Posts Categorized: Penguin

Fight to the Finish – Jeanette Murray – 3.5 stars

March 9, 2016 NetGalley, Penguin, Read in 2016 1

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

Fight to the Finish – Jeanette Murray – 3.5 starsFight to the Finish by Jeanette Murray
Published by Penguin on 2016-03-01
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Military, Romance, Sports
Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-half-stars

The author of Against the Ropes takes her First to Fight series another round with a novel of a JAG officer who loses his cool, when love delivers a knockout punch...

Kara is a single mom working hard to keep life running smoothly for herself and her son, but a custody battle is wearing her down. When her friend suggests asking a JAG officer for some unofficial advice, Kara agrees—and soon finds herself officially head over heels...

As a Judge Advocate, Graham has seen his share of nasty custody disputes—and he plans on keeping his distance from this one. But this purposeful, passionate woman has a way of drawing him ever closer to the edge. And when Kara’s ex starts to throw his weight around, Graham will have to choose between toeing the line or stepping into the ring...

I admit that I have enjoyed this series because of the sexy boxers and the women who are strong enough to stand beside them.  We get to see strong, sexy men but also see women who do not let themselves be lost while being involved with strong personalities.

Kara is someone we’ve seen around the periphery but getting to know her in this book was fun.  I liked how she has worked so hard to do what she loves but at the same time raise a strong son who has so many things against him.  She’s vulnerable and lonely but is resigned to living a life that isn’t 100% under her own control.  I do understand why she was determined to just deal with the cards she was dealt but loved how her attorney reacted when she finally found her voice.  She’s confused by what she feels for Graham but she can’t seem to let him go.  I loved how she decided to be honest with him and say it wouldn’t work but I hated that she kept the real reasons from him until late in the story.  Her reaction to his cave-ish man moment was a bit off the handle but she owned that which made me happy.  Did he deserve a bit of a dressing down?  Yes but… he really didn’t do anything wrong enough to warrant her knee-jerk reaction.

Graham was something else.  I did adore his acceptance of Kara’s son and all that his life entails.  He really wanted to be able to have her in his life and understood that this was part of it.  His kindness and understanding while being patient for her to finally come around was sweet while also being hot as hell.  I appreciated that he realized what she was to him very quickly and made his mission to be taking some of the load off her shoulders while still letting her be her.  He was also sexy as hell in the bedroom but what I appreciated more than anything was the fact that even in his cave-man moment… he really was trying to do the best thing.  He walked a thin line but walked it well as he tried to free the woman he loved from a life that wasn’t fulfilling to her.

This series was a lot of fun to read and I look forward to more from this author.

three-half-stars

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What A Woman – Judi Fennell – 4 stars – Contest

March 3, 2015 Penguin, Read in 2015, Sent 1

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

What A Woman – Judi Fennell – 4 stars – ContestWhat A Woman Published by Berkley Publishing Group on March 3, 2015
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
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four-stars

After starting her housecleaning company, Manley Maids, one woman is determined to make it on her own. And what a woman she is…

Now that Mary-Alice Catherine Manley—Mac—has her hunky brothers working for her, she can sit back and watch the business roll in. But her new assignment quickly tosses that plan out the window. Mildred, her grandmother’s best friend, needs her house cleaned and Gran has volunteered Mac for the job. The problem is Mildred’s cocky grandson. He thinks Mac’s at his beck and call, but she has a few things to tell him…aside from how hot he is.

Jared Nolan is currently lying low, nursing some broken bones—and a bruised ego. The former professional baseball player let himself be used by woman once, and now it could rob him of his beloved career. No woman is ever going to call the shots again, which is why, when the bossy Mac shows up, he’s going to show her who’s really in charge. He’s just not prepared for the undeniable attraction between them. And with the two of them in one house, there’s no telling who will come out swinging…

Ok I was very very bad and started this series with the last book…  OOPS!  I will be going back to read the rest and don’t believe I suffered by starting late.  This was a sweet book of two people who have been meant for one another since they were kids but as many know you don’t always know what you’ve got until it’s gone or in theory buried.

Mac (Mary-Alice Catherine) loves her life and her business even if she had to learn how to count cards in order to make her brothers help her out for a bit in order to get some much needed publicity and growth for her new company.  She’s smart and extremely caring which is why she is bound and determined to not succumb to her childhood crush when she’s stuck with him as they clean out his grandma’s house.  She gets to spend time around him as he heals from a devastating injury but is not willing to let him walk all over her.  She pushes him to be more than he expected and will not let him get away with treating her or others like dirt no matter how much he protests.  I liked her willingness to do things for others without expectation of repayment but mainly liked her attitude of taking no prisoners.  She is who she is and she doesn’t hide it from anyone.  She wants a partner but isn’t in a huge hurry to find one as she really wants her cleaning business to take off.

Jared… sigh…  I have to admit that Jared made the book for me as he struggled with who he really was and this new appreciation for who Mac is.  He struggles with seeing her as a woman finally and also with his past treatment of her.  You get to see that while she wasn’t trying to ruin the good times for him and her brothers she really was being a pest.  Both of them get to see things thru the others eyes in this and it makes you/them appreciate what they have.  He finally gets answers as to why his parents are the way they are and it helps him discover who he really is and what will make him happy.  I liked his grouchy side and once we get a bigger picture as to what makes him tick you can appreciate why he struggles so hard with what Mac means to him.  He’s something else but I did want to hurt him when he pulls his stunt near the end of the book…  was it appropriate in some respects but dammit man communication is CRITICAL!!!

Overall this was a cute book about childhood nemesis (not really but will make sense when you read) finding true love where they didn’t expect it.

Now for the good news…  I’m giving away my finished copy that was used for reviewing this title.  All you need to do is comment below with either your first crush or your first enemy… Comment by 3/11/2015 at 11:59 pm CT in order to be entered.

four-stars

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You Really Got Me – Erika Kelly – 4.5 Stars

January 2, 2015 Penguin, Read in 2014 0

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

You Really Got Me – Erika Kelly – 4.5 StarsYou Really Got Me by Erika Kelly
Published by Penguin on 2015-01-06
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
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four-half-stars

The first irresistible novel in a hot new series about a rock star on his way up—and the woman he wants to take all the way... Emmie Valencia has what it takes to be the music industry’s hottest band manager. She just needs to prove it. Determined to discover a killer new band, Emmie is ready to make her move. First stop: Austin, Texas. As a sizzling-hot lead singer, Slater Vaughn has no trouble raising heart rates—but his band’s been flat-lining for years. When Emmie, his bandmate’s sister, crashes with them in exchange for some free management, her industry know-how lands them a spot in the biggest music festival in Texas. But it isn’t just her business acumen that catches Slater’s attention. Emmie is sexy and warm, and—for the first time in his life—he wants more. But as irresistible as Slater is, Emmie is done with musicians. In her experience, a man can’t be a rock star and someone to trust with your heart—but Slater is determined to show her he’s both.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  I know I requested it because the premise sounded interesting but the depth that Ms. Kelly brought to this book with both the characters and the inner workings of the music industry was more that I had expected.

We get to meet our heroine Emmie at a crossroads in her life.  She has been working as the personal assistant for one of the premiere A/R guys in the music business but that isn’t where she thinks she belongs.  You see she wants to be an A/R guy (gal) and after being made aware of her boss not really planning on promoting her to that job she decides that enough is enough.  She embarks on a quest to prove she has the chops and goes to stay with her brother in Austin TX in order to help him out and find the next great thing.  While there she finds out that maybe just maybe she might have found love with the absolute (in her mind) worst fit for her.  She’s driven and very loyal to her brother but what I liked most was her fears were understandable and while I wanted to hurt her for her lack of trust in what they were feeling  I couldn’t blame her for how long it took her to realize she was wrong.  She owns her fears and concerns which is rare but even rarer that I didn’t find it overwhelmingly annoying.  The work that she undertakes in order to find herself was painful but felt fairly real in pace.  The chemistry she shares with Slater leaps off the page and you can’t help but want these two to finally admit what they need and want to one another.

Slater…. *sigh* …  He’s got his own issues but I loved how he works so hard to not seem interested in his bandmate’s sister.  He tries so hard to keep her at an arm’s distance but he can’t help but be drawn to someone that sees him and not just the rock star.  As they spend more and more time around one another they both find many things in common and ways that help both of them heal from damages inflicted by their childhood.  I loved his heart and how you got to see his talent shine thru the eyes of others.  He has a depth to him that I think was part of my favorite surprise to this story.  His embarrassment when she discovers how much work he actually does put in to the writing and composing was priceless.  I also understood his decision to make it up to her as to where they went from the ultimate angst moment in the story was also very well done.

Overall this was a very pleasant read with a hero that will make you wish you were Emmie.  There is something to be said about a man who really falls head over heels for his woman and isn’t afraid to let her see how much he truly needs her.

Thanks to the team at Penguin for giving me a chance to read this…  Ummmmm when can I have book 2?????

four-half-stars

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The Masseuse – Sierra Kincade – 3 stars

December 10, 2014 NetGalley, Penguin, Read in 2014 1

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

The Masseuse – Sierra Kincade – 3 starsThe Masseuse by Sierra Kincade
Published by Penguin on 2014-12-02
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 352
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads
three-stars

First in the sexy and suspenseful Body Work Trilogy

Anna Rossi lives by one simple rule: don’t get attached, don’t get hurt. But Alec Flynn doesn’t play by the rules...Anna never takes on a massage client without screening him first, but the paycheck offered by billionaire Maxim Stein is too good to turn down. Stein is the richest man she’s ever laid her hands on, and despite the risks, she trusts that she can take care of herself. After all, she’s handled difficult clients in the past. What she isn’t prepared for is getting caught in a compromising situation by Maxim’s tall, dark, and gorgeous bodyguard—or the desperate desires he awakens in her...Alec is dangerous. The mysterious, hard-bodied man is completely irresistible and won’t be refused, no matter what walls Anna puts up to protect herself. But as Anna falls fast for his careful ministrations and mind-blowing skills, she begins to realize that giving herself over to a man with so many secrets isn’t just putting her heart at risk—it’s endangering her life...

I struggled with how to rate this and review it.  There are a few issues that I had with this book but in the end I did enjoy the read and will want to see what happens to Anna and Alec in the future.

Anna is bending the rules she has regarding meeting a new massage client.  She bends these rules because of the money that it entails and her need to see her dad.  No the rule she is bending isn’t one that involves sleeping with a client but is more a safety issue with requiring a visit at the spa before she will do a home visit.  She ends up getting there really early so is sitting in her car out on the street in a very upper class neighborhood when she meets a man she’d love to sink her teeth in.  As she discovers this man will end up meaning more to her than she ever expected but is he worth it?  I liked her but I think some of my major problems were due to how she comes across.  She’s supposedly a cop’s daughter and big on safety but she lets Alec in way too easily and is way too willing to put aside getting to know him in favor of being with him.  I also didn’t like that she would run away from town the second trouble hits between them instead of finally growing up and putting down roots somewhere.  I get that she has issues remaining from childhood but she ended up with a family that really was there for her and to continue to hang on to the hurt just didn’t completely ring true to me.  I enjoyed her BFF and how she really did provide a grounding influence on Anna.  She really helped Anna realize that some times you need to just let the crap go and make a stand.

Alec… I adored Alec or what we saw of him.  I at times was frustrated with his lack of communication with Anna but when you finally got his story and what was going on it made sense even as it frustrated you.  He’s growly and possessive but it worked for me even as it wouldn’t in real life.  He’s almost stalkery but again when you get the full story it made sense even as it set off alarm bells in my head.  He’s also extremely vulnerable to Anna and even as he tries to push her away he is also wanting to keep her as HIS.  I felt for him as we found out more about his childhood and melted when we got to see him with his dad and Anna’s father.  He’s a good man who made some mistakes but is honestly at his core just a wounded man wanting to have something real and normal.

 

There are definitely times when I was frustrated while reading but overall I did like the main pair which is why I will grab book 2 when it comes out.

three-stars

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Razed – Shiloh Walker – 4.5 stars

December 8, 2014 NetGalley, Penguin, Read in 2014 0

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

Razed – Shiloh Walker – 4.5 starsRazed by Shiloh Walker
Published by Penguin on 2014-12-02
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley.com
Razed<img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=booaholano0c-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00JJXTOP6" target="_blank">Buy on Amazon
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four-half-stars

Tattoo artist Keelie Jessup can handle that someone else has claimed the man of her dreams. She’s just not pleased with her remaining options... Keelie doesn’t believe in the “perfect man.” But the men who are worth the trouble are usually taken—like her business partner Zach Barnes. After a string of bad luck and the lost chance with Zach, Keelie decides that maybe flying solo—and living with suppressed desires—is the key to happiness. As a photographer, Zane Barnes has an eye for the human form, and his eyes can’t get enough of Keelie’s curves. Unfortunately, Keelie is like most women—always fawning over his little brother, Zach. Zane is about ready to give up, but then a few stolen moments at his brother's wedding have him thinking maybe there's a chance there after all. Now he just has to prove that the perfect man does exist...for her.

*happy sigh*

Yes I adored this one…  I loved how much Zane desired the real Keelie and how much Keelie needed Zane even as she tried to hide it.

Keelie is reeling from realizing that she had been mistaken about her feelings for Zach, her business partner and friend, but mainly trying to figure out how to heal what her actions did to them.  She’s shocked when the man who has been the bane of her existence (not really but…) suddenly begins to appear like the man she thought she’d never find.  When he physically touches her she realizes she’s in trouble and when he kisses her…  well…  all bets are off.  She does what she’s good at though and works hard to deny what she feels for him even as things begin to crumble around her.  Her past is catching up with her and this time she can only hope to survive it or maybe she can finally put the demons to rest by facing up to things that she couldn’t control then.  I loved her strength and once she finally made a decision how she took control of what she needed to do but didn’t like her not always including Zane.  I understood it, I really did but a part of me had wished that she would have let him in a bit more.  She’s a hard one to get to understand as she’s great at putting up walls but I did love her loyalty to those she loves and what she was willing to do to make things right even though nothing was her fault.

Zane was just *sigh*  He’s so willing to go to the bat for Keelie but he’s also aware enough to know that even as she pulls away from him that it isn’t 100% about him.  He was so patient with her need to stand on her own to fight this battle that I couldn’t help but love him.  He’s always appeared to be the one that just settles and deals with things but in reality he’s just a very patient man who wants to get his ducks in a row before he makes his move.  He’s known for years that she was the one for him but now he’s tired of waiting for his moment and decides to go for it.  I loved his story and how much he’s done for others that people aren’t aware of.  I hope Shiloh writes about him telling his mom about his secret…  That will be a fun moment *winces* as he is soooooo going to get grief.  Overall he’s a great guy who wants nothing more than to have his Keelie be happy, healthy and his.

 

This is not a pretty story in many ways because of the topics it hits on but I enjoy that Shiloh doesn’t run away from tough material.  She builds strong heroes and heroines with stories that aren’t perfect but in many ways shed light on things that many people are lucky enough to never experience.  As someone who lived through some things that I wouldn’t wish on anyone else and yet still didn’t live a life that was as horrible as many others have had to deal with I love these sorts of tales.  Zane and Keelie are definitely a perfect match for one another and hopefully you’ll go check them out as well.

Special thanks to NetGalley.com and Penguin for providing me a copy of this to read in exchange for my honest opinion.

four-half-stars

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Love Bites – Angela Knight – 3 stars

September 17, 2014 Penguin, Read in 2014, Sent 0

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

Love Bites – Angela Knight – 3 starsLove Bites by Angela Knight
Published by Penguin on 2014-09-02
Genres: Fiction, General, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
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three-stars

The New York Times bestselling author explores her most daring side yet in three tales of seductive vampires and the women who love them. In the brand-new “Oath of Service,” Angela Knight introduces the Doms of the Round Table and a kinky circle of pleasure, pain, and power as she returns to her “sexy as hell” (Heroes and Heartbreakers) Mageverse world for a new twist on the Arthurian legend. Morgana le Fay finally gets what’s coming to her in this novel-length story. After a fight with a dragon goes wrong, Morgana takes an Oath of Service to Percival, vampire Knight of the Round Table. Percival and his partners, Cador and Marrok, decide to give Morgana a taste of bondages and submission she’ll never forget. What they don’t know is that the lovely witch is keeping secrets that could destroy them all. To make matters worse, the dragon is plotting a deadly revenge.... In “Be Careful What You Wish For,” a beautiful vampire and her two vamp lovers lock horns with a wizard with the ugly habit of refusing to take no for an answer. When he casts a spell on Beau and Decker, Amanda finds herself the object of both men’s lust. She’s had some yummy threesome fantasies along the same lines, but since the men hate each other, she figured it was never going to happen. But when it does, things get a lot more kinky than Amanda expects. In “The Bloodslave,” Angela Knight’s classic “must read...highly erotic” (*The Best Reviews) novella, a female mercenary comes under fire during a hunt. The beautiful, virginal, and very human Verica is captured by three hungry alpha vampires driven deliriously feral by her purity. But they desire more than her warm blood. They want her body, leaving Verica more vulnerable than ever before—and loving every minute of it.

Overall this set of stories has definitely got plenty of sex and heat covered but if you are looking for a story with your sex the only one of the novellas that delivers is the first one…  I didn’t mind any of the other stories included but they really weren’t memorable and the issue of consent in the third story left me a bit uncomfortable in many respects.  While the second story had questionable consent as well there was a reason behind that which made it acceptable where the third story really didn’t have that for me personally.

My favorite of the stories was Oath of Service where we get yumminess in the form of Percival.. yes for those of you who are fans of Arthurian legend…  that Percival.  In this story he is personified in a vampire/shapeshifter who is a Dom down to his soul.  He has been getting driven crazy by Morgana for centuries and finally has a chance to get her out of his system by virtue of her behavior in their last mission.  I enjoyed his struggle to keep her at arm’s length and his attempts to ignore that she means more to him than just an itch.  He’s strong, protective and I would not mind spending some time with him other than his enjoyment of inflicting pain…. although… hmmmmm maybe *snickers*

I enjoyed how the story of Morgana Le Fey gets a workover in this tale as it made her much more acceptable as a heroine.  Once again an author turns what we know from previously recorded legends and gives us a different view of a character we all thought we knew.  I liked her willingness to do what it takes to keep people safe even as it comes at a massive cost to herself.  She needs Percival and his team more than he knows but she also craves this man who has held a part of her since their one incredible encounter centuries ago.  She’s always kept him at arm’s length and plans to again but due to circumstances around them is unable to keep her guard completely up.  I enjoyed her spunk and really loved when she finally was honest with herself and him.

While I did enjoy the times with her, Percival and the other knights together to me the story was more enjoyable when you got just the two of them.  They truly have a connection that lept off the page even as it was incredibly brutal initially the love and true feelings they had for one another shone thru the brutality.  They really had to push each other fully in order to get to where the story ended.  Two very strong people coming together should not have a sweet, gushy story and we got it in this tale.

 

Ok..  quick thoughts on the other 2 stories…

Be Careful What You Wish For – Quick, hot and edgy but I think it suffered a bit for its brevity.  While you are told that there is a history between the characters the fact that they were put in to a bad situation didn’t help me get connected to them.  I did not like that she was basically forced to do something she didn’t completely want to do in order to keep her men sane but I understood it and it didn’t make me as uncomfortable as it could’ve.  I think I would’ve enjoyed a longer treatment of this as I’d like to see her relationships with both heros not to mention more of them post this incident.  I’d like to see if they could come to a long term triad after this…

The Bloodslave – This one gave me a very hard time to like.  In all honesty it made me very uncomfortable as the heroine was forced into the liaison and had no real say in what happened to her.  Granted she might have agreed to what happened had she been given time with the men but this one just didn’t work for me because I couldn’t get past the consent issue….

 

three-stars

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