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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…

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

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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Feature and Giveaway: Hard to Protect by Incy Black

Some Black Op missions are too dark—even for him.

Volcanic hot and ambitious Special Agent Will Berwick doesn’t give a damn what his orders are, he’s not taking the enemy—the lovely, but arctic Dr. Angel Treherne—to bed. Nor will she die on his watch, most certainly not by his hand. Oh, he’ll root out her secrets. But his own way—teaching her a much-deserved lesson while he’s at it: that no one messes with his career plan just because they’re a little peeved with him.

Caught up in a tangled web of deceit and betrayal, psychotherapist Angel trusts no one—certainly not alpha-cocky, cunning Will Berwick. First he’s hostile, then he’s charming, now he wants to protect her? Why? What’s he hiding? With her life—and heart—on the line, she needs to know.

With the risks high and personal, can Will and Angel agree the dangerous choices they must make?

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

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ARC Review: A Moment of Madness by Brooklyn Skye

I'm almost positive I read the first book in this series. I don't have a very specific memory but I recall thinking it was pretty good. I probably did not like this book as much because it stumbled on one of the things I can't stand- a clueless heroine.

Ok so Sailor gets the bright idea to return to her Father's bar to "take over" after he passes away. Slight problem. Sailor left home when she was 18. She was a super wild teenager and went out to sew her wild oats. Or get some oats sewn....I don't know. Whatever the case may be, her Father passes away and Sailor decides to go back to Boston and claim his bar. Her idea is to save up some cash and use it to buy out the owner. By the way, the owner is Ryan. Ryan has been running the bar for years and it was left to him by Sailor's Father. Ryan is a good guy who really loved Sailor's Father.

Sailor and Ryan meet totally by accident. To make a long story short, the two wind up having a one night stand. They are extremely attracted to one another. While the chemistry was strong, it did not go over well when Sailor marched into Ryan's bar and told him she was there to claim it. Ryan had heard of Sailor as the wild child who left her sick Dad. The minute he finds out that Sailor is the hot Sailor he met before, all the chemistry goes poof. Suddenly Sailor finds herself just begging Ryan for a job so she can stay near the memories of her Father. Ryan agrees ad the chemistry quickly reappears between the two. Eventually it all gets worked out.

My issue is that I just felt like Sailor was stupid. I have no idea why she thought Ryan would just give her his bar for almost no money. It was a source of continuous aggravation to me. After Sailor and Ryan start working together, I liked seeing them together but Sailor still irritated me. She is supposed to be quirky but she comes across more as kind of flighty and I just wasn't into it. The sex scenes are ok. Nothing world changing but a solid ok. In the end, the romance works but it just wasn't my favorite story.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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ARC Review: Take Me Back by Meghan March

Meghan March has done it again with Take Me Back! I really loved this story from start to finish, and while it has everything that I have come to know and enjoy from Meghan March it was new and fresh and had a different feel to it than her other books. This isn't your typical second chance romance, and I think readers are going to enjoy it just as much as I did. 

Kat and Dane fell in love and got married in paradise. They thought that they had found their happily ever after, but two years later they no longer recognize the people that they are. Their relationship is damaged and nothing like they expected, so they head back to paradise in order to try and save their relationship. But they'll have to risk everything in order to try and save what is now broken, and hope that their secrets won't destroy everything beyond repair. 

I really loved these two. They had great chemistry and a connection that you could tell was still there despite the circumstances that they found themselves in. I can't really go into any kind of detail about this story so as not to ruin anything, and trust me you don't want me to. This book is best experienced not knowing anything ahead of time and I truly recommend going in blind here. These characters and their story are worth taking a chance on, and I think fans of Meghan's will love this one like like I did. If you are new to her books, this is a great story to start with. Take Me Back was a great read, and I definitely recommend giving it a shot. If you like second chance romance stories with a twist, this is one you are going to want to read.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

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

Guest Post with Author Susan Sands and Giveaway

Meet Susan Sands author of Alabama, Forever.

Susan Sands began writing on her fortieth birthday. Better than a hot young boyfriend or a red convertible as mid-life crises go. Her first Southern women’s fiction title, Again, Alabama, was published a mere eight years later, with the second, Love, Alabama, and her latest, Forever, Alabama, following closely behind. Growing up in a small town in Louisiana, Susan's passion for reading sparked her interest in writing. She now creates stories about the quirky characters and fascinating relationships that are uniquely Southern.

Susan holds a degree in elementary education, and has lived in the Johns Creek/Alpharetta suburb of Atlanta with her husband and three children for over twenty years.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

ARC Review: His Custody by Tamsen Parker

His Custody is the first book I have read from Tamsen Parker, but it definitely won't be my last. I didn't know what I was in for having never read anything from Tamsen Parker before, but I really enjoyed this book and I am already looking forward to reading more from her. His Custody had angst and emotion, and was a bit on the forbidden side giving me a bit of everything I look for in a good romance. 

Keyne had everything until it all fell apart. Getting ready to start her senior year, Keyne finds herself suddenly in the custody of Jasper, her boyfriend's older brother. Though Jasper is rough around the edges and doesn't want the role of guardian, he knows that he needs to protect Keyne after everything that she has been through. But the more they are around each other, the more each of them feel things for one another that they know they shouldn't. Keyne needs someone to take care of her and keep her in line, but Jasper could find himself in trouble if he gives in to his desires and what he knows that Keyne really needs.

I really loved Jasper and Keyne. Jasper was strict and all alpha, while also being really caring. He genuinely wanted to help Keyne even though he really had no interest in being her guardian. You could tell just how much he cared though, and I loved him for it. I loved how him and Keyne interacted and how their connection and attraction built over the course of this story. Keyne had been through so much, and she needed Jasper. He was perfect for her and these two just seemed meant for one another. They had a lot to overcome and that threatened to stand in their way, but I really enjoyed seeing how they handled everything that came their way. 

This book really was an emotional ride that I felt truly invested in while reading. I wanted so much for these two and I was just hoping that everything would work out the way I wanted it to for them. Jasper was a bit dark and had his Dom side, but the fact that he was caring and considerate was what had me falling for him. Like I said before, this was my first read by Tamsen, but I am already anxious to read more from her. If you are looking for something that has angst and emotion with a great story to the romance, this is definitely one that I would recommend checking out.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | 

Feature and Giveaway: Operation Prom Date by Cindi Madsen

Kate ships tons of fictional couples, but IRL her OTP is her and Mick, the hot quarterback she’s crushed on since, like, forever. With only one semester left of senior year, it’s now or never if she wants to land him in time for prom. Since she’s flirtationally challenged, she enlists Cooper Callihan, the guy who turned popular seemingly overnight but who used to be a good friend.

Cooper lives and breathes rowing, but his partner just broke his wrist. When he remembers Kate’s good with a set of oars, he strikes a deal: help him train, and he’ll make sure her crush notices her. Only he didn’t know how addicting spending time with her would be. Or how the more successful the Operation is, the more jealousy he experiences.

The mission has been set. The troops have their marching orders. But what if the target is the wrong guy all along?

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains stargazing, accidental swimming, and poker swindling. This kissing practice will melt your ereader…and give you a new couple to ship.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Monday, March 20, 2017

ARC Review: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks

How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days is Kerrelyn Spark's debut in Fantasy Romance. I have not read any of her previous work.

Luciana was raised as an orphan on an island off of the mainland. She and her adopted sisters (other orphan girls she grew up with) are all Embraced. This means that they were born when the two moons aligned and acquired magical abilities. It is not good to be Embraced in this world, because the Kings who rule on the mainland feel threatened by their powers. Luciana's world is turned upside down however, when a man who claims to be her father arrives on the island and asks her to come with him back home.

Because the man is in danger from the King, Luciana agrees to go with him despite having had no idea of his existence, because of her kind heart. She must marry a man called the "Beast" per the King's orders, or the King will have her father killed for treason. Leofric, the man everyone has termed "Beast", is the Protector of the Realm in Eberon. He is also Embraced with lightening powers which makes him a force to be reckoned with. His uncle, the King, feels threatened by him, but because of Leofric's powers, he can do nothing about it. Leofric immediately begins to feel a protectiveness over his bride-to-be before he even meets her. He senses foul plots afoot from the King, and takes a portion of his men with him to her home. It becomes a constant battle trying to keep Luciana and her father alive from the assassination attempts.

I disliked the way the fantasy world was handled. In the beginning she has a prologue that basically explains the world and it's magic system. In the fantasy books I've read, I liked learning about it as I go along. It made me feel like I discovered secrets little by little along the way. I did like the Embraced magic system however, because there are so many different forms the magic can take. The religious beliefs aren't too difficult to follow, and they tie into the magic system which is always a good dynamic for a fantasy book in my opinion.

The romance had parts that drew me in hard! I wanted to know how this couple would overcome seemingly impossible circumstances. However, the dialogue between the two wasn't very romantic. It was definitely sexy, but I never felt like I was falling in love with their chemistry. Then it starts to get to some intimacy, and I felt that if I was in Luciana's place I would have been more terrified than anything. However, they each had their own inner demons to face, and I liked how they were able to work through those issues.

I did like this book, but I wasn't crazy about it. I felt like there were minor flaws in both the romance and the fantasy aspects, but that's just based on my personal preferences. Kerrelyn Sparks' writing is very well thought out and flowed well. She has a lot of potential with this new genre for her, and I think she will do better as she goes. I would be interested to see what happens next in the sequel (which I was lucky enough to read a preview of in the back of this book)!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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