Saturday, November 21, 2015

Review: This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak

I wish I could give this book ten stars it was so AMAZING. I started listening to this book on audio and I was so interested in the characters and the plot that I jumped for joy when I saw I had an e-galley of it. Needless to say it was so incredibly beautiful. I cried the first 20% of the book. When I started reading it I was so exhausted and when I realized the time it was 1 AM!!

I’ve read Brenda Novak before so I kind of expect her heroine to be a certain way. Her heroines are usually outcasts of society and women down on their luck. This was Phoenix all the way. But I absolutely loved her. She was the kindest and most loving person. I could not help crying for her and her struggle. Unjustly accused of the death of one of her classmates, Phoenix spends seventeen years in prison. Not only that but she finds out she is pregnant and never gets a chance to see her son after he is born. Instead of making her angry and bitter, Phoenix comes out determined to prove herself, and if he is willing, become a part of her son’s life-Jacob.

I have to confess that the hero-Riley Fuller took me longer to like. I get that they were both young when two big things happened 1) they found out they were having a baby and 2) she was sent to prison. But I really wanted to inflict some harm on Riley. He was the golden boy who had everything handed to him on a silver spoon. He had so many prejudices against Phoenix all because of what people around him thought. Phoenix’s life was very far from ideal. She grew up with a mother that did not take care of her and had her own physiological issues. I also understand that his parents pressured him to break up with Phoenix when they were still only 18 but in the 17 years she was in prison he never took their son to see her. He also kept letters from him that Phoenix wrote to Jacob. It broke my heart. This book was just one big open wound for me. But I LOVED IT! I loved Phoenix and her determination to make a life for herself. She was so careful not to push her son and was always walking on egg shells so she wouldn’t cause any problems for the people she loved. This is one of my favorite stories. I will re-read this book and I already have recommended it to my friends and anyone that will speak to me.

Even though I didn’t think Riley deserved Phoenix and I wanted Novak to make him suffer a little, I loved Riley and Phoenix together. I was so happy with when they finally got their much deserved happily-ever-after. I loved their chemistry and I loved the pacing of the story. I also like that Riley finally does so much overdue “manning” up. The characters from the previous books appear and add to the warm and inviting feel of Whiskey Creek. I also really loved Jacob. I thought he was such a sweet kid and loved the banter he shared with his father. Now that I have some time off to look forward to, I might just sit and binge on all the “Whiskey Creek” books. So far, I have not read one that I did not enjoy.

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ARC Review: Once Upon A Power Play by Jennifer Bonds

I love sports romance stories, and I am a huge hockey fan! So of course I jumped on the chance to read Once Upon A Power Play by Jennifer Bonds! I am so glad that I did, as this book was sexy and sweet and I had a lot of fun reading about Ryan and Chloe. Though this is the second book in the Risky Business series, each book can be read as a standalone with interconnected characters. 

Chloe Jacobs is done with guys and fairytales. She knows that life isn't for her. But when a dangerous situation puts the sexy Ryan Douglas in her life, she has no problem using him for one sexy night together. After being sidelined by an injury, Ryan should be focused on getting back into the game yet he finds himself drawn to Chloe. But each of them are drawn to one another and the attraction is more than they can fight. What starts out as one night quickly escalates to more, and soon it is more than just physical. But can Ryan convince Chloe to give him a real shot? 

I absolutely loved Ryan! He was sweet and sexy and impossible not to fall in love with. He was a really great guy and I loved how he was with Chloe. She was such a smart and sweet girl, but she had this sassy side to her that was so easy to root for. The two of them together was beyond perfect, and I just had so much fun reading about them. The chemistry and attraction was there right away for these two, and the steam between them was scorching hot! But I also really loved seeing them grow closer and watching as things began to deepen for them. Their relationship was so natural and genuine, and I loved how things progressed. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and the characters were so easy to feel invested in. This book was exactly what I needed for a quick and enjoyable story to lose myself in for a few hours. If you are a fan of steamy contemporary romance stories, this is definitely one worth checking out. You don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy this story, but if you are this is a really great one! Having enjoyed this book so much, I know I will be reading more from Jennifer Bonds in the future. I can't wait to go back and read the first book about Chloe's best friend Olivia, and I would love to see more books in this series for some of Ryan's teammates as well! Once Upon A Power Play is one I would highly recommend!

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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Feature and Giveaway: More Than Physical by Sierra Hill

Love makes you crazy. It warps your sense of direction, causing your world to shift and turn on its axis. Love is an anchor that wraps its steely chains around your heart and crushes the ever-loving life out of you.

Sasha Lee will never suffer fools again. She’d been there, done that, and has the internal injuries to prove it. As a renowned Boston orthopedic surgeon and clinic owner, she’s worked relentlessly to help others recover from their own injuries, because she knows pain, if left unattended, will eat you alive.

Jackson “Jax” Koda loves a good challenge, because anything that comes too easy just isn’t worth it. A corporate lawyer by day, he’s one half of the esteemed Camden Ventures dynamic duo, vetting crazy deals and capitalizing on their business success. But when the work is done, his interests lie elsewhere. Music and women - both incredible elixirs for his soul and body. And his newest challenge is finding a way to get Sasha back in his bed.

When their engaged best friends call upon Sasha and Jackson to plan their joint bachelor-bachelorette party, the two find themselves at odds bickering over inconsequential details, all the while trying to figure out how to keep their fiery chemistry contained and their sexy secret under wraps.

Just one night together may not be enough to satisfy their curiosity. What started out as just physical, may just turn into something unexpectedly more.

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Feature and Giveaway: Reckless Rendezvous by Eden Summers

One kiss sends Leah Gorman’s life into a tailspin.

After years sacrificing herself for Reckless Beat, Leah needs to catch her breath. She has to escape the constant chaos and revive her frayed nerves. There’s no better place than Vegas and the memory of a heavily-inked man with talented hands to make her heart palpitate for reasons other than stress.

Logan is exactly what she needs right now… Or is he? Her pleasure comes at a price, and she will be left to question every aspect of her life and what her future holds.

This novella starts straight after the events of Sultry Groove (Reckless Beat 4) and will lead you into the final book of the Reckless Beat series.

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ARC Review: Belong by Jennifer Foor

I cannot even begin to describe how excited I was when I found out what characters would be getting their story in Belong. The minute I got the cover and read the blurb, I could not get my hands on this book fast enough! Jennifer Foor is a great writer and I really enjoy her stories, but I have to say that her Seven Year Itch series is one of absolute favorites. These stories are not for everyone, and I will caution readers that have issues with cheating to consider if these books are for them. I have loved them though, and they are books that never leave my mind for long. As much as I have loved each of the books so far though, this one was my favorite. For those readers that are new to this series, this book can be read as a standalone though I would recommend at least reading Bereft first as these characters are featured there first. Fans of the series will be excited to see familiar faces and I really believe that this is a must read for anyone that has read Bereft. 

Ten years ago, Chad fell in love with Rachel. While to most that wouldn't be a problem, Rachel was married. Walking away so that she could be happy and he could try to move on, Chad focused on his career and eventually married someone else. Though he now has a child with his wife, something has always been missing, and things are getting worse and his marriage is failing. Just as things appear to be as bad as they can get, Chad has to return home to bury the man who raised him. But when he finds himself once again around Rachel, he is forced to face the fact that his feelings for her have never gone away. 

While I loved Bereft and was happy to see Rachel and Grayson work things out, it was a very bittersweet ending for me because I loved Chad so much! I had always thought that Chad and Rachel would have been so great together, and I really loved how their relationship had evolved in Bereft. These two didn't really get along at first, but as their friendship grew so did their connection. It was never a matter of if these two cared about one another, and their chemistry was off the charts! Chad was such a good guy and I loved him for Rachel, so it was really good to see these two find one another again after so long apart. So much had changed for each of them, and it was really interesting to get to see how each of them had grown and evolved over the ten years since we saw them last. Rachel and Chad are some of my all time favorite characters, and I devoured every bit of their story.

Overall, I absolutely loved this story and getting more of these characters. This book absolutely broke me at times, but Jennifer Foor also put me back together piece by piece. The one thing that I can tell you is that Jennifer Foor loves her angst and there are times that her books will rip your heart out. But I can also tell you that she has a way of healing everything as well, and giving the reader as well as the characters a happy ending that is very satisfying. Belong is one of my favorite books I have read from Jennifer Foor and might actually be my favorite of hers ever. It is so hard to pick just one though, and I reserve the right to change my mind whenever I feel like it! If you like to torture yourself with angst at times like I do, I highly recommend anything written by Jennifer Foor. But even if you aren't a huge fan of angst and are somewhat skeptical before diving in here, I would still recommend giving her books a chance as they are well written, unique, and ultimately full of love and emotion. Belong is a must read book to me, and I can honestly say that I cannot wait to read more from Jennifer Foor. 

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

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Friday, November 20, 2015

ARC Review: Crush by Kim Karr

Crush is the continuation of Logan and Elle's story from Blow by Kim Karr. With Crush being the second book in the Tainted Love Duet, these have to be read in order. So if you haven't read Blow yet, you might want to stop reading and start with Blow first. I really enjoyed Blow, and I couldn't wait to get more of these characters. Kim Karr is a great writer and I knew that while Logan and Elle's story was far from over, that she would do it justice here in Crush. 

Crush picks up right where Blow left off with Logan and Elle in the middle of danger and looking for answers. Though unusual circumstances brought Logan and Elle together, their connection continues to strengthen. But when the past and present collide, Elle and Logan are forced into a situation where it looks like no one will win. While Logan tries to take down the enemy and figure out who is behind everything, he knows that he needs to keep Elle safe...even if that means walking away from her. But Elle can't put her life on hold and refuses to just sit by while Logan figures out when it is safe for them to finally be with one another. As they dig deeper, more obstacles threaten everything that they have found in each other. Can Logan and Elle figure out a way to not only take down the enemy, but to also finally escape all that threatens their relationship?

I was frustrated at times with Logan and Elle here, but the one thing that was clear was how much these two cared about each other. Their relationship came about very quickly, but it never felt like it was unbelievable to me. These two had been through so much together in such a short amount of time that it was no wonder how strong their connection grew in that amount of time. Part of my frustration here was because Logan would do anything to protect Elle, and he believed that they shouldn't be together because of her safety being at risk. I really hate when heroes do that since it really doesn't make sense to me, and we all know that they are better at protecting their women than anyone else. But I was really glad to see that Elle didn't let him just walk all over her, and she refused to let him get away that. She believed that they were better together, and she had no problems telling Logan what was on her mind. The chemistry and connection between these two just continued to intensify as their story continued, and I really felt like Logan and Elle were meant to be together. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this duet and I liked seeing something a bit different from Kim Karr with these books. While they still had every bit of emotional connection and steamy romance, there was also suspense and intrigue that kept me turning the pages. I couldn't wait to figure out exactly what was going on and finally learn who was behind everything and Kim Karr didn't disappoint. I will definitely be going back and reading these again to pick up all the little details from the very beginning and I am really glad that I read these. I highly recommend this duet if you are looking for something sexy and dangerous, with a great balance of suspense and romance. Kim Karr is one of go-to authors, and I am already looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**

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ARC Review: Pirate Princess

Pirate Princess is a young adult fantasy romance. It centers around a teenage girl named Talia. Up to the age of ten she has lived with her pirate father and his crew. According to her deceased mother's wishes, the King of Pirates leaves her with her aunt and uncle, the King and Queen of Crilan.

Tilia must keep her father's identity a secret for her and his safety. This creates a lot of conflict in the beginning. For Tilia's seventeenth birthday, her aunt and uncle have a ball. Potential suitors come to meet the princess. She meets a young man named Finn out on the balcony, and he steals her necklace. This sparks an exciting romance.

Honestly, this book was mostly a disappointment for me. I was expecting some Pirates of Carribean ruthless pirates. What I got was kindhearted mostly fatherly pirates. There were a few "bad guys" but they were usually defeated early. I felt the book was ending about 6 different times. There just wasn't a clear plot line. I also felt conversations were very drab and choppy.

It wasn't the worst Young Adult book I've ever read but it wasn't anywhere near the ranks of Divergent or The Giver. Thank goodness though, there wasn't any love triangle. If that had showed up it would have been a dnf. However, the romance was way too simple. I found Finn to be too much of a flatterer. I got annoyed by it.

There was quite a bit of action which made parts of the book exciting.There wasn't anything unique about the magic of the world. The author would create a conflict (like a sea dragon) and then Tilia would miraculously have an ability to counter it (she could talk to it because she is royalty) and then the ability is never really mentioned again.

I really thought this premise for a book had so much potential. I was able to stay interested enough until the end, but I have no desire to continue the series. I think possibly that actual Young Adults might find the story entertaining, but it's not one that many adults would like.

**ARC provided by Tasty Book Tours**

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Interview with Author Darcy Burke and Giveaway

Meet Darcy Burke author of The Idea of You.

Darcy Burke is the USA Today bestselling author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily-ever-after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids-who each seem to have inherited the writing gene in some form-and two Bengal cats. In her "spare" time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say "no," but she keeps having to start over. Her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge.

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Feature and Giveaway: Desire Me Always by Tiffany Clare

Her secret lover…is her new husband…

Amelia Grant never expected to become Mrs. Nicholas Riley—despite their torrid affair. But now the wife of London’s most infamous businessman, she knows her life will never be the same. Nick has shown her the ways of sinful pleasure and the depths of his desire—but the truth within his heart is another story...

Amelia knows his past is a dark secret, but will their new marriage bring them closer than ever? Or will the pain of the past keep them from finding their happily ever after?

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ARC Review: Logan by Melissa Foster

Logan is the first book in Melissa Foster's new Wild Boys After Dark series, and I couldn't wait to read it! I am such a fan of Melissa's contemporary and new adult stories, but I was really excited to see her take a bit of a sexier and darker turn. I have to say that she did an excellent job, and I really loved this book! It is everything that I have come to love and expect from her, yet so much more! If you are love Melissa's books and love some steamy romance, this is definitely a series you will want to check out. 

Stella has learned how to hide, though she wishes she didn't have to. In order to protect herself and the ones she loves, she changed her identity and left everything behind. Constantly looking over her shoulder, Stella counts the days until she knows that she will once again have to fear constantly for her life. After a sexy stranger helps her out, Stella decides to spend one night with him. Being a private investigator as well as a Navy Seal has given Logan the ability to see more than most, and he knows right away that "Stormy" isn't being honest about who she is. He knows she is running from something, and the connection he feels towards her makes him want to do whatever it takes to protect her. Soon Logan wants to do more than just protect her, and he finds himself putting everything on the line to free her from her past so that they might be able to have a future together. 

Logan was so sexy and protective. I loved him right away. He was a really good guy, and I just knew that the more we learned about him the more I would love him. He was so great with Stella, and I really liked how he treated her. He was gentle with her and allowed her feel safe with him at all times. He didn't push her past what she could handle, and he was always putting her needs first. He just seemed to always know what she needed, and you could tell how much he cared about her. Stella had been through a lot, and my heart broke for her with all that she was facing. She had left everything behind to try and keep herself and her loved ones safe, and it was hard to watch her believe that not only would she never see her mother safe again but to watch her constantly fear for her life. I was so glad that Logan helped her to start actually living again, and to get her to the point that she could feel safe again. These two had such a great connection, and while it did happen relatively fast it really was believable and felt genuine. The chemistry and attraction was there right from the start, and while Melissa Foster always has great sexy times in her books I have to say that this was definitely the hottest book I have read from her so far! 

Overall, this was a great start to the Wild Boys After Dark series and I cannot wait to get more. Melissa Foster delivered everything that I look for in a good romance story, and yet she also kicked it up a notch or ten here. If this series is anything like what I have learned from her, I know each book will be just as good if not better than the last. I am so excited to get to know the rest of the Wild boys as well as the Bad boys. Melissa Foster has become a favorite author of mine with her ability to always deliver a solid story that is different each time, and she just seems to get better with each book. I never question if I will enjoy a book when it has her name on it, and I honestly don't think that you can go wrong with anything she writes. Logan is definitely one of my favorite books of hers that I have read, and I loved every bit of this story. I can't wait for more from Melissa Foster.

**ARC Provided by Tasty Book Tours**

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

ARC Review: To Dare A Seal by Sara Jane Stone

This is one of those kind of weird book experiences for me. When I started this book I thought I was going to love it and there were things about it that I did love. But then there were things that I really didn't love or even like. When I take it all in, the book winds up being ok but not great.

I feel like I'm on a bad streak of book heroines and Natalie was par for a really bad course. I just didn't like Natalie. Now if you know me, you know I hate weak heroines and Natalie was not that. My problem was that in an effort to make Natalie "not weak" I felt like the author over constructed Natalie's walls. There was just too much time in the book where Natalie was rude to Jack because she was all "I can't let him in, I won't let him in, I can't let him in." WHATEVER, we get it, you're emotionally closed off but what's next?

As for our hero Jack, I like Jack. Jack is the strong alpha male hero that always gives me the warm fuzzies. The problem I have with Jack is what always happens when we have heroines like Natalie, when the heroes tolerate their ridiculous behavior, I start to get tired of the heroes.

In this book, Jack makes a bet that he can get in Natalie's pants before he leaves on another tour. Natalie overhears the bet and decides 'game on' because she is not going to let it happen. Then Natalie and Jack take a long road trip. Jack tells Natalie a nasty bedtime story, weird ish happens, Natalie makes an emotional connection to Jack against her better judgment and you get where the rest of this is going.

I couldn't really understand a lot of Natalie's reactions to things. She was like 3 different characters. There was emotionally vulnerable, weepy Natalie, there was sexy Natalie and then Natalie the witch. Which iteration of Natalie appeared in the story seemed totally unrelated to what was actually going on in the story and she would change very rapidly.

The sex in the book is pretty good (once we get there), the writing is good, the book is easy to read but ugh, I just did not like Natalie. I like this author and I will definitely pick up other books by her.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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ARC Review: Vindicate by Beth Yarnall

Vindicate is my first book by Beth Yarnall, and it is also the first book in her Recovered Innocence series. I was drawn in right away with the blurb and sexy cover though, and I knew this book was going to be one worth taking a chance on. I was captivated from the very start with these characters, and I am so glad that I gave this book a shot. This definitely won't be the last book I read from Beth Yarnall, and I can't wait to get the next book in the series. 

For the last five years, Cora has put her life on hold while she does everything she can to help her brother. He was wrongly convicted of a crime he didn't commit, and Cora is determined to get him out of prison. She works and goes to school, with all her money and focus going into ways that will help her brother but she knows that she is going to need some help if she is ever going to make any progress. So when she hears an interview with the owner of Nash Security and how they just got someone out of prison after he was wrongly convicted, she knows that it is fate stepping in. But they have just taken the one and only pro-bono case for this year and she has nowhere near enough money to pay them. So when the bosses son Leo offers to help Cora with the supervision and training of his father, Cora agrees as long as his dad will help train her too. As Cora and Leo partner up to track down the real person responsible for the horrible crimes her brother was convicted for, they can't help but grow closer to each other and give in to the attraction between them. 

I really liked Cora and Leo. They were great together, and I could see a connection between them right away. Though at first Cora thought that Leo was a player and wasn't convinced that he would be able to help her, it became clear that Leo was interested in more than just getting into her pants even though that was how his interest started. As Cora saw him stepping up and taking an actual interest in her brother's case, things began to get really interesting between them. Cora was smart and loyal, and I loved how dedicated she was to her brother. I can't imagine doing everything she did for him, and I really admired her for that just like Leo did. Leo was exactly what she needed though, and I loved how he was with her. He didn't let her just lose herself in her brother's case, and he helped her to start living her life for herself as well as her family. While Cora tried to do everything herself at the beginning, it was great to see her letting Leo in and allowing him to handle the parts of the investigation that she wasn't able to. These two were a great team, and they had strong chemistry and attraction between them. Their connection was real and believable and I couldn't stop reading as I had to see what would happen next. 

Overall, this was a really good book. I was drawn in right from the start, and Beth Yarnall did a great job with writing this story so that it kept my interest the entire way through. Not only did i have to see what would happen with Cora and Leo, but I needed to know what would happen for Cora's brother and his case. I won't get into the details as I don't want to spoil anything here, but I really enjoyed the entire journey here and I really liked the characters. The only thing I had any issues with was the way this one ended and that I would have liked a bit more romance. I felt like the ending could have been a bit stronger, even though I did like how things turned out. I suspect part of this is because the series does continue and hopefully we will get a bit more in the next book. I also wish that there had been a bit more romance between Cora and Leo, besides just the suspense here. While I did enjoy all the twists and turns and the process of the investigation, I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Leo and Cora together beyond just as partners. I still think that this was a good book though, and I am definitely going to be watching for the next book in the series which will be Beau's.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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