Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review: Impossible (Huntsford Hearts #1) by Laurel Ulen Curtis

One Accident. Two losses. Three years.

Veronica Russo chases storms, but runs from her past by staying firmly in the present. Unwilling to consider the possibility of a future, she’s checked out of life by using solitude and standoffishness as her armor and a sharp tongue and quick wit as her weapons.

Coleman Cade is a walking contradiction- just like his mismatched eyes. A rough and manly bull rider with a playful side. A ladies man with thousands of willing victims, but what he really wants is one woman. The right woman.

Will Roni be able to let go, move on, and find a way to fulfill her dream of having everything? Or will unsubstantiated choices and unresolved demons stand in the way of their happily ever after?

In order to overcome past tragedies and find true happiness- in order to have everything- Roni needs to do one thing. Find the impossible.

This is the first book that I've read by Laurel Ulen Curtis, so I didn't really know what to expect. From the very beginning, I connected with Impossible and I think it was because it's about Roni and she's a storm chaser. I grew up in Oklahoma City with storm chasers and tornadoes being very familiar and our way of life. As crazy as storm chasers seem to outsiders, they are necessary during storm season and we've relied on their knowledge on more than one occasion. Anyhow, I connected quite quickly with the novel because of that. 

The story was one that surprised me on more than one occasion. I thought that I knew what was going to happen in quite a few of the situations in this book (you know how you think you know what is going to happen next and most of the time you're right?) but I was sorely mistaken quite a few times. There were many situations that took me by surprise and kept me on my toes with this one. I liked how the story was written, you're left a bit in the dark with the main character, Roni, as she searches for herself within these unfamiliar situations and feelings. It made the book read quite smoothly and scoot right along. 

Roni is the perfectly flawed character that I'm always searching for when I read. I like how she was so incredibly broken and you're right there with her as she tries to figure out herself, her past and her future. I think it's interesting to be there with a character at rock bottom and see where they are able to go from there and the author did a great job with that regression and progression. I also enjoyed Coleman Cade. A lot. I can't really pinpoint anything in particular that I loved because it was just about everything about him. (And the bonus scene at the end was AWESOME!! Major thanks to the author for including that.) 

There was one thing that I detested in this novel. Sweet baby Jesus, it drove me absolutely crazy. I know that people have phrases that they use all the time (sometimes ad nauseum) and this was one of those. I shit you  not, when I read this one word each of the 21 times that it was in the book, I wanted to smash my Kindle into oblivion. It was irritating and all together, too much. Too damn much. Roni said this phrase so much that it almost made me just put the book down altogether. That sounds silly, right? Well, I think it's because the phrase just didn't seem to mesh with the character at all. It didn't seem authentic and if the purpose was to keep Roni from cussing, I think that there would be other words that she could use because it made Roni sound like a 15 year old instead of the 30-something woman that she was. And no, I'm not going to tell you the word, you need to read the book and see if you pick up the same thing that I did. Hopefully it was just me being pissy and nit-picky. 

All in all, it was a great book and I'll read something else by this author, for sure. Well, as long as she doesn't use that damn word again. Holy cannoli. If I never read that word again, it will be too soon. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: Flash Bang (Flash Bang #1) by Meghan March

Rowan Callahan is a career-climbing slut. At least according to the vicious—and false—rumor that is destroying her professional life. But a little thing like her career as an attorney ceases to matter when a plane crashes in downtown Chicago and the entire city goes dark. Her unconventional upbringing makes her suspect the worst: she’s just witnessed the kick-off to the apocalypse. Armed with a backpack of supplies, she leaves Chicago, intent on resetting her skewed priorities and seeking shelter at the family farm with her father and sister. She’s injured and running for her life when she stumbles directly in the crosshairs of two men who just might be her salvation . . . and her greatest temptation.

Graham Buchanan and Zachariah Sawyer are best friends and brothers-in-arms who have been indulging in ménages since before their Force Recon team served in Iraq and Afghanistan. They’ve hung up their uniforms to build a new life for themselves and their team at Castle Creek Whitetail Ranch—a rustic deer hunting preserve that covertly doubles as a doomsday prepper’s paradise. They thought they were prepared for anything until Rowan comes crashing into their lives. Graham and Zach are convinced she’s the one woman who can handle them both, but she has no intention of deviating from her carefully laid plans for longer than it takes her to recover from her injuries. So they propose a deal: they’ll provide her an armed escort home, and in exchange, she’s theirs until they part ways.

It was the perfect plan; except once they've had her, they can’t let her go . . .

Here's the deal. I am not a big supporter of erotica. To be honest, the first of the genre that I read was 50 Shades. And that was only because there was so much buzz around it that I felt left out not having read it and when you're a reviewer, you just can't have that. So I read that book and well, I haven't read many since. Maybe three. But when I saw the description for Flash Bang, I was intrigued for the first time in years in an erotica book. I decided to give it a shot and to be honest, I'm really glad that I did. This book may have changed my view on the entire genre and that's a pretty big deal for someone who practically swore them off. 

Right from the first page, I was hooked. I loved Ro instantly and I couldn't help but root for her throughout the entire book. She was a really well written character that was flawed but knew that she wanted to get her shit together. She was a realistic character in my mind and one I would read about again. Ro isn't one that I'll be forgetting any time soon. I enjoyed the predicament that she was in ... you know, the issue with two hunky boys. For the love of all things fluffy, some of those sex scenes were hot. I was afraid my damn Kindle would burst into flames a few times. 

What I really enjoyed was that this wasn't what I was expecting. With that other erotica I read, there was sex on every damn page and I just got completely bored and ended up skipping sentences, then paragraphs, then whole pages. But with Flash Bang, there is an actual story going on ... this whole apocalypse thing that is going on and all of that had just as much space on the storyline as what was going on with Ro, Graham and Zach. The story had substance and I won't lie, I wasn't really expecting that at all. I found myself becoming entranced in the world that they were immersed in and I couldn't wait to sit down and devour more. 

I don't want to say too much and ruin the story for you but this was a good one. I'm interested in reading the second novel in the series since (as I understand it) it is a continuation of the story that is already in place. You won't be disappointed with this one, I have a feeling that it isn't your normal erotica novel. I will probably read this one again and I'll be picking up number two soon! I'm glad that I took a chance and decided to read out of my normal genres because otherwise, I never would have found a new author that I enjoy and a new series that I can't wait to finish. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

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Review: Love on the Menu by Dyann Love Barr

Celebrity chef Jordan Kelly wants to marry the love of his life, Tilly Danes. Unfortunately, the proposal isn't going quiteas planned. For starters, the Culinary Channel just hired his ex-lover as their new chef-and now she's been murdered.

Tilly might have a tiny problem with commitment, but she knows for a fact that Jordan is hiding something. Something big. And if he doesn't spill it soon, their future happiness is definitely on the chopping block...
Someone at the Culinary Channel has an appetite for killing, and no one is safe. All this danger might just bring Jordan and Tilly's relationship closer...if they can manage to survive.


Love on the Menu was a rough one for me. Super rough. Honestly, it was on the verge of being painful. Gosh, that sounds really horrible but dude. Dude. I wouldn't say that unless it was the absolute and honest truth. I'm a straight shooter and this review is going to be difficult to write. As horrible as I feel to have to write a less than flattering review for a book, sometimes it just needs to be done. I hope that it reads as constructive criticism ... that's how it is intended. Well, let's get on with this. 

I'm just going to start at the beginning and work my way through the book. From the very start, there are switching POV's. Hey, this is a good thing! I enjoy reading a book and experiencing two different view points. It seems to be the new "thing" these days. Anyhow ... Jordan Kelly ... that's the male lead in this book ... when I was reading, I could have sworn that it was Tilly (the female lead) who was talking. I found Jordan to come off as super feminine. Before someone twists this and makes me sound like some kind of hater, let me clarify. When you're reading a romance novel and you're getting the male and female POV flip-flopping throughout the entire book, it's helpful for the characters to just ... sound ... different. I was constantly getting Tilly and Jordan mixed up and I would have to go back and check to see who was talking. That isn't a fun issue to have with a book. Hell. The dude can sound girly, I don't give a crap but I need to be able to tell the difference between the characters otherwise, I'm just getting pissed off because I have no clue what the hell is going on all the time. 

Also right from the start, I felt TOTALLY lost. Like there was another book I should have read to know what the hell was going on. I checked numerous times all over the web looking to see if this book was listed anywhere as a #2 but it wasn't. Dude. It is a freaking number two. I know that it has to be. There was just too much back story that wasn't being explained for there not to be. Let me tell you, that needs to be clear SOMEWHERE. It's not fair to readers to pick up a book and not realize that your reading experience would be so much more pleasurable if you read the beginning of the series. It was like going in for a kiss and someone kicking you in the stomach. I was totally disoriented throughout the first (massive) portion of the book. And that takes a lot away from my overall views of the book because I was so damn confused. So please (authors, publishers, editors, whatever), if it's in a series, make that crystal clear. Go grab some paper and crayons and write that shit out like I'm stupid as hell, I don't care but let the readers know. 

After the issues that I had with the beginning of the book, maybe I just checked out. I found the entire to be disjointed and flat. I just didn't get that rush of excitement that I get when I read other romantic suspense novels. I should be on the edge of my seat with wanting to know what is going to happen but the only thing I was on the edge of my seat for was in anticipation of the book being over. I couldn't connect with any of the characters or the plot or the writing. Nothing. It was like a bad out of body experience. Not that I've had an out of body experience but maybe you get my point. 

I don't think that I will read anything by this author again. Kick me in the stomach once ... shame on me. Kick me in the stomach twice ... I don't have anything to say to that because I haven't thought that far since it won't be happening again. Now, please ... keep in mind that this book has received high ratings so far on Goodreads and Amazon. Maybe I'm soft in the head. I've got two school-aged boys and we're at the tail end of the summer, so that very well could be the case. I'm in the minority on my feelings for this one. So find a reviewer that you trust or go with your gut but this one isn't for me.

Oh!! BTW ... you'll find this book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads with a different name. The name that I received from NetGalley was Love on the Menu but everywhere else has it as Murder Love on the Menu. Which makes no damn sense. So if you're having trouble finding it online, maybe try that name. That would be another issue that could be corrected, whichever is wrong needs to be fixed ... FOR THE READER!

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Review: Can't Go Back by Marie Meyer

When Jillian moved next door, she refused to get out of the car. I climbed into the backseat beside her and promised to never leave her.
Now, I’m driving her a thousand miles away, so she can leave me.

She has to go. What else would she do? Follow me and my band from one cheap bar to another, get hit on by sleazy promoters? Because Jillian would definitely get hit on. She’s the most gorgeous, talented girl I've ever known, and she doesn't even see it.

This scholarship gives Jillian the chance to study at the best design school in the country. It’s what she’s always wanted. I won’t stand in the way of her dreams, no matter how much it hurts to watch her go. I just wish she wasn’t leaving without knowing the truth . . .

I was completely entranced by Can't Go Back at the beginning. I found the main character, Griffin, to be so very sweet and I enjoyed that the book was written by his POV. It's not uncommon but you just don't find a whole bunch of romance novels that are written from the voice of the male and it was refreshing to read something from that side. 

If you caught what I said at the start of my review ... the book had me hooked at the beginning ... but that did change. The story was still good after that point but I felt like I was missing something. Important parts of situations seemed to be missing ... something would happen and I would be sitting there waiting to see what happened and all of the sudden it would just skip over the resolution of a situation and just move on. It was perplexing and frustrating. I wanted to know the details of what had happened but I didn't get that. And now I know why. I just found out that this book is the same as Across the Distance but just written from Griffin's POV instead of Jillian's. Talk about irritating!! I had no idea when I picked this book up that this was what it was. It sure does explain why I didn't get satisfaction from situations in the book it's because it was already talked about in another one, apparently. I feel a little robbed. I wish that I had known and I would have read the other one first. But it is what it is. Just keep in mind if you're interested in this one, you might want to pick the other one up first. 

The characters were pretty interesting and I liked the push and pull from Griffin and Jillian that seemed to happen quite often. Their love story isn't an easy one and it was full of turmoil. I like the turmoil ... I enjoy reading about struggles and how the characters are able to pull themselves out of it. This book was a good example of that. I just wish that it had felt more ... complete ... to me. The story-line was engaging and it really sucks you in but the missing info and situations just really bothers me. Especially without some kind of disclaimer at the beginning ... at least give me the choice to read the other book first. Is this mostly my fault? Sure, I guess it could be. I received this book from the publisher and I didn't do any kind of recon on the author or her previous books or any reviews before I picked this up. And that's a personal decision, I like going into a book pretty blind ... I don't want any outside forces (other reviews and whatnot) to cloud my thoughts and feelings before I start reading. 

Anyhow ... maybe after I'm not irritated as much, I'll pick up that other book and give it a go and that could very well change my thoughts on this one. But I'm too peeved to do that right now. Tomorrow isn't looking good either. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Review: Perfect Betrayal by Season Vining

To the outside world, Taylor Hudson has it all: beauty, money and social status. But Taylor’s privileged life is far lonelier than it appears.

Levi is the inside man on a job to steal fifteen million dollars from one of the town’s wealthiest families, putting him on a crash course with Taylor. Neither of them believe in love, but lust. . . that’s undeniable.

Now they’re locked in a wicked game of seduction and it’s unclear who is playing who. But neither of them expected the affair to lead to the deepest connection they’ve ever experienced. Because beneath Taylor’s perfect exterior lies a need for love that mirrors Levi’s own. 

As the heist approaches, how can Levi protect Taylor from the truth?  

Is he willing to give up everything to save the one girl who’s made him want to be a better man?


Taylor seems like the typical spoiled little rich girl. She is the girl that all girls strive to be and all guys want to sleep with. But she doesn't seem to enjoy being that person. She doesn't want to date who everyone thinks she should date, she doesn't want to be seen and not heard by her parents and she doesn't want to fall for the maintenance guy. Sometimes things aren't as they seem but sometimes they are. 

I've not had the pleasure of reading anything by Season Vining before and I wasn't sure what exactly I should expect when I picked this one up. I'm just going to jump right in here ... let me tell you ... Vining can write some interesting characters. Taylor. Dear, sweet, Taylor. I was about 15% through the book and I realized that this girl was batshit crazy at times. Then I got a little further into the book and holy hell ... we were one boiled bunny away from Taylor being a stalker. When I first read this, I thought that her behavior was extreme when it came to Levi. But then I remembered what it was like when I was that age and I was batshit crazy then also. All girls just need to go through that age, apparently. Anyhow, the character was written really well ... I didn't really know whether to like or hate Taylor or feel sorry for her or proud of her ... I was definitely conflicted throughout most of the book. I liked being kept on my toes. And the same thing happened with Levi ... he was a nicely flawed character that I enjoyed reading about.

That being said ... I didn't really have any strong feelings about this book at all. It was just ... okay. I thought that it was a bit boring at times when the story lagged along and I found myself skipping paragraphs just to get to something exciting. Ugh. I hate saying that but that's how it was. And the poetry ... dear sweet baby Jesus ... the poetry. In case you can't tell, I don't really care for poetry and there was a lot of it. I'm just not a deep enough of a person for poetry to resonate with me and so I didn't connect with that part of the book AT ALL. 

I might pick up another book by Vining in the future, this one wasn't bad ... I just found it to be super slow. Now on to the next read!

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Review: Beware of Me (Dark Obsession #4) by Cynthia Eden

Criminal. Killer. Monster. Ethan Barclay has been called many things in life, and he usually doesn't care what people say about him. He's tough, hard, and brutal when he needs to be. But even the most dangerous of men can have a weakness. Ethan's weakness has--and always will be--Carly Shay.

Their pasts are tied together--twisted and melded by blood and death. Walking away from Carly was the hardest thing that Ethan ever did, but it was also his one good deed. He knew Carly deserved far better than him, and he wanted her to have a perfect life, a life that didn't involve paying for Ethan's sins.

Only now the secrets from their past have been revealed, and Carly's life is on the line. Ethan's enemies, Carly's enemies--the predators are closing in on them. But Ethan isn't going to let Carly be threatened. He will move heaven and hell to protect her. He won't lose Carly, not again, and for those foolish enough to try and take her from him...they are about to see just how deadly Ethan truly can be.

This is the second novel that I've read by Cynthia Eden. I really enjoyed the other novel (Die for Me) and I think that may have somehow tainted my views on this one. To be honest, I don't know. All I do know is that I wasn't as entranced with this one as I was with the other. 

I am not big on reading a book from the middle of a series if I haven't read the other novels first. I can't tell you how many books I've seen that look good but it's a mid-series book and I refuse to pick it up until I've read the previous novels. This one was like that also but it specifically said at the bottom of the blurb on Goodreads that this book was a stand-alone. Here's the deal ... I picked this one up and I felt like I was missing something. I felt like that for the first quarter of the book. There just seemed to be things that were out of context or something. I don't know. It felt disjointed and the only thing that I could come up with was that I was missing little tid-bits of info from the other books in the series. And I think that really contributed greatly to my not connecting with this one. 

That's not to say that this book is bad, it isn't. It's a good book but I would highly recommend reading the previous books in the series before you pick this one up. I think that I missed a big chunk of background info that would play a pretty big part in the plot and storyline. I didn't really connect with the characters from the beginning. I felt like I was reading a story but I wasn't experiencing it ... if that makes sense. I didn't fall into the story and get lost and I really missed that because I had it with Die for Me. 

While I felt disjointed from this book, there are quite a few surprises that I didn't expect that kept the story clicking forward throughout the whole book. Just when I would think that I had something figured out, something would happen and I was completely shocked with the new revelations. It's nice for a book to keep me on my toes and not be predictable. I wish that I had connected with it more in the beginning so that I could fully appreciate these twists in the end. 

I'll probably give this author another shot in the future ... probably not with a book in the middle of a series if I hadn't read the previous ones but another actual stand-alone would be great. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Review: One & Only (Canton #1) by Viv Daniels

One night they can't forget...

Tess McMann lives her life according to the secrets she's sworn to keep: the father who won't acknowledge her, the sister who doesn't know she exists, and the mother who's content playing mistress to a prominent businessman. When she meets the distractingly cute Dylan Kingsley at a prestigious summer program and falls in love, Tess allows herself to imagine a life beyond these secrets. But when summer ends, so does their relationship -- Dylan heads off to Canton College while Tess enrolls at the state university.

One love they can't ignore...

Two years later, a scholarship brings Tess to Canton and back into Dylan's life. Their attraction is as strong as ever, but Dylan has a girlfriend…who also happens to be Tess's legitimate half-sister. Tess refuses to follow in her mother's footsteps, which leaves her only one choice: break the rules she’s always followed, or allow Dylan to slip away for a second time.

...And only one chance to get things right.


I've never read anything by Viv Daniels before and I wasn't totally for sure what to expect. This New Adult genre is pretty diverse and you never really know what you're going to get when you crack one of these open. Thankfully, I was pretty impressed with One & Only. It was a bit deeper than I had suspected it would be and it read more like a contemporary romance novel than a New Adult. But is there really much difference in those two other than the age group of the characters? I'm beginning to suspect not. 

I enjoyed getting to know Tess and delving into her family life ... which was a disaster, by the way. Tess knows her dad but no one else (other than her mom) knows about her dad. Tess has been told from a very early age to never tell anyone about her father, who he is or anything. It's a bit like a fatherly fight club. The first rule of FFC is that you don't tell anyone about FFC. The second rule about FFC is that you don't tell anyone about FFC. It was a bit surreal, actually. She can't acknowledge her father in any setting, if she sees him outside of her house, she can't call him dad and a bunch of other things. It was wild. What kind of life is that for a kid? So many things happen in your childhood that your father should be involved in. This isn't a case of abandonment, no ... her father is in her life. This isn't a case of him not loving her, no ... he does. I've just never read a book with a situation in it like this and to say the least, it kept my attention. 

The whole thing with her dad is going on in the background of the story. At the forefront is her education and (of course) a boy, Dylan. I found it hard to not become attached to Dylan. He's a sweet and honest character that had this adorable sense of humor that never ceased to make me smile. I won't lie ... he pissed me the hell off at a couple of points in the story but that didn't last for long because he's such a sweet guy. 

The storyline was interesting. I didn't get bored or tired of reading about their science stuff when the book would geek out for a little bit. I really enjoyed the flow of the novel ... it wasn't slow in any parts and it kept up at a pretty quick pace for pretty much the entire read. I'm looking forward to getting some free time so that I can read the next novel in the series. I'd like to see how this story continues. And keep in mind ... there is an ending to this one ... it doesn't leave you hanging with the Tess and Dylan story but the next book does cover some of the secondary characters from this one. All in all, I really enjoyed this one and I'll be reading this author again. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Review: Gone for You by Jayne Frost

As the guitarist for the rock band Caged, I know the rules: no relationships. No complications. Leave ‘em smiling when you go, but always go. Besides, it’s not like I’m ever in one place for more than a few days at a time. As the next hottest thing out of Austin, the band and me are riding the wave, and the music is all that matters.

Until her…

Lily Tennison has “complication” written across her beautiful face. But I can’t get involved. The timing’s all wrong. But she’s under my skin, and I can’t resist her troubled eyes and sweet smile. And I do have a little time to kill. Not much, just a few days in Dallas.

So I’ll scratch the itch and move on, like I always do.

Simple, right?

Lily has a great job at a resort in Dallas. She had no idea what she was in for when this famous guitarist walks into her life. Cameron Knight looked like nothing but trouble but what was wrong with finding out just how much trouble he could be. 

I'll just cut to the chase about Gone for You. I struggled with the rating on this one, I didn't know whether to give it one or two stars. Harsh, right? I just really didn't connect with ... anything ... in this book. I will say this, this story is told from the POV of Cameron Knight. It's not too often that you can find a contemporary romance novel written from a male's perspective. I was super intrigued by that. It's interesting to get into someone's head ... especially a dude's because for this character, I figured his head would be full of bong resin and hops. I was correct on the latter. There was a lot of the latter. But there would need to be for the rock and roller cliche to be complete. That also, was harsh. But I'm sorry I'm not sorry. And the reason I'm not sorry is that this book seemed to be one big cliche ... the band getting female attention, the band putting as many notches in their bedposts as they can a night, drunken hookups, the manager that is horrible ... it was all in there. I just expected more, maybe that is why I feel so let down.

I didn't really like any of the characters. They felt like they didn't have any depth ... while you're told portions about each of their backgrounds, it just isn't enough. The characters aren't fleshed out enough to make them seem even semi-real. Well, I take that back. There was one character that I really enjoyed but he literally had maybe a page total out of the whole book that was about him. The sad part is that I felt more connected to him than I did the main hero. It shouldn't be like that. I shouldn't struggle to see these characters as people. 

To be honest, the whole book felt like it was written very one-dimensional. There was conflict but it was resolved too easily, it didn't seem like real life. That's basically my whole issue with this book ... a lack of reality. I won't go on with this any more, I think you got the point. I don't think that this author is for me. Maybe she is for you though, good luck. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

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