Friday, April 14, 2017

Book Review: Until You (Bachelor Brotherhood #2) by Denise Grover Swank


Never settle down. Ever.
Workaholic Lanie Rogers lives a completely nomadic lifestyle. Her job keeps her on the move, and relationships are a complication she doesn't need. That is, until she meets Mr. Tall, Dark, and Hotness at a pre-wedding party. Complicated? Maybe. But lately, Lanie's life has been missing a little something---and sexy playboy Tyler Norris offers something she definitely can't refuse.

Tyler has always been a little too popular with women for his own good. Ever since he and his buddies vowed to remain bachelors, Tyler figured he was safe from temptation. Lanie and her gorgeous brown eyes are about to prove him so, so wrong. With one kiss, the heat is intense. After one night, it's pure combustion. It was supposed to be a no-strings fling---until these two commitment-phobes each discover the one undeniable exception to their rule.



 


I absolutely adored the first book in this series so when I saw this one up on NetGalley, I knew that I had to have it. I remember just being completely enamored with every single sentence in that first one. But that is not how things ended up this time. 

Everything was off to a great start ... in the beginning there was this one sentence about Lanie being cute when she is mad. My husband tells me the same thing and it always makes me want to simultaneously kick him in the kiwis and give him a big kiss. So I thought that this book and I were going to get along just fine. 

I think that it was a culmination of different things that just didn't work for me with this one. I didn't really like the main character, Lanie. That's not a good thing. I didn't feel connected to her at all. And even though I initially kinda started to like her, that quickly changed the more pages that I read. I felt like I wasn't able to get to know her the way that I had with Holly in the previous book. I understood what she was all about but I didn't feel like I actually knew anything about her. 

And then Tyler, Lanie's love interest ... I liked him just a tad bit more but it wasn't enough to redeem the book for me. I really enjoyed his conflicting emotions and all of the stuff with his family but again ... not enough. I didn't smile every time his name was on the page and he didn't make me all swoony. Usually I like the dudes that can't make up their minds and then getting to experience reality smacking them in the face. 

Then the book itself moved along slowly. If you have kids, you know what it's like to have to drag a tired and ornery little kid out of the store because you didn't time a shopping experience correctly and your little turd missed their nap time. That's what reading this book felt like. I felt like the mom struggling with her suddenly jello-esque child, trying to get them out of the store and into the car so that everyone can go home and nap. I'm not entirely sure what in the world was going on with my reading experience this time. I just loved the first book so much!! Whatever it was, I couldn't fix it. Maybe the next one will be a better fit. 

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



Available: May 30th, 2017



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Book Review: Down & Dirty by Tracy Wolff


This hard-bodied football star is used to scoring. But he needs all the right moves to get past a fiery redhead’s defenses in a steamy standalone novel from the bestselling author of Ruined.

Emerson: Talk about bad first impressions. I have too much riding on this job to show up late on my first day looking like the winner of a wet T-shirt contest, all thanks to an arrogant quarterback who drives like he owns the road. Hunter Browning thinks that because he’s famous, he can fix everything with a smile and a wave of his hand. He’s too bronzed, buff, and beautiful for his own good. Or mine. I can’t let on that I’m a fan . . . no matter how much fun we’d have in the sack.

Hunter: Hitting that puddle was my best play since winning the Super Bowl with a touchdown pass. Sure, it’s not my preferred way to get a girl wet, but I’ll make an exception for Emerson Day. She’s got a sharp tongue and a red-hot temper, even with her soaking clothes plastered to her every curve. Now I know exactly what my next play will be: hire Emerson as my personal real-estate agent, save her job—and see if I can take her off the market.



 


I've never read anything by Tracy Wolff but after the first chapter of this book ... I'm a lifelong fan. Dude. Within a few paragraphs, I laughed and cringed and got irritated and swoony ... it ... was ... awesome!!

I think that it was an instant love type thing with the main character, Emerson. She is a firecracker that will stand up for what she thinks, no matter who the audience is. She's a take no shit lady and I wish I could be her if I ever grow up. I loved how when the chips were down, she bucked up and basically said, "Not today, Satan!" Who wouldn't love a chick like that! Or anyone, for that matter. Well ... I'd prefer if our boys didn't buck up to me but anyone over the age of 18 whose underwear I don't have to clean should totally do it. It was refreshing to get to live her story for just a little bit. 

Now, Hunter. That asshat. And a cocky one at that. He just couldn't fathom that women aren't just fainting at his feet. And I loved every second of it. As irritated as I wanted to be with this ornery dude, I just couldn't. I couldn't not like him. I couldn't not smile every time his stupid name showed up on the page.

And these two together ... it was explosive. It made me tear through the pages like a mad woman just eating everything up. Usually, I write tons of notes on the books that I'm reading but this one, not one. I read it in one sitting while my preteen and teenage monsters were at school and I really wanted to pick it back up when I was finished to give it another go. Everything was perfect - the chemistry between Emerson and Hunter, the plot, the pace of the novel, the secondary characters, the descriptions ... just everything. 

I've been in a bit of a book slump and this book completely pulled me out of it. I can't wait to see what Wolff's other novels are like because if they are anything like this one ... my book bill this month will be pretty high and I'm going to have to think of a way to distract my husband away from how I'm going to $3.99 us into bankruptcy. It will be well worth it, I just know it.

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



Available: April 25th, 2017


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Book Review: The Heartbeat Hypothesis by Lindsey Frydman


Audra Madison simply wanted to walk in the shoes of Emily Cavanaugh, a free-spirited teenager who died too young. After all, Audra wasn’t supposed to be here.

Thanks to Emily, Audra has a second chance at life. She’s doing all the things that seemed impossible just two years ago: Go to college. Date. Stargaze in the Rocky Mountains. Maybe get a tattoo. You know, live.

Jake Cavanaugh, a photographer with mysterious, brooding gray eyes, agrees to help chronicle her newfound experiences. She makes him laugh, one of the only people who can these days. As they delve into each other’s pasts – and secrets – the closer they become.

But she’s guarded and feels like she can’t trust anyone, including herself.
And he’s struggling with the fact that his beloved sister’s heart beats inside her.



 


I don't know anything about this author, this is the first book I've read by her and I believe her first mass-published book. Not that that matters ... this chick just writes an amazing college student ... like she just went through this or is still in college or something. Totally in touch with that age group. Kind of a random comment to start off a review. That's kinda how my brain works when it's before 5am. 

Anyhow ... I liked Audra. At first. I don't know what in the world happened. I was really digging Audra and Jake and then the bottom kind of fell out of that. While I found Audra and her situation intriguing, after the first half of the book was over, I just didn't feel the same connection to her that I had felt before. I ended up finding her more irritating than endearing. 

There could be a strong correlation between my change in feelings towards Audra and what happened in the middle of the book because those two things seemed to happen very close to each other. I get about halfway through this book that is moving at a nice and steady pace and then it's like I hit quicksand. Everything slowed down to a snails pace and just almost hesitatingly, trudged along. That's when my attention span started to diminish. This slow down happened (what felt like) very suddenly and while I tried to push through and feel that same magic that I felt in the beginning ... it was gone. 

It took me a while to like Jake. I think it would be more accurate if I said that it took me a while to like Jake AGAIN. I liked him in the beginning, he was mysterious and broody with a hint of orneriness. But like the middle of the book, it felt like Jake began to disengage from the plot. Weird assessment, right? It honestly felt like he wasn't as involved in the book as he was before. I mean, he was on the pages but towards the middle, I just didn't get those same feelings (as a reader) from him that I did at the beginning. 

Unfortunately, the middle of the book seems to have been the death of this one for me. Pretty unfortunate, I liked how the beginning was going.

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



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Monday, April 10, 2017

Book Review: A Merciful Death (Mercy Kilpatrick #1) by Kendra Elliot


FBI special agent Mercy Kilpatrick has been waiting her whole life for disaster to strike. A prepper since childhood, Mercy grew up living off the land—and off the grid—in rural Eagle’s Nest, Oregon. Until a shocking tragedy tore her family apart and forced her to leave home. Now a predator known as the cave man is targeting the survivalists in her hometown, murdering them in their homes, stealing huge numbers of weapons, and creating federal suspicion of a possible domestic terrorism event. But the crime scene details are eerily familiar to an unsolved mystery from Mercy’s past.

Sent by the FBI to assist local law enforcement, Mercy returns to Eagle’s Nest to face the family who shunned her while maintaining the facade of a law-abiding citizen. There, she meets police chief Truman Daly, whose uncle was the cave man’s latest victim. He sees the survivalist side of her that she desperately tries to hide, but if she lets him get close enough to learn her secret, she might not survive the fallout…



 




Before I really delve into this review, I need to tell you that I'm in the minority with my feelings on this book. Almost 1800 people have read this book as of right this moment and it's rated at almost 4.5 stars. So my one star rating is ... not common. 

After I finished this, I was a little surprised to find out that this was a romantic suspense. I mean, I must have known that at some point because I picked this book and romantic suspense is my favorite genre. But I completely forgot and this book didn't remind me with how it was written. I didn't get romance ... at all ... I mean there were parts ... but this wasn't the kind of romantic suspense that I'm used to, maybe. 

Or I guess it could be the fact that this book couldn't keep my attention. That's not a good thing. I shouldn't look forward to putting the book down. And I did. A lot. Now this book wasn't badly written, it just read very dry to me. The conversations were extremely stiff and almost robotic. The further I got into the book, it wasn't just the conversations that I found dry. It became everything. And once that hit ... it was all downhill from there. 

I didn't enjoy even one portion of this book. I didn't like Mercy or Truman and I couldn't have cared less what happened to them in the past or what was going to happen to them or if they were going to get together or what happened with the case that they were working on. This was just not a good fit for me this time. 

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



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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Book Review: Red Water by Kristen Mae


He was trying to kill her, too…

Malory Shoemaker would prefer just about any place over the beat-up trailer she’s had to call home since her mom died, so even her tiny dorm room feels like an upgrade. And though she sometimes still hears her father’s whispers in her mind, she’s excelling at school, making new friends, and has even attracted an enigmatic admirer.

But when her new love interest begins to reveal his more unsavory appetites, Malory finds herself a hapless participant in sick games that force her to confront her nasty inner demons. As the game intensifies, so do the whispers in Malory’s head. Now she must decide: accept the fate she’s always believed inevitable, or risk losing the only person who ever made her feel like she was worth fighting for. But how do you let love in when the only thing that feels right is pain?

Erotic and disturbing, Red Water slithers under your skin with its dark, unflinching examination of the psychology of self-loathing and the secret, unspeakable lust for depravity that lies dormant within us all.



 


This is probably the most difficult review I've had to write in a long time. In all reality, probably the hardest review I'll have to write for years to come. 
I think the thing that I most want to communicate with people who decide to read this review is that it's not that I don't like this book. When I first picked it up, I really didn't know what to expect. I've never read anything by this author before and I was really in the dark as to how this might play out. I was immediately a fan when I found out that the main character, Malory, played the cello. I've played the cello since I was 9 years old ... holy crap ... that's almost 3 decades! So I completely understood what Malory was going through with the trials and tribulations of that. I think it's difficult for people who don't play an instrument or sport, for that matter, to understand the dedication and constant turmoil you put yourself through as you try to master something that seems so daunting at times. 

Unfortunately, I connected with Malory on another level also. Dating a guy that is abusive, no matter in which way, can be difficult. My dark times also happened in college, just like with Malory. I'm not totally for sure if that was the reason I had to skip paragraphs and pages of this book or what. But I'm sure that's not too far off base. Malory gets herself into this psychologically, emotionally and physically abusive relationship. Thinking that this was a romance novel with a twist was not anywhere near the truth. This is a novel about that abuse. It's about a chick's need to be in an abusive relationship because she thinks the kind of treatment she's getting is love. She accepts it. Craves it, even. 

This was a very dark, very disturbing read. If I was basing my rating just on how this book made me feel, I wouldn't give it any damn stars. I would have used it for kindling in a trashcan fire. That was my first instinct. But then I finished the book and I stopped and really thought about it. How amazing is an author if they are able to evoke such strong emotions from the reader? If she can make you absolutely HATE a character, make your stomach turn, make you want to cry ... that's got to mean she's pretty badass, right? I think so. 

So maybe this wasn't a book that I would read again. Ever. But that doesn't mean it wasn't well written. It doesn't mean that the story wasn't this deep, dark, black hole that sucks you in and won't let go. And it most certainly doesn't mean that it wasn't a good book. It was ... if you really enjoy the perversion that plagues some of our most inhumane population. While I'm glad that I read it, I'm also glad that I'm done.

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



Available: April 19th, 2017



Friday, April 7, 2017

Book Review: Reckless Hearts (Reckless Hearts #1) by Heather Van Fleet


Between boot camp and two TOD’s in Iraq, my buddies Max, Gavin and me have been through some serious hell. So the last thing I ever expected was to find the biggest challenge of my life back home.

My girlfriend died. I couldn’t even attend her funeral, let alone tell her goodbye or that I’m sorry I wasn’t there like I should’ve been.

But she left me a gift. The best and scariest one I could’ve ever asked for. One I didn’t think I could handle…until the day I saw her tiny blues looking up at me in that airport. Chloe.

Now here I am, raising my baby girl—with the help of my two best friends. Things couldn’t be better. Until she walked into my life.

All I wanted was a nanny. Someone to take care of my girl when I couldn’t. What I didn’t count on was Addison, the brown-eyed temptress with a body of sin, and everything I didn’t need, but suddenly wanted.









This was the first book I've read by Heather Van Fleet and I don't know if it will be the last. This book was ... okay ... it didn't blow my skirt up but it kept my attention for the most part. 

I think that my biggest beef with this one was how damn cheesy I thought that it was. There was an abundance of eye rolling going on on my part when I was blowing through this one. And it wasn't just a couple of times. This started at the beginning of the book and went straight through to the end. So I guess it's a good thing that it's so consistent? I don't know. It also wasn't just either words OR actions. It was both. From both main characters but mostly from Collin. He's this single father veteran and he is corny as hell. It made it difficult to take him seriously with what he was thinking and saying. He's the kind of guy that would try to pick up a chick at the bar with, "Do you have a map? Because I'm getting lost in your eyes." Gag me. 

While Collin is described as a cute guy, these kinds of words and actions instantly make him a freaking weirdo. Then that makes it difficult to see what Addison sees in this apparently desperate loser. Why should I root for Addison to like this dude when I can't stand him myself?

It wasn't a BAD book ... the premise was interesting ... Collin and his two buddies raising Collin's daughter but the cliche way in which he acted and talked just totally tanked the book for me. Not to mention how the book completely missed its natural ending about 5 times, in my opinion. It could have had a super clean ending 50-75 pages sooner but these new conflicts kept conveniently popping up and then the characters would have to work through that crap. I'm telling you, this author could have made a ten book series just out of Collin and Addison. It is what it is. Not my favorite for the year but not the worst either. 

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



Available Now




Thursday, April 6, 2017

Book Review: Rise of the Chosen (Lifeblood #1) by Anna Kopp


In Sam's world there are two rules. Rule #1: Nobody dies. Protect the living at all costs. Rule #2: Everybody dies. At least once.

The Waking was a global event in which a force called the Lifeblood invaded all humans who died. The few strong enough to control it came back as powerful immortals. The rest let the bloodlust take over and awoke with one goal - to kill.

Newly appointed Watch Guard Samantha Shields has a legacy to uphold. Her father died a hero defending their city and now she wants to follow in his footsteps. Except for the dying part, of course. Unfortunately, fate has other plans as she discovers deep dark secrets that make her choose between her loyalties and the lives of everyone in her city. Both rules are in play as Sam is forced to make hard decisions that could cost her everything - including the person she cares about most.







I can't even COUNT how many years its been since I have read a dystopian. That genre used to be my shit years ago. Thanks to two massive series that came out ... one with a dashingly handsome gentleman named Four. I need a Four. Maybe two Fours. Anyway ... uh ... if I'm totally honest, I didn't mean to click this book on NetGalley. I received an email about it and clicked it to see what all the excitement was about and BOOM! It added it to my shelf.

Yes. So. First dystopian I've read in quite a while and wow. Didn't think that I would like this as much as I did. Not because it's a dystopian but because it's about zombies. Don't like that stuff. Unless it's World War Z ... or Walking Dead ... it's derailment city around here today. Yeah, so I didn't think that I would like it but DUDE! The story was something I hadn't heard of before and it really grabs your attention! 

That being said ... I won't lie ... it was a tad difficult to read. That difficulty all comes down to it being from multiple POV's and you not really being clear on when the switch happens. I'm hoping that it was changed in another version of the book ... maybe a couple of page breaks or asterisks or something between the characters. It takes you a few sentences into the new POV to figure out who it is that's talking. And that can be a bit of a derailment in itself. It caused the book to read pretty choppy and there were what felt like a lot of starts and stops because things just didn't flow how I knew that they could. 

I liked the characters but again, they were a little difficult to get to know and I really think that it was because of the multiple POV's and the distracting qualities that were brought with it. The intriguing storyline made up for it. It was a fast-paced book that was full of shocking twists and turns that kept you on  your toes from the first page to the last sentence. 

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



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Monday, April 3, 2017

Book Review: Art & Seduction by Elaine Radley


The moment playboy Daniel Shaw walked into the gallery, Eliza Kendrick knew she had a problem. All that wavy, dark hair, his crystal-blue eyes, and a sexy sideways smile threatens her control. But she didn't want a player. She wanted a future. So what if she'd had one lapse. The "elevator incident" shouldn't count. Even if it did, it was only one time...

Daniel’s reputation preceded him, but it wasn't that bad. Was it? Even so, it was time to settle down, and he knew who he wanted by his side. He simply needed to convince Eliza. Of course, words can get in the way. They can even get you in trouble. Sometimes it's best just to let passion speak for you.



 


This review is going to be short and sweet. Just like this novel. No, I don't usually read novellas. No, I don't usually read erotica. 

That being said ... I really liked this one. This is the second novella that I've read by this author and once again, it was awesome. For such a short story - only 45 pages - the characters were absolutely perfect. I didn't feel like I wish that I knew something else about them or like anything was missing. The story was the same way ... the plot was perfect, everything was fleshed out and buttoned up at the end.

It read like it was a full length novel. There was a clear beginning, middle and end. I was left completely satisfied as a reader. I can't imagine how difficult it is to tell such an intricate story with so few words. It's quite impressive. 

This is definitely one that you need to give a go. Especially if you're new to the erotica genre. This will get your little toesies wet and introduce you into something you might be unfamiliar with. 

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



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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Book Review: Friendly Temptation by Elaine Radley


Ever since Katherine Ainsley's divorce, a hazy line has emerged in her relationship with best friend Dominic Corvalis — one teetering between companionship and lust. When he proposes a dare, she rises to the challenge, even after she finds herself in a place she's never imagined. Besides, Dom is there to support and tease, and the sexual tension percolating beneath their naughty errand is simply too tempting to resist. Perhaps they are meant to be more than just friends. She'll never know until she pushes him across that line...and into the bedroom.






So this book went kind of against what I usually read in two ways ... it's a novella (which I RARELY read) and an erotica (which I also very rarely read). But ... this was by an author that I enjoyed reading and when she asked that I give two of her novellas a go ... I thought, why not!

Here's the deal ... I'm not going to say much because this little gem is only 40-some pages long. I could say one sentence and ruin the whole thing! 

What I WILL say is that the reason I don't usually read novellas is because they are just too short. I've found that authors rarely have enough time to establish characters and the whole plot of the book and then finish it out in so few pages. But that wasn't the case with this one. 

I really enjoyed getting to know Katherine and Dom. I enjoyed them together even more. They brought some amazing chemistry and fireworks to the pages that I hadn't expected to experience so quickly. 

While this is a short story, it will keep you entertained and leave you a satisfied reader because it was entirely fleshed out (no pun intended) (or maybe it was) and you're left with no unresolved issues or feelings. It was just a great short story that I kind of wish went on longer because of how much I liked Dom. And I liked him. A lot. 

Another one knocked out of the park for Radley. I'll definitely be a reader of whatever she comes up with ... no matter the genre or the length. 

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



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