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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Weekly Winners

Below is a list of all of the winners from the last week.

Kiss Me Like This by Bella Andre

Hunter by Night by Elisabeth Staab

So Right With You by Maggie Kaye

All winners have been notified via email. Thank you to everyone that stopped by and entered. =)

ARC Review: Branded by Laura Wright

Cassandra “Cass” Cavanaugh kept a diary until she was thirteen. She wrote about her best friend MacKenzie “Mac” Byrd and her brothers, Deacon, Cole, and James. Then she disappeared from a movie theater and her body was discovered a few days later. Her death haunts the foursome as they move on with their lives. Cass’s death took the biggest toll on her mother who lashed out at her sons and blamed them for Cass. Everett Cavanaugh, the patriarch of the family, has died. Deacon intends to buy the ranch and bulldoze it, taking the painful memories with it. Mac is now the foreman and was very close to Everett. She has also been in love with Deacon since childhood. She vows to fight him and find out why the three brothers left, vowing to never return. Cole is Cass’s twin and is a kickboxer, trying to inflict his anger on others. James is a horse whisperer, quotes Shakespeare, and uses his abilities to calm himself. Deacon is a multi-millionaire and lives for the next big deal. He knows Mac had a crush on him and now wants to pursue a relationship. The contention over the ranch stands between them. After the reading of the will, they find out they have one more brother named Blue. The long time housekeeper on the ranch had an affair with Everett. Deacon offers to buy out Blue’s share. Mac tries to stop the sale of the land every way she can and falls hard for Deacon. James finds the daughter of the former sheriff. There is a new lead on Cass’s killer.

Mac and Deacon aren’t a compelling couple. He’s more interested in revenge and she’s more interested in the land than they are in each other. Mac has her childhood image of Deacon and it doesn’t change. She finds out more family history and changes her mind about Everett. She insists on saving the ranch when none of the brothers want it. She makes it impossible for Deacon to sell. He is rightfully furious with her, but still wants to marry her.

The secondary characters, especially James and Cole, will have their own books. Neither of them strikes a spark. James is interested in Deacon’s assistant and Cole is almost self-destructive with his choice of profession. The brothers aren’t close and what happens to them isn’t compelling enough to follow through to the next book.

This is a continuing story. Many different story lines are opened and not resolved.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

Review: Ex-Factor by Elisa Dane

Ex-Factor is the first book in Elisa Dane's Young Adult Diamond Girls series. This one was an enjoyable quick and easy read. It definitely felt like a YA book all the way through, and had characters that acted their age. If you are a fan of young adult or new adult books you might give this one a shot. But if you are looking for a romance with older and more mature characters, this story probably isn't for you. I thought that this was a good start to the series, and even though the characters were often times immature I did like this story. 

After suffering through several tragedies, Nevaeh moves in with her aunt and her cousin. She tries to lay low and blend in as much as possible at her new school, but is instantly drawn into the middle of a bunch of drama. She has a run-in with the popular mean girls, she is constantly hit on by her first new friend's sort of boyfriend, and the guy she likes and wants wants nothing to do with her and constantly glares at her. Not wanting to upset her aunt and cousin, she agrees to try out for the elite X-Factor cheer squad. She feels a ton of guilt for experiencing any kind of joy or happiness though and struggles with how to move forward with her life. When things suddenly change between her and Brodie the guy she likes, she begins to realize that there is more to him than she first knew. Not only does he not hate her, but she finds that they have a lot more in common than she thought. When Brodie and Nev begin their relationship and see patterns from their past starting to repeat themselves, they will do anything to stop it from happening again.

I liked Brodie and Nevaeh. I thought that they were good characters that were easy to like. They definitely acted their age and were immature at times, but honestly that didn't bother me. I expected going into this one that they would act young because they were high school kids. I think that they also showed maturity and kindness at times that was unexpected. Brodie and Nev had both been through so much and they were able to connect on so many levels because of that. They were able to lean on each other and grow as individuals and a couple because of having the other's support. I thought that they made a great couple and were really cute together. It was good to see that they got along so well and that the beginning of their relationship wasn't as Nev had first thought. I did think that their feelings happened way too quickly and the change from hardly speaking to being together was a bit too insta-love. But I think that part of that was again due to age, and heightened emotions and hormones.

Overall, this was a good book that was a quick one to read. I did like the characters and I found the story interesting. It wasn't one that I couldn't put down, but it did hold my attention and I enjoyed the story. I think it was a good start to the series, and I am interested to read more in the series. I do think that this one was predictable and that it was similar to other stories out there. But it was cute and I did like the author's writing style. I am interested to read more in this series and see what else Elisa Dane has in store next. I think this one is worth a shot if you take into account the age of the characters and are okay with a romance between teens. If you are looking for something more deep and mature though, I would say this one might not be for you.

**Review Copy Provided by Author**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N |

ARC Review: Drone Strike by Dale Brown and Jim DeFelice

Dale Brown’s name is synonymous with military thrillers, and his collaboration with technothriller author Jim DeFelice has afforded the long-running air combat and weapons technology series, Dreamland, in its fifteenth instalment with DRONE STRIKE. Albeit DRONE STRIKE is the fifteenth in the series, it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone: there may be some deeper nuances to the story that are overlooked or relationships that may not seem as heartfelt in the absence of the full backstory, but it is still a complete, self-contained story that new readers can enjoy. One thing to keep in mind: DRONE STRIKE (and the Dreamland series) is a bona fide military thriller, so readers looking for romance should look elsewhere.

DRONE STRIKE sees Air Force ace pilot Turk Mako sent on a (probable) suicide mission to Iran with a team of Delta Force operators to destroy the country’s nuclear weapons stockpile from behind enemy lines and prevent a potential nuclear war. Whilst the war-on-terror plot itself isn’t particularly original, what sets it apart is its focus on advanced technology that seems fantastical but is within the realm of possibility and a deep exploration of the fine line between following orders and doing what is right. The technological aspect is a hallmark of the series, since the Dreamland facility in the Nevada desert is the nation’s most advanced aerospace-weapons development and testing facility, but DRONE STRIKE features nano unmanned aerial vehicles (nano-UAVs) with swarm intelligence that can be pre-programmed as a group to carry out various individual aspects of a mission and manually controlled on the fly. Nano-sized partially-autonomous drones that blow up Iranian nuclear weapons research facilities are pretty cool, but that high-tech aspect of the story is also its biggest drawback: in order to make the story realistic, Brown and DeFelice spend a lot of time expounding on the technology, which results in a fair amount of jargon and some very slow-moving, highly technical scenes. This is especially evident in the novel’s opening scenes, which make it start off somewhat awkwardly and may turn off readers not willing to slog through the technical details needed to set the stage for the rest of the story.

Once the technological stage and mission objective—destroy Iran’s nuclear programme—are set, the characters and their challenges and motivations drive the story (with the requisite action-packed scenes of a military thriller). Brown and DeFelice do a great job presenting each character with a personal challenge and exploring the fine line between ethics and politics: a President who decides to carry out an act of war without approval from Congress, a commander who must decide between the life of one person and the greater good and sends her protégé on a suicide mission, a Special Forces soldier tasked with protecting an asset by any means until the mission is completed who must decide whether to carry out his orders to kill the asset he’s befriended once the mission is successful, and a pilot hero experiencing his first real ground combat who must determine how far he’s willing to go to survive behind enemy lines. Turk Mako is an interesting and well-developed hero, an ace in the skies but surprisingly naïve about the realities of combat and somewhat overeager in his patriotism—but it’s that patriotism that makes him the perfect man to save the world from a nuclear holocaust. Dale and DeFelice are renowned for featuring the same characters in their long-running series, so it will be interesting to see how Turk’s experience of being the sacrificial lamb in the machinations of war shapes him in future books.

Overall, DRONE STRIKE is a thoroughly researched, well-crafted, and well-written read that provides high-stakes action-packed entertainment whilst also exploring the moral considerations inherent in protecting the free world. Fans of military or technothrillers, or of Dale and/or DeFelice, should definitely check it out.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&NThe Book Depository |

Friday, June 27, 2014

Audiobook Review: Resolutions by Teri Riggs

This is a first for the blog: an audiobook review! I’m a huge fan of audiobooks and listened to them all the time during graduate school. I’ve always favoured listening to audiobooks of books I had already read because I like seeing (hearing?) how someone else visualises the characters and setting and don’t need to be fully focused on the audiobook to not miss a crucial development. But with so many books to enjoy and so little time, I’ve moved to listening instead of reading to put a dent in my epic TBR queue, even though I can read much faster than someone can speak. So when new-to-me author Teri Riggs’s RESOLUTIONS (which kicks off the proposed Honour Guard series) audiobook came up for review, I decided to take it on.

RESOLUTIONS is a well-executed, fast-paced thrill-ride that starts off with a bang and doesn’t let up until the final page. The story is not particularly original—a tough-as-nails DEA agent risking it all to retrieve intel on a sadistic Colombian drug lord who’s progressed to making deals with Afghani terrorists—but the pacing and action are pitch-perfect and the author has a great voice for military/spec ops romantic suspense and can write some steamy sexytimes. Reader beware: there’s a fair amount of violence and torture (as is a Colombian drug lord’s wont) so it’s not for the squeamish, but those not fazed by a sizeable body count will encounter a great story and solid narration by new-to-me narrator Lauren Sweet, whose previous experience seems to be primarily in erotic romance. Heroine Eve Taylor is a DEA legal-and-support-desk-jockey-turned-field-operative tasked with leading a team into notorious drug lord Miguel Mendoza’s estate to secure enough intel on his operations to eliminate his cartel. The mission goes inexplicably FUBAR and Eve is captured and tortured by Mendoza. A failed attempt by a backup team sent in by the International DEA (IDEA) to retrieve the intel and rescue Eve sees the government contracting Resolutions, Inc.—a private black ops agency specializing in extractions—for the rescue. And who better to lead the mission than former Army Ranger and Delta Force Resolutions operative, Dillon “Mac” McKenna—Eve’s ex-lover? The history between Mac and Eve is an intense one that ended two years prior when Eve was promoted to field agent and Mac gave her a misguided me-or-the-job ultimatum. She chose the job, he walked away, and now they’re back together in a high-stakes mission with the same scorching chemistry and issues between them.

Mac is a frustrating character (as he is meant to be) with serious hang-ups. For the first two thirds of the story, he is annoyingly über-alpha and his overbearing “protect the little woman” (who happens to be a trained operative capable of holding her own) attitude pissed me off and made me want to strangle him repeatedly. He hasn’t come to terms with the fact that his mother’s death when he was a teenager—which happened whilst she was working as a nurse for the U.N. during armed conflict—was an unfortunate, unpreventable accident and not a function of her ‘dangerous’ job. His fear of history repeating itself with Eve drives the overbearing protectiveness that ruined their relationship in the past, and seeing him fall back into that same behaviour this time around had me throwing my hands up in the air in frustration. The man is a champion at putting his foot in it when it comes to Eve. But on the flip side, watching him go from seeing Eve as someone he needs to shield to an equal who has his back in the field and grow into the man he can be & that Eve needs was incredibly rewarding. I loved how he realised and admitted he was a wanker and completely wrong before (and again this mission)… the man can grovel like a champ!

For the most part, I loved and want to BE Eve: she’s strong (read: kickass), smart, incredibly brave, and can hold her own in any situation (like being held hostage and tortured for a week without breaking). On top of that, she cares about others (her team, Mac), is incredibly dedicated to her job and the good it does (how many people would willingly go back into the lair of the drug lord who tortured them to ensure the intel makes it Stateside?), and has a snarky sense of humour—her banter with Mac and her team is hilarious. The only thing that irritated me about her is that she has a tendency to jump to conclusions about Mac and how he hasn’t changed—and never will—without hearing him out when he starts out by putting his foot in it. This leads to a couple of instances where she does a one-eighty with Mac so quickly I still have whiplash, but the two of them work things out for a satisfying HEA.

The narration is well done and really brought the story to life. Though this was my first experience with Ms. Sweet’s work, she does a great job with the voices: the various characters are distinguishable from each other by voice alone, and their thoughts are sufficiently differentiated from their speech so that it’s always clear when one is speaking or thinking. Ms. Sweet does the male voices well: lower in register than the female voices without tipping over into caricatural, and sufficiently different for each male character to tell them apart. Eve is the only female character with significant dialogue so it’s hard to evaluate Ms. Sweet’s range of female voices, but she does well giving Eve a relaxed, fairly neutral voice only slightly higher in pitch than her normal narrator voice. With the bulk of the action set in Colombia, Mendoza and his cartel members are given Hispanic accents and occasionally use Spanish words. Like with the American characters, the various Colombian characters are distinguishable from each other, but the accents don’t sound particularly Hispanic and some of the Spanish words are mispronounced slightly. (Being fluent in Spanish, I’m wont to nitpick on this—I always shake my head when an author includes some Spanish sentence that reads like something out of Google Translate.) Most audiobook narrators I have come across speak more slowly and neutrally than one would in normal conversation—particularly when using their ‘reading’ voice—to enunciate clearly, which results in the narration often having a slightly odd cadence and somewhat unusual pauses. It can be a bit jarring for new audiobook listeners, and it was fairly noticeable in Ms. Sweet’s narration, particularly when reading text rather than dialogue.

With RESOLUTIONS, Ms. Riggs has crafted a great story that will keep you at the edge of your seat with its nonstop action and steamy sexytimes. The narration is well executed and well matched to the story, and really helps bring the danger and excitement to life. I’m looking forward to more Honour Guard books and to more audio collaborations between Ms. Riggs and Ms. Sweet to see how Ms. Sweet evolves as a narrator.

**Audiobook provided by Publisher**

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

Review: Night Owl by M. Pierce

This book has been on my mind since the second I finished it. I have absolutely the biggest book hangover ever after Night Owl by M. Pierce and I cannot wait to get the next installment in this trilogy. Night Owl was truly fantastic, and my words will never be able to accurately explain all the reasons that I loved this book so much. But I can honestly say that this is not only one of the best books that I have ever read, but that this could be one of my all time favorites. Night Owl is a must read. This book has so much to offer, and honestly I think that Night Owl is one that anyone can find something to relate to or be drawn into.

Matt Sky has everything that he could ever want. He has plenty of money, a girlfriend, and a wildly successful career as an author under the pen-name of M. Pierce that currently has four bestsellers. His alias is often questioned and there are many rumors about who M. Pierce is, but there are only a select few who know his true identity. Matt meets Hannah Catalano online where they begin to write together. The writing partners have some rules between them, not the least of which is no personal information or pictures. But when Hannah mistakenly sends an email to Matt from her regular email account, Matt is instantly drawn to her. When Hannah relocates and winds up closer than ever, the two begin a relationship that is more intense than either of them have ever felt before. But with so many secrets and obstacles between them, are they doomed before they ever truly begin?

I loved Matt and all of his quirks. I liked that he was such a dirty talker and was able to really explore the passion between him and Hannah. He was so sexy and demanding when it came to sex, but he was also so cute and a little bit nerdy the rest of the time. He had a pet rabbit, which for some reason absolutely fascinates me. I think it is pretty much the most adorable thing ever and for some reason really stuck with me. I didn't like that he started things with Hannah while he still had a girlfriend, but I do understand some of why he let things go on longer than they should have. His connection with Hannah was undeniable, and they connected on absolutely every level. Hannah was easy to like as well, and I really loved her personality. She was just one of those heroines that is so cool you would love to hang out with in real life. It was easy to see how Matt could be so drawn to her. These two had a great connection, and I loved that they met through writing. But their chemistry was off the charts and honestly I have to say was stronger than I think I have ever read about before.

Overall, this book was fantastic and was one that I am still thinking about now. I know that I will reread this one over and over in the future. It was so well written, and I loved absolutely everything about it. It was smart and witty, sexy and hot. But it was also beautiful and had a way of showing such a strong connection and relationship differently than I have ever seen done before. I never knew exactly what would happen next, and I will admit that the ending absolutely shocked me. It left me reeling, and I need the next book like I have never needed a sequel before. I honestly wish I could talk about what happened, but you really do not want to be spoiled on this one and have to read it for yourself. Trust me, this one is definitely worth the read and you will not be disappointed with Night Owl. I just wish that I could go back and read this one for the first time all over again to truly experience the whole thing like it was the first time. I honestly felt sad to finish this one and leave the characters behind for now. I have a few books that just really resonate with me, and Night Owl is definitely one of them. I know that I will be trying to be patient as I anxiously await the next book from M. Pierce, and Last Light cannot get here fast enough.

**Review Copy Provided by Truly Schmexy PR**

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

Feature and Giveaway: The Sergeant by Christa Tomlinson

“You’re the only one I want to control. The only one whose submission I want, need, and crave with every part of me, every second of every day.”
– Sergeant Logan Pierce

Sergeant Logan Pierce: Head of Houston’s elite SWAT team. He leads his squad with cool efficiency, taking down rough criminals while keeping his team safe. But behind closed doors he sets a darker part of himself free. He’s a Dominant in the world of Bondage and Domination. As a Dom, he’s controlled many submissives, but never had one for his own. That’s because there’s only one man he wants: Corporal Clay Foster.

Corporal Clay Foster: Highly trained SWAT officer. He’s always the first one to face the dangerous situations of their job. Over the years he’d noticed his Sergeant’s secretly admiring glances and suspected his attraction. One night, with one kiss, he’s proven correct. Clay dives headlong into the rough passion of BDSM that Logan introduces him to. He submits to Logan’s control, accepting the sweet shackles that bind him to his Sergeant. But secrets, both his and Logan’s, force him to leave the newfound safety of his Dom’s arms.

Logan refuses to let go of what he’s wanted for so long, Clay as his own, proudly wearing his collar. Clay wants to be his. He knows it and Clay knows it too. Can Logan safely guide Clay through the obstacles that separate them until he can claim his submissive once more?

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

Review: The Sergeant by Christa Tomlinson

This review is sort of a tough one for me to write and rate. I have become a fan of M/M books and there is nothing sexier than a man in uniform, so when I had the chance to review this one I was really excited. There are things that I both really liked and really didn't like with this book, which is why I decided to rate it at 3 stars. After having read it, I saw that when it came to reviewers so far this book has been either loved or hated. It seems to definitely be bringing out strong reactions, and I think that this is one that most people will just have to read for themselves and come to their own conclusions. For me, I thought that the book despite the things that I didn't like was a really good book and I am glad that I read this one.

Logan Pierce is the Sergeant of his SWAT team. He is calm and collected and handles his handpicked team with efficiency. But at home and behind closed doors, he is a Dom that needs control when it comes to his relationships. Even though he has enjoyed the BDSM lifestyle, he has never given his collar to anyone. But Logan wants his collar on Corporal Clay Foster. Over the last few years Logan and Clay have both watched each other and though there is a mutual attraction nothing has ever happened before. Clay is bisexual and had a past of casual relationships that didn't last long. Logan didn't want to make a move on him before he was ready and ruin any chance he had for a relationship with Clay or ruin their working relationship. When the attraction continues to grow, things quickly become passionate between them. Clay has no idea that being with Logan means becoming a sub though, and things get heavy between them faster than he ever expected. Clay and Logan both have secrets and the pressure of that as well as keeping things at work quiet becomes a huge strain on their relationship. Clay begins to question if he can handle being in the type of relationship that Logan needs, or if it is too much for him to handle. But Logan is determined to convince Clay that they belong together and Clay needs Logan's collar just as much as Logan needs him to wear it.

I really liked both Clay and Logan. They were hot and manly and everything you would expect from sexy SWAT officers. I loved that Logan was so comfortable with his sexuality and that he was able to be so open about what he needed. He never wavered with his dedication to Clay and he was patient with him while introducing him to the lifestyle. Clay was a bit vulnerable and was struggling with being a submissive when he had never been familiar with that before. He was coming to terms with his own sexuality and his desires scared him a lot of the time. I was glad to see that he was able to find the help he needed between Logan and their friends and fellow officers Tiffany and Carlos. He needed to see that what he was experiencing wasn't something to be ashamed of but rather something to embrace. Clay and Logan had a ton of chemistry right from the start, and these two were so freaking hot together. But they were also developing such a strong emotional bond that most people could never understand. The relationship between Dom and sub is something that bound them together in such a unique and beautiful way.

My favorite parts of this story were the characters and the relationships. I loved how unique and diverse the characters were. They were easy to like and root for, and they were also easy to relate to even for someone who doesn't participate in the same lifestyle. I loved seeing the complexity of each relationship and seeing how real they were. They weren't all smooth sailing and that is what made them so believable. I also really loved how hot this book was. A lot of times with Erotica stories they claim to have a ton of heat but don't deliver. That was not the case with The Sergeant. This one had a lot of sex scenes and a ton of steam! The parts that I had trouble with though were the length, and the way the story sort of went in circles. This book is over 500 pages long, and honestly it didn't need to be. Things just kept coming between them and they would have to start the whole trust process over each time. It got to be a bit repetitive and drawn out. I felt like that is probably what lost a lot of readers and I think it hurt the story quite a bit. It has a way of drawing the readers attention away from the story and makes it easy to lose interest. I think if it wasn't for those two things, that this story would be a complete home run. I think that a lot of readers will still really like this book though, and will end up loving Clay and Logan like I did. They are definitely worth the read if you are a fan of Male/Male books and like some hot and steamy BDSM action. I will definitely read more from Christa Tomlinson in the future after reading The Sergeant.

**Review Copy Provided by Book Enthusiast Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

Thursday, June 26, 2014

ARC Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

Nina Linden is sailing to an island to work on the long abandoned Whitney mansion called Crane’s Nest, in a make or break mode for her landscaping business, Demeter Designs. Demeter is the Goddess of the Harvest and there are quite a few Greek mythology references sprinkled throughout the story. Tales of women stuck in loveless marriages and women who sought revenge. The question is which category would the late Catherine Whitney be placed? Her late husband, Gerald, built the glorious mansion more than one hundred years ago. Rumor has it Gerald murdered the cheating Catherine and now she haunts the house. Her descendant, Deacon, wants to reclaim the house and his family’s legacy. They have known nothing but disappointment and hardship since Gerald’s death. Are the Whitneys cursed? Deacon’s cousin, Dotty, thinks so and is planning to write a book. Cindy Ellis owns a cleaning service and joins Nina in Deacon’s quest to restore the home. His best friend, Jake, dated Cindy briefly, but doesn’t remember her. This small group, joined by construction and cleaning crews, will make Crane’s Nest shine again. Unless the ghosts interfere or try to kill someone. Nina and Deacon have dreams about the night Catherine died. Someone strangled her and dumped her body into the sea. The original architect, Jack Donovan, disappeared around the same time as the murder. Were he and Catherine planning to run away and were caught by the jealous Gerald? Speaking of jealous, Nina’s old business partner and present stalker, Rick, has found his way to the island. His plan is to destroy whatever he can of Nina’s reputation and steal this contract from her. He hears voices urging to find long lost jewelry and kill Nina. Everyone is having scary visions and frightening visits from the ghosts. Time to find out the truth about Catherine’s murder and stop the madness. Hopefully the ghosts will fill them in or leave journals for them to find. In the midst of the chaos, Nina and Deacon fall in love.

Nina and Deacon are the quiet nerdy types. Dotty points out it’s like watching an experiment where the most antisocial people meet in the wild. They both need the calm and comfort the other offers. Jake and Cindy pair up too. Jake forgetting all about her, then not understanding why she doesn’t like him makes for some funny scenes.

The author had me at the Scooby Doo references. I could see the bus breaking down in front of an abandoned mansion and the kids going in to investigate. The dialogue between the women is hilarious, especially when they discuss men. They tend to hit them in the head with whatever is available like clipboards or pillows to make a point. It works every time.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

ARC Review: Deep Surrendering Episode 4 by Chelsea M. Cameron

In Deep Surrendering Episode 4 by Chelsea M. Cameron, we are approaching the last few days before Fin is set to leave Marisol for two months. For the first time since they began seeing each other, they are seeing sex differently. Marisol and Fin's relationship has been progressing with each day they spend together, and while both want more than they ever have before Fin still struggles with having sex any differently than he normally does. For Marisol though he wants to try to take the first step in doing things with her that he hasn't done before with anyone else. But with so little time left before he leaves, can they find their way back to the same page and cement their connection before they are separated?

Fin is really starting to open up to Marisol at this point and he continues to do more in every installment. For the first time we see him try to have sex with Marisol face to face, and it is clearly a struggle for him. He was trying so hard and I felt so badly for him because it was really tough for him to even give it a shot. Marisol was so patient and kind with him, and I was glad to see that she was looking out for him even when he would have done more than he would have been comfortable with. Their feelings have grown so much that they are both able to read each other well at this point, and I really liked that she put a stop to things when he needed it. Fin and Marisol also were able to make a promise to each other to not see others while he was away, and they both didn't seem to have any problems making that agreement. It really shows just how far they have come, and I liked that they both wanted to take that next step. Fin and Marisol grew so much closer in this episode, and I liked that they both had things for each other to keep while they are apart.

I never enjoy cliffhangers, and until this episode even though we have been left hanging they weren't too awful. I am really feeling this one though as they prepare to be separated for the first time since they got together, and I cannot wait to find out what happens next for them. Fin and Marisol have really captured my attention, and I have really become invested in them and their story. They are so real and believable, and their flaws and insecurities make them that much more endearing to the reader. I need to know how they will get through things being apart, and I am sure that they will have their troubles ahead. But I have loved watching them grow and develop feelings for one another, and I have faith that Chelsea M. Cameron will get them where they need to go. I highly recommend this serial and I think that this one is definitely worth the read. These episodes are filled with steam and heat but also have their light and sweet moments. I have really enjoyed seeing the fun and playful sides of these characters as well and will be anxiously awaiting the next episode.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N |

Guest Post with Molly Harper and Giveaway

Molly Harper worked for six years as a reporter and humor columnist for The Paducah Sun. Her reporting duties included covering courts, school board meetings, quilt shows, and once, the arrest of a Florida man who faked his suicide by shark attack and spent the next few months tossing pies at a local pizzeria. Molly lives in western Kentucky with her family.

Find Molly at:

Feature and Giveaway: In Your Corner by Sarah Castille

"You have to go. I won't be able to control myself. I've wanted you so bad for so long and after I've been in the cage...I can't think straight." He gives a guttural groan and his fist clenches on my hip.

Primitive. Primal. His need speaks to me. I tighten my grip on his neck and rock up to kiss him. He takes over. His kiss is hard and demanding.

"Mine." His voice is raw, savage and for a moment I truly believe he may lose control.

He rules in the ring

Two years ago, Jake and Amanda were going hot and heavy. But when Jake wanted more, Amanda walked away. Jake immersed himself in mixed martial arts, living life on the edge. But that didn't dull the pain of Amanda's rejection-until a chance encounter throws them together.

A high-powered lawyer, Amanda was a no-strings-attached kind of girl. But two years after her breakup with Jake, she still hasn't found anyone who gets her heart pumping the way he did. And then he shows up in her boardroom, hot as sin and needing help...

But can he rule her heart?

Jake is darker, sexier, and impossible to resist. As their chemistry builds, Amanda's not sure if she can stay in control, or if she's finally willing to let him claim her body and soul.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

Feature and Giveaway: Deep Surrendering Episode 4 by Chelsea M. Cameron

For the first time since their relationship started, Fin and Marisol are on different pages in the bedroom, but Marisol is determined to make their last few days together count. Each moment is precious, but each shreds her fragile heart a little more. Can they get back on track and figure out a way to stay together even with thousands of miles between them?

*This is a novella of 20K words and the fourth in a series of novellas. They will release on the third Thursday of every month. The total number of episodes isn't final, but it will be from 12-14, which is two novel's worth of content. Due to adult content, this is not appropriate for anyone under the age of 17*

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Review: Beautiful Ties by Alicia Rae

Let me just start off by saying that I absolutely love the Beautiful series by Alicia Rae. I first fell in love with Lily and Kyle, and as they got closer and we were introduced to their families I began to fall in love with those characters as well. I have been waiting to get Abbey and Jason's story, and this one was definitely worth the wait. These books are written so well and are so heartfelt and beautiful. I honestly cannot recommend these enough. If you are looking for must read romance stories that will draw you in instantly and make you fall in love right along with the characters then these are definitely the books for you.

Abbey is a hardworking and successful businesswoman who works alongside her brother Kyle. She has watched him fall in love with Lily and also seen her brother Ryan fall in love as well. She wants the same thing for herself. When she meets Lily's cousin and Kyle's new business partner Jason, sparks instantly fly between them. Abbey is determined to keep things professional though since they work together. Despite being drawn to each other, Abbey does her best to turn him down, but Jason isn't taking no for an answer. Jason begins to win her over though, and soon she realizes that he has a place in her heart. But Abbey tries to balance work and her new relationship with Jason, she also strikes up a friendship with her seven year old neighbor who always seems sad and lonely. As Abbey begins to grow closer to Pearl, she realizes that something is not right with her home life and sets out to make things better for her. But can she find a way to have a relationship with Jason and Pearl, or will she have to sacrifice one in order to keep the other?

I really liked Jason before reading this book, but after this one I loved him. He was so sweet and kind and really thoughtful. He took care of Abbey and respected her as well as her ambition to be successful in her career. He was really great with Pearl though also, and I loved seeing that side of him as well. He was able to be serious and protective, but also playful and loving. Abbey was hardworking and devoted to doing her job well, but she was also so kind and open when it came to caring for others. She was determined to help Pearl because she wanted to and liked her not because she felt like she needed to or out of pity. I thought that her and Jason worked well together and were a great pair. But they also had a ton of chemistry and a really strong emotional connection as well. They were really hot together and had plenty of steam, but they were also able to give Pearl a great place to feel comfortable and loved.

I really loved everything about this book, and Alicia Rae impresses me so much with each new book of hers that I read. I love her writing style, and I always feel so invested in her characters and their HEAs. The characters are always unique and different, and full of depth. I thought that Jason and Abbey's relationship was so real and believable, and their story could not have been written better in my opinion. I felt like everything was so true to their characters, and I really loved how everything played out for them. I honestly can't wait to see what Alicia Rae has in store for Jason's brother Damon and Abbey's best friend Gail next. These books are must reads, and I think they offer something for every romance fan out there. The characters are likable and easy to relate to and will have you rooting for them the entire way through.

**Review Copy Provided by Inkslinger PR**

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

ARC Review: Just Listen by Clare James

Just Listen is part 2 in the Public Lives series by Clare James and is the conclusion to Casey and Finn's story. This one should only be read after you read Talk to Me and continues where that book left off. I was ready for this one right after I finished Talk to Me because I had to know what happened after the cliffhanger. I needed to find out where Casey and Finn were headed, so I started this one as soon as I got my hands on it. There is an ending to their story and I was glad to see what happened to them, but I did feel like this one didn't deliver what I had been expecting or hoping for.

At the beginning of this book we are wondering what happened to Finn. As he is sent into a hospital, Casey is left unaware of what is going on and tries to get answers from Finn's friend Nate who seems to have dealt with this before. When Finn's ex arrives, things take a turn for the worse and Casey heads home. She decides to put some distance between them regardless of her feelings. But Finn is determined to get her to talk to him after he comes to. But between Finn's ex, his condition, and Casey's career there are still many obstacles in their way. Can they lay everything out and be completely honest with each other? Do they stand a shot once all their secrets are revealed?

I liked Finn and Casey in the first book, but I felt like they both made some really obvious and large mistakes. They continued to make assumptions and judge each other unfairly in this book, and I felt like their communication was even worse this time around. I understand why Finn didn't initially tell Casey about his condition, especially after some of the things that she said. But I did feel like it went a bit too far before she was clued in. I also felt the same about her coming clean about her story and what was going on with her job. It just got too old and went on for far too long. Casey was harder for me to like in this story, and I felt like she needed to get over herself at a few points. She seemed to be upset about how things had gone with Finn, but she didn't really seem to be doing much about it. I kept waiting for her to make the big gesture or go after him and she just never really did. I will say that their chemistry and attraction was stronger than ever though. This one was way hotter and had a ton more steam.

I think beyond the fact that they judged each other so harshly and had such horrible communication, the thing that really wrecked this one for me was that the ending was so rushed and abrupt. By the time they started to figure things out the book was just over. It took too long to get there, and the whole book was conflict without any real resolution until the end. By the time we got to an HEA, I honestly just didn't really care anymore. I wanted to see them get over everything and really learn and grow from it. I was waiting to see them actually be a couple and have some good moments between them beyond just the physical, and I felt like we never got that with them. It made it hard to really buy into a serious relationship between them where they are saying I love you and actually believe in their HEA. I really liked the first book, and I think this story had so much promise. I really thought that this one was going to be great, but unfortunately I think this just fell short. I think that the short length hurt this one and I might have felt differently if the ending would have not been as rushed and abrupt. I did like that all the questions were answered and everything was explained. I also liked that we still got to see both Casey and Finn's POVs and the fact that we got the past as well as the present. But for me this book could have been so much more and it's a shame that it ended the way it did.

**ARC Provided by Between the Sheets Promotions**

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