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Saturday, April 18, 2015

ARC Review: Crushed by Lauren Layne

I can't even put into words how much I loved this book. Honestly I don't think there has ever been a book or more importantly a heroine that I've ever connected with like I did with Crushed. From beginning to end I couldn't seem to put my Kindle down. I wanted more and I just kept hitting next to see what would happen with Michael (Beefcake) and Chloe. This book just hit me and I feel like I'm on the verge of crying I loved it so much.

Chloe is my spirit animal. In all my years of reading I have NEVER connected with a heroine like I did with Chloe. Chloe was me and I was Chloe. Every feeling of doubt and the hurt she felt I've felt. I swear, in high school I was Chloe and the way that Lauren Layne portrayed Chloe and her feelings were so spot on. I felt that hurt and felt that pain deep inside. Chloe is real and honest. All her life she's felt like the chubby little sister that no one sees because everyone is looking at her perfect older sister. No one sees the pain that she tries to hid with sarcasm and jokes. That is until Michael comes along.

As for Michael, I mean who doesn't love it when a manwhore is brought to his knees. I haven't read the previous books in this series so I had no clue what happened or anything until Michael slowly began to reveal his past with Chloe and oh man is it a dozy. Michael has made some mistakes in the past and from those mistakes the life that he knew came crashing down all around him. In an effort to try to figure things out on his own he moves to Texas to deal with things and to confront his past. He's just trying to figure out what to do with his life and Chloe doesn't fit into those plans yet he can't seem to get push her away nor does he really want to.

I loved the chemistry between these two. Right off the back you can see that there is sparks between them and it was great to watch them both finally realize their feelings and then how they proceed with things. What I loved most is that they don't immediately jump into bed and they they have this connection. It's not really a friendship per se as Michael is so closed off but it's a slow build. One that that I really enjoyed is the way these two act with each other. Neither takes the others BS and both pretty much tell it like it is. And Chloe, OMG but that girl is hilarious especially when she's with Michael.

Honestly, I felt like reading Crushed was kind of cathartic for me. It reminded me of the despair I once felt and that I've now come out stronger and happier. Crushed is one of the best books that I've read this year and will definitely be topping my all-time favorite list. I just couldn't get enough and I honestly can't say enough good things about it. Believe me people, you WANT to read this book. It's just so damn good. Seriously, BUY THIS BOOK!!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

RFTC Hall Pass Event with Kat Latham

Kat Latham is a California girl who moved to Europe the day after graduating from UCLA, ditching her tank tops for raincoats. She taught English in Prague and worked as an editor in London before she and her British husband moved to the Netherlands. Kat’s other career involves writing and editing for charities, and she’s traveled to Kenya, Ethiopia and India to meet heroic people helping their communities survive disasters.

Friday, April 17, 2015

ARC Review: Forever Red by Carina Adams

I have read and enjoyed books by Carina Adams before, but I can honestly say that Forever Red is my absolute favorite by her. I could not put this book down! It has several of my favorite tropes, and it all added up to one fantastic story. This friends to lovers story was also a second chance romance, and Nate and Lia were fantastic together. I know that I will absolutely be reading more from Carina Adams in the future, especially after this book. 

Nathaniel Kelly is a successful country star but no matter how much he has, he has never been able to forget the girl that broke his heart. He had loved and lost Cecelia when they were kids, and he never expected to see her again. Nate spent years trying to find her, but he never had any luck until he does a show close to home. Nate is surprised to find her there with her friends, but he figures that it is time to finally get some answers. Cecelia had her reasons for doing what she did, knowing that she could never live with herself if she let Nate give up his life to stay with her. That has never stopped her from loving him or wishing that things had been different though. When they are suddenly thrown back together, they realize that the connection they once shared is as strong as ever. But can Nate and Lia have a chance together after all their years apart and all the obstacles that now stand in their way? 

I cannot even begin to describe how much I loved these characters. Nate was so sweet and he really made me fall in love with him right along with Lia. He was such a good guy, and my heart absolutely broke for him when things ended for them as kids. Nate would have done anything for her, and it was clear that it was more for them than just a childhood kind of love. Their connection was deep and their feelings true. Lia had not had the easiest life, and I understood why she made the decisions she did even if I didn't like them. She was doing what she thought she needed to, and I was so upset for her because she broke her own heart right along with Nate's. These two were meant to be together, and that was clear to me right away. Their connection was so strong that it couldn't be broken, even with years and secrets between them. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It was so good, and I was instantly drawn in. I was so captivated by this story that I read it pretty much in one sitting. I found the world falling away as I became more invested in Nate and Lia's story. I loved that Carina Adams gave us both the past and present, and also Nate and Lia's POVs. I felt like it really allowed the reader to get a feel for exactly what each character was going through, and it gave this story a depth that is often missing when a story is told from only one POV. I really enjoyed being inside these character's heads and seeing how they were experiencing everything that happened. I would definitely recommend this book to those looking for a solid romance story with all the feels. This book was exactly what I needed, and I know that Nate and Lia will be characters I want to go back and visit again. I cannot wait to read more from Carina Adams in the future.

**ARC Provided by Between the Sheets Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N

RFTC Hall Pass Event with Sarah Castille

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Sarah Castille, writes contemporary erotic romance and romantic suspense featuring blazingly hot alpha males and the women who tame them. A recovering lawyer and caffeine addict, she worked and travelled abroad before trading in her briefcase and stilettos for a handful of magic beans and a home in shadow of the Rocky Mountains.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

ARC Review: Ricochet: Extraction Point by Heather C. Leigh

Extraction Point is the third and final installment of the Ricochet Serial by Heather C. Leigh. These are not standalones, and should be read in order to properly understand this story. In Extraction Point we get to see the conclusion to Rick and Quinn's story, and I couldn't wait to see what would happen for these two after the cliffhangers and first two installments. 

Extraction Point picks up where Friendly Fire left off, and Rick has just learned of the past that Quinn has been keeping from him. As he sets out to find out what happened to Quinn, he also must make sure that he finds a way to keep her safe. Not only has Rick come to care about her, but his whole team has as well. She has become one of them, and they will do whatever it takes to look out for their own. 

I enjoyed seeing even more of Rick's protective side in this installment. We have seen his growing feelings and his struggles with how to deal with them, but this is the first time that we really get to see just how far he would go for her. There is no question of his feelings in this book for him or those around him. I liked seeing him so alpha in this book, but I was glad that he had his teammates to help ground him. I understand he was going through a lot, but he really needed their support and friendship. Quinn honestly annoyed me in this book. I understood that she had been through a ton and didn't like feeling as though she was under lock and key with babysitters. But she also didn't seem to grasp how serious the situation was and she did some dumb things. I thought that Quinn and Rick had a lot of chemistry and they just seemed to get even hotter as they explored more of the passion between them. 

I do feel like we got to see more of Quinn's back story in this installment, and I was really glad that we got that. I felt like that had been missing in the previous two parts. I still feel as though we didn't get to know Rick as well though. I wanted to dig deeper with him and see what was beneath the surface, and unfortunately I just don't feel like we really got that. While I did like him and Quinn together, I guess I had just been hoping for more depth to their relationship as well as for them as individuals. I think that this was a good end to the serial, and I was glad about how things ended. There were some really good parts along the way, and I especially enjoyed seeing Quinn strong and happy at the end. It was good to see her take back some of what she had lost, and to see her enjoying her life again. I just wish that there had been a bit more character development, rather than just the suspense plot. I would be interested in getting more of Rick's hot team members though, and I hope that Heather will write stories for them. I think they were interesting and added a lot to this story.

**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon

ARC Review: Asa by Jay Crownover

Asa is the sixth and final book in the Marked Men Series by Jay Crownover. Each of these books can be read as a standalone, but the characters are interconnected and I would recommend reading these in order if possible. Asa was first introduced in Jet's book, as he is Ayden's troublemaker brother. But you won't have any problems reading this story even if you haven't read the previous books. 

Asa Cross relocated to Denver in order to start his life over, leaving behind his checkered past. He struggles with trying to be the person his friends and family want him to be and how to reconcile that with the person that he knows he actually is. Though he has done terrible things in the past, he is trying to do better. He knows that the beautiful cop Royal Hastings is interested in him, and yet he knows he is the last person she should hang around. Royal has been struggling as well after an incident on the job left her best friend and partner injured but lucky to be alive. She feels guilt and believes that what happened was her fault. She hasn't been sleeping and the only thing she has been interested in doing is going to the bar where Asa works to see him. Though she realizes that Asa is far from what she needs, she also can't stop herself from wanting him. Can a criminal and a cop find happiness and a life together? 

Asa had that southern charm about him, and he had always known how to use that to his advantage. He was also sexy and never had a problem using that either. But I liked seeing beneath the surface with him. He was so much more, and I felt really badly for him at times. He thought he was a bad person for what he had done and while I don't support a lot of it, it was also easy to see that he hadn't had the easiest life growing up and that had affected him. I was really glad that Royal was able to see more to him, and that she helped him to realize that he wasn't as bad as he thought. At first glance these two were complete opposites, and yet when you got down to it they were actually similar in a lot of ways. Both of them were struggling and it wasn't until they really found each other that they were able to start to move forward with their lives. They were just surviving rather than really living. They had a lot of chemistry and you could see the attraction right away for them, but the connection was slower to build and I liked seeing them figure things out as the grew closer. 

Overall, I liked this book but I also felt like it wasn't my favorite that I have read in this series. While Asa and Royal were good characters, I just didn't feel invested in them or their story. I found my interest wavering at times, especially at the beginning of this story. For some reason, I just wasn't drawn in and kept wanting to put this one down. I liked them, but I wasn't excited by them or their story. I think a lot of readers will enjoy their story, especially fans of this series. But this one just lacked that spark for me, and I felt like something was missing. I will read more from Jay Crownover in the future though, and I am curious about the spin-off series that will follow the Marked Men series.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

RFTC Hall Pass Event with Jennifer Blackwood

Jennifer Blackwood is an English teacher and contemporary romance author. She lives in Oregon with her husband, son, and poorly behaved black lab puppy. She is the author of Unethical and Foolproof—college romances with a medical twist.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

ARC Review: Wild With You by Sara Jane Stone

Sweet, easy read.

I immediately liked the premise of this book. Kat is a doctor in NY but she's from Independence Falls ("IF") where she got a rough start in life. As an IF resident, Kat was basically the invisible foster child that nobody wanted. Brody is a lifetime resident of IF who has been taking care of his brothers and sister. Brody is always the responsible self sacrificing one and for once he wants the chance to get what he wants (which is apparently hot sex with a bit of kink). Kat wants to avenge her entire youth by hooking up with the hot guy who starred in her high school crush fantasies. Kat returns to IF to provide her medical expertise to Brody's brother and that's where the party starts.

I liked the connection between Brody and Kat right from the beginning of this book. What I particularly like is the fact that even though both Brody and Kat are trying to get their rocks off from jump, their interactions immediately go deeper. I'm ok with insta-love but I really appreciate when I have a sense of what is the characters love about one another. In this book, it was clear to me that Brody needed someone who he could lose control with and Kat needed someone who she could give control to. It was the perfect combination.

I found the depiction of Kat, her background and her reaction to being back in IF to be touching. I liked that the author explored the fact that sometimes we outgrow our past even while the people from the past are not quite as...evolved. I also really felt Kat trying to prove to herself and Brody that she was not the poor girl with the raggedy sneakers anymore. I had moments where her introspection on that point got a little redundant but I got the picture and I think it added to the story.

Brody is a book boyfriend in the truest sense. He's an all around guy, caring, a little alpha and a little kinky (very very low on the kink scale but he's from a place called Independence Falls so I guess he did the best he could). I like that Brody has an internal struggle about whether it's ok for him to be with Kat and I love that he gets the effect that her past has on her. Brody is literally the guy you want to be your boyfriend (unless you're super kinky in which case your nasty self will need to find somebody else).

The writing of this book is good, the plot is interesting and moves at a good pace. The supporting characters enhance the overall story line without overshadowing it. Speaking of which, shout out to Amnesia Josh. I thought it was so creative of the author to write in someone with short term memory issues. I appreciate when authors do a little research so that they can include something unique in the story line and that was done here. The sex wasn't all that great but this is contemporary romance so I can deal with the so-so sex.

I definitely recommend this book, especially for you contemporary romance fans and I will be back to see what this author is up to next.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: Meet Me in the Dark by JA Huss

Wow! This book was another fantastic read from JA Huss. Meet Me in the Dark was so much more than what we are given in the blurb, and I honestly cannot even begin to tell you everything about this story because you have to just experience this one. What I will say is that if you are a fan of romantic suspense and like your stories dark, this is one that you have to check out! I was drawn into this story right away, and I honestly couldn't put it down. 

Sydney has spent the last eight years doing what she had to do to survive. When the man that was sent to rescue her from a cult-like group eight years ago left her behind, she was forced to stay with the man she was trying to escape from. Merc left telling her that he would be back for her someday, but he has never returned. Merc knows that he needs to take care of some things, and one of those is Sydney. He knows exactly what he needs to do and how to handle her. But when the opportunity he has been waiting for finally arrives, he quickly realizes that Sydney isn't what she appears to be. As Sydney and Merc spend more time together, they both begin to realize that there is so much that neither of them knew before. What will happen when the truth about everything is finally revealed? 

Merc was a complete badass. He was sexy and strong, and always in control. He is one of those guys that you just love to hate and yet find yourself loving him regardless. My opinion of him changed over the course of the book, as I wasn't sure at first if I would like him at all. But as the book progressed, we really got to see what made him who he was and that made me understand him so much better. The more I understood why he did the things he did, the more I began to fall for him. Sydney was one of those characters for me that I honestly didn't know what to think for much of this story. She comes off a bit weak and people definitely underestimate her, Merc included. But she is actually very strong, and her determination was what made me like her so much. She was so much more than you see right away, and the more I learned about her the more fascinated I was with her character. 

Overall, this was another winner from JA Huss. She is absolutely a go-to author for me when I want something unique and fresh. I love that she doesn't write cookie cutter characters or stories, and I know that with each book I am going to get something completely unexpected. I never know what will happen next, and yet I always really enjoy the journey. JA Huss has a way of drawing the reader in and making you experience things that you would never expect. Just when I think that I have everything figured out, she changes the game completely and I absolutely love that. Huss is a fantastic writer, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more from her. Her stories are not for everyone, and I recommend that you take her warnings seriously. But if you like dark suspense, Meet Me in the Dark is a must read! I have loved everything I have read by her so far, and I think she is one of those authors that is worth it every time.

**ARC Provided by Author**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | 

RFTC Hall Pass Event with Kimberly Kincaid

Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet. When she's not sitting cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known as "The Pleather Bomber", she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to ├ęclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. Kimberly is a 2015 RWA RITA® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. Her digital Line series is all about the hot cops and sexy chefs of Brentsville, New York. She is also the author of the Pine Mountain series, which follows small town singles as they find big-time love. Kimberly resides in Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Review: Jake Undone by Penelope Ward

Jake Undone by Penelope Ward is one of those books that I really loved, and yet I had a few things that I really didn't care for. It was a really great story, and I couldn't put it down. But it also had me on an emotional roller coaster the entire way through, and there were a lot of ups and downs. I really loved these characters, but they also drove me nuts at times. 

Nina Kennedy and Jake Green have both been living in their own private hells. Nina lost her brother and ever since has been suffering from phobias and irrational fears of small enclosed spaces and large crowds. Jake doesn't allow many to get close to him, and he never shares what he is really going through. On the surface he is a bit rough around the edges with his tattoos and piercing, but he is also extremely smart and is dealing with more than most people his age. When Nina moves in with her friend and gets Jake as another roommate, there is an instant spark between them. When Nina struggles with a math course for nursing school, Jake agrees to help her. If she gets As then he will let her be, but if she doesn't she has to participate in whatever activity he arranges to help her face her fears. But as Nina and Jake grow closer together, they both begin to feel more than friendship. But Jake's secret is one that their growing feelings might not be able to survive. 

I liked Nina and Jake, but as I mentioned before they both drove me nuts at times. I can understand some of why Jake kept such a huge secret, but as he grew closer to Nina I really wish he would have told her. He kept pushing her away only to pull her back in, and the mixed signals were really confusing for Nina. I thought that he should have explained himself sooner and a lot would have been different. But I really loved how he was so much more than just what you saw on the outside. He was super sweet and thoughtful, and I absolutely loved his little bat notes for Nina. Nina was struggling so much, and Jake was exactly what she needed. He forced her out of her comfort zone, and was so supportive and encouraging. These two had such a strong connection and chemistry, that I knew they were meant for one another. I loved seeing them get to know one another and it was fun to see how their relationship developed.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. My biggest complaint was the amount of drama and angst that Jake and Nina had to face. I really felt like they had so many obstacles in their way, and not all of them seemed necessary. I kept waiting for these two to catch a break and even when things would go well for them, something would come up to try and mess things up. I felt that while the story ended well, things were still a bit bittersweet because of some things that happened. Without spoiling anything, there were some things that would forever be a part of Jake and Nina's life that would be difficult for most people to accept and I am not sure that I could have been as understanding as Nina was. I still really loved these two and I thought that they were a great couple. They were perfect for one another, and I liked that we got both of their POVs. I would recommend this book, but be prepared for some angst and drama. I look forward to reading more from Penelope Ward in the future.

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

ARC Review: Intercepted by Emma Hart

Intercepted is the third and final book in Emma Hart's By His Game series. This series centers around the Vipers football players and their girls, and each book an be read as a standalone. While I have really enjoyed Emma's books in the past, I will admit that this series has been sort of up and down for me. While I liked things about the previous two books, I also had some issues with them. That being said, Intercepted was my favorite of the series! This book was really good, and I thought it was the best of the series. Reid was so easy to fall for, and I just loved him! 

After finding pictures of her boyfriend and her best friend together, Everleigh heads back home to LA leaving NY behind. She left for college years before, leaving behind her best friend and the man she loved. Reid North is four years older than Ever, and although she always liked him she knew that she had to leave. Reid was left heartbroken when Ever left him without saying goodbye, he had always planned on telling her that he loved her but was never given the chance. But now he is a single father of a young boy and is a successful wide receiver for the Vipers. When Ever shows back up, he wants answers for why she left all those years before. But he also wants the shot with her that he never got, and he isn't willing to let her go this time. But with years apart and their exes suddenly back in the picture, things are more complicated than ever. 

Reid was amazing, and I honestly loved him. He had been hurt by Ever, but it was clear that his feelings for her never wavered. He tried to move forward with his life, but his main focus was always his son. I was so glad that while he wanted Ever and never stopped loving her, he didn't let it stop him from living his life. I loved that Reid was determined to show Ever that they belonged together and didn't give up on her. Ever was a bit stubborn at times and Reid definitely had his work cut out for him. But he knew her better than anyone, and he didn't let her get away will pulling the crap she normally would. I loved Ever, even when she frustrated me. She was funny and sarcastic, and I liked how witty she was. She didn't care what others thought, and she was such a unique character. I liked seeing her fall back into being friends with Reid, but also how she took the friendship and moved beyond that with him. She was great with Reid and with his son Leo, and I was happy to see that they didn't rush things. She knew that Leo needed stability and she had to ease herself into being with both Reid as well as being around Leo full time. Reid and Ever had a great friendship and had always wanted one another even if they never acted on it, so the progression from friends to more was so natural. These two were great together, and it was easy to see that they always belonged to one another. 

Overall, this book was what I have come to know and expect from Emma Hart. It was a really good story with likable characters that you feel invested in. There were a few times that Ever frustrated me and I felt like she handled things poorly, but then again so did Reid. These two were dealing with a lot that most people never have to go through, and it was easy to see that they were doing what they could. Part of it was their age, so even while it drove me nuts it seemed real and believable. I liked seeing previous characters, but Reid and Everleigh were definitely my favorites of the entire series. Leo stole the whole show though, and it was impossible not to love the adorable little kid. I liked his relationship with Reid, but it even better seeing them form such a bond as family with Ever. I liked the previous books, but I would definitely recommend this book if you are going to pick one from the series to read. This book was entertaining, and I can't wait to read more from Emma Hart in the future.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |