Saturday, March 26, 2016

ARC Review: Ginger's Heart by Katy Regnery

Ginger's Heart is the third book in Katy Regnery's A Modern Fairytale series. Each book is a complete standalone and is inspired by a different fairytale. Ginger's Heart being inspired by Little Red Riding Hood centers around two cousins (the woodman and the wolf) who love the same girl (red). I absolutely love this series and how Katy Regnery has taken such classic stories and given them a modern and romantic feel! I think that fans of fairytales and romance will really enjoy this series as much as I have, and if you are new to Katy's books then you are in for a treat!

Now without spoiling anything, I know that some readers will want to know a bit more information before diving into this one. Yes this book does feature two guys that love the same girl and it is a bit of a love triangle. I say a bit of one because this is not a menage and there isn't any bed-hopping. Beyond that I won't go into much detail, because this book is one that needs to just be experienced and trust me when I tell you that you don't want this one to be spoiled. 

Ginger McHuid grew up on her family's horse breeding farm close to cousins Josiah Woodman and Cain Wolfram. While the three of them were close and did almost everything together, Josiah and Cain couldn't have been more different from one another. While Josiah, the son of a local banker, was the town golden boy, Cain, the son of Ginger's father's Stallion Manager, was known for being a troublemaker. Things between them grew complicated as the years passed and their feelings began to change. What once was a tight bond between the three of them turned complicated and threatened to destroy everything.

I really liked these characters. It was easy to see right away just how close these three were. Cain and Josiah were closer than cousins, and they were practically brothers. I loved the bond they shared and the fact that they would do anything for one another. Which is why it was so hard at times to see each of them struggle here. Not only with each other, but also with their feelings. They both really cared about Ginger, and I knew that of course someone would end up getting hurt. I loved Ginger and I felt for her as well. She had love for each of them, but it was clear that it was a different kind of love. I knew that this journey wouldn't be easy, and I felt emotionally invested in these characters right away. As each of them experienced the highs and lows here, I really felt like I was too. 

This book was beautiful and heartbreaking at times, but also filled with love and hope. I won't say anymore because again I don't want to reveal anything, but I felt like Katy did a great job of really doing each of these characters justice. I felt like the story was true to them and I was happy with how things turned out. The one thing that I will say that really kept this book from being a five star read for me though was the fact that it was so long and throughout much of the first half the story was very repetitive. We are given three POVs here, so at times conversations and scenes would happen two or three times with very little changed. It seemed unnecessary at times and we really didn't gain that much new information. While it was nice to see inside each of their heads and experience what they were, it just really dragged the story down and I found myself skimming some of it since we had just experienced it either one or two times before. I think that had that been a bit more condensed, this story would have flowed a lot better. Overall this was still a really great story though, and I already can't wait for the next in this series. I am so excited for Don't Speak, inspired by The Little Mermaid!

**ARC Provided by RockStarLit PR**

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

Event Coming Soon: I've Got a Secret Event

RFTC is turning FIVE (holy crap where did the time go?) and we wanted to celebrate with a special and fun event. April 1st we'll be kicking off the I've Got a Secret event and we've invited a bunch of authors to come by and spill their secrets! On top of the secret spilling, we'll have daily giveaways, a super awesome grand prize and maybe a few secrets ones as well. You definitely don't want to miss out on the fun and excitement. Make sure to stop by on the 1st and check out the fun!

With appearances by:

Kindle Alexander
Tessa Bailey
Samanthe Beck
Robin Bielman
Jennifer Blackwood
Darcy Burke
Sarah Castille
Ava Claire
Cynthia Eden
AM Hargrove & Terri Laine
Donna Grant
Layla Hagen
Laura Kaye
Vi Keeland
Stina Lindenblatt
Roni Loren
Cindi Madsen
Ilsa Madden-Mills
Monica Murphy
Elisabeth Naughton
Daisy Prescott
AJ Pine
Cari Quinn
Tiffany Reisz
Lia Riley
Katee Robert
Juliana Stone
Alessandra Torre
Penelope Ward
Samantha Young

The event will run from April 1st - 30th.

Make sure to mark your calendars and so you don't miss all of fun!

ARC Review: Atone by Beth Yarnall

This is the second book in the Recovered Innocence series but it's my first time reading a book in the series or by this author. This is a standalone, you don't need to read the first book in the series to read this one. Because I haven't read the first book in the series, I can't tell you if this one contains spoilers of the first book but I'm reasonably sure that's not an issue.

This author is a really good story teller. The book is about Beau and Vera. Beau was wrongfully imprisoned and is now on his second chance at life. Vera is on the run from a past that is horrific. Vera enlists Beau's PI help to find her sister but the two quickly discover that they have kindred spirits. Both Beau and Vera are comfortable living in the present without asking too many questions because they don't want to answer the same questions. That works for them and provides the foundation for them to connect to each other. Beau isn't just the usual alpha male hero that I love. He's actually got a lot more depth than that. Beau has complicated feelings about his first love and the reasons he was in prison. What I really liked about this book is that Vera was able to free Beau from his emotional prison because she had the same complicated feelings about things that happened in her past which were not her fault. Throughout the book Beau and Vera are reflected in each other and by seeing themselves in one another they are able to move forward. It's just a really emotional and good story.

I note, however, there isn't a lot of unnecessary angst and melodrama. Sometimes when you have the kind of characters that are in this book, the author gets carried away with a lot of character introspection. That doesn't happen in this book. You can appreciate the depth and complexity of the characters without feeling like the author is overselling it. The author good thing about this book is the suspense factor. There is a lot about Vera that is unknown throughout the book. Trying to figure out what the heck is going on with her and the action that builds and boils over by the end of the book was really compelling. I think you will love Vera and Beau. They have been through every bad thing you can imagine and they deserve their HEA. I highly recommend this book, it won't be my last by this author.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Friday, March 25, 2016

ARC Review: The Fire Between High & Lo by Brittainy C. Cherry

The Fire Between High & Lo is my first Brittainy C. Cherry Book. This is the second book in her Elements series, but it can be read as a complete standalone. I had heard such great things about Brittainy's books and especially The Air He Breathes that I knew I wanted to read this one. Brittainy has a great writing style and there was a lot that I really liked here. I will say that I did have some issues with this book though, and there were some things that didn't work as well for me.

Alyssa and Logan come from very different backgrounds, but have been friends for a long time. Not only are their families different, but Alyssa and Logan are opposites in almost every way. When Alyssa saw the darkness in Logan she never gave up on him, and their friendship turned into something more. Things worked until Logan made a decision that changed everything when he threw them away.

I don't want to go into a ton of detail here so as not to spoil the story, but I had a tough time with these characters at times. I loved that Alyssa saw Logan for more than just what most people would see. She supported him through everything and she never gave up on him not matter what. But she was constantly giving here, and unfortunately Logan didn't have much to give in return. Their relationship felt so imbalanced to me and while I understood him needing her more, I wanted something to give where that was concerned even though I knew he just wasn't capable. It was really hard to like Logan at times, and unfortunately that made it hard for me to connect to him. I loved that these two were friends though, and that their relationship grew from that. It wasn't a case of insta-love, and for that I was grateful. 

I think my biggest issue here though was that I really liked the beginning and the ending was good too, but I felt like this book sort of lost me with the middle. I put it down and walked away a few times and came close to almost calling it quits, but I am glad that I stuck with it. I think that this story had the potential to be amazing all the way through though, so I was disappointed with how much I struggled in the middle. This book is broken into parts, and it almost felt like completely different stories at times. It just didn't feel entirely cohesive and I think that is part of why I had problems. I still thing that it was good, but I think maybe my expectations had been high considering what I have heard about previous books from Cherry. I will still look for more from her in the future, and I can't wait to read The Air He Breathes. I think that this one is worth giving the shot and that a lot of people will really like it especially if they stick with it.

**ARC Provided by Give Me Books Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle

ARC Review: Finley by Ella Frank

Finley is the first book in Ella Frank's new Sunset Cove series which is a spin-off of her Temptation series. Don't worry if you haven't read the Temptation series, Finley can be read as a complete standalone story and readers will be happy to know that there is no cliffhanger. I really liked this book and the characters and I think M/M fans will enjoy this story a lot. 

Seven years ago Daniel Finley left Florida for Chicago to attend law school after being sent away by the man he thought he would spend the rest of his life with. But when he receives a note telling him it is time to come home, Daniel knows that he needs to return to Florida to see what made Brantley Hayes contact him after all this time. Daniel is no longer the same guy he was seven years ago though, and he will do whatever it takes to put the past behind him and move forward for good. But Brantley isn't willing to give up without a fight and is determined to show Daniel just how much he cares about and has never forgotten him. 

I really liked both Finn and Brantley. These two had such a great connection and a ton of chemistry. It was obvious right from the start that what they shared ran so deep for both of them. This wasn't some fling between them, and my heart broke for all the pain and hurt they each felt. I understood why Brantley had sent Finn away, and yet I hated him a bit for it just like Finn did. It was so hard to see how much that hurt him and I was glad that he was able to ultimately see why Brantley had done it as well even if he didn't like it. The connection these two shared had never gone away, and it was great to see them reconnect and get to know who they were after seven years apart. 

I did have a few things that kept this one from being five stars for me though. I thought that at times there was a lot of stuff going on while not much was actually happening. The story seemed to suffer here from not much plot, a ton of inner dialogue, and quite a bit of back and forth/push and pull. I also felt like at times the switch between past and present really removed me from the story. The transitions weren't as smooth as I would have liked and I sometimes wished that things would have just been explained or gone over in the present without an entire flashback to the past. We would be right in the middle of something and it would just suddenly switch to the past, which really messed up the flow and pacing of the story for me. I also found it confusing at times with the POV switching mid-chapter which of them was speaking. With a male/male story it can be tough to keep track of when the speaker is only referred to as "he" and I found that it happened quite a bit here and I would have to try and figure out who it was as it wasn't clear. I do think that these two were great and I liked them a lot. I just wish a few of these things had been handled a little different as I think that Finn and Brantley's story could have been a five star book had some of these things been done differently. I am excited to see what happens next in this series as Ella Frank did a great job of setting up such an interesting story for two of the secondary characters here. There was a ton of tension and a lot that has obviously happened, and I can't wait to find out more!

**ARC Provided by Between the Sheets Promotions**

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Feature and Giveaway: Cuff Me by Lauren Layne

Vincent knows he's not the most charming of the Moretti brothers. He prefers brooding to flirting, reading to talking, and he sure as hell isn't about to give into his mother's insistence that he 'settle down with a nice girl.' Luckily, Vincent's gig as one of the NYPD's top homicide detectives keeps him busy. As does his long-time partner, Jill Henley–a tough-as-nails cop with the face of an angel and smart mouth that makes Vincent crazy in all the worst ways.

After six years of working the homicide beat with the tight-lipped Vincent Moretti, Jill figure she knows him better than anyone. Which is not at all. But when their most recent case points to a potential serial-killer situation, the higher-ups send them on a rare undercover mission to a place no NYPD officer dares go: the Upper Eastside.

Now the bureau's most antagonistic set of partners is posing as Mr. and Mrs. Brooks of Park Avenue. Spending 24/7 in the suspect's territory brings them closer and closer to their killer . . . and closer to each other. Soon Vincent and Jill are playing good cop/bad cop in and out of bed, and Jill's falling hard. But can she convince Vincent to give her a shot as partner in life, as well as at the bureau?

Purchase: | Amazon | KindleB&N | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo |

Thursday, March 24, 2016

ARC Review: The Unforgettable Hero: A Playful Brides Story by Valerie Bowman

Anything Valerie Bowman writes I want to read. I just recently discovered her with the “Playful Brides” series and I just absolutely love her. I find her to be such a clever and witty storyteller! Even the stories that I did not love I really enjoyed! She is a very original and unique author and her characters are always memorable to me!

“The Unforgettable hero” is a novella about Cecelia Harcourt. Poor Cecelia is in a very dire situation. Her and her sickly sister are all alone. Their parents were killed in an accident and they are now at the mercy of their uncle and aunt. To make Cecelia’s situation worse they are determined to marry her off to a horrible cousin named Percy. Cecelia is not only desperate to escape her relationship with Percy but also to afford medicine that her sister needs and that their aunt and uncle won’t buy. She tries to take matters into her own hands and decides to write a romance novel. She is determined to sell it and make enough money to help her sister and hopefully fee her from her upcoming marriage to Percy.

Unfortunately, luck is not on Cecelia’s side and while returning from a failed trip to get her book bought and published she receives a blow to the head and doesn’t remember who she is. To her rescue comes Lieutenant Adam Hunt. (Adam is the brother-in-law to Lucy and brother to Derek from the first book in the series.) When Cece sees Adam she believes that she is the heroine in her story -lady Magnolia and he is the hero- the Duke of Loveridge. Adam because of the doctor’s advice pretends that this is reality in an effort to help her gain her memory.

While this is happening, Cece’s sister is desperately looking for her and Adam is dealing with his own search for himself. There are also very brief appearances from Jane, Cassandra and Lucy. In classic Bowman style, the characters are funny and memorable. There are some unexpected twists and turns when Cece finds herself at the alter and ready to marry Percy. This was a cute and fun novella. Now off to read “The Untamed Earl” which is the next in the series and is absolutely fantastic-review to follow soon!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: Asking For More by Lilah Pace

Asking for More is the third story in the Asking for It series by Lilah Pace. This novella continues Jonah and Vivienne's story and should be read in order. While it was nice to get more of these characters, this novella was very short at just five chapters, and honestly I am not really sure what the point was here. While I have loved this series and was excited for more of the characters, there wasn't really much progress here or that happened besides a rehash of the previous books and more of the same when it came to Jonah and his issues. 

This novella starts out with Jonah and Vivenne together and continuing their play. They have both embraced their desires, even if they don't like it. After a play session Vivienne gets hurt and Jonah blames himself. Then he receives a call from his sister and finds out that she has trouble of her own. So Jonah and Vivienne head to South America to be there for her. While Jonah and Vivienne continue to deal with their pasts, Vivienne must also wonder if Jonah will ever be able to leave it all behind in order to have a future with her. 

While it was good to see Jonah and Vivienne, as well as the secondary characters, I just felt like this story was nothing but what we have already seen. We got a rehash of everything that these two had been through, and everything new that came up seemed to be a repeat of the issues that they already had. It just didn't seem like there was enough to warrant another story here, and honestly I was really disappointed after reading this one. While there were some hot encounters between these two, it just wasn't necessary and I wish that Lilah Pace would have quit while she was ahead. I highly recommend this series if you can keep an open mind and go into it knowing that this series does deal with rape fantasy. I know it won't be for everyone, but Lilah Pace is a great writer and these two are seriously hot together. But I wouldn't recommend this one at the $1.99 price it is being sold at, when there wasn't really a point here.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Feature and Giveaway: Ignite by Karen Erickson

Weston Gallagher is falling hard—for the wrong woman.

One night of passion has haunted him for years.

Now he’s got a second chance to get the girl of his dreams…but there’s just one problem:

She hates him.

Eight years after he stormed out of Wildwood, California, West has returned to his hometown as a firefighter. His friends and family are thrilled he’s back—with the exception of Harper Hill. His sister’s best friend is all grown up and in all the right ways. He knows she’s going to do everything she can to protect her heart and keep him at arm’s length, but West has other ideas.

He will win the girl that got away. No matter what it takes…

Purchase: | Amazon | KindleB&N | iTunes | Google Play | Kobo |

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Audiobook Review: Of Silk and Steam by Bec McMaster, Narrated by Alison Larkin

I heard so many great reviews about “Of Silk and Steam” by Bec MacMaster that I wanted to find out for myself how her stories were. Although this is the fifth book in this steampunk series and I had not read or heard any of the previous stories in the series, I really enjoyed it. McMaster had me hooked from the first line and even though it is a lengthy story I was never bored. I always wanted to know what would happen next and how the story would unfold.

The story had me hooked by the heroine- Lady Armina or Mina as she is known- being a kickass. She is a complete alpha woman! I was so impressed with her that she completely made me enjoy this story. Her rival is Leo Barrons. They have had a very antagonistic relationship for years. They were on opposite sides and Mina swore to kill Leo out of vengeance. Leo is a perfect match for Mina. He loves making her angry and endearingly calls her “Duchess” to make her angry at him. Aside from the sexual tension between them, Leo and Mina are on opposites sides of the Ivory Tower in London. There is a big secret that Leo has been carrying for years and inadvertently Mina exposes his big secret.

Mina is the right hand woman of the Queen. Although there are blue bloods and other such creatures that are half human and half machine, the Queen is entirely human. She sits on the thrown of the tower with the awful prince consort. As the prince consort tries to fend off rebellions in his kingdom Mina and Leo have to figure out if they can trust each other enough to over thrown him.

Aside from the tension between Mina and Leo is the tension of the rookeries and the rebels in Echelon. I have to confess that there were parts I was lost and the author named characters from the previous books. I would highly recommend hearing or reading the previous books in the series since the plots are a lead up to what finally happens in “Of Silk and Steam.” Nonetheless I was glued and riveted by the story.

A huge part of this enjoyable factor for me was Alison Larkin. I’ve reviewed books by her before and she is a great narrator. She knows when to draw a reader in with her character impersonations and when to step back and take the place of a narrator. I really enjoyed and recommend this audiobook and plan to read or hear the previous ones in the series.

**Audiobook Provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: Ignite by Karen Erickson

Ignite is the first book in Karen Erickson's new Wildwood series and I couldn't wait to read about this sexy firefighter! There is just something about a sexy man in a uniform, and I enjoyed Weston's story quite a bit. There were a few things that kept me from loving this book even though I did like a lot here. 

Weston Gallagher couldn't get out of Wildwood fast enough, but now eight years later he is back in his hometown after accepting a promotion. While most of his family and friends are excited, not everyone is thrilled he is back. Right before he left, Weston shared a steamy night of kissing with Harper Hill, his sister's best friend. Though they had always liked one another, there were many things that kept them apart. But now that West is back and Harper is all grown up, he is ready to finally see what is between them. West has his work cut out for him though, as Harper is determined to keep him at arm's length after the way he was in the past. 

These characters while likable felt very immature at times. They were constantly doing or saying things that felt a lot younger to me than should be acceptable in an adult romance. I know that Karen Erickson/Monica Murphy writes a lot of NA books as well, and I think part of that bled into this book. I wanted them to get their acts together, and unfortunately I didn't see a lot of that here. West was looking for his return home to be temporary before he could get back out and at first he didn't want commitment or a relationship. Even though he was attracted to Harper, he had no intention of anything more. Then it was suddenly as if a switch had been flipped and he changed his mindset completely. Harper seemed to be protecting herself from being hurt at the beginning and knew she wanted to explore a bit of her wild side with West, knowing the score from the beginning. But as they grew closer, she grew more immature it seemed. There was one time here that it especially showed, and West was in the middle of doing his job after a fire and he had to return to work after checking to make sure that she was okay. She was really upset that he had to return to his serious self and do his job and didn't spend more time showing her how much he was ridiculous and honestly I wanted to shake her. 

While I liked them together and they had obvious chemistry, it was hard to get over everything that they did. Their actions just felt too childish for me to really believe that they had a chance at working out long term, especially with how high risk his job was. If she reacted that way this early on, I just didn't have much faith that she would be able to accept it as they got more serious. I also have to say that things felt a bit incestuous here (not as in actually related or anything!) but Harper was best friends with West's sister Wren and his ex-girlfriend Delilah. Delilah was over West and was now interested in West's brother Lane. Though West had never had sex with Delilah and there were no feelings there, it was just a bit weird and kind of gave me a bit of an icky feeling as I read about Delilah not only discussing Harper and West's sex life, but also asking for details. It just didn't really work for me, and as much as I wanted to be able to leave it all in the past it felt like it was all still very present here. I think that this story had a ton of potential, and I think that there are a lot of readers that will enjoy this book. There were just some things that bothered me personally and that made this book one that I didn't love. Lane and Delilah's story is up next in this series with Smolder expected to release in June 2016.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

Feature and Giveaway: Where Lightning Strikes by A.L. Jackson

Do you know what it feels like right before lightning strikes? How you can feel the current running through your veins? The trembles of warning that ripple through the air? It was a thrill Tamar King chased all her life until it became the very thing she had to escape.

For the last four years, Tamar King has hidden herself in an isolated world she created. She was safe. No one could touch her. Until Lyrik West walked through her door.

He’s the lead guitarist for Sunder and everything she can never have. The dark and beautiful rock star becomes everything she craves.

Lyrik’s life has been devoted to his band and that success has cost him. Bitter, hard, and filled with regret, he refuses to lose himself again, but from the moment he sees her, he wants one night with Tamar King.

The gorgeous bartender is more than he bargained for. Their attraction is consuming. Their desire overpowering. With one touch, they ignite.

But is it worth the cost of getting burned?

She’s a gorgeous nightmare and he’s a wicked dream…

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

ARC Review: Beauty and the Bull Rider by Victoria Vane

The third installment in the Hotel Rodeo Series left me wanting more. This book was full of wonder from start to finish. While I absolutely loved Ty and Monica from the first two with their explosive chemistry, Delaney and Zac are so sweet they made me ache! Zac, whom we know as Ty’s oldest friend (despite a fallout, until recently in the previous book), is at the end of his Bull Riding days. He is back in Oklahoma as the head of the Circle B Ranch, and he is ready to fight for Delaney.

She is stubborn, beautiful, and innocent with an independence that I found truly loveable. She is also obsessed with having a baby, but what she doesn’t realize is that she is also in need of the right man to help her achieve it. Prior to this, Zac became aware of Delaney’s dilemma, and her attempt at gaining Ty as a sperm donor. Fear of losing her heart to another man, and being left by one, caused her to close herself off from romance. Ty broke her, and Zac wants to fix her.

Victoria did an amazing job as painting Delaney as a troublemaker in the previous books, but it was obvious that there was more to her story. Due to the way she so wonderfully weaves her tales, it was easy to be intrigued with the Delaney we thought we knew, and the Delaney that could be known to us. I enjoyed her so very much! This is just one more reason I love reading Victoria’s books: Her female leads are always kick-ass, and her heroes always take my heart with them on the journey from start to finish.

Like the all or nothing man Zac is, he’s betting on making a baby with Delaney. What he doesn’t count on, however, is that Delaney only wants his little swimmers. He may have been warned, but he is bound and determined to convince her they’d be better together than she would be alone. She wants artificial insemination, he wants old fashioned. They collide, but Zac goes all the way, showing Delaney that he is in for the long haul, and that she needs more than just a baby to fill the hole in her heart.

Zac fulfills every promise to her. Though he has been waiting for a chance at her for eight years, he has no idea just how much he’ll risk. This book was funny, sweet, romantic, and beautiful. There were scenes that made me laugh, and I learned interesting facts about bulls, breeding, and the like between what happens in a fertility clinic. I love the passion with which Victoria writes. She researches quite a bit, and I’m always learning neat facts while also enjoying the chemistry between her characters as the plotline unfolds.

When these two get together, they become partners in everything. They learn how to cooperate and how to take a chance on one another. Delaney learns that leaning on someone for support doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human. Zac realizes that love encompasses everything and that one has to believe in the possibility of dreams. From beginning to end, Zac and Delaney brought me a smile. They are going to help ensure that the Hotel Rodeo is brought back to life with a vengeance, and that they have their prime stock in Delaney’s own venture. Furthermore, I bet they’ll have adorable little babies in the future.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |