemporary romance! Any historical releases this week? If you have any new releases not on the list, please mention them in comments. :)

I haven't read anything by Ms. Michaels but I do enjoy the second chance romance trope. I find I'm curious to see how this one works out.

Say You'll Stay
Corinne Michaels
Contemporary Romance

One word.
It was all he had to do. Instead, he got on that bus and took my heart with him.

That was seventeen years ago.

I moved on. Marriage. Kids. White picket fence. Everything I ever wanted, but my husband betrayed me and I was left once again.

Alone, penniless, and with two boys, I had no choice but to return to Tennessee. He wasn’t supposed to be there. I should’ve been safe. However, fate has a way of stepping in.

This time around, the tables are turned. It’s my decision. Second chances do exist, but I don’t know if we can repair what’s already been broken . . .

I've read a couple of Ms. Sheridan's novels and have always intended to read more... it's that darn TBR pile, always getting in the way. I like the fact the hero is the one who goes through the change from "quiet, sensitive" to "gorgeous, powerful". And I'm curious to know what the heroine did to break his heart.

Mia Sheridan
Contemporary Romance

Lydia De Havilland is shocked when Brogan Ramsay suddenly reappears in her life. Several years before, Brogan was the son of her family's gardener, and the boy she hurt and betrayed. But Brogan is no longer the quiet, sensitive boy she remembers. Now he's a man—gorgeous, powerful . . . and seeking vengeance.

Brogan Ramsay can't let go of the memory of Lydia tricking him cruelly, leaving his heart shattered and his family penniless. And now he's back to destroy her family the way his was destroyed. There's only one problem . . . the girl who wounded him so badly years ago is now a woman who still has the power to render him breathless.

Ramsay is the story of betrayal and wrath, of the strength of regret and the power of forgiveness. It is the story of the thin veil between love and hate, and how more often than not, when we seek to inflict pain on others, the heart we wound is our own.

Let's just take a moment to enlarge the cover, (click on it), and bask in all that luscious ink!

Okay, come back and read the blurb. Sounds good, yes? I love starting over stories and this one looks like both the hero and heroine will be starting over but for different reasons.

Jordan Silver
Contemporary Romance

Kerryanne Lashley is trying hard to pick up the pieces of her life after suffering a horrible betrayal. Not only did her husband of ten years, her high school sweetheart the man she thought would be hers for a lifetime cheat on her, but he did it with her best friend.

Now she’s taken to hiding herself away in a ratty apartment, which is all she can afford these days.

Kyle Clancy wants out of the little nowhere postcard town as soon as possible. He hadn’t set foot in the place since he was a kid, and the only reason he’s here now is to try to talk his grandpa into moving to the big city since his grandma’s passing.

He had no more interest in a relationship of any kind than Kerryanne did, but one fateful encounter on a sidewalk in the early morning sun would soon set these two on a collision course with destiny.

Well, it wouldn't be a complete list without a book from a series I'm behind on. Although, technically I'm not behind on this series since it's a spin-off, and new adult, of Ms. James' Rough Riders series. Still, it reminds me I need to catch up on the series and add this one to my reading list.

Unbreak My Heart
Lorelei James
New Adult/Contemporary Romance

The right love is worth the wait.


Seven years have passed since I fell for Boone West. The brooding bad boy. We were friends, even when I secretly wanted more, but I settled for what he offered. After he left Wyoming--and me--I grew up. Moved on. Or so I believed until he blew back into my life with the scorching force of an Arizona desert wind. 

I'm not that innocent sixteen-year-old girl anymore--I'm a businesswoman who swore never to settle again. But this older, wiser, version of Boone unsettles me. How am I supposed to resist his megawatt smile and his built-army-strong body? Especially when he's inserting himself into every aspect of my life? Now he's determined to prove he can offer me everything that he couldn't before--and he's the only man that can fix the heart that he broke.


Joining the army? Best decision I ever made. Even though it meant I had to leave her behind. Sierra McKay. The wide-eyed beauty, who saw more in me than I saw in myself. I didn't dare offer her anything more than friendship, because one kiss, one touch and I wouldn't have had the guts to go.

I've worked hard to become the man I am. I have a career. A purpose. After a chance encounter with the one woman I never forgot--I'm not leaving else to chance. Now that I've chased her across three states, I'm ready to demonstrate that the passion we couldn't act on before burns hotter than ever between us. And I'll use every weapon in my arsenal to show Sierra McKay that she's always been mine.

It's a friends-to-lovers, one of my favorite tropes. The blurb doesn't give much away but it does sound like a fun romp!

Man Candy
Melanie Harlow
Contemporary Romance

He’s back. 

Not just back in town, but living in the flat right beneath mine. And he looks good enough to eat, which is just one more reason to stay away from him.

But I can't resist. 

The sex is incredible (pretty sure we’ve shaken the house right off its foundation), but he can’t fool me—not this time. A degree in marketing and five years in advertising have taught me that “true love” is a fairy tale used to sell lipstick, diamonds, and perfume. It doesn’t exist.

He thinks I’m wrong, and he wants to prove it.

I think he’s crazy, so I dare him to try.

It might be the biggest mistake of my life.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Review: Stuck-Up Suit ~ Vi Keeland

Stuck-Up Suit
Vi Keeland/Penelope Ward
Contemporary Romance
Self Published/April 11, 2016

It started out like any other morning on the train.
Until I became mesmerized by the guy sitting across the aisle.
He was barking at someone on his phone like he ruled the world.
Who did the stuck-up suit think he was...God?
Actually, he looked like a God. That was about it.
When his stop came, he got up suddenly and left. So suddenly, he dropped his phone on the way out.
I might have picked it up.
I might have gone through all of his photos and called some of the numbers.
I might have held onto the mystery man's phone for days―until I finally conjured up the courage to return it.
When I traipsed my ass across town to his fancy company, he refused to see me.
So, I left the phone on the empty desk outside the arrogant jerk's office.
I might have also left behind a dirty picture on it first though.
I didn't expect him to text back.
I didn't expect our exchanges to be hot as hell.
I didn't expect to fall for him―all before we even met.
The two of us couldn't have been any more different.
Yet, you know what they say about opposites.
When we finally came face to face, we found out opposites sometimes do more than attract―we consumed each other.
Nothing could have prepared me for the ride he took me on. And I certainly wasn't prepared for where I'd wind up when the ride was over.
All good things must come to an end, right?
Except our ending was one I didn't see coming.

Oh, what a ridiculously fun story! From the start I was captured by the "Stuck-Up Suit" and how he would react to the woman who found his cell phone. I was not disappointed.

"Even his smell was obnoxiously sexy yet overbearing." This is what Soraya Venedetta thinks as the arrogant man on the train walks past. She has been listening to his side of a conversation he's having on his cell phone. Based on his words, she takes him as a bossy, rude, good looking as hell man in an expensive suit. She can't help but feel sorry for whomever is on the other end of the conversation. Soraya also notices, as this man quickly leaves the train, he leaves behind his instrument of torture, his cell phone. She grabs it up, but he is gone and she's left holding his phone. What can she do but try to return it? Of course, she needs to find out who it belongs to and the only way to obtain the information is to either hope to see him on the train again, or...peer into his life via his cell phone. What would you do?

Thankfully, Soraya does what most of us would do and looks deep into the life of the man on the train. Lucky for her, the phone is not password protected. What she finds doesn't quit fit with the man she observed on the train. It intrigues her. He intrigues her. Once Soraya locates the phone's owner, she attempts to return it only to find her initial observations were spot on! It's an amusing scene and showcases Soraya's no bullshit attitude towards arrogant asses.

Soraya is not the type of woman you would expect to find with Graham J. Morgan. She does not look like a model or carry herself with an air of sophistication and wealth, making a career out of looking good on the arms of rich, powerful men. It's why I like Soraya so much! She is shamelessly honest, with a wicked intelligence and humor she has no problem unleashing on whomever she feels deserving of it. To see the odd relationship between Soraya and Graham begin its unfolding through their cell phones was a perfect beginning for what was to come.

Graham J. Morgan, even his name sounds a bit arrogant. He leads a life of power and privilege. Of wealth and luxuries. But he has worked extremely hard to obtain the things he has acquired in his life. With his wealth and power he has become accustomed to people following his orders, not defying them. Which is why it was so entertaining to see his interactions with Soraya as she released her intelligence and smart-ass attitude on him. But Graham didn't get as far as he has by being a pushover. He is a superb match for Soraya.

It was entirely delightful to see Soraya and Graham come under each others influence. Graham opens up to Soraya, showing her what is truly behind the suit. And Soraya sees how beautiful she is in Graham's eyes. I relished seeing Soraya stop doubting her value because she was different from what she thought Graham wanted. Their initial texting, which leads to sexting, was such delicious foreplay. The inevitable coming together of Soraya and Graham doesn't disappoint but it's more than sex with these two. The sex scenes were good but I found the discussions of their lives: their backgrounds, their dreams, their desires, far more interesting.

Vi Keeland's Stuck-Up Suit is an amusing, sexy, romp with a hero and heroine who show love and attraction doesn't always pay attention to social or economic position. Love just loves.

Rating: A-

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Review: Dirty ~ Kylie Scott

Kylie Scott
Contemporary Romance
Dive Bar/Book 1
St. Martin's Griffin/April 19, 2016

The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that comes with her.

Lydia Green doesn't know whether to burn down the church or sit and cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it's with his best man is another thing all together. She narrowly escapes tying the knot and meets Vaughan only hours later.

Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessman she thought she'd marry. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and unsettled. But she already tried Mr. Right and discovered he's all wrong-maybe it's time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

After all, what's wrong with getting dirty?

If you've read Kylie Scott's Stage Dive series, (loved it!), you might remember Vaughan from the warm up band for Stage Dive. If not, go read the Stage Dive series and then read Dirty. Okay, you don't have to read Stage Dive series to enjoy Dirty but seriously, it's a fantastic series.

Dirty starts out with a bang! Lydia Green is in desperate need of escape - from her own wedding. So what's a bride to do but climb a wall and break in to a stranger's house. Makes sense right? Lydia is a character I would love to be friends with. She's smart, funny and easy to be around. And this is with all the drama going on in her life. Loved Lydia's internal dialogue which showcased her intelligence and her smart-ass attitude.

Vaughan Hewson is an adorable, sexy tattooed tough guy with a heart of gold. He's also a musician without a band. When he finds a runaway bride in his bathtub, he's not sure what to make of her. He's only passing through town, trying to get his life back on track, kind of like Lydia. Vaughan is portrayed as a guy who gets along fine with everyone but doesn't need anyone. He doesn't want the complication of a relationship with a woman and that is what he tells Lydia. And here's where the old "it's just sex" arrangement comes into play.

Lydia and Vaughan have the types of personalities that simply "fit". It's obvious from the beginning there is an attraction between them and their banter, that give and take that I enjoy so much, is quite prevalent in their new relationship.They each show a soft spot for others while trying to act tough on the outside. They each have their own agendas and think those separate agendas will not mesh but their romance shows how wrong they both are. I got a kick out of seeing how they went from thinking their lives couldn't mesh to making them blend beautifully.

While the romance was kept at the forefront, the secondary characters created enough drama to sometimes overshadow the developing romance between Lydia and Vaughan It did make me want to know more about these secondary characters but at the same time wish their dramas were not taking up so much page time.

This first book gives this new series a strong start. It leaves me wanting to know more about this odd little family, brought together by blood and by friendships. The next book isn't due out until November and I'll be there waiting to see what's going on at the Dive Bar.

Rating: B

Dive Bar Series ~

Twist (November 22, 2016)

Monday, June 13, 2016

This Week's New Releases

So much goodness this week! Some from favorite authors as well as new to me authors. Also one with a type of heroine we rarely read about.

I find my curiosity quite high for this story. A heroine who can not hear and a hero who speaks her language. I'm intrigued and can't wait to see how different, if any, the romance is as they communicate without the spoken word.

Signs of Attraction
Laura Brown
Contemporary Romance

Do you know what hearing loss sounds like? I do.

All my life I've tried to be like you. I've failed.

So I keep it hidden.

But on the day my world crashed down around me, Reed was there.

He showed me just how loud and vibrant silence can be, even when I struggled to understand.

He's unlike anyone I've ever known. His soulful eyes and strong hands pulled me in before I knew what was happening.

And as I saw those hands sign, felt them sparking on me, I knew: imperfect could be perfect.

Reed makes me feel things I've never felt. It's exciting...and terrifying.

Because he sees me like no one else has, and I'm afraid of what he'll find if he looks too closely.

The only thing that scares me more than being with him? Letting him go.

I'm almost always in the mood for romantic suspense. Karen Rose is my go-to author but I'm always on the look out for new RS authors and thought I'd give Ms. Fenech a try.

Breath of Malice
Karen Fenech
Romantic Suspense

FBI special agent Paige Carson hoped she'd be able to start a new life in small-town South Carolina. But when a senator's sister is murdered and a blank postcard is left next to the body, Paige realizes that a killer from her past has found her - and is sending her a very personal message.

From the moment he hired her, FBI special agent in charge Sam McKade knew Paige was hiding something. Prompted by this recent threat, she finally opens up: one year ago, she caught the eye of suspected serial killer Todd Thames. Now he's come back to pull her into his game, whether she wants to play or not.

As the danger increases, Paige and Sam give in to their growing attraction, and he vows to protect her no matter the cost. But he murderer will stop at nothing to get to his intended prey, and the strong arm of the law - and the shelter of her new love - may not be enough to save her.

I love a good road trip story! Add in a heroine with an unusual career and a man she can drive crazy. Sounds like the makings for an exciting trip!

Driven to Temptation
Melia Alexander
Contemporary Romance

Aidan Ross might be an engineering genius, but people skills? Not this soldier's forte. Thankfully, a trusted friend is accompanying him to a make-or-break tradeshow...but then a bubbly redhead hops into his truck, claiming to be his new road trip buddy. She's a gorgeous distraction he can't afford. Or ignore.

Delaney Harper comes from a family of engineers - male engineers. With several impressive projects under her belt, she's on a mission to prove she can hang with the big boys, too. but cracking the sexy, closed-off CEO is tougher than she expects...and hotter than she could have imagined.

With the tempting woman disrupting his carefully planned schedule, Aidan can't focus on the road, much less their upcoming presentation. The future of his company is riding on this trip, and if they're to land a huge account, he has to keep his head - and his heart - in the game...

It's Sarina Bowen writing a lubersexual farmer. How can I resist? : ')

Sarina Bowen
Contemporary Romance
True North/Book 1

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the orchard. The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

So, so far behind on this series. But I will catch up. I don't know when. I don't know how, probably by audio book, but I will catch up. (Show of hands - how many of us have made this vow before?) *raises hand*

Allegiance of Honor
Nalini Singh
Paranormal Romance
Psy-Changeling Series/Book 15

The Psy-Changeling world has undergone a staggering transformation and now stands at a crossroads. The Trinity Accord promises a new era of cooperation between disparate races and groups. It is a beacon of hope held together by many hands: Old enemies. New allies. Wary loners.

But a century of distrust and suspicion can’t be so easily forgotten and threatens to shatter Trinity from within at any moment. As rival members vie for dominance, chaos and evil gather in the shadows and a kidnapped woman’s cry for help washes up in San Francisco, while the Consortium turns its murderous gaze toward a child who is the embodiment of change, of love, of piercing hope: A child who is both Psy…and changeling.

To find the lost, protect the vulnerable—and save Trinity—no one can stand alone. This is a time of loyalty across divisions, of bonds woven into the heart and the soul, of heroes known and unknown standing back to back and holding the line. But is an allegiance of honor even possible with traitors lurking in their midst?

I'm usually not drawn to romances with wealthy businessmen as the hero. But this is Megan Hart, a favorite author, and it sounds like she's turned the table on the usual set up of dominate male, submissive female.

Beg for It
Megan Hart
Contemporary Romance

He’s gonna have to beg for it…

Corinne was young once. She did everything—girls, boys, drugs, toys—and did it in high funky fashion. Reese wasn’t her first lover, but he was the first to submit to her. For a while they had something special, but it ended badly.

She’s a little older now. And the wealthy businessman who just bought the company she works for bears little resemblance to that boy. He’s commanding, domineering, and seems hell-bent on pushing her past her limits.

In a flash of anger, she falls back into their old pattern—and Reese falls right in with her. Before she knows it, she’s testing him. Then tasting him. But she can’t afford to get involved again. Her life is complicated enough without throwing in a slew of kink.

Now if only Reese would stop making her feel like the goddess she used to be…and showing her who’s been the boss all along. Then…and now.

Warning: Contains thousand-dollar, custom-tailored business suits, fuzzy green boots, goth eyeliner, and fishnet sleeves. We’ll let you discover who wears what.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Review: Getting Lucky Number Seven

Getting Lucky Number Seven
Cindi Madsen
Contemporary/New Adult
Taking Shots/Book 1
Entangled Embrace/April 28, 2015

What's your lucky number?

Lyla Wilder is done being the shy, chemistry nerd extraordinaire. While every other college student is out having fun, Lyla is studying. With her cat. Well, she's played it "safe" quite enough, thank you. So she creates a "College Bucket List"―with item #7 being a night of uninhibited, mind-blowing sex...

But she needs some help from her man-whore best friend.

Hockey player Beck Davenport thought Lyla's transformation would be subtle. Man, was he wrong. With every item she ticks off, Beck finds himself growing seriously hot for his sweet, brainiac best friend. And if he's not careful, he'll end up risking their friendship in order to convince Lyla that he might just be her lucky #7...

Don't you just love it when you find a new author you like and she has a back list? For me, Cindi Madsen is that author. Thanks to Goodreads and someone (sorry, I forgot whom), gave a wonderful advance review of Getting Lucky Number Seven. The review was so enthusiastic that I couldn't help but get caught up in their love for this book. Definitely got my interest and made me want to read it. Plus, this is a friends-to-lovers romance which is one of my favorite tropes!

Lyla is an extremely intelligent college student but has little experience with college life outside of the classroom. She is determined to change that but rather than simply going to a frat party like most college students she makes up a bucket list. Lyla hasn't had what you would call a traditional upbringing. She is determined to change in spite of her background. As she gains new experiences, she methodically checks off her list with the help of her chemistry partner and friend, sexy Beck Davenport.

Beck looks out for Lyla. Although he initially only sees her as a friend, there is definitely an attraction Beck tries his hardest to suppress. He doesn't want to give up their friendship and thinks if they become romantically involved he would eventually lose her completely. This tells of his maturity, since many a guy would give in to the attraction and damn the consequences.

The story is told from both Lyla and Beck's point of view which makes it much more interesting than had it only been told in Lyla's POV. I liked getting a look inside Beck's head. His thoughts are sometimes what you would expect from a guy Beck's age. But when he gets deep, that's when you can see what an effect his life circumstances have had on him. How they have aged his perception of life.

This is such a sweet friends-to-lovers romance. Love the college backdrop and how it affected their relationship. Lyla is studious while Beck is the popular jock on campus. But we are shown how there is more to both of them then first impressions. It was amusing to see Lyla experience "college life" in all its vivid glory. And to see Beck's reactions to this "new" Lyla.

Rating: A-

Taking Shots Series ~

Getting Lucky Number Seven
Anatomy of a Player

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

This Week's New Releases

The first full week of June and it's been terribly hot here, triple digits, which means it's a great time to stay inside and read!

Please add any new releases I missed in the comments! Thanks. :)

No, I haven't read the first book in the series, Kick, Push, but it is on my Kindle just waiting for me to obtain the superpower of reading 10 books a day. Then I might get caught up on my TBR pile. Until then, I will continue to happily add anything Jay McLean writes to my buy list.

*This is a continuation of the story begun in book one. Same hero & heroine so please read in order.*

Jay McLean
Contemporary Romance
Kick Push Series/Book 2

One life-changing summer.
One boy.
The boy.
The boy who offered me safe touches and heart-stopping - smiles he shared with his son.
We filled our days with porch-step kisses,
filled our ears with laughter,
filled our hearts iwth love.
Deep, soul-aching, desperate love.
But love is misleading.
It's an invisible, fleeting moment.
Somewhere between false adoration and pure hatred comes an
emotion, a vulnerable need, a single desire.
It lives within the ones who miss it, who crave it,
who know better than to expect it.
Love is relentless.
Even when that love turns to hate, turns to loathing,
turns to pain.
Love should heal you.
But it can also break you.
Believe me, I know...
Because I'm Becca Owens - a broken girl...
...And he's Josh Warden - the boy who broke me.

Another second book in a series. Another series I have yet to read the first book. Another first book I have waiting patiently for me on my Kindle. I sense a trend here.

The Fixer, book 1, comes highly recommended from Nath with an A- grade. I need to get on this!

The Long Game
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Young Adult/Suspense
The Fixer Series/Book 2

For Tess Kendrick, a junior at the elite Hardwicke School in Washington D.C., fixing runs in the family. But Tess has another legacy, too, one that involves power and the making of political dynasties. When Tess is asked to run a classmate's campaign for student council, she agrees. But when the candidates are children of politicians, even a high school election can involve life-shattering secrets.

Meanwhile, Tess's guardian has also taken on an impossible case, as a terrorist attack calls into doubt who can--and cannot--be trusted on Capitol Hill. Tess knows better than most that power is currency in D.C., but she's about to discover first-hand that power always comes with a price.

This next one sounds like the perfect read for a summer day. I have read one other book from Ms. Swank, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, which I remember enjoying.

One Paris Summer
Denise Grover Swank
Young Adult/Contemporary

Most teens dream of visiting the City of Lights, but it feels more like a nightmare for Sophie Brooks. She and her brother are sent to Paris to spend the summer with their father, who left home a year ago without any explanation. As if his sudden abandonment weren't betrayal enough, he's about to remarry, and they’re expected to play nice with his soon-to-be wife and stepdaughter. The stepdaughter, Camille, agrees to show them around the city, but she makes it clear that she will do everything in her power to make Sophie miserable.

Sophie could deal with all the pain and humiliation if only she could practice piano. Her dream is to become a pianist, and she was supposed to spend the summer preparing for a scholarship competition. Even though her father moved to Paris to pursue his own dream, he clearly doesn't support hers. His promise to provide her with a piano goes unfulfilled.

Still, no one is immune to Paris’s charm. After a few encounters with a gorgeous French boy, Sophie finds herself warming to the city, particularly when she discovers that he can help her practice piano. There’s just one hitch—he’s a friend of Camille’s, and Camille hates Sophie. While the summer Sophie dreaded promises to become best summer of her life, one person could ruin it all.

This next one should be a quick read, 100 pages, and is a prequel for a new series by Lauren Layne. I recently read and reviewed my first Lauren Layne novel, Blurred Lines, and found it entertaining.

*Note: I just love Ms. Layne's author pic on Goodreads. She looks so happy! Why do some authors post those serious pictures that look like they don't enjoy what they do?

From This Day Forward
Lauren Layne
Contemporary Romance
The Wedding Belles Series/Book 0.5

Up-and-coming wedding photographer Leah McHale’s career is on the rise–thanks in no small part to the Wedding Belles, the elite New York wedding planning agency that always throws top-tier business Leah’s way. So when one of the Belles asks Leah to fill in at the former First Daughter's wedding, Leah is overjoyed to say yes–until she finds out who she’ll be working with.

Jason Rhodes is the one man who was able to capture Leah’s heart and, once he had it, promptly stepped all over it and left her broken. Now he’s working side-by-side with her at the biggest wedding of the season and Leah is determined to give him the cold shoulder. Despite his persistence, she is not going to fall for his charming, impish ways again. Not even if he still has that killer, irresistible smile...

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Keeper Shelf Sunday ~ J.D. Robb

Nora Roberts is well known for her romances, but her alter ego, J. D. Robb, is the author who grabbed my attention. I'm not sure I had ever read a Nora Roberts book prior to reading Naked in Death, the first book in the wildly popular In Death series.

I was late to the In Death series, starting when there were already 20+ books in the series. One reason I put off starting the series - I didn't think I'd ever catch up unless I wanted to put off reading anything else for months. Instead, I was lucky to have access to audiobooks through my library and quickly caught up. Not only are audiobooks a great way to become addicted to this amazing series but the narrator, Susan Ericksen, is one of my all time favorites. She gives each character a unique voice, bringing them to life.

Since I started with audio books from the library and prefer to continue with audio books, I don't usually buy the books. Which may seems odd since it is a favorite series. As of today, there are 42 full length novels and numerous novellas in the series with another full length novel coming out this fall. If you are just beginning the series, it is a daunting task. I would highly recommend going the audio books route if at all possible. My Keeper Shelf of J. D. Robb books is far from complete. In fact, I only have a few but they are special to me.

A wonderful find at
the Friends of the
Library used
bookstore. A signed
hard copy of
Born in Death.

Born in Death is not one of my favorites and I would not have bought it, except for that signature. I'm assuming it's authentic but even if it isn't, I'll pretend it is and keep it on my shelf. :)

One thing about the series that has changed are the covers. The first few books in the series had what are referred to as the "blue lady" covers. These covers are, as you can see, sporting the figure (or parts) of a blue lady. They are the U.S. first edition covers. I found these at one of my local used book store and couldn't resist buying them up. While I don't exactly like them, they are unique.

This last book is another used book store find. Can you tell I love getting lost in used book stores? This is a U.K. edition of Naked in Death. I thought it was so pretty and when I picked it up, out came a boarding ticket for British Airways. It is for a flight from London to Phoenix. I like to think whomever this book belonged to, they enjoyed reading it during the long flight.