There are many winners to announce but before we do so, we just wanted to take the time and say a SUPER BIG THANK YOU to each and every author that participated in the Surf, Sand & Books Event. We loved having a you stop by. We also wanted to give a HUGE THANK YOU as well as to Entangled Publishing for helping with the event. Thank you so, so much. =)
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Saturday, July 11, 2015
Maybe in Another Life might be the hardest book I have ever tried to review. I have been trying to put together my thoughts on this book for what seems like forever, and I know that a lot of what I wish I could say I can't. Taylor Jenkins Reid has written such a unique and beautiful story here, and I really feel like this one is a book that just needs to be experienced. You can't go into this one knowing everything, and I really feel like it is best to just be along for the ride.
This book is about Hannah, a 29 year old woman who is still trying to figure things out. She has lived and worked in so many different places, and yet she still doesn't know what she wants to do with her life. But when Hannah moves back to her hometown, she turns to her best friend Gabby for a place to stay. One night while Hannah and Gabby are out, they run into Hannah's high school boyfriend Ethan. At the end of the night Hannah is faced with a choice when both Gabby and Ethan offer her a ride. The choice she makes will change everything. Maybe in Another Life is a book that has two parallel storylines throughout the entire book, each detailing a life based on the two choices that Hannah could make that night. Though each of Hannah's worlds are completely different, Hannah believes that in each she has found her soulmate.
Here is where this review gets tricky...it is hard enough trying to avoid spoilers for one story, but when a book contains two it is almost impossible. Suffice it to say that I won't be giving much away other than to say that this book is truly about Hannah and her life. But it is also about everyone. This book could literally be about you or me and the smallest choice that could end up having the biggest impact on what our future holds. I found it so interesting to see how things would play out depending on what choice Hannah had made, and it really got me to thinking about the choices that each of us makes. This concept was so unique to me, and I found that it gave me a truly enjoyable and different reading experience. I will be honest and say that there was a storyline I preferred, and I did find myself liking her with one guy over the other. While I won't say who I liked best, I will say that I liked her with both. They were each special and different, and it was really a matter of each set of circumstances that made them each right for her in completely different ways.
This book is not a love triangle, and it is not in any way paranormal. But if you are looking for a truly different story that is about more than just love and romance, this is definitely worth a shot. I loved seeing two very different outcomes, and I couldn't stop reading. Each chapter would switch back and forth between the parallel universes, and I could not wait to see how things would be the same or different as each of her decisions played out. I honestly loved Taylor Jenkins Reid's writing style and the story itself, and I cannot wait to read more from her. This is one book that I won't forget anytime soon, and I am already looking forward to whatever Taylor writes next.
**ARC Provided by Publisher**
Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as "alpha, edgy, and downright hot." Most days you can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.
Right Next Door is my first book by A.J. Pryor. I will admit that the cover is what immediately drew me to this story, but what really intrigued me was the blurb. This one sounded so interesting, and I knew I had to read it. While there were several things that I really enjoyed here, there were also some things that didn't work for me.
Addison Peacock has spent the last several years waiting for the man she loved to return to her. After graduation he proposed, but her father got sick and she was forced to look after him. Shortly after her fiance left, promising to return to her. Now five years later, he has finally kept his promise and returned. Only Addison is surprised to find out that he is already married. Though Addison is crushed, she finds herself turning to her sexy new neighbor Damien Walker. Damien is no stranger to pain either, and has struggled to put his life back together after an accident took everything from him. But as much as Damien is drawn to Addison, he isn't interested in a one night stand and he knows that Addison isn't ready for more. Can Damien show Addison what they could have together, or will Addison's past destroy any chance they have at a future together?
While I liked both of these characters at times, a lot of the problems I had with this book were with Damien and Addison themselves. Addison came off as weak and wishy-washy a lot in this book, and it was really hard to get behind that. For a smart and successful woman, she let her ex completely ramrod her life and she seemed to be incapable of putting him in his place for the majority of this story. For someone who had up and left her and she hadn't heard from him in five years, I felt like her inability to say no to him and really stand by that was beyond realistic. I liked her with Damien though, and when they were together things were great. These two were forming a connection and I could definitely see the chemistry between them. But then Addison would go weak, and either something would happen with her ex or she would suddenly decide that she couldn't be with Damien. Damien was just as problematic. For someone that was intent on winning Addison and doing things right, he seemed to be just as hot and cold. Though he always claimed to want her, he would push her away at times she would finally come to him and he also seemed to easily jump to conclusions. Add that to the fact that he wouldn't fully open up to her, yet he expected her to be completely open to him, and I just had trouble ever really getting behind these two as a couple.
I also felt like while things were nicely wrapped up at the end and everyone wound up happy, that it was an unsatisfying ending to me. I didn't care for all the time these two spent apart, especially when it quite frankly never made any sense to me at all. Addison had already left for a good chunk of time to "find herself", so I just didn't see why she then needed to leave and spend even more time "finding herself". By the time that things started to turn around, the book was over and I was left wanting more. The epilogue wasn't really enough for me to feel satisfied after the way things had played out previously. So while I thought that this story had a lot of potential, it ended up falling flat for me.
**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**
Friday, July 10, 2015
Fighting Shadows is the second book in the On The Ropes series by Aly Martinez. This book can be read as a standalone, but I would recommend reading Fighting Silence first. In Fighting Silence you get to know not only Till and Eliza's story, but it also really sets up Flint's story for Fighting Shadows. This is one series that while they are standalones, I think it gives the reader full enjoyment to read these in order in my opinion.
After saving the life of the woman he loved but couldn't have, Flint Page was left paralyzed and living in a wheelchair. Flint knew his life changed when he saved Eliza's, and he also knew that he couldn't continue to see her with his brother everyday. In order to escape his misery, he left his family behind and decided to go to college. He knew he needed a clean break to have a shot at becoming himself again rather than the bitter person he had turned into. Then Flint met Ash Mabie, and everything began to change. As Flint and Ash grew closer, he began to really live again. But falling for the girl who has a tendency of running will force Flint to fight his past as well as fight for his future with Ash.
I knew this one was going to be rough at times after reading Fighting Silence. Flint had experienced a lot of really tough things, and I felt like his heart couldn't withstand much else. So when I saw him at the beginning of this book my heart absolutely broke for him. He was angry and bitter, but he was clearly hurting and to go it all alone really got to me. Then he met Ash, and things started to turn around. I knew that it wouldn't be that simple though, and their relationship proved to be far from easy. But Flint deserved happiness so much, and I knew that he could have that with Ash. These two were great for each other, and the more I saw them together the more I knew they had to wind up together. Ash was hard for me to warm up to, and I will admit that she really made me angry a few times in this book. But growing up as she did, I really believed that she was just trying to protect herself and she didn't know how to handle things the best. I believe that she really loved Flint though, and that went a long way for me. These two had such a strong connection and chemistry, and I think that with everything that they had each been through they just weren't prepared for what they found at such a young age.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It frustrated me at times and broke my heart at others, but it was a book that I felt emotionally invested in right from the start. I loved getting to see more of Till and Eliza, and I really loved their book. But there was something really special about Flint and Ash, and I hadn't expected to feel as much for them as I had with Till and Eliza. I was so wrong, and I think that Aly Martinez did a great job of showing that these characters were unique and different, and she made them impossible not to fall for. I can honestly say that I am dying to get Q's book though. I have a feeling his might be the most emotional story of them all, and I cannot wait to see what is in store for him. I would recommend this book if you are an Aly Martinez fan, and if you aren't a fan yet, I think that this series is definitely a good place to start!
**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**
To Tempt a Seal was a short and sexy read from Sara Jane Stone. It is the first book in her Sin City SEALs series, and it can be read as a standalone. This one was a quick and easy read, and I liked the characters. That being said, I did have a few things that I would have liked to have seen done differently though and that is why this one was good not great in my opinion.
After a tough childhood and living her life with the constant looks that her scars seem to attract, Lucia Lewis heads to Las Vegas in order to fulfill her fantasies. She is attending a masquerade ball for a restaurant opening, and thinks it will be the perfect night to achieve her desires with a stranger who never has to see what her face really looks like. When she meets the sexy Navy SEAL Cade Daniels, she knows she is in for the night of her life. Cade and Lucia instantly hit it off, and the chemistry between them is off the charts. But Cade is in Vegas on a mission for his best friend, to protect her little sister from making a huge mistake. Even though Cade promised to keep her out of trouble and keep his hands off her, he can't fight what is happening between him and Lucia. But can these two possibly have anything together when Lucia doesn't know the truth?
I liked these two characters. Cade was sweet and sexy, and I liked that he was so encouraging with Lucia. He showed her that she was beautiful inside and out, and that her scars didn't change who she was. He was great with her, and I liked how he didn't pity her. Lucia was easy to like, and I felt bad for her because of all that she had been through. It wouldn't be an easy life to have such a prominently placed set of scars, and unfortunately some people treat others different because of that kind of thing. But Cade didn't even flinch, and it didn't change the way he viewed her at all. Besides her appearance, Lucia was a strong and successful woman and I really liked that she was so creative and helpful to others. It was good to see her gain more confidence in her physical appearance as well, and I think that her growth was great to watch. Cade and Lucia had chemistry right away, and these two were extremely hot together. I do feel like their emotional connection felt rushed though, and I would have liked to have seen them connecting more than just physically most of the time.
Besides the relationship being so rushed for these two, (we are talking love in a matter of days), I thought that the ending was a bit predictable and cheesy. I thought that once the truth came out Lucia forgave both Cade and her sister far too easily. There seemed to be no real fallout, and I just found that to be unrealistic. Things were all tied up with a neat bow, and I was hoping and expecting more than that. I still think that these characters were great, but their story could have been better, especially when it came to the ending. I would read more from Sara Jane Stone though, and I think that if you are looking for a short and sexy story this might be one worth looking into.
**ARC Provided by Publisher**
After several years on the other side of the publishing industry, Sara Jane Stone bid goodbye to her sales career to pursue her dream—writing romance novels. Sara Jane currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her very supportive real-life hero, two lively young children and a lazy Burmese cat.
Club Sin comes alive once again in this decadent new romance from USA Today bestselling author Stacey Kennedy, perfect for fans of Fifty Shades of Grey.A dedicated cop, Sawyer Quinn blows off steam by immersing himself in his role as a Master at the hottest club in Las Vegas. But when Sawyer goes after the perp who brutally beat his sister, he teams up with Chloe Nash, a sexy private investigator who awakens a sweet new need: to keep her to himself, away from the dungeon of Club Sin. Chloe is beautiful, smart, and too innocent for the BDSM lifestyle. Sawyer’s never wanted a woman like this before. Is her love worth swearing off the one thing that keeps him sane?There’s something different about Sawyer: a commanding strength that pulls Chloe into a vortex of heady desire. But when she learns about his double life as a Dom, she’s shocked—and afraid she could never complete him. Then he saves her life, and just like that, Chloe knows she will be able to give him anything he desires. She is his—wherever and however he wants to take her.
Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo |
Thursday, July 9, 2015
I am a huge fan of all things Pepper Winters, so I could not wait to read Ruin & Rule. There is absolutely no one else like Pepper out there, so I know that with each story I am in for a unique story that will be unlike anything I have read before. Ruin & Rule definitely lived up to that, and I cannot even begin to tell you enough why you need to be reading Pepper Winters. If you like dark and unique stories, she is a must read author.
She has no idea who she is or how she ended up where she is. All she knows is that she will do anything to find answers. He is the president of the Corrupt, and will do whatever it takes to get vengeance for all that he has lost. Can she find her answers from the one man who might be her biggest enemy? Can he let go of his vengeance long enough to have a chance at redemption?
It is really hard for me to give too many details about this book without giving a ton away, so this review will be fairly vague. The heroine of this story has no idea who she is and all she wants is to find out what has happened to her and about her life. She feels a strong connection to Kill, but she doesn't know why. These two had so many questions and things that they were in the dark about, and yet there was clearly a connection between them. Kill didn't let others close, and he didn't have time for any distractions. But yet he also knew there was something between them, and he had a tough time fighting it. I loved these two, and honestly the more I got to know the more that was true. Each of these characters had demons, and yet when they were together it was absolute perfection. They were different than any characters I have read before, and I couldn't get enough of them.
This was another one of those books from Pepper Winters that I just couldn't put down. Once I started I had to keep reading, because like the characters in this book I was dying for answers. There is so much going on here, and with each new piece of the puzzle revealed I became that much more hooked. Pepper Winters is the queen of twists and turns, and I never knew what was fully going on or who was worthy of trust here. But that is what makes each of Pepper's books so great, and I honestly would not have it any other way! This book does end in a cliffhanger, in true Pepper fashion, and I am dying for more as I try to patiently wait for Sin & Suffer. If you are a fan of Pepper's, you will definitely want to check this book out. If you are new to Pepper Winters, I highly recommend this or any of her books because you really can't go wrong with anything that has her name on it!
**ARC Provided by Publisher**
My overall feeling about this book is that you buy tickets to one show and unexpectedly wind up in another one. When the book starts off Kat is this sassy, smart woman with one liners on hand in case of emergency. Nico is a brooding bossy alpha male rockstar who is instantly attracted to Kat. Nico pursues Kat from the beginning. At first Kat believes Nico has a girlfriend and keeps her distance. She later learns that Nico is single and the two start a relationship and that’s where sh!t goes left.
When the actual relationship between Nico and Kat starts (very early on in the book), the book loses all the light hearted banter and fun that was there in the opening scenes. Despite the fact that Nico and Kat barely know each other at all, they are instantly locked in this super intense emotional relationship. It was like they both brought out the worst in each other. Kat becomes this really insecure, needy girl. At one point, Nico does something for her birthday and she manages to get into an argument with him over the wonderful gesture because she is just so insecure. And let's not forget about Nico. There is a line between the brooding possessive alphas that we all love and what Nico became.
Nico crossed over in to the scary Lifetime movie guy really fast. When Nico feels like his relationship with Kat is threatened he drags her off to punish her. Not in a sexy way, more in a emotionally unstable way. Kat doesn't help the situation at all because of course she's so turned on by Nico and attracted to him that she just takes whatever he is dishing out. I kid you not, there is a scene in the book where Nico tells Kat something like 'there is no end to this relationship, if one of us tries to leave, we will both die.' At another point in the story, Nico makes Kat change her swimming suit because he doesn't want his friends looking at her body. I was like ok, both of these two need major crisis intervention. Hell, at one point in the book even Kat says that the couple is going to need therapy.
The storyline with Nico's relationship with Avery was one of the most interesting parts of the book. Don't worry for those of you like me who are cheating phobic, there was no cheating in this book but Avery does have a significant role in the story. But when Nico's brother gets involved, things go left again. I just didn't understand what his whole deal was.
The other thing I noticed during this book is that it's like Kat had no life outside of the relationship with Nico. I think at one point she worked but after Nico, she doesn't seem to do much beyond hide from the paparazzi and go through emotional turmoil with Nico. Finally, I did not care for the depiction of Kat's friends and I especially did not like how much they appeared in the story. There were really long scenes about Kat and her friends and their conversations that I just found to be boring and not adding to the story.
My frustration with this book is that it could have been really good. The author writes well and despite the fact that I was turned off by elements of the plot, this wasn't a hard book to get through. It flows pretty well. This is the first book I've read by this author and I think I would give her another try because she does seem to have a good formula that just didn't work here.
**ARC copy provided by Publisher**
Purchase: | Amazon |
USA Today Bestselling Author, Julie Brannagh has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab.
When she’s not writing, she’s reading, or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of contemporary sports romances.
Claire Kent has been writing romance novels since she was twelve years old. She has a PhD in British literature and, when she’s not writing, teaches English at the university level. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Noelle Adams.
Inevitable is the second book in the Key West Series by C.A. Harms, which is also a spin-off of her Southern Boys Series. Each book in this series can be read as a standalone, but they are interconnected. I would start at the beginning if possible, but it isn't necessary to understand this book. I honestly couldn't wait to get my hands on Harper's story after seeing more of her in Jett's book, Unpredictable.
Harper isn't looking for a serious relationship. Between her past and her focus on her business, the arrangement she has with Ian is perfect. They see each other when they have time and fulfill each other's needs. But when Harper finds out that he has been lying to her and keeping secrets she ends things. Her brother Jett and his best friend Easton tried to warn her about Ian, so when she needs help she turns to Easton. Easton has always been attracted to Harper, yet he knew he needed to tread carefully because of Jett. But when Harper comes to him, he finds himself unable to stay away from her any longer. Soon Harper and Easton are spending more time together, and they find that they have a connection to each other they never expected. But when Easton's past threatens to ruin everything, Harper must decide if she can stand by him or if it is better to end things.
I loved these two. Easton was sexy and confident, and I really loved his no-nonsense approach to life. He didn't try to BS Harper, and he wasn't afraid to let her know that he was interested in her. I loved that he told Jett how he felt and didn't shy away from going after Harper despite Jett's warnings. He was a really good guy, and it was so refreshing to see a man that was looking for more than just sex. He liked Harper for who she was, and even found her temper to be something that drew him in. Harper definitely had fire, and she was one of those feisty heroines that you can't help but love. She wasn't afraid to speak her mind, and I really enjoyed seeing her stand up to the men in her life when they deserved it. She understood that they were looking out for her, and yet she could take care of herself. These two were fun together, and they had a lot of heat between them too.
Overall, this was another great story from C.A. Harms. I have become such a huge fan of hers, that every time I see she has a new release I jump at the chance to read it. C.A. Harms never disappoints, and I cannot recommend her books enough. I will say that while I loved this book, the one thing that kept this one from being a five star read for me was the conflict towards the end of the story. It wasn't anything new or original, and I have seen it more times than I can count in romance books and I just felt it was too predictable. I loved the way everything turned out though, and I really liked Easton and Harper. I am looking forward to the next book in this series, and I cannot wait to see what she has in store for all these characters next.
**ARC Provided by Enticing Journey Book Promotions**
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Rusty Nailed is the second book in Alice Clayton's Cocktail series, and is the continuing story of Simon and Caroline. Readers will want to make sure that they have read Wallbanger first before starting this one. I couldn't wait to get more of my favorite Wallbanger and Pink Nightie Girl, and this story was really good. I will say that I enjoyed the story itself much more than I did the audiobook though, and I was disappointed with the audiobook version.
Caroline and Simon are now together, and are figuring out how to balance their new relationship with everything else going on in their lives. Simon is still traveling the world as a photographer, and Caroline is busier than ever working as a designer for her friend and boss Jillian. When Jillian heads off on her honeymoon, Caroline and Simon agree to house sit for them. As Caroline and Simon are just starting to settle into their relationship and everything going on, Simon decides that he is tired of so much travel and wants to stay home more. But he also wants Caroline to stay home more as well, and Caroline isn't ready to slow down after receiving the biggest opportunity of her career. Can Caroline and Simon navigate their new circumstances and find a balance, or will all the changes be too much for them to overcome?
I loved Simon and Caroline in the first book, and I loved them just as much here. These two are hilarious. They are perfect for one another, and they could not be hotter together. Caroline and Simon did a great job of making things work in a tough situation, and I really enjoyed seeing how they figured things out together. They made the most of their time together, and they were super supportive of each other. I liked seeing how their relationship grew and changed as they got even more serious about one another. I was glad to see that they were able to deal with the drama from their friends, and handle the arguments that they had without letting things destroy them. This book was different than your typical romance, and I really loved that they didn't seem to follow the typical white picket fence dream. These two weren't in a rush to get married and have babies, and I thought that suited them perfectly.
My biggest problem with this one was the narrator of the audiobook, Heather Smith. I didn't feel as though her voice fit the character at all, and I felt like her performance was overly dramatic. She seemed to overact a bit here, and I found it really annoying. One of the things I love the most about Alice Clayton's books is that they are flat out hilarious, and at times they border on over the top when it comes to the humor side. I personally love that and think she does it perfectly, but it is a lot at times. When you add an over the top narrator that makes everything even more dramatic, it becomes ridiculous and irritating. Unfortunately I felt like Heather Smith took a great story, and somehow made it to where I couldn't enjoy it. So while I would give the story itself four stars, I would give the narration two stars if rated separately. Because of the fact that I didn't like the audiobook but did like the story, I feel like a three star rating is where I would average the two versions of this story. I think that fans of this series and Alice Clayton will really enjoy seeing more of these characters, but I would definitely recommend reading this one rather than listening to the audiobook.
**Audiobook Provided by Publisher**
I enjoy historical romance. I also like paranormal romance. When I can read one book and experience both genres, it's a good day! Deception by A.S. Fenichel is such a book.
Demons exist among humans in Scotland and England in the early 19th century. Unknown to most of the population, they live to worship their master and to bring him into this dimension. Luckily there are a few humans that bravely battle demons and work to ensure humanity stays safe. The Company was formed to protect humans from demons.
After the demon master tried to pass into earth's dimension using her friend (see Ascension, The Demon Hunters, #1), Lillian Dellacourt is on a mission. As one of the Company's most lethal kick-ass hunters, she will do anything necessary to stop the master.
Dorian Lambert, the exiled Marquis de Montalembert, has admired Lillian since she first joined the company. Now he is working with her to find the demon's gate. While Dorian courts Lillian, they both fight demons and track down the answers needed to solve the demon problem once and for all.
Usually, I like a slow burning romance. Deception is an exception. In this case, the relationship between Dorian and Lillian actually began before the events of this story. They were acquainted with each other and there was already attraction. Well, on Dorian's part, it might have been more than attraction. He wants a long-term relationship but Lillian only wants to scratch an itch. I like that there was the attraction punctuated with Dorian's enthusiastic courting words and Lillian smart comments. They make a fun, sexy couple.
Lillian's non-virginal status is no problem for Dorian, an unusual attitude for a noble. But perhaps not so unusual in the Company, where all employees are treated as equals, regardless of gender or societal rank. I wish that Lillian's attitude toward sex would have reflected this equality. She had no problem with taking lovers and she had no concerns about Dorian's prior sex life, but Lillian worried that Dorian would think she was a whore. This self-image issue didn't feel right for Lillian.
Deception has a few interesting secondary characters. Angus Fletcher, thief/businessman, is an honorable thug. Mrs. Abigail Higginbotham is a witch that is employed by the Company from time to time. The Company trainer of hunters, Blake Lambert, is the brother of Dorian. And Drake Cullum is the undisputed head of the Company who proves he can battle demons with the best of the hunters. Of the four, I think I like Drake best. I'd really like to know more about how he came to the Company. If there are future books in the Demon Hunters series, perhaps one or more of these characters will be featured.
In Deception, the origins of the Company are revealed. I was looking for this type of background in book 1, so I was please to see it explained. The Company had a questionable beginning, and a shaky past, which makes certain characters all that more interesting. But the past may also contain a clue that will help the hunters deal with the demons.
If you have not read book 1 in The Demon Hunters series, no problem. Deception can be enjoyed as standalone. If you enjoy historical and paranormal romance – in the same book – you would do well to check out Deception.
**ARC copy provided by Publisher**