Saturday, June 13, 2015

ARC Review: Witness to Passion by Naima Simone

This is my first book by this author and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Witness to Passion is Shane and Fallon's story and it is one HAWT story.

Fallon is the best friend of Shane's younger sister who has wanted Shane for as long as she can remember. Shane is the stoic army veteran who lost one of his best friends during the war and is haunted by the predictable demons that accompany that sort of tragedy. Add to that the fact that Shane's perception of Fallon is skewed by his own experiences and there was a fair amount of angst in the story. Shane thinks Fallon is flighty and unpredictable and Fallon knows he sees her that way. Fallon thinks Shane isn't interested in her and won't change his mind about her personaliy. Of course Shane and Fallon are both wrong.

Shane owns a private security company and Fallon finds herself in desperate need of security after witnessing a murder.

What I really like about this book is the layering of the characters. Neither is as straightforward as they might seem at first glance. Fallon is kind of impulsive and talkative but it turns out she's also strong, fiercely independent and has endured more than most women. Shane is closed off but he's also fiercely protective as the result of having a childhood of being left unprotected. As Shane and Fallon slowly reveal themselves to one another we get to know them as well in a very natural way.

I felt as drawn to the characters in this book as they felt towards one another. Their feelings for each other and their reactions to the tragedies in their own lives come across as genuine and compelling. Although Shane tries to deny his physical attraction to Fallon, he was pretty ineffective. When the barrier finally breaks down, it BREAKS down to the tune of hair pulling, dirty talking delicious goodness. This was some seriously hot sex and I loved every minute of it. Of course the sex was supposed to be "no strings attached" meaning gigantic ropes immediately attached to the whole situation.

The only thing I did not like about this book is the amount of introspection. Character introspection has become one of my pet peeves, especially the way it was done in this book. There were just too many pages of redundant internal character dialogue. The result of that is always the same...skimming pages. I can forgive an author for torturing us with introspection when the plot is fast paced, the characters are well developed, the romance is sweet and the sex is HOT. So all in all, I definitely recommend this book and I know for a fact I will be back for more from this author.

**ARC by provided Publisher**

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

ARC Review: Rules of Seduction by Joya Ryan

The Serve Series continues with Joya Ryan taking over where Tessa Bailey and Katee Robert left off. Rules of Seduction is the seventh Serve novel, but each can be read as standalone. I knew I wanted to read this one, but I was a little anxious since Joya had some seriously big shoes to fill with Tessa and Katee having written such great stories to begin the series with. That being said, Joya Ryan did a really great job with Nolan and Ava's story and I really enjoyed this book. 

After having her ex control her every move and decision, Ava is looking to take things into her own hands for once. Though she wants a man that will take control in the bedroom, she refuses to let anyone control her life or own her. Seeking to keep things strictly sexual, she turns to Serve, the exclusive BDSM club for her needs. There she meets with Nolan Hart, who will help her find what she is looking for. At first Nolan can't believe that his newest client's wishes could really be as open as they are, or that they would align so perfectly with his own desires. But the more he talks to her, the harder it is to deny that they are a match sexually. Since Ava is looking for complete anonymity, he figures the blindfold he plans to use on her will keep his secret. He will be the one to fulfill her needs, and she will never have to know it was him all along. But the more time these two begin to spend together outside of Serve, the more Ava and Nolan begin to fall for one another. What happens when Ava starts to catch on that her mystery man and Nolan might be one and the same? 

I really liked Nolan and Ava. These two were super hot together, and I loved the friendship they were forming. They were able to be open and honest, and it was great to see them talking about their desires with one another. Not only were they super sexy, but you could really see that they were starting to click with one another beyond just the physical. Nolan always knew what Ava needed, and he was able to provide that for her without judgement. He might have been alpha and assertive in the bedroom, but he was also thoughtful and kind and really took care of Ava. Ava needed to see that not all men would try and control every aspect of a woman's life, and Nolan could not have been more perfect for her. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this sexy story. Nolan and Ava were great, and I loved how they were with one another in and out of the bedroom. This book was a quick read, and I couldn't put it down as I had to know how things would go for these two. I highly recommend this new addition to the Serve series, and if you haven't read the others those are great as well. I am looking forward to reading more from Joya Ryan in the future.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | 

Surf, Sand & Books Event with Avery Flynn

Avery Flynn is an award winning romance author. She has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip.

She was a reader before she was a writer and hopes to always be both. She loves to write about smartass alpha heroes who are as good with a quip as they are with their *ahem* other God-given talents. Her heroines are feisty, fierce and fantastic. Brainy and brave, these ladies know how to stand on their own two feet and knock the bad guys off theirs.

Friday, June 12, 2015

ARC Review: Night of the Highland Dragon by Isabel Cooper

“They say,” said the girl, “that people disappear up there. And I heard that the lady doesna' ever grow any older.” - from the blurb for Night of the Highland Dragon

William Arundel arrives in Loch Aranoch to search for a killer. One of the first people William meets in Loch Aranoch is Lady Judith MacAlasdair. Lady Judith is the matriarch and protector of the community. Their initial meeting puts both William and Judith on guard against the other. With good reason. Both are hiding secrets.

As an agent of a secret government branch, William hunts demons and monsters. Sometimes they have a human face and sometimes they don't. Judith is a very old shape-changing dragon from a family of dragons. When local farm animals end up mutilated, William and Judith end up as suspects on each other's list.

So there is a mystery to be solved. When their efforts to solve the mystery in order to keep the people of Loch Aranoch safe put William and Judith together, respect grows. And so does attraction. This was an interesting romance. For most of the pages of this book, William and Judith remained at arms length but when they connected, their passion exploded. The relationship reflected the personalities of William and Judith.

When it came time to rate this book I started with a 4-star rating. But upon further reflection, there are three things that took this book from 4 to 5 stars for me.

The first is that it stands very well on its own even though it is the third book of a series. I don't feel like I missed anything, not having read the first two books. In addition, as near as I can tell, it does not give away much of the first two books in the series, which will make it worth my time to read them.

Second, the portrayal of a centuries old woman is spot on. Judith does not waste words and has keen insight into human nature. And she does not whine about the good old days or about the humans that surround her. She does not brag about her experience or assume she is superior. She is mature, matter of fact and faces life head on. In short, Judith is a wise old dragon woman. She just does not look old, so her actions belie her appearance.

The third and most important reason is that Isabel Cooper can write. Beautiful yet succinct. Observant and though-provoking. At times humorous. Ms. Cooper's voice is unique among the historical and paranormal romance writers that I read. Night of the Highland Dragon is the first of Ms. Cooper's books that I have read, but it won't be the last.

Night of the Highland Dragon combines a historical setting with fantasy and dark paranormal elements for a unique story of mystery, magic and romance.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: The Consequence of Revenge by Rachel Van Dyken

I seriously love Rachel Van Dyken. In fact, her Eagle Elite series is one of my all time favorites! That being said, I am having a tough time getting into her Consequence series. With the first book and now The Consequence of Revenge I find myself liking parts of the stories, and yet they are just too much for me. There is too much over the top and I find myself overloading on the wacky. So while I liked this one, I didn't love it. 

Max Emory lost his best friend to another guy, though she never knew how he truly felt about her. Since then, he has been spending his time just floating without any real purpose in life. Looking to get him headed in the right direction, his friends set him up to be the next bachelor on the reality series Love Island. Think Survivor meets The Bachelor. When Max arrives to meet the women of the show, he finds himself face to face with the barista he just unsuccessfully tried to hit on. Becca needs the money for winning the show to pay for school, and Max needs her help to avoid all the crazies. The two decide to team up to make the best of their situation, but the more time they spend together the more they start to like one another. But what happens at the end of the show when the last woman standing must decide between money or Max, and what happens when they leave the island? 

I loved Max in the first book, and that definitely didn't change here. He is super funny, and so easy to like. He is sweet and you just can't help but feel happy reading about him. I thought that Becca was actually a really great match for him, and these two seemed to just fit together once they got to know each other a little. Becca was determined to make her own way for school, and I admired that about her. But she also seemed to be genuine in her feelings for Max. These two were great when they were together, and those parts were by far my favorites of this book. I liked seeing them be goofy together, but also seeing how they were becoming more serious as their feelings strengthened. It was clear from the start that they had chemistry, so I loved seeing that get even stronger with their feelings. 

I will say that the end of this book with the last episode of the reality show ticked me off royally. Besides the over the top and ridiculousness of all the wacky, that really killed this one for me. I can't even begin to go into how much that changed my opinion of this book, and it was really disappointing to see this one go there. I felt like because of that the ending of this story was pretty much ruined for me, and it was hard to get past that when it came to these characters. Though I love Rachel Van Dyken's writing style and a lot of her other books, I think this series just might not be for me. If you are looking for a non-stop book filled with over the top humor and wacky times I would maybe give this one a shot. But if you are looking for any real deep or meaningful stories in this series, this one probably isn't for you.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

Surf, Sand & Books Event with Tessa Bailey

Tessa lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and young daughter. When she isn't writing or reading romance, Tessa enjoys a good argument and thirty-minute recipes.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

ARC Review: Mad About the Major by Elizabeth Boyle

This is the first book I've read by Elizabeth Boyle, so I went in with absolutely no expectations. I thought it would be good as an introduction into her work since it is a novella. I liked it enough to start adding more of her books to my to read shelf.

Arabella Tremont is a Duke's daughter whose life is sheltered and predictable. Her father is overprotective and refuses to allow her freedom. All the poor girl wants is to experience life. She was born and raised to be a perfect lady, but deep in her heart she loves adventure and excitement. Major Kingsley has finally ran out of money to support himself, so he must heed his parents and come home from his extended stay on the continent after the war. They have decided he should marry, so he wants to make his last bit of time as a bachelor a good time.

On the day both are to bid their families wishes for arranged marriages, Arabella runs away from home only to find Kingsley, the man who almost ruined her at a masque a few weeks prior. She gets him to agree he owes her, so he escorts her for the day doing whatever she'd like. Throughout the day they try to figure out who the other is, and this sparks both of their interests.

I think that a good test of an author's skill is whether or not they can convince me of true love in the short amount of time given in a novella. Elizabeth Boyle did just that. The majority of the book takes place over a single day. The love story has quite a similar feel to events of the well known fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty. I enjoyed this novella immensely.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: Arrows Hell by Chantal Fernando

Great for MC Romance fans!

This is the second book in the Wind Dragon's MC Series and I actually recommend starting with the first book. Both this book and the first book are technically standalone novels but if you plan to read the first book, this one contains a lot of spoilers. And the first one is good so you should read it.

This installment is Anna and Arrow's story. Anna is the younger sister of Rake, one of the Wind Dragons, and off limits to all members of the club. Of course she promptly falls for one of the clubs most infamous members- Arrow. Arrow is tortured, brooding and angsty over the death of his previous love Mary. He feels responsible for her death and undeserving of love. Yup, I'm a lil twisted but that is my favorite brand of Hero. I love a tortured bad boy with a big...ego, lol.

One of my favorite things about Chantal's writing is her depiction of the heroines. Now Anna was not as funny as Faye from the first book but I really liked her character. I'm a fan of strong heroines who are not afraid to use their back hand when things get out of hand. I also like the fact that the author depicted her as being jealous of Faye. I don't think I've ever seen a character in a sequel have a problem with the character from the preceding novel and I liked it. The jealousy was unfounded but it was understandable in a petty way that we can all relate to.

The place where this book loses some steam is in the actual relationship between Arrow and Anna. I'm not sure I get it at all. Anna is in a zoology doctoral program and Rake is a released convict with no education to speak of. Opposites can attract but can they develop a lasting passionate relationship and actually have things to talk about? I jusssst don't know. The attraction between Arrow and Anna is instant but beyond just sort of growling at her, there isn't much courting of Anna by Arrow before she is madly in love with him. I just don't care enough about that issue to let it really detract from my rating but if instalove really bothers you, this might make you uncomfortable.

This book was told in the first person POV and I was excited about getting Arrow's POV until I realized it's only in the prologue and epilogue. I strongly prefer books with both characters POV so that was a little disappointing.

There was good conflict and action in this book. It is an easy read that moves rapidly. The Janet and Jacob story lines added some layers and kept us interested. I'm not sure about the Jacob piece because it didn't really have a logical resolution but it did keep the plot moving forward.

I really like the twist involving the Wild Men MC. That was a good continuation of that story line that wrapped up in really interesting way.I also like the set up for the Tracker and Lana story and I will be stalking GR waiting for that one to come out.

Oh and yes, the sex...not this author's strongest point. It's ok but not as well described as I like to see. More contemporary sex than erotic sex.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

Surf, Sand and Books Event with Robin Bielman

When not attached to her laptop, USA Today Bestselling Author Robin Bielman can almost always be found with her nose in a book. A California girl, the beach is her favorite place for fun and inspiration. Her fondness for swoon-worthy heroes who flirt and stumble upon the girl they can’t live without jumpstarts all of her story ideas.

She is a 2014 RITA® Finalist, loves to frequent coffee shops, and plays a mean game of sock tug of war with her cute, but a little bit naughty dog, Harry. She cherishes her family and friends and loves to connect with readers. Get the scoop on Robin, her books, and sign up for her newsletter on her website at

ARC Review: Secret by Kindle Alexander

I am a huge fan of Kindle Alexander's, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on Secret! If you are a fan of the M/M genre, Kindle Alexander is a must read. If you haven't read much of the M/M genre, Kindle Alexander is definitely worth giving a shot and I cannot recommend their books enough! Kindle always brings such sweetness and sexiness to their stories, and I can't help but fall in love with each of their characters. Dylan and Tristan were no different, and I really enjoyed their story! 

Dylan Reeves is a man devoted to his family. He would do anything for his wife and three kids, including denying who he truly is in order to take care of them the best way he knows how. Though he loves his family, Dylan has been living with a secret for years. When Dylan goes to sell his social media site Secret, he never expects to feel so drawn to the owner of Wilder-Nation, Tristan Wilder. Tristan is out and doesn't do commitment, and he definitely doesn't mess around with closeted guys. But Tristan finds himself drawn to Dylan and the more time they spend together, the stronger his feelings grow. But can Tristan convince Dylan that he deserves to take a chance on what is building between them, or will the risk be too much for Dylan?

I really liked Dylan and Tristan. I loved them together, and I thought that they were the perfect match for each other. Dylan was a guy who loved his family, but he also wasn't living the life that he truly deserved. I really admired him though for putting his family first, and I loved that he never viewed what he was doing as a sacrifice. Though he was missing a big part of himself and things weren't perfect, he made the best of his situation and was happy with his choices and life. He was afraid to really take a chance on anything with Tristan, and was constantly worrying about what would happen if anyone found out the truth about him. Luckily, Tristan got Dylan to loosen up and live life more. He allowed Dylan to see that he could have more than what he had been accepting, and I was glad that Dylan was able to let himself be happy and see the possibilities between them. The attraction and chemistry was clear between these two from the start, but I really loved the connection they had and seeing that develop.

Overall, this was another fantastic Kindle Alexander story. I really loved Dylan and Tristan, as well as the secondary characters. I will say that this book started off a bit slow for me. I was interested to get into the story, so I kept reading and I am so glad that I did. After a few chapters things really started to pick up, especially once Tristan and Dylan met. That is the only criticism I had, and I loved everything else. Kindle Alexander never disappoints, and I am already anxious for another sweet and sexy story from them! Kindle Alexander has become my go-to author for the M/M genre, and I honestly love each book that I have read by them. Secret was everything I have come to know and love from Kindle, and I would highly recommend this book.

**ARC Provided by Enticing Journey Book Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N |

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

ARC Review: Revenge Best Served Hot by Jackie Braun

(Don't worry about this being in a series, it's a standalone and you don't need to read any other books in the series to understand this one).

This was a really easy, quick read. I liked the story. Kate is an executive at her Father's shipping company who is basically ignored and patronized while her Father is at the helm of the company. Brody is a corporate executive who acquires Kate's family business in a hostile takeover. Kate sees the takeover as her opportunity to prove herself as a business woman since her Father is no longer running the show. Brody thinks keeping Kate close is a good idea in case her Father has any plans of reacquiring the business. It turns out there may be some foolishness afoot and Brody and Kate's developing romance gets stuck in the middle.

I really enjoyed Kate's character. She was a strong, no BS woman who believed in hard work despite being born rich. I don't often see female characters with as much career ambition as Kate and it was something I could really relate to. Similarly, I liked Brody as a character. Despite the fact that Brody was motivated by revenge, he's a good business man who made smart decisions.

The relationship between Kate and Brody is developed over a lot of pages. A LOT! There is plenty of conversation and scenes in which the two get to know one another. There is no instalove here folks. The problem is there is also no instasex or even slow sex or much sex at all. Indeed, there is NO sex until like 75% into the book. I don't remember the last time I had to read through that many pages of dating before we got to the nookie. And here's my real issue, once we got there it was MEH to the 10th power. I was like, 'you made me wait a WHOLE novel for THAT'??

The other issue is that the plot develops in the first 20% of the book and from there you can pretty much guess what happens if you have ever read one of these books. Or like been outside the house recently. I don't really mind the predictability because I truly do like this sort of story line. It just would have really really helped my enjoyment levels if the predictability was couched in between some extremely hot sex scenes.

Overall, this was well written, there were good characters and a decent (if not oft repeated) plot. I recommend this book for readers who prefer more story and less sex.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: Strike by Heather C. Leigh

Strike is the second book in the Sphere of Irony series by Heather C. Leigh. This series is a spin-off of her famous series, and each book can be read as a standalone with interconnected characters. Strike is the story of Dax Davies, and I couldn't wait to get to know this guy better. Not only is Dax a fighter, but he is also a musician, so I knew he was going to be super sexy. While I did like this book and enjoyed it for the most part, there were a few things that kept this one from being great for me.

Dax Davies was raised by a father that had a strict set of rules to live by. He groomed each of his four sons to be the best fighters they could be to earn top dollar in his club. Dax couldn't wait to get out of his father's house though to pursue a life of music instead of fighting. Kate Campbell had loved Dax since they were kids in school together, but Dax never noticed Kate. When he finally did, things seemed to be going well for them. Until one night changed everything, and Kate wound up getting her heart broken. 

I had a few issues with Dax and Kate, but for the most part I liked them. Dax was used to having to fight for everything and he lived according to what his father dictated. He was used to following his father's rules, and often times handled things poorly because of that. A lot of that wasn't his fault, yet there were still times that I wanted to shake Dax for how he handled things. He did really seem to care about Kate from the beginning, and it was nice to see him know that she was different and treat her accordingly. Kate was smart and athletic, and she was a really good friend. She definitely had a weak spot when it came to Dax though, and it often times made her seem like a bit of a doormat. She would get so upset over something he would do, but they would wind up at the same place and she would almost instantly get over her anger and forget everything that had happened. While I did like these two together and saw the chemistry between them, it was a bit frustrating at times with how things went between them. 

I also thought that this book had some issues with transitions, and it came off as disjointed and confusing. There were several times that it would switch POVs, or from past to present with little to no warning. I also felt like it would jump from one event to another, sometimes with days or months in between and we weren't made aware of it until several paragraphs after the jump. It was confusing at times and hard to follow as a reader already trying to keep the POVs straight. So while I liked this book, I didn't love it. I am curious to read more in this series though, especially the first book with Adam and Ellie. They both played pretty big parts in this book, so I am wanting to see how everything went from their side of things. If you like sexy rockstar stories, this might be one you want to check out.

**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**

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