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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

ARC Review: Frisk Me by Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne’s newest series New York’s Finest starts with a hate to love romantic comedy story between a NYCPD officer and an ambitious reporter. I love Lauren Layne and compared to her others this isn’t as angsty as some of her other books but just as good. The characters are easy to love they are not perfect and they work hard for their HEA; and Nonna is a hoot.

Luc Moretti is the youngest in a family of cops, well for the exception of his sister the defense attorney, his father is the retired Commissioner and all three of his brothers are officers of the law. They are a very close knit family Luc and two of his brothers live with their grandmother, Nonna, and whenever schedules allow they have a family Sunday dinner. Luc loves his job but he is torturing himself over something that he believes he could have prevented. When he becomes an internet sensation after getting caught on camera jumping into the East River to save a little girl and giving away his coat to a homeless man in the dead of winter the NYCPD isn’t shy about wanting to exploit his goodness to enrich the image of NYCPD, Luc just has to grin and bear it. That is until he is informed that a news reporter is going to start following him around for a three part feel good fluff piece.

Ava Sims is looking for her big break, she has worked hard in broadcasting to get the anchor position finally she has got her shot all she has to do is a feel good piece on a cop. Ava has had a run in with Officer Luc Moretti before and even after three years she still got that zing feeling down her back that she got the first time she argued with him over a parking ticket. Ava isn’t as immune to Luc as she pretends to be. Ava figured Luc would put up a good front about resisting the chance at his fifteen minutes of fame but she is surprised when he appears to really and honestly not want to do it; she is immediately suspicious that there is more to his story and she will find it.

The more time Ava spends with Luc the guiltier she feels about what she has to do if she wants the anchor spot. Luc has never had a woman affect him like Ava does but he still keeps the one thing from her just waiting for her to ask him about it not realizing it wasn’t common knowledge. Luc and Ava become intimate and their feelings grow to what is obvious to everyone except themselves. But when Ava makes the decision risk her relationship with Luc to further her career Luc pushes her away.

I loved the story and the relationship between Luc and Ava and the whole Moretti family. I can’t wait for the rest of the family’s story and for more of Nonna.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes | Kobo |

Guest Post with Author Lauren Layne and Giveaway

Meet Lauren Layne author of Frisk Me.

Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren's gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.

Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.

ARC Review: Racing the Sun by Karina Halle

I could not wait to get my hands on Racing the Sun by Karina Halle. I am a huge fan of hers, and this one immediately grabbed my attention with the blurb. As usual, I really enjoyed the story and Karina did an excellent job bringing her characters to life here. I really felt like I was right there experiencing everything with them and I couldn't get enough. 

Amber MacLean has been traveling the world, but it is time for her to face reality. She is broke and her parents are no longer supporting her, and she has had to use the money she had been saving for her return home in order to live. When she arrives in Italy, she seeks employment and ends up working as a teacher for a man raising his two younger siblings after an accident took their parents from them. Amber and Derio begin to get to know each other, and soon the sparks between them turn into passion rather than dislike. But as they grow closer, the lines begin to blur when suddenly Amber finds herself not only teaching them but also becoming their nanny. But what happens when time begins to run out and Amber's scheduled return home is suddenly approaching? Can she find a way to stay with the man she is falling for, or will she return home to the safety of the life she knows?

I absolutely loved Amber and Derio together. At first Derio comes across as mysterious and cold, and he was unfriendly for quite awhile. But as Amber began to break through his walls, it was clear that he was going through so much and he was suffering alone rather than letting anyone else in. His life had changed so much in such a short amount of time, and it was obvious that he didn't know how to handle it. I felt badly for him, and I was really glad that Amber was able to help bring him back to life. Amber was such a likable heroine. I loved her honesty and found her to be fun and refreshing to read about. She wasn't afraid to say what was on her mind, and she was one of those heroines that was just so full of life. Amber and Derio were really great together because they were different, and I really felt like they balanced each other out well. They were supportive of one another, and the chemistry and love between them was so natural. 

I thought that Karina Halle did such a great job of bringing Italy to life here, it really was easy to visualize everything as Amber and Derio were experiencing it. I found myself wanting to visit immediately as I fell in love right along with the characters. Karina Halle is a great writer, and I can always count on her books to a great story. I will say that Derio pissed me off at the end of this book though, and I really felt like he should have had to grovel a bit more than he did. He seemed to have a sudden personality shift for a portion of this book, and it broke my heart to see him and Amber struggling. Though I liked the ending, I wish that we had been given a bit more. If you are a fan of Karina's, you are definitely going to want to check this book out. If you are new to Karina Halle, I highly recommend looking into her books and Racing the Sun is a great place to start.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository | iTunes | 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

ARC Review: An Obsession With Vengeance by Nancy Haviland

An Obsession With Vengeance is a Russian Mafia suspense/romance. It's #3 in a series but its a standalone that can be read on its own. This is my first book in the series and I was fine starting right here.

This book is the story of Maksim and Sydney. Maksim is the adopted son of the New York Russian mafia. He owns a club down the street from the club owned by Sydney. Sydney is an Australian refugee with a 12 year old son. You can read the synopsis to get the rest of the really general background stuff on the book. I think in this case you would be better served by me offering you my opinion rather than a summary.

Let me start with the good stuff because the rest of my review might make it seem like I didn't like this book. I actually liked the book as a suspense/thriller mafia story. I was intrigued by the drama and the potential for violence between the two factions in the book. I also loved Maks' back story. I found it to be compelling and it added layers to Maks' character that I really appreciated. This book isn't hard to read, it's interesting and fast paced. It's told in multiple POV"s from the 3rd person. You get the main characters POV but you also hear from a number of other characters. It wasn't over done so it added to the overall story.

Now for the bad news...

This book had a lot of potential but something didn't quite connect for me. There are a number of possible sources for the disconnect so I'm going to give you the most prominent of them: First, Sydney wore my nerves down to little nerve nubs. From the beginning, Sydney's plan with the Mexican Cartel that started the whole mess from which she required rescuing was a stroke of stupidity of the highest order. I kept asking myself throughout the book, how did she even have the money to engage in that particular act of lunacy?

Next problem, Sydney's reaction to Maks. Ok, yes yes, Maks was a manwhore (aren't they all? Has Sydney never read one of these books?) but Sydney really needed help. I just couldn't understand how someone in her position was treating Maks the way she was. And don't give me that it's because she was a Mother crap. Homegirl hadn't gotten laid in forever, Maks was smoking hot and he saved her life and instead of falling spread eagle into his bed, Sydney acted like she couldn't stand him. I was like what woman who hasn't had an orgasm in years behaves like this towards lifesaving sex on a stick?

Speaking of sex, there was none for like forever. Both Sydney and Maks are super hot, they are super hot for each other but no sex for most of the book...HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN?? And then, the very first sexual encounter was some wack dry hand job...Needless to say, I was not happy.

I think because of the way Sydney's character reacted to Maksim, I just didn't feel the connection between the two of them even though I really wanted to. I'm totally into the damsel in distress story line, I just need the damsel to work a bit harder to be into the hero. I wasn't really rooting for Sydney by the end of the book so I wasn't really rooting for the romance. Even though I really liked the mafia story line, I was reading this book for the romance and it just wasn't strong enough.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

ARC Review: Finding Master Right by Sparrow Beckett

Finding Master Right is the first book in the Masters Unleashed Series by Sparrow Beckett. Sparrow Beckett is actually a writing team, with each author writing under another name. I thought that these two did a great job of writing the story so that it came off seamlessly, and I loved that they each focused on one POV. I think that this book was very successful because of the fact that we got both Kate and Banner's POVs, and I really enjoyed reading this one. 

Kate is looking for a Dom. She knows that she needs someone to take control and she wants to explore her submissive side. But she isn't willing to give up everything for a man, and her search for the perfect Dom for her so far has turned up nothing but creeps. When her friend throws a part to help her find her Dom, she ends up meeting the sexy Banner. Banner isn't looking for a submissive, but rather a slave. He knows that his kinks and desires are too intense for Kate, but he ends up agreeing to help train her in order to attract the right Dom for her. Once she is trained, he will help her out by introducing her to Doms that he knows will take care of her and find the right one for her. But the longer that they spend together, the more the lines start to blur. Soon both Kate and Banner are beginning to rethink all the reasons they have for not being together as their feelings continue to grow stronger.

I really liked Banner and Kate. I felt like they had a great connection right from the start, and the chemistry was so clear. These two challenged one another, and they fit together well. I liked that Banner was willing to introduce her into the BDSM lifestyle, and he was so great with her. I loved that he was cruel or overly harsh with her, yet he took her outside her comfort zone. Kate was a bit headstrong and liked to challenge Banner. She didn't give up control easy, and she wasn't always the most submissive. Yet she did have respect for Banner, and I liked seeing her learn to trust him and allow him to take control. I will admit that there were several times that Kate got on my nerves a bit, but overall I did like her with Banner. I thought that these two were super hot together though, and their steamy scenes were definitely worth the read.

The one thing that I will say though is that this didn't really feel like a Master/slave relationship to me at all. Banner mentioned several times about how he was and what his kinks were, yet I just didn't get that from him here. With him being a Master looking for a slave rather than a submissive, I would have expected him to be a bit more firm with Kate and yet there were many times that he seemed to go really easy on her. I also thought that for someone actively seeking a Dom, Kate seemed to have very little knowledge of the BDSM world. I understand there are some things that might be unfamiliar to her, but she didn't even know what Banner was referring to when he mentioned DP and that just struck me as something she definitely would have known had she really been interested in living that lifestyle. There were other examples that I found odd that she didn't know, but that one really seemed to be the most glaring to me. I did like these two together though, and if you are looking for a sexy story with some BDSM action, this one is worth looking into. I will definitely check out the rest of the series as I liked the secondary characters here a lot and would love to get to know them better.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes