Saturday, June 27, 2015

ARC Review: Trusting The Boss by Mallory Crowe

This is my second “role reversal” book in this series. I really didn’t like the last book because I thought the heroine was rude and unlovable. This book is kind of a follow up to the last one and will spoil the mystery in the last book if you haven’t read that one. So, stop reading now if you want to read the last book. The heroine in this book, Emma, is the wealthy “boss” character and Jace is a security expert who assists her in finding out why her sister went batsh!t crazy. Jace is initially reluctant to get involved with Emma but is nice enough to change his mind. For Emma’s own good of course.

I liked this book much better than the last one and I have to admit I was kind of giving myself the sideeye for that. Emma is a much more palatable character, in my mind, than Victoria was in the last book. At first I was concerned that I only felt that way because Emma was more of a socialite than a CEO. After chastising myself for not being able to deal with a female CEO, I realized that wasn’t the issue at all. The thing that I like about Emma is that she’s actually a nice person with good intentions who never put Jace down for not being as rich her. Jace was a dangerous sort of alpha male that I really loved. He came complete with threats to toss Emma over his shoulder, growling and smirking. I can deal with all of that.

I also thought there was more development of the relationship between Emma and Jace than we found in the last book. Because Jace is more Emma’s equal in the story, they are depicted as a team instead of a boss and an employee. Although none of the books in this series are very lengthy, I thought there were a fair amount of pages devoted to establishing the connection between Emma and Jace. One thing I didn’t love is that this book was a continuation of the mystery in the last book. It seemed to me that the story line of crazy Joslyn was all wrapped up. I totally did not understand why Emma was looking into that event further. It was ok that it developed into another sub-mystery but I would have preferred to see a brand new story line.

In general this book, and all of the books in this series, are fast easy reads. They are good ways to kill some time without getting involved in anything too heavy. The sex is always secondary to the storyline and very…meh. But you get the thrill of a suspense against a fast paced background and some decent writing.

**ARC provided by RockStarLit PR**

Purchase: | Amazon |

ARC Review: Gypsy Beach by Jillian Neal

Gypsy Beach is the first book I have read from Jillian Neal, so I didn't really know what to expect with this story. I loved the sound of the blurb though, and there is just something about a sexy single dad that loves his kid. Add to that a second chance at love, and I was sold. This book was light and sweet, and is a really cute summer read. I enjoyed it and will look for more from Jillian Neal in the future. 

It's been 10 years since Ryan McNamara and Sienna Cooper have seen each other. They once thought that they had a future together, but they both ended up with broken hearts. Now Ryan is divorcing a wife he hates and doing everything he can to fight for his daughter Evie. He vows never to fall in love again and returns to the one place that he was last happy, Gypsy Beach. Looking for work to set him and his daughter up, he seeks to work as a contractor for the many residents of Gypsy Beach after storm damage. But when he comes face to face with Sienna at the Inn her grandmother once owned, he realizes he never quit loving her and will fight for her this time around. But will Sienna be able to forgive him for leaving her years ago and take on not just Ryan but also his daughter? 

I liked these two a lot. Ryan had let his parents control his life for years, so it was good to see him finally standing up to them and doing what he wanted. He was a great dad and his top priority was Evie and Sienna. I loved that he was so sweet and loving with his girls, and he would do whatever it took for them to be happy. He no longer had the money he had grown up with, but it was clear that all that matter to him was Evie and Sienna. Sienna was such a fun character! Strong and sassy, she was unique and fun. I loved how free spirited and easy to get along with she was, and it was great that she just loved life. These two were perfect for each other, and I really loved the connection and chemistry they shared. Ryan's daughter Evie was adorable and she took to Sienna right away.

I will say that while this book was cute and sweet, it was pretty predictable and didn't really offer anything new. This one was fun and light, and an easy story to lose myself in for a few hours. The book alternates between Ryan and Sienna's POVs, but it wasn't clearly stated when it was switching and that was a bit disorienting at times. The one thing that I thought was kind of weird was that not only did we get Ryan and Sienna's POVs, but a few times in the story we would also get a little bit of a couple of the secondary characters. I got what the author was trying to do, but I just thought it was kind of strange the way it was done. I will read more from Jillian Neal, but while I liked this story I didn't love it. If you are looking for something quick and easy though, I would recommend giving this one a shot.

**ARC Provided by RockStarLit PR**

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

Surf, Sand & Books 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.

Friday, June 26, 2015

ARC Review: Last Kiss by Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick

Not what I was expecting. This is one of my favorite books of this year and is going on the list of my all-time favorites!

The story of Vasily and Naomi kind of snuck up on me. This is the third story in the Hitmen series but it's the first one of the series I've read and my first book by these authors. I had no idea what to expect but I didn’t expect such outstanding writing, nuanced characters and a well layered plot.

Last Kiss is about Vasily's quest to rise from a hitman for the Bratva (like the Russian mafia) to become the head of the Bratva. He is given a mission by the elders of the Bratva that if accomplished would allow him to rise to power with minimal bloodshed. In order to accomplish the task, he needs a world class hacker, enter Naomi.

Naomi was the most unexpected part of this book. Naomi is a beautiful, genius, computer hacker who also happens to have Aspergers. When I first realized she had Aspergers I admit, I was giving the book all sorts of side eyes. I just didn’t know how to feel about a heroine with a mild form of autism. But therein lies the brilliance of the book. The authors take a condition that many of us have limited familiarity with and do a beautiful job of showing us that love, romance and freaking HAWT sex are available if we can just expand our thinking.

It turns out that Naomi is perfect for Vasily. Or more accurately, it turns out that Naomi's imperfections perfectly suit Vasily's imperfections. Vasily was abused as a child and manipulated by a powerful woman. He didn't need the intrigue of the typical heroine who talks in riddles and suffers from her own emotional issues. Naomi's inability to BS and limited capacity for empathy was exactly what Vasily needed. The relationship in this book is written in a beautiful and compelling way. You will want to see these two people together and you will be rooting for them as they face adversity.

I was particularly drawn to the scenes where we are told how Naomi feels about her Aspergers in her own POV. I thought the description of her insecurities and her desire to be viewed as a normal person was agonizingly well done. Naomi’s feelings about herself are juxtaposed against Vasily’s feelings about himself and what he deserves and the effect on us the readers is deeply emotionally impactful.

As Naomi and Vasily proceed on their quest in the book, there are lots of laughs to be had. Naomi truly says the stuff the rest of us just think. Like at one point she tells Vasily not to sweat on her after sex. I’ve always wanted to say that to my husband but I’ve just never quite had Naomi’s lack of fu-ks. The book is fast paced, filled with action and easy to read.

I give some books 5 stars because I just really really love the story but this 5 star rating is more than that. This is my “truly epic shit” 5 star rating. This isn’t just a story that I loved, these are characters that I love, writing that is compelling and a book that I won’t just forget.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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Review: Broken Lens by Shannon Dermott

Broken Lens is the second book in the Through the Lens series by Shannon Dermott, but this book can be read as a standalone. I would honestly recommend reading these books in order though as this is actually a continuation of Jessa and Ethan's story. The first book ended with a HFN (Happy For Now) ending as the two of them headed to separate colleges, and this book picks up where that book left off. 

Jessa and Ethan are finally together and things between them couldn't be better. Though they are headed to separate colleges, they will not be far apart. Ethan left for college early, due to his schedule with football so the two agree to meet a hotel in order to spend some much needed time together after their time apart. But when Ethan doesn't show, Jessa begins to fear the worst. She knows how women look at Ethan, and her insecurities begin to take over. When Ethan comes to after a drunken night he can't remember, he knows that he has no choice but to tell Jessa what he woke up to. Will Jessa be able to forgive his sober confession, or will Ethan lose the only girl he has ever loved over a night he knows nothing about?

I had liked Ethan and Jessa in the first book, and that didn't change here. There was a lot more at stake here for these two though than in the previous book, and it broke my heart to see what they were going through. I felt so badly for both of them, but I was so happy that Ethan had the guts to tell Jessa the truth. He could have easily lied and she never would have known, but he was able to be a man and tell the truth knowing that he could lose everything. Poor Ethan just kept getting knocked down in this book though, and I felt so bad that the hits just kept coming. He was determined to show Jessa that they belonged together, and it was good to see that he knew just how important she was to him and that their love was worth fighting for. I have to admit that I felt a bit disconnected from Jessa in this book though. The first book was told from her POV and this one was from Ethan's. A lot of this story had these two separated, so I felt like for the majority of the story Jessa was almost a secondary character. This was much more about Ethan and his past as well as his present. 

Besides the fact that I had some issues with how insignificant Jessa seemed in this book, I also found myself having issues with this story as far as drama. In the first book I felt like there was some unnecessary stuff that didn't add much to the story, and I thought that it was even more so with this book. There was a ton going on, and it was a little over the top. Besides the drama with Ethan and Jessa, there was also a ton of family issues, the upcoming trial for the attacker from book one, the continuation of Carly missing, as well as drama with Bradley and Madison. Add to all that the constant parade of girls hitting on Ethan and it just got to be too much for me. I wanted this book to be more about Jessa and Ethan, and they almost seemed to be a minor subplot of this book. So while I liked seeing how things played out for these two, this one was a bit disappointing to me and just fell flat.

**Review Copy Provided by Flirty Subs PR**

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Surf, Sand & Books Event with Megan Erickson

Megan worked as a journalist covering real-life dramas before she decided she liked writing her own endings better and switched to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. When she's not tapping away on her laptop, she's probably listening to the characters in her head who won't stop talking.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

ARC Review: Beat by Vi Keeland

I absolutely love Vi Keeland's stories, and I knew that I was going to love this book before I ever read it. Beat is a standalone sequel to Throb, which is where we first meet Flynn Beckham. You do not need to have read that book first, but I would highly recommend starting there because it's a great story and because you get to meet Flynn. I loved Flynn before and I didn't think it was possible to love him more, but Vi Keeland proved me wrong and he only got better in Beat. 

Growing up, Lucky had Dylan Ryder's poster on her bedroom wall. Now ten years later, she is his girlfriend. Dating a rockstar was every girl's dream, and yet Lucky knew that she wanted more. When she meets Flynn Beckham sparks instantly fly and she finds herself drawn to him in a way she never has been with Dylan. But things get complicated when Lucky finds out that Flynn's band is the new opening act for her rockstar boyfriend's tour. What happens when Flynn and Lucky continue to grow closer and it gets harder to fight the connection and chemistry they are feeling? 

I absolutely loved Flynn. I had loved him in Throb, but I knew that he wasn't meant for Kate. I had really hoped that we would get his story, and I was so happy to get to know him better in Beat. He was never right for Kate, because he was perfect for Lucky! Flynn was even more of a nice guy than I had ever realized, and I absolutely adored him with his niece Laney. Flynn would have done absolutely anything for her, and it was clear that he loved her so much. He was a great role model for her, and I liked seeing that he had a soft side. He was sexy and charming, and I really enjoyed seeing how confident he was that he would win Lucky. Lucky was easy to like, and I loved how normal she was. She had famous parents and could have had such a different life, and yet she was nice and down to earth. She was fun and it was easy to see why she would have such a strong connection with Flynn. These two just understood one another, and they connected on every level. The chemistry and attraction was there from the beginning, but it was the connection that they were building that really made these two so special. 

Overall, another winner from Vi Keeland and I am seriously convinced that she could write absolutely anything and I would read it. I love her characters and her stories, and I am always captivated right from the start. Beat is sexy and sweet, and I couldn't put it down. Flynn Beckham is one of the best heroes I have read in a long time, and I know that I am going to have a tough time getting over this book. I highly recommend Beat and Throb if you haven't read them, and if you aren't reading Vi Keeland you are seriously missing out! This book is definitely worth the read, and I am already anxious to see what Vi Keeland writes next.

**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**

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

ARC Review: Maldeamores by Mara White

Maldeamores is the first book that I have ever read by Mara White. It is a standalone prequel to her Heightsbound series, and you do not need to have read the other books to understand this one. I have to admit that I am a sucker for taboo love stories. There is just something about the forbidden that makes romance books more juicy sometimes. So when I read the blurb for this book, I knew I had to read it. Let me warn you though, this book will not be for everyone. This book is about cousins who fall in love with each other. I won't give away much of the actual story so as not to spoil the book, but I think that this is one of those books that just needs to be experienced without knowing everything ahead of time. 

Belen and Luciano have loved each other since they were kids. They have always been inseparable, and they have only grown closer over the years. However their friendship has always felt like more to each of them, except they know that they shouldn't feel the way they do. Being cousins, they do everything that they can to fight what they know is wrong and yet you can't control who you fall in love with. 

I will say that I had a few issues with these characters. They were in a really tough situation, and I understand that they each must have been so confused and that they would struggle with their feelings. That being said, Belen got on my nerves a bit with her constant crying. Yes things were upsetting, but after awhile I began to wonder if she was capable of doing anything besides crying. Luciano ran a bit hot and cold, and it was easy to see why Belen would be confused. I liked Lucky though, and I really felt as though these two genuinely belonged together. I know that for a lot of people incest is a hard limit, and that might make reading this one difficult. But these two seemed to really be two people who loved each other and were perfect for one another that just so happened to be related. They were so close, and it was that way from the very start. They had clear chemistry and an undeniable connection. 

So without getting into the story too much, I loved about 90% of this book. Then the ending happened, and it pretty much wrecked me. This was not the way I had hoped for, and honestly it was very unsatisfying for me. I really had to take some time to get my thoughts together on this book before sitting down to write my review, because I felt pretty betrayed at the end of this book. But as I continued to think about Maldeamores, I thought about the book as a whole and I couldn't put it down. If it wasn't for the ending, I really think this would have been close to a five star read for me. So I decided to go with a 3 star rating since I did enjoy this book up until the end. This one was beautiful and heartbreaking, and filled with emotion and angst. I was drawn in right from the start and absolutely couldn't stop myself from finishing this book. I read it almost in one sitting, and would have finished it in one if real life hadn't demanded my attention. While I was unhappy with the ending, I can't deny that I loved Mara White's writing style, and I was captivated from the first page. I am really hoping that we end up getting more for Lucky and Belen. I would love to see something else down the line for these characters, and I hope that it might change how I felt at the end of this book.

**ARC Provided by Flirty Subs PR**

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

Surf, Sand & Books Event with Samanthe Beck

Wine lover, sleep fanatic, and USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy contemporary romance novels, Samanthe Beck lives in Malibu, California, with her long-suffering but extremely adorable husband and their turbo-son, Hud. Throw in a furry ninja named Kitty and Bebe the trash talking Chihuahua and you get the whole, chaotic picture.

When not clinging to sanity by her fingernails or dreaming up fun, fan-your-cheeks sexy ways to get her characters to happily-ever-afters, she searches for the perfect cabernet to pair with Ambien.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

ARC Review: Repaired by Melissa Collins

Repaired was another really great read from Melissa Collins! She is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, especially when it comes to M/M books. Repaired was well written and emotional, and I really enjoyed this story. These characters were so easy to like, and I felt invested in their story right away. 

At 17 Liam Davis ran away from home, with a goal of starting over. His plan included getting away from his terrible past, and never letting anyone find out who he really was or what had happened to him. Ten years later things have worked out for Liam, and he has a satisfying life as a mechanic with a family he has made and friends who care about him, though none of them know the whole truth about him. When he meets Parker Ryan things begin to change for him, and he finds himself in danger of falling for someone. Parker is different from him in almost every way, being a successful lawyer with more money than Liam has ever dreamed of. But Liam and Parker quickly realize that opposites do in fact attract, and soon they are agreeing to see what is between them. But Liam's past suddenly returns and changes everything, leaving Liam and Parker to learn how to trust and support one another.

Liam and Parker were both really great characters, and I loved how different they were. Liam had a tough childhood, and had given up what little he had in order to escape his past. He was used to having nothing, and had been willing to risk everything for a chance at a better life. He was willing to do whatever it took, and he was a hard worker. I loved the friendships he had made, and I was glad that he was able to find people that were good and cared about him for who he was. Parker had grown up with money and a lot of expectations, and at first glance he had it all. But he also had a father who was never happy with anything he did, and his father hated the fact that Parker was gay. I felt bad for Parker, because it was clear that he wanted his father to care about him and nothing he did would ever be good enough for him. I was glad that he had found Liam and was able to surround himself with people that didn't care who he loved, but that loved him for being the good guy he was. He had a big heart, and he wanted to use his power and money to help others. Liam and Parker had chemistry from the start, and there was never a shortage of steam between them. I loved seeing them get to know one another and let each other in though, and I thought that they were a great source of love and support for each other. 

Overall, I really loved Liam and Parker together. They were sweet and sexy, and they fit together perfectly. I also really liked the secondary characters in this book, and I thought that each of them added so much to this story. This book was emotional and dealt with some tough subjects, but I thought that Melissa Collins did a great job tackling those and giving them the respect that they deserved. This book was a great example that even when horrible things happen, there is always hope for a better life. I would definitely recommend this to fans of the M/M genre, and I think it is a great contemporary romance. I know I will read more from Melissa Collins in the future, and I look forward to seeing what she writes next!

**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**

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

Surf, Sand & Books Event with Jessica Ruddick

Jessica Ruddick is a 2014 Golden Heart finalist for her new adult novel, Letting Go, which was inspired by her own college experiences. She lives in Virginia and is married to her college sweetheart—their first date was a fraternity toga party (and nothing inspires love like a toga, right?). When she doesn’t have her nose in a book or her hands on a keyboard, she can be found wrangling her two rambunctious sons, taming two rowdy but lovable rescue dogs, and battling the herd of dust bunnies that has taken up residence in her home. To learn more about Jessica, please visit her website at

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

ARC Review: Beyond the Night by Joss Ware

For a post-apocalyptic romance/adventure, you might want to check out Beyond the Night by Joss Ware. This first book in Ms. Ware's series The Envy Chronicles, was originally published in 2010. The entire series has now been repackaged with new covers.

After sleeping for 50 years, Elliot Drake and his friends awake to an unfamiliar world. Everything has changed and they missed the main event. Wondering around for months they meet few people and learn very little about what actually happened. Eventually, the friends make their way to the city of Envy, where they start to piece together the events of 50 years ago. Problem is, there are very few survivors of the catastrophic event that destroyed most of the earth's population.

There are actually quite a few things going on in this story. You can tell that it is the first in a series. There are several elements that are classic series identifiers. First, there is the Elliot Brigade, i.e. those men that slept through the apocalypse. In them, we have a core group of hunks from which the heroes of the stories can be drawn. The descendants of the survivors will provide the heroines. In addition, there is a conspiracy theory about what caused the world destruction which is never really fully understood or proven. There is a group of Strangers, humanoid beings that seem to have super abilities as well as tyrannical methods and a devious plan.

After reading Beyond the Night, I know a little of the conspiracy and some interesting details about the Strangers. But there is so much more to the story to be told in subsequent books.

All of these series elements I mentioned make for a potentially fascinating story when the Elliot Brigade meets the people of Envy. Nevertheless, I did not really tune into this story much, probably because the characters came across as a bit one-dimensional. Jade, resident of Envy and love interest for Elliot, comes across as very young, despite the fact that she has more of a past than other characters. Elliot is a doctor and that is about all we find out about his background.

I found the most interesting characters to be the Waxnicki brothers who actually lived through the apocalypse and helped to rebuild the world. Many of the chapters start out with Lou Waxnicki's journal entries from the first days and months of the post-apocalyptic period. In Beyond the Night, the Waxnickis are secondary characters though. Hopefully they will get a bigger role in subsequent books.

There are 6 books plus a novella in the Envy Chronicles, so my educated guess is that the characters grew and deepened with the series. I have read more than one series where the first book was the weakest. Final verdict for Beyond the Night - it had potential to be a thrilling first book in the Envy Series, but it fell a bit flat with a weak cast of characters.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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