Saturday, November 19, 2016

Blissfully Sweet Event Winners

There are many winners to announce but before we do so, we wanted to take the time and say a SUPER BIG THANK YOU to each and every author that participated in the Blissfully Sweet event and donated items for giveaway. And a MASSIVE SHOUT OUT of THANKS to the Entangled Publishing and the Bliss Books line. You all rock our socks!

Now, on to the winners!

ARC Review: Crazy Pucking Love by Cindi Madsen

Crazy Pucking Love is the third book in the Taking Shots series by Cindi Madsen. Don't worry if you haven't read the previous books in the series, each story is a standalone. I hadn't read any of the previous books and didn't have any problems understanding this one. Crazy Pucking Love was an easy and enjoyable read with a lot to like. I did have a few things that kept me from really loving it, but it was a good story that I would rate somewhere between 3 and 4 stars.

Megan and Dane met and shared a passionate kiss only to soon discover that Dane is on the hockey team with Megan's brother, making a relationship between them forbidden. But Dane and Megan both suffer from insomnia and soon find themselves forming a friendship despite the fact that they know they should stay away from one another. As their friendship grows into more, Megan and Dane must decide if a chance at something together is worth breaking all the rules for. 

There was so much chemistry between these two! They were great for each other, and you could see right away that they should be together. But despite the chemistry between them, I really struggled with Dane. It wasn't that I didn't like him, because I did, but he was too much in his head for me. He frustrated me, and worse than that he couldn't stop mentioning his ex which was a turn off. Megan was likable and determined, but she too frustrated me at times with how she let Dane get away with too much push and pull. The back and forth was a bit too much. I did feel the connection between them though, and it was nice to see a friendship form first rather than the instalust/love that is so common in NA stories anymore. 

Despite the criticisms I had with the characters, this was a good book and I did enjoy it. The heat and chemistry was there from the start and the sexy times were hot! I liked Dane and Megan's interactions and felt like the connection they were forming was real and genuine, and more than just attraction. I think had we not been constantly reminded of the ex and Dane constantly in his head because of it, that this could have been a really great read. I still enjoyed it though, and if you are a fan of NA romance and sports romance stories, this is one worth checking out. I would read more from Cindi Madsen, and I liked a lot of the secondary characters in this story which makes me want to read more in this series.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

Guest Post with Author Nicole Helm and Giveaway

Nicole Helm writes down-to-earth contemporary romance specializing in people who don’t live close enough to neighbors for them to be a problem. When she’s not writing, she spends her time dreaming about someday owning a barn. She lives with her husband and two young sons in O’Fallon, Missouri.

Visit Nicole’s website for more down-to-earth contemporary romance!

ARC Review: To The Edge by Anna Del Mar

I admit that this is kind of the perfect book for me. I'm an erotic romance fan and I love a book where the characters agree to a sex arrangement. In this book Clara is a sex blog writer. She has a controlling senator mother and doesn't realize that her life has been altered by her mother's intervention. Clara is trying to get some first hand BDSM experience.  Her inital foray goes hilariously wrong. Hint: it involves a cage and a house fire. Much to her shock, Clara has to be saved from her near death experience by her first love Noah.

Noah is a former navy seal. He left Clara 15 years before this book starts. He genuinely loved Clara and left her as the result of her mother's diabolical meddling. Clara thinks that Noah abandoned her. Noah thinks Clara had been ignoring him for 15 years. But then, he finds Clara hanging in a cage and it's on and poppin again. Clara is determined to return to her BDSM research and Noah is determined to keep her safe. Of course it doesnt take long for them to figure out they can both accomplish their goals together. Hmm, did I forget to mention that Noah can't really leave his house because he had agoraphobia? Minor detail. Clara thinks that her sexual submission to Noah can help him come out, like of the house, again. It turns out she's right.

What comes next is a lot of smoking hot sex with domination and submission in the mix. I loved it. Noah has some majorly deep issues that came from his time as a SEAL. Ilive to see a sexy alpha male redemption story. I loved that from the beginning of the book Noah feels possessive about Clara. And I really like Clara's personality. Even though Clara has some ish she's kind of running from. She's also fearless and funny. This is random but Clara is nosy. I loved how she would just admit it.

From the very beginning of this book I was rooting for Clara and Noah to recapture there love. The very beginning of the book had some slow spots but beyond that, I ate this one up. I really recommend this for all you romance/BDSM fans.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

ARC Review: Split by JB Salsbury

I honestly don't even really know where to begin with this review. This book was so good, and it happened to be the first one that I have ever read from JB Salsbury. I have heard great things about her books, so I knew after reading the blurb for this one that I had to read it. Split captivated me right from the start, and I couldn't put it down. I am going to keep this review as vague as possible so as not to spoil the story, because trust me you need to experience this one without knowing what will happen.

After spending his childhood trying to protect himself from others, Lucas now finds that his mind is his own worst enemy. He has blackouts, and while he can't recall what happens during the blackouts, he does remember the feelings from them. Lucas finally seems to have found a place where he can live a quiet life, safe from the darkness. But when his boss's estranged daughter shows up asking questions, Lucas finds his life spiraling out of control once again. 

I found Lucas absolutely fascinating. I liked his character, and I felt invested in him right away. I really felt for all that he had been through, and he had so many layers to him. While he was all alpha, he had a softer side too and that was something that I found irresistible. Shyann was tough and sassy, and I liked her right away. The chemistry between them was intense, and I really loved the dynamic between them. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I can't wait to read more from JB Salsbury. This book was unique and unpredictable, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat from the first word. While I can usually predict where things are going, Split kept me guessing. Because of this story being so unique, I think that it will appeal to romance readers of all genres. While it does have elements of suspense, mystery, and even dark moments, it reads more contemporary to me and I think is a story that is well worth the read. I definitely recommend this one if you are looking for something different.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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

ARC Review: Dollars by Pepper Winters

Dollars is Part 2 in this series. It begins where Part 1 ends. I reviewed Part 1 as well, you can find that on the site somewhere. I gave Part 1 5 stars (I think) and I'm giving this installment 3 stars for the same reason- the writing. Winters' writing is so good that I'm giving this book a decent rating even though I have some serious criticisms of the story line.  When I say Winters' writing is good, I don't mean, 'oh she tells a good story' I mean she exhibits amazing literary prowess. Her skills as a writer exceed the romance genre, she's just a damn good writer. The imagery she presents his amazing. The nuances of the characters in this book is unexpected and keeps you enthralled. And just in general, the word selection puts you inside the story.

I assume you have read Part 1 of this book. If not, stop reading this review here because there will be Part 1 spoilers. Pim is taken from Alrik by Elder. She is half dead, her tongue is half cut out and she is full blown emotionally unstable. Elder takes Pim to his home at sea and commits himself to nursing her back to health. Elder repeatedly alludes to the risk that he will unleash his "true nature" on Pim. The onboard doctor who nurses Pim back to health even warns Elder about his harmful natural tendencies. As for Pim, even after she starts to heal and she can talk, she refuses to talk to Elder. Pim is stuck in a cycle of trying to figure out Elder's plans for her, the trauma of her (totally effed up) past and a deep rage at everything around her. Elder keeps telling Pim that what he wants from her is her secrets but he expresses a great deal of physical attraction towards her anyway. 

I don't know guys. I have so many thoughts. First, this book is hella repetitive. The emotional cycle that I describe above that both Elder and Pim go through his repeated throughout the entire book. I honestly found it difficult to read the book because nothing really happens beyond a lot of emotional angst. When the book ended, I felt like everything the author accomplished in this book could have been done in a quarter of the pages. Also, both Pim and Elder started to wear on my nerves. You have to get through almost this whole book without Pim talking. That means that all of her interactions with other people are one sided where her responses are purely mental. We went through that in book 1. I was really hoping for some dialogue in book 2. If you are like me, don't get your hopes up because you'll wind up disappointed. The other thing that started to really wear on me was the giant build up to Elder's past with NO RESOLUTION. We get through the whole book and we get no answers about who Elder really is or what he did that led to him being exiled from his family.  And because of that we have no answers as to why Elder can't just let Pim go.

By the end of this book, I was just emotionally exhausted. I don't really feel like I got much out of this installment. I really wish Winters had moved the plot forward faster or made this book way shorter.

**ARC provided by TRSoR Promotions**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Feature: Dirty Wicked by Shayla Black

From New York Times bestselling author, Shayla Black...

After being framed for a crime he didn’t commit, former private eye Nick Navarro has nothing but revenge on his mind—until a woman from his past returns to beg for his help.

Beautiful widow Sasha Porter has been hunted by his enemies. Desperate, she offers him anything to keep her young daughter safe, even agreeing to become his mistress. The last thing either of them want are emotional entanglements but as they entrap the ruthless politician who arranged Nick’s downfall and passion sizzles between them, danger closes in.

Will he choose love over vengeance before it’s too late?

Purchase: | Amazon |

Thursday, November 17, 2016

ARC Review: Filthy Rich by Raine Miller

I had high high hopes for this book.  I love billionaire romance with bossy alpha males and beautiful women who need a little extra cash.  Brooke and Caleb's story promised to deliver what I love most. Caleb is richy rich and sick of his one night affiliations.  When the book kicks off, he is finishing off a particularly crazy "relationship" which seemed like a series of one night stands with a nymphomaniac.  It's a really long story but it ends with Caleb swearing off random hook ups. Brooke is working two jobs to make ends meet and trying to take care of her grandmother.  Brooke grew up on Blackstone Island where she was working class and Caleb was making it rain (I made that up but just go with the imagery). The interesting thing about when Caleb and Brooke meet is that Brooke already has kind of preconceived notions about men like Caleb.  For Caleb's part, he starts out pretty clueless about what effect his wealth might have on Brooke.

In the fashion that I truly love in a romance, Caleb figures out a way to financially help Brooke and be close to her without letting her know what he's doing.  He hires her to decorate his home. Love it! Ok here's the thing, I really like Brooke and Caleb together.  They have instant attraction but the author still takes time to develop their relationship.  It is a little weird in the beginning.  After Brooke and Caleb first meet, Caleb kind of starts obsessing about Brooke and how he can run into her again. It seemed kind of extreme for a two time chance encounter beginning but I could go with it.  I like over the top obsessive attraction.  I also liked the Brooke is strong and independent but still knew when to rely on Caleb.

There were some things about this book that I see some people loved but I actually found kind of distracting and cliche.  There is gay gay best guy friend which we have seen I don't even know how many times. When Caleb ditches psycho chick in the beginning she goes right to his best friend.  And that's ok with Caleb which I found distracting to say the least.  There is a story line with Caleb's assistant.  I'm intrigued and if a book is written about that situation I might read it but I didn't really get why it was in this book. There are a few other things which just seemed to do more to detract from the story then to add to it but in the end, I gotta say, I liked this book.  I recommend reading it.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon |

ARC Review: Down Deep by Virna DePaul

Down Deep is the first book in the Going Deep series by Virna DePaul. While I have enjoyed books by her in the past and this one looked to be everything that I love in a good romance story, I had quite a few issues that kept me from loving this story. I do think that some readers will really enjoy this story, but there were some things that just didn't work for me personally. 

Football star Heath was Camille's first crush until he embarrassed her at a football game in high school. While she got revenge, she also closed herself off in order to move forward with her life. Now years later, Camille is a single mom and photographer. When she runs into Heath again, she finds all the feelings she once felt come rushing back to her, and Heath is more irresistible than ever. But while the two begin to think that there might be a future for them, they also begin to realize that life may have other plans for them. 

I struggled a bit with these characters if I am honest. While I wanted to like them and feel invested in their relationship, I didn't ever feel their connection. Attraction and steam yes, but I didn't feel like we ever got the depth of emotion beyond a huge case of insta-love. Camille was a bit to wishy washy for me, saying one thing and doing another. Heath was a bit too much of the stereotypical jerk jock at times. I didn't feel connected to them and that coupled with the lack of genuine connection between them had me feeling indifferent to them.

My biggest problem here though was the fact that there were too many inconsistencies and problems with the actual story for me to every fully get behind it. While this was an early copy and some of this could have been changed, these were issues with the story itself and not simple grammar or spelling mistakes. I do understand that this is a work of fiction and that the author has to take some creative license in order to make a story work. But if you say one thing at one part of the story and then contradict that later with words or actions then the whole thing begins to unravel. While these things probably won't bother a lot of readers, I found it hard to get past those things as well as the fact that I didn't really care for the characters. This one just wasn't meant for me, despite the fact that it had the potential to have been a really great story. If it sounds like one you might like though, I recommend giving it a shot. It might just have been that it didn't work for me personally, and could end up being one that others love.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | 

Feature and Giveaway: An Untouchable Christmas by Cindy Skaggs

This holiday is one she will never forget. 

Sofia Capri survived life as a mob wife, but living with drop-dead gorgeous FBI agent Logan Stone has its own challenges. Step one? Host his family for Christmas dinner.

Rescuing Sofia from her former mob life and saving her kidnapped son was enough to earn Logan a place in her life, but a mysterious phone call before dinner threatens the security he'd give anything to provide.
When Sofia's son and Logan's nieces disappear from the festivities, the illusion of a normal Christmas shatters, hurling Sofia back into her nightmares.

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

ARC Review: Sexy Lies and Rock & Roll by Sawyer Bennett

I confess that I'm a Sawyer fan.  I just read her Sugar Bowl series and I loved it.  I also read most of the Carolina Fury Ice Hockey romances and some of her earlier legal romance novels.  I'm saying all that to say that even though there were a few things (Emma) that unnerved me about this book, I probably wouldn't give Sawyer anything less than a positive rating.  I think that this author's writing is extremely well thought out and put together.  Her books are researched well and never strain credibility.  No matter how I may feel about plot choices, I always feel like I'm in the book and I always remember her stories.

This book starts out with intrigue- and by that I mean a murder and a mystery.  Evan is a rock star who finds himself at the center of a murder charge.  Evan is all the hot alpha sex appeal you expect from a rock star.  He's also a manwhore who offers women a nice parting gift as he kicks them out of his house (kidding about the parting gift but not about the kicking out part).  Emma is a plain, boring contracts lawyer.  Ok, I'm about to travel down a side road.  I'm actually a lawyer and stuff like this drives me CRAZY. First of all, baby contract lawyers don't just randomly jump into high profile cases with high profile clients. It makes me feel like the only reason Evan wanted Emma was because of her looks, which I didn't like.  Oh, wait, I don't have a second of all, that's it. But, whatever, suspend disbelief and go with it.

I actually really liked Evan in this book.  Evan is written in the typical fashion of Sawyer Bennett heroes.  He is extremely confident and pursues Emma even as she tries to put him off.  I love the chase and I love that Evan didn't give up on Emma. Emma and Evan share a tour bus and pretty soon they are sharing way more than that.  The only thing, other than the legal issues, that gave me pause in this book was Emma's reaction to the conflict in the story.  I won't tell you what happens but Emma's reaction left a bad taste in my mouth.  I felt like Evan more than earned Emma's trust.  I didn't get why Emma didn't just give him the benefit of the doubt. That didn't detract from my enjoyment in this book.  There was great chemistry between these characters, some hot sexy scenes and a really sweet romance.  I'm not really big on rock & roll romances but I recommend this book and I think you'll enjoy it.

**ARC provided by Author**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: Collecting the Pieces by L.A. Fiore

Collecting the Pieces is the second book that I have read from L.A. Fiore, and let me tell you that I am now a huge fan of hers. This book was so good, and I really love her writing style. Emotional and real, this story kept my up way past my bedtime because I could not put it down. 

Abandoned as a baby, Sidney didn't find any real family until she was put in a foster home at the age of ten. Though the foster parents were more interested in the money than her, Sidney found a brother and best friend in Connor. In high school, Sidney meets and falls for Jake. For the first time Sidney finally has a real family and love with Jake and his parents. But just as it appears that Sidney's life is set, everything falls apart. Years go by, and Sidney finds herself lost and clinging to the past. When her and her best friend relocate, Abel Madden changes everything for Sidney once again. 

I loved the characters here. I felt connected to them and each were so real and deep. Sidney was so strong, despite everything that she had been through. She was sweet and beautiful on the inside and out. I really felt for her and all she had lost, and I was so glad that she was able to find love again. Jake was so amazing! I loved him right away, and he and his family were everything that Sidney needed to really know what love was. Up until she met him, she didn't have that, so to see her get that from him and see what an amazing person he was was a truly hard act to follow. I wasn't sure right away that I would be able to move past him and accept Abel. If i'm honest, there were times that I was upset that we were put in that position that we had to. But then I found myself like Sidney, picking up the pieces and moving on and I loved Abel as well. He was also what Sidney needed at that time in her life, just as Jake had been before. 

I don't want to spoil the story or give anything away, so let me reassure those of you that might be a little apprehensive to read this one. This book is a great story that I believe is definitely worth the read, and it is not a love triangle and does not contain cheating. Beyond that though, this story needs to be experienced so I recommend going into this one as blind as possible. L.A. Fiore has a way with words, and her stories seem to be emotional which I absolutely love. She draws you in from the first word and doesn't let go, and with each book I have read from her I am left with a huge book hangover, finding it impossible to forget the beautiful story I have just read. Collecting the Pieces and His Light in the Dark are two of my favorite reads, and I am definitely becoming a huge fan of L.A. Fiore's. I can't wait to read more from her, and I think readers that are looking for something deep and emotional should give her books a shot.

**ARC Provided by The Next Step PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | 

Feature and Giveaway: Forget Me Always by Sara Wolf

It’s been three years, twenty-five weeks, and five days since Isis Blake fell in love, and if she has it her way, it’ll stretch into infinity. Since then, she’s punched Jack Hunter—her nemesis-turned-maybe-something-more—in the face, survived a brutal attack by her mom’s abusive ex thanks to Jack’s heroics, and then promptly forgotten all about him.

The one bright spot for Isis is Sophia, the ephemeral girl who shares Isis’s hospital stay as well as a murky past with Jack. But as Isis’s memories return, she finds it harder and harder to resist what she felt for Jack, and Jack finds it impossible to stay away from the only girl who’s ever melted the ice around his heart.

As the dark secrets surrounding Sophia emerge, Isis realizes Jack isn’t who she thought he was. He’s dangerous. But when Isis starts receiving terrifying emails from an anonymous source, that danger might be the only thing protecting her from something far more threatening.

Her past.

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