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Saturday, May 28, 2016

ARC Review: Glass Ceilings by A.M. Madden


I read a lot of really enthusiastic reviews of this book. This is not one of those. For me it was a good, solid read but something was missing for me. I think something about the connetion between the main characters didn't connect for me and it threw off the whole experience.

There is actually a lot that I liked about this book which is why I still gave it a good rating. I liked the danger aspects. I liked that this book included suspense, a crazy ex, the mob, some good supporting characters and a host of other positive things. By way of background, this is the second entry of the True Heroes series. I didn't read the first book so I can't tell you if there are any spoilers but I can tell you that you can read this one as a standalone.

Nick is an undercover FBI agent in Chicago collecting information to close down a major drug operation of the mob. As his investigation nears completion, he meets the elusive Angela. When Nick meets Angela, he is already gone on to his next assignment in New York in his mind. He wasn't anticipating starting something right here in Chicago. Angela is the shy good girl who comes into the bar where Nick is working undercover and instantly grabs his attention. Angela makes it clearly she is not interested in starting a relationship but thanks to Nick and Angela's sidekick/friends, they continuously are thrust together.

The issue for me is that I honestly enjoyed Nick and Angela's friends more than I enjoyed them. There seems to be more chemistry and fun banter between The supporting cast members than there was between the main characters. I found the parts of the story that had supporting characters in it more interesting than the parts that were just Nick and Angela.

Even though Nick doesn't think it's fair to start anything with Angela in light of the fact that he's leaving for New York, it turns out, rather conveniently, that Angela is also headed to New York. We also find out that Angela is avoiding an abusive ex-boyfriend. I like the fact that Nick and Angela gave it a go and that things were complicated and difficult because of issues from the past. I think the complications in the romance were the best part of the book for me. It gave the story layers that it just would not have had if things had been easy.

So all in all this book was entertaining and interesting. The only issue is that the things I really liked did not include the romance which I found kind of tepid.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |


Interview with Author Marie Harte and Giveaway

Meet Marie Harte author of Test Drive.

Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author MARIE HARTE is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking or biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. She lives in in Central Oregon.

Friday, May 27, 2016

ARC Review: The Dom Games by Rachel Robinson


This is my first book by this author. I’ve heard a lot of really great things about her and I can see how I might love some of her other books. For one reason, however, I didn’t love this one. My ‘we can only be friends, not lovers’ reason is Kayla.

The premise of this book was intriguing to me. A game show with a dom trying to find a sub. Yup, that’s all I really needed to know, I was in. I knew almost right away there was going to be a problem. Kayla applies to be on the show and is chosen by the shows owner (who is also starring in this season) because she is so non-submissive. But THAT’S the problem. Kayla wanted to be on the show for money but she wasn’t interested in the lifestyle at all.

That wasn’t what really annoyed me thought. What really irritated me was that Kayla didn’t even really try. She really wants the money that comes from winning the show but she shuns everything about the lifestyle she is supposed to be excelling at. I’ve read some books about bad submissives but that isn’t what happened here. Kayla just wasn’t a sub….at all. The more the book went on, the more Kayla annoyed me. Her aversion to the lifestyle (that she signed up for!) started to come across as bitchiness and I just wasn’t here for it.

The other thing that I found annoying about this book was the Hero, Dominic. Ok, I just….it was a bad trip. He is supposed to be this big bad Dom but he lets Kayla get away with ridiculous behavior while pining for her. And oh yeah, while he is pining for her, he is screwing every other woman on the show in every imaginable way. After a certain point, I was just disgusted by the whole deal.

When Kayla starts to develop feeling for Dom, I was like ‘oh c’mon.’ I just didn’t get the connection between these characters. The fact that Dominic reciprocated Kayla’s feelings diminished him in my eyes. There are some things I can’ tell you because I don’t want to spoil the book but by the end I was just over Kayla and Dom.

This book gets three stars from me because the writing is good, the plot was super original and there is some HAWT sex in the book. If I was just judging this book on the characters, it would probably be two stars less than I’m giving it. Take that however you take it but here’s a word of advice. If you are really into the BDSM erotic romance scene, this book might be disappointing for you.

**ARC provided by TRSoR Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |


ARC Review: Rush by Shae Ross


Rush is the third book in the Pretty Smart Girls series from Shae Ross, but each book in the series is a standalone story. I have to admit that I read a previous book in the series and it wasn't my favorite, but the cover for Rush was enough to convince me to give this one a shot! I really loved it and it just instantly drew my attention. Unfortunately the same can't be said for the story itself, and I ended up throwing in the towel at the 30% mark. While I hate to DNF any book, I just couldn't force myself to finish and this one wasn't working for me at all. 

Rush is about Priscilla Winslow and Preston Rush. Priscilla is the captain of the soccer team and Preston is the star quarterback for their school's football team. When the two of them attend the same Halloween party at a local bar, it ends with Preston being involved in a fight. Looking to help him out, Priscilla jumps in and they both end up in jail. But when Priscilla is suspended from the soccer team, Preston and Priscilla must work together to try and get her reinstated. The attraction between them is something neither of them can fight, but with Priscilla hating Preston for everything that has happened can he win her over? Or will both of the futures be destroyed? 

Part of my problem here was that I just didn't connect with the characters. I liked them at first. There was so much promise with the first meeting in the bar and how they were dressed in costume and you could really feel the pull between them. Things were interesting when they were in jail together. But it was after that that this one lost me. Priscilla was angry (and I totally understand that and even sympathize with her) but I just found her impossible to like. I wasn't feeling the connection between her and Preston beyond that first bit and it just felt like they weren't really progressing at all. There wasn't any real depth or development and my interest started to wane. 

Besides just the characters though, I felt like the humor was forced and over the top. It just wasn't funny to me and came off as the author trying too hard. I'm not trying to be rude, but it just didn't feel natural and there was just something off about it to me. Any interest I had left was quickly lost because of it, and I just couldn't bring myself to continue. I think that there are plenty of readers that will enjoy this story, and I encourage any that are interested to give this one a shot. If this sounds like one you might like, you should definitely give it a try. Just because it wasn't working for me doesn't mean that it won't for you. I think maybe I just wasn't connecting with the story or characters or in the right frame of mind to read this one. After a few different books of hers not working for me though, I think maybe her style just isn't one that works for me and this will likely be my last book from her.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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





Feature and Giveaway: The Official Essex Sisters Companion Guide by Eloisa James and Jody Gayle



This is a book no Eloisa James fan should miss! Eloisa revisits the scintillating world of the Essex Sisters with "A Midsummer Night's Disgrace," a new story featuring a young lady, Cece, who would rather ruin her own reputation than endure further speculation about whether her children will be "silly," like her brother, Billy. Happily for fans of Pleasure for Pleasure, Cece's best friend is Josie, Countess of Mayne!

Just as exciting, the Companion includes not only Eloisa's original notes about each book and her "extra" chapters, but a 170 page alternate ending to Kiss Me, Annabel. Eloisa discarded this shockingly different plot after writing one draft, and the published novel went in an entirely new direction. Make up your own mind about which is better-Eloisa's original, or the final book!

Super fan Jody Gayle's engaging guide includes essays about fascinating historical details, including period fashion designs. Explore the world of horse racing and tour the London theater scene. Delve into the rich history and deep literary tradition that makes Eloisa one of the top writers of historical romance.

The Companion also gives you a sneak peek at Eloisa's newest full-length novella, "A Gentleman Never Tells"-which springs from the world of the Essex Sisters! What will happen when one of the men who ruined an heiress' debut by labeling her a "Wooly Breeder" (and Josie Essex a "Scottish Sausage") decides that it's time to make amends?

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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Audiobook Review: Magnate by Joanna Shupe, Narrated by Amy Melissa Bentley


First off, wow!

Second, I can’t believe that this is my first story by Joanna Shupe. What an A-Mazing story!

I heard so many great reviews about this story that I jumped at the chance to hear it and review it. Because I’ve been pressed for time I’ve started to listen to the audiobook and I became addicted. Shupe writes a very thorough, greatly detailed, wonderfully detailed characters. I was so intrigued by the Gilded period and it has to be the first time I’ve ever read a story about this time period. It is absolutely fascinating.

Let’s start with our delicious hero- Emmett Cavanaugh. Talk about a hero. Emmett has made it out of the slums or Five Points with sheer determination, tenacity and some very illegal things. Emmett is ruthless. He controls much of the business that goes on in New York City. He is a very astute business man. He is devoted to his brother and his two half-sisters. The rest of his time, Emmett spends his time focused on business. Emmett is surrounded by his family and his right hand man, Kelly. One day Elizabeth Sloane , an equally smart businesswoman although the term does not exist during this time period, visits Emmett. Elizabeth convinces Emmett to give her a chance and that she will double his investment. Emmett is intrigued by Elizabeth’s proposal and mostly the idea of angering her brother William Sloane. Even though Sloane and William do deal with each other in business they hate each other.

Elizabeth is part of the elite class but she is also very smart and wants to be useful. She knows that the family business is suffering and she actually has the know how to help the business but her brother refuses to allow her. When Elizabeth is successful and doubles Emmett’s money she is exuberant because it proves that she is able to invest wisely and the wager will give her the money she needs to start her own investment firm. But that is just the beginning. When her and Emmett are caught in an amorous embrace her brother steps in and soon her and Emmett are married. That is just the beginning of their troubles.

First, Elizabeth and Emmett, although they have a strong attraction, they are strangers. They have a lot to learn about each other and matters are only more complex when Elizabeth finds out the real reason for their marriage. Emmett for his part carries guilt about his past. He has very serious issues and doesn’t listen to anyone. One huge winter storm forces them to finally give into their feelings but the situation between them still needs work. When Emmett’s stock crash, he instantly suspects Elizabeth and her brother. Typically, when I’m 70% of the way through a story I either get anxious or bored, well let me say, 70% of the way I was on pins and needles! The story really carries through to the very end. I loved how the story was very well developed and the characters included. I loved how Elizabeth was always true to herself no matter who challenged her! Whether it was Emmett or her peers in society.

I absolutely loved this story! As a narrator Amy Melissa Bentley did a good job. I thought that at times she read a little rushed but she kept a good pace! Now the countdown starts to the next book in the series “Baron.”

**Audiobook provided by Publisher**

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


Guest Post with Author Kat Martin and Giveaway

Meet Kat Martin author of Into the Fury.

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels.

Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.

Born in Bakersfield, California, Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains.

Her last 10 books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. AGAINST THE WILD, AGAINST THE SKY, and AGAINST THE TIDE her latest release, took top ten spots.  

ARC Review: Devil's Kiss by Ella Frank


I couldn't wait to get Derek and Jordan's story after reading Finley by Ella Frank. These two had so much between them in that book that I knew there was so much more that needed to be told when it came to their story. I have to say that while there were times that I really loved Derek and Jordan in this book, there was also a lot that didn't work for me here. I wanted so badly to love their book, but unfortunately I had mixed feelings here and this one wasn't everything that I had been hoping for. 

Derek Pearson and Jordan Devaney are about as opposite as you can get. Though the attraction between them was instant, things between them have been complicated since the day they met. Starting off as student and teacher kept them from seeing where that attraction could go, but as time went on Derek and Jordan struggled with more than just how things were in the beginning. Years go by and Jordan and Derek find themselves in different places until it finally appears that they have a shot at exploring the connection between them. But what happens when one person finds himself wanting more than the other might be capable of giving?

I loved the heat between these two. The chemistry and attraction was there right from the start, and you could tell that when it came to the physical aspect of their relationship there would be no problems. But there was a lot of push and pull here and it got to the point that it was just too much for me. These two not only went back and forth constantly, but it truly felt like they were fighting for 95% of this book. I expected some of that seeing how they were in the previous book, but it was more than just tension here and Jordan made me really angry on more than one occasion. I was hoping that by the end of the story he would beg for Derek's forgiveness and I would feel like he had redeemed himself somewhere along the way. Unfortunately though that didn't happen, and I felt like what little he did do was too late and that at that point he didn't deserve Derek. 

I also felt like while it was great to see the history between these two, that the huge jumps in time gave this book a choppy feel. I understand that the author was trying to move the story along and just give the highlights, but it just felt like at times there was too much time in between events and it sort of drew me out of the story. While I could clearly see the chemistry and attraction between Derek and Jordan, I had trouble seeing the relationship between them as anything more than physical. There just wasn't as much emotional connection or depth as I needed to truly believe that these two had more than just lust between them. Overall, I did like Derek and Jordan when they were together. They were hot together and I thought that they had some really cute moments together. I also loved that Jordan was supportive of Derek and all that he had gone through with his family, but I just wish I had seen more of them working on being together rather than the constant fighting and push/pull that was going on. I think that this one had a ton of potential and just sort of got a bit lost along the way. I do hope that Ella Frank writes a story for Derek's roommate Dylan. I liked what we got to see of him here and would love to get to know him better. If you are a fan of Ella's and enjoyed Finley, I think that this one is worth the read. If this one sounds like something you might like though and you haven't read Finley yet, Devil's Kiss is a standalone and can be read with no problems.

**ARC Provided by Between the Sheets Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon |





Wednesday, May 25, 2016

ARC Review: Sugar Daddy by Sawyer Bennett


I can honestly say this is the best book I've read so far this year and is high up on my list of best contemporary romance books. That is really saying something because this book is part 1 of a series and ends on a cliffhanger. Usually that is enough, by itself, to make me earnestly despise a book when the other parts of the series are not yet available. I'm DYING to get the rest of this story but part 1 was so good, I can't even be mad that there's more.

First thing you need to know, Sawyer Bennett hits us with some good ol fashioned grade A writing in this book. The storytelling and weaving together of events from the past and present is just brilliant. Bennett gives us just enough information about what happened in the past to get us to the present and allow us to really feel what Sela felt. She doesn't, however, overwhelm the present story telling with extremely long detailed flashbacks. That is something I find super irritating.

Then there is the plot of this book which is just very well conceived. If you read the synopsis you know that Sela was raped by Beck's business partner when she was 16 years old. When the book begins, Sela plans to get close to Beck in an effort to find a way to destroy his disgusting business partner. Her plan doesn't quite turn out as conceived because it turns out Beck, and not revenge, is exactly what Sela needs. The problem is that Sela struggles to let go of her vendetta. Sela knows it will eventually destroy her relationship with Beck and we know it's going to all blow up as we read the book but Sela just can't let it go. So the book becomes about what happens when you can't put the past to rest.

I was really moved by Sela's internal turmoil. I was rooting for her to be able to go forward but I completely understood her wanting to wipe Beck's vile partner off the face of the Earth. I was equally sympathetic to Beck's position. The same way Sela understood the emotional bind he was in, I got it too. I spent the whole book just praying that everything could be resolved without the explosion that you could see coming from 10 miles down the road. Well, you have to read it to see how it all turns out but OMG, what a journey this was. I'm completely wrung out. I have no clue how I'm going to move on to the next book. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself until the next installment comes out in August.

P.S.- I've read several other Bennett books. There is a note at the end of this one that says it's unlike anything else she has ever written, that is totally true. If you think you know this author, think again, this book is something totally different from her.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |


ARC Review: Until June by Aurora Rose Reynolds


I am a huge fan of Aurora Rose Reynolds, so I couldn't wait to read Until June. This book is a standalone, but if you are a fan of her Until series you will recognize some familiar faces as that series is connected to the Until Her and Until Him series. This book was a bit different than ARR's other books that I have read as it was a second chance romance. I am a huge fan of the BOOM with her, but it was nice to see her do something else as well and I really liked this book. 

June Mayson and Evan Barrister had a whirlwind romance that ended in them getting married. They didn't tell anyone that they knew, and planned to share their relationship when he returned from his deployment. But instead of Evan returning to June, she was served with divorce papers and left with a broken heart. So when she moves, the last thing she expects is to run into Evan. Though Evan believed he wasn't good enough for June, he is determined to win her back. But can June forgive him and let go of all the pain he caused her and give him another chance? 

I liked June and Evan a lot. It was clear right away that these two had so much love between them and that it had never gone away. I really felt for both of them, and for completely different reasons. I hated that June had been hurt, and what was worse is that she didn't even get the closure she should have had because Evan didn't end their relationship himself. But I also really felt for Evan because he truly believed that he wasn't good enough for her and that broke my heart. Their connection and chemistry was so strong that I knew they had to find a way back to one another. These two were the perfect match, and I couldn't imagine them not being together. 

I will say though that this book felt a little anti-climactic. There were several things that I think could have brought more conflict, but they all sort of resolved themselves and just worked out without much happening. I kept waiting for the big conflict and it just never really happened. I also felt (and I can't believe I am saying this!) that at times there was just too much sex. I am all for steamy books, but unfortunately things got a bit redundant here and it felt like that was all that was happening and it was all the same. I found myself skimming the sex scenes to get back to the dialogue to see what would happen next. I did really love these two together though, and it was great to see familiar faces. If you are a fan of ARR's you will enjoy this one, and if you are new to her books this is one that is worth the read. I do think that these are best if read in order though, starting with the Until series and then reading Until Jax and Until July. You do get some insight and backstory on these characters that I think makes this book even more enjoyable though it isn't necessary. I am already anxious for the next installments in each of the Until Him and Until Her series from Aurora Rose Reynolds and I highly recommend her books.

**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | 





Feature and Giveaway: Incapable by Marie Skye



Emmalin

Gone.
Everything I ever had is gone. Ripped away, taken before I was ready. So I just hid. Hid in the shadows, hoping to disappear, blending in, fade away. I didn't want to be found, and I sure as hell didn’t want, to be discovered.

But one man did. He saw me. Saw right through me.
He's overbearing, egotistical, and did I mention a total asshole?
When I'm with him, I want to scream, Punch him,
And then have him rip my clothes off.

I gave him one night.
He wants more.
And so do I.
I'm his.
Grayson Mandrake owns me.

Grayson

I take, because I can.
I claim, because I can.
She was mine the moment I saw her,
And I will destroy her soul to keep her. Have her. Own her.

I'm ruthless,
And relentless,
A total asshole.
And I will do anything for her.
Emmalin Ross is mine.

Purchase: | Amazon |

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

ARC Review: Wednesday by Kendall Ryan


I was really excited when I saw that Kendall Ryan had a new best friends to lovers standalone story coming out and I couldn't wait to read it! Wednesday is not your typical friends to lovers story and there was a lot that I liked here. This one was really short though, and I did feel like the story suffered a bit because of the length. 

Chloe has been in love with her best friend Shaw for years. But they have only ever been friends, a status that was solidified when he got married. But when Shaw's wife is killed in an accident, Shaw copes the only way he knows how...by using Chloe. He comes to her every Wednesday and they have sex, but that is all he gives her. Chloe hopes that by helping him heal that one day he will realize that there is so much more between them. But with each Wednesday that passes, Chloe knows that she needs more and by asking him for it she knows that she risks losing him altogether. 

I really wanted to love these characters, and there were times that I did like them. These two had a ton of chemistry and a lot of history. Having been best friends since childhood, the connection between them was already there and I felt like they fit well together. But most of this book, Shaw was a jerk and Chloe came off as a doormat. While I saw their friendship and the chemistry between them, the romantic connection was one I struggled with. I felt like we just didn't get the depth or development to really find it fully believable. I wanted to see that change from friends to more, and I felt like while they were connecting physically that was pretty much all it was until the very end here. Shaw was too closed off the entire story to really see anything more happen between these two than straight up sex. I wanted to see the feelings change and grow, and I just felt like we missed that here. 

Overall, this book was really hot! If you are looking for something short and steamy, Wednesday definitely has that. But if you are looking for a bit more with your heat, this one might come up a bit short. I think that Kendall Ryan is a great writer, and I enjoy her stories a lot. But I wanted more here and I felt like there was so much promise that just wasn't fully delivered on. Shaw and Chloe were great for one another, and I wanted to see them transition into a believable couple since it was clear that they always had feelings for one another. I think that had this one been a bit longer, it could have been a four or five star read that I really loved. This won't be the last I read from Kendall Ryan though, and I recommend giving her books a shot if you haven't already.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

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





Feature: Wednesday by Kendall Ryan


Hard core fucking.

It’s not what I really want, but it's all he has to offer. He's filled with turmoil and heartache and regrets, but for two hours every Wednesday all he feels is me. How much I desire him, how desperate he makes me, how much I'd like things to be different between us. Real.

He used to be my best friend back before he got married. And now? Now, he’s a young widower. It'd be wrong on so many levels to expect something more from him. So I give him what he needs. Dark delicious fucking. But I know I can’t keep this up. I've already given him my body, my soul. I want him to have my heart. It might drive him away forever, but that’s a risk I’m forced to take.

Wednesday is an angsty romp told from dual points of view. If you’re in the mood for something quick and dirty, you’ve found it. Proceed at your own risk.

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