Friday, September 23, 2016

Book Review: Deadly Odds (Casino Fortuna #1) by Adrienne Giordano

At Casino Fortuna, stakes are high and the nights are hot…

A cheat is cashing in on the Strip, where deadly schemes lurk beneath the glitz and glamour. FBI agent-turned-consultant Kate Daniels hits the jackpot with her new assignment, hired by Vegas’ biggest name to ensure his casino isn’t a target. Fortuna is a high roller’s paradise, all gleaming marble and dollar signs. Even a single flaw in security could cost big bucks. Kate can’t afford distractions. Especially the tall, dark and perfectly chiseled kind. Business and pleasure don’t mix. And sleeping with the boss is a dangerous gamble.

Fortuna’s VP of casino operations, Ross Cooper, is gaming’s golden boy. He’s got a head for business, an eye for beautiful women, and a love for the Vegas lifestyle. When he spots a gorgeous redhead casing his blackjack tables, Ross is more than a little intrigued—he’s suspicious. But Kate is no thief…she’s working for him? Ross hates surprises almost as much as the idea of trouble in his casino.

Kate quickly proves she’s more than a pretty face. Her instincts and smarts are just as enticing. And when her investigation turns deadly, Ross will risk it all to keep her by his side. 


This is a new author for me and I was pleasantly surprised! I really found the entire book pretty interesting - it has great characters, an interesting plot line and some surprises that I definitely hadn't counted on. 

I really enjoyed our heroine, Kate. She was an interesting mixture of sassy and sweet. Of course, I liked Ross more. Hey. You know how it is with those handsome leading males in a book. Especially bossy ones. I don't know why but there's something devastatingly handsome about a take-charge kind of dude. Honestly, I think that the reason I liked both Kate and Ross so much is because these were perfectly fleshed out characters. The author included a back story to each of them and it was absolutely air-tight. Nothing was left to question. I appreciate that. It gave me a super clear picture of both of them and I find that it's easier to really immerse yourself in a book if the author has covered all of the bases. No need for vagueness with a main character!

The story itself really buzzed along nicely. There was always something going on and the story kept my attention since there weren't any slow parts. But. This is a little one this time ... all of the gambling info made my eyes gloss over a little bit. Couldn't have cared less. I know that sounds horrible. I really liked this book and those glossy times didn't happen very often but they were there, so it was worth mentioning. Those very few times made me skip a couple of paragraphs ... yes, it added to the story but well, that's how it is sometimes. 

I did enjoy the ending. A LOT. I loved how the author pushed me in one direction and made me think one thing just to kick me in the butt and point me in another direction. Most of the time, I can pick stuff out right away and while this one didn't COMPLETELY surprise me, it was still a great twist and redeemed those glossy times. Great book if you like the romantic suspense novels. It will take you on a fun ride.

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

Available Now

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Book Review: Body Shot (Last Shot #1) by Kelly Jamieson

Former Navy SEAL Beck Whitcomb left a world of privilege to prove he could make his own way. Money, mansions, expensive cars—none of it could heal the loss of his older brother, or buy his parents’ love. Now, after using his trust fund to open the Conquistadors tequila bar with his brothers-in-arms, Beck has it all: good friends, fine liquor, and hot hookups. When it comes to women, commitment’s not his thing—until he gets a taste of the pretty professor who walks into his bar . . . and winds up in his bed.

Hayden Miles knows all too well that emotional decisions can lead to heartbreak, and nothing screams “bad decision” like a playboy bartender with inked biceps and a wicked smile. Still, their chemistry is off-the-charts explosive—and Hayden knows her chemistry. For once, this good girl longs to let loose. But is she willing to risk the pain to quench her thirst? With the promise of more on the table, Hayden’s eager to believe . . . before she misses her shot.


I wish that I had read a book by Kelly Jamieson before because holy hell ... this was an amazing book and boy, she sure does create steamy characters. Within the first few pages, I wanted a Beck. More than one would work also ... 

Hayden and Beck have to be two of my favorite characters that I've come across in a very long time. I instantly connected with Hayden because she was so stuck in her own head that she couldn't see what was in front of her: a gorgeous man who finds her absolutely beautiful. She just has this self doubt that is so undeniably realistic because we've all been there. We've all been so into someone else and thought that they were out of our league and sometimes, just sometimes, this object of our affections thinks the same thing about us! All of that just made me love Hayden and absolutely adore Beck. 

This man did not give up and the chase that ensued was nothing short of enchanting. I was sucked into this book so quickly because of Beck. He's that mans-man ... he's a Navy Seal, he's tough as hell and at the same time, such a sweet guy. Basically the perfect balance. Don't get me wrong, I actually don't enjoy reading about those "perfect" guys because how boring! But Jamieson pulled it off because Beck had these little insecurities and jealousies that were actually adorable. Never knew jealousy could be attractive but it was in this case. 

Anyway, I could go on and on about these characters but I don't want to spoil (anything else) for you. The plot was also just as good as the characters. I literally read this in a day. I couldn't put it down because the plot was so entertaining. I was always looking forward to what all of the characters were going to be getting themselves into - this includes the secondary characters, I enjoyed them almost as much as Hayden and Beck. 

There I go, talking about the characters again. I just can't get them out of my head!! I've won the book lottery lately because once again, this is one of the best books that I've read this year and I can't wait to see what the rest of this series holds. New author to add to my favorites! So go get this one, you won't be disappointed. 

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

Available Now

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Book Review: Passionate Pursuit (Dangerous Desires #3) by Tina Donahue

Andalucía Spain, 1489: Innocent Beatriz is desperate to escape the threat of a miserable marriage to a cruel Marquis. Forced into the betrothal by her ruthless merchant papá, her only hope is to conceal her identity and become a servant in a nearby castle—a life drastically different from her comfortable upbringing.

Tomás doesn’t know what to make of his well-spoken new servant girl. Her beauty and charm captivates the military hero; her mysterious nature intrigues him. And the desire she ignites burns brighter with each glance, as does his longing to claim her for his own.

Beatriz can’t resist Tomás’ passion nor deny the heat of her own. But neither the lush countryside nor the walls of the opulent Moorish castle can entirely protect her—and if he were to discover her secret, she could be torn away from him forever. Yet how can she sustain his love if she’s living a lie?

This is the first book that I've read by Tina Donahue and I wish that it wasn't. I used to read historical romance novels like crazy and then I just hit a wall. No matter which one I picked up, I just didn't like it. Because of that, I haven't read one in quite a while and when I was approached about this one, I almost said "no, thank you". Boy, am I glad that I didn't. It restored my faith in the genre. That kind of stamp of approval is not something I give easily. I'm a jerk about books. I won't lie. I will pick them apart and take no prisoners. I'd like to think that my criticism is constructive ... but I'm sure that some authors don't feel that way. Anyway ... this one is easily a four-star book because I really didn't have any issues with it. 

Passionate Pursuit is well written and I think true to the time-period. I've actually not read anything that dates back as far as this one does. Usually I kind of stay away from them because I just didn't know if I could connect with that time-period. I was pleasantly surprised! Donahue wrote this book in such a way that it really pulls you into the story and you believe that you're in the 15th century. Does that mean that everything was completely accurate with the times? I have no freaking clue but she made me believe that it was and that's all that matters.

I enjoyed getting to know Beatriz and Tomás. I don't want to really delve into the whole premise of the story ... hopefully you've read the blurb and there's no reason to go over that again but Beatriz's character was interesting. I appreciated what she was going through and how she was always trying to do the right thing but ornery Tomás was having none of that. Tomás behaved a bit like a petulant child at times and that made me smile because all men get that way, right? "I want what I want, when I want it", type thing. Brats. 

That being said, the push and pull between Beatriz and Tomás was what made me love the story so very much. Tomás was always there to save the day and in turn, make the reader swoon and want to be rescued right along with Beatriz. 

The only issue is that now I'm interested in reading the previous two books in the series. They aren't necessary to understand this one but I think that the back story from those two books would just make this one even richer. Great book, great author and it was a nice break from my usual romantic suspense novels. 

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

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Book Review: Playing for Keeps (Neighbor from Hell #1) by R.L. Mathewson

Done with being the world's biggest pushover, Haley decides that things are going to change starting with the aggravating neighbor who has too much charm and not enough restraint. What she didn't expect was to sucked into his world, but Haley has a game plan and she won't let herself forget just what the bad boy next door is capable of.

The last thing Jason expected was for his little shy neighbor to go Rambo on him over some ruined flowers. After he decides to take her under his wing he can't help but that notice that she fits very nicely in his life. Now the only left is to convince her that this is anything but a game.


Hands down, one of THE best books I've read this year. I haven't laughed so hard while reading a book in a while. This book was nothing short of amazing. 

I don't even know where to start. Maybe with the fact I've never read anything from this author before. Why? Possibly because I'm brain damaged or something. There's really no other reason for me to not have read this series. 

The characters were fabulous. I LOVED Jason. He was such a jackass and such a damn turd but you can't help but love his antics and in turn, him. Poor Haley. I felt so badly for her. I just wanted to go kick Jason's ass for her. I want to go into everything that happened within these pages so that you can see why it was so awesome but I can't. I can't steal that first-read-magic from you. I'll just say this ... Jason meant to make Haley's life hell and Haley figured that ignoring the issue would make it go away. It reminded me of elementary school. Every girl had that one dude in class who would not leave us the hell alone and we would try everything within our powers to get him to stop because we just didn't understand why it was happening. Boys seem to like to irritate and tease the ones that they like ... that's all I'll say. 

The sparks were just flying between these two characters on every single page. It was a great thing to experience because it made for such a light-hearted and fun read. Unfortunately, I was an idiot and blew through this book entirely too quickly. That's easy to do when the plot seems to be written so effortlessly and the characters are so captivating. 

Here's the deal, if you like romantic novels that are sweet and funny and you like plots that move along at an exciting pace or if you just like a good book, this is the one for you. I'm a big fan of this author and I can't wait to read more books in the series. Absolutely marvelous. 

Book Review: The K2 Virus by Scott Rhine

A new variant of the human coronavirus, K2, sweeps through North Korea. An unsuspecting biochemist delivers a routine batch of flu vaccines to Seoul. When he agrees to play translator for an attractive reporter, he stumbles into a perfect storm of political and biological forces. If he’s going to survive, he’ll need all the principles of Taekwondo he’s been taught since childhood: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, a fast kick, and even faster footwork.


This is the first book I've read by Scott Rhine and the first medical thriller that I've read in forever. I used to read a lot of books by Michael Palmer but it's been a good while since I've picked one up. Anyway, this one is along the same lines as that. 

The first thing that I noticed was that the author wrote this book almost as if the virus was a character. It was VERY interesting to experience the book this way. I'm not entirely sure why I feel like this ... it's probably just the way it was written. Anyway, I liked it. It gave the book a different spin. Now, I have absolutely no clue if this is what Rhine intended ... it could be completely in my own head but either way, it was a good thing. Even if I just imagined it. 

I enjoyed how intricately this book was written. I completely believed that everything was absolutely how things in the pharmaceutical industry works. Again, no idea if this is true but the author made it so believable that it brought a scary realness to the plot. Little side note: I really got a kick out of seeing an electron microscope within the story ... my dad is a retired forensic criminalist and I remember when his office got their first electron microscope and our weekends were filled with collecting "samples" of everything known to man so he could scan it. Anyway ... it was just neat seeing that in there for some reason. 

Like I said, the story is very intricate. It's a smart read, very detailed and not one that you can just blow through in an afternoon. And you're not intended to. The K2 Virus is very thought provoking because of the details that the author has put onto the pages. But because of this, I found that it reads very dry and detached. That's not necessarily a bad thing for all readers ... I personally didn't enjoy it because I had a hard time really getting to know the characters. I didn't feel any connection to them. Just too far removed from the characters for my taste. You know how you love some books where the plot is lacking but the characters are great? Well, on the other side of the spectrum, there are books that put the plot first and the characters take a back seat. Nothing wrong with that, just a different writing style. 

I like my books to have the characters be the star of the show. That's the only reason this book received only three stars from me. Otherwise, it's beautifully written and something I know a lot of people are going to really enjoy read this. 

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

Available Now

Monday, September 12, 2016

Book Review: The Sapphire Affair (Jewel #1) by Lauren Blakely

Bounty hunter Jake Harlowe knows how to track a criminal. So when a group of swindled shareholders hires him to trail their former CEO, Jake expects a quick trip to the Cayman Islands to close another case. Until a devastatingly beautiful woman gets in the way.

Steph Anderson is visiting the Caymans for a rock climbing and dive trip—or so she tells Jake. She’s really trying to find out whether or not her stepfather embezzled money from his company. The last thing Steph needs is the distraction of a sexy, charming man whose kisses drive her wild.

Soon, the pair discover they’re after the same target—and millions in jewels. While Jake can’t be certain Steph isn’t working for her stepfather, and Steph can’t be certain Jake isn’t after the diamonds for himself, they can agree the heat between them is intense, and neither can deny the passion for long.

But the morning after, Steph discovers that she just might have slept with the enemy, and now she’ll have to outwit him to get everything she needs…


I've heard amazing things about author Lauren Blakely, so when the opportunity arose for me to read one of her books, I totally jumped on it. Unfortunately, it didn't go how I thought that it would. 

The story line was okay with this one but I think my biggest issue was with the characters themselves. Don't get me wrong, I loved Steph and Jake. Oh, how I loved Jake. But I didn't enjoy them together. Steph is this amazingly strong woman who has been put through hell with a previous relationship and I admired her determination to get what she wanted business-wise. And Jake ... well ... he's this good-looking who hunts down stolen stuff and he's tough as nails. 

Maybe I'm just looking for the hard and soft combination between love interests, I don't know. But I do know that I didn't feel any sizzle between Steph and Jake. The words were there on the pages letting me know that there was this amazing chemistry between the two but I just didn't buy it. It just didn't feel like that when I was reading it. 

The story was okay ... some of the situations that the two main characters found themselves in was intriguing and I found myself wanting to like them because of what they were going through but I just couldn't. I wanted that strong bond to form and for me to get all swoony when they were together but for me, I just couldn't get it. I know that I keep talking about Steph and Jake and their interactions but sometimes, I think that the success of a romance novel lies within the chemistry and this just didn't toot my whistle. 

I don't know if I will write off Blakely all together. I'll probably give her another shot, this book wasn't terrible, it was pretty good but it just missed the mark with the characters for me. 

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

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Book Review: Hello Again by Stan Schatt

A dead lover wants company. Meanwhile, a no-nonsense detective who doesn’t believe in ghosts teams up with a psychic who fears something very evil is stalking its prey. A scientist finds that modern science can’t explain what he’s experiencing.

Bill met the woman of his dreams, but now she’s become his worst nightmare as her text messages become more demanding and threatening. How can he avoid her when she seems to know every step he takes? When high-tech equipment fails to explain the mystery, he finds the only solution might be to meet her face-to-face. 

When I was initially approached about this book, I almost said no because I read A LOT into the paranormal part of this story. I'm glad that I didn't let that stop me from picking it up because it was an interesting premise for a story. The meat of the plot was amazing. Personally, I just had a few issues with other things but it was entertaining and that's what I like when reading. 

First ... BEAUTIFUL cover. And yes, that matters. I'm just going to jump in here with my review, I apologize if it seems disjointed at times, I have quite a few notes and I want to fit it all in here. I really liked the main character, Bill. He's one of those gentle souls that you really never seem to meet anymore in real life. But. He was a bit ... narcissistic. He was constantly rating himself and commenting on what he looked like or thinking about what he looked like and then the ratings. He rated basically every woman that crossed his path. For such a sweet and caring guy, he seemed only interested in looks and he's an older dude ... not like 90 or anything but he was a little too focused on looks. Surely he would have learned by now, right? 

Unfortunately, Bill was really the only character that I had any feelings toward. The other secondary characters really didn't stand out to me. And the interactions between the characters felt stilted or flat and as if something was missing. There were a few places where there was more explaining of the dialogue than actual dialogue or more internal thoughts. It just slowed the book down a bit.

Like I said before, the plot of the book was great. I thought that it was super interesting and it gave me the creeps at times. That's a good thing! Being creeped out by a book just means that it reached you and I'm always looking for a book to evoke some kind of emotion from me. 

Anyway ... back to the plot ... it was great. But it was sterile. It reminded me of an operating room where everything is neatly arranged and no two items are touching each other. No mess, no nonsense. Sometimes I want a mess. Sometimes I want nonsense. It makes the story seem more realistic when it's messy. Well, to me at least. 

All in all, not a bad book. It kept my attention and kept me interested while the pages flipped past. This is a great book for readers that enjoy a slow-burn of a read ... something that really takes its time building up to a big crescendo of an ending.

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

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Book Review: Semi-Scripted (Wanderlove #2) by Amanda Heger

Marisol Gutierrez has come to Los Angeles with a single goal: win the prestigious grant that will save her family's struggling medical clinic back in Nicaragua. But, when a cute guy invites her to sit in the audience of a hip-but-failing comedy program, Marisol figures she'll get a little entertainment out of her otherwise stress-filled trip.

Evan Abramson thought an internship at "The So Late It's Early Show" would be the start of a long television-writing career, but their ratings are sinking. With every show, his plans seem one step closer to collapse. When a backstage crisis throws him into an onstage encounter with a gorgeous and charming audience member, Evan and Marisol become overnight sensations. And soon their made-for-television romance is the only thing keeping "So Late" from cancellation.

As things heat up onscreen and off, Marisol and Evan are caught between their careers and their growing feelings for one another. Being together in front of the cameras puts Marisol's grant at risk, but keeping their romance offscreen means Evan's show is sure to fail. Together they have to decide whether to stick with the script and save their careers or improvise their way toward a happily ever after.

This is the second book that I've read by Amanda Heger but the first in this series. I hardly ever pick up a book in the middle of a series when I've not read the previous ones but there are always exceptions. Those exceptions usually revolve around how much I really enjoy an author's writing. And that's what the thing was this time. I really enjoyed a novella that I beta-read this summer from Heger. Which is really good, btw ... but that's another blog post. 

First, the cover is beautiful. Should this matter? Nope. But it totally does. I'm a cover-judger. When I first started in on Semi-Scripted, I felt a little lost. I'm not completely sure why that was ... it quickly cleared up but I was totally disconnected from the story for the first few chapters. More than likely, that is all on me. Sometimes, I'm just not in it, you know? It's not fair to the book at all and after I got out of my little funk, the story chugged along and I found myself enjoying it more than I had initially thought that I would. 

I didn't really know what to think of Marisol at first. She was such a determined lady but acted like an excited little girl at the prospect of going on this one television show and it was sweet to see that side of her because she does seem a little closed off at first. The reason she seemed closed off was very apparent ... this chick had a lot of stuff resting on her shoulders and she (along with the reader) didn't know if she would be able to pull off what she needed to in order to get the grant her family so desperately required. The further you get into the book, the more I began to adore Marisol. Each interaction with Evan just endeared her more to me. 

And poor, poor Evan. This guy has just about one of the worst jobs in the tv industry and you can completely feel his pain. Watching his desperation morph into something else when he was with Marisol was what I absolutely love about this book. The chemistry between these two made me laugh and sigh and want more. Every time another character came into a scene, I just wanted them to go away so that it could be only Evan and Marisol. 

This was a pretty good book! I'm curious about the first book in the series and any others that might come after. This one was a sweet romance novel that was an easy read. I'm glad that I was asked to read it and I'm looking forward to see what else Heger has in the works.

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

Available: November 8th, 2016