Monday, March 19, 2018

Review: The Valiant (Spy Girl #4), by Jillian Dodd

From USA Today bestselling author Jillian Dodd comes the fourth book in a sizzling series filled with action and adventure. Fans of The Selection and The Hunger Games will discover a heart-pounding thrill ride of espionage and suspense set in glittering high society.

What will happen when the world goes ka-boom? 

The assassin known as The Priest was tasked with a series of three hits, and the last one blows up in his face—literally. 
People will die. 
People will go on. 
Unlikely alliances will be formed.
And when British intelligence learns that a series of nuclear backpack bombs were smuggled into their country, there’s a lot more to worry about than discovering why a covert agent was assassinated over six years ago or what’s going to start in Montrovia.

4 out of 5 stars

I was on pins and needles when the bomb went off in book #3 and then ended, leaving us wondering about Huntley and Lorenzo's potential demise!  I mean if they had died there really wouldn't have been a need to continue the story so I felt confident they would make it but I was dying to know how Jillian would spin it.  Let me just say she did it brilliantly!

So what did I love about this installment?  Mainly Huntley and Lorenzo's relationship.  It's like they are both finally on the same page, the same team and have the same goals in mind.  They have finally freely admitted their feelings for one another and while Huntley is struggling to balance feelings she was trained to stay away from she continues to push through and choose love.  I was so excited and felt all the "feels."  She's a girl on a mission and I especially enjoyed the "treasure hunt."  I think watching her re-live her memories left me feeling more connected to her character.

What I found myself frustrated with was trying to keep track of all the secondary characters and their back stories.  Jillian, if you're reading this review, can we get a flow chart or something at the start of the next book with a little brief synopsis of where the previous book left off?  I think because I read other books in between waiting on the new releases of this series I forget important details and then I spend the first several chapters trying to re-familiarize myself with the players and that takes away from really being able to focus on the important details and clues as the new material progresses.  Maybe I should just re-read the previous book before I start the new release?!?!

I do wish Huntley hadn't reacted so quickly and stormed out at the first sign of trouble in paradise.  I would have loved to of seen the two of them stand united, fight for one another and their relationship.  I think they are stronger and better together and only hope they figure this out very quickly in the next  book because I'd much rather see them stand together than apart.

Needless to say I love these characters and really do enjoy this series.  I without a doubt recommend you take the plunge into this series yourself!  It's full of mystery, love and seriously who wouldn't want to pretend they were living vicariously through this Spy Girl as they escaped their own reality?

Monday, March 12, 2018

Review: Consequence, Book Two, The Confidence Game #2 by Rachel Higginson

Consequence, the conclusion to Sayer and Caroline’s epic love story

Five years ago, I escaped a dangerous life I had always wanted to leave. I got away. I found freedom. But it cost me the love of my life.

For five years I lived in hiding, protecting my most valuable secret while Sayer Wesley sat in prison paying for both our sins. I promised to love him forever. I promised to never leave him. 

I broke my promises.

Five months ago Sayer found me.

Five weeks ago, I was forced to face my past.

Five days ago, someone took my daughter. They kidnapped her in order to make Sayer and me suffer. I will do anything to get her back. Even if that means coming clean to Sayer, letting him into my life and introducing him to our daughter.

All I wanted was to protect her from this life and now she’s right in the middle of the chaos. Sayer is the only one that can help me. He’s the only one that can get her back.

But it might mean losing him again.

Fifteen years ago, I fell in love with Sayer Wesley. Now I must pay the consequences for falling in love with a con man.

4.75 out of 5 stars

From the moment I finished Constant, I was dying to get my hands on Consequence. I absolutely fell in love with Caro and Sayer and I had to know how their story ended.  Without a doubt my love for mafia drama is what sucked me into this story from page one. 

 Consequence begins exactly where Constant ended.  Juliet has been taken from day care and Caro and Sayer are hell bent on getting her back and exacting revenge on whoever is responsible.  Intertwined in the present day drama are a lot of flashbacks from Sayer and his childhood and what occurred in his life.  Some are the same scenes from Constant but with a totally different point of view.

Caro is still reeling from Juliet's kidnapping and is struggling with trusting Sayer.  She definitely wants to blame him for a lot of things and her inability to see what I could through flashbacks was at times annoying to me.  But, I realized I had the luxury of more information than she did, and so I tried not to let my aggravation with her waffling emotions keep me from liking her character.  One of the things I loved most about Caro was her tenacity.  She is strong, stubborn, smart and she loves with all she has.  She is one heck of a mama bear and will always protect her child.

For me, Sayer is just about the picture perfect hero.  Obviously he's hot as hell with a side dose of brooding and dangerous.  But as much as he's dangerous at his core is also this deep sense of loyalty and protectiveness towards Caro as well as Juliet.  While he's never had the luxury of meeting Juliet in person his parental bond to protect and get revenge is just as strong as Caro's. 

I always worry when starting part 2 of a two book series that perhaps the second book will loose momentum, I was pleasantly surprised this one never lost it's pace.  While I knew in my gut Caro could trust Sayer I loved watching the story play out and was pleasantly surprised to see some twists.  Whether or not you as a reader like Caro or even agree with her dramatics one thing is for certain she loves Sayer, he is the only person for her and Sayer's heart will only always beat for Caro!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Review: Eulogy by Rachel Van Dyken

All is lost.
I don't recognize myself in the mirror anymore.
My thoughts are filled with hatred and dripping with rage.
I've lost my soul.
She took it to the depths of Hell with her and haunts me with images of what could have been.
Sixty lives are mine to take.
Sixty lives stand in the way of my vengeance.
Sixty lives plus one more.
When the last drop of blood falls — mine will be spilled.
Only one person stands in the way.
She doesn't realize I'll kill her too.
I don't own a heart.
And even if I did — I wouldn't fall prey to its lies again.
I am Chase Abandonato.
Heir to a legacy of betrayal.
And I will kill them all.
Even if it means pointing the gun at myself.
A life for a life.
A soul for a soul.
Now I lay me down to sleep… I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Blood in. No out.

4 of 5 Stars

If you have been around the blog any length of time, it is no secret I absolutely adore the Eagle Elite series by Rachel Van Dyken.  Mafia, Humor, Love, Betrayal and everything in between; it is the perfect mix of everything I love.  While I was heartbroken at the end of Enrage for Chase, I also have to admit I have struggled with my connection to Mil in the last few books, and I felt as though he deserved better.  Needless to say I was pretty excited to get my hands on Eulogy just to see how Rachel was going to spin his story.

I love the big mafia family that is EE.  It goes without saying all the characters hold a special place in my heart and I am going to read every single book that comes out about them because my love for them and this series runs deep.  Simply put, I'm committed.  Eulogy's tone and mood are far darker than any of the other books in this series because Chase is basically out of control.  And while I understand the reasons behind it, I missed the fun and carefree character I fell in love with in the beginning.  I think what surprised me the most was just how unrecognizable Chase was to me and even to the other characters in the story.  Even at the end when he found his redemption he just wasn't the same.  Again, who would be after all that was Enrage, but for me it left me feeling so disconnected to his character.  

Nikolai sends one of his naive, young and beautiful attorneys to the family with an offer she can't refuse.  While I love Luciana and her character, I have to admit that some of this was fairly predictable, which I usually don't mind, but this time it felt to me Luciana fell to fast for Chase and it just didn't feel authentic.  That being said, Chase needed someone who knew nothing of him, who would learn to trust him and would ultimately put him first, be willing to sacrifice for him, since Mil never showed Chase any of those feelings.  True love is selfless, from both individuals and his relationship with Mil was always very one sided.      

As per usual, there are lots of twists and turns and one completely unexpected part of the book.  While Eulogy is probably my least favorite chapter of this series, I am still more than happy I invested the time into reading the book and I am very much looking forwards to the next installment.  My new fear after finishing Eulogy is the more books that are written in this series, the less likely they are to live up to the first 5-6 and I don't ever want to lose my love for them.  My hope for this series are for the stories to continue to go deeper while not loosing the love and familial bonds between the characters which makes this series addictive.  I hope they always keep me interested and that I always love and feel connected to all the characters as I did when we were first introduced to them.  

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Review: Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker

Noah Marshall has known a privileged and comfortable life thanks to his mother, the highly decorated chief of the Austin Police Department. But all that changes the night she reveals a skeleton that's been rattling in her closet for years, and succumbs to the guilt of destroying an innocent family's life. Reeling with grief, Noah is forced to carry the burden of this shocking secret.

Gracie Richards wasn't born in a trailer park, but after fourteen years of learning how to survive in The Hollow, it's all she knows anymore. At least here people don't care that her dad was a corrupt Austin cop, murdered in a drug deal gone wrong. Here, she and her mother are just another family struggling to survive...until a man who clearly doesn't belong shows up on her doorstep.

Despite their differences, Noah and Gracie are searching for answers to the same questions, and together, they set out to uncover the truth about the Austin Police Department's dark and messy past. But the scandal that emerges is bigger than they bargained for, and goes far higher up than they ever imagined.

Review:  4.75 of 5 Stars

One thing I love is a good book full of mystery and suspense.  It is rare to find a good one that keeps me guessing until the end. But, Keep Her Safe was just that for me.  While I may have figured parts of the story out before the end, I did not get all the missing pieces.  I love when I can't figure it all out and it makes me know it was extremely well written.

Keep Her Safe begins with Noah Marshall dealing with an enormous amount of grief and way more questions than answers after his mother, Jackie Marshall and Chief of the Austin Police Department's sudden death.  And after all that Noah has been through when he gets a cryptic message from his mom he knows he has to follow her wishes.

Gracie Richards (Wilkes) was born in Austin, TX but after the death of her father and the fallout from his involvement with drugs and being a dirty copy her mom fled to Tucson with Gracie and never looked back. Even though she can barely remember her dad, her mom is obsessed with Texas and keeping up with the drama in Austin, to the point that all she cares about is that and getting strung out.

When Noah shows up on her trailer door step with lots of unanswered questions, the two are thrown together to see if they can figure out the mystery that drove both their parents to death.  I love Noah and his southern gentleman charm and I love how you can feel his internal struggle with so many things throughout the book.  Gracie is jaded and tough on the outside but still vulnerable too.  They are the perfect combination for each other.  

The book is told in multiple points of view and in the past and present.  Not many authors can pull of alternating two POV but to pull of four is pretty amazing.  I really felt like I connected with all of the main characters, Noah and Gracie in the present and Abe and Jackie in the past.  The book was a puzzle that I was working to figure out in my mind along with the characters.  I enjoyed every second of it.  Definitely one click this one, you won't be disappointed. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Review: Infraction by Rachel Van Dyken

Pro footballer Miller Quinton would do anything for his best friend and teammate—including “fake dating” his friend’s sister. What no one knows is that seven months ago in Vegas, Miller and Kinsey did a whole lot more than just kiss. Miller knows that this cheerleader is off-limits to him and any guy on the team. Still, he can’t stop himself.
Kinsey’s whole world is on the verge of crumbling. Her dad has cancer. Her overprotective brother is falling apart. Dating Miller may be a fake-out, but he’s the one guy who can make her forget about everything—including all the reasons she stayed away from football players. With each heated moment, Miller feels more like a safe place…even though he’s not safe at all.
Now temptation is testing every rule in the game of love. But how long can they go on playing when winning is a harder goal than either of them imagined?

Review:  4.75 of 5 Stars
I never really thought I would enjoy a sports themed romance novel.  I don't really care about football at all, but I adore Rachel Van Dyken and I liked book one, Fraternize.  This review will contain spoilers to book one, so read the rest at your own risk.  I was ready to give Infraction a chance.  I wanted to see what happen to Miller and Kinsey since I like their characters in book one.  
Miller Quinton was introduced during Fraternize when he was part of a love triangle, vying for the affection and love for Emerson, his high school sweetheart.  He was the loser of that triangle and honestly, I was glad because I felt like Emerson and Grant were meant to be.  Miller is a great guy, but he was trying to force something in book one because he thought it was right, but life has a way of making sure you get what you really want.
Kinsey and Miller hooked up at the end of Fraternize, but let's be honest; no one wants Jax, her overprotective, perfect QB, brother to lose it so they don't date or even look at Kinsey.  But when Jax asks Miller to "fake date" his sister to protect her from an ex boyfriend, things are about to get interesting.  I absolutely love Kinsey and her spirit.  She is kind but fiery and I love what she brings to the story.  
I was not prepared for this book.  At all.  I loved it from page one and my love just kept growing.  I knew it would be a great story about Miller and Kinsey but I was unprepared for the story that unfolds with Jax and his personal life, as well as their relationship as siblings. There were times I laughed out loud while reading, and others where I was sobbing.  It was truly a fantastic read.  I highly recommend that everyone read this series!


Friday, December 29, 2017

Review: Constant by Rachel Higginson

Fifteen years ago I met Sayer Wesley. I fell in love with him. I promised I would never leave him. I swore nothing could break us apart. 

Five years ago I broke my promise. I ran away. I took the one secret that could destroy us both and disappeared. 

Five days ago I thought I saw him. 

I knew it was impossible. Sayer was locked away, serving a deserved sentence in federal prison. He couldn’t find me. 

He wouldn’t find me. I was too good at hiding. Too good at surviving. 

Because if Sayer ever found me, there would be hell to pay for a plethora of sins. The worst of which, he didn’t even know about. 

Five hours ago, I told myself I was crazy. 

Five minutes ago, I saw him again. 

Five seconds ago, I was too late.

Review:  4.75 of 5 Stars

If there are two things I love its mafia themed books and Rachel Higginson.  So when the two collided, I knew that I was in store for good things.  Rachel has the ability to weave a story and create the most relatable and developed characters around.  She doesn't get rushed and the story always flows well.  From the synopsis alone I knew I was in for a treat.  When I finally found the time to dig in, I was hooked from page one and could not put this book down!

Caro Valero is introduced to us as a child stuck with a father involved in the Russian mafia.  She is a brilliant liar and pickpocket even at the young age of 10. While she hates what she is forced to do, she also understands that she has to play the game until she able to run.  Caro is one of the strongest characters I have read.  I love her for her strength, resolve, resilience and mostly her wits.  

Sayer Wesley is brought into the story as a young, homeless street kid.  He is stubborn but soon learns that he must also play the game to survive...thanks to a tip from Caro.  He excels and quickly moves up the ranks in the mafia and is loyal to his brothers.  And his love for Caro is unwavering too...but which is more important and valuable to him..the mob or her?

I love this story from page one until the end.  I wasn't completely sure if I would enjoy it because I have never really read a lot of suspense or crime in this authors books, but she pulled it off flawlessly.  Rachel Higginson wove the perfect story with flashbacks and present day events.  The characters are perfection and the story is amazing.  I am on complete pins and needles waiting on book two, Consequence, to release in February.  Be sure you one click this one today, you won't be disappointed!  

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Review: The Bachelor Contract by Rachel Van Dyken

She's everywhere.


Love of his life.

The last person in the world he wanted to see...ever.

And now that he's working beside her every day, he can't escape her. Her scent, glimpses of her smile, even the tension in the air that makes his body hum with the kind of need he'd only experienced with one person-all of it is driving him over the edge.

Brant Wellington was certain of three things: 

Alcohol wasn't going to solve this. 

He really was losing his F-ing mind. 

And his gorgeous ex-wife was going to be the death of him.

Review:  4.5 of 5 Stars

I really enjoyed the previous books in The Bachelors of Arizona series by Rachel Van Dyken and I was excited to get started on Brant's story. While the other Wellington Brothers entertained me and I loved them, I was really anxious to read more about Brant. He definitely had the most history and the most intriguing story that I wanted to know.

When you meet Brant you see that he is an alcoholic that is trying to fill a void with a different woman every night-he has a history. And that history is the ex-wife Nikki he can't forget. Life dealt them some terrible blows and instead of facing it together, Brant did not know how to deal.

Nikki has been struggling with getting over Brant as well. And once Grandma Nadine gets involved, all bets are off. The unique thing about Nikki? She is blind. I work for an ophthalmology group, so I think for me, this characteristic hits especially close to home. Nikki is a great person and she is determined to keep moving. She is a survivor and I love that.

As for their love story, it is really well thought out and I enjoyed reading every minute. I mean, we all know that when Grandma Nadine is involved she is going to win and love will prevail, but I love to see the journey to get there. Great book, Rachel!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: Love (The Keatyn Chronicles #12), by Jillian Dodd

From USA Today bestselling author Jillian Dodd comes the last book in the addictive Keatyn Chronicles series. Discover a breathless fairy-tale romance with swoon-worthy characters set in a glittering celebrity world. Fans of reality TV will devour this pulse-pounding, sexy Hollywood drama.

Follow the lives and loves of those who work at Captive Films:

Riley Johnson — Captive Films’ CEO and millionaire playboy is hot, privileged, and seriously single. He’s got it all—a brand new jet, exotic cars, a luxury penthouse, and a different aspiring actress (or two) in his bed every night. His life is perfect until the only girl he ever loved walks back into it, causing him to wonder if he truly has it all.

Keatyn Douglas — Hollywood’s sweetheart and owner of Captive Films leads a chaotic, glamorous life. But running a successful film studio, writing scripts, and her own acting career leave little time for the things she dreams of, like marrying the man she loves and having babies. When drama starts at work, she may decide to give it all up for life out of the fast lane.

Dawson Johnson — The dark and dreamy marketing consultant joins Captive to escape his past. For the last two years, his sole focus has been on caring for his adorable daughters after tragedy struck their lives. He comes to Captive looking for a fresh start and, if all goes well, he might find a lot more than that in Hollywood.

Knox Daniels — Considered the sexiest man alive by a certain magazine, the sentiment is echoed by the actor’s adoring fans. While romance abounds in the roles he plays, he’s convinced he’ll never find his own happily ever after—until he meets a woman who just might change that.

Shelby Benson — The beautiful cocktail waitress and wanna-be actress struggles to make ends meet. A chance encounter with Riley Johnson is her lucky break and the golden ticket to everything she’s ever dreamed of—fame, power, money, sex, and love.

Written soap-opera style with multiple points of view, you can expect lots of drama, sex, and tabloid-worthy events.

4.5 out of 5 stars

I have to admit as soon as I got notification this installment was loaded onto my kindle I wasted zero time sitting down and diving right in. I loved it! Seriously, it was a very well written, fun, happily ever after for ALL of our favorite and even not so favorite characters. I even found myself smiling and enjoying the conclusion to Shelby's story line and for the last several books I pretty much hated her! 

We have watched Keatyn and her friends grow and mature. We've been there through all their ups and downs, good decisions and all their really horrible ones. I've enjoyed every single page of this series and I'm genuinely sad it's over. 

Love is more than just a romantic feeling between two people, it's also found in the bond between family and friends, especially when those friends are as close if not closer than family.  It's all encompassing. It's sacrifice and selfless. Sometimes it's big gestures and other times is the every day small details and this book captures them all.  I think it's why I've constantly gotten sucked in and can never put the books down until I've read to the end.

Yes I wish we could have seen a little bit more of Riley's HEA but I also think we got enough and can you our imaginations to fill in the rest because we know him so well!  The Keatyn Chronicles will probably also be one of my most favorite guilty pleasures and I encourage everyone to let themselves get sucked into this incredibly fun and addicting series!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Review: Darkest Temptation by Rachel Van Dyken

I'm a werewolf King who chose to step down out of grief for my mate.
For centuries I've been alone, choosing to live a life of modesty despite the wealth surrounding me.
I deserve to be punished.
I crave things I have no business craving.
And it is manifesting itself in a way I'm terrified I won't be able to control any longer.
Especially since she arrived.
Vampire. Orphan. Beaten beyond recognition.
My blood calls to her in a way that makes no sense.
I'm a wolf.
She's a vampire.
The two don't mate.
They barely tolerate one another.
All it takes is one slip of control on my part — one taste.
And I doom us all.
Then again, I never knew what is lurking inside has the power to balance good and evil.

Review:  4.25 of 5 Stars

I fell in love with the Dark Ones Saga and in particularly Mason from the first book.  He has always been my favorite character because of his complexities. He is a wolf that deprives himself of anything good because of the guilt he feels over losing his first mate.  He has such a complicated and wonderful backstory and I just knew that I would love reading about it.

Serenity is a vampire that has never really been a good vampire. She feels like a failure at everything and is all alone.  So why is it the one person that makes her feel more alive than anyone happens to be a wolf?  Vampires + Wolves are never a good combination, but something is different about Mason.  

I absolutely loved this book from start to finish.  I love the relationship that Serenity and Mason have and how it has to come full circle.  But mostly, I love that Mason got the story he deserved.  My only complaint if you will, is that this story is fast paced and I found myself having to re-read parts of it to fully understand what was happening.  The Dark Ones Saga is a wonderful series, but I think I would have enjoyed this book even more if I had a refresher course prior to reading it.  As always though, fantastic read from Rachel Van Dyken.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Review: Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

“Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.”

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines, when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

Poignant and powerful, Without Merit explores the layers of lies that tie a family together and the power of love and truth.

5 out of 5 stars  

I am always a little terrified when I open a CoHo book.  I know it seems weird, most people will open their kindle as soon as it arrives and tear into it.  Not me.  I have to work up to opening it up.  It's not that I am scared it is going to be bad.  I know its not  - they never are! Colleen Hoover at her worst is still better than most books out there.  She just has a knack for pulling you in to her stories.  But I am always scared to read her new releases, fearing it won't live up to my unrealistic expectations.  LOL!  

I typically go into books blind.  I rarely read a synopsis if I know and love the author.  Without Merit was no different for me.  From her first introduction I instantly fell in love with Merit Voss.  She is the epitome of a perfect character - quirky, flawed, funny, witty and wonderfully human.   And it's not just her it's her entire family of supporting characters.

This isn't one of those reviews where you're going to find any pertinent details of the story or really even any kind of a synopsis.  All you need to know is this story is truly one of a kind and you will not be disappointed in any way.  Without Merit has a YA feel but it's not all rainbows and unicorns, this story tackles some pretty heavy themes, but it's handled with really beautiful storytelling as the author peels away layer after layer revealing what's beyond the surface. The pace is perfect, not rushed at all.  It's a gradual build-up where seemingly insignificant moments are muddled with life changing ones.  Colleen Hoover thru the Voss family really shows just how life altering perspective can truly be.  Simply put I loved reading this book, it reminded me all over again why I first feel in love with Colleen Hoover as an author.  She know's exactly how to string together a bunch of words that will have readers laughing and crying and feeling as though their life has been changed just because they spent money on a book for a pastime they love.