Saturday, October 24, 2015

Weekly Winners

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

Brenda Dickson
See Me by Nicholas Sparks

Melissa Morr
Untouchable by Ava Marsh

Joanne Balinski
eBook of Choice from Nazarea Andrews

Sue Galuska
Print copy of Death Fricassee by Tawdra Kandle

All winners have been notified via email and are posted on the Rafflecopter form from that giveaway post. Thank you to everyone that stopped by and entered. =)

ARC Review: Playing with Seduction by Erika Wilde

This is book #3 in the Players Club series. I've read each of the two preceding books but you don't need to read them to read this one. Each book is a standalone and you can start anywhere in the series. Wilde's series is one of the most reliable ones that I've read. You can count on the books to deliver strong characters, an interesting relationship and some hot sex. This book definitely fits in the series.

This book is different than the other two in the series because it features a heroine, Kendall who is 8 years older than the Hero, Jase. Kendall is 35 years old and recovering from a significant betrayal by her ex-husband. Jase is a model who volunteers for sexy photo shoots in which Kendall is the photographer in the hopes that he can get closer to Kendall. Jase is ex-military and didn't really have a life plan until he met Kendall. The conflict between Kendall and Jase arises because Jase isn't sure about the long term and that's the only thing Kendall is sure about.

So you're probably asking, what about the club? Kendall gets an anonymous invitation to the club and in an interesting twist, she decides to go so she can get Jase out of her head. Luckily for us, Jase is actually the person who invites Kendall to the club and this is where things get really good. Kendall and Jase have an intensity to both their emotional and physical connection that really comes across in the author's writing. I really enjoyed watching Kendall and Jase both be caught of guard by the strength of their connection and to struggle through the implications of it.

The only reason this book wasn't more like 4 stars for me is because all of the intensity between Jase and Kendall that makes the story good was confined to the steamy scenes. When the two were not in hot and sweaty mode, I didn't really feel much of a connection between them and sometimes it wasn't even clear why they were together. I really liked both Kendall and Jase as characters. The author did a good job with both of them, the only problem is that I'm not sure I like them together as much as I like their individual depiction. The last reason I gave this book the rating that I did is because it had that thing that drives me crazy- an abrupt ending. There was conflict building in the book and then suddenly everything is just wrapped up neatly and the book ends. All of that being said, I still recommend this book. It is a fun fast read with a dominant male hero and a heroine who knows what the hell she wants. I enjoyed this book and will keep reading the series.

**ARC provided by RockStarLit PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

A Blissfully Spooky Halloween with Susan Meier

Susan Meier is the author of over 60 books for Harlequin and Silhouette, Entangled Indulgence and Bliss and one of Guideposts' Grace Chapel Inn series books, THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS. In 2013 she lived one of her career-long dreams. Her book, THE TYCOON’S SECRET DAUGHER was a finalist for RWA’s highest honor, the Rita. The same year NANNY FOR THE MILLIONAIRE’S TWINS was a National Reader’s Choice finalist and won the Book Buyer’s Best Award.

Susan is married with three children and is one of eleven children, which is why love and family are always part of her stories.

ARC Review: Crazy for Him by Sofia Tate

Crazy for Him is a short novella from Sofia Tate featuring characters first introduced in her Davison and Allegra series. Though this is a standalone and you do not need to read those books first, I would definitely recommend it. Because this novella is so short and there are a few things that aren't gone into in depth, I think that knowing them ahead of time really helped me to appreciate this story more. 

This novella centers around Allegra's friend Luciana (Lucy) Gibbons and Tomas Novotny. The two are now married and have their two little girls, Mimi and Marika. While they are traveling they decide to re-live their love story together. Their memories explain how they met, fell in love and started their lives together.

Though I did really enjoy seeing more of Tomas and Lucy's story, I will admit that this was a little short for me. I wanted more depth and I was really hoping to dig more into each of their pasts, but especially when it came to Tomas. I felt like that was a bit of a missed opportunity here, and that could have been elaborated on. I also wouldn't have minded seeing more of their life together in the present. I really think that these two could have easily had a full length novel, and I would have loved to have seen more of them. This was very short though and if you are looking for a quick romance that you can finish in around an hour, this is one worth checking out. Sofia Tate is a great writer, and I really recommend this story and the Davison and Allegra series. I can't wait to see what she writes in the future.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | 

Friday, October 23, 2015

ARC Review: Give Me Yesterday by K. Webster and Elle Christensen

Give Me Yesterday is the first book that I have read from K. Webster and Elle Christensen. Though I knew of both authors before starting, I am embarrassed to say I hadn't read anything from them as individuals or as a writing team. I can tell you that I will definitely be reading more from both of them though as this is one of the best books I have read in a very long time! It was beautiful and heartbreaking, yet filled with love and hope. This is a very emotional read, and I will admit a total ugly cry kind of story. But I wouldn't have changed a single thing about it, and I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good love story.

Victoria Larkin is a divorce attorney that is known to be tough and emotionless. She is ruthless for her clients and has the reputation of being an ice queen. But what most don't know is that she is that way because she lost the future she had planned ten years ago, and along with that loss went her hope for love and happiness. So when an incident at work sends her to a support group to manage her grief, she meets Chase Monroe the leader of the group suffering from his own loss. Though Victoria wasn't looking for anyone, she found that her and Chase understood each other in a way that others didn't. Though Victoria tries to push Chase away at first, he is determined to show her that she can face her past and move forward with her life. But just as Chase and Victoria seem to be approaching the final step in the grief process, the past threatens to ruin everything that they have been building together.

I absolutely adored Chase. He was sweet and funny and a bit forceful in exactly the right way. I know that doesn't make much sense, but he pushed his way into Victoria's life and didn't let her avoid him. He was just what she needed, and though he had to sort of take control he did it in such a caring and positive way. He was struggling with his own pain, yet I loved how he was so great with others around him and what they were dealing with. He was just this great guy that had been through a lot, and he was impossible not to fall in love with. Veronica was so easy for me to relate to. Not that I have experienced what she did, but I saw myself in her a bit in the way she put up walls to try and protect herself. She needed to turn off some of her emotions in order to survive, and it was obvious that while she was getting by she wasn't really living. Beneath her tough facade, she was so vulnerable and Chase really helped her to face things and also to realize that her life had to go on. She deserved happiness just as Chase did, and he helped her to see that. Not only did these two support and encourage one another, but they were also really hot together! They connected so well in absolutely every way and I just couldn't get enough of them. 

Overall, this book was fantastic! I couldn't put it down and read almost straight through. I say almost because I will admit I had to stop a few times to see through the tears. Make sure you have some tissues at the ready before starting this story. Webster and Christensen really brought out all the feels here, and I thought that their writing styles meshed perfectly. It flowed well and the dual POVs were seamless. This is one of the best collaborations I have ever read, and one of my favorite books so far this year. If you are looking for a book about hope, love, heartache and healing this is definitely a must read. I know I will be reading more from these two in the future and I can't wait to see what they write next!

**ARC Provided by Author**

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

Review: Madly In Love by Colet Abedi

Madly In Love by Colet Abedi is a very short story meant to catch readers up on what has happened to Sophie since she left the Maldives. This takes place after Mad Love, but before Mad Love 2 and should be read after readers have finished the first book. I was expecting this to be a new story, and to help set us up for the next book. However, this one seemed to mostly rehash everything that had happened in the first book.

Madly In Love was filled with flashbacks of her time with Clayton, and how she felt before everything was shattered. There were some scenes from the present, with Sophie heartbroken and leaning on Eric and Orie. They did their best to cheer her up, but it was only a few pages between flashbacks, and unfortunately didn't seem to really add much to the story. If you are looking for a refresher before starting Mad Love 2, this might be of interest to you. But honestly I didn't really think that it added much to the story or that it was necessary to enjoy this series.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: The Billionaire Takes a Bride by Jessica Claire

This is my second book in this series. All of the books are standalone novels so you don't have to have read any of the others to get into this one. In fact, the other stories are occurring simultaneously so many of the events described in the books haven't happened yet in the other books. In every book in this series, Jessica Claire takes imperfect heroines and heroes and builds them a compelling romance story with some pretty steamy sex. This book is Sebastian and Chelsea's story. The unusual thing about Sebastian is that he doesn't really do anything. Sebastian is from an old money family turned reality stars but he doesn't have any actual career of his own. Chelsea is beautiful but has been traumatized by a horrific incident in her past. A significant feature of her trauma is that she has panic attacks in certain unique situations that most people would find difficult to avoid on a daily basis. Chelsea deals with her history by playing roller derby, it allows her to vent some of her pent up aggression and hostility.

When Sebastian meets Chelsea they both need another person to act as their romantic interest in order to ward off the world so they decide to be each others plus one. For whatever reason, they fake a marriage. I didn't really get why it was necessary to go that far but I'm not going to be overly critical because I love a forced marriage story. Chelsea and Sebastian become friends but Sebastian is attracted to Chelsea and that's where things get interesting.

What I liked about this book is the interactions between Chelsea and Sebastian. The relationship is well built, there is plenty of character interaction and I love Sebastian's protectiveness. The reason this book wasn't more stars for me is because the sexual issues and the way Sebastian and Chelsea resolved them was just too ridiculous for me. It might be a real life solution but I just thought it was stupid and I couldn't take any of the sex scenes seriously. I also, could NOT understand why Chelsea didn't tell Sebastian about roller derby. It made no sense to me that she worked as hard as she did to keep it a secret.

At the end of the day, I liked the book but I didn't love it. It's got a really sweet romance but I prefer characters with a bit more personal ambition.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

A Blissfully Spooky Halloween with Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk has a bachelor degree in pharmacy-which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations.

She writes sweet (and sometimes even funny) romances for Samhain Publishing, Amazon/Montlake Romance, and now Entangled Publishing.

Lately she's been on a serious exercise kick. But don't hold that against her.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

ARC Review: Played by Clare James

This was an extremely character driven romance with strong characters, excellent storytelling and a romance you will be rooting for.

I had never read a Clare James novel prior to this one but I can guarantee you I will be getting my hands on more of her titles. I really loved this book. It was about two people who both desperately needed a second chance and were plagued with self doubt. Melody has internalized the stereotypes of herself as nothing more than arm decoration. She wants to be a career woman but she's actually not sure that she has what it takes so she sabotages herself and winds up on the brink of unemployment. Aaron is country music artist who blew is first shot at fame and fortune because he forgot to exercise any self control. Now he wants back in the industry but isn't sure that he can keep out of trouble so he tries to control every aspect of every thing. When Aaron meets Melody he's sure he doesn't need the distraction of a relationship but it quickly becomes obvious that no matter how he feels about relationships, he and his career need Melody. And vice versa.

The thing that I love about this book is the imperfections in the main characters. I loved hearing about their insecurities and their fears from each of their POV's. It's great to read about the rich and wonderful characters who have everything but it's easier to relate to people who are just as effed up as we all are. I also liked that the romantic relationship between the characters comes so naturally out of their growing friendship and working relationship. The relationship had a completely unforced feel. The writing is seamless so that we as the readers just look up and the characters are in love, much like they feel.

I love a redemption story so to see Mel pull herself up from professional leprosy by the strength of actual hard work was great for me. Similarly, Aaron's reluctant comeback was the best kind. Even though Aaron is our typical beautiful alpha male, he's humble and just wants to be true to his art. Other things I like about this book: Melody's cursing (some people don't like cursing but I personally do), the supporting cast of Tiffany and Gen (Mel's colleagues) and how true to the PR world the story line seemed. This book gave me a large dose of romance and the ooey gooey love stuff that is shockingly missing from a lot of romance novels. A side of sex never hurts either. I highly recommend this book!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: Rip by Rachel Van Dyken

I am a huge fan of Rachel Van Dyken's and her Eagle Elite Series is one of my all time favorites. I couldn't wait to get my hands on Rip knowing that it was a spin-off of the series that has never once let me down! While Rip is a spin-off of the Eagle Elite series, it is a complete standalone and the reader doesn't need to have read that series first before reading this one. I would highly recommend reading that series anyways though as it is such an amazing series, and this book does take place in the same time frame as Elude does. If you read this before reading Elude, there are some things will be spoiled. 

Rip centers around Maya (Andi from Elude's half-sister) and the doctor Nikolai. Nikolai isn't your normal doctor though and he is hired to wipe out people's memories and make them do things that they don't want to do. His methods are unique and he always succeeds. So when Maya finds out that she has been sold to him for a year, she knows that things are about to get interesting. Nikolai owns Maya and he gives her a set of rules that she must live by, with no choice but to do as he says. But with each new piece of her new life revealed, she finds herself with more and more questions. But Nikolai and Maya's connection goes back even before she knows, and her finding everything out is inevitable. 

Nikolai and Maya were so interesting. They had such great chemistry right from the start, and I could tell their story was going to be fascinating. Maya is tortured and she has no idea about so much. I really felt like it was easy to identify with her because the reader is also in the dark about so much. So with each piece of this puzzle revealed, both the reader and Maya start to get an idea of all that is going on. Nikolai is sexy and commanding, and very mysterious. It was easy to be attracted to him, but you know there is so much more happening than you can put your finger on. These two had great banter back and forth, and I liked that Maya wasn't afraid to challenge him a bit even when she should have been. I couldn't get enough of these two and I loved every bit of them together.

Overall, I really can't go into many details since that would spoil so much. But if you are a fan of Rachel Van Dyken's and her Eagle Elite series, you are going to love this one! There were twists and turns and so much going that you constantly question. But as you continue reading Rachel Van Dyken has a way of giving you just enough to make everything fall into place perfectly. I was captivated from the start and couldn't put it down. I had to know what would happen next and yet I can honestly say that I had no clue! Rachel Van Dyken is one of my favorite authors, and this book was everything that I have come to know and expect from her. This book is on the darker side though, so readers should know that before jumping in here. I still highly recommend Rip and the Eagle Elite series. You pretty much can't go wrong with anything that has Rachel's name on it and Rip is no exception. I can't wait for more from Rachel Van Dyken.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | 

A Blissfully Spooky Halloween with Ophelia London

USA Today bestselling author Ophelia London was born and raised among the redwood trees in beautiful northern California. Once she was fully educated, she decided to settle in Florida, but her car broke down in Texas and she’s lived in Dallas ever since. A cupcake and treadmill aficionado (obviously those things are connected), she spends her time watching arthouse movies and impossibly trashy TV, while living vicariously through the characters in the books she writes. Ophelia is the author of AIMEE & THE HEARTTHROB, the Definitely Maybe, Perfect Kisses and Abby Road series. Visit her books HERE, but don’t call when The Vampire Diaries (or Dawson’s Creek) is on. #PaceyLove

ARC Review: One Life by A.J. Pine

One Life is the second book in A.J. Pine's New Adult series, Only You. It can easily be read as a standalone, though the characters of the series are interconnected. Don't worry about being lost if you start here though as it isn't necessary to read the previous book to understand this story. 

Zoe Adler has been forced to deal with a lot more than most people ever have to. Every time that something happens, she finds herself changing her appearance in order to try and cope. Hair color changes as well as piercings and tattoos are the way she chooses to try and move forward and leave the pain behind. But when she loses her younger brother, her friend Spock (real name Zack) returns home to be by her side. Though Zoe liked him before he left with his band on tour, nothing ever happened beyond friendship. But now that he is back, she knows that she still wants him as much as ever. Zack knows that Zoe needs help even if she isn't willing to ask for it, and having been in need of help himself he tries his hardest to help her. But is she willing to accept what is really going on and get the help she needs before she loses Zack for good? 

I had a hard time connecting with Zack and Zoe here. Not that they weren't likable, I just found them hard to relate to. I felt like we really didn't get to know them that well here, and it seemed to be more about what was currently going on in their lives rather than about who each of them were as individuals and as the couple that they were trying to become. These two clearly had a friendship and knew one another from before Zack had gone on tour, but they didn't talk much while he was gone and spent huge chunks of time apart. They didn't really know one another, and there was a lot to each of them that they didn't share with one another. I felt like these two had some really huge problems and communication was definitely one of them. Beyond that though, I never really saw a relationship develop here beyond a physical one. With the time they spent apart and their relationship turning physical so fast, it really felt as though they had skipped a bunch of really important steps. 

While I wanted to believe in these two, I just wasn't ever able to fully get behind their relationship. I didn't see the connection that supposedly changed from friendship to love beyond them becoming lovers, and I really wish that we had seen more depth there. I wanted to see them falling in love, not just see them having sex and saying they were falling in love. I just didn't believe it and felt like it never really happened. The other thing that bothered me here was that it seemed like almost every single person in this story was broken in some way, and it got to be a huge downer! There were addicts of all sorts all over the place here, and there was a lot of depression and not dealing with feelings. I was glad to see them all recovering or accepting their problems and showing growth and healing here, but I just felt like it was a bit too much with the amount of characters having similar issues in this book. By the time I got done reading this book I was so emotionally drained and felt like I had been through a long and depressing battle that I didn't really feel like had much of a point. Though the ending was good on some levels, it also was a bit unsatisfying because I still didn't 100% believe that these two really knew each other well enough to have the connection that they said they did. I wanted more show rather than just tell, and I just didn't see it.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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