Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Review: My Lucky Days by S.D. Hendrickson

He was an up-and-coming country singer.
She was the last girl you'd ever see in a bar.
But one night, under those neon lights,
Lucky and Katie found each other.

Beginnings are always exciting.
Always fun. Always hopeful.

Katie was in her last year of college.
Lucky was still playing local stages.
She fell for his voice. She fell for his words.
They fell in love.
It was beautiful.

But time changed their world.
She was alone. He was on the road.
Life happened.
And that love was torn apart.

Endings are always painful.
Always heart wrenching.
But not always final.

One day, Lucky came back to Katie.
And this is their story.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Okay, okay, I admit it.  I am a sucker for sweet, genuine love stories that involve musicians.  I don't care if it is a rocker like Kellan Kyle or a country music singer like Lucky in this book, I fall so hard for them!  My Lucky Days is especially heartwarming for me because every chapter has a song reference at the top and being the huge country music fan that I am, it was such a wonderful touch.  The book has it's own playlist for every chapter.

The heroine of the book, Katie, is such a wonderful character.  I adored her personality and the way she is fiercely independent.  She is selfless to a fault.  As a college senior she is level-headed and smart.  Even though she came from a family with money, the one thing she never had was a home.  One evening she has a chance encounter with an up and coming country music singer and her life is forever changed.

Meet Landon "Lucky" Evans.  Lucky is one of the best characters I have read in a long time.  He is sweet, attentive and can make a girl swoon with a single text message.  I adore his back story and the fact that he loves with every fiber of his being.  Of course the guitar playing and singing don't hurt his case either!

I already knew that S.D. Hendrickson is an amazing author.  I fell in love with her writing style and story telling ability when I opened The Mason List, so I had extremely high hopes for My Lucky Days.  I was floored by my love for My Lucky Days.  All of the characters had such wonderful personalities and I felt a true connection to them and their story.  You will laugh and cry in this story.  While it is somewhat predictable, it is so well written that I did not mind that at all.  Well done, S.D.!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Review: Dark Surrender, by Rachel Van Dyken

I grew up as a prince...
And lead the life of a King.There isn't anyone or anything that doesn't want me, that isn't attracted to me. They can't help it. And I sure as hell don't want them to. I live for their lust, I crave touch like an addiction, I make them beg on their knees for one, simple, caress.As a male siren it's my job to feed off emotion.And I was happy to do it.I am happy to do it.What I'm not happy about? Being told I have to mate with some withering human and stay loyal to that one person for the next few centuries. There's a war coming and being the idiot I am--I offered to take one for the team in order to help a friend.Now my sexual appetite is taking a freaking kick in the nuts.And I'm left wondering if it's worth it.If she's worth it, with messy hair and dirty human hands.But I have a world to save.A job to do.Now, if only, she would just let me do it rather than fighting me at every turn. I've lived lifetimes as the most irresistible being on the planet.Only to meet my match.With one.Measly.Human.They say hells hot. They're wrong.Because Hope, my little human, is way hotter.And before this is over--she may just singe me alive.

4 out of 5 stars

Rachel Van Dyken’s The Dark Ones Saga is by far one of the most interesting paranormal series I have ever read.  Her spin on Vampire, Werewolf, Angel, Demon, Siren and Elf is definitely unique, which is one of the reasons this series is so much fun to read.  

Book 3, Dark Surrender, tells the story of Alex. He’s a siren who has no problem getting people to fall in “lust” with him.  But Cassius has commanded he find a mate, so how does the world’s most powerful siren find a person who will love him for him and not just be in lust with him?   

Alex goes from cold to hot at the drop of a pin when it comes to his love interest, Hope.  I felt as though his emotions were a ping pong ball that couldn’t get on course.  It was extremely hard to connect with him and Hope.  I wish Rachel could have slowed the pace of this story, given time for their feelings to gradually increase, allowing us readers time to connect, to be able to know them each well enough to genuinely want to pull for them to find their HEA.  In addition, this book was far more sexual than her previous stories in this series.  Don’t get me wrong the main character is a Siren, so of course sex is going to be a large part of the story, but the content of some of the scenes just didn’t work for me.  It felt forced and a little bit unnecessary.

All those things aside I did enjoy being back with the gang and am looking forward to Mason getting his very on HEA.  The love between all the characters and their familial banter with one another is what keeps me coming back each time a new book is released.  This installment may not have been my most favorite one of the series but I’m still a fan and cannot wait to see what happens next.  I swear Rachel Van Dyken can literally write about anything.  I love watching her character’s journeys unfold, because in the end she never disappoints!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Review: The Bachelor Auction, by Rachel Van Dyken

Cinderella never had to deal with this crap.

Jane isn't entirely sure that Cinderella got such a raw deal. Sure, she had a rough start, but didn't she eventually land a prince and a happily-ever-after? Meanwhile, Jane is busy waiting on her demanding, entitled sisters, running her cleaning business, and . . . yep, not a prince in sight. Until a party and a broken shoe incident leave Jane wondering if princes---or at least, a certain deliciously hunky billionaire---maybe do exist.

Except Brock Wellington isn't anyone's dream guy. Hell, a prince would never agree to be auctioned off in marriage to the highest bidder. Or act like an arrogant jerk---even if it was just a façade. Now, as Brock is waiting for the auction chopping block, he figures it's karmic retribution that he's tempted by a sexy, sassy woman he can't have. But while they can't have a fairy-tale ending, maybe they can indulge in a little bit of fantasy . .

4 out of 5 stars

I have always loved a good romantic comedy, and I've never read a Rachel Van Dyken book that I regretted.  I dove into the Bachelor Auction while on a beach vacation and it was just the ticket for a fun, quick escape.  Jane, an older sibling to two out of control spoiled sisters, finds herself more like a mom to her sisters than an actual sister.  To say she is burnt out is putting it mildly, yet because she loves them and vowed to keep her family together she will continue doing whatever it takes even if it means always putting herself last.

Brock, a handsome and wealthy business man is the oldest and he also has a hard time saying no, but his hesitation comes from a place of fear.  His brothers and grandfather can tell he is miserable but they know he needs to learn to speak up for himself.  So how do you get two people to choose themselves for once, to fall in love?  Why you manipulate them of course!  

Thus begins our romantic comedy.  It was fun watching Brock deal with his feeling for Jane and his frustrations with not only his surroundings but also his commitments.  While I suspected who was pulling the puppet's strings I loved Jane and Brock's individual interactions with Brock's twin brothers.  They knew just how to lighten up even the worse situations and while the story focuses on Jane and Brock I was left wanting to spend a little more time with the twins.

Let's just say Brock's grandfather could give Grandma Nadine a run for her money!  And when Grandma Nadine finally makes her appearance it was icing on the cake.  So why not 5 stars?  The thing is I've practically read all of RVD's books and it's hard for me not to compare this one to the others.  The writing is good and the story was fun, but for me it felt earily similar to The Bet series and while I enjoyed The Bachelor Auction I liked the books in that series better than this one.

The Bachelor Auction is a fun modern twist on the classic Cinderella fairytale, and I truly believe you will adore this story.  Full of romance and wit this book will be the perfect choice for your next book escape!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Review: The Eagle, by Jillian Dodd

Revenge won’t change anything—or will it?

From USA Today bestselling author Jillian Dodd comes the second 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.

The world’s most deadly assassin, a man known only as The Priest, has come back from the dead to take a series of high profile hits. When the assassin completes his first task—shooting an important world leader, the global community goes into collective shock and his government vows retaliation.

With her cover firmly cemented as Huntley Von Allister, Spy Girl’s vacation on the Royal Yacht is cut short when she’s called home for her next mission—and, this time, it’s personal. 
Can Huntley accomplish her mission before the next hit takes place? 
And what will happen when she finally comes face-to-face with the man who killed her mother?

4.25 out of 5 stars

The Eagle picks up right where we left off in The Prince (Formerly known as Spy Girl) and it doesn't slow down at all!  This time around I felt the pace throughout the entire book was more smooth and just simply flowed better.  I was telling my blog partner when I finished it that I can feel myself getting more and more addicted the further in the series I go.  Jillian Dodd really has a knack for creating these crazy worlds full of characters who you cannot help but love, but what makes this series unique is the mystery surrounding Agent X, better known as Huntley.

As The Eagle begins we find Huntley relaxing on a yacht wondering what her next mission will be, hopeful she will one day be able to look her mother's assassin in the eyes as she ends his life.  She's been so focused, so driven since she entered Blackwood Academy that's she never really thought to question anything.  However, as the story unfolds lines begin blurring and as Agent X finds herself within the grasp of her one goal, a chance encounter not only changes her path, but leaves her longing for answers, unsure of reality and relying on her gut instincts.  Who should she trust?  Who is she really?  Why was she sent to Blackwood Academy?  Can she trust her employer?  Should she trust them?

Yet aside from all of those struggles, she is also dealing with a Prince she loves, but is unwilling to admit to herself, and a Vice President's son who makes it easy to have a fun relationship without having to worry about her heart falling from him (but side note...she has no clue she is in love with the Price or that she won't ever truly fall for the VP's son).  And who doesn't love watching a young girl navigate matters of the heart for the first time.  It's the icing on the cake for me!  I'm just going to go ahead and state the Prince is my choice, their connection is genuine and feels so "real."

What's crazy is as much as we learned about Agent X, as many questions as were answered there were just as many new questions posed that I feel just as confused as Huntley!  I am super excited for book 3 and hope we do not have to wait to long to jump back into all the action.  For me I felt by the end of the book that Jillian Dodd had fallen into her story-telling "groove," providing us with a story that I anticipate with each book readers will find themselves begging for more and more pages.  Huntley's life may be confusing, but it's also a really fun place to escape to and she is a really easy character to not only like but to also cheer for.  She's kick-ass but also has this soft, nurturing side which makes her very endearing.  

Monday, September 19, 2016

Review: Epic Love by Trudy Stiles

HEATH STRICKLAND, the son of a prominent district attorney, lived his life surrounded by violence and crime. He was an unwilling witness to the corrupt lives his father swore to prosecute and keep behind bars. His escape was his music, which eventually led him to replace the iconic singer of the world famous band, Epic Fail.

NOELLE DURAND lived in luxury, growing up on a sprawling estate, with everything she could ever want or need. Her life, to everyone else, seemed perfect. Perfect house. Perfect things. Perfect family. But nothing at all was perfect. She lived in hell. A hell that nobody on the outside could see.

As a neighbor and childhood friend, Heath would have done anything for Noelle. He would have given up the world to protect her and keep her safe. Their friendship grew into something that neither of them expected. But then she suddenly disappeared, vanishing from his life as if she never existed. He never stopped hoping that one day she would resurface, alive and well. But as time went by, and her family gave up hope, he surrendered his heart to his lost love.

Twelve years later, one phone call changes everything.

EPIC LOVE is the third book in the EPIC FAIL series and can be read as a STANDALONE novel. 

This series is a spinoff from the FOREVER FAMILY series.

Review:  4.5 of 5 Stars

I adore Trudy Stiles and her writing style.  The first two books in the Epic Fail series were so good that I could not wait to dig into this one as well!  I didn't have a huge connection with Heath in the previous books, but I knew that Trudy would weave her magic and make me fall in love with this story.

Heath's character is easy to love.  He is a huge rock star singer for Epic Fail but his personality is what makes him awesome.  I loved the flash backs from Heath's POV as they really highlighted his character.  When he first met Noelle as a child playing wiffle ball, I instantly fell in love.  He is protective, loves fierce,  and is respectful...the perfect combination.

Noelle's story is honestly heartbreaking.  She has such an innocence and is so sweet.  No one deserves to be treated the way is treated by her step-mother, Tonya.  She could put the evil queen in Snow White to shame.  Her past is so horrific that it is a miracle she turned out as wonderful as she did.

I have to say, the first 1/2 of the book was intense and kept me on the edge of my seat.  I devoured it and when things did change, I kept waiting on more drama to shake Heath and Noelle to the core.  I think I was so worried something else terrible was going to happen, I did not enjoy the second half as much as it deserved.  Epic Love is just what the title describes.  I loved it from cover to cover and plan on reading the second half again just to revel in the beauty of the story.  Well done, Trudy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review: Author Anonymous, by E.K. Blair


A TRUE STORY told through the voice of New York Times Bestselling author E.K. Blair.

She’s an author.
She’s a mother.
She’s a wife.
She’s a fraud.

A woman marked and bound by her own deceit, this is the astounding tale of how one choice knocked her world from its axis forcing her to battle through a year of scandal and betrayal, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy.

This is an intoxicatingly risqué stand-alone true story tangled in lust, heartbreak, and contrition.

5 out of 5 stars

Have you ever watched something unfold in front of your eyes where you know you should turn away, give the person privacy but you literally cannot move?  Your brain and body disconnect and you’re held hostage to watch the terrible scenario play out in front of you.  You sense it’s bad, you sense it’s private, but for the love of all things you are just too curious to do anything but be a bystander.  That’s exactly what reading this E.K. Blair book is like.

You know precisely where the story is going to go, you know the slippery slope the main character has started down, you know it’s going anywhere but a HEA but you’re so completely drawn to her you decide to ride along with her anyways, just to see how far she is willing to take it, to see how much destruction will actually be caused.  Because let’s face it, you know it’s a true story and that fact alone makes you all the more curious as to the why and the what happened next questions your mind is firing off at a rapid pace.

Author Anonymous is far from a happy story, but again it’s not really fiction, it’s based off someone’s real life and life isn’t always happy.  It’s mostly messy and this story is just that, it’s muddled and chaotic and so consuming you’re literally going to want to read it straight thru without any breaks because Tori’s just boarded a train headed for the crash of her life.

I’ll admit there is a huge part of me who wants to know the true identity of Tori, our author anonymous.  Not necessarily because I want to know who the double life belongs to so I can judge them, but because I just have such a heavy heart for them and I want a real face to put with a real story.  This real person maybe be a lot of things, but what I know about her from this story is she’s an incredibly brave person for opening herself up and allowing this story to be told.  I just hope she has found herself and possibly through this book she has found a sense of healing, of peace and I pray most of all she will find not necessarily happiness because that’s circumstantial, I hope she’s found joy. 

E.K. Blair pens this story with so much passion and emotion, the entire time I felt as though it were Author Anonymous speaking the words herself.  The writing is completely seamless, she tells this story without judgement and I for one was completely captivated.  I absolutely encourage you to buy this book, open your heart and dive right in.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up. She graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant and has a total soft spot for Lily; and the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his no dating rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan, her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all too human characters, “It Ends with Us” is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price. 

5 out of 5 stars

I opened this book not knowing anything about it except Colleen Hoover wrote it and the cover was gorgeous. There are some authors whose books you automatically buy and read regardless of the synopsis because you know no matter what the story is about, this is one of your favorite authors and it simply doesn't matter, you're going to read it.  I figured it would have a fun, light hearted feel with a twist I didn't see coming.  I'll have to say though this entire story was one big twist I never expected.  It Ends With Us is unlike any Colleen Hoover book I have ever read and totally different than what I expected.  Yet, I still loved it every bit as much as I have her other books.  This book was powerful and strong filled with many beautiful moments as well as some incredibly heartbreakingly ugly ones.  It Ends With Us is a very raw story which will have you just as confused as the characters who are questioning everything thing they thought they always believed. It's an important story, one that absolutely needed to be told and Colleen Hoover tells it like no one else.  Her writing, her characters, the emotional roller coasters only she can create...it's all perfection.

The heroine, Lily Bloom, (yeah, really) is such a powerful, wonderful character.  I had no idea I would treasure her so much. She is the epitome of strength, honor and bravery.  Since the novel is told from her POV, I easily connected with her.  I was able to feel her emotions and struggles clearly in the present, as well as in the past, thanks to some wonderful journal entries she finds herself re-reading to try and gain closure with her abusive late father and her first love.

Lily meets Ryle Kincaid in the first chapter of the book at a point in time where they are both struggling with the ramifications of a bad day.  He is a cocky neurosurgeon who wants nothing more than to get in Lily's pants.  Ryle has such a fun magnetic personality you easily fall in love with him.  His humor and the way Lily gets under his skin is nothing short of endearing.  Ryle, however, has some skeletons in his closet that cause him some issues.  Will love overcome tragedy?  

While you are in the present, you are also experiencing the past with Lily.  You see, her first love was a homeless boy named Atlas.  The story that unfolds in the past intersects unexpectedly with the present and Lily's world is turned upside down.  How can she find closure on the past when it seems to be repeating itself?  

I adored all the characters in this book; specifically, Issa.  The bond that is forged between best friends is sacred.  The fact that Issa can see everything clearly and not lose sight of what is important, makes her an incredibly important figure in Lily's life.  She is one of my most favorite book characters right now.  Good friends are hard to find, but Lily found one in her.

Love comes in all forms, whether it be a new romance, an old flame, love between a parent and child or just having the common decency to do the right thing when someone is in need.  I hope I can grow up to be like Lily one day.  I encourage all women to read this book and to make sure their friends and daughters read it.  Be brave and bold, don't be afraid to make difficult decisions, but buying and reading It Ends With Us shouldn't be a difficult decision, just go ahead and one-click it.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Review: The Matchmaker's Replacement by Rachel Van Dyken

Wingman rule number two: never reveal how much you want them.

Lex hates Gabi. Gabi hates Lex. But, hey, at least the hate is mutual, right? All Lex has to do is survive the next few weeks training Gabi in all the ways of Wingmen Inc. and then he can be done with her. But now that they have to work together, the sexual tension and fighting is off the charts. He isn’t sure if he wants to strangle her or throw her against the nearest sturdy table and have his way with her.

But Gabi has a secret, something she’s keeping from not just her best friend but her nemesis too. Lines are blurred as Lex becomes less the villain she’s always painted him to be…and starts turning into something more. Gabi has always hated the way she’s been just a little bit attracted to him—no computer-science major should have that nice of a body or look that good in glasses—but “Lex Luthor” is an evil womanizer. He’s dangerous. Gabi should stay far, far away.

Then again, she’s always wanted a little danger.

4.75 of 5 Stars

I loved the first book in this series, The Matchmaker's Playbook!  It was fun, hot, and a perfect mix of humor and love.  Ian and Blake were so much fun and I really enjoyed reading their story.  The character that I did not like in that book?  Lex!  I couldn't stand him!  He was such a jerk to women everywhere, especially Gabi.  I was curious when I received this book to see if RVD could change my opinion of him.

Lex is a Computer Science genius.  His main skills are hacking into things to find out information he wants.  His best friend is Ian and together they run Wingmen Inc. a dating service of sorts.  They teach girls how to make the guy they want desire them and they have quite the success rate.  But now that Ian is with Blake they need more people working for them.  It is also logical that they should help men get the girl too.

Gabby needs the money and being best friends with Ian does have it's perks.  He makes sure she gets the job but the catch?  Lex is doing the training.  If there is one person she hates, it is Lex.  He is a man whore who only cares about himself.  However, most people that invoke such a strong reaction from each other are usually fighting an unbelievable attraction.  The more time they spend together training the more difficult the attraction is becoming to ignore.  

Lex really wants everyone to think he is a douche.  And he totally can be one at times.  But, I have to say at the end of the book, I loved his character even more than I loved Ian.  Rachel Van Dyken has an unbelievable way with words and storytelling to be able to make you hate a character in one book and love them in the next.  This book is fun and witty with just enough drama mixed in it.  I loved it from cover to cover and finished it in one sitting!  

Monday, August 8, 2016

Review: Hard Rules by Lisa Renee Jones

Wall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy in the smoldering, scorching first novel in the explosively sexy new Dirty Money series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones.

How bad do you want it?

The only man within the Brandon empire with a moral compass, Shane Brandon is ready to take his family's business dealings legitimate. His reckless and ruthless brother, Derek wants to keep Brandon Enterprises cemented in lies, deceit, and corruption. But the harder Shane fights to pull the company back into the light, the darker he has to become. Then he meets Emily Stevens, a woman who not only stirs a voracious sexual need in him, but becomes the only thing anchoring him between good and evil.

Emily is consumed by Shane, pushed sexually in ways she never dreamed of, falling deeper into the all-encompassing passion that is this man. She trusts him. He trusts her, but therein lies the danger. Emily has a secret, the very thing that brought her to him in the first place, and that secret that could destroy them both.

Review:  4.5 of 5 Stars

Lisa Renee Jones always grabs my attention from page one of her books, and Hard Rules was no exception! I love the mystery and intrigue that she is so good at weaving into a story.  

Hard Rules has some great characters, starting with Shane Brandon.  He is a typical alpha male that I expect when reading a LRJ book, but he has his own unique qualities, like all of her characters.  He is an attorney who made it big in NYC, but had to return to Colorado to bail his family out of legal trouble.  I cannot stand his family.  I don't trust any of them.  Shane is attempting to take over Brandon Enterprises from his father and brother, but it is not going to be an easy feat.

Emily Stevens is a wonderful heroine.  I adore her stubbornness and her spirit.  Life has definitely not been fair to her, but she is trying to make the best of it.  And day while getting coffee she a chance encounter introduces her to Shane Brandon.  Fate is at work for these two because they can't seem to stay away from each other.  As their lust takes over, they become more to each other than they ever imagined.  They are destined for more than a one night stand.  

I finished this book several days ago and I am still reeling from it.  I am dying to know what Emily is hiding and how it is going to intersect with Shane.  Will they be able to move forward?  Is it a deal breaker as she believes?  I just need to know!  Come on February!  How will I be able to wait that long to read Damage Control, Book 2?!?!

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 point...my 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!