Thursday, January 19, 2017

Book Review: A Millionaire at Midnight by Naima Simone

Boston socialite Morgan Lett is having a run of bad luck. Her fiancé just dumped her for her stepsister, the charity foundation she’s given her life to is in danger of folding, and now, the gorgeous man she bid on and won at a masquerade bachelor auction turns out to be a cold-hearted jerk…and her new employer.

Millionaire Alexander Bishop needs the best wife money can buy. In order to inherit his family business, he must get engaged—fast. And Morgan, with her beauty and pedigree, is the perfect candidate. Her sharp tongue may drive him crazy, but she needs money to save the foundation she loves, and he needs a fiancée. It’s a flawless arrangement—no strings, no love. But soon she has him craving more, and cursing the platonic terms of their agreement.

Still, he won’t allow need—no matter how hot it burns—to threaten everything he’s built.


The opening paragraph of a book always kind of sets the pace for the rest of the book. The opening paragraph for this one? Dude. I was rolling. Absolutely hilarious. I knew right away that this book and I were going to be good friends. 

The main character is Morgan and she's this foul-mouthed, sassy little thing that I totally connected with. She's a kindred spirit. I like the leading ladies that have a sailor's vocabulary because I don't always talk like a lady and it's good to know that there are others like me out there. Anyway, I loved Morgan throughout the entire book. She could do no wrong. Plus, she liked Divergent so we know she has good taste and is also a wonderful person. Pretty sure that's how you know if someone is a good person.

Anyhow, our leading man, Alexander, is also perfect. You know why? He's a reader. He likes Harry Potter and Maze Runner so basically the perfect man. Honestly, I don't know the last time I read a book about a manly main character that actually likes reading. This may be a first for me. Which is pretty sad seeing as how many books I've read ... you'd think that more characters would be readers. So Alexander is this gruff dude that I would think was dead inside if it weren't for the reading habits. But you can't help but love him. I connected with him very quickly and I (like Morgan) started to enjoy his brusk manner. 

Now these two characters were nothing short of spectacular when they were together. You've got this super sassy and ornery Morgan and this grumpy old goat Alexander. Morgan would just pick on Alexander and it had me giggling because I was just waiting for Alexander to come unhinged. She poked the bear ... so many times. The chemistry between these two was perfect. 

So if I loved the characters so much, why did I not give the book 5 stars? Well, the book really slowed down for me about halfway in. It was moving at this great pace and then it just kind of slugged along for me. I wish that it had kept the excitement up for me and then this would have easily been a 5 star rating. 

All in all, a great reading experience and I'm excited to see what else this author has in store for us because this one was gooood.

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

Available: February 13th, 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Book Review: Wanting to Remember, Trying to Forget (Meet the Shepards #1) by Jacqueline Francis

Women want the hot guy, right?

They want rock hard abs and ripped biceps. Women don’t want the skinny dork. No. The skinny dork gets shoved to the back seat. The skinny dork gets stuck in the friend-zone. And that’s where Max has been trapped for six years.

The woman of his dreams is right in front of him yet still beyond his reach. Why? Because Danny is in love with someone else, the hot guy with rock hard abs and ripped biceps. Life sucks! Good guys always finish last. Just when Max is ready to give up, Fate steps in and with the help of two annoying friends, he gets the opportunity he’s been waiting for. The underdog finally has a chance to get the girl. The question is: Is he brave enough to take it?


Sometimes I think that I'm my own worst enemy when I'm reading a book. I like story-lines that are swift moving and I think that sometimes when they aren't, I sabotage my own reading experience because the book isn't moving as quickly as I want it to. I'm not entirely sure if that is what happened with this one but I suspect that it was. This book does not move quickly. That's not necessarily a bad thing. There are a lot of readers out there that don't mind the slow pace and actually prefer it. Unfortunately, I'm just not one of those people. 

This book was slow moving from the very beginning to the end. And while that captured my attention when I first started reading, it didn't keep it. I think that's because in the beginning, there is a bit of drama and drama being drawn out is amazingly frustratingly wonderful. You just want to know more but you're enjoying the suspense and watching the train wreck unfold before you - we've all been there, I'm sure. But that drawing out process throughout an entire book just doesn't blow my skirt up. To me, rather than enjoying the book, I get impatient. Impatient me is a jerk.

I liked the characters for the most part. I was told beforehand that the book featured a beta-male. Won't lie, totally looked that shit up. It's just not a phrase that I've ever heard before which is strange considering the phrase alpha-male is used quite frequently. That being said, I didn't mind that the leading man, Max, is a beta-male. I kind of liked the change of pace from all of the other alpha males I read about the rest of the year. Actually, I found him to be the most intriguing character of the whole book. It was really Danny that I just didn't really like. I don't know if it was her personality or what but I thought that she was just one of those females that would irritate me. She was completely oblivious to everything in her life and it made me want to shake her until she woke up. For me, I thought that she took a backseat to Max. I think that if the book had been primarily from his POV that I might have liked it more because I wanted to know more about him than I did her. 

I did find myself skipping some of the long descriptive paragraphs ... I like more dialogue in a book. I like those verbal interactions more than being told about them through descriptions or inner monologues. I think too much of those descriptive paragraphs can weigh a book down and that's what happened to this one when I was reading. I wanted to crack a whip and get the book moving along more. Not a bad book but not one that I'll read again any time soon since I like a more fast paced story-line. 

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

Available Now

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Book Review: Stripped Bare (Vegas Billionaire #1) by Heidi McLaughlin

They don’t call it the Strip for nothing. . . .

In this sinfully sexy Las Vegas romance from bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin, a man who has it all reunites with a woman who takes it all off.

Living in Sin City, Finn McCormick is no stranger to one-night stands, but the last person he expects to find losing big on the casino floor is a former high school fling. Even though Macey Webster’s clearly down on her luck, she’s still a knockout, and she’s dressed like a stripper—because she is one. Drunk off an unfamiliar cocktail of lust, pity, and compassion, Finn offers to pay Macey’s debts if she cuddles up to him around town . . . and does whatever he wants between the sheets.

Macey came to Vegas for one reason only: money. She’s got a young daughter to support, and the tips really are bigger in Vegas. But when she blows her earnings on blackjack, her guardian angel is the rich boy who once stole her heart and never called her back. Although Macey would love to turn the tables on Finn, she can’t afford to refuse his proposition—and soon she’s enjoying herself much more than she cares to admit. Macey’s used to baring her flesh, but baring her soul will take far more courage.


Just as a heads up ... this is going to be a rough review. I'm going to try to keep everything constructive ... try being the operative word because I'm a little irritated. Maybe more than a little and it feels almost irrational. Which doesn't translate into anything good. 

Without giving anything away that isn't in other reviews ... yes, this is a modern-day retelling of Pretty Woman. And by "retelling" I mean that it is pretty freaking close to the movie. Too close. There are some iconic scenes in that movie that were not a retelling. It was the same darn thing. In my readers-mind, I want a retelling to kind of pay homage to the original but not try to BE it with a few twists added. 

There were  a couple of times when our lead character, Heidi, told Finn (our dashing young wannabe Richard Gere) to not insinuate that she was a prostitute and of course, after him telling her that he wouldn't, you guessed it ... he did. Just like the movie. Then there was the creepy old dude that is a work associate of Finns and yep! You guessed it again ... skeezy old dude hit on her. 

I think that all of that would have been a little bit more okay if the book hadn't been predictable and the characters bland. Does our hero, Finn, (the strapping young gentleman that should have made me swoon) stand out in my mind? No. All I could think about is how Richard Gere could beat his ass. I didn't really like Finn as a person and that's probably because I felt like I didn't know him at all. 

Same goes for Heidi. This woman came across as a doormat. I don't want to read about that! Not in a romance novel! I want to read about a woman who started out as a doormat and then she clawed her way to the top of that horribly deep hole, conquered her self esteem and flipped the bird to anyone that had ever put her down and made her feel like crap. That's not what I got here. 

And there's this twist at the ending ... it just irritated me. Not only because I guessed it at the very beginning but because it was simultaneously made a huge deal out of and swept under the rug. Basically, not the book for me. I'm not too sure how I feel about this author. Does she write other retelling-esque novels? Are they all going to irritate me like this one did? Think I might keep a distance for the time being. 

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

Available: March 28th, 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

Book Review: It Started With a Kiss (Sequoia Lake #1) by Marina Adair

With a kidney transplant behind her, Avery Adams is determined to channel her inner adventurer and explore everything life has to offer. Only problem is, the closest she’s ever come to a real-life adventure was sixth-grade science camp. So to seize the summer in her rustic Sierra Nevada town, she takes a job as a guide at the local adventure lodge. But Avery doesn’t realize her biggest challenge will register at six-plus feet of rugged good looks and alpha-male charm.

As a member of the Sequoia Elite Mountain Rescue team, Tyson Donovan has made a life out of cheating death and rescuing weekend warriors from the treacherous terrain. “The world is my home” is more than just a motto; it’s what scares off women who would otherwise try to tie him down. When his dad’s health lands the family’s adventure lodge in serious danger of going up in flames, he moves home—and quickly remembers why he left. Until he meets Avery, the irresistible new guide who makes him want to stay.

Tyson gives the inexperienced Avery a lesson in romance that her books could never teach her. And with her undeniable spirit for life, Avery shows Tyson the healing power of love. But with one misstep, everything comes crashing down, and they’ll both have to take the biggest leap of all—into the kind of adventure that lasts a lifetime.

This is the first book that I've read by Marina Adair. I'm not totally for sure if I'm a fan or not ... something just missed the mark with me on this one and I can't quite put my finger on it. 

When you start reading, you're dropped into Avery's life after she's had this life-altering kidney transplant. It's made abundantly clear that Avery has a new lease on life. And that's great! This chick is learning to live in the moment and more power to her. But even knowing that ... her character didn't seem consistent. I imagine going through something like Avery has, it really changes your perspective on things and maybe you do start to honestly change. And maybe with that comes some wavering within a persons character. Even still, Avery didn't seem like a complete character. Something was just off about her and it lasted the entire novel for me. It does make me think that maybe it was intentional on the author's part for Avery to come across like that but it didn't sit well with me. 

The story itself was ... okay. For being an outdoorsy book with this hero leading male, I thought that he would have a personality that was larger than life to go along with it. And he did sometimes. But it wasn't consistent. While I liked most of the characters in the book, none of them really stood out as people I will remember in the coming months. I won't be reading my next book and then still thinking about the characters from this book. And that's okay, I just prefer to have characters that stick with me. I want to WANT to know more about them and miss them when I've moved onto something else. 

Unfortunately, I didn't think that the plot was any more engaging than the characters were. It was okay but it didn't grab my attention and refuse to let go. There were parts where I felt like I should have been empathizing with the characters or at least feeling some sort of sad emotions for what was going on but that didn't happen. I think that feeling emotional while reading this was the intention but apparently, my heart is made of stone. And then the ending ... for the love of all things fluffy. The ending was sugary sweet and it was a tad too much. The rest of the book hadn't been that way and it just felt odd and ill placed. 

While I didn't hate the story and/or author, I don't know if I will read another book by her. There are tons of awesomely high ratings for this book right now, so I apparently missed something. 

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

Available: January 31st, 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book Review: Deadly Omissions by Lauren Reign

Harper Sloan is a warrior. She’s survived the childhood from hell and clawed her way out on her own. But no amount of life experience could have prepared her for the heartache Colton would bring. He was the best man she’d ever dated, until he shattered that flawless image with his unthinkable deception. Colton is a liar, but so is Harper. And now her own secrets may have deadly consequences.

FBI agent Colton Brady made a choice. He faked his death, going undercover to save his best friend's life from a serial killer, but it cost him the woman he loves. When he learns Harper is involved with a dangerous loan shark, he forces his way back into her life. Harper may hate him, but there is no line Colton won't cross to protect her.

I seem to have read a completely different version of this book than everyone else or something. This book received super high ratings and I'm a little shocked by how much I just didn't get and/or like this book. 

One of the first things that I noticed was the fact that there was more talking about conversations than the characters actually having them. Basically what would happen is the characters would think about half of the conversation in an inner dialogue and then finish the conversation in a ... you guessed it ... actual conversation. It was very strange. I found that I wasn't getting to know the characters as much as I wanted to because about half of the time, you never got to experience them interacting with anyone else. Because of all of this, the book reads more like a monologue. 

The timeline in the book is also muddied beyond recognition. I have absolutely no clue how long it was between some of the scenes. It's insinuated that a long time has passed in some of the inner dialogues but it isn't always stated. It's difficult to get your bearings in a book when you feel like you're caught in a vortex of timeless space where no one talks to each other, they just think about it.

There were about 75 zillion characters that you have to keep up with. Unfortunately, they kind of just meld together after a little while. That's not good. All of the male characters seemed to be exactly the same, they just had different names and different women that they hovered around. Maybe it feels this way because there were 10 different stories going on at once and you were never able to fully invest into any of the story because there was so much going on. 

I'm not sure if there is a book that preceded this or what. I felt like I never fully understood why certain things were happening in the book or why characters were behaving the way that they were. In addition to so many things going on, there was tons of shit that was completely omitted. The characters would be at the beginning of a situation and then it would just skip over what happened and then the characters would vaguely touch on it later. HEY!! I want to read that shit! It's the entire reason I picked this book up - to read about this story that the blurb on the back of the book hinted at. I don't want stuff skipped over. 

The only reason this book got two stars from me is because there were hints of a good story in there. I liked the bones of the book but there was too much going on, too many characters that were too similar, main characters I barely knew, a ridiculously vague timeline and too much skipped over. If it weren't for that and a few more things, I would have liked this book. Not for me but there are a ton of people who just loved this. I don't understand what they saw that I didn't but I'm glad that they had a better reading experience than I did.

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

Available Now

Friday, January 6, 2017

Book Review: Not in My Wildest Dreams (McKenna #2) by Jamie Hollins

It really sucks to be in love with someone who sees you as nothing more than a friend. Darcy Owens knows this from personal experience. From the moment she met Sean McKenna as a shy ten-year-old, he’s owned her heart. So when he asks for her help with an important construction project, she can’t say no.

Building a boutique hotel on Boston’s waterfront is a career-making opportunity, and Sean needs Darcy’s interior design expertise. She’s incredibly talented, and there is no one he trusts more. He knows he can always count on his childhood friend, but doesn’t know why he’s thinking about her tight skirts and blue eyes instead of tight deadlines and blueprints.

When Sean and Darcy’s excitement about their work turns into an entirely different kind of excitement, it’s a sexy surprise. But they soon realize that building a new relationship is more challenging than building a new hotel, especially when life-long habits and old insecurities create cracks in the foundation.


I haven't read anything by Jamie Hollins prior to this and maybe that was one of my issues with this book. I don't think that having read the previous book that my thoughts would have changed but I may not have read this one if I had read the first one. I don't know. I'm a little torn on this book. 

I always enjoy the friends to lovers plots. I think that they are interesting and I love watching the struggle between those two relationships morph into something, whether it ends as expected or not. I think it shows a lot of depth of character when the author puts the characters through these kinds of obvious stretches. And that part of the book worked well for me. I liked how the story was framing out to be and I enjoyed getting to know the characters. 

I immediately really liked Darcy. I admired how she could say what she was thinking and her not have any kind of remorse for that. I wish that I could just say what I think to people's faces but I always feel badly because it might hurt someone's feelings. So I do the healthy thing and just internalize everything and go home and eat my feelings. So living vicariously through Darcy was a fun little ride for a couple of days. I also really liked Sean. Boy, did he like to poke the bear! Sean is an ornery little shit and you'll go between wanting to karate chop his throat or make out with him. His behavior shouldn't be attractive but for some reason, it is. 

Like I said before, I liked how the story was put out there. But. You get about 80% done with the book and it feels like the story has reached its natural ending. But it keeps going. And going. If I had stopped the book at that 80% mark, this would be a totally different review and rating. I liked it up until that point. Then I just wanted the story to end. It didn't feel right, the conversations felt forced, the plot felt stretched to its max and it just lost the magic I had previously found on those pages. I didn't even finish the last tenth of the book! That has never happened before. I don't know why I had this type of reaction to the ending. This is literally a first for me. It makes me wonder if the first book was like this as well. 

I don't know if I'll be reading another book by this author. I mean, she can write. REALLY well. But I just don't want to be crushed under another extra long, unnecessary ending.  

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

Available: February 7th, 2017

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Book Review: The Keeper by Jillian Liota

Soccer goalie Rachel Jameson is in her final year at Glendale College on academic and athletic scholarships. It’s quite the achievement for a young woman who grew up in a home filled with drunken abuse, who barely made it out of high school alive.

But she’s smart, dedicated, and has her eyes set on that cap and gown next spring. Nothing’s going to get in the way of a hard-fought battle for the freedom and independence she’s so desperately craved.

Until she meets Mack.

He stumbles into her world with a flirty smile and warm eyes – a man that pushes Rachel out of her comfort zone and into his arms. Their chemistry is swift and undeniable, and soon after meeting the two recognize the depth of their connection.

But an unfortunate circumstance forces the two to abandon their romance before it has truly begun. Rachel’s carefully planned life begins to shake like an unstable house of cards, and when she risks losing Mack completely, she has to decide what’s more important.

Her future.

Or theirs.

When author, Jillian Liota, first approached me about giving her book a read, my initial reaction was a resounding HELL NO. Was it because of the author? Nope. Was it because of the cover? Negative. Was it because of the blurb? Not entirely ... I saw the word "soccer" in the blurb and my stomach started to turn. Weird thing to refuse a book for a word, right? Well of course it is. Unless you decided to play soccer when you were around 10 years old and it was the most horrific two weeks of your life. Horrific may be a stretch. But it was bad. Anyway, I actually asked Liota how much soccer was actually in the book - everything hinged on that answer. Luckily, she said that it was just a small smattering of soccer nonsense (my words, not hers) and that I could easily replace those soccer moments with softball moments (my preferred sport) instead. So that's what I did and dude. Couldn't be happier that I made that decision because I found a new author to book-stalk! 

If I'm completely honest, those few soccer moments weren't too difficult to digest because of how talented of a writer Liota is. She made me forget my intense hatred of soccer and just enjoy the book. I didn't think that would happen. The story was engaging from the very first page and I soon found myself not wanting to do anything but read because I couldn't wait to see what would happen between Rachel and Mack. 

Those two ... man. I loved their story. I liked the push and pull between them that Liota created in this taboo relationship. This story is much deeper than just a romance - there are hurdles that Rachel has in her life that are heartbreaking and it's a bit difficult to read about. Not because it wasn't written about well but because it was written TOO well. It was realistic and absolutely plausible. This was the case with all of the characters and situations throughout the book. The characters burrow themselves into your heart and they soon feel like old friends. I liked all of the secondary characters almost as much as I loved Rachel and Mack. Fine. Mostly Mack. Because well ... he's Mack. You'll see. 

Everything really seemed to play out like a movie as I was reading, nothing was lagging or long winded and the story moved along at the steady pace that I love. Because of all of these things and about a million more, I had an awesome reading experience and I can't wait for the next Liota book.

This was just a great story. One that I won't soon forget and I believe that this is Liota's debut novel. If that's the case, holy crap. I can't wait to see what the next book is like because if it has just a smidgen of the spark that this one had, it's going to be amazing.

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

Available Now

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Book Review: Big Rock by Lauren Blakely

It's not just the motion of the ocean, ladies. It's definitely the SIZE of the boat too.

And I've got both firing on all cylinders. In fact, I have ALL the right assets. Looks, brains, my own money, and a big c*&k.

You might think I'm an a*&hole. I sound like one, don’t I? I'm hot as sin, rich as heaven, smart as hell and hung like a horse.

Guess what? You haven't heard my story before. Sure, I might be a playboy, like the NY gossip rags call me. But I’m the playboy who’s actually a great guy. Which makes me one of a kind.

The only trouble is, my dad needs me to cool it for a bit. With conservative investors in town wanting to buy his flagship Fifth Avenue jewelry store, he needs me not only to zip it up, but to look the part of the committed guy. Fine. I can do this for Dad. After all, I’ve got him to thank for the family jewels. So I ask my best friend and business partner to be my fiancée for the next week. Charlotte’s up for it. She has her own reasons for saying yes to wearing this big rock.

And pretty soon all this playing pretend in public leads to no pretending whatsoever in the bedroom, because she just can’t fake the kind of toe-curling, window-shattering orgasmic cries she makes as I take her to new heights between the sheets.

But I can’t seem to fake that I might be feeling something real for her.

What the fuck have I gotten myself into with this…big rock?


This book had been all over my news feed on Goodreads and let's be honest ... the cover caught my attention. Guys aren't the only ones that appreciate a pretty hot body. Dude. He's hot. Whew. Anyway, so of course, I needed to jump on this bandwagon and see what everyone was talking about. 

It was better than I ever could have imagined. The main character, Spencer, is cocky and conceited and so damn crass. I ... LOVED IT. I found his inappropriateness to be hilarious and honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if most guys felt the way that Spencer does. 

There are a lot of readers that were completely turned off by how this main character behaved. Some called him a douchebag (which he is), some said he was fake (I didn't get that one at all), some said the book was horrible and had no plot (these people are obviously dead inside). Here's the deal ... they're all right. How people feel about a book can be totally different from one person to the next. And that's okay. If you are easily offended, this is not the book for you. This dude talks about his junk like it should be knighted and maybe have a monument dedicated to it. If you don't mind the occasional f-bomb and a guy waxing poetic about his manly playground, then you should give this book a shot. 

I was really surprised by the humor! I was rolling as I read this book. Not literally but it could have happened because I read this in one sitting without getting up and my legs kept falling asleep. I just loved everything about how Spencer behaved and how Charlotte reacted to him. Charlotte was absolutely awesome. I loved her. The chemistry between these two was exciting to experience and I really wish that this was part of a series about them because I couldn't get enough of their back and forth. Plus ... Spencer. Le sigh. You know how things are so ugly that they begin to look cute? Spencer was such a cocky bastard that he started to look like a sweet guy with a  potty mouth that was misunderstood. 

Basically, the story kept me entertained. I loved every single word of this book and I can't wait to see what else Lauren Blakely has up her sleeve. I hope it's another book written from a male POV because she is a total badass at it. Love!! It will be a long time before I forget about it so I can read it again. 

Available Now

Monday, January 2, 2017

Book Review: After the Curtain Call by Nancy E. Polin, Elaine Radley

Single mother Amy Ross guards heart and privacy with fierce determination. When the curtain rises at the old theater, she sets aside past heartache and anger to revel in the new, exciting character she plays each night. When the theater owner brings in a handsome business partner to help with renovations, she quickly slams the stage door on any ideas of romance with the dashing actor.

Handsome film star Thomas Buchanan is intrigued by the mysterious leading lady. Her beauty and talent capture his attention, but the sadness he glimpses behind her cool demeanor draws him with a fire he hasn't felt in years. He yearns to know Amy better and forges a rocky friendship through her son's adoration of his movies. When danger returns from Amy’s past, Thomas discovers breaking through her emotional armor could be a deadly challenge.


I've never read anything by either of these authors so when I was approached by Ms. Nancy Polin to read this, I really didn't know what to expect. I don't know if I was expecting to love the book as much as I ultimately did. What a pleasant surprise!

I got a laid back feeling from this book as I was reading. While there didn't feel like there was a rush to the plot, it really scooted along nicely. There were a couple of times in the story where I felt like things could use a little bump to keep things flowing but other than that, it was great. I can usually pick out what is going to happen next with these romantic suspense novels but I must admit, this one caught me off guard a couple of times. That doesn't happen often but it's always welcome when it does! 

I enjoyed the main characters, Amy and Thomas. I liked the romance between these two and it was always interesting to see if Amy was going to brush him off or finally relent. I do wish that I had gotten to know all of the characters a little more ... I'm a greedy reader and I always want more than the author is willing to give. I just wanted to know more about them. At no point in the story did I feel like I didn't understand any of the character's motivations but at the same time, they did feel a little ... empty at times. I wanted to know them like I know my best friend - every single secret! 

All in all, it was a really great book. I was always interested and completely invested in the story and I found myself regretting reading it so quickly because I didn't want it to end. I'm interested to see what these authors have in store for them in the future because this one was great!

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

Available Now