Posts Categorized: NetGalley

Release Me – Julie Kenner – 3 stars

December 31, 2012 NetGalley, Read in 2012 0

Release Me

While this wasn’t a fully original plot line I did enjoy the story.  If you like the whole older wealthy male with a dark tortured past… younger female with her own troubles and angst…  then this is for you.

Damien Stark is an incredibly wealthy, sexy man who has many secrets and needs to be in complete control.  He’s a bit closed off to everyone around him but for some reason Nikki gets under his skin and he has to possess her.  He’s definitely interesting and I truly am looking forward to more of this series just to see more of him.  I liked how he went for what he wanted but at the same time felt that he did or bought things for her that fit her and not just the way he wanted her.  He did seem to truly see her for who she was behind the mask she was taught to use.

 

Nikki…  now unlike other series that have this same sort of tone… this heroine does have some experience being in the real world and isn’t afraid of living but instead uses a mask to hide behind because of serious issues as a child.  I liked her ability to stand up to Damien and felt that this pairing has the potential to be a real partnership unlike some of the others.  She’s got her own issues that she works through but he does help her face her demons and gives her the strength to fight.  I liked her spunk and her sass but I also loved her heart.  She does wear it on her sleeve but I think if push came to shove she would do fine standing on her own two feet without him.  Their scenes together were hot and relatable from the sense of what both characters seemed to need at the time.  The light bondage was appropriate and the bit of spanking was humorous as well as steamy.

 

I’m ready for more of this series as I think Julie has a way with words and characters that is refreshing in a plot line that has become a bit stale.

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Random House for letting me read this in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Bonds of Trust – Lynda Aicher – 3 stars

December 5, 2012 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2012 1

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This is a hard one to review…  not because I didn’t like the hero…  he was swoon worthy..  but his heroine just pissed me off a few times..  actually make that more than a few times.  Did I understand some of it?  Yes.  Was I at some points wanting to reach thru the Kindle to wring her stupid neck…  OH HELL YES!  LOL

 

Cali is coming out of a long-term marriage where she was unfulfilled sexually and repressed by this lack plus her inability to even talk to her ex.  I mean the woman didn’t have any sex at all for many of the last decade of her marriage.  She decides to address her unrequited need by joining one of the most exclusive BDSM clubs in town.  Once she’s approved she ends up meeting one of the co-owners and starts a hidden relationship with him.  She’s still unable to truly express her feelings or even acknowledge that as an adult she can have a sexual relationship but she’s got a lot of issues.

OK..  now on to the good stuff..  our wonderful hero…Jake…  man oh man I would love to be in his world…  he could do almost anything he ever wished to me and I’d be one happy girl.  Sure he has issues with needing to move on every once in a while but hey things could be worse.  He’s such a caring man but with his past I can understand this need to never stay anywhere very long.  He’s sooooo patient with Cali and while he does everything he can to make her happy and trust she just keeps throwing it all away with her own insecurities.  Towards the end when she pulls he stunt I almost lost it……  I mean the damn man put his heart on his sleeve and you just…  Ok..  stepping away from the chance of a royal rant..

 

While I had issues with the heroine I still enjoyed the story enough to say it is worth a read but please be patient because Jake is sooooo worth it.

 

Thanks to Carina Press and NetGalley.com for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  As always with Carina titles you can click the link on my sidebar to head to their site to pick this and any of their other titles up.

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Red Hot Holiday – Anne Calhoun/K.A. Mitchell/Lean Braemel – 4 stars

December 3, 2012 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2012 0

Red Hot Holiday

 

Another winning anthology from Carina Press edited by the wonderful Angela James.  Have I said I love this year’s Christmas selections??  🙂

 

I Need You for Christmas by Leah Braemel

Megan is surprised at the airport by her long-distance boyfriend.  What follows is a sweet story of being willing to make sacrifices in order to be with the ones you love.  She’s always had a dream of being a Mountie and while Ryan supports her it hasn’t been easy since he has stayed back at home while she works a post out in the wilderness.  It has been hard on the two of them but she’s ready to be with him and if that means giving up her dream job to have the man she loves with all her heart/soul then so be it.  She’s made arrangements to join the provincial police force in town so she can be with him full-time.

Ryan is a sculptor that put his life and dreams on hold to raise his siblings.  He’s a great man and has decided that as much as he loves his family he wants to start his own life with the woman he loves.  He’s made arrangements to move North to be with Megan…  I would have loved more of these two as they burned up the pages when they were together and the support both of them have from his family was sweet to see.

Breath on Embers by Annie Calhoun

This was my absolute favorite of the 3…  Such heat and amazing angst…  Loved loved loved this one.  Check back here on December 19th for more about this title and Annie Calhoun.  😉

Thea has moved to New York to bury herself in noise so she doesn’t have to deal with her grief over the loss of her husband.  She’s alive but not truly living.  She buries herself in sex and her blaring iPod rather than dealing with life.  She’s had a purely sexual thing going with an incredibly sexy firefighter but when he tries to change the rules on her she panics.  I understood where she was coming from but it made me sad to see how many walls she put up just to avoid feeling.  She’s very lucky the man who roars in to her life is understanding enough to want to make it work but I also understood when he stepped back.  He loved her but he couldn’t force her to let go and live again.

Ronan was incredibly sexy and has items in his past he has had to deal with so he understood where she was coming from.  He pushed her boundaries but also stepped back when he knew he was pushing too hard.  I loved him and man oh man I’d take him in a heartbeat if he was real.  The menage scene was amazingly erotic but the thing that made me start to weep was when her walls fell and she finally admitted what she felt.

I cannot stress this enough…  if anything go grab just this story (it is available on its own) because it is so worth every second of time it takes to read it.  This is a woman who is fundamentally broken and yet with love/patience opens back up and lives again…  🙂

Wish List by K.A. Mitchell

What happens when you hit that point in your life where you don’t know if you are truly done experimenting and are ready to settle down?  In this case what happens is two men who mean everything to one another have to open up and confront what they want/need is just each other…

Jonah and Evan have been together for two years and when Jonah discovers wedding rings in Evan’s desk he freaks out a bit.  I mean what if there are things out there that he hasn’t tried but are what he needs to be completely happy…  I mean like being dominated, at the mercy of your lover, being taken..  he’s just not sure he’s ready to commit to that level.  He loves Evan but…  He decides to write a list of what he fantasizes about but is afraid to vocalize to his partner.  Evan has been keeping his own secrets…  you see he is a closet Dom who has kept this side hidden because he isn’t sure he can control it once he lets it out.  When he finds Jonah’s list he decides to push the relationship a bit without letting Jonah know that he’s seen the fantasies.  This wasn’t my favorite of the anthology but it was a good read.  I just felt at times like screaming “WILL YOU JUST FREAKIN TALK TO EACH OTHER!!!!”  I mean that happens a lot in romance novels but in this case it was a bit frustrating.

 

 

All in all a nice hot anthology which I would recommend just for the Anne Calhoun story.  Trust me on this one..  read it..  such a nice weepy story with an ending that will make you sigh.  As always with Carina Press titles you can click the link in my sidebar to go pick them up.

 

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Carina Press for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

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Romancing the Holiday – HelenKay Dimon/Jaci Burton/Christi Barth – 4 stars

December 3, 2012 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2012 0

Romancing the Holiday

 

Can I just say I love the Carina Press Anthologies???  I mean seriously I’ve read the three for Christmas this year and they were all awesome in their own ways.  Angela James deserves a ton of credit for putting them all together and editing the wonderful works by each of the authors…

 

We’ll Be Home for Christmas by HelenKay Dimon

Lila just needs something good to happen in her life.  She thinks the taking over the family camping resort will be just what she needs but when she sees the condition it is in..  *sigh* things just aren’t looking up.  You can combine this with finding out that the man she spent the most incredible 3 days with lied about who he was and now she has to deal with him being around..  well hell life sucks.  What you get however is two people finding out that what they really need is each other and that letting go isn’t always a bad thing.

Spencer just wanted to get out of town and find a willing body to let some tension in his life go on.  What he got was a weekend with an incredible woman who crawled under his skin even when he didn’t know it.  He’s always wound tight and takes the world on his shoulders but never lets others get close to him.  I felt for him and loved how caring he was even when he was trying to deny how much of a good guy he truly is.  The times with Lila were hot and the tension between them was well done and appreciated.  While they have amazing chemistry they both had issues to work thru and I liked that bit of tension due to those issues.  This was a cute story and I will have to make sure I catch the ones I haven’t read yet in the series.

The Best Thing by Jaci Burton

This was my favorite of the anthology..   I have to go back and read the rest in this series.

Tori didn’t really have a great life at home growing up but once she started to be around the Kent family she finally felt like she found somewhere she belonged.  The only problem with this is her long running crush on Brody Kent.  This unfortunately results in a kiss at the annual Christmas party which blurs the lines between the two of them.  After this kiss she runs away and then becomes a royal Bitch in the offices.  After almost a year of tolerating this Brody is pushed in to fixing the problem with Tori.  She’s not too happy with this but even less happy when Brody doesn’t seem to be taking her hints and instead keeps pushing to be around her and want more.

Brody…  *sigh* what a lovable idiot you turned out to be.  I loved him and his cluelessness but understood it boiled down to fear and not wanting to be led to “slaughter”.  He made me laugh at times with his denials of his true feelings for Tori but I was happy when she called him on his behavior although at the end I sort of wanted more groveling from him.  Their times together were sufficiently hot and heartwarming plus seeing how she brought out the best in him without trying to control him was a wonderful thing.  She just wanted him..  only him.. and watching him get his head out of his ass was nice to see.

Great read and like I said I’m heading back to see the stories for the other brothers.

Ask Her at Christmas by Christi Barth

This was probably my least favorite of the anthology although it was a nice read.  This is a classic BFF to lover story that you just want the two to admit what they wanted is right in front of them.  In this case I was frustrated with the fact the hero is so hung up on what his dad wants that he is almost blinded to the fact he has something precious standing right beside him.

Kyle is about to make a huge mistake.  He knows it in the back of his mind but if it means that his dad will finally approve of him he’s willing to do so.  I mean being married to someone you don’t actually love…  that has a loose definition of fidelity and you barely see isn’t any big deal…  Right?  I mean right?  He decides to get help figuring out the best way to propose by asking his BFF Caitlyn and while she isn’t happy with this she agrees to help him.  He’s clueless about how she really feels about him and has done his best to bury his own feelings for her beneath the whole we are just friends bs that happens.

Caitlyn is shocked when the love of her life goes down on his knee and asks her to marry him…  she wonders is this a dream and if so can she just not ever wake up.  Unfortunately it isn’t a dream but a horrible nightmare…  made worse by the fact that he just doesn’t know what he really means to her.  She’s going along with helping him even though inside she’s dying.  I felt horrible for her and when the girlfriend does her crappy move about Caitlyn’s job prospects I almost wanted to go clock the woman for Caitlyn.  She’s a generous soul to a fault and I felt horrible for her when she made a decision she didn’t want to in order to do what she felt was right for Kyle.

This was a nice story but I think because 99% of it was them working on getting him with someone else it was a bit of a let down.  Don’t get me wrong…  I liked it but I would love to see more of them together as a couple since we didn’t really get much of it here.

 

Ok…  Go out and grab this set of stories by clicking the Carina Press link in my sidebar.  You won’t be sorry.

 

As always…  Thanks to NetGalley.com and Carina Press for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

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40 Souls to Keep – Libby Drew – 4 stars

November 25, 2012 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2012 0

 

Ok…  I have to say this..  I want more of this world and stories of these poor souls who get saddled with the job of helping souls in trouble.

 

Jase wakes up on a park bench with no memory of his past, who he is, what he is supposed to do or anything…  He’s got a strange tattoo of the number 40 on his arm but no idea why.  He’s helped by a woman and her grandson who inadvertently show him what he is supposed to be doing with his life.  He can heal people by taking their sickness and pain in to himself.  We next see him years later almost done with the 40 souls he is supposed to help.  We find out quite a bit more about these people and I loved this…  He’s drawn to his last soul and meets Lucas.

Lucas is a social worker called out to work with a little girl who witnesses her mother and father getting killed.  She’s a special child and immediately latches on to Lucas.  He takes a lot of responsibility for her safety and care but seems to not be in a good place where his personal life is concerned.  He’s gay and wants to find someone who accepts him plus is able to be openly with him.  He just needs to be loved and accepted which made me sad for him.  When he and Jase meet sparks fly but at the same time Lucas is skeptical as what he is being told requires a belief in the paranormal and that doesn’t come easily.

 

Overall the tension in this book is driven by who is after the little girl and why exactly she is targeted.  Who Jase truly is and why the 40 is significant was very interesting to me and I hope to see more of the people chosen to save souls.  Thanks to NetGalley.com and Carina Press for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  As always if you want any Carina Press titles I review please click the link in my sidebar.

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Forbidden Desires – Jodie Griffin – 3.5 stars

November 25, 2012 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2012 0

I am definitely going to have to pick up the first in this series.  It was a nice hot read with a bit of angst built in.

 

Bella is coming to terms with what she wants and needs in a relationship.  When she has brought her needs up to other men it has been met with disdain and scorn so she isn’t 100% comfortable with those needs.  You see as much as she doesn’t mind to be dominated by her partner she also needs to dominate.  Most men she knows just want to dominate her but can’t submit to her when she needs it.  She meets Marcus and immediately notices that he likes it when she is forceful with him but she’s also extremely aware of the fact that he isn’t comfortable with his own need to submit.

 

Marcus needs to submit…  he truly desires it as much as he likes to be in control this desire does not go away.  His ex did a number on him though so he thinks these desires are fundamentally wrong and fights this need to the point where you want to just shake some sense in to him.  Bella is very patient with him but when he tries to play Alpha male with her and doesn’t seem to understand why bullying doesn’t work she leaves.  There is a bit of angst as they both find their way to one another and when they both finally communicate their wants and needs it is HOT.  I enjoyed watching them both own their desires and by doing so find the one person that can complete them and accept them as they are.

 

Nice quick story so go grab it for a bit of heat.  When she takes control it was hot and watching her submit to him was just as powerful.  I liked seeing the give and take both of them had to do in order to make it work.

 

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Carina Press for letting me read this in exchange for my honest review.  As always if you are interested in purchasing the story please click the Carina Press link in my sidebar.

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Undercover Professor – December Gephart – 3.5 Stars

November 25, 2012 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2012 0

 

Lucy has some rules for dating… These rules make sense when you find out her past but man are they made to be broken when Andy comes around.  She can’t understand why she feels drawn to this socks with sandals wearing, scruffy, lives with mom and jobless man but she is.  Their chemistry is off the charts but when she finds out he has asked out her cousin already she puts the brakes on this attraction.  Well…  sort of…  I mean she is sort of seeing a man that meets every criteria on the list but he doesn’t do it for her at all.  She tries to keep away from Andy but keeps spending more and more time around him even though she knows it won’t work.  She’s a nice person but I got a little tired of her rules and her inability to just trust in him.  I mean I know why she did what she did but at the same time it did get a bit frustrating.

 

Andy (Drew) is an extremely well known man in his real life.  He is only pretending to be something he isn’t in order to write a story and do research for a new article he is writing on gaming.  He doesn’t expect to find the “one” while he is undercover but when he meets Lucy he’s a goner.  He learns about her rules and why she has them but as much as he wants to tell her the truth he wants the story done correctly.  I felt for him as he tried to tell her the truth but knew he couldn’t do it without driving her away.  I liked him and his need for her but man did he have issues with her cousin.  I’m glad he got to t he truth of the matter with his story as it made quite a few changes to his own life but also proved out that his feelings for her were true and that he needed to grow up in order to make it work.  He’s a big child in a man’s body but at the end of this you sensed that now he was truly a man who would be what she needed.

 

I liked the pairing and would like to see more of the two of them in another short story.  Maybe show them in a few years and how their lives have evolved.

 

Thanks to Carina Press and NetGalley.com for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

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Naughty and Nice: Three Holiday Treats – Ruthie Knox/Molly O’Keefe/Stephanie Sloane – 4 Stars

November 22, 2012 NetGalley, Read in 2012 0

 

ROOM AT THE INN by Ruthie Knox

Carson has been avoiding Potter Falls for years.  He’s stuck on the fact that it is a small town and there are expectations.  He’s convinced I’ll get in…  help dad…  and go back to my life.  Then he sees Julie…  again…  they have amazing chemistry but she’s happy in this adopted home town and he just can’t see himself there.  Thru this story we get to see what happens when two people that are meant to be together finally get it right.  I loved this but then I have consistently enjoyed Ruthie’s voice.

 

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU by Molly O’Keefe

This is the one sort of odd story in the book.  I enjoyed it but then I have been looking forward to Billy and Maddy’s story so it was nice to see how it started.  I have to say this was a bit heartbreaking if you have read her other stories as you know what happens after this.  It was sad to see two kids that do love one another have to make a decision that others seem to not agree with.  I was a bit teary at the end of this one.

 

ONE PERFECT CHRISTMAS by Stephanie Sloane

Jane is jilted by her fiancé at the altar but turns to her great childhood friend Lucas.  He gets a bit frightened by how strong his feelings are for her and proceeds to run away.  He ends up running in to her again and realizes that he still has feelings for her but he doesn’t want to stand in her way until….  A nice sweet read with a bit of heat that will have you smiling.

 

All in all this was a nice read with some good stories of holiday love.  Go grab it!!

 

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Random House for letting me read this in exchange for my honest review.

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How Beauty Met The Beast – Jax Garren – 4 Stars

November 19, 2012 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2012 0

 

This is a rather interesting start to a new series and an enjoyable one at that.   Set in Austin TX we get to see a melding of the current world with an idea of a future where an underground society attempts to get the real news out there and make sure the general public gets the information others attempt to hide.

 

Jolie Benoit is a part of a family that controls most of the media.  She doesn’t see eye to eye with her father but is in school as a post-grad student by day and works as a burlesque dancer by night.  She has an amazingly hot encounter with a man that is separated from her by a sheet but she knows his voice and is extremely intrigued by him.  Shortly after this encounter some men attempt to kidnap her and she is rescued by what she terms a monster.  Waking up with his arm around her isn’t what she planned but she keeps her wits about her and finds out things that she didn’t want to know about her father and in some respects even about herself.  I liked Jolie as she rolled with the punches a lot in this but never backed down due to fear or stupidity.  I did also like that we didn’t see her jump into bed with Hauk but that she is having trouble coming to terms with her burgeoning feelings for him and is taking her time to get to know the man before she leaps.  There is definitely chemistry on both sides and to see this slow buildup is fun.

 

Wesley Haukins (Hauk) was horrifically burned and injured in a fire while he was on active duty in Afghanistan.  He now sports horrible scarring on his face and body along with a prosthetic leg.  He wants very badly to be loved and accepted for who he is under the scars but has lost hope of ever finding a woman who will love him and see past the scars.  He has moments when he goes in to a “beserker” mode and following those moments has no memory of what occurs.  He sees Jolie performing and immediately is drawn to her.  He loved their moment with the sheet between them but has no hope of it ever being repeated or anything building from it when he gets thrown in to becoming her rescuer.  He works with her to get her niece back and as this happens they develop the starts of a great friendship.  He wants more but is convinced he won’t ever get it from her because after all why would Beauty love the Beast.

 

I’m extremely excited to see how books 2 and 3 work out because I love this pairing.  I think the best thing Jax does is to not rush this relationship…  even though I can’t wait for more to come about..  I think showing both of them working through issues is a wonderful touch as when the walls come down and they take that next step it will be incredibly meaningful and we as readers will cheer.

 

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Carina Press for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  Please head out to the link in my sidebar to purchase this one as I think it will be a great quick read for you like it was for me.

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Naturally, Charlie – S.L.Scott – 5 Stars – Contest!!

November 13, 2012 Contest, NetGalley, Read in 2012 11

I’m going to be honest…  I was a bit worried when I read the premise of this book.  I mean both main characters known as Charlie??  I will have to say this was a charming read that had me laughing, crying and wanting so badly for them to figure things out and get their HEA.  It will tug at your heartstrings as both need to work thru issues before they can find that elusive HEA.  This book gives you both viewpoints and even though I am not typically a fan of first-person reads this one works.

Charlotte “Charlie” Barrow is struggling to figure out exactly who she is and what she wants in life.  She split with her fiancé after catching him cheating and not long after that split he was killed.  She’s trying to figure out exactly who she is since as a part of that relationship she put herself on the back burner and focused on being what he wanted/needed.  She runs in to a handsome man on the subway which causes her to miss her stop but neither of them got each others contact information so she writes it up as a “oh well, sigh”.  She runs in to him again later at a bar where she is out with a co-worker but the co-worker has already decided she wants him so Charlie backs off and chalks it up to more bad luck.  The two of them run in to one another again as she is on the way to her exes funeral and he is on the way to a funeral as well.  They start to talk and then both support each other as they attend the funerals together.  Odd start to a relationship but it works for these two.

Charlie Adams has his own issues to work thru with his family.  You see he is a freelance writer rather than living up to the family legacy and always feels like the odd man out with his family and honestly his friends.  He is intrigued by Charlie and only goes up to her friend in hopes of getting to meet her so he can get to know her better.  He thinks her disinterest at the bar to be a sign she doesn’t want him so goes out with her friend once…  ummm this doesn’t go well thankfully.  When he runs in to her on the way to the funeral he takes the opportunity to get to know her and his attraction to her takes flight.  She puts in place we are going to be friends only after a night of making out which he agrees to as he knows she is still reeling from the loss of her ex even after what he put her thru.  I loved how he knows what she means to him and is willing to take what she can offer even if it isn’t what he really wants.

We get to see two people truly fall in love with one another even if one is in severe denial.  It broke my heart when she walks away from him but honestly you need to read this to see why this was for the best and what truly happens when two people are meant to be together and meet their soul mates at a time when they were at their lowest.  It is such a charming read and you will be extremely happy with the build-up and emotions that the author will bring out in you.

Go grab this today or enter the contest below then go buy it if you don’t win.  I loved this book and cannot recommend it enough so you can watch their journey unfold.

Thanks to NetGalley.com and The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

Buy links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

The Writer’s Coffee Shop

Now for the fun stuff…  For a chance to win a Kindle copy of the book answer the following question –

Do you believe in true love and soul mates?

Winner will be drawn on Friday 11/16 at 2 am Central.  Please make sure to provide a valid email address when entering your comment in the form.

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