The Angels’ Share – JR Ward – 4.5 stars

July 27, 2016 Berkley Trade, Read in 2016, Sent 1

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Angels’ Share – JR Ward – 4.5 starsThe Angels' Share by J.R. Ward
Published by Penguin on July 26th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Sagas
Pages: 432
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward delivers the second novel in her Bourbon Kings series—a sweeping saga of a Southern dynasty struggling to maintain a façade of privilege and prosperity, while secrets and indiscretions threaten its very foundation…

In Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to look more and more like murder…

No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.

Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior...or the worst of all the sinners?

And now for the continuing saga of the Bradford Family….

I can just see this being made in to an evening soap opera or perhaps a telenovella in the future because it just flows like one of those epic train-wrecks that we see on those shows.  The last book ended on a bit of a surprise note with secrets being exposed and a family undergoing a major change.

The patriarch of the family is dead and has left chaos in his wake by virtue of stealing millions of dollars from his kids along with the Bradford Bourbon holdings.  He’s also left behind a scandal in the form of a pregnant soon-to-be-ex-wife of his son.  Lane finally has the love of his life by his side but is now having to hold together his family in order to right the wrongs perpetrated by his father.  He’s strong but how much can one man take on his shoulders?

There are a lot of twists and turns in this one but I think you’ll enjoy the ride.  We have the pieces coming together for Lane… Gin’s life falling apart around her both of her own making and just in general as she realizes how big of a mess she’s in…. Sutton finally having to face that even though she loves someone she has to let go (Nope nope nope want her and him together)… Edward finally seeming to understand his life and perhaps show some growth…  Samuel T was such a broken man and I loved seeing his inner battle more…

In general there are so many story-lines that are playing out during various points of the book that I really felt like I was watching a TV show and as much as I’d like to say that I hated it…  well…  I’d be lying because…

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You just can’t look away… I need more more more…

This has:

  1. Slutty ex-wife
  2. Drunk older brother in love with someone he can’t have *thinks he can’t have
  3. Who dun it???
  4. In love couple who actually are happy…
  5. Mother who is drugged up and lives in a fantasy world
  6. Momma who has cancer
  7. Dun dun dun….  the return of the lost brother….
  8. SCANDAL in the fact that millions are missing
  9. Who’s the father x2….
  10. Surprise new characters that I adored
  11. Villains GALORE

I could go on but you get the point…  CRACKTASTIC…

on a side note…  *ahem* Erin and team…  when can I get the next one??? *bats eyelashes*

four-half-stars

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Release Day Excerpt – The Angels’ Share – J.R. Ward

July 26, 2016 Excerpt 0

Angel

Blurb:

#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward delivers the second novel in her Bourbon Kings series—a sweeping saga of a Southern dynasty struggling to maintain a façade of privilege and prosperity, while secrets and indiscretions threaten its very foundation…

In Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to look more and more like murder…

No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.

Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior…or the worst of all the sinners?

Now for some fun…  In honor of the release today (my review tomorrow) here is a little excerpt to get you wanting to read this:

Toyota trucks were not supposed to go seventy-five miles an hour. Especially when they were ten years old.

At least the driver was wide awake, even though it was four a.m.

Lizzie King had a death grip on the steering wheel, and her foot on the accelerator was actually catching floor as she headed for a rise in the highway.

She had woken up in her bed at her farmhouse alone. Ordinarily, that would have been the status quo, but not anymore, not now that Lane was back in her life. The wealthy playboy and the estate’s gardener had finally gotten their act together, love bonding two unlikelies closer and stronger than the molecules of a diamond.

And she was going to stand by him, no matter what the future held.

After all, it was so much easier to give up extraordinary wealth when you had never known it, never aspired to it—and especially when you had seen behind its glittering curtain to the sad, desolate desert on the far side of the glamour and prestige.

God, the stress Lane was under.

And so out of bed she had gotten. Down the creaking stairs she had gone. And all around her little house’s first floor she had wandered.

When Lizzie had looked outside, she’d discovered his car was missing, the Porsche he drove and parked beside the maple by her front porch nowhere to be seen. And as she had wondered why he had left without telling her, she had begun to worry.

Just a matter of nights since his father had killed himself, only a matter of days since William Baldwine’s body had been found on the far side of the Falls of the Ohio. And ever since then Lane’s face had had a faraway look, his mind churning always with the missing money, the divorce papers he had served on the rapacious Chantal, the status of the household bills, the precarious situation at the Bradford Bourbon Company, his brother Edward’s terrible physical condition, Miss Aurora’s illness.

But he hadn’t said a thing about any of it. His insomnia had been the only sign of the pressure, and that was what scared her. Lane always made an effort to be composed around her, asking her about her work in Easterly’s gardens, rubbing her bad shoulder, making her dinner, usually badly, but who cared. Ever since they had gotten the air cleared between them and had fully recommitted to their relationship, he had all but moved into her farmhouse—and as much as she loved having him with her, she had been waiting for the implosion to occur.

It would almost have been easier if he had been ranting and raving.

And now she feared that time had come—and some sixth sense made her terrified about where he had gone. Easterly, the Bradford Family Estate, was the first place she thought of. Or maybe the Old Site, where his family’s bourbon was still made and stored. Or perhaps Miss Aurora’s Baptist church?

Yes, Lizzie had tried him on his phone. And when the thing had rung on the table on his side of the bed, she hadn’t waited any longer after that. Clothes on. Keys in hand. Out to the truck.

No one else was on I-64 as she headed for the bridge to get across the river, and she kept the gas on even as she crested the hill and hit the decline to the river’s edge on the Indiana side. In response, her old truck picked up even more speed along with a death rattle that shook the wheel and the seat, but the damn Toyota was going to hold it together because she needed it to.

“Lane . . . where are you?”

God, all the times she had asked him how he was and he’d said, “Fine.” All those opportunities to talk that he hadn’t taken her up on. All the glances she’d shot him when he hadn’t been looking her way, all the time her monitoring for signs of cracking or strain. And yet there had been little to no emotion after that one moment they’d had together in the garden, that private, sacred moment when she had sought him out under the blooms of the fruit trees and told him that she’d gotten it wrong about him, that she had misjudged him, that she was prepared to make a pledge to him with the only thing she had: the deed to her farmhouse—which was exactly the kind of asset that could be sold to help pay for the lawyers’ fees as he fought to save his family.

Lane had held her, and told her he loved her—and refused her gift, explaining he was going to fix everything himself, that he was going to somehow find the stolen money, pay back the enormous debt, right the company, resurrect his family’s fortunes.

And she had believed him.

She still did.

But ever since then? He had been both as warm and closed off as a space heater, physically present and completely disengaged at the same time.

Lizzie did not blame him in the slightest.

It was strangely terrifying, however.

Off in the distance, across the river, Charlemont’s business district glowed and twinkled, a false, earthbound galaxy that was a lovely lie, and the bridge that connected the two shores was still lit up in spring green and bright pink for Derby, a preppy rainbow to that promised land. The good news was that there was no traffic, so as soon as Lizzie was on the other side, she could take the River Road exit off the highway, shoot north to Easterly’s hill, and see if his car was parked in front of the mansion.

Then she didn’t know what she was going to do.

The newly constructed bridge had three lanes going in both directions, the concrete median separating east from west tall and broad for safety purposes. There were rows of white lights down the middle, and everything was shiny, not just from the illumination, but a lack of exposure to the elements. Construction had only finished in March, and the first lines of traffic had made the crossing in early April, cutting rush-hour delays down—

Up ahead, parked in what was actually the “slow” lane, was a vehicle that her brain recognized before her eyes properly focused on it.

Lane’s Porsche. It was Lane’s—

Lizzie nailed the brake pedal harder than she’d been pounding the accelerator, and the truck made the transition from full-force forward to full-on stop with the grace of a sofa falling out a second-story window: Everything shuddered and shook, on the verge of structural disintegration, and worse, there was barely any change in velocity, as if her Toyota had worked too hard to gain the speed and wasn’t going to let the momentum go without a fight—

There was a figure on the edge of the bridge. On the very farthest edge of the bridge. On the lip of the bridge over the deadly drop.

“Lane,” she screamed. “Lane!”

Her truck went into a spin, pirouetting such that she had to wrench her head around to keep him in her sights. And she jumped out before the Toyota came to a full stop, leaving the gearshift in neutral, the engine running, the door open in her wake.

“Lane! No! Lane!”

Lizzie pounded across the pavement and surmounted barriers that seemed flimsy, too flimsy, given the distance down to the river.

Lane jerked his head around—

And lost one hold of the rail behind him.

As his grip slipped, shock registered on his face, a flash of surprise . . . that was immediately replaced by horror.

When he fell off into nothing but air.

Lizzie’s mouth could not open wide enough to release her scream.

 

 

Posted by arrangement with New American Library, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © J.R. Ward, 2016.

 

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J.R. Ward is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with more than 15 million novels in print published in 25 different countries around the world.  The books in her popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series have held the #1 spot on the New York Times hardcover, mass market, eBook, and combined print/eBook fiction bestseller lists and have debuted in the top 5 on the USA Today bestseller list.  Prior to her writing career, Ward worked as a lawyer in Boston and spent many years as the Chief of Staff of one of Harvard’s world-renowned academic medical centers.  Ward currently lives with her family in Kentucky where she has learned to enjoy and appreciate all things Southern.  Connect with her online at www.jrward.com, Facebook.com/JRWardBooks, and Twitter.com/JRWard1

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His Royal Secret – Lilah Pace – 4.5 stars

July 19, 2016 NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

His Royal Secret – Lilah Pace – 4.5 starsHis Royal Secret by Lilah Pace
Published by Penguin on July 19th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, LGBT, Gay, Contemporary
Pages: 224
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads
four-half-stars

The first in an enchanting new male/male romantic duology from Lilah Pace, author of Asking for More and Begging for It ....
James, the handsome, cosmopolitan Prince of Wales, is used to being in the public eye. But he's keeping a king-sized secret...James, next in line for the throne, is gay.
He’s been able to hide his sexual orientation with the help of his best friend and beard, Lady Cassandra. Sometimes he feels like a coward for not coming out, but he daren’t risk losing the crown. If he did, the succession would fall on his deeply troubled younger sister, Princess Amelia. To protect her, James is willing to live a lie.
While on holiday, he meets Benjamin Dahan—a rugged international reporter with a globe-trotting, unattached life—who catches far more than James's eye. And when Ben is transferred to London, it seems fate may finally be smiling on James.
But what began as a torrid fling grows into something far more intimate and powerful. Soon James will have to decide who he is, what he wants from life and love, and what he’s willing to sacrifice for the truth...

I’m going to start this with the note… Lilah Pace can send me anything and everything…. please…  cause .. LOVE.

Now on to this particular title that had me begging for the next one ASAP.

Imagine if the Prince of Wales was… shhhh…. GAY?!?!?!?!?  I mean what would the impact be on the order of succession?  Who would inherit the throne?  Would they allow him to reign as King and head of the Church of England? Scandal…. Scandal… Scandal…  How could he manage to have a love life or find love if he’s forced to remain in the closet?  Would he have a “beard”?   This is the story that His Royal Secret starts where James is living a lie.  I mean it is a lie he has gotten used to but it is a lie.  He’s got his best friend, Cass, acting as his scandalous lady love but this is getting harder and harder to maintain.  He’s on a trip to Kenya when he meets a man who he’s intensely attracted to and they have a moment that ends up having a major impact on both of their lives from that moment on.  I loved how loyal James is to those who matter to him.  There is such a huge sense of honor to him that results in him being willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of The Firm aka the Royal Family.  His love for his younger sister was something to behold as she struggles with her own inner demons.  I appreciated that he was willing to do whatever it takes to keep her safe and to let Cass have a life of her own.

Ben was something else.  I had moments where I loved him and moments where I wanted to hurt him as he failed to look at things from James’s point of view.  He has such a prejudice against what he perceives to be the life of the Prince that he overlooks the man behind the title.  I think he knows who James is but it isn’t easy for him to let go of those notions.  I loved how he gives James a chance to experience things that a closeted gay man in his position could never have and that he keeps his word.  He truly does honor his word even though he is sitting on the story of the century.  His struggle with his feelings and what James means to him was realistic.

The end of the book will make you whimper as you want to know the rest of the story ASAP but it was such a good read that I’d hate for you to wait until closer to the second title to come out before you read it.  Go ahead and read it now then re-read it before you read part two… *hint – LOVED LOVED LOVED*.  This isn’t everything is pretty sunshine and roses but the men are definitely made for one another with a story that you could see playing out today.

four-half-stars

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The Bourbon Thief – Tiffany Reisz – 4 stars

June 29, 2016 NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Bourbon Thief – Tiffany Reisz – 4 starsThe Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz
Published by Mira on June 28, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Family Life, Literary, General, Romance, Historical
Pages: 400
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

From the internationally celebrated author of the Original Sinners series comes a brand-new tale of betrayal, revenge and a family scandal that bore a 150-year-old mystery

When Cooper McQueen wakes up from a night with a beautiful stranger, it's to discover he's been robbed. The only item stolen—a million-dollar bottle of bourbon. The thief, a mysterious woman named Paris, claims the bottle is rightfully hers. After all, the label itself says it's property of the Maddox family who owned and operated Red Thread Bourbon distillery since the last days of the Civil War until the company went out of business for reasons no one knows… No one except Paris.

In the small hours of a Louisville morning, Paris unspools the lurid tale of Tamara Maddox, heiress to the distillery that became an empire. But the family tree is rooted in tainted soil and has borne rotten fruit. Theirs is a legacy of wealth and power, but also of lies, secrets and sins of omission. The Maddoxes have bourbon in their blood—and blood in their bourbon. Why Paris wants the bottle of Red Thread remains a secret until the truth of her identity is at last revealed, and the century-old vengeance Tamara vowed against her family can finally be completed.

I struggle with how to explain this one without giving away secrets but here we go any way…

There are two time periods (actually sort of 3… hmmmm….) that are presented in this book but you won’t be thrown back and forth like crazy between the periods so if your afraid of it because of that…  worry no more.

Present day is a man meets a woman at the bar, they play a bit in bed, she tries to steal from him and then he gets told a story.  The present day piece is not the main story you want to hear even though I’d almost like to know more about Cooper as he might have his own story to tell but I digress.  Paris is the woman who has attempted to steal a very valuable bottle of bourbon from him and while he’s pissed she makes a deal with him that he can’t refuse.  She’ll tell him a story and at the end of it he’ll be compelled to give her the bottle as it is rightfully hers.  This is the real story you are wanting to read and it isn’t the most beautiful or happy story.

We get to see the dark underbelly of a Kentucky bourbon dynasty where anything will go in order to keep the family line intact.  We have murder, incest, rape and all sort of other secrets that come to light as Paris reveals the story of the last of the great Maddox family.

Tamara is the golden Maddox princess but her life isn’t all sunshine and love.  Is she spoiled?  Yes….  but not all is right in the Maddox household.  There are so many secrets that start to unravel on her birthday and they come to light slowly over the course of a few years and the reader is taken along for the ride.  We get glimpses of the founding of the distillery and the madness that started it all.  We also see that this latest behavior by the scion of the Maddox line is not the only time where darkness has entered it but that the line has had issues all along.

I enjoyed this story but I will warn you that this isn’t for everyone.  There are things that come to light as Paris reveals the history which might make (honestly should make) one uncomfortable but I found myself drawn to the characters and wanted to know more.  I’d like to see more of Paris in the future as she intrigued me but this doesn’t read like a start of a series so perhaps that will never happen.  If you don’t mind darker tones to a story then I’d say go grab this one but if even the idea of rape or incest makes you extremely uncomfortable then you might not like this.  I will note that I did like what happened to the person who attempted the rape so… there’s that…  Once again Tiffany has given us a story that isn’t pretty in tone but keeps you interested in knowing more about the characters and wanting to know how it all plays out.

four-stars

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Shadow Rider – Christine Feehan – 4 stars

June 28, 2016 Read in 2016, Snagged at Con 2

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Shadow Rider – Christine Feehan – 4 starsShadow Rider by Christine Feehan
Published by Penguin Publishing Group on June 28th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Paranormal
Pages: 480
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

The #1 New York Times bestselling “queen of paranormal romance”* is back with a sexy new series starring a Chicago crime family that hides a dark, mystical secret...

Whether it’s fast cars or fast women, Stefano Ferraro gets what he wants. When he’s not fodder for the paparazzi, he commands Ferraro family businesses—both legitimate and illegitimate.

While their criminal activity is simply a rumor yet to be proven, no one knows the real truth. The Ferraros are a family of shadow riders capable of manipulating light and dark, an ability Stefano thought ran in his family alone—until now…

With little left to her name, Francesca Cappello has come to Chicago in hopes of a new life. She wasn’t expecting to attract the attention of a man with primal hunger in his eyes, driven to claim her as his to protect and to please. And if he discovers her secret, it could ruin her...

So at RT in Las Vegas this year I met a fun person, Amy, who was jonesing for this book…  I went to the Feehan event because I had others who I know love her stories but after seeing the trailer and being around people who were so excited..  I knew I wanted to read this.  Imagine my surprise when it ended up being one of the books that Erin and the team at Berkley were nice enough to include in the bags they gave bloggers.  Amy also got lucky enough that Jo (Kindle Jo) had her copy and didn’t need it so…  AMY SCORED ONE!  I have to say that still ranks as my favorite moment of the convention as the look on her face was priceless.

I went in to this with a slight bit of knowledge about the Shadow Riders but still wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy this or not but I have to say I need book 2 NOW because this story drew me in and the fact that I want to know more about the rest of the family.  There is something seriously messed up with the way they were raised but there is such a strong sense of family that you can’t help being curious about who will be their matches.  The good thing for people who get addicted is that there are branches of the family so my guess is that if this goes well there will be a lot of stories to tell.

Francesca was a strong character who was put in a bad spot and truly only wants to be safe.  She doesn’t want to be beholden to anyone but I also adore that even when she gets the windfall from our hero she is stubborn enough to not want to use any of it.  I liked her strength and the fact that she does want to be her own person even as she is offered the world.  She’s also such a generous soul who is so drawn to our hero even when he pulls his caveman stunts but calls him on it then understands it as she gets to know the real him.  I liked how she argued but she wasn’t stupid and knew when to back down.  She doesn’t run stupidly in to trouble which made me happy.

Stefano… dude he was such an ass at the beginning.  He is used to getting things his way and truly struggles with the fact that something he never thought would happen not only has happened but is happening to HIM.  He’s not as huge of an ass as I thought initially because once you get to know him you’ll understand why he is the way he is.  Does he have stalker tendencies?  Yes.  Would you be frightened if someone in real life behaved the way he does with her?  Oh HELL YES.  Did I still love his overbearing self at the end of the story?  Yep Yep Yep…  GIMME MORE…  He’s sexy as hell and instantly devoted to his Francesca as soon as he senses her.  There is something about such a dominant man being brought to his knees by his finding the love of his life that just does it for me.  He’s not a good man by traditional standards but is a good man in so many respects.  You’ll understand when you find out the family business…

I can’t wait for more stories from this series and look forward to reading all of them as soon as possible.

four-stars

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Stealing His Thunder – Sparrow Beckett – 4 stars

June 21, 2016 Intermix, NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Stealing His Thunder – Sparrow Beckett – 4 starsStealing His Thunder on June 21 2016
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

From the author of the Masters Unleashed series, Sparrow Beckett revs things up with two lovers on a collision course in the first Masters of Adrenaline novel.

Nothing gives Addison Kennedy a rush like stealing cars. The Lexus was the perfect target, but before she can get its engine purring, she's cold-cocked unconscious. When she comes to, she finds herself on a bed with a blonde, tattooed god standing over her.

Fox Larson is shocked to discover the thief he knocked out is actually a hot girl. Bringing her home may not have been the smartest move, but he wasn’t about to leave an unconscious and defenseless woman in a parking garage. Besides, if she’s part of an auto theft crew infringing on his territory, he needs to pump her for information.

However, Addison has personal drive that won’t be denied and she’s desperate to prove Fox’s group needs her skills. Submitting to his kinks in the bedroom is a hot yet complicated bonus. When a big job goes bad, and Addison finally gets her chance, will she succeed in stealing his thunder?

This is my first story by Sparrow Beckett and I have to say it will not be my last.  This was a relatively quick read for me but it had some really nice chemistry between the leads with a fun storyline.

Addison was entertaining to read about as she isn’t what she seems.  She’s smart as hell but bored in the life she has which is responsible without any sort of excitement.  She knows she should be good and follow the expected path but she craves excitement with a side need for making money to support her family.  I loved this about her but mainly enjoyed how she pushed for what she wanted even as she struggled to truly know what it was.  She’s also great with Fox and his team so seeing her need to be included made me laugh.  I also could identify with her fighting the need to submit to someone as it is something that many of us have issues accepting.  She’s the perfect partner to Fox as he needs someone to push him outside his own comfort zone but also he needs someone who won’t always do exactly what he wants.

Fox was hot as hell but at the same time I just wanted to strangle him as he kept spouting lines that made him seem like he was back in the dark ages.  I got the whole dominant side of him in the bedroom but outside of that space I wanted him to just let her in.  She was going to do it any way so why not have her do it where he could truly protect her?  His mastery of her in the bedroom was definitely swoonworthy and damn HOT!  I liked how he worked to get under her skin and in to what she truly craved even as she denied it as much as she could.  There is something about seeing a man who is extremely focused on making sure that there is no uncertainty in the fact that BOTH of them was satisfied by the time their encounter was over unless it was a lesson.  The focus when a dominant has his mind set on something can make one *shiver*…  😉

I’m looking forward to more stories from this author and need to go back to read the backlist.

four-stars

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A Midsummer Night’s Fling – Eliza Walker – 3 stars

June 21, 2016 Read in 2016, Sent 1

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Midsummer Night’s Fling – Eliza Walker – 3 starsA Midsummer Night's Fling Published by Jack's House on June 21, 2016
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

“A magical, joyful, delightful, sexy contemporary romance by a new star in the making!” — New York Times bestselling author Marie Force

The show must go on, but the price of admission could be her heart.

Sick of her vagabond life in a Broadway touring company, Nicola is ready to settle down. She wants nothing more than to park her suitcase in California, put out feelers for local auditions, and leave her past firmly behind her.

Too bad her past comes knocking on her door her first day home. All six-foot-three, beautiful man of her past named Max. Stupid Max. The mistake Nicola just can’t seem to stop making.

Even before Nicola—fiery, quick-witted, beautiful Nicola—slams the door in his face, Max is in trouble. She will always be the one who got away. Three times. Which makes convincing her to play Titania to his Oberon a bit…awkward.

Though she has zero desire to re-re-rekindle an old flame, Nicola can’t turn down the chance Max is offering: a lead role with the West Coast’s premiere Shakespeare company. But when their first rehearsal kiss disintegrates into a passionate liplock, she’s questioning her sanity and tempted to jump ship—before Max can break her heart again.

Now it’s up to Max to convince her that the torch he’s been carrying is actually an eternal flame.

I struggle a bit to rate this one because, while I enjoyed it, there are things that felt rushed to me and the wishy-washy behavior by the heroine annoyed me.  She wants him…  no she doesn’t…  she’s been hurt by him…  she’s been made to feel like she wasn’t important to him…  she’s too clingy…  she’s..  she’s…  yeah you get the point.  I ended up liking the book because of the hero and the supporting cast.

What we have here is a couple who were so young when they first started seeing one another and all the troubles that can come with this especially if there are underlying trust issues caused by family.  We have Max who has changed so much over the years and in many ways doesn’t believe that he’s as ready to be a full grown-up as he truly is.  He’s struggling to make sure that he keeps his head around Nicola while still exploring if she wants him or not.  He’s also trying to keep up the overall show as the chaos of multiple directors, performers who have their own drama and his own issues with his brother but somehow he keeps his head on straight other than with Nicola.

Nicola has her own hangups with Max and these don’t change as the book moves forward.  She’s so wrapped up in what she wants/needs/thinks that she misses how she really impacts Max plus exactly what her own feelings are towards him.  We see her struggle with this but it honestly takes her being hit over the head with things for her to finally decide where she needs to be.  I liked her but she did annoy me.

Lachlan is someone that I felt for as he was/is a good guy behind the ego but he makes a decision that I saw coming and felt would happen.  I hope that we get to see more of this series as I would like to see how he moves on from this and to see what happens with the rest of the cast we meet.

The storyline is interesting and the characters did make me happy but it took a bit to make it thru the heartache, angst and assumptions to the end.  If you want a quick read with some fun lines, characters and “tactile-phase” you’ll enjoy the ride.

three-stars

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Stay Until We Break – Mercy Brown – 3 stars

June 20, 2016 Intermix, NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Stay Until We Break – Mercy Brown – 3 starsStay Until We Break Published by Intermix on June 21, 2016
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

What happens on the road stays on the road in the latest New Adult novel from the author of Loud Is How I Love You.

Twenty-one-year-old Sonia Grant, a business major, has big plans for a career in the music industry. So when she’s offered the job of tour manager for her best friend’s band, she jumps at the chance for some real life experience. When her number one crush, bassist Cole McCormack, jumps her the first night on tour, she hopes she’s in for three weeks of some hot backstage action, too. But Cole turns out to have more up his sleeve than she or anyone realized.

Nobody knows that Cole is on the road to party like a rock star one last time before quitting his dream to take a more practical job and settle down. What he hadn’t planned was to fall in love with a girl he believes is out of his league. Will Cole play out the rock star fantasy he thinks Sonia wants from him, or tell her the truth and take the chance that she’ll either break his heart or make an even bigger dream come true?

What happens when you are forced to give up your dreams in order to help your family?  What happens when you follow your dreams against family wishes?  We find out when we get this pairing from Mercy Brown.  I didn’t know exactly what I was getting in to when I started but I am glad I decided to give this one a chance.

We have Sonia who isn’t living up to the expectations of her wealthy parents.  Well we think she isn’t but looking at the ending I think there has been a lot of changes on both sides and while they won’t see eye to eye on everything…  there seems to be a bit of thawing from both sides.  Sonia reminded me a lot of who I was around men and still am in many respects.  She’s shy, self-conscious and not experienced being around the opposite sex but there is something about her connection with Cole that makes her want to be so much more to him than yet another notch in his belt.  I liked how she did stand up for everyone in the band but herself and, when push came to shove, put herself out there to face one of her biggest fears.  She shows how much the band and Cole mean to her by everything she does to make sure they reach their dreams.  Her story with Cole made me happy in many respects because it was never just about their chemistry but more about two people who have so many things going against them but still need each other in order to be free.

Cole was someone that I enjoyed getting to know.  I liked being in his head as he struggled with being the man he thought Sonia wanted but also being the man he knew he needed to be for his family.  He’s so down on what he’s worth that he neglects to see that he is worth so much more than just a paycheck.  His talent shines thru and you’ll love how this turns out.  He’s such a sap when it comes to Sonia but also so certain that he isn’t worthy of her that he almost misses out on something that is so much more than just a tour fling.  You had to appreciate how much he was willing to give up in order to do what was right by his mom and sister but that’s why he’s the man that deserves everything.  I enjoyed seeing him let Sonia in and also seeing her open up to him as they find something we all search for and most of us don’t ever find.

Overall a good read and I can’t wait to see more from this author.

three-stars

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Dating the Guy Upstairs – Amanda Ashby – 3.5 stars

June 19, 2016 Intermix, NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Dating the Guy Upstairs – Amanda Ashby – 3.5 starsDating the Guy Upstairs Published by Intermix Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
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three-half-stars

From Amanda Ashby, author of the charming contemporary romance Dating the Guy Next Door, comes an all new story of a fake relationship that might not be so fake after all...

LIARS OR LOVERS?

Young librarian Riley Harris has always maintained her independence, leaving the drama of love to anyone silly enough to fall for it. Her Jane Austen novels are as close as she cares to get to “true love.” Luckily, her handsome upstairs neighbor—and landlord—Will Henderson feels the same way.

Since his ex-fiancé crushed his heart, Will devotes himself to charity in an effort to atone for the misdeeds of his wealthy, ruthless father. So when Will needs a date for his brothers high-society wedding, he asks Riley to be his faux girlfriend.

After a spontaneous kiss throws both Riley and Will for a loop, they find themselves fighting their mutual pride and prejudice against love. And when Riley is rocked by something from Will's past, both will need to decide whether to follow their heads or their hearts...

We all know what happens when a story tells you that the main characters don’t believe in the whole happily ever after crap.  Yeah, we get what happens in this story but it was a nice ride to see them proven wrong.

Riley has watched her parents flit from relationship to relationship with disastrous results which has left her being very driven to be self-sufficient.  She’s willing to do anything that her boss requires just to get a chance at the promotion that would help her pay for her mom’s latest mess.  This includes watching a hamster and even going on a “date” with the woman’s nephew.  I felt for her but enjoyed how she was willing to put everything in to her friendship with her landlord, Will.  When she agrees to be his fake girlfriend for his brother’s wedding she realizes that perhaps she isn’t as against the whole happily ever after as she thought but maybe he is the one who will be her other half.  I liked her but did get a bit frustrated with her reluctance to let him in.  She has her reasons but they just began to wear on me towards the end.

Will was another story.  I liked how he opened his eyes to her once he was pushed in to the corner but I also liked how he tried to make her understand that he saw her.  I didn’t like how he was able to turn things on and off based on his perception of things but I did understand why he was the way he was.  It wasn’t easy to watch but overall he made me happier than she did.  He’s got the moves and words for her but some of his actions were not the best.  I loved the way he showed her what she meant to him finally and appreciated that it showed how closely he paid attention to her wants and needs.  He knew her to a level that we all wish someone was there for us but it took him a bit to realize that this was everything.

Cute story with a little bit of fun and smexy times.

three-half-stars

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Cover Reveal – Rock Wedding – Nalini Singh – Releasing July 19, 2016

June 17, 2016 Cover Reveal 1

RockWedding_600x900

What’s it about you ask.. well…

ROCK WEDDING by Nalini Singh
Releasing: July 19th

 

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Rock Kiss series with a hot, sweet, emotional contemporary romance about love and forgiveness…

After a lifetime of longing for a real family, Sarah Smith thought she’d finally found her home with rock star Abe Bellamy, even if she knew Abe didn’t love her the way she loved him. But their brief relationship, filled with tragedy and heartache, nearly destroyed her. Alone, emotions in turmoil, and already shaky self-esteem shattered, Sarah struggles to pick up the pieces in the wake of their divorce.

Abe knows he’s to blame for the end of his marriage. Caught in a web of painful memories, he pushed away the best thing in his life – the sexy, smart woman he adores – breaking them both in the process. Then fate throws him a second chance to get things right, to prove to Sarah that she means everything to him. Abe desperately wants that second chance at love…even if he knows he doesn’t deserve it.

But can he convince Sarah – now strong and independent without him – to risk her wounded heart one more time?

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