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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Review: White Rabbit by J.D. Sloane

Dark, compelling,twisted and some seriously good writing. This author is going to be a star!

Let me just be clear up front, White Rabbit is for readers who already enjoy DARK erotic romance or who think they might want to venture into the genre. This ain’t no classic love story and while there is a “ever after” whether it’s a “happily” is strictly a subjective inquiry. One other thing, we need to be clear about, the book includes a “dubious consent” warning. The warning isn’t fully descriptive. In reality, there are scenes of flat out non-consent. If that’s a deal breaker for you, head for the nearest exit.

In White Rabbit Brooke is Ronan’s attorney. Ronan is in prison when the book begins. He’s charged with…I don’t even really know, let’s just call it being an out and out psychopath. Brooke and Ronan are immediately drawn to one another. Ronan seems to recognize the darkness in Brooke and Brooke (in all her twisted glory) seems to recognize Ronan’s ability to exploit her darkness. The book progresses through Ronan being in and out of jail (because he escapes prison with the same ease most people use to floss their teeth) while carrying out some huge drug deal. There is plenty of external conflict in the story line, the cops are after Ronan and eventually Brooke, there is a rat in Ronan’s organization and every male in the book seems bent on raping Brooke (seriously). There is not one redeeming quality about Ronan and Brooke is that friend who you just want to shake. And scene.

The SUPER positive thing about this book and the reason I HIGHLY recommend it is the writing. It’s obvious that the author could benefit from the services of a good editor but the writing was good enough to keep me enthralled from the beginning to the end even without the best organization at times. The author is writing about the relationship between two seriously twisted characters but does it in a way that the story is compelling. You keep turning the pages just because you want to know if Ronan is as evil as he seems and if Brooke is as much of a hot mess as she seems. Spoiler- yes and yes.

The book is written in the third person but the narrator switches POV between characters so you get the inside track on Brooke, Ronan and several other supporting characters. The story takes place in Detroit. I’m very familiar with that location and the politics there so I was personally fascinated by the author’s take on the inner workings of Detroit (although if you’re not familiar with some things before reading this book, it might be confusing). Last good thing, I love action sequences in books and there were some great ones in this book. By the end of the book, you will find yourself on the proverbial edge of your seat.

This is a fast paced book which is a good thing in most ways. There are some times when things move a little too quickly and you may find yourself two steps behind the plot. For example, the first time Ronan escaped from prison, the author forgot to tell us he escaped. So when I went from one scene in which he is locked up to the next one and found out he was out, I was totally confused. We do eventually find out he escaped but that’s a major detail to delay giving us. There are several other examples of the plot sort of jerking forward without much explanation as to how we got from point A to point B. There is also an issue from Brooke’s past concerning her brother that I STILL don’t completely understand. And to be clear, I don’t understand it because it was never really explained.

When I finished the book, I was like ‘wtf did I just read?’ Because it is so deliciously twisted. But my overall impression was that this is a really good book from an author who has enormous potential.

FYI, if you like any of the following books, this is a particularly good choice for you: Flawed by Francette Phal, Underestimated by Jettie Woodruff, Raw by Belle Aurora, Twist Me by Anna Zaires or Monsters in the Dark Series by Pepper Winters. This book isn’t necessarily on the same level as those yet but it’s along those same lines.

P.S.: I’m a lawyer and I know a lot of women lawyers, none are like Brooke Avery. Don’t hold it against us.

**Review Copy provided by Author**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N

ARC Review: The Perfect Bargain by Jessa McAdams

Okay so I don’t quite know where to begin; first off Jessa McAdams is a pen name for Julia London, it’s a New Adult genre, and it was just okay. My main issue was that I just didn’t like the characters. I felt disconnected and I couldn’t relate to them at all, I think that’s one reason I usually tend to stay away from New Adult is that I am past that phase in life and didn’t enjoy it when I was. I normally like Julia London and this one was a quick read I like the idea of the story but everything seemed very cliché. Sloane is a stereotypical American overachieving rich brat and Galen (Love his name I almost named one of my kids that) is kind of mean at first and a bit of a hypocrite. Sloane’s friends are worse than she is. One of the redeeming qualities of the book is that there are some nice love scenes and the romance between the two is aggravating and humorous.

Sloane Chatfield’s heart was broken she thought her life couldn’t get any better she has a great job working on the board for her families charitable foundation and a fiancé that is until the guys breaks up with her. Her “friends” trying to help keep setting her up with horrible matches and one girl’s night out the girls all says the perfect male would be “Jaime Frasier”. So Sloane takes a trip to find herself a Jaime Frasier and to have a fake romance and come back just so her friends will leave her alone. Well that plan goes to the crapper when her friends decide to join her. Her only hope now it to find someone to play her fake boyfriend.

Galen Buchanan left his job as a solicitor to run his family’s money pit of a pub. When first approached by the Wi-Fi hogging American about being paid to be her boyfriend his fir reaction was akin to “ah hell no” but the money was too good to pass up. Galen’s plan to keep his distance didn’t match up with Sloane’s plan to get to know each other at least a little bit, they “dating” after all. Neither of them expected to drop their guards around each other and fall in love. Opposites attract and Galen is blinded by how different they are to realize his true feelings for Sloane. When Sloane’s ex-fiancé shows up begging for her back Galen gives her the perfect out but Sloane isn’t letting go that easily.

Overall the situation it kind of reminded me of the movie The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, I’m surprised it didn’t end the same. I’m torn about making an actual judgment on the book because I’m not that crazy over New Adult anyways (unless it’s PNR/Urban Fantasy) but to my tastes, eh.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Monday, June 29, 2015

ARC Review: About Last Night by Belle Aurora

OMG I knew I had to read this book the second I read the blurb for it! Who wouldn't want to read a story about a girl falling for her brother's best friend that happens to be a male escort? About Last Night was my first book by Belle Aurora and I absolutely loved it! I couldn't believe that I had never read anything by her before, but this definitely won't be the last book of hers I read! 

Mia has always been shy and awkward, and being overweight never helped matters. After losing the weight, she still finds it tough to talk to guys. She has always had a bit of a crush on her older brother's best friend, and after finding out that he is a male escort decides that he is the perfect guy to teach her about sex and guys. When Matt Quinn gets an email for a potential client seeking to lost her virginity, he is instantly intrigued. He begins to get to know her, and finds himself developing a friendship with her. But after their night together, Quinn finds out that Mia is actually his best friend's little sister and things are more complicated than ever. They both know that they should stay away from one another, and yet they find the connection between them impossible to fight. 

I loved these two so much! Quinn was sexy and funny, and I loved how sweet he was with Mia. He loved what he did, and yet as soon as he started to get to know her you could see the change in him. He was always so encouraging with her, and he helped to show her that she was beautiful and didn't have a reason to doubt herself. Mia was funny and sweet as well, and she was exactly what Quinn needed. These two just fit together so well right from the start, and I loved the friendship that they were forming. They were able to joke around with one another, and I loved the light and easy feel that they had with each other. When they finally got together in person it was even better, and the chemistry between them was explosive. These two had it all, and I couldn't get enough of them! 

Overall, this book was fantastic! I loved every bit of it and I couldn't put it down! Mia and Quinn were so great together and I couldn't wait to see how everything would play out. I loved Mia's brother Harry as well, and his relationship with each of them was so interesting to me. I do think he reacted badly at first to their relationship, but I can't say that I blame him completely knowing everything that he did about Quinn. He was looking out for his sister, and they were extremely close so that was understandable to me. I would definitely recommend this book, and I can't wait to read more from Belle Aurora!

**ARC Provided by Give Me Books**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N

ARC Review: Relentless by Skye Jordan

I have read all of the books in the Renegade series and generally I liked every one of them but this one had a different feel to me. The connection between Troy and Giselle was on a different level than the relationships in the other books (I’m not saying it’s better, it was just different). This was the first book where the couple in the story had a prior relationship. Normally, I don’t go for second chance love. I don’t know why, maybe I’m just a cold witch but I’m usually like if you blew it the first time around, I don’t want to hear from you ever again. In life or in writing. I’m like the Grinch of second chance romance, my heart is 2 sizes too small. But I digress (as usual). I may have been playing second chance romances short because history between the main characters allows for a far richer dynamic in the present day relationship .

In the case of Troy and Giselle, they had been together as teenagers and early in their adult years. Troy and Giselle met in the foster care system and formed a bond based on their joint struggles against abuse and just for basic survival. Troy was Giselle’s protector and later, her lover. Giselle had a gift for singing which Troy helped her to develop and promote in the early days. When Giselle eventually begins to achieve fame and recognition, she and Troy don’t know how to navigate the shifting landscape of their lives or their relationship so they eventually separate. The breakup is ugly because of the intensity of the feelings involved. Seven years later the two are not over each other and reunite in a very sexy albeit totally unexpected way. Despite their intense physical chemistry, the book chronicles their journey from lust to hurt and anger to forgiveness and back to love.

The thing that really left an impression on me about this book is the way the author conveys the intensity of the feelings between Troy and Giselle. Whether the feelings were positive or negative, the story is told in a way that you feel it which connects you to the characters. From the first page, you have a clear picture of Troy’s pain over the past and his desire to just forget. The thing that is compelling about Giselle is her contradictions. On the outside Giselle is famous and beautiful and put together. But on the inside, everything is just a hot mess. I loved that both Troy and Giselle saw through each other’s facades and were able to tell one another the truth about each other even when they had a hard time accepting the truth about themselves.

I absolutely love the ups and downs between Troy and Giselle. The issues that arise for both of them didn’t come across as unnecessary angst. Instead it felt more like genuine conflict that would occur given their situation. And the sex was just very very HAWT!!! To get such a well told story and great sex is like a fried doughnut with no calories. Life just doesn’t get any better than that!

For all you Renegade fans, we do get an update on some of the other Renegades who make brief appearances in this book. I would also like to say for those of you, like me, who read the last book about Ryker and Rachel, if you didn’t love that one, this one is much better. I liked the last book but there was entirely too much information about Hollywood stunts and PTSD for me. This book doesn’t veer away from the story of the main characters so even if you’re hesitant, don’t be, this book is worth reading. Look at that, I’m all about the second chances today.

**ARC provided by Author**

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

Surf, Sand & Books Event with Ashlee Mallory

Ashlee was thirteen when she discovered her first Kathleen E. Woodiwiss book hidden away in her mom’s closet. After two days of staying home “sick” from school to finish it, she was hooked. Her rabid love for romance has continued ever since, and after a misadventure in the world of law, she finally settled into her dream job of writing about people finding their happily ever afters. Whether writing sweet contemporary romance or romantic thrillers and suspense, she aims to create down to earth heroines and heroes with small town heart.