Saturday, July 18, 2015

ARC Review: Hot Night with the Fireman by Lynne Silver

Thank you Lynne Silver! What a fun and refreshing read. This was my first venture into Silver’s writing and I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed this story. Once I started reading the first page I was instantly interested and cheering for PR Maven, Valerie Wainright and Mr. Hot Firefighter, Jason Moore. It seems to me that lately there are a lot of hero firefighters and I’m loving it!

Valerie’s firm is hired so that she can help clean up the image of the firehouse where Jason works. He, along with other firefighters, had inappropriate pictures posted on Facebook. To help clean up the firehouses reputation Valerie steps in. Valerie was a great heroine. She was very standoffish and made it clear that she was there to do a job and that she would be nothing but a complete professional. I thought Valerie was a strong, talented professional who was very afraid of getting hurt because of different things that happened in her past. When Valerie sees the inappropriate pictures of Jason she is instantly attracted to him. But she keeps herself in check and reminds herself she is there only as a PR personal. When Valerie meets Jason she realizes that she not only finds him to be very attractive but he is also a very sweet guy. Because of the pictures she saw of him she assumed he was a player but Jason is far from that.

Jason was really a great guy. He was at the wrong place, at the wrong time and now his whole career hangs in the balance. Not only does he have to help the firehouse clean up its image but he is ready to take the next step in his career and the odds were already stalked against him because of a big secret he carries. On top of that, he’s half naked image is posted all over social media. When Jason meets Valerie he respects the professional limits she sets but he still wants to be around her and the temptation might be too great for both of them.

Two things stopped this from a five star, for me. One, I thought that Silver made Jason seem immature at times in an effort to make him seem more down to earth. When he started to whine about his family and his parents, especially, it seemed to me like he was a young adult instead of a strong, professional firefighter. The last thing that bothered me was the last part of the book. Of course there has to be some drama but I would have liked for Valerie to have behaved a different way. But these are two small issues. Silver created two excellent heroes. I loved the friendship that they created and they have fantastic chemistry. I also loved that Valerie actually made more money than Jason, I’m so over the billionaires, I thought this was so refreshing. Also, I’m already hooked on the next storyline, “In Bed with the Bodyguard.” This is the next book in the series where Ariana, Valerie’s best friend and Lance Brown get their storyline. I really loved Ariana and can’t wait to see how she handles the tough FBI agent Lance.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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ARC Review: The Collar by Tara Sue Me

The Collar is my first book in the Submissive Series and my first Tara Sue book. This book is a part of a series but it’s a standalone and can be read out of order. This is Jeff and Dena’s story. Jeff and Dena are a second chance romance deal. They were together for three years before breaking up because neither of them knew how to deal with life’s inevitable bad sh!t. While together Dena wore Jeff’s “collar” and was his exclusive submissive. I’m not really that entrenched in the whole BDSM scene, all I know is being collared involved some feet kissing, candle wax dripping, rope and a whole lot of “yessir.” Even if you’re like me and you’re not a BDSM enthusiast, the depiction of the relationship in this book is much deeper than the trappings of the lifestyle practiced by the characters. When the book begins Dena is being stalked/harassed by some crazy creep and Jeff agrees to protect her despite the fact that they have unresolved issues the size of the Grand Canyon between them. As the book progresses Dena and Jeff travel down the road to understanding themselves and what went wrong in their relationship.

If you have a book called "The Collar" that is about BDSM relationships, there is a tendency to be biased into thinking the book is going to be one long kink fest. That is not the case here at all. I was totally shocked by how genuine and deep the depiction of the connection between Jeff and Dena was. This book is an emotional journey that describes what happens when people shut each other out in a relationship to protect themselves and to protect each other. The sex scenes, instead of being the central focus, serve only to further describe and enhance the connection between Jeff and Dena.

I'm not normally a fan of second chance romance but this is the second book I've read that is making me more of a believer. The history between Jeff and Dena provided a much richer foundation upon which the present day relationship was built. The past relationship is conveyed to the reader in a series of flashbacks that fit well in the context of the story. The book is told in the 3rd person POV but alternates between Jeff and Dena. I have grown to need dual POVs. I’m nosy and I want to know what everybody is thinking.

My only criticism of the book is regarding the mystery/suspense thread that is woven in the book. Throughout the book everyone is trying to figure out who is stalking and harassing Dena. I figured it out pretty easily and when everyone in the book discovered the truth, it was completely anticlimactic. First of all the stalkers intentions and motivations were absurd, and then the handling of the situation also fell really flat. For so much to be made of how serious the threat to Dena was, the resolution of that issue left me feeling very meh. The fact that the rest of the book was so emotionally excruciating made this one part of it seem particularly incongruous.

Beyond my one criticism, this book is well written and brilliantly executed, I highly recommend it.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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Feature and Giveaway: The Best of Both Rogues by Samantha Grace

The worst thing Mr. Benjamin Hillary ever did was abandon his bride-to-be on their wedding day.

The hardest thing he will ever have to do is watch her marry another man.

After two long years abroad, Ben finds Eve every bit as captivating as she was the first time he saw her, and he vows to set things right.

Lady Eve Thorne has a new man in her life, and Ben is nothing but trouble. She is no longer a starry-eyed young woman, and now that he’s back, he can go hang for all she cares. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself…

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

ARC Review: Torn by Love by C.A. Harms

Torn by Love is the latest interconnected standalone in the Scarred by Love series from C.A. Harms. This is book number four, and I couldn't wait to read Tanner and Lily's story! Even though it isn't necessary to read these books in order, I would highly recommend it since you get to know each of the characters throughout the previous books. I really think that C.A. Harms did a perfect job setting up this book in Shattered by Love, so I would definitely suggest reading that one even if you don't read the rest. Trust me when I tell you that they are each worth the read though, and that C.A. Harms never disappoints. 

After losing her mother left and she lost her father, Lily only had her brother Logan. But when Lily met Tanner Parks, she found herself wanting more than just having her brother in her life. Tanner pushed Lily away though and played games with her head. But when someone else started showing interest in Lily, Tanner woke up to his feelings for her. When someone from her past shows up and changes everything, Tanner will do whatever it takes to show her that he wants nothing more than to protect her and be by her side no matter what. But will Lily let him back in after everything Tanner did in the past? 

I was honestly not sure how I was going to feel about Tanner after seeing him throughout the previous book. I knew he had a lot of ground to make up, and he absolutely did here. I loved him! Tanner was sweet and protective, and he really cared about Lily. I loved how he treated her this time around and how he owned up to his previous behavior. He knew he had done wrong and he didn't make excuses. It was so clear that he had changed, and that Lily was a huge part of that. Once he woke up and started to get serious about changing, he was impossible not to fall for. Lily was sweet and kind, and I already loved her going into this book. Though she was always a little bit on the shy and quiet side, I thought that she really came into her own here. We got to see such a different side to her in this book, and I loved how fun and feisty she could be with Tanner. She was a little bit naughty underneath and it was so much fun to see that side of her. Tanner and Lily had great chemistry and were really hot together. But the best part to me was seeing them grow closer and figure out how to be in a relationship together. 

Overall, this book was one of my favorites of the series. I really thought that Max and Bree had that locked down, but I have to say that Tanner and Lily's story was as good if not better than theirs. I really loved Tanner and Lily together, and I couldn't get enough of them! I absolutely love C.A. Harms and I am such a huge fan of hers. With each new book of hers I read, I continue to be impressed with her characters and stories. Her characters are unique and different, and impossible not to like. Her stories are sweet and I am always captivated right from the start. Torn by Love might be my favorite of hers to date, though it is next to impossible to pick just one of hers. I really believe that you can't go wrong with any of her books, and I would highly recommend giving any of her books a chance if you haven't already. I cannot wait for her next book, and I know that whatever she writes I will be reading.

**ARC Provided by Enticing Journey Book Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle |

Friday, July 17, 2015

ARC Review: Lady Scandal by Wendy LaCapra

This book wasn’t my cup of tea. From the beginning to almost the end I was lost. This is the second book of the Furies series by Wendy LaCapra. If I had read the first book, maybe I would have liked the story a little more and followed it better. This is disappointing to me because most historical romances can be read as a stand-alone regardless of whether or not they’re in a series. This was not the case. If you want to try this series, I highly suggest starting with Lady Vice.

Sophia is the daughter of a deceased spy who made her life miserable. She didn’t admire anything about him or any of his actions. He had his enemies as well, and because she is his daughter, she becomes threatened by a man code named Kasai. The book starts at the afternoon of her wedding to Lord Randolph. Shortly after the wedding she learns that he trained under her father and she feels tricked. She flees to the country to try anonymity to hide from Kasai and her new husband.

Hugh, (Lord Randolph), is dismayed that Sophia learned about his past connections with her father. He admits meeting her was her father’s plan, but he was never expecting the attraction he feels. He wants to keep her safe from Kasai but he also has a mission to complete. The conflicts make him distracted and he makes mistakes. Sophia’s disappearance doesn’t help matters any, by pulling him in two directions again.

The couple is put under a lot of stress trying to deal with their feelings for each other, and the threat of Kasai and his accomplices. I was disappointed that the story began where it did. I wanted more detail on the flirting preceding the wedding. There are flashbacks, but they just didn’t give me everything I needed. There was one instance of the “F” word being used to describe intimacy, so that also helped knock down my opinion of this book. The last thing that brought my rating down was how long it took me to read. I just never felt that urge to read it, and always thought of other things that would be better to do.

**ARC copy provided by Publisher**

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Review: Ascension by A.S. Fenichel

A while back (July 8th), A.S. Fenichel's Deception was featured on this blog. If you read the review and were wondering about the first book in the series, here it is!

Ascension, book 1 in The Demon Hunters series, combines historical and paranormal romance in an exiting and sexy story about a woman who battles demons.

Lady Belinda Carlisle trained to be a demon hunter while her betrothed, Lord Gabriel Thurston, was at war on the continent. When Gabriel returns and finds out what Belinda is up to, he is both concerned and fascinated.

Demons are alive and well and living in London. The good thing is they are not very smart. The bad thing is, there are a lot of them. And, by they way, they have a master that is trying to enter earth's dimension so he can take over the world.

As Belinda and Gabriel join to battle demons, they explore their relationship. Gabriel is determined that Belinda will marry him. Belinda loves him but she doesn't believe that Gabriel will want a demon hunting wife.

In the beginning of the story, the betrothal between Belinda and Gabriel is tenuous at best. Belinda's demon hunting has become very important to her. Gabriel is suspicious of Belinda's night time activities.

Speaking of which, early in the book, Gabriel was angry because he assumed that Belinda had been having an affair and was no longer pure. On the other hand, Belinda had no problem with Gabriel's premarital activities. After a particularly satisfying sexual encounter, Belinda asks “Are there other ways of doing this?” Not, “Where did you learn how to do that?”. Regardless of societal norms, Belinda is top notch demon hunter in an organization that treats men and women equally. With people that are close to her, she should expect equal treatment in other areas of her life and respond accordingly.

Okay, that was my only complaint. I loved the kick-ass demon hunters, especially the women. I liked how Gabriel's respect and love for his betrothed grew with each demon encounter. Likewise, Belinda's marriage issues seemed to fade as she and Gabriel fought evil together.

Lillian Dellacourt and Reece FoxJohn made interesting secondary demon hunter characters. (Lillian's story is in book 2, Deception). Thor Strumm, Gabriel's hired man, is also of interest. He seemed to always show up when extra muscle was needed. Everyone ought to have someone like that in their lives.

The combination of a historical setting, romance and paranormal beings makes for a fun adventure! The verdict - I enjoyed Ascension and I may be hooked on a new series.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Guest Post with Author Lena Diaz and Giveaway

Meet Lena Diaz author of Exit Strategy.

Originally from Kentucky, romantic suspense author Lena Diaz also lived in California and Louisiana before settling in Northeast Florida with her husband, two children, and a Shetland Sheepdog named Sparky. A Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® finalist, she's won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense and has been a finalist for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award. She loves to watch action movies, garden, and hike in the beautiful Tennessee Smoky Mountains.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

ARC Review: Manwhore +1 by Katy Evans

Manwhore +1 is the continuation of Malcolm Saint and Rachel Livingston's story by Katy Evans. This book picks up right where we left off with Manwhore after the cliffhanger, and it should not be read unless you have already read Manwhore. This is not a book that you can read by itself. When I had first started Manwhore, I had no idea that it would end with a cliffhanger, so I have been dying to get my hands on this book! I needed more of Malcolm, and I needed to know what would happen! 

Malcolm Saint was an assignment for Rachel Livingston. It was her job to get answers from him, and to find out as much about him as possible. The more she revealed of him though, the more she revealed of herself. Rachel found herself falling for the one man that all of Chicago wanted but was unable to get for longer than a few nights. But when everything went bad between them, Malcolm's trust in Rachel was shattered. Now after weeks of not speaking, they are finally in contact again and Rachel is surprised to find that Malcolm wants something from her. But what Malcolm is asking for is the last thing that she expected. But Rachel wants more than Malcolm seems to be willing to give, and she is determined to prove to him that he can trust her with his heart. But can Malcolm more past what happened and let her in again? 

I really loved Malcolm in this book. He was obviously wary of Rachel and her feelings for him, and yet you could tell that he still cared for her. Things had gone badly for them before, but their feelings had never been the issue. Both Rachel and Malcolm were falling for each other for the first time, and they had no idea what it really meant to be in love with someone else. I liked seeing them work on rebuilding the trust and hot they were able to move forward after everything that had happened. There were times that Rachel drove me a bit nuts, even though I understood where she was coming from. She wanted answers and promises, and yet she wasn't thinking about why it was taking Malcolm time to give that to her. He needed to see that she was there for good and that he was it for her, before he could give himself to her again. But I loved seeing him open himself back up, and there were so many times that he won me over here. I just couldn't get enough of him! 

Overall, this was a good addition to the series and I was glad that Malcolm and Rachel were able to deal with everything that had happened in the first book. I love these two together and I never stopped rooting for them to work things out. These two are such a perfect fit together, and I really can't imagine anyone else being it for either of them. They were a lot of fun to see and were super sexy together as well. This book was really well written as all of Katy's stories are, and I can't wait to read the next in this series. Katy Evans is a great writer, and this series is definitely one of my favorites.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: My Obsession by Cassie Ryan

My Obsession is Brent and Sandra’s story. Sandra arrives at Brent’s dungeon in Arizona after she flees her life in New York where her last Dom took Sh!t way too far because of a screw loose issue. As in, dude has a few screws loose. Brent recognizes Sandra right away as his high school dream girl. Back in the high school years Brent was nerdy and scrawny. Sandra was an early developer and was very popular but she expressed no interest in Brent. For some reason, Brent doesn’t tell Sandra that he recognizes her from high school and instead spends the majority of the book agonizing over what he thinks her reaction to him not telling her might be. I dunno, I really didn’t get that whole thing at all. Sandra instantly has a connection with “Master Brent” and he becomes her Dom.

There are several really good sex scenes in this book with some BDSM elements for those of you who enjoy that sort of thing. I’m all about the steam so when things are as smoky as they were in this book, I can generally ignore other issues. But, for the sake of argument, let’s pretend I’m a normal reader and I actually care about the story. If that were the case, there would be some issues. The very first issue is the amount of description of the rules surrounding the Dom/sub relationship and the set up of the club in the book. There were just way too many pages of logistical information including everything from the use of safe words, to specific devices even down to describing “aftercare.” In the book Brent is supposed to be educating Sandra on the way the whole D/s thing really works but in the process, we get the run down on the manual too and it was just too much for me. If you are really curious about the D/s inner workings it might be cool for you but I just wanted them to stop talking about it and friggin do it.

The other thing in this book that really troubled me is that I know nothing about Brent or why he wanted Sandra- NOTHING. I get that she was the girl he adored from afar in high school but I didn’t get why he wanted her in the present beyond the fact that she was pretty and he was sexually attracted to her. Similarly, I don’t know what, beyond physical attraction, Sandra saw in Brent. Honestly, I just have no idea who Brent was. There is information in the book about Sandra’s background and it was mildly interesting but I didn’t understand why Brent would have found it compelling. When Brent meets Sandra she doesn’t have a job or much of a life at all, she’s pretty much starting over. So beyond living out some teen dream, I never comprehended their reasons for being together and that made me distinctly unhappy.

Perhaps because we don’t get a good picture of why this couple is together, I didn’t really feel the chemistry between them. That’s a weird thing considering how much sex there was in this book and how hot the descriptions are. We get all that fire but no smoke, if that makes sense. So the sex was enough to keep me entertained and turning the pages but at the end of the day I didn’t really care about Sandra, Brent or their relationship. This is not a bad book, the writing is good, it mostly moves at a good pace and there are some interesting parts. I’m not telling you to pass on this one, I’m just going to limit my recommendation to readers who like all the kinky stuff and don’t care as much about the romance aspect of the book.

**ARC copy provided by Publisher**

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

Guest Post with Author Cassie Ryan and Giveaway

Meet Cassie Ryan author of My Obsession.

Cassie Ryan (aka Tina Gerow) started her career writing steamy paranormal romance under another pen name. However, when one of her critique partners suggested she try her hand at contemporary romance, she gave it a shot—and Cassie Ryan was officially born. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and besides being a write-a-holic, is a frequent speaker on several writing and motivational topics.

ARC Review: Unlikely Allies by C.C. Koen

Unlikely Allies is a standalone contemporary romance from C.C. Koen, and I have to admit that I was excited to read this book based on it being one and done alone. It seems like everything I have read lately is a series, and sometimes I am just looking for a good story that is complete with no cliffhangers etc. I loved the blurb on this one, and was prepared for a cute story with a ton of sweetness. While there was a lot to enjoy here, I did have some things that didn't work for me and kept this one from being great. 

Maggie Tyson is looking to start over after everything that her ex-husband put her through. Her only priority is to provide for her daughter and live her life according to the rules she has put in place. Unfortunately for Maggie, her daughter Cecily doesn't seem to adhere to them which is how she winds up meeting Rick Stone. Rick is a bachelor and likes his conquests to come with no strings, yet when Cecily comes barging into his office he finds himself drawn to her and her mother. But with him vowing never to get married or have a family, and Maggie looking to avoid bad boys at all costs, can they find a way to work things out? 

I really liked Rick with Cece. I love that she called him by his middle name Max (like his father had before he passed) and that they had such a special relationship right away. I truly feel as though this story was more about these two than anything else. They were beyond adorable, and I couldn't get enough of them. That being said though, I didn't feel as though there was enough of Maggie and Rick. Rick for some reason had issues with getting to close to women and with someday settling down, and quite honestly it didn't make a bit of sense to me. He had grown up with a great mother and father who loved him and each other, and there was no big issue that would have caused him to turn away from relationships to me besides the fact that his father died. I just didn't get it. I also didn't see the connection between Rick and Maggie, and by the time that I started to see anything it was too little too late. Most of Rick's interactions were with her daughter rather than her. Because this book was so much about Max and Cecily, it was hard to really get to know Maggie or like her. I didn't feel like I could relate to her and this story didn't even seem to be hers.

Besides this story being about Max and Cecily, I also felt like it was very slow at times and didn't hold my interest. There were a lot of extra characters that sort of stole the show a little bit, and it seemed to focus more on them when I felt like extra time should have been devoted to developing the romantic relationship between Rick and Maggie. As much as I liked the secondary characters, this wasn't their story and I felt like it took precious pages away from the real story. I wanted to see something happening romantically, and I really didn't see any kind of development at all until well over half way through. At that point I just wasn't feeling it and I wasn't invested in them working things out beyond the fact that I wanted them together because of Max and Cecily. The reason that I kept reading and gave this book as many stars as I did was because of their relationship alone. Had it not been for how cute and sweet those two were, I am not sure that I would have finished this story. While I have read and enjoyed books from C.C. Koen before, this one was disappointing and wasn't what I had been expecting.

**ARC Provided by Xpresso Book Tours**

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

ARC Review: Sinfully Mine by Kendall Ryan

Sinfully Mine is the second book in the Lessons with the Dom series by Kendall Ryan. This book is a standalone story featuring characters interconnected to the first book, The Gentleman Mentor. Sinfully Mine centers around Hale's little sister Macey and his best friend Reece. I was really curious to get to know Reece better after meeting him in the first book, and I can never help myself when it comes to this trope! That being said, this book was not as good in my opinion as the first in the series and there were a few things that I had issues with. 

The last thing Reece Jackson expects is for his best friend's little sister to show up at the sex club he owns looking for him. He hasn't seen Macey Hale in years, but she has always been forbidden. Things between them were complicated before, but he kept them from going all the way. Now with Macey back and on the verge of starting her life over after her ex cheated on her, she is looking for someone to fulfill his desires. Though Reece knows he should be the last one to help her out, he would rather it be him than someone else. So he proposes a deal for three lessons with no strings attached, and at the end of their time together they will go their separate ways. But Reece and Macey are unable to avoid the feelings they get when around each other again, and it is only a matter of time before they find themselves falling for one another once again. 

One of my biggest issues with this book was Reece. I wanted to love him so much, and yet for most of the book he did nothing but piss me off. I didn't understand why he was so closed off. He was the one that broke things off years before, and he was the one determined to help Macey out now. Yet he acted as though she had broken his heart and he was out to punish her for it. He treated her horribly and was an absolute jerk to her. For someone owning a sex club and living a BDSM lifestyle, the fact that he never gave her aftercare was impossible for me to get over. Aftercare is extremely important, and besides brief guilt here or there, he really seemed to show no remorse over how he treated her. How could he possibly ease someone into the lifestyle (his best friend's little sister who he supposedly cared about no less!) and not provide even a little bit kindness and care when he was finished. Macey was one of those characters for me that while I liked her, I just didn't really connect with. I was rooting for her and Reece and I wanted for her to be happy. Yet there was something that kept me from being able to relate to her. She had moments where she would challenge Reece and stand up to him, and others when she seemed to lose all fight and would just give in. She was a bit wishy washy I guess is what I had problems with. These two did have chemistry, but honestly I just wasn't feeling their connection with everything that happened or didn't happen as the case may be. 

Overall, I have to say I was a bit disappointed with this installment. I am a huge fan of Kendall Ryan's, and I absolutely loved Hale and Brielle's book. But Reece made it pretty impossible to ever really get into this book and by the time he started to come around it was a bit too little too late. It's a bit unfortunate as I was really looking forward to this story after loving The Gentleman Mentor so much. I think that some readers will really enjoy this book, and it wasn't all bad. It just wasn't what I had been expecting or hoping for, and I felt like this one wasn't up to the standards that I have come to know from Kendall Ryan.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

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