Friday, July 15, 2016

Review: Keep by Rachel Van Dyken

My name's shouted on rooftops.
It's written on bras, bathroom stalls, hell my name is everywhere. To say my name is to experience an orgasm without ever leaving your house.
My name?
Zane "Saint" Andrews.
I'm sex.
I'm a rock god.
I'm also a virgin.
What they don't know won't kill them right? Give the people what they want. And what they want is the idea of me; the pleasure they gain at listening to my song and knowing without a doubt I'm talking about them and only them.
It worked for a while.
Until a nerdy girl with glasses falls at my feet, literally, and suddenly I don't want to be Saint anymore, what I want? What I really need?
Is to be kept.
By her.

Review:  4.75 of 5 Stars

I first fell in love with Zane Andrews in Capture, Book 1 of the Seaside Pictures series. He was funny, a little strange and obsessed with marshmallows.  Oh did I mention that he loves to walk around naked, like all the time??  I didn't understand it, but I knew the back story had to be amazing.   His childhood is haunting and leaves him with some major issues that need to be resolved.  I especially love that reading about Zane gave me an appreciation for celebrities and the loneliness they must face everyday.  How can you ever tell who likes you for you and who just wants something from you.  How do you overcome the battle of everyone having a preconceived notion based on tabloid rumors?  How do you find a true friend?  Despite the money and fame, it still must be a hard life at times. 

Fallon, the nerdy girl next door, is adorable.  I love that she doesn't go fawning after Zane and was sold on her character when she gave him a fake number when he asked.  She has guts, despite her stuttering and legally blind vision.  When Zane is searching for a friend and bribes Fallon to hang out I knew that sparks were going to fly!  She was exactly the type of person he needed in his life.  She knew when to push and when to be patient; but more importantly she knew how to earn his trust.

Once Fallon and Zane finally give into their desire and fall in love, BAM, Rachel blew me away.  Totally blindsided.  I never saw the twist coming and it was so, so, epic.  Keep is a beautiful love story with the perfect mixture of angst, humor, sexiness and love.    Rachel Van Dyken totally rocked this book and left me wanting "s'more"! 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Review: Knot, by M. Mabie

He knows everything. 
She has all the damn answers. 
I’ve always been a free spirit. It’s my nature. 
I crave control, but with her it’s far more. 
He’s a power hungry climber. 
Her wealth could buy and sell me. 
It’s too much pressure being the center of anyone’s focus. 
She underestimates my desire for her, my need to please just her. 
When he’s vulnerable, it’s hard to deny him. 
Her crooked smile cripples me. 
He hides his demons, but I’m no fool. 
She thinks not committing to anyone makes her more honest. She’s wrong. 
A man like him deserves someone who can offer that kind of love. 
She promises nothing, yet I feel like a king when she says my name. 
I never let anyone possess me like he did. Not before. Not after. 
My greatest regret was compromising. I should have never held back. 
Still, when we’re apart I’m not myself. 
I miss the days when she was just down the hall. 
He’s better off without me, and it hurts. 
The ugly truth is I need her more than she needs me. 
Our relationship was born out of lust and curiosity. 
The lies we told ourselves killed it. 
Together, we found Nirvana. 
We learned it was all a mirage. 
I ruined him. 
I broke her heart. 
I keep coming back. 
I can’t let her go. 


REGGIE—Friday, June 11, 2010
Our fucked up history was Hell dressed up in heels and pearls, suits and cuff links, pretending to be Heaven. Had either of us known it really was Nirvana—and not the mirage we’d thought—maybe we could’ve stayed.
Our relationship was a dream I’d never wake up from. Sometimes it felt like a fantasy. Sometimes a nightmare. A mind fuck that had me ticking down numbers.
Fuck starting from ten.
Fuck ten a long time ago.
With her, I should have started at infinity. At least then I’d have more time. More minutes of torture. More seconds of bliss. At infinity, I would have had the time to prove her wrong. If I’d only known she was.
Nine times I let her go. Maybe more. Maybe less.
She never wanted what she said at all, and every time I fell under her spell, I proved her right. Every fucking time. Every mistake. Every misstep. Every time I held back from my instincts.
Still, with us, fault was universal.
We’d both failed each time. All eight or so times I’d denied myself by not telling her the truth, I hadn’t realized I’d denied her a thousand times more.
I only ever wanted her. Fuck money. Fuck power. Fuck my pride. Fuck all seven days of the week without her. Fuck other women and fuck the whole country of Switzerland.
Fuck knowing damn well in my gut the whole fucking time.
But while she was there in my arms, under my body, I’d settle for fucking her. She knew it was how we could’ve been.
Fuck her stubbornness. Fuck her fucking ability to stay away for six or the half-dozen months at a time while she chased her tail. I stood by and watched, all but cheering her on.
Fuck the sound of her voice when she laughs. Not any old laugh—fuck those, too—but specifically the special one. Her Reagan laugh. I wish I could mute my memories of her, but that laugh will haunt me forever.
That laugh belonged to only me, along with a handful of other fragments of her that I never took the time to piece together. If I had, she might have been whole. She might have been mine if I’d added them all up.
Ironically, I didn’t look for the sum of the real her. How many math classes did I need to learn this one damn woman? Certainly ones I hadn’t taken. Certainly ones I would have failed.
If I could go back to the beginning, I’d add more up than just how many times I could get any of my five fingers, my tongue, and cock into her. I’d add her only-for-Reagan parts. They’d been there all along.
They were enough.
Starting with the four or so seconds, where she didn’t even know her name—let alone mine—before she cried out in ecstasy. That wonder in her eye. The pull of the tendons in her gorgeous neck. The tightening of her brow. The slack of her jaw.
The way she looked handing me coffee, naked in the kitchen. Her wet hair matted and untamed. Her skin pink from the hot shower. The print the bathroom tile left fading on her shoulders.
The way she stretched her feet when she woke up in my sheets. Spreading them and wiggling the one we knew would always be our toe.
The way she could recite every ingredient in her favorite dishes. How she knew about cheese from other countries, even though she’d never visited most of them.
The way she kissed my Adam’s apple, then rubbed it with her thumb. Only to kiss it a second time.
Those were things meant only for me. 
I’d add every time she called me, and I answered.
I’d subtract the times I didn’t because I was selfish and wanted her to show up instead.
Then I’d multiply that total by the times she told me she more-than-just-loved me. Which was exactly three. I hadn’t even realized what she meant the first time, but the second time, I was sure to make up for it. The third had been tonight.
We’d been two people lost. Wandering around, pretending we’d known everything.
Even though it was most likely the last time I’d ever fuck her, it would also—mercifully—be the last time we’d ever fight.
Sadly, it was the first time I’d seen the power my words had held over her the whole time. I’d watched her heart break. I’d watched as she crumpled to the floor and sobbed. I’d felt like I was doing the same.
It was too late for our hearts.
I’d surrendered, given up, and shot one precise, verbal bullet through my heart, then watched it pierce hers.
There was nothing left. I’d hit zero for the last time.
As I watched the tears fall from her eyes—after I pushed into her for the very last time, filling her with everything I’d never told her—misery infected my gut.
Then, I felt the knot constrict.
We’d tangled the delicate thread between us too many times. 
It tightened to a point of throbbing pain. I knew there’d never be a minute left in my life where I didn’t feel the ache of her. Her absence, the source of blinding tension. The sharp pulse of a love ripped from me before I had a chance to watch it mature.
That was all that was left of me.
Zero and the knot.

4.5 out of 5 stars

I think it's safe to say Mo Mabie is an expert when it comes to writing angst.  Angst in a story line can come from many different sources.  We know Mo can more than write about loving two different people and how not truly following your heart leaves you in a state of limbo.  This time around the angst isn't related to any sort of love triangle.  Knot is more a story of the difference of loving someone and being in love with someone.  Some people would argue it's the same thing but there is absolutely no way you could read about Reggie and Nora and not believe that being in love is so much more all encompassing.

From their first meeting it's clear Nora and Reggie are attracted to one another however, they couldn't be more different.  Think round hole and square peg.  He is smart, driven, calculated, likes to be in control.  He's got everything, well almost everything.  His firm thinks he needs to find a woman and settle down, but as hard as he tried he just cannot find someone who holds his attention.

Nora is strong, independent and also driven, but having come from a broken home, with no real example of love and marriage being in a monogomus relationship is of absolutely no interest.  She considers herself to be polyamorous, but to be perfectly honest she lives a pretty lonely life.  She is scared of putting herself on the line because she cannot bear to be left, to be lonely.  The truth is however, she doesn't really know what lonely feels like until she actually opens her heart to Reggie.  

So what happens when you realize you've fallen in love?  What happens when you realize it's too late?  What happens when you stop being honest with yourself and even more importantly with your lover?  I'll tell you what happens...Knot!  I was so stressed out for these characters while reading between the past and present.  You see all the nitty gritty details of their relationship.  The good choices and every single bad one.  The happy moments and all of the ugly ones.

As much as I didn't love some of the sexual nature of this book I can absolutely appreciate the beauty of the raw love at this story's core.  It's genuine.  It's well written and there are a lot of steamy scenes. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted when the last page was turned.  Congratulations on another incredibly unique addition to your portfolio M. Mabie!


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: No Pants Required by Kim Karr

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No Pants Required by Kim Karr Release Date: July 11th Genre: Contemporary Romance Cover Design: Hang Le

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I, Makayla Alexander, am on a mission to reinvent myself. So when a super hot guy boards the plane and flashes his rock hard abs, I pay attention. When he sits next to me and offers me his nuts, I can’t resist. But when I choke on them and he tells me I need to work on my gag reflex, I realize I might be in over my head. Before I know it we’re in the lavatory and attempting to join the Mile High Club. Let me just say this...anyone who tells you it’s easy to get it on at 37,000 feet isn’t telling you the truth. After the flight attendant busts us for getting frisky in the air, the only thing that can ease my total and complete mortification is the simple fact that I am never going to see him again. Hours later, I can’t help but wonder if fate will ever allow me to become a new version of myself. Because Fate, she’s a fickle bitch. Case in seatmate is my new next-door neighbor. Even with the whole fate thing we have going on, we are so not meant to be together. He’s all cool and sexy in that make love not war kind of way. Guys like him are dangerous. With that bring-you-to-your-knees body, that handsome-as-hell face, and that dirty, dirty mouth, I guarantee one glance from him wets every girl's bikini bottoms. And then there’s me…the quirky girl looking to find herself in California. All I want to do is learn to let loose. Say words like peace and groovy. Bury my toes in the sand. Who knows, maybe even have sex on the beach. Unable to get him out of my head, I entertain the thought of being more than just friends. I know the idea is absurd. And yet, I go with it. You see Camden Waters gets me. Really gets me. Like no other guy has before. On this 7-mile stretch of paradise, I decide to keep things simple and just have fun...that is until fate decides to screw with me, again. Can two people hell-bent on finding themselves realize the search should have ended the day they met? Find out in No Pants Required—a sexy, funny, romantic stand-alone, that will have you hurrying to grab your bathing suit and rushing to the beach to check out every lifeguard on duty.


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Review:  4.25 of 5 Stars

No Pants Required is one of those books that will have you laughing from the beginning.  I love Makayla Alexander and her total awkwardness, possibly because I can totally see myself being like her.  If it is possible to end up in an uncomfortable situation, she will find it, by accident, of course.  Armed with her luggage, a playlist and a "bucket list" to find herself, she is leaving NYC behind for sunny California.  

Cam Waters at first glance appears to be a cocky, arrogant, SOB; however, once I started reading more, especially from his POV, the more I fell in love with him.  He is funny, smart and sexy.  After Cam and Makayla meet on the plane to Laguna Beach and get caught attempting to join the Mile High Club (on her list!), I was dying.  I sort of felt bad for him since Makayla was a real witch to him because of her preconceived opinions.  But a the end of the day, they never planned on seeing each other again so it should not have mattered.  Those plans never seem to work out.

Once Cam and Makayla realize they are neighbors, the chemistry really begins to heat up.   Will they overcome their own insecurities to see what is staring them in the face?   I really enjoyed this book and the characters.  It was a fun, lighthearted read.  If you have a summer beach trip planned, you should one click it and read it on the sand.  It would really set the scene.  Job well done, Ms. Karr.


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About the Author: 

kim karr bio 

 Reader * Writer * Coffeelover * Romantic Kim is a daydreamer. So much so that if daydreaming could be a hobby it would be her favorite. It's how her stories are born and how they take root. An imagination that runs wild is something to be thankful for, and she is very thankful. :) She grew up in New York and now lives in Florida with her husband and four kids. She's always had a love for reading books and writing. Being an English major in college, she wanted to teach at the college level but that was not to be. She went on to receive an MBA and became a project manager until quitting to raise her family. Kim currently works part-time with her husband and with the rest of her time embraces one of her biggest passions--writing. Kim wears a lot of hats! Writer, book-lover, wife, soccer-mom, taxi driver, and the all around go-to person of her family. However, she always finds time to read. She likes to believe in soul mates, kindred spirits, true friends, and Happily-Ever-Afters. She loves to drink champagne, listen to music, and hopes to always stay young at heart.

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Kim Karr is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card in celebration of No Pants Required’s release!


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Review: Whiskey and Wine by H. Dillon Smith

Ellie Ray Vaughn needs a fresh start. Daughter of a washed-up ex-musician and alcoholic mother, ex-girlfriend to an abusive psycho, and unwanted house guest to her aunt and uncle that have had to take her in. College is supposed to be that fresh start. She has her best friend Annie by her side and a determination to pursue anything but music in hopes of not ending up like her mother. But in Nashville it’s hard to run from the music that runs in her veins. She’s determined to leave her past behind her, but a certain blue eyed, tattooed guitar player refuses to let her stifle her talent...or her feelings. 

Dean Thomas is just like any other arrogant musician. Girls are plentiful and fleeting, music is all that matters, and feelings belong only in the lyrics that he writes. He’s not looking to fall in love, only to leave his painful childhood behind and focus on the future. A future that involves music, record deals, and no one to tie him down. But when Dean meets Ellie he doesn’t hesitate to throw away his one night stands and wild nights for the girl he never thought he would find. He just didn’t expect it to be so hard.

Review:  4.5 of 5 Stars

When you grow up in the south it is pretty much guaranteed that you are going grow up with pick-up trucks, country music and country boys.  It was pretty much what my life revolved around from the time I was 14 or 15 until I got married.  And he still rides me around in his truck while I am blaring country music.  So, when I got a copy of Whiskey and Wine and read the synopsis, it intrigued me.

Ellie Ray Vaughn is a strong lead character that is stubborn as can be.  She knows what she wants out of life, or at least she thinks that she does.  Music calls to her and is in her blood but her mothers obsession with it and the horrible childhood she experienced make her skittish to actually chase her dream.  Ellie also has issues with an abusive ex boyfriend that is adding to her stress,  But after an impromptu gig one night the addiction to music and writing is reignited.  

Now Dean Thomas is just downright swoon worthy.  Yeah, at first you want to smack him for being a manwhore but we all know he acts that way because he is scared and because the right girl hasn't knocked him on his butt yet.  I love Dean's backstory and all the things you find out about his past.  I especially love how much he loves his mama.  Plus, he play guitar, sings and ha blue eyes!  

I throughly enjoyed this book from page one.  The build between the characters and the emotional connection that I had with them was perfect.  Some of the plot was a little predictable, but I loved it nonetheless.  It felt like I was reading a great episode of Nashville.  I can't wait to read more from this debut author!