Saturday, August 22, 2015

Audiobook Review: Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens, Narrated by Rebekkah Ross

Honestly I am a huge fan of Thoughtless and all things Kellan Kyle, so when I got the chance to listen to this on audiobook I couldn't wait! Though I know this series is one of those that evokes strong emotions out of anyone that reads/listens, I am definitely of the camp that loves it rather than hates it. I think that because of the content that people can't help but feel so strongly one way or the other, but for me I love every single word written by S.C. Stephens even when there were parts that were extremely hard to get through. I have to say though that listening to the audiobook just made me love this book that much more! 

When Kiera moves across the country for her boyfriend Denny, she leaves everything that she knows behind. Ready to start their life together, she transfers to a new school knowing that leaving her family behind will be worth it. But when Denny's new internship takes him away from her for work, Kiera begins to feel lonely and confused in a strange place. Turning to their roommate Kellan Kyle, she finds a friendship she never expected. The longer Denny is away, the closer Kiera and Kellan grow. But then one night changes everything, forcing them to rethink everything that they thought they knew. 

There are not enough words to say how much I love Kellan Kyle. Seriously he is one of my top book boyfriends ever! Kellan is sweet and sexy, thoughtful and funny. He is supportive and encouraging, and his love for Kiera is unconditional. Kellan is impossible not to fall in love with, and I think that he would literally cut out his own heart for Kiera. Kiera is admittedly hard to like at times. She can come off as whiny and indecisive, and I definitely didn't care for how she treated Kellan (or Denny for that matter!) at times. Yet there was something about her that made her still likable to me. She was clearly struggling with everything she thought she knew about her life, and was absolutely torn about her feelings for both Denny and Kellan. Denny was familiar and comfortable, and so sweet and lovable. But Kellan was new and exciting, and the passion between them was stronger that what she had ever felt with Denny. The growing connection between her and Kellan just made it that much more confusing for her, but it was clear to me that she really loved both guys just in different ways. 

Overall, I really love this story and I really loved the narration here. I thought that Rebekkah Ross did a great job not only bringing these characters to life, but really embodying their personalities as well. She was clear and easy to understand, and I love that she varied her tone and voice for each character making them easy to distinguish. I also felt like she did a great job portraying Denny's character with the accent, which was a wonderful surprise that I hadn't expected. She really was fantastic to listen to, making a favorite story of mine like a whole new experience. One thing I hate about finishing a favorite book is that you only get that first read once. While it is always great to go back and reread, it isn't ever as magical as that first time. But listening to the audio version with a great narrator is like reading the book for the first time all over again, and Rebekkah Ross really nailed the performance here. I will definitely look for more audiobooks with Rebekkah Ross in the future, and I can't wait for more from S.C. Stephens. If you are new to the series, this is a great way to start! If you are a fan already, I highly recommend the audiobook version of this book if you haven't listened yet.

**Audiobook Provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: No Kissing Allowed by Melissa West

No Kissing Allowed was a quick and light read from Melissa West, and I really enjoyed it a lot. I finished this book in one sitting as I was really enjoying the story. I liked the characters and West's writing style. No Kissing Allowed is one that I would recommend to NA fans, and it won't be the last I read from Melissa West. 

When Cameron goes out to celebrate their recent graduations with her best friends, they have a list of 10 things to do before they become adults. Her competitive side urges her to do whatever it takes to win, and she ends up spending the night with a super sexy stranger. But when she shows up to her dream job, she is shocked to find her hookup is actually her new boss Aidan. Aidan had wanted more from Cameron, but he doesn't date or do any type of commitment. Even if they wanted to pursue anything, their company has a no fraternization policy. Aidan and Cameron find themselves drawn to one another and fighting harder than ever to stay away from each other, but is it only a matter of time before they start breaking all the rules to explore what is between them? 

Aidan and Cameron were great right from the start. I instantly liked them, and I felt the chemistry between these two right away. They were fun and sexy, and I liked seeing them both outside their comfort zones. Aidan and Cameron were passionate about their work, and I loved that they shared that. They worked well together, and it was obvious that these two just clicked on every level. These two were funny and I enjoyed their banter. But they were also really cute at times, while steamy at others. Their connection was natural, and they opened up to each other without even really making the choice to do so. It was like these two just let the other in and spilled all their secrets when they didn't mean to, and that told me so much about what was happening between them.

Overall, this was a really good story. I will say that I loved the first half of the book, whereas in the second half I had a few issues with it. It felt sort of rushed to me, and it was pretty noticeable that something had changed a bit for them. I wanted it to flow a bit more seamlessly, while still progressing forward. I loved Aidan and Cameron together though, and I enjoyed seeing them figure things out as the story progressed. I also really liked Cameron's friends, and I felt like they added a lot to the story. This was a really great new adult story, and I think fans of the genre will really enjoy it. If you are looking for a great book that is light and quick, this is one that I would recommend. I look forward to more from Melissa West in the future.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

Guest Post with Author Jade Lee and Giveaway #CMCon16

Meet Jade Lee/Kathy Lyons author of over thirty novels spanning both historical and contemporary romance and one of the fabulous featured authors that will be at the Coastal Magic Convention in February in Daytona Beach. 

USA Today bestselling author Jade Lee has been scripting love stories since she first picked up a set of paper dolls. Ball gowns and rakish lords caught her attention early (thank you, Georgette Heyer), and her fascination with the Regency began. An author of more than thirty romance novels and winner of dozens of industry awards, Lee lives in Champaign, Illinois.

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent is the second book in the Divergent series. I highly suggest anyone interested in this book to read Divergent first. This book would struggle as a stand alone in my opinion. Veronica Roth continues the story of Tris and her battles caused by her being Divergent (which means she fits into more than one faction.)

Tris, Four, and the rest of the group flee to the Amity farms outside of the city in order to hide from Erudite/Dauntless. Tris is understandably troubled by the things she done, and the loss of both of her parents. She had become more aggressive. Their respite doesn't last long at Amity and they catch a train back to the city.

It's hard to tell anyone much more past this point without spoiling anything. Almost every chapter reveals something new to the reader. Tris is put through some really terrible ordeals, and I could feel her struggle. Veronica Roth does a great job of putting the reader into Tris' shoes.

Tris and Four find solace in each other, but they are both keeping secrets. When some of the secrets come out, Four attacks Tris for not being honest and upfront with him. I became very frustrated with him for that because he had been doing the exact same thing to her... hypocrite.

In comparison to the movie, there are a lot of differences. They follow the same general sequence, but some of the specifics or reasoning is changed. I don't know how to explain any better without spoilers. I will say that I preferred the movie's version better than the book, but I did watch it before reading the book so I'm probably biased. To me it just made more sense.

Overall, I really liked the book. It was nowhere near as good as Divergent, but it was in no way a disappointment. I do find myself torn as to if I should read the last book before the movie comes out, or continue as I have and read the book after I see the movie. I know most readers will always say to read the book first, but then I will most likely be disappointed in the movie. Personal struggles, anyways, the book was great and I highly recommend to most audiences.

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

Friday, August 21, 2015

ARC Review: Make Me by Tessa Bailey

I’m going to be honest, Tessa Bailey can do almost no wrong when it comes to me. She gives me what I need (bossy alpha men with dirty mouths and steamy steamy sex) and I’ve given her my heart. I’m not claiming to write an unbiased review. Yeah yeah, I’ll try to be objective but I love me some Tessa Bailey and you’re just gonna need to deal.

I don’t even read NA books but for Tessa Bailey, I was all in to this one before I even realized it was NA. Make Me is the Russell and Abby story. Russell is a working class guy and Abby is a rich girl. Abby needs all sort of ish money can’t buy but of course Russell had a hard time seeing that. He spent a lot of time in the book stuck in “I’m not good enough for her” land. I just need all men to know if they can do stuff in the bed like Russell and talk to you about it too, nobody cares if you’re broke or whatever. This is kind of a friends to lovers story but not exactly. Russell and Abby hung out with the same social circle but Russell wanted Abby from get go so that added a little twist to things.

I thought it was interesting that Abby didn’t have a clue about how Russell felt about her at first. And by interesting, I mean, I was kinda confused about Abby’s mental capacity. At one point she is bouncing on his lap while he is rocking a forest of wood….but Abby didn’t notice. I got that she was a virgin but sometimes Abby seemed a little too clueless. On a similar note, I have to warn you that even though I love it, Russell’s protective/possessiveness did border on “dude you need a Xanax and a tall glass of calm the hell down” at times. That might bother you but it didn’t bother me. I like my Hero’s to be intense and stalky because I’m crazy like that. I loved how the story of Russell trying to improve his business was tied into his developing relationship with Abby. Actually, just in general I really like Abby and Russell together. I’m here for the innocent virgin and the bad boy with the dirty mouth. It does not hurt at all that Tessa always knows how to give us more bang for our buck…get it? No seriously, Tessa’s steamy stuff is HAWT and always always worth the wait.

For all you angst fans, there was definitely some angst here as Russell went back and forth trying to get his mind right. I appreciated Abby’s reactions to Russell and how she asserted herself. Abby was just what Russell needed to yank his head from his butt.

This is a good fun super fast read that I recommend.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: The Darkest Flame by Christina Lee

The Darkest Flame is the first book in the new Roadmap to Your Heart series by Christina Lee. This book is also a spin-off from her book, There You Stand, where Smoke and Vaughn are first introduced as secondary characters. It is not necessary to have read There You Stand before The Darkest Flame though, so don't worry if you haven't read that one first as you can still understand this one with no problems.

Being part owner of the Hog's Den, Vaughn has been privilege to club business when it comes to the Disciples of the Road. Though he is interested in women, Vaughn is also drawn to men, a secret he has no interest in having the Disciples find out. So when their new member Smoke walks into his bar, he knows that he has to do whatever it takes to keep Smoke and the rest of the members from seeing how drawn to him he is. Smoke finally feels as though he has found a place where he belongs, and that is with the Disciples. So when he meets Vaughn, he knows that he needs to stay away from him and stick to the path he is on with the Disciples. But when the Hog's Den needs some help, Disciples Prez Mal assigns Smoke to help Vaughn out. As the two spend more time together, they begin to realize that the attraction between them is mutual and though they know they should stay away from one another they find it impossible. But when Smoke's past suddenly starts to mess with those in his life, Smoke realizes that he might have to come clean and risk losing everything in order to protect Vaughn. 

I liked both Smoke and Vaughn. These two were great together, and you could feel the chemistry and connection between them right from the start. I do feel like their circumstances were sort of set up for them though, and I would have liked them to have come together more naturally. It seemed like the only real reason that anything happened was basically because of Mal sort of forcing them together in a way. I wanted to see them really face their connection and go for it themselves. I liked that they both really seemed to share a lot of common interests though, especially working behind the bar. That really brought them together, and it was nice to see them have some common ground. The one thing that kind of bothered me here though was that they were both bisexual, and I felt like for a M/M story, that their connection wasn't as strong as it could have been because of that. I didn't want them talking about or thinking about hooking up with women, it was bad enough with them and the men from their past. There was one scene that was slightly menage (I say slightly, because there wasn't a ton of participation all around and things didn't go all the way), but with them only wanting each other rather than the woman and the fact that they didn't touch each other, it just came off as really awkward and I didn't understand the need for it. Though they were trying to keep things between them under wraps at that point of the story, it just didn't add anything and I think it actually sort of took away from the relationship forming. I did think that these two were hot together though, and that is one part of this book that was absolutely fantastic. I couldn't get enough of these two together, and they definitely had a crazy amount of steam between them. 

Besides the issues with the circumstances surrounding these two, I felt like this book had a tendency to tell rather than show. There were times that these characters had a huge amount of detailed thoughts about their pasts and things going on in their lives, and I would have liked it better had these been incorporated more into the dialogue of the story. I wanted to see them talking to each other more and developing a connection, rather than a huge info dump from the author via inner monologue. It distracts me from the story, and causes me to lose interest quickly. I also thought that there was an issue here with the dual POV. While I enjoyed getting both Smoke and Vaughn's POVs, there were times that the chapter would state it to be one's POV but we would actually get thoughts and dialogue/info from the other character. It would usually switch back pretty quickly, but it was very confusing at times. There were several instances where I didn't know what was going on or which guy's head we were in because of it, and I wish that that had been fixed. This could have been because I had an advanced copy though, as I was given a copy before the book was published. Hopefully this was fixed before the book was published, though I cannot verify that it was as I don't have access to the published version. I do think that this one needed an editor or beta reader though from what was evident in the copy that I had. So while I did enjoy parts of this story, especially the sexy scenes, I just think that this one needed some work. I will be interested to see what happens in the next book and as the series continues though. If you are a fan of the M/M genre and like MC stories, this one is worth giving a shot. There are plenty of sexy scenes and suspense that kept me interested in Vaughn and Smoke's story, even with the things that I had issues with.

**ARC Provided by Author**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Guest Post with Author Lia Riley and Giveaway

Meet Lia Riley author or Right Wrong Guy.

After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, Lia Riley scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. When not torturing heroes (because c'mon, who doesn't love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

Guest Post with Author Missy Johnson and Giveaway

Meet Missy Johnson author of Code of Honor.

Missy Johnson is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who lives in a small town in Victoria, Australia, with her husband and her confused pets (a dog who thinks that she is a cat, a cat who thinks he is a dog . . . you get the picture). When she’s not writing, she can usually be found looking for something to read.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: Through the Lens by Shannon Dermott

Through the Lens is the first book in Shannon Dermott's Through the Lens series. When I was given the opportunity to read and review Broken Lens, I knew I wanted to read where everything had began for Jessa and Ethan. Though Broken Lens is a standalone, I always like to read in order if possible. So I bought Through the Lens and proceeded to read this one straight through. I will say that I read this in pretty much one sitting and there was a lot that I liked. I did have some issues though, but I am still looking forward to continuing Jessa and Ethan's story. 

Jessa Shelby is tired of being the fat twin that is ignored by everyone, while her beautiful and skinny twin Jenna gets all the attention. When Jessa loses weight and changes her life, things start to fall in to place for her. The summer before her senior year, Jessa gets a job and strikes up a friendship with the handsome Ethan Hart. Though Jessa likes him, she quickly finds out that Ethan has a girlfriend. Knowing she can't have anything with Ethan beyond friendship, she starts to see Josh Macon, the football star that she has always had a crush on. But as the summer continues, she finds herself falling for Ethan rather than Josh. But when Ethan's past catches up to them, Jessa soon realizes that she might have placed her trust in the wrong person. 

I have to say that I liked Jessa and Ethan. These characters didn't have all the same annoying habits that I often times find frustrating when it comes to YA and NA books. Not that they didn't show their age at times, but I just thought that they were smarter and less irritating than a lot of others I have seen. Jessa was smart and I loved that she had morals. She knew that going after Ethan would have been wrong, and she didn't pursue him when he had a girlfriend even though she liked him. That said a lot to me about the type of person that she was, and I was glad to see that she was able to put her own wants aside in favor of doing the right thing. I liked Ethan, and I was glad that he was able to become friends with Jessa and teach her about photography. These two were developing a great friendship, and I think that is part of what made me root for them. I liked that things weren't instant, and their connection was genuine. Ethan and Jessa had chemistry and it was clear that there was an attraction between them, and I was glad that we got to see the tension build. 

I will say that I thought that there was some unnecessary stuff in this story though, and it seemed to be brought in randomly. Ethan's absent mom suddenly reappearing, the identity of the attacker/missing girls plot that happened at the very end of the story, Bradley's former interest in guys, the drama with Lucy...all of it just seemed to be a bit more than needed considering everything else going on. My other big issue with this book was that it needed an editor in the worst way. Normally I don't comment on missing words, wrong choice of words, grammar and spelling, but since this was a published book that I bought on Amazon rather than an advanced copy (and seeing as how this was published in 2012 and it is 2015), I feel like it is necessary to point this out to potential readers. There has been plenty of opportunity and time for this to be fixed, and it was pretty bad. If that sort of thing annoys you, this one might not be for you. I will say that it was the worst at the beginning of the story and seemed to get better throughout, although that might have just been me getting used to it. This book ends with a happy for now, which sets up the story for Broken Lens. I liked this one and am interested to see where things go from here for Ethan and Jessa.

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

Audiobook Review: Lead by Kylie Scott, Narrated by Andi Arndt

Wow. Lead was so damn good and might just be my favorite book in the Stage Dive series so far. I was hooked and couldn't help but laugh while listening to this one.

I'll be honest, I wasn't the biggest fan of Jimmy. In fact when I pretty much hated him when I read/listened to Lick. I thought he was an pompous ass and that he needed to get over himself. Yeah, I can admit that I was completely wrong about Jimmy. Yeah he's still an ass but there were so many more layers to him. He carries a lot of hurt and pain around with him that he disguises with attitude. I love that he let down his walls with Lena.

Oh Lena...I have such a girl crush on her. She is definitely my favorite heroine of the series. She's spunky and cute and I love that she doesn't roll over to Jimmy. She stands up for herself and honestly I couldn't help but smile at those two together. They fight and argue but you get a real sense of the depth of their feelings for one another. You know that it's coming from a place of love (or rather lust at first) and I just couldn't get enough. Seriously, Lena and Jimmy might have been a slow simmer but once things heated up things got hot and quick.

As for the narration I'll admit that I really enjoyed it in this book. I haven't been the biggest fan of this narrator for the previous books but I don't know what it was but she nailed Lena. She brought so much to the character. Lena is very snarky and witty and I feel like Andi Arndt was pretty spot on. I can't imagine anyone else being as good as she was with this book and character.

All in all, Lead was fantastic and I can't wait to see what is in store for Ben. I will say that one thing that I've enjoyed with this series is the band camaraderie and seeing everyone pop up in each book. Sometimes when you read a series and older characters pop up it seems contrived but that definitely isn't the case with this series. You get a real sense of how much everyone cares for one another and I just love the way they interact with each other. This is definitely a book/series that I would recommend.

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

Interview with Author Rebecca Zanetti and Giveaway #CMCon16

Meet Rebecca Zanetti author of over twenty-five dark paranormals, romantic suspense, and contemporary romances and one of the fabulous featured authors that will be at the Coastal Magic Convention in February in Daytona Beach. 

Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five dark paranormals, romantic suspense, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists.  She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own Alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family.  She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out.  Her current series are: The Dark Protectors, The Maverick Montana Cowboys, and the Sin Brothers series.  Upcoming series are: The Realm Enforcers and The Scorpius Syndrome.

Guest Post with Author Maeve Greyson and Giveaway

No one has the power to shatter your dreams unless you give it to them. That’s been Maeve Greyson’s mantra since she was a girl. When she’s not at the full time day job at the steel mill, Maeve’s writing romances about sexy Highlanders and the women who tame them. Tucked away in a five acre wood, Maeve listens to the wind singing through the trees and hears her characters telling their stories. Her work is proofed by her sharp-eyed dog, Jasper, and her greatest supporter is her long suffering husband of over thirty-five years who’s learned not to throw away any odd sticky notes filled with strange phrases.

ARC Review: Seaside Nights by Melissa Foster

Seaside Nights is the latest book in the Seaside Summers Series by Melissa Foster. Though this book is the fifth in the Seaside Summers Series and twenty-fifth in the Love in Bloom Series, each book is a standalone story with interconnected characters. I have had the pleasure of reading most of the books in this series, and Melissa Foster never disappoints! These books are all fantastic stories, and Seaside Nights is one of my favorites so far! If you are looking for a great contemporary romance filled with love and emotion as well as humor and plenty of steam, look no further. 

Sky Lacroux lives her life taking things as they come rather than planning every detail. She does what makes her happy, and she is living her dream now that her tattoo shop has opened and is in the process of being fully remodeled. The one thing that is missing though is someone to share her life with. So when she locks eyes across the bar with the sexy singer Sawyer Bass, she never expects that she could possibly find such a strong connection so quickly. Then Sawyer turns up at her shop the next day wanting a tattoo, and they realize that their connection is one worth exploring. But when Sky finds out that Sawyer is actually a boxer, she knows that it goes against everything she believes in. As Sky and Sawyer continue to get to know one another, they both begin to feel as though everything that they have been looking for can be found in one another. But can Sky let go of what Sawyer does in order to have a future together? 

I really liked Sawyer and Sky from the very first few pages of this book. I am normally not big on the hippie type of heroines, but I have to say that Sky was nothing like I had expected her to be. While she was laid back and artistic and very free spirited, I also thought that she was easy to relate to. She did what made her happy and she was comfortable with herself. Seeing a heroine really own and embrace themselves is rare, and that is what made Sky so special. Sawyer was so many things rolled into one that I felt like he really was the complete package. Not only was he strong and sexy, but he was deep and emotional. He was every bit the poet with his songs and words, and it was easy to see what drew Sky to him so quickly. He was loyal and looked out for those he loved, and I really liked how he treated Sky right from the start. He wasn't ashamed to admit his feelings or how much he wanted her, and he could not have been sweeter. Besides just connecting on an emotional level though, Sky and Sawyer had off the charts chemistry. The sparks flew instantly and you could really feel the heat between them every time they interacted. I couldn't get enough of these two, and loved every bit of their growing relationship. 

Overall, this was another excellent book from Melissa Foster just as I knew it would be. Every time I start a new book from her, I know that I will really enjoy the characters and story. She always manages to give us something new and different, and I love how fresh each book is. It was fun to catch up with some of my favorite characters, and I have to admit I really enjoyed seeing the ongoing battle between Theresa and the Seaside ladies. I can't wait to see what happens next, and I know whatever it is will be a ton of fun to read about. If you are a fan of all around great contemporary romance books, Melissa Foster is definitely a must read.

**ARC Provided by Tasty Book Tours**

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