Saturday, August 29, 2015

Weekly Winners

Below is a list of all of the winners from last week.

Marked by Rebecca Zanetti

eBook from Jade Lee

All winners have been notified via email. Thank you to everyone that stopped by and entered. =)

ARC Review: Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines

I really loved Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines. This is one of my favorite books that I have ever read by her, and that is really saying something since I love Rush so much! But there was just something about West and Maggie's story that really spoke to me, and I absolutely loved West's group of friends. I cannot wait for more in this series, and if it continues the way this one started then this could end up being my favorite series yet from Abbi! 

After her father murdered her mother, Maggie's world was forever changed. She shut down to protect herself and hasn't spoken a word since. Now two years later, she arrives in Lawton, Alabama to live with her aunt, uncle and cousin. Though they mean well, they don't understand what she has been through at all. But when Maggie meets the hottest guy in school at a field party she is forced to attend, she finds that West is also experiencing a pain that no one else can understand. When West opens up to her knowing that she won't tell anyone what he is going through, he never expects her to respond. Soon they are closer than ever and their connection continues to grow. Though no one understands what they share, West and Maggie find themselves able to finally forget about the pain as long as they have each other. 

I really loved West and Maggie. These two were so great together. Though I was wondering at the beginning of this book if I would even like West, he quickly won me over. His bark was way worse than his bite, and in his head he was just trying to find a way to cope. He was also trying to protect Maggie from getting close to him in the only way he knew how. But I loved that Maggie was able to see beyond that facade and reach him in a way that no one else could. He didn't have to say anything for her to see that he was in just as much pain as she was. Their connection was strong and natural, and it was one that just continued to intensify the more they got to know one another. I honestly couldn't get enough of these two and I loved that they were able to be friends who confided in one another and it grew to be more.

Honestly this is one of the best books I have ever read from Abbi, but I know that some people will have some issues with it. For me, this story was more about the experience and the feelings that it brought out in me rather than the plot or all the details of the secondary characters etc. This book was about strength and love, growth and healing. I felt everything, and I was invested in this book from the first page. I couldn't put it down, and I devoured every single word. I did notice that besides the adults in the story, Maggie was the only female that seemed to have any redeeming qualities. I also noticed that West, as well as the other guys they were friends with, used girls and didn't think twice. But I really didn't focus on that, because to me that wasn't even close to the point of this book or what I was feeling as I read it. So while I can see where others will have problems with those things, for me this was Maggie and West's story and was about the journey that each of them had to go separately and together and that part to me was perfection. I loved this book and I loved Maggie and West, but I am also really excited to get to know some of the other guys here as well! I really enjoyed seeing the friendship they all shared, and I can't wait to see what happens for them as this series unfolds. I highly recommend this book for Abbi fans, as well as anyone looking for a good new adult story. This one brought out all the feels, and I think a lot of readers will fall in love with these characters just like I did.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

RFTC Back to School Event with Reese Monroe

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, Lynn Rush (aka Reese Monroe), hails from the land of 10,000 lakes and cold, snowy winters. She's known to weave a little of that frigid Minnesota climate into her stories, but these days she much prefers desert living. She resides in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, and when she's not busy writing her next trilogy, she can be found pounding the pavement, training for her next endurance event.

ARC Review: Evening Storm by Anne Calhoun

Yes to this author but possibly no to this particular story.

I feel like I’m on a bad trip because this the second book in a row that I’ve read where the main characters spend as much time apart as they spend together. If you are like me, when you pick up one of these books you are looking for the romance….ok, well a little freaky deaky too but at least some romance. It is really hard to find either the “freaky deaky” or the romance in a book where the couple is not a couple, and not working towards becoming a couple (in any obvious way) for most of the book.

In Evening Storm, Simone is the owner of an upscale lingerie boutique who meets Ryan when he brings one of his many women to the store to buy her lingerie. Ok, you can probably already see that we have a problem. In general, I do not enjoy reading about the leading couple with other people. In this book, Ryan wasn’t just with other women, he was with them, like in the biblical sense, and that’s not all. As a part of building his….friendship (????)with Simone, he describes his sexual encounter with another woman and of course, like a good (read: irritating) heroine, she enjoys the experience and is titillated by it. I have on my “dude whatever” face right now. You can’t see it, that’s why I’m telling you. In reality, I still don’t know if Ryan was telling Simone stories because he thought she would like it or because the ish really happened or because he thought she would get off on her. Either way, me no likey.

I think it’s worth mentioning that throughout the book Ryan is embroiled in some corporate scandal at which he is the center. And I have to tell you, I didn’t really care for that storyline either. Ryan’s conduct wasn’t entirely consistent with his character representation. I just had a hard time understanding why he made the decisions he made. The author tells us, from Ryan’s POV that he has some sort of moral compass that just didn’t really sync with my feelings about his depiction.

The sex scenes when we finally get to them are decent they were just decent. The writing of this book though is what saves it for me. I could give it 3 “good” stars all day long just for the writing. I can’t really recommend this book but I can say that I plan to look at other books by this author because her writing is exceptional. I peaked at a few other reviews which confirmed my thinking that this isn’t the best example of this author’s writing so I remain hopeful.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Friday, August 28, 2015

ARC Review: The Gladiator's Mistress by Jennifer D. Bokal

The Gladiator's Mistress was two firsts for me. A first read about a romance in ancient Rome, and a first read of Jennifer D. Bokal's. I've always has an interest in Roman and Greek mythology so this book caught my interest immediately. It was a little slow at times, and I didn't fully understand a lot of the rules governing their society. The main two characters didn't interact as much as I would have liked, so I wasn't feeling the love very much.

Due to financial constraints, Phaedra is forced to marry a Senator who is older than her father. She is troubled by the man's lack of interest in her. At their wedding celebration her father decides to have two gladiator's fight to first blood as entertainment. Phaedra had never been too interested in gladiator fighting, but she became entranced by the Champion of Rome, Valens.

Valens had been a gladiator since he was young in order to help his family financially at home. He has become the Champion of Rome by being undefeated and lasting longer than most gladiators do in the arena. He meets Phaedra after his fight in a garden away from the rest of the party. The two decide to make a promise to each other and take more control of their lives. He to earn his freedom, and she to be able to choose her next husband since hers was along in age.

The couple meets once more before Phaedra leaves Rome for about four years. Her husband passes which saddens her because she came to love him in a way. Valens and Phaedra meet again, and cannot help but be drawn to each other. There are many obstacles that prevent them from being together like their station differences and more financial problems.

There was a lot of action in this story and I really enjoyed it. Jennifer Bokal did a great job of describing the fighting. She also did a great job of immersing the reader into the world of ancient Rome. The only thing that I wish had been different was the interaction and build up of the two falling in love. I just wasn't convinced, and so I didn't feel that urge to read continuously. I did like it enough though to be interested in reading the rest of the series when it becomes available.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

ARC Review: Caged: Takedown Teague by Shay Savage

Takedown Teague is the first part of the Caged series by Shay Savage. Each book is a portion of Tria and Liam's story, ends with a cliffhanger, and needs to be read in order. There was a lot that I liked here, and there were a few things that I didn't care for. But I will tell you that I really loved Liam and I am looking forward to reading more. I am curious to see what happens next after the ending of this installment, so I will be continuing on with this series even though I did have a few issues here.

Liam is a cage fighter that prefers to keep mostly to himself. He keeps things casual, and he lives to fight. But when he meets Tria, he begins to feel connected to her and finds himself wanting to protect her. Tria is focused on school and making it on her own. Though at first she tries to go her own way, she soon finds herself drawn to Liam just as he is to her. But with their secrets and pasts, can they find a way to make things work? 

As I said before, I loved Liam here. He was sexy and protective, and was so good with Tria. He had this really sweet side that you wouldn't expect, yet totally worked. He was patient with Tria, and I thought that he went out of his way for her. I loved getting his POV, and I thought that it made him so easy to support and love. I also felt though that since we only got his POV, I was disconnected from Tria. I wasn't able to really relate to her, and I didn't feel much of anything for her. I did have moments where I liked her with Liam, but overall I was pretty ambivalent towards her. There were also times where I really didn't care for her treatment of Liam, and I couldn't believe how she would treat him or talk to him. So while these two had chemistry and some good moments in their building connection, I was wanting more and I hope that will be better in the coming installments. 

I also thought that this book was surprisingly tame as far as their relationship went. For those expecting a really steamy story, this was not it. There was no sex to be found here except for some self love on Liam's part. I felt so bad for the poor guy all the way through, especially for someone as sexual as him. I'm not saying that Tria should have instantly given it up to him, but there was little to no progress here over the course of the entire book. Unfortunately the masturbation scenes were short and didn't pack much heat either. I am hoping for the next book to have a higher level of steam, as Liam and Tria continue to build a relationship and get to know one another better. As I said before, this does end with a cliffhanger and I curious to see what will happen next as Liam and Tria find themselves in her hometown where things are nowhere near normal.

**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**

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

ARC Review: Turn of the Moon by L.P. Dover

I haven't read much from the paranormal genre in the last few years, but when I found out that one of my favorite authors was writing a shifter book I absolutely had to read it! L.P. Dover has been at the top of my list since I first read about one of her sexy fighters, and I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I have read from her. Turn of the Moon has to be one of my favorites of her books though, and I could not put this book down! I stayed up way past my bedtime reading this one, and I don't regret it one bit. I am so excited to see where this series goes from here! 

In order to escape Kade, the cruel and awful leader of the Yukon Pack that she has been promised to, Bailey leaves everything she has known behind. To get her freedom, she knows that she can never return and that she will have to do whatever it takes to run and stay hidden. But when she comes across another wolf with familiar eyes, she feels a pull to him unlike any she's felt before. Ryker and Bailey share a strong connection, and she quickly finds out that everything she thought she knew was a lie. Knowing that Kade and his pack will come looking for her, Bailey is forced to make a choice that could mean the difference between life or death. 

I absolutely loved Ryker and Bailey! I was so invested in their story from the very start. I loved their connection and chemistry. What they shared was unlike anything else that they had ever felt with anyone else. Ryker was a great leader. He was protective and alpha, without being cruel or power hungry. He took care of his pack and he was a great guy. Bailey had grown up never knowing the truth, and with each thing that she discovered I felt so bad for her. I was glad that she learned the truth, but it was hard to see her realize that she had missed out on so much of what should have been her life. Her connection with Ryker was worth everything though, and after everything that happened it just proved that fate and love have a way of always working out like they are supposed to. These two were super hot together and I couldn't get enough! 

I also thought that L.P. Dover did a wonderful job of setting up this world, and I loved getting to know all the characters. I never once felt lost or like I had been given too much information to process, which I admit has been a problem for me before in the paranormal genre. Dover flawlessly gave us everything that we needed without it being a huge info dump, and I loved her even more for that. This story felt like her normal style, yet it was also something new and fresh. It reminded me a bit of her Gloves Off series but with shifters, and I think that fans of that series will really enjoy this one. If you aren't a fan of Dover's yet, I think that this is a great place to start. Though I highly recommend anything by her, as they are all great! If you are not a paranormal fan, I would still give this book a shot as it was so much more than just a shifter book. This story is one that I truly enjoyed from start to finish, and I loved how things were set up here for the series going forward. I will absolutely be stalking online to find out any information I can on the next book in this series!

**ARC Provided by Enticing Journey Book Promotions**

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

RFTC Back to School Event with Stina Lindenblatt

Born in England, Stina loves to travel, and has lived in England, the US, Canada, and Finland. She spent a semester in graduate school living in central Finland, and a summer during her undergrad degree working in Helsinki. She has a Master’s of Science degree in exercise physiology and has worked with elite athletes. In her free time, Stina is a photographer, mother of three adorable kids, and devoted wife. She currently lives in Calgary, Canada.

ARC Review: Fire Me Up by Rachel Johns

Ok, I really really try not to give a book 2 stars but I just didn't know what else to do with this one. This book starts out when Travis, a former member of the Deacons of Bourbon Street Motorcycle Club, returns to NOLA. Travis is a bossy, brooding, alpha male MC guy. I thought that was all I needed to love him and the book, I was wrong. Travis' goal is to sell the former Deacons clubhouse, enter Billie. Billie is the current tenant in what used to be the clubhouse. She is a hippie type chick who runs some...eccentric art gallery out of the house and she has no interest in moving. So in a strange twist, Travis declares that because he owns the house (along with the other former Deacon members), he is going to move in until he can sell it-with Billie.

I think from the moment of the Travis move in, I started struggling with this book. I don't mind using my imagination to help things along when the story stops making any sense but this was too much for me. How do you just let a total stranger move in with you? I don't care how much your "lady parts" quiver at the thought of the guy, Ted Bundy was attractive. I told myself to get over it but when Billie was disappointed that Travis wasn't "home" yet, I felt my grip on calm slipping away.

I appreciated the author's efforts in depicting a love-hate drama between Billie and Travis. Billie loves him because he's hawt and hates him because he's trying to EVICT her. Travis loves her because she's hawt and hates her because he wants to EVICT her. Yeah, good effort with that line of thinking but it just didn't work out. The conflict between the main characters wasn't compelling. Something about the way Billie responded to Travis was just kind of silly. What really makes this book hard to get into as a romance is that there is very limited interaction between the couple. Half or more of the story is Travis and Billie with other people. Their on paper chemistry was already tenuous. Keeping the two separated for most of the book was the nail in the coffin. I just didn't relate to the couple at all. I didn't feel any chemistry and by the end of the book I just didn't care. I'm sorry, I really tried to hang in there but this just did not work for me.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Thursday, August 27, 2015

ARC Review: Bounce by Noelle August

I honestly don't even know where to start with this review. I really thought that I was going to love this book, but that wasn't what happened at all here. Bounce is my first book from Noelle August, even though it is the third book in her Boomerang series. Each book is a standalone new adult story, and I really love the new adult genre. I had heard that this series was really good, so to read this one and have the problems I did was the last thing I expected. I think that there are those out there that will really enjoy this book, sadly though that wasn't me. 

Skyler Canby has been looking for more from life than the occasional gig as a cellist, so when her friends suggest that she audition for a role in a new movie she decides to give it a shot. She knows that her friend Beth is most likely to get the role with the experience she has, but she figures it is worth a shot. When the lead actor isn't able to make the audition, the CEO's brother Grey Blackwood fills in and the sparks immediately fly between them. But Grey is a bit too wild for her and is only working for the company to earn enough money to pay his brother for the damage his most recent party caused to his house. Though Grey is only there to earn money as he gets his music career going, he quickly develops feelings for Skyler and soon he is there for another reason altogether.

I really liked Grey. He was the best part of this book and I thought that he was a great guy that was struggling a bit. He had some insecurities because of his family situation, and I felt like he handled things poorly a few times but I think that was mostly due to his age. I felt like he was in the right when it came to his stepmother and with Skyler, and I was always on his side more than theirs. Skyler I had issues with, and honestly I didn't really like her. I didn't understand her at all and I hated how she treated Grey. These two were clearly attracted to one another and had a great connection, yet she pushed him away for no real reason multiple times. I thought that Grey deserved so much better than being strung along while she dated someone else. The worst part was that the whole time she was dating someone else, she had strong feelings for Grey. Her connection with Brooks was nonexistent, and even though this was dual POV so we saw her thoughts and feelings, there was no real interaction between her and Brooks. Yes they sent some texts and went on a few dates or hung out, but we never saw them really together or developing a relationship. So the whole thing just came off as completely weird to me. The whole love triangle thing felt completely forced and unrealistic, and 100% unnecessary.

I also felt like this book lacked any real romance at all. Besides a few kisses over the course of the book, and one sex scene at the very end that didn't pack any real heat, there wan't much actually going on. Grey and Skyler were apart the entire book while having these strong feelings for one another, yet nothing was happening. As I said before, there wasn't much of anything happening between her and Brooks either though they were dating. Another thing that bothered me was that I found Grey's whole family situation confusing. Grey is younger than his brother Adam. Adam and Grey share the same dad but have different moms. Adam's mom is Grey's Stepmom and has been in the picture since Grey was five years old. So here is where I got confused (and maybe I missed the explanation somewhere, but I tried to go back and look and never found anything) If Adam is older than Grey and his mom is Grey's stepmom, does that mean that Adam and Grey's dad cheated on Adam's mom with Grey's mother? If not, how does that all work out? If Adam is older than Grey but they still have the same dad, it doesn't make sense to me at all without cheating being the case especially saying that Grey didn't come into her life until he was five and was taken from his mother to live with them. There should have been more drama there in any case, which made the whole situation just weird to me and it didn't work.

The other thing that really bothered me was how everyone in this story kept referring to Grey as a kid. It was multiple people and multiple times, yet Grey was only 3 years younger than most of the characters in this book! He made mistakes, but he wasn't overly immature and the whole kid crap came off as completely condescending. I didn't get it and frankly it made me dislike pretty much everyone in this story. I really wanted to like this book, unfortunately it wasn't for me. Grey was the one bright spot in the entire thing, and even he couldn't save this one for me. I gave it 2 stars for him and the fact that I did actually finish the book.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

Review: Falling From The Sky by Sarina Bowen

Falling From The Sky is the second book in the Gravity series by Sarina Bowen. Each book can be read as a standalone though the characters are interconnected. I haven't read much from Sarina Bowen yet, but what I have read I really enjoyed. FFTS was no different, and I am so glad that I got the chance to read this book. I haven't read any of the other books in the Gravity series yet, but I will absolutely be reading them after this. I loved the characters here, and Sarina Bowen is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. 

Hank "Hazardous" Lazarus had everything, the gorgeous girlfriend, career of his dreams, and the chance at gold in the Olympics. But then a nasty crash in a half pipe stole his future from him. No longer able to move his legs, he has no chance of snowboarding anytime soon. When his family insists on him doing an experimental new treatment, he reluctantly agrees as long as they will go along with his conditions. One being that doctor Callie Anders be the one in charge of the program. Callie has been trying to move forward with her life after her doctor boyfriend cheated on her with a nursing student. So when Hank tries to get her to agree to dinner with him, not only does she not tell him that she actually met him just before his crash, but she turns him down. But the more she is around Hank, the more she realizes that she wants to be with him even though it scares her. But will her job and her fears keep her from taking a chance on something with him?

I really liked Hank and Callie. They were so great for one another, and I thought that they had a great connection. Hank was struggling to deal with his new circumstances, and I can't even imagine what it would be like to be in his shoes. He was scared and angry, yet he didn't allow others to really see how much everything had affected him. I liked that Callie treated him no differently than she would anyone else though, and it didn't matter that he was no longer the same person he had been. Callie was strong and smart, yet she had been dealing with her own fears and insecurities after what happened with her ex. She was nervous to take a chance with Hank because of that, yet he never gave up on her. These two just understood one another, and I really liked seeing how they were together. 

Overall, this was a great story and I honestly loved all the characters. Hank and Callie were great and I enjoyed seeing them figure things out, but I also really liked their friends. I thought that they added so much to this story, and I can't wait to read their books and see more of each of them as well. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a contemporary or sports romance fan. I think that this is one of those books that you are able to easily lose yourself in, and once I started I didn't want to put it down. It was well written and entertaining, and I loved how sweet it was. I will absolutely be reading more from Sarina Bowen in the future, and I can't wait to see what else she writes.

**Review Copy Provided by Author**

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

Falling From The Sky is also a part of the Unconditional: Love Without Limits Anthology, which features 10 Full-Length Novels.  

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes

RFTC Back to School 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