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Saturday, June 6, 2015

ARC Review: Always Yours, Baby by Airicka Phoenix


Always Yours, Baby is the forth Baby Saga book by Airicka Phoenix. Each book can be read as standalones though, with interconnected characters. This is my first Airicka Phoenix book, but I will look for more from her in the future and I can't wait to go back and read the previous books in this series.

Damon Comb and Willa McClain have loved each other since they were kids, and have always been the best of friends. Though they do everything together, they have never risked their friendship by telling each other how they really feel. Though everyone knows but them, they are scared that opening up will destroy everything between them. Just when it appears that everything might finally be going their way, Damon's past threatens to ruin everything they are building. Can he find a way to make it go away while protecting Willa, or will they be over before they ever get a chance?

I really liked these two. They were so sweet it might be a little sickening if they weren't so adorable together. These two were literally everything to one another, how they were so blind to the love they each felt was beyond me. Damon was sweet and kind, protective and caring. He was always looking out for Willa, and I loved how great he was with her. Willa was a bit on the fragile side and was prone to letting her emotions get the best of her. But with Damon there for her she seemed to draw strength from him. I loved how supportive these two were of each other, and I couldn't get enough of them together. 

Overall, this was a good story. It was very sweet for the first two thirds of the story with the last bit being a little more action packed. Things started to happen with Damon's past suddenly changing things for everyone, and I felt bad for the characters. I loved how determined they each were to protect one another, and you could really feel the love between them. This was a good quick and easy read with characters that truly loved one another. There was no cheating or love triangles, and I found it really refreshing that there was no one but each other for Damon and Willa. I would recommend this book and look forward to more from Airicka Phoenix in the future.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | 





ARC Review: Schooled by Piper Lawson


Schooled is Piper Lawson's debut novel and the first book in her Travesty series. This book was a really great debut for her, and I enjoyed it a lot. There were a few things that kept this one from being a home run for me, but it was a pretty solid read and I am looking forward to more from her in the future. 

Alexis Caine thought that her life was on track as she had planned until her boyfriend of four years breaks up with her before their senior year of college. She spent the summer in NY interning for a magazine and trying to forget about Jake. When she shows up back at school, she is determined to focus on her grades and her future fashion design business with her best friend Ava. But what she doesn't count on is Ava's younger brother Dylan Cameron being all grown up and sexier than ever. Though Dylan has a reputation, the two start to develop a friendship and Lex realizes that Dylan is far from what others think of him. But Dylan threatens all the plans that Lex has made, and she is determined to let nothing stand in her way. 

I really liked Dylan. He was sweet and loyal, and a really great guy. He was so much more than his reputation, and I loved that he let others believe whatever they wanted about him without trying to justify everything he did. He didn't need to get them to change their minds, and he was happy to do what he did without every getting the credit for it. I thought that he was great for Lex, and it was great to see him never give up on her. He was exactly what she needed, and I liked that he kept pursuing her even when she would push him away. I had a few issues with Lex, but mostly just because her pushing Dylan away got old. It was clear that she liked him and that they were great together, so I wanted her to stop with the games and just date him openly. I thought that she took it too far, and I felt bad for Dylan at times. These two had so much chemistry though, and I liked seeing their connection strengthen as they got to know one another again.

Overall, this was a great debut for Piper Lawson. I liked the characters and the story and I am interested to get Ava's story next. I could have done without so much of Lex pushing Dylan away and fighting what was between them though. I also didn't like that Dylan was trying to get Lex to be with him, and yet every time that she would push him away he seemed to gravitate back to Marcia. He would say that she wouldn't get it into her head that he didn't want her, and yet it didn't really seem to me that he ever made the effort to get Marcia to back off. I did feel badly for Lex having to see them together at times, but I also felt like that was partly Lex's fault for doing to Dylan what she did. But I was glad that there wasn't cheating and Dylan didn't try to be with Marcia just to make Lex jealous. That was nice and refreshing to see in a NA story. I would recommend this one if you like NA stories and it was kind of nice to see a guy go after his older sister's best friend, when it is usually a guy going after the younger girl. I am looking forward to more from Piper Lawson and the Travesty series.

**ARC Provided by AToMR Tours**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | 





Surf, Sand & Books Event with Cindi Madsen


Cindi Madsen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a pretty new pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music and dancing and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

You can visit Cindi at: www.cindimadsen.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter to get all the up-to-date information on her books.

Friday, June 5, 2015

ARC Review: Behind Your Back by Chelsea M. Cameron


I honestly don't even really know what to say about Behind Your Back by Chelsea M. Cameron. I have read and loved books by her in the past, but this book wasn't anything like those at all. I am still trying to figure out exactly what I think about this one, but suffice it to say I am all over the place. While I found some things interesting and wanted to keep reading to see what would happen next, there were also several times that I wanted to just throw in the towel. Readers should be aware that this is the first book in the series and does end with a cliffhanger, so there are plenty of things left unresolved. 

Behind Your Back starts with Quinn Brand trying to get close to his newest mark. He sees that his weak spot is his daughter, and plans to exploit that. Quinn sets out to meet her, but things don't go as easily as he thought they would. After he finally meets her though, he quickly realizes that things aren't going to go as well as he thought that they would and he finds himself drawn to her in ways he never expected. But he still has a job to do and is determined to do whatever it takes. 

I didn't really feel connected to either of these characters, and honestly it was really tough for me to get into this one. While I was interested to figure some things out, I felt like this story took far too long to get there. For the first 30-50% nothing happened, and there were so many details that I found myself completely bored. I kept wanting to skim or just give up on this book because I honestly did not care at all what would happen. It was literally all about Quinn's boring job of meeting with clients and what he was wearing (brand names, colors, etc.), what he was doing after work and his cat Leo. Then it would be the next day and would repeat all over again. I did like Quinn with his cat and felt that it showed a bit more of his humanity, as did his time with his sister, but otherwise I honestly didn't need as many details with everything going on in his life. I wish that there would have been more happening, because for that first 30-50% of this book I was really confused about a lot. Each time I would think that the story was going to pick up, it wouldn't and I would be disappointed all over again and forced to suffer through more details. 

I will say that I am curious to see how things will play out, and I will read the sequel because at this point I need to know what happens. The end to me was a little predictable though and I honestly saw a lot of it coming. I do want answers though and I am sure that not everything is as it seems. So while I will read Back to Back, I am not sure that I would have started this series knowing what I know now. If you are a fan of Chelsea M. Cameron's you might find this one enjoyable, and her writing style is beautiful as always. There were parts that I genuinely enjoyed. But if you are expecting the same type of thing from her, this book isn't like anything of hers that I have previously read. This one was slow and drawn out, but if you can handle a ton of details it might be worth giving a shot.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iBooks | 





ARC Review: Center Ice by Cate Cameron


Center Ice is my first book by Cate Cameron, but I love hockey and couldn't wait to read this one. While I had some moments that I really enjoyed, this book ended up just being okay for me. I wish that a few things had been done differently, and ultimately I just wasn't able to ever really get into this story. 

After losing her mother, Karen goes to live with the family she never met. They live in the small town of Corrigan Falls where hockey is big and everyone knows everything about everyone else. Though Karen doesn't get off to a great start with anyone in town, that all changes when she meets Tyler. Tyler is the star of the hockey team, but he is the only person that seems to be able to relate to Karen. But Tyler is known to be a player both on and off the ice, and Karen doesn't want to be involved with someone like that. The more Tyler and Karen get to know one another though, the more Karen begins to realize that Tyler is a different person than everyone thinks he is. But can Karen take a chance on something with Tyler with everything else she is dealing with? 

I liked Karen and Tyler, and they were great together. I thought that they were so cute with one another, and I really enjoyed how easy and light their connection was. These two were able to just be together and have fun, and that was something that they both desperately needed with everything going on in their lives. I was glad that Tyler was able to transform from a player into a guy that only wanted Karen. He was more than happy to have a girlfriend in Karen, and that was good to see. Karen was struggling with so much, and I thought that Tyler was exactly what she needed. I will say that I thought that Karen's mother's death was pretty much never dealt with. I felt like her grief was visible on a few occasions, but I really wish that the author would have sort of shown more of that because it really felt as though it was missing from this story. I also felt like the drama with Karen's new family situation as well as Tyler's parents sort of took on a life of their own and it sort of got out of control in my opinion. Those things sort of took over the story, and I felt like Karen and Tyler got a bit lost in all of that. 

Overall, this was an okay read but it just sort of fell flat for me. I had been hoping for more of Karen and Tyler because those parts were so much fun to read about, but with so much going on I felt like that got lost a bit. I also pretty much couldn't stand any of the secondary characters throughout this story with a few exceptions. Karen's little sister Sara was a sweetie and I liked how great she was with Karen from the start. I also liked what we saw of Tyler's best friend and teammate. But it wasn't until the very end of the story that I started to come around on Karen's dad and her stepmom. I think that I might look for more from Cate Cameron in the future, and I am interested in seeing what happens with the next book in this series.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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





Surf, Sand & Books Event with Rebecca Yarros


Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She's a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores.

When she's not writing, she's tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they're currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

ARC Review: A Secret to Keep by Railyn Stone


Railyn Stone is a new to me author, but with the beautiful cover and blurb for A Secret to Keep, I knew I wanted to read this book. I went into this one with no expectations, and I did enjoy parts of this story. While I liked a lot, there were also some things that didn't work for me. I think that Railyn Stone is a promising author though, and I will look for more from her in the future. 

Sloane Davis has been keeping a huge secret from her ex, and she knows that she needs to tell him the truth. Not only does she know she needs to talk to him, but all her friends and family remind her as often as possible. But Sloane had her reasons for doing what she did, and she walked out on her fiance Gates McCall because he wasn't the man she fell in love with anymore. Now that Gates has reentered her life though, she knows that it is time to finally come clean and let him know that they have a son together. But with the awful way they left things, they are both struggling with what being around one another again means. Can Sloane finally let Gates in on her secret and move forward, or will thing end in heartbreak once again? 

I both liked and disliked Gates and Sloane. They each had their issues, and they both had their reasons for their actions. While I was annoyed with each of them at different times throughout this story, I did think that they both made mistakes that any of us would make. They were only human, and each of them had their flaws. Though I don't agree at all with Sloane keeping Brayden a secret from Gates, I do understand that she thought that she was doing what was in his best interest. I think that she should have let him know though before she just assumed that she knew how he would act. But I did really like that once the truth came out that they were both able to begin to move forward with their lives and they both did a pretty good job of adjusting to their new circumstances. The one thing that was clear throughout this story though was the fact that their feelings for one another had never gone away. Though they both needed to talk to one another and communicate better, it was easy to see how much they both still cared even if they didn't want to. 

Overall, this book was good and I enjoyed it for the most part. I will admit that I think Sloane was a bit ridiculous at times and I didn't like her for much of the first half of this book. She was weak and annoying, and I hated that she would admit she needed to be honest with Gates and then use every excuse in the book not to. I wanted her to be accountable for her actions and be the responsible adult she should have been. I also felt like a lot of the first half of the book sort of went in circles. Gates would show up and Sloane would "attempt" to tell him the truth with a reason each time why she never actually did. Then her friends or family would lecture her and she would get irritated with them for saying the same things over and over.Then she would justify her keeping it a secret all to wind up right back where she started again. This happened on repeat, and it got a little old. The second half of the book things started to change though, and I was glad that I had stuck it out to get there. I think that this was a good story that could have been great, but just suffered a bit with execution. If Sloane wouldn't have been so hard to like at first and the first half of the book wouldn't have been so repetitive, I think that it would have been a much better story. I will give Railyn Stone a shot in the future though, and I think that if you can get past the few issues I mentioned that this might be one worth checking out if you like the secret baby trope.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | 





ARC Review: Vicious Cycle by Katie Ashley


Vicious Cycle is the first book in what will become a series about the Hell’s Raiders MC. This is my first book by Katie Ashley and I'm in. This book was like a sweet fragrance to readers like me. It had bikers, romance, plot twist and good sex. That’s like warm vanilla pumpkin spice on a fall day to me.

Vicious Cycle is Alexandra and Deacon's story. Deacon is a biker who before finding out he had a daughter was an emotional recluse. Alex is a kindergarten teacher and…ok, wait. Now that I think about it, we don’t really get all that much background information on WHO Alex is. We get information about events that occurred in her background with her family but now that I’m trying to write about Alex I realize that there isn’t a lot to identify her as a person before her relationship with Deacon. I’m not really knocking the author for that because it didn’t take anything away from the story or my reading experience. I didn’t even realize it until just now.

I like the background set up for this story. It is emotionally wrenching in places as we find out about Willow’s pre-Deacon life but it is well done. It can’t be easy to write from a 5 year olds POV in an erotic MC romance novel but the author does it with ease and no awkwardness. Even though I know some readers might think Deacon was a A-Hole when he met Willow for the first time, I thought the telling of their interaction was completely credible given Deacon’s history. It would have seemed contrived if he had leapt into fatherhood with no problems. I felt for Deacon as he struggled with feeling like he wasn’t good enough to be a father.

I also enjoyed the action of the book. The plot was constantly moving forward and I had no problem turning the pages or paying attention. The plot is layered with information about the background of Deacon and his brothers and Alex’s parents. Of course when Alex and Deacon finally hook up, the sex scenes were good. They weren’t the best I’ve read but they were definitely better than average.

What I didn’t like that also affected my rating was Alex's behavior after getting with Deacon. Ok there are like two versions of Alex in this book. The pre-Deacon Alex was strong, assertive and confident. She was able to help Deacon become a better person and a better parent before she ever started a romantic relationship with him. The post-Deacon Alex was just terribly insecure. If Deacon did anything she didn’t like, she was threatening to huff and puff and blow the relationship down. I especially did not like a particular scene in the strip club. First, Alex’s reaction to the strip club was just soo over the top. Second, her plan to get back at him or whatever that was came off as just being so ridiculous. The more the relationship with Deacon progressed the more brain cells Alex seemed to lose. When Alex actually ASKED Deacon about marriage before he was contemplating it, I was just about done with her.

The other thing I didn’t love was the plan that Alex hatches in the end of the book. I'm sort of ambivalent about what she did. On the one hand, it was brave and I like that in heroines but it was also stupid which is not something that I like.

So all in all I thought this was a well written, fast paced MC romance with some good sex scenes. And although I generally really liked the characters in this book, Alex found my one bad nerve and stepped all over it. I still recommend this book, particularly for you MC romance fans and I will read more books by this author.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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


Surf, Sand & Books Event with Nina Crespo


Nina Crespo lives in Florida where she indulges in her favorite passions—the beach, kickboxing, a good glass of wine, and dancing with her own real-life hero. Her lifelong addiction to romance began in her teens while on a “borrowing spree” in her older sister’s bedroom where she discovered her first romance novel. Curiosity about people and places, including what’s beyond the stars, fuels her writer’s imagination. Indulge in her sensual contemporary stories and steamy paranormal tales to feed your own addiction for love, romance, and happily ever after. Her Birthday Dare series novellas, TAKE ME IF YOU DARE and NAUGHTY LITTLE WISHES, are available from Entangled Publishing. Her debut romance, fantasy novella, THANE’S REDEMPTION, is available through Kensington Publishing-Lyrical Press.

Visit Nina Crespo online and to join her “Happy One Year Anniversary” celebration in June to mark the release date of her title, TAKE ME IF YOU DARE.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

ARC Review: Moonlight on Nightingale Way by Samantha Young


Moonlight on Nightingale Way is the sixth and final book in the On Dublin Street series by Samantha Young. Each book can be read as standalones, but I would recommend reading in order to get full enjoyment as the characters are interconnected. I was really excited about this story after meeting Logan in Echoes of Scotland Street, and I couldn't wait to get to know him better. I have to say that this might be my favorite of this series! I really enjoyed it and I am sad that the series is now over. 

After two years of serving time, Logan is ready to start over. Everything is looking up for him with a new job, apartment and plenty of women to keep him company. But his next door neighbor Grace doesn't appreciate his playboy ways and the two of them clash. Grace left behind her manipulative family for her group of friends, and she loves her job. But with Logan constantly interrupting her work with his conquests, her once perfect life has turned into one annoying situation after another. But when Logan's world is flipped upside down, Grace is there for him when he needs someone the most. Soon the two of them are learning that they aren't as bad as they once thought the other was, and they find themselves becoming friends. Just when it looks like they might have something between them, Grace's past threatens everything. 

I loved these characters! What started off as enemies that couldn't stand each other, quickly changed to a tentative friendship that I couldn't get enough of! These two annoyed one another and had a ton of tension between them, but they were also really attracted to one another and you could tell it was going to be explosive when they finally figured things out. Logan and Grace were pretty much opposites, but I really enjoyed seeing how well they worked together. They were great as friends, and the way that they supported one another was great. Logan was protective of Grace and looked out for her and Grace was sweet and kind and was exactly what Logan needed when his life changed so drastically. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and the ending of this series is definitely bittersweet for me. While I loved this book and was glad that it finished on a high note, I am sad that this is the last book. This was definitely one of my favorites of the series, if not my favorite, and I think that readers will really enjoy getting to know Logan and Grace. I highly recommend this series, and I love Samantha Young's writing style. If you are looking for a great contemporary romance story, you really can't go wrong with any of her books. I am looking forward to seeing what Samantha Young writes next.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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





ARC Review: Happily Ever Never by Jennifer Foor


I have to start off this review by saying that Happily Ever Never by Jennifer Foor probably brought on the most tears I have ever cried from reading a book. I am typically not a crier when it comes to books, and on the occasion that I do cry it usually isn't a lot. Going into this book though, you should have the tissues handy and probably some junk food/candy that you can use as a pick-me-up! With that being said, Happily Ever Never is also one of the best books I have read this year. Happily Ever Never is heartbreakingly beautiful, but it is also filled with love and hope. The best way to read this book is to go in blind, and just experience the story. Trust me when I tell you that although Jennifer Foor will wreck you, she is always great at putting you back together again. 

Bailey finally felt like she was about to have all of her dreams come true. She was about to marry the man of her dreams and she was gaining a family she never dreamed she would have. Her life felt perfect, but then tragedy struck and she lost everything. With her planned future ruined, Bailey must find a way to pick up the pieces and move forward with her life.

I really felt for Bailey. There was so much love in this book, but there was also so much loss and heartbreak. Things were never easy for any of these characters and it was really hard at times. What I loved the most about this book though was that these characters were always there for one another. After everything that they were going through, you could tell that they all would do anything the could for each other. Though Bailey didn't get the life she planned, she was still a part of Major's family forever and I could not have loved them more for their unwavering love and support of Bailey. I also loved Bailey's best friend Shawna and how she always pushed Bailey when she needed it because she knew that Bailey would do the same for her. Bailey and Major had the kind of love that some people are never lucky enough to find, and they truly cherished it for the time they had it. I loved them together, but I also loved how strong Bailey was able to become after everything that happened. She knew she had to move forward and it was understandable that that wasn't a quick or easy thing for her to do. I was so glad that she had those around her to help her find her way. 

I also loved that though Bailey thought she had lost everything, that this book was ultimately about hope. She was able to move forward and she found love in the most unlikely of places. Though she would never forget or stop loving Major, she was able to open up her heart and let others in as well. She found what she needed and was finally able to begin to heal and live her life again. This book was very emotional and I felt like it was so real. I felt for each character in this book, and I honestly loved them all. They might have had their moments, but I loved how things played out and that they all ended up exactly where they should be. I think Jennifer Foor did such a great job with such a tough set of circumstances, and I honestly cannot wait to read more from her in the future. I have become a huge fan of her books and while they are always filled with angst and some tough times, she always gives us a satisfying ending that feels right for the characters.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iBooks





Surf, Sand & Books Event with Sonya Weiss


Sonya Weiss loves writing all things romance whether it’s writing contemporary adult or teen fiction and still hasn’t lost the wonder that she gets to do what she loves. She enjoys reading, movies, chocolate, and laughter and credits her daughters as being the sweetest blessings in her life.