September 1, 2016

Book Review: Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton

Title:  Crimson Death 
Author:  Laurell K. Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  Now, in her twenty-fifth adventure, vampire hunter and zombie raiser Anita Blake learns how far she’ll go to save someone she loves… 

When Damian—Anita’s sometimes lover, servant, and friend—is kidnapped, Anita heads to Ireland. There she must face off against the vampire who created him. M’Lady, Moroven, Nemhain…under every name she brings terror and destruction. But Anita brings her own weapon to the party: Edward, the man known as Death itself…

My Review:


I want to preface this review by saying that I have always loved the Anita Blake series, and I probably WILL always love the Anita Blake series. I have read every single one, and I will continue to read until the bitter end. However, there are a couple of things that have become very common throughout the last 10 or so books that do bug me.

#1 - Anita still constantly questions EVERYTHING around her. Especially when it comes to her relationships, her men/women, anything involved with that. It gets a little old when you have to read a two page explanation or dialogue discussing why she does or does not kiss one man or another, or why or why not she used to kiss this person, and why she feels guilty because she doesn't anymore. Or something along those lines.

#2 - Every time Anita goes somewhere to do actual police work, there is always at least one person who offends her because they judge her for sleeping with the "monsters" or looks down on her because she's a woman. We get it! This always happens to her, everywhere she goes. I'm just kind of getting tired of reading about it in every single book.

#3 - So much of the good part of the story gets bogged down by Anita's personal relationship drama. If you're new to this series, then for god's sake don't start at book #25 - go back to the beginning so the rest of us don't have to repeatedly get a refresher course! And Hamilton needs to give us all credit. We know who Anita's lovers are, we know how they became lovers, we know how they all fit together. We don't need yet another detailed explanation of a person's history just because they walk into the scene.

#4 - The ending was rushed, as usual. So. much. build. up. and then the finale is over in a dozen pages. I didn't get the satisfaction out of it that I wanted. There needed to be be MORE to the ending. The final battle was literally a couple of paragraphs. So disappointing! Probably a good quarter of the first part of the book could have been cut out so that we could have gotten the payoff at the end. Ugh!  And based on the synopsis, there should have been so much more of Edward involved when Anita fights the big, bad, ugly, but he pretty much disappears for the whole last quarter of the book.  The biggest let down was that there was so much that happened at the end that needed more explanation, or at the very least a couple of paragraphs description.  It was more like a list of this happened, this happened, and then this.  This should have been the payoff for the entire book, and it just fizzled out.

Overall, I liked it, but only because I love this series, and I love these characters. I'm invested enough that it would take something awful to drive me away from reading these books. But, I can agree with a lot of reviewers that over time the story has lost something as more and more of the polygamy/polyamory angle is incorporated. I wish it would go back to being about the crimes, the police work, the magic, and while I do love the romance/relationship aspect of it, it needs to be done differently in a way that doesn't bog down the story so much.

If you are a fan of Hamilton or this series, you will definitely want to add this to your TBR list. There's still way more good than bad in these stories that 100% make them worth the read. I'm still a fan, and will be anxiously awaiting the next Anita Blake book!


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August 25, 2016

Book Review: Disengaged by Jamie Magee

Title:  Disengaged 
Author:  Jamie Magee

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  Dark Romance Novel, sensitive topics—highlighted with religious elements (hope in the face of hell).

Finding herself stranded in a new city, eighteen-year-old Ember Bloom thought she’d reached her all time low. She was wrong. A mindless walk to a dead-end job landed her in the path of her gambling fathers’ enemies. Her only defense was a stranger, Slayton Winslow, a known enforcer and fighter—rumored to be Odin’s prince, underground royalty. On sight, Slayton stole her breath and rushed her heart. Slayton’s enigmatic attraction to her, how stoically he shielded her only churned Ember’s attraction to the bad boy who had given her safe haven in a real life hell. The draw to him, how he could reach her without saying a word, gave her a reason to fight, to awaken. She knew every second could be their last in the city seeded with treacherous deceit and life threatening power plays.

My Review:  

This book was okay, but had the potential to be amazing. The beginning really kind of put me off, and it took me until the end to warm back up to the story. Jamie Magee jumps right into action as soon as the book starts, but the events were so disjointed and confusing that it takes a while to catch on to what exactly has happened. In a nutshell, the female MC, Ember, has been "kidnapped" by local bad boy Slayton. They don't know each other - have never met - but Ember seems perfectly content to be dragged all over town on the back of a motorcycle, getting pawed and kissed, and never getting one word in explanation. This guy ends up taking her to his storage building where he lives, and locking her inside with him. No questions asked, no explanations given. Blew my mind, but not in a good way. And all because she was attracted to him at first glance. He walked right up to her and kissed her and then took her. Yeah, not really believable to me.
So anyway, it does get better after this, and I did really like both Ember and Slayton, but Ember was still a little too passive for me to really LOVE her. Slayton is the ultimate bad boy with a heart of gold, but that's been done a million times over, so not really that special. The story was new and refreshing, and I liked how it all ended up. I especially liked the end of the book where we got to see into the future for quite a ways, and received closure.
Overall, it was a good read. Had a couple of problems that bugged me, but nothing too major. Definitely worth the read if this is your thing.

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August 24, 2016

Book Review: Four Letter Word by J. Daniels


T
itle:  Four Letter Word
 Author:  J. Daniels

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  Fate. Hate. Love. Lies.

Which four letter word will change their lives forever? 

In an effort to avoid dealing with the shocking end of her marriage, Sydney Paige high-tails it Dogwood Beach, North Carolina to vent her anger onto the man who broke her best friend's heart. But when she unknowingly dials the wrong number, Syd's newly single world is turned upside down by a stranger who wants to keep her on the line.

Brian Savage is living a life he's quickly come to hate- until Sydney and her innocently wild voice. But Brian has secrets, ones that could destroy everything between them. And when the woman on the phone becomes the lover in his bed, shielding her from the mistakes of his past becomes harder and harder...

My Review:


I really, really liked this book! The characters were intriguing right from the start, and I loved how their relationship began. Brian and Sydney were perfect for each other, and the chemistry between the two of them was perfect! I didn't want to put this book down, and that's always a good thing. There were only two things that kept me from giving this book 5 stars.


#1 - The dialogue was a little off to me. Brian, in particular, didn't use pronouns very often, which bothered me. So instead of saying, "I want you right now," he would just say, "Want you right now." I know that it's a small thing, but every time that happened, it jarred me out of the story.

#2 - The ending seemed rushed. There was this huge buildup through the entire book over what I just knew was going to be a big conflict. And while there was an altercation and tension, it didn't live up to what I needed it to be. I was ready for a knock-down, drag out fight, and instead I got a hasty make-up. It either needed to be the big event, or nothing at all. The in-between just left me disappointed

Despite these two things, I loved this book. I can't wait to read the next book in this series!


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August 19, 2016

Book Review: Amber's Adventures: Professor's Plaything by Jenna Sparkles


***Free for a limited time on Kindle Unlimited***

Check out the newest books in Jenna Sparkle’s “Amber’s Adventures” series for free on Kindle Unlimited, or only $2.99 for all others. 

If you like short, naughty stories, then these are definitely for you!



Amber’s Adventures: Professor’s Plaything http://amzn.to/2bCJQb9


My Review:

I don't normally read these short and dirty stories, but I have to say that Jenna Sparkles has me hooked!  She has offered all of her stories to me for free in exchange for an honest review, and so far I have not been disappointed!  
This book focuses on Amber's second year in college.  She passed her first year with flying colors, and is happy with her personal life.  She has a hot boyfriend that is sweet and sexy at the same time, and even helps her study.  Life couldn't be better.  Except for her Advanced Brit Lit class that is taught by Dr. Hawkins.  Dr. Hawkins sets unreasonably high standards for his students, and because of this, Amber is failing his class.  She has tried everything she can think of to improve her grades, but nothing is working.  So she decides to approach Dr. Hawkins and explain the situation to him, and then hope that he will empathize enough with her to help her out.  
This is where the story gets really interesting!  Dr. Hawkins proposes an *ahem* unconventional way for Amber to pass his class (cliche, but still totally hot!), and Amber is faced with a tough decision.  Does she betray her boyfriend, Matt, in order to pass this class?  Or does she just resign herself to a failing grade?  Once Amber makes her choice she commits wholeheartedly.  And she may just have a few surprises of her own for Dr. Hawkins.
Overall, it was a quick and uncomplicated read.  Perfect for a lazy afternoon or a lonely night.  I recommend it, but only if this is your sort of thing!

And don’t miss out on the first three installments of Amber’s sexy adventures:

Amber’s Adventures: Teacher’s Pet http://amzn.to/2aMTTOk

Amber’s Adventures: Daddy’s Girl http://amzn.to/2aZZiy0

Amber’s Adventures: Frat Boy Fun http://amzn.to/2aVnBin









Book Review: We Are Unprepared by Meg Little Reilly

Title:  We Are Unprepared
Author:  Meg Little Reilly
Genre: Fiction, Cli-Fi

Synopsis: We Are Unprepared is a novel about the next big storm, the one that changes our relationship to nature and each other…the superstorm that threatens to destroy a marriage, a rural Vermont town and the Eastern Seaboard when it hits. But the destruction begins months earlier, when fear infects people's lives and spreads like a plague. 

Ash and Pia's move from Brooklyn to the bucolic hills of Vermont was supposed to be a fresh start—a picturesque farmhouse, mindful lifestyle, maybe even children. But just three months in, news breaks of a devastating superstorm expected in the coming months. Fear of the impending disaster divides their tight-knit rural town and exposes the chasms in Ash and Pia's marriage. Ash seeks common ground with those who believe in working together for the common good. Pia teams up with "preppers" who want to go off the grid and war with the rest of the locals over whom to trust and how to protect themselves. Where Isole had once been a town of old farm families, yuppie transplants and beloved rednecks, they divide into paranoid preppers, religious fanatics and government tools.

We Are Unprepared is an emotional journey, a terrifying glimpse into the human, environmental and cultural costs of our changing earth. But hope awaits on the other side.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was okay for me. It started out promising, but there were several points along the way that it kind of bogged down and I lost interest. I would put it down and go off to do something else, and then come back to it later. I liked the narrator, Ash, but there were certain times where his inability or unwillingness to confront or stand up to his wife really annoyed me. This is the first "cli-fi" book that I have read, and while I did enjoy the events that created all of the tension and suspense in the story, I ended up feeling like even that was disappointing. There didn't seem to be enough real preparing or worry about what was going on. The storm event that happened didn't really seem to live up to all of the hype.

My favorite part of the book was when the focus shifted away from the storm and dealt more with the relationship between Ash and his wife Pia.  It is interesting to see how outside events and influences change people, sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better.  You learn more about a person in a second of crisis than you may ever know in a lifetime of peace and calm.  I enjoyed the journey that Ash and Pia went on as both evolved into different, and not necessarily better, people.

Overall, I guess I can say that it ended up being an okay read. If you like this genre, it is worth checking out.

**Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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August 18, 2016

Excerpt: Amber's Adventures: Frat Boy Fun by Jenna Sparkles

Title:  Amber's Adventures: Frat Boy Fun
Author: Jenna Sparkles
Genre: Erotica

Goodreads **  Amazon  ** Facebook

Synopsis:  Amber has finally made it to college! She can’t believe her luck when she is invited to her first frat party by the hottest guy she has ever met. She can’t wait to find out what it is all of the hot college guys do when they party. However, Amber may be in a little over her head when she finds herself tricked into helping “initiate” the new Beta pledges at a frat party. Amber is always up for anything, but this time she may have to ask herself if maybe you can have too much of a good thing.

Excerpt:  A heavy silence descended on us as we entered the room.  I jumped as the door closed with a heavy thud.  I squinted in the darkness and could barely make out four guys kneeling on the floor.  A candle flared to life, and Zack stepped up beside me.
“Wait here,” he said.  He carried the candle to the center of the room and set it on a table.  Then he walked down the line of people kneeling and gently touched each one of their bowed heads.
“My brothers, you are here tonight to pledge your loyalty and allegiance to the Beta house.  Once you are accepted into this house, you become our family.  And in order to be considered family, we have to trust you beyond doubt.  In order to do this, we asked you to complete a series of tasks that initiate you into the fold.  Tonight you will complete your last task and become Beta brothers.  Are there any here who do not wish to carry out this last and final task?”  Zack looked at the four on the floor, and then his eyes locked on mine.  He inclined his head slightly and I knew he was also asking for my consent.  I slowly nodded my head, and he rewarded me with a small smile.  I held my breath and wiped my sweaty palms on my skirt as I waited.  When Zack was satisfied that none of the pledges were going to back out, he stepped away and came to my side.  There were two other Beta brothers standing in the shadows, watching silently.
“Okay, Amber, are you ready?” Zack asked. 
“Yes,” I said.
Zack grabbed my hand and led me to the center of the room in front of the pledges.  He stepped behind me and pulled both of my arms behind my back.  Fear spiked through me as the other two Beta brothers suddenly appeared on either side of me. 
“Wait, what’s happening?” I said as I tried to twist around and look at Zack.
“Shhhh, it will be okay.  Trust me.”  Zack said as he held me still.  The two silent brothers grabbed my arms and held me steady.  I struggled and then panicked as I felt a scratchy piece of rope cinch tightly over both of my wrists. 
“Zack, what the hell?”  Frantically, I tried to pull away from the guys holding me, but they were like mountains.  Unmovable.  Unyielding.
“Hush, Amber, it will be over soon.”  Zack said.  He quickly draped another piece of cloth over my eyes and tied it tight.  I yelped as pieces of my hair tangled in the knot and pulled.  Tears gathered in my eyes at the harsh sting. 
“I don’t want to do this anymore,” I said as I struggled against the restraints on my wrists. 
Firm hands pushed me until I began walking, and after several steps, my shins bumped into something soft. 
“Lie down Amber and just enjoy it.  It will be much better if you don’t fight.”  Zack whispered in my ear.  He spun me around and then shoved.  My knees buckled and I fell back onto a soft mattress.  I turned on my side to avoid laying on my tied hands.  Tears fell from my eyes and soaked into my blindfold.  What had I gotten myself into?  How could I have been so stupid?  I was always up for fun and games, but not whenever I didn’t have a choice.  If I got out of this unharmed, I would never trust anyone again.





August 11, 2016

New Release from Jenna Sparkles

If you like very hot erotica, these are the books for you!  Jenna Sparkle's has reached out to me for help promoting her new "Amber's Adventures" series, and I am happy to oblige!  Yes, they are short little novellas, but no, they are not just all about sex.  Don't get me wrong there is a LOT of very, very steamy and kinky sex involved, but there is also a lot of story.  And, these are very well written - not like most of the "porn" stuff out there.  I have read all three of her books, and so far I have not been disappointed!  Do me (and her) a favor and check them out.  All three are free right now on Kindle Unlimited, so you really have nothing to lose!  Or if you want to buy them, at $2.99 each, they are a steal.  And please, please if you do happen to read them, take the time to leave a review.  It doesn't even have to be a written review.  Just clicking on those stars makes a huge difference.  Thanks a million!

***Free for a limited time on Kindle Unlimited***

Check out the newest books in Jenna Sparkle’s “Amber’s Adventures” series for free on Kindle Unlimited, or only $2.99 for all others.  If you like short, naughty stories, then you should definitely check these out!

Amber’s Adventures: Frat Boy Fun http://amzn.to/2aVnBin

And don’t miss out on the first two installments of Amber’s sexy adventures:

Amber’s Adventures: Teacher’s Pet  http://amzn.to/2aMTTOk

Amber’s Adventures: Daddy’s Girl http://amzn.to/2aZZiy0



August 2, 2016

$25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Hey, everyone!  A new author, Jenna Sparkles, has reached out to me for help promoting the first two short stories in her Amber's Adventures series.  If you like erotica, these are the books for you!  They are well written, sexy, and will get you all hot and bothered in no time.  To celebrate the release of these stories, Jenna is offering up a $25 Amazon Gift Card!  All you have to do is complete the items in the rafflecopter, and then sit back and wait to win.  And of course please share, share, share!  Jenna is an indie author who is promoting and publishing all on her own, and so any word of mouth will be greatly appreciated.  These authors all know that they wouldn't be able to do what they love with all of you!  Thanks again, and enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 17, 2016

Book Review: Blessed Fate by H.B. Heinzer

Title:  Blessed Fate 
Author:  H.B. Heinzer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  Colton Bradford never believed in love at first sight. And then, Rain Maxwell walked through his buddy's front door. He knew there was something special underneath the shy, guarded exterior and was determined to find out what it was. 

The problem? Rain had devised her own set of life rules and “Never get involved with a band mate” was right near the top of that list. She allowed Colton into her heart as one of her closest friends, but pushed him away at the mention of anything more. 

When tragedy strikes Rain's personal life, Colton is determined to be there for her in whatever way she'll allow. Will she finally open up to him and consider taking things to the next level? Will Colton's ways of trying to bury his feelings for Rain in the past ruin the possibility of a future for them?

My Review:


This book ended up being "just alright" for me. I have not read book one in this series, Blessed Tragedy, but from the reviews I have read, the two books are basically the same story told from two POV's. I usually enjoy when an author flips it around and gives us both sides of the story, but I can honestly say that I do not have a strong urge to go back and read book one. Let me tell you why.

I was really intrigued by the summary, and then the actual story once I began the book. It's about a group of three friends, Colton, Travis and John, who started a rock band and are finally starting to get a little recognition. So, one of the bandmates, Travis, decides to bring in a girl to audition for a place as a singer. Her name is Rain. Rain has had a really hard time. She recently left rehab and is recovering from a cocaine addiction. I have to say, I really liked the Rain at the beginning of the story. She seemed laid back, easy going, and level headed. She didn't really drink with the "guys" since she was trying to maintain her sobriety. She was a little shy and kept to herself. This was the Rain that Colton fell in love with. Unfortunately for him, Rain's dream in life is to be a singer, so she is not willing to jeopardize the fate of the band by dating a "co-worker." So.......fast forward 4 or 5 years. Literally. This was the first time in the book that I was a little disappointed. I felt like so much good story was skipped over. It would have added to my understanding of Rain and Colton, and to why he loved her so much. Instead, I was fast forwarded in time and told that he loved her so much he couldn't see straight. And the other big disappointment for me was that I found myself disliking Colton and Rain the more I read, instead of growing more connected to them. They were both so damn immature, and the laid back likable Rain from the beginning of the book was replaced by a shrieky, moody, drunk shrew (maybe a little harsh but not far from the truth!). Colton also went through his own unflattering transformation. He had changed from a caring, sweet, sincere hot guy into a drunken jerk that had jealousy issues.

And on top of all this - in several places throughout the book there were more of the big jumps in time. In one section when Colton and Rain are going through a rough patch, one page they were arguing, and the next it was four months later and they still weren't talking to each other. What the hell? To me it seemed like some of the most interesting parts of the story were just skipped over.

Anyway, I really like the writing style of H.B. Heinzer. There were a lot of parts to the story that I could picture so clearly in my mind. I definitely will give her books another try, just maybe not any more in this series.

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May 16, 2016

Book Review: Come Undone by Jessica Hawkins

Title:  Come Undone 
Author:  Jessica Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  Olivia Germaine has already found love. Devoted wife, loyal friend, determined career woman–she’s created the life she always envisioned. But when Olivia locks eyes with a handsome stranger across a crowded room, he peers a little too closely and sees emotions she thought she’d buried long ago. 

David Dylan, alleged playboy and eternal bachelor, challenges Olivia to confront the life she’s built and to make decisions that could either lead to happiness... or regret. 

Will Olivia be able to draw the line between lust and love? And can David respect that line?

My Review:


Usually I don't enjoy books that have any sort of an "insta-love" situation. As soon as I see that pop up in a story, I'm usually done with that book. Every once in a while though an author does it in such a way that it intrigues me rather than repelling me. That was the case with this book. The instant attraction and pull between Olivia and David fascinated me. I don't know if it was because it was so wrong and taboo, since Olivia is married, or if it was because I was already empathizing with Olivia and her bland, safe marriage. Sadly, I was never a fan of Olivia's husband, Bill, and I was rooting for something, anything, to happen between David and Olivia.

I was definitely pulled in to this book, and I became really invested in the characters. I loved David and Olivia, even though David was a little overbearing and stubborn at times and Olivia was so fickle and weak. The supporting characters were great also. Gretchen, Lucy, Brian - it's always nice whenever I become attached to the "best friends" of the main characters. It makes it so easy to slip into that world and really care about the story.

While I did really like this book, I was frustrated several times with Olivia. I sort of understood her longing for something stable and safe - and Bill did give her that. However, it was clear that she was suffocating in her marriage, and was settling for some half-life. I wanted her to jump ship and go be happy with David, and it irritated me to no end how she jumped back and forth, and couldn't make up her damn mind. Her loyalty to Bill was commendable, but I'm not a big believer in sacrificing your own happiness and basically your shot at an amazing life, because you don't believe in divorce. Get over it!

Anyway, I do strongly recommend this book. It is interesting, and well written, and heartbreaking, and infuriating. A very dynamic combination. I can't wait to read the rest of this series to see what happens next!

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May 10, 2016

Book Review: Blind Side by K.B. Nelson

Title:  Blind Side 
Author:  K.B. Nelson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  I accept the part I played in the demise of my marriage. 
I accept the things I cannot change. 
I’m a cheater. I’m a whore. I’m an outcast in that place I left behind the second the first embers fizzled against the cracks of the night sky. 

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Anyone with the faintest understanding of decency would know this to be true. But it did happen this way. It went exactly like this, because maybe that’s the way things had to go. 

There was no way out, and just when I thought of pulling the proverbial trigger, he appeared to me. 
He was the student.
And I was his teacher.
And he saved me in every way I imagine one could ever be saved.
So, he became my teacher and I became his student as he taught me how to love again…

My Review:  

I really wanted to like this book, but right up until the last page, I felt disappointed. This book could have been good. It had an interesting plot, and characters that could have been intriguing, but it all just fell flat to me. I was confused a good way through the book because the story was so disjointed. The reader would get bits and pieces of what had happened before the story began, but was never shown the entire picture until the very end of the book. Plus, I don't think the ending is very believable.  (**Scroll to the bottom of this post for the rest of my review that contains spoilers!)  Ultimately though, it really didn't matter to me how she ended up because I felt so disconnected from the characters and their emotions.

Another problem I had with this book was the overly descriptive language that the author used. I don't have a problem with the writing style itself, it's just that some of the comparisons (metaphors) and descriptions came across as awkward and out of place. For example:
I used to be so strong, and now my strength is a trait long thrown out the window, to be felt only by the sight of it in the rearview mirror.
How do you feel something by sight?
My head reels, chasing the blur of entropy like a scent long gone stale.
Huh?
"Not like this," I force the words from my throat, spinning out of my mouth like flying gravel on a dirt road.
I get what this is saying, but I guess the simile just doesn't feel like it fits.
"Because I'm tired of feeling alone," the words come barreling out of his mouth like a truth cannon, locked and loaded with sadness, riding a quivering wave of solace.
Once again, too much going on in this sentence. It feels overdone and jarring.
He's taken aback, and when I pull away his eyes twist sideways, trying to read my intentions, but it's near impossible to read dead eyes beyond the obvious decay.
How do eyes twist sideways? And what does obvious decay look like in someone's eyes?

It's not that I don't appreciate flowing, descriptive and creative phrases, but if it pulls me out of the story because I have to think, "What the heck does that even mean?" then something isn't working.
This book wasn't horrible, and I'm sure a lot of people will love it when they read it, but it just wasn't for me.

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!












*********************************************************************************










 ** I just want to say that there is no way in hell Stassi would have ended up with her husband. It contradicted everything in the story up until that point. And their problems certainly wouldn't have been resolved in what can only be called a far-fetched plot twist in which Stassi "suddenly remembers everything" about them and about why they were happy. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't really rooting for her to end up with Kemper either. The whole student/teacher thing made me feel a little icky, even though I did like the passion and chemistry they had. But I really couldn't bring myself to believe that all of the animosity and apparent hate between Stassi and her husband could suddenly just be set aside so they could have their HEA. 

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May 9, 2016

Book Review: Blush by Cherry Adair

Title:  Blush 
Author:  Cherry Adair
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  In the same pulse-pounding style as Maya Banks and Kresley Cole, New York Times bestselling author Cherry Adair delivers a sizzling erotic romance about a sexy billionaire who’s on the run—and the hit-man-turned-handyman who’s supposed to kill her.

Sex with a stranger. Learn to drive. Learn to cook. Learn to pole dance. Sex under the stars. Buy a truck. These are just a few of the things on Amelia Wentworth’s bucket list, but as the CEO and face of a multi-billion-dollar cosmetic empire, she’s never quite found the time to do them.

Until, after a series of accidents, Amelia discovers that someone wants her dead. But who? And why? She has no time for questions as she changes her name to Mia, buys a secluded fixer-upper near the Louisiana bayou where no one will recognize her, and starts checking things off her bucket list like there’s no tomorrow—which there might not be.

Meanwhile, Cruz Barcelona is a hit man who’s promised himself this will be his last job. Then he’ll take the money and move to a warm, sunny place where he doesn’t have to hide anymore. But when Cruz goes undercover to Mia’s ramshackle house, he starts to realize there’s far more to this poor-little-rich-girl than he thought—and he starts to fall for her. Which is going to make his job a whole lot harder…

My Review:

This was a very good book! It was entertaining from the start, and had smart, colorful characters that drew me in very quickly. I loved Mia/Amelia's sarcastic humor, and Cruz was one of those hot, overbearing, bossy men that make you hate him in all the right ways. And on top of all of that there was also a very interesting mystery scenario going on. Someone is trying to kill Mia/Amelia and for most of the book we don't know who or why. I loved the fact that Cruz was actually a hit man that was supposed to kill her, but after a hilarious "introduction" between the two, he just can't bring himself to hurt Mia. From start to finish this book was great. I definitely recommend it!

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May 5, 2016

Book Review: Spinning Out by Lexi Ryan

Title:  Spinning Out 
Author:  Lexi Ryan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  Once, the only thing that mattered to me was football—training, playing, and earning my place on the best team at every level. I had it all, and I threw it away with a semester of drugs, alcohol, and pissing off anyone who tried to stop me. Now I’m suspended from the team, on house arrest, and forced to spend a semester at home to get my shit together. The cherry on my fuckup sundae? Sleeping in the room next to mine is my best friend’s girl, Mia Mendez—the only woman I’ve ever loved and a reminder of everything I regret.

I’m not sure if having Mia so close will be heaven or hell. She’s off-limits—and not just because she’s working for my dad. Her heart belongs to someone else. But since the accident that killed her brother and changed everything, she walks around like a zombie, shutting out her friends and ignoring her dreams. We’re both broken, numb, and stuck in limbo.

Until I break my own rules and touch her. 
Until she saves me from my nightmares by climbing into my bed. 
Until the only thing I want more than having Mia for myself is to protect her from the truth. 

I can’t rewrite the past, but I refuse to leave her heart in the hands of fate. For this girl, I’d climb into the sky and rearrange the stars.

My Review:

I'm not really quite sure how to start this review because I have SO MUCH TO SAY about this book. I guess I'll start by saying that I loved it. The characters were refreshing and complex, and they really came to life for me. Mia and Arrow (I love that name, btw) are like a modern day Romeo and Juliet, only they have way more obstacles in their way besides their families. I felt so much empathy for Mia whenever her heart was being pulled in two ways - between Brogan and Arrow. And Lexi Ryan did such a great job writing all three characters, that I was torn between who I was rooting for. Brogan started out as a clear favorite. He was funny and sweet and charming. Further along in the story, he messed up big time, but only because of his own insecurities. My heart broke for him in a whole other way than it did for Mia and Arrow. And Arrow, oh my god, he seems like the fantasy hot college football player from every girls dreams.
He's gotta play some sport. That body. Those big hands. Sweet mother of Jesus, a girl could go into shock from and estrogen overdose looking at those hands. My body pumps out hormones like the survival of the human species depends on giving this man my babies.
In my opinion this book would have been amazing if it was only about the love triangle between Mia, Arrow and Brogan, but there was so much more going on. Each element just added another layer of amazingness to this book. There were the other Blackhawk Boys, that while they played a backseat to the main characters, they were still interesting and likable characters. No doubt because they will be getting their own books soon. (Yay!) Then you have Mia's best friend, Bailey, who was the bad-ass sidekick and comedic relief all rolled into one. And then there was the accident, the terrible tragedy that spun this whole story into motion. I was brought to tears several times while reading, just from the pure anguish and pain that Arrow and Mia both were dealing with. They each had a totally different reality that they were dealing with, and not only was it crushing their souls, it was also keeping them from being together. Which was obviously what they both needed to heal and move on.
"I didn't die that night, but until you came back into my life, I wasn't living. Every breath hurt until it didn't hurt at all. Until I felt nothing. You make me want to breathe when before I just wanted any excuse to stop."
Do not tread lightly into this story. It will give you all of the "feels" from one end of the spectrum to the other. But don't skip it, because it is totally worth the read.

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May 3, 2016

Book Review: Heartfelt Lies by Kristy Love


Title
Heartfelt Lies
Author: Kristy Love
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  Loving Cassie was effortless. 
She was a thirst I couldn’t quench. 

She was everything I needed, but nothing I deserved. 
I failed her more times than I could count. 

I lied relentlessly. 
And she always forgave me. 

Until she couldn’t. 

Maybe I deserved to be left behind. 

* * * 

Jax swept me off my feet with his disheveled hair and his easy smile. 
I loved him fiercely. 
He made me believe in the fairytale. 

Then the walls crumbled around me. 
The lies never ended. 
I left him behind. I had no choice. 
I mourned the loss of him. 

But I moved on. 
I created a new life, 
Now, I was marrying someone else. 

Where do we go now that he’s back?

Review:

I am so glad that I read this book! I nearly didn't. I nearly wrote it off completely because the first book in this series just didn't do it for me. It never pulled me in, and I never made a connection with the characters. This book was the total opposite! I was heartbroken over the pain and struggles that Cassie and Jax went through. I wanted them to be together so bad because they were meant for each other from the beginning. But they had to work hard for their happily ever after. And it wasn't easy, and it wasn't pretty.
"I'm sick of crying over you! I'm sick of my heart hurting and I'm sick of missing you....I'm sick of loving you, Jax, because it hurts too damned much."

What made this story stand out for me were the characters. They each had so much personality that I felt like they were my friends and family. I also love the fact that the reality of Jax's addiction and problems weren't glossed over. They were shown and described in all their ugly details, and anyone who has ever been around anything like that would have identified immediately. As is so often the case with couples who struggle with addiction, either one or both, it's never a straight and narrow road to redemption. There are setbacks and pitfalls, missteps and stumbles. It hurts too much to let them go, but it hurts too much to be with them. I felt like Kristy Love hit the nail right on the head with the emotions and descriptions of Cassie and Jax.
"We were each a mess, but together we were such a f@cked up mess. I couldn't figure out if it was beautiful or a disaster.

This book is going to stick with me for a little while, that's for sure. It's not the best book I've ever read, or even the most memorable, but it is definitely special enough that it will stay in my thoughts for some time.

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May 2, 2016

Book Review: The Fragile Fall by Kristy Love

Title: The Fragile Fall 
Author: Kristy Love

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  I’ve destroyed everything in my life and now I’m left with nothing. 

Alone and scared. 
Broken and shattered. 
But I’ve found a way to deal with it. 
Instead of all the pain being on the inside, I make the outside ache too. Anything to make it easier to breathe. 
Until one beautiful morning when I look outside and see her. 

She tries to help me… 
But I’m lost. 

And I’m not sure I can ever be found.

Review:
I really wanted to like this book. It had all of the elements there to make it a real gut-wrenching, heartbreaking story, but it just never came together. The majority of the book was written in a "telling instead of showing" way. Instead of the author letting the reader experience what was going on and making a real connection to the characters, it was more like reading a to-do list. "They did this, and this, and then they did this." Check, check, check. Unfortunately, this caused me to really lose interest in the story and the characters.

I also had a hard time with how immature the characters came across. I get that this was technically a YA romance (although there was a lot of cussing, and some fairly explicit sexual content), but I just wanted to pull my hair out at times. Most of the angst in the story came from the character's lack of ability to just talk to each other. If Jax would have just talked to Ryanne and Will about how he felt about their relationship, or if Will had just talked to Ryanne about what he heard her and Jax talking about at prom, or ......... the list goes on. Instead, every single time one of the main characters experienced something that was a little bit upsetting, there were tears, and running away, and a general over the top reaction. In my opinion the characters were old enough to have a little common sense (Ryanne was 20, Jax and Will were 17 going on 18), and they were definitely old enough to be able to handle their reactions and emotions a little better.

My last sticking point with this book was that I felt like it never really found it's "identity." I felt like the author was aiming for a YA book, but wasn't quite sure if it was YA or New Adult. The making out and hook-up sessions were kept strictly PG-13 for the majority of the book, but then jumped straight into full out variations of sex. Also, 90% of the dialogue was clean and innocent, but then seemingly out of the blue the characters would drop two or three unneeded f-bombs into the sentence. It almost seemed like the author wasn't sure how to make her characters seem older, so she thought making them cuss would do the trick. I may be way off base, but it just felt forced and unnatural to me.

Overall, the story had bones, but not enough meat to make it substantial enough to sink my teeth into. Unfortunately, I have to categorize this read as a close call disappointment.

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April 28, 2016

Book Review: Since Drew by J. Nathan

Since DrewSince Drew by J. Nathan

Synopsis:  All Andi Parker has ever wanted, all she’s ever dreamed of, is a spot on the Olympic track team. But when an accident leaves her hospitalized with serious injuries and shattered dreams, she’s not only uncertain what her future holds but also completely alone. 

Drew Slater is a wanted man. Professional football teams want him for his arm. Women want him for his irresistible good looks and charming personality. But the well-crafted disguise he wears, the one that helps him score on and off the field, hides secrets. Conceals lies. Threatens the happiness of everyone around him. 

One chance encounter brings Andi and Drew together, changing their worlds in ways they never thought possible. Unfortunately, what they thought they knew about themselves—and each other—might just be the biggest lie of all. 
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a fairly quick and enjoyable read. I really liked the main characters, Andi and Drew, and their sarcastic, witty banter. The story started out in a very interesting way and kept me engaged for the majority of the book. There was a twist I didn't see coming, which is always nice, and then another one that I saw coming from a mile away. The last quarter of the book was fairly predictable and a little formulaic, but I was still happy to see the characters get the ending they deserved. Overall, this was a well-written, entertaining story.

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