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Friday, March 24, 2017

ARC Review: Con Man by T. Torrest

I will be honest, I am still trying to get my thoughts together after reading Con Man by T. Torrest. The first thing I will say is that I have mixed feelings about this story. While it was a good story, it wasn't at all what I expected. The blurb and cover are what really sold me, but this book is not what the blurb would lead you to believe.

I really can't go into details of this story without spoiling it, so I will have to be a little vague. Lucas Taggart is a former geek that is now hot. He helps ugly ducklings gain confidence through an eight week program. The one thing he doesn't do is date his clients. But when he meets Ainsley Carrington, he is immediately drawn to her though she has signed up for his program. The problem is that Ainsley doesn't need it, and Lucas can't help but want her. Lucas finds himself needing some help, and luckily his friend Mia is there for him. 

I did like the characters here and I wanted to love their story. Unfortunately though, I felt completely mislead and that really made it tough to feel invested in the story or happy with the outcome. If I had known the way things were going, I feel like I could have felt entirely different and maybe even loved this book. That being said though, I really don't like it when authors completely mislead you with a blurb and then switch it up on you for shock value. While I am all for twists and turns, this wasn't just a case of being surprised by events of the story but it really felt like a bait and switch situation. I just couldn't get past that and it really soured me on the story altogether. Again, this wasn't a bad story. It just wasn't what it would have you believe at first and for me that was a huge issue. I do think that some readers will really like this one though, and for those that think that this one sounds good I would say to give it a shot. Just because I had some problems here with how things went down doesn't mean that it won't be one you love.

**ARC Provided by Give Me Books Promotions**

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Feature and Giveaway: Hard Justice by Lori Foster

Playing it safe has never felt so dangerous…

Justice Wallington knows how to harness his strength and intimidating size—skills he put to good use first in the MMA cage, and now as a bodyguard at the Body Armor agency. But no opponent has ever left him feeling as off balance as his new client, heiress Fallon Wade. Far from a spoiled princess, she’s sweet and intriguingly innocent. It’s a risk-free assignment, until he’s required to fake a relationship with her in order to blend in.

Sheltered from the world after a family tragedy, Fallon longs to experience life—going to bars, dancing, talking to strangers. Not easy with a huge, lethal-looking bodyguard shadowing her every move. Justice seems like her polar opposite, but pretending to be a couple stirs undeniable heat. And when danger strikes again, it’s not just her safety in jeopardy, but a passion that’s real, raw and absolutely against the rules…

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

ARC Review: Left Hanging by Cindy Dorminy

Ok, I stumbled on to a Christian/inspirational romance totally on accident. I have to start by saying, I have never read one of these books before. I am a hardcore erotic romance fan. I even like some of the darker smuttier sub-genres so Christian/inspiration was quite a 180 for me. And yes, I totally admit, after like the 60% mark I was all 'so wait, there's no sex? Like, none?' But if we could just all (me) get our (mine) minds out of the gutter for a moment, we might discover something new that might be for you.

I liked the synopsis of this book. Girl meets boy at party, has a one night stand, get's pregnant, misunderstandings pile up and girl raises baby for 6 years without boy knowing he has a child. I've read books like that before and I was ready for the drama. This is actually a pretty good rendering of this romance theme. And despite the fact that I'm not used to reading a scripture or seeing people pray in romance novels, that all fit into the story. And dare I say, that even gave this book a little something extra to distinguish it from all the similar books.

It is always difficult dealing with this theme. Depending on the reasons a child has been kept from a parent, the author runs the risk of really making us hate one or both characters. In this book, the reason was right on the line of making me hate Darla. There is a miscommunication (to put it mildly) between Darla and Theo that leads Darla to believe Theo does not want her or their child. The weird thing about the miscommunication is that I thought I had figured out what caused it and it was actually something totally different. I wish the author had gone with Plan A because the real explanation made far less sense to me.

My main problem with this book (although I had more than one) was the main characters. Darla figures out there's been a miscommunication but does not immediately rectify it. Her reasons for not clearing up the whole 'hey by the way you've got a kid' thing vary. But none of them are valid and I seriously wanted to drop kick her by the time it finally comes out. The other problem with this book-Theo. If you read any review of mine, you know I love big bad bossy alpha men- that was absolutely not Theo. Theo got trampled on by his psuedo stalky ex and put up with almost anything from Darla. In fact, at one point, even Darla realizes she's probably treating Theo like his mean ex. I know a lot of Christian guys and I know a lot of guys who are just generally positive. None of them are as weak as Theo was. You might think it was sweet if your heart is not black like mine. For me, it came across way doormatish.  The other main issue that drove me crazy was the amount of whodunit, who's doing it, how did it happen that was built in to this story. Every good book needs conflict but there can't be an entire book of questions. Some of the issues in this book just needed to get cleared up faster.

Be warned, there is no freakyness at all in this book. So there are a lot of conversations and platonic bonding. If you find some of the popular romance to be a bit much, you like emotional romance and you're inspired by the greater good, this might be a good book for you. For me, the characters made it hard to love this book and I thought the writing was decent but not griping.

**ARC provided by Author**

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ARC Review: Twice As Hard by Amber Bardan

It is really hard to give this book a numerical rating. It was a really strange trip. It's also hard to write a review without spoiling anything because....I don't even know how to say it without spoiling the big thing in this book. I'm going to do my best to pick around the edges but I'm warning you that it's difficult to give you a full view of what this book is about without giving away some pretty significant twists.

What I can tell you is that the premise of this book is that a married woman goes on a solo expedition. She is ordered to do so by her husband who sends her daily instructions on what to do. She meets two men in the woods and is immediately terrified of them and is also attracted to them. Both of them. Even though her husband is back at home and she loves him so much... The two men are clearly threatening but still let Gabby escape with a warning not to come back to their woods. When Gabby's dog runs off to the woods she has no choice but to venture back into the woods. Gabby immediately run into her two assailants who "force" her into rough sex. It turns out that Gabby has always had a fantasy of things happening the way they do with her captors. They control her completely even going as far as to feed and bathe her and she enjoys all of it.The two men plan to keep Gabby for their own which seems kinda far fetched. And then the book takes a shift and it's impossible to describe what happens next without spoilers. 

If you like very erotic stories with BDSM and control elements, this is a good book for you. Of course you need to also be in to 3 ways and ok with questionable extra marital activities. This isn't very long, I estimate it's about 150 pages and it really isn't a romance novel or novella. This is more like a longer version of a story you might find on literotica dot com. The writing is pretty good and I think maybe if the book was longer and included more contextual information I might have liked it more. As it is, I just got a really weird vibe from the first half of this story and spent the whole second half going wtf, wtf, wtf. If you are in to the super freaky stuff you might want to give this a try but pass this one up if you enjoy the storytelling aspect more.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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ARC Review: Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen

I was so excited when I found out that Sarina Bowen had a new M/M novel/series coming out. (HA! See what I did there!?!) Goodbye Paradise is the first book of the series and is a standalone story. This book/series was previously released under a different title (In Front of God & Everyone) and pen name, and I am so glad that Sarina decided to re-release under this name because otherwise I might never have found these books! Like everything I have read from Sarina previously, I loved this book and the idea behind the series is one that absolutely fascinates me. 

Best friends Caleb and Josh grew up in Paradise. A small but strict religious community that tightly controls every aspect of their lives. They are not allowed to watch TV and most of the members of the Compound aren't allowed to leave. Though they each work around the property to help contribute, many of them end up disappearing, never to be seen or heard from again. They definitely aren't allowed to have the kind of feelings Josh and Caleb have for one another. But when Josh is cast out and finds himself homeless in a world he has no idea how to navigate, Caleb will have to rush to find him before anything can happen to him. Can they finally find a place together where they can admit their true feelings for one another and see where the future takes them? 

I absolutely adored these two. After the way they grew up and were raised, it was so great to see them finally be able to be themselves and share that with each other. They had such a strong connection that had always been there as friends, but that was so much more powerful and intense as they were able to open up about their true feelings for one another. Josh had always been picked on in the Compound and wasn't as good at everything that the others were, but Caleb had always looked out for him and done his best to take care of him. I loved how sweet they each were and their genuine love and affection for not only each other but those that they cared about. These two were so perfect for one another, and I honestly cannot imagine either of them without the other!

I will say that there was one big thing that happened that had me not so happy with Caleb. Just like it did to Josh, it broke me! I understand what he was trying to do, but I hated that he didn't stop and think about Josh in all of it. After everything that they had been through, it really hurt to see him have so little regard for Josh and their relationship. Luckily it didn't take long for him to realize just how badly he had messed up, but while I could forgive just like Josh did I wasn't able to forget it. That is the only reason that this book wasn't a five star read for me. I just couldn't believe that he could even think of doing something like that after all that had happened and that he knew about Josh. Overall though, this was yet another fantastic book from Sarina Bowen and I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series!

**ARC Provided by Bocci PR**

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