Saturday, September 12, 2015

ARC Review: Caged: Trapped by Shay Savage

Trapped is the second book in the Caged series by Shay Savage. Each book is a part of Liam and Tria's story, and these need to be read in order. Though these are full sized novels, they do end with cliffhangers. I really loved Liam in the first book, but I did have some issues with the story overall. I have to say that while there were things to like here as well, I found myself having some of the same problems. I will read the final installment though, as I need to see how things finish for these characters. 

Trapped picks up where Takedown Teague left us, with Liam and Tria in Maine about to experience a weird ritual that is common for her community. Though things get a bit strange, Liam and Tria are working towards something together and are willing to support one another through anything. After returning home, Liam and Tria continue to adjust to life as a couple living together. But just when things appear to be on the right track, Liam's past returns and the unexpected happens leaving him struggling with a way to cope. Knowing that he can't handle what life has thrown his way, Liam turns to the one place he has been able to find escape. 

I have to admit that as much as I loved Liam in the first book, I had some issues this time around. I still really liked him, and I was always rooting for him with Tria. But this time around he wasn't the same as he had been before. He was more short tempered and prone to angry outbursts. He was flat out awful to pretty much everyone he came into contact with, including Tria at times. I just didn't get some of it and it made me start to dislike him. Tria was worse than ever here, and I found myself disliking her more than I did in the first book. At first she was just sort of there and I didn't really feel anything towards her. There was a disconnect, and I couldn't relate to her at all. But in this book she was whiny and insecure, and she also had moments that I thought she reacted poorly. She didn't have all the information when it came to what Liam had been through, yet instead of being supportive she would keep pushing. I just didn't really feel the connection here, and unfortunately I wasn't really seeing what the draw was here for either of them. 

One of my big complaints was the lack of steam in the first book, and I will say there was more in this installment. We finally get to see these two get more comfortable with each other, and yet the lack of connection I felt was the same with their chemistry. I just wasn't feeling the heat or passion between them, and everything that had been building in the previous book seemed to have been lost here. I'm not really sure what happened, but this one began to drag and feel a bit too monotonous at times. I wanted something to spark and really draw me in, but that just didn't happen here. Add that to my previous complaints about the characters and their immature actions, and I just had a tough time really feeling invested here. I will read the final installment, because I have enjoyed parts of this story and I need to see where things will end. But I have to say that so far, I have been left feeling as though something is missing and I just want more than what has been given.

**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**

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ARC Review: Transcending Darkness by Airicka Phoenix

Transcending Darkness is actually the second book that I have read from Airicka Phoenix, but it was nothing like the first book that I had read by her. This book is a standalone story and it was one that I would probably not recommend for everyone. Though there is plenty to love here, there are a few things that might be triggers for some who have issues with darker themes of violence and sex. I will say that I really enjoyed this book though, and it was one that I couldn't put down. 

After losing her mother and father, Juliette Romero was left with a huge debt to pay and a sister to look after. She worked herself to the bone with three jobs, just to hope she could come up with enough. But when she finds herself unable to pay the debt she owes, she must do the unthinkable and agrees to sell herself in order to protect her sister. So when she winds up with Killian "The Scarlett Wolf" McClary, she knows that he isn't a good man, even if he is the lesser of two evils. Killian and Juliette find themselves drawn to one another despite the circumstances, though they both know that what they are feeling is the last thing that they should. Killian can't afford to be a weak man, yet he finds that the more he gets to know of Juliette, the more he wants her in his life. So when Killian makes Juliette a deal to help her out in exchange for more time together, he knows that her saying yes could be his downfall. But when Killian's past suddenly reappears, he knows that he would do whatever it takes to look out for Juliette, even knowing that he could lose everything in the process. 

I really liked these two together. I thought that they were great for each other and I felt the chemistry between them right away. They were super hot together, and I really enjoyed seeing them build upon their attraction. Juliette didn't agree with Killian's choices and what he did as far as business went, yet she stood by him and her feelings for him. I liked that she supported him, even when she didn't agree with everything. She did try to get him to change some things and to think about things more than he usually did though, and I think that she was really great for him because of that. Killian tried to say he had no soul and that he was such a bad man, yet he also had a code that he lived by and it was an honorable one. He didn't agree with women and children being hurt, and he did his best to avoid allowing harm to come to them. For so long he tried to push Juliette away and keep her at arm's length, yet it was clear that he wanted anything but. I loved how protective he was of her and it was clear just how much he cared about her.

I will say that this book would have been a five star book for me had there been a few things done differently. I thought that this book was too long, and things seemed to be too drawn out at times. I wish that they author had shortened a few things, as I did find myself skimming at times and not missing much. I think that about a quarter of this book could have easily been shortened or deleted without missing much. I also didn't care for how things started to go towards the end. I can't really go into much detail without spoiling anything, but I thought that a few things that happened in regards to Killian were not only out of character but were also really irritating. His actions didn't ring true for me, and I didn't like how he handled some of the situations he found himself in. I think that this was a good story though, and I was invested from the start. I would recommend it to those looking for some steam, suspense, and a good story about love and overcoming some really huge obstacles. I will definitely look for more from Airicka Phoenix in the future, and I think her books are worth looking into in case you aren't already familiar with her stories.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | 

RFTC Back to School Event with Rachel Van Dyken

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers!

Friday, September 11, 2015

ARC Review: The Rogue You Know by Shana Galen

The Rogue You Know is perfect for the adult who still loves Disney. It follows the story line of Tangled quite closely, but it still throws you for loops and catches you off guard. I found myself falling in love with the book, and I honestly couldn't put it down!

Our lead, Lady Susanna, does not have extremely long hair, but she does have a overly protective mother. Susanna has the expected need to rebel. It's only for one night, but she wants to go to Vauxhall Gardens, where her mother was rumored to have fallen in love. Unfortunately, she had no one to take her... until Gideon breaks into her older brother's study.

Gideon has lived a life on the streets, and he happens to be a fantastic thief. He wants out however, and decides to steal a expensive necklace for an accomplice in exchange for enough money to start off fresh some place far from London. The thief encounters a snag however, and has several different groups of people after him. He decides to hide the loot at Susanna's home.

With the mighty use of a candlestick holder, Susanna is able to hide the necklace from Gideon and persuade him to take her to the gardens in exchange. Gideon reluctantly agrees, and the two start off on a grand adventure. They learn about each other as well as themselves. The spark between them is undeniable and the pair must face pretty incredible odds.

This book was wonderful to read! It got to me from so many angles! I love historical romances, Disney, and heroes who never quite feel like they deserve the one they love! This book was exciting almost the entire time. Also, I can't believe I'm only adding this at the end because it was a huge part of the book, there is an adorable dog along for the whole story! K9 lovers will absolutely adore this book!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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ARC Review: Tied Together by Z.B. Heller

Tied Together is my first book by Z.B. Heller, but I couldn't wait to read this one. It is a standalone novel featuring Ryan Keller, who was introduced in Heller's Chronicles of Moxie series. You do not need to have read those books before starting this one, and I had no problems understanding anything in this story. Being my first Heller book, I really didn't have any idea of what to expect here. I did enjoy a lot about this book, but there were also several things that I had trouble with as well. 

Ryan Keller and Brandon Ford became best friends in high school, despite their differences. While Ryan was raised in a supportive and loving family that never struggled for money, Brandon was raised the exact opposite. He was so far in the closet that Ryan didn't even know that he was interested in him as anything more than a friend. But the night of their graduations things changed when Brandon kissed him. But Brandon wasn't ready to acknowledge who he really was, and things went back to just being friends for them. Once in college though, things once again come to a head as Brandon finds himself finally starting to embrace who he is and what he wants. But even though he is finally able to admit to himself what he wants, coming out to everyone he knows is another story altogether. 

I really loved Ryan's confidence and how comfortable he was with himself. He was charming and protective of those he cared about. His family was always there for him, and at first glance he had the picture perfect life. But he also had flaws, and he was very selfish at times too. He thought about what he wanted and how things were for him, while giving little thought to others and their experiences. I wish that he had been a bit more understanding and caring when it came to others. He made a huge mistake and it was one that really made me angry. It completely changed everything, and I found it hard to ever fully forgive him for it. Brandon was shy and reserved, and he was used to being bullied both at home and in school. I felt bad for him and all that he went through, which is why I loved when Ryan entered his life and gave him someone that was finally on his side. He was so strong and smart though, and seeing him achieve the success he did despite everything was something that I absolutely loved. He deserved happiness and to be successful, and I was really happy with where he ended up. These two had a strong connection built on a great foundation and years of friendship, and the chemistry between them was never a question. I do wish that some things had been different though as I felt like Ryan handled things poorly more than once. 

Another thing that kept me from rating this one higher was the fact that this was split into three parts, and I felt like it gave this book a disjointed feel. We go from seeing these two in high school, to then in college, and finally years later when they have both been apart for years. While we do get a bit of what they had been through in the time between the gaps in conversations and thoughts, much of that time was glossed over and felt like it was missing. I wanted to know more of what they had each been through to make them the men that they had become. I also felt like there were a few things that were a bit over the top as well, and while I found some of them funny, some of them were just a bit too much for me. Moxie was definitely over the top, and I am not sure that I would want to read her story after seeing how crazy she is here. While she had her moments, I almost felt like she was bordering on ridiculous and I think that a whole book or series of her would just irritate me. It was bad enough here with Ryan's angel and devil on his shoulders throughout offering commentary on his life as Brad Pitt and Steve Buscemi. So while I did like Ryan and Brandon together and they definitely had some hot moments, there were some things that just didn't really work for me. The ending was satisfying though and I did like where things were left here. I think that if you are looking for an entertaining and a bit over the top M/M story, that you might give this one a chance.

**ARC Provided by Gossip Girls PR**

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

RFTC Back to School Event with Shae Ross

Shae Ross was born and raised in Ferndale, Michigan. After graduating high school, Ms. Ross attended Michigan State University and continued her education at Detroit College of Law. Prior to 2014, she spent the majority of her career practicing corporate law, running a successful business and engaged in entrepreneurial ventures.

After having one too many stressful days at the office, Ms. Ross began to consider pursuing her lifelong dream of writing. Armed with an English degree, an interest in historical settings and a huge collection of romance novels, Ms. Ross put pen to paper and began converting the characters in her head to ink. She soon found herself happily immersed in a new working world that included heroes and heroines, agents and editors, and a multitude of secondary characters.

Ms. Ross’ debut novel, PRETTY SMART GIRLS – LACE UP released in January of 2015. The second book in the series, PRETTY SMART GIRLS – FEARLESS will release August 18th of 2015. She currently writes in the new adult and contemporary romance genres and lives with her husband and three children in Holt, Michigan.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

ARC Review: Paper Hearts by Claire Contreras

Paper Hearts is the second book in the Hearts series by Claire Contreras. This is a standalone story, though the characters are interconnected. Kaleidoscope Hearts is the first book and there is a short novella in between KH and PH called Torn Hearts. This isn't necessary to understand Paper Hearts, but I would highly recommend readers read that before Paper Hearts as it does center around the characters in this book and it explains so much of what happened in the past. For those of you familiar with this series, you may have noticed that this was available for free from Claire Contreras but has since been pulled. It is now included as a part of Paper Hearts, so those purchasing Paper Hearts will be able to read Torn Hearts first.

Mia and Jensen were best friends that turned into more, until something unexpected tore them apart. Though Mia tried to move on, she was left broken hearted and nothing was the same. Now years later her life is once again changing as she prepares to move to NY from California in order to follow her dreams of being a successful photographer. But she also knows that with her being a photographer for the magazine Jensen writes for, it is only a matter of time before she is forced to face him again. Jensen is determined to prove to her that they belong together though despite everything that happened. After letting Mia go once, he will do whatever it takes to hold onto her this time for good. 

I wanted to hate Jensen after what he had done. In Torn Hearts, he absolutely ripped my heart out right along with Mia's. I really wondered if I would be able to move past what he had done, because I didn't understand it at all. Why he would even put himself in the position he did when Mia and him were supposed to end up together. They had taken a break, but they both knew where they would end up because they belonged together. But Jensen slowly began to win me over here in Paper Hearts, and I found myself forgiving him and falling in love with him just like Mia was. I loved Mia, and my heart really went out to her. She had been absolutely blindsided by Jensen, and her heart was broken in the worst way. She had so much strength though, and I loved that she didn't immediately give in to him. I think that he needed to work for it after all he had done, and I really admired her for taking her time with him and getting to know who he was after everything. I will say that she is a much better person than me, as I am not sure that I would have been able to handle the situation that was his life. Things were completely different than what they had planned, and yet she didn't let that hold her back when they started talking again. These two had such a strong connection, that it was clear to me that they should have always been together. That and their chemistry was what made it hurt so bad when it came to what Jensen had done. These two were perfect and I loved them together, but their relationship would never be the same even with them being able heal. 

Overall, I really loved this book. It was heartfelt and emotional, and I was captivated right from the start. I read Torn Hearts and immediately started Paper Hearts after, as I couldn't wait to get more of these two. Their story wasn't always easy, but I was so invested in their journey and I just couldn't stop reading. I really enjoyed Kaleidoscope Hearts, but I have to say that as much as I loved that book, I loved Paper Hearts even more! Mia and Jensen were just impossible not to root for and fall in love with, and I felt so connected to them. I highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance as well as new adult fans, or really anyone just looking for a solid love story. These two were proof that true love never ends, even when the world might try to get in the way.

**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**

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

ARC Review: Stripped Down by Lorelei James

Stripped Down is a standalone novella in the Blacktop Cowboys series from Lorelei James. It is also a part of the 1001 Dark Nights series from Evil Eye Concepts featuring stories from many popular authors. Stripped Down can be read as a standalone, but the characters are interconnected and for full enjoyment I would recommend reading the rest of the books in the Blacktop Cowboys series even though it isn't necessary.

Melissa Lockhart and Wynton Grant meet when his brother and her best friend get married. Paired up as the best man and maid of honor, these two end up spending a lot of time together and sparks instantly fly. Melissa and Wynton are both used to hooking up with no commitment, and neither one of them plans on settling down anytime soon. But when their steamy one night together takes an unexpected turn, they realize that they might have more in common than they thought. What starts as a family crisis in which Melissa agrees to help Wyn, leads to playing house together. Soon Wyn is hoping for more, but will Mel's secrets keep them from having a future together?

I really liked these two. They were super hot together and I loved their banter. Right out of the gates here these two were fun and feisty, and they had such strong chemistry. I loved that they owned their desires and weren't afraid to admit what they enjoyed. I will say that it was a bit odd when they would compare sex stories and former conquests, but I really liked how comfortable they were from the start. (even if it was a little weird for the reader) These two were sexy together right from the start, but I enjoyed seeing it turn into more than that as they spent more time together. 

Overall, another great read from Lorelei James. She always delivers a sexy and emotional story that you can't help but feel invested in. I really love this series, and you really can't go wrong with her smoking hot cowboys. If you are new to Lorelei James, you are seriously missing out and should definitely give her books a chance. If you are already a fan, this is one you won't want to miss!

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | 

RFTC Back to School Event with Harper Kincaid

Born in California and raised in South Florida, I've moved around like a gypsy with a bounty on my head ever since. Along the way, I worked as a community organizer, a professional matchmaker, a popular blogger, and a crisis counselor (to name a few). All the while, longing to have the guts to do what I really wanted: to write and become a published author. That wish has finally come true and I feel like a karmic cloud has been lifted off my head. Those of you who have also taken a circuitous route in trying to find their path get me - I can tell.

What else? Hmm... I love indie, lo-fi, complaint rock played on vinyl, wearing black because it's slimming, the theater, well-informed optimism, happy endings (both kinds), and making those close to me laugh 'til they snort. I'm a self-admitted change junkie, loving new experiences and places, but have now happily settled in the cutest lil' town, Vienna, Virginia, with my awesome and patient husband and two kick-ass girls.

ARC Review: His Lover To Protect by Katee Robert

His Lover to Protect is a really entertaining, sexy, easy read. If you like Katee Robert, you will love this.I read Falling for His Best Friend which is another book in this series that focuses on Alexis' sister Avery. I enjoyed that one and if you are like me and read that one, I highly recommend this one.

This is the story of Alexis and Luke. I already liked Alexis but getting her whole story from her POV made me an official Alexis fan. Alexis has been through A LOT, she lost her mother and is predisposed to the same illness that took her away. Alexis has also had to adjust to the reality that the life she planned for herself will probably never happen. All of this comes on the back of her younger sister realizing all of her wildest dreams and pushes her over the edge and into a "find yourself" trip to Europe. What I love about Alexis is that I could relate to her imperfections and fears. Everybody wants to be happy for the people they love when good things happen to them, but let's face it, when your life is crappy, it's a struggle. I appreciated this author for giving us a real character who had a totally believable response to her situation.

As for Luke, it turns out he was sent by Ryan (Alexis' sister's fiance) to keep an eye on Alexis as everyone could see her on the edgeness. Luke is practically perfect in every way. He is broody and perpetually in a bad mood. He's also bossy and possessive and if you know me, you know that rings my bell every time. Even though Luke is supposed to just keep his eyes on Alexis, his other body parts find it difficult to resist the party. Alexis is feisty and keeps Luke on his toes where he needs to be to stop wallowing in self pity.

This is my favorite kind of tortured romance. I love the broken characters who are able to heal each other through their own wounds. Alexis with her emotional scars, Luke with his physical scars, were the perfect combination. Their sex was hot (you can count on Katee Robert for that) and their connection was heartfelt and well developed. There is nothing to heavy in this book but it is absolutely worth the read. And if you haven't read Avery's story, get that one too.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

ARC Review: Sexy by J.A. Huss

I am a huge fan of JA Huss! I love her edgy characters and writing style, and I know that whatever I read from her will be something new and different. She always writes something completely original and fresh. Sexy is a standalone contemporary romance, which is something a bit different from her typical story. It was really great though, and just proved that she can write anything!

Fletcher Novak is used to women wanting him and he knows exactly what both men and women alike are looking for. He works as a stripper, but he also coaches women in how to get the man of their dreams. So even though Tiffy Preston dislikes Fletcher instantly, she knows that he can definitely get her the man she hasn't been able to get to notice her before. But is she ready to let him tell her exactly what to do, and what happens when she can't help but start to see what all the other women see in him? 

Fletcher was more than just a sexy body and charming personality. He was deeper than what most gave him credit for. I loved him right from the start, and I enjoyed his honest and blunt delivery with others. He always told them how it was and he didn't say anything that he didn't mean. There were no false promises or lies, yet he had a way of flattering women. Tiffy was hard for me to connect to though, and if I am honest I really didn't like her for most of this book. She irritated me, and I hated how she treated Fletcher. She made assumptions and judgments, and she never really made any effort to get to know who he was even when she was proved wrong. Fletcher was constantly telling her that she didn't know him and she would admit that was true, but she wouldn't ever really ask him anything about himself either. I wanted her to stop judging him and assuming that she knew exactly what was going on when it was clear that she didn't. These two had a ton of chemistry though, and the sparks were clear from the beginning. They were sexy together and generated a ton of steam. 

Overall, this was a good story and Fletcher is definitely worth the read alone. He is so much more than meets the eye, and I really enjoyed getting to see what was beneath his gorgeous exterior. JA Huss is a great writer, and she never disappoints. Fans of hers will enjoy this book and I think those who might have been hesitant to try her darker stories will really like Sexy. I enjoyed it from beginning to end and didn't want to put it down. I can't wait to see what Huss writes next!

**ARC Provided by Author**

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

ARC Review: Fast Lane by Lizzie Hart Stevens

Fast Lane is the debut novel from Lizzie Hart Stevens, and I really enjoyed it. This one is very short and it does end with a cliffhanger, so readers should prepare themselves for that before starting. I thought that Lizzie did a great job of kicking off her Consumed By Love series here, and I am really looking forward to reading more from her. 

Lexi Taylor and Coen Walker feel an instant attraction to one another, but neither of them are looking for a relationship. But when they run into each other three times in one day, they start to believe that something is pushing them together and it is more than just a coincidence. 

I really liked both Lexi and Coen. Coen was sexy and edgy, but he also had this whole other side to him. I feel like there is so much more beneath the surface with him that is just waiting to be discovered. With the length of this story, we are really just beginning to scratch the surface, and I can't wait to learn more about him. It is clear there is a reason that he keeps himself so locked up, and Lexi is already beginning to get under his skin. Lexi is great, and I really enjoyed her friendships and seeing her personality come through. She is smart and strong, and one of those heroines that you just instantly like. She had so much chemistry with Coen right away, and I can't wait to see more of the sparks between these two. 

With this one being so short and ending with a cliffhanger, I don't want to give too much away. But with how this story ended, I am already anxious for the next installment. I really loved Coen and Lexi together, and I can't wait to get more of these two. I loved the secondary characters, and I am really excited to get to know them better as well. I think that this was a really great debut for Lizzie Hart Stevens. Fast Lane instantly drew me in and kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. I will be keeping an eye out for more from Lizzie in the future, and I would definitely recommend this one for anyone looking for something short and sexy.

**ARC Provided by Give Me Books**

Purchase: | Amazon