Posts Categorized: Read in 2013

Enticing the Spymaster – Julie Rowe – 4 stars

October 19, 2013 Carina Press, Purchased, Read in 2013 0

Enticing the Spymaster – Julie Rowe – 4 starsEnticing the Spymaster Published by Carina Press on June 3, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

Book two of War Girls

German-occupied Brussels, Belgium, April 1915

Judith Goddard is hiding in plain sight. A dual citizen with family ties to Belgian royalty and the British military, she works as a Red Cross nurse in a German hospital, learning what she can, ever fearful her true allegiance will be discovered.

British Expeditionary Force Captain Michael Lawrence is on a mission to rescue the daughter of his mentor. He doesn't expect to find a strong beautiful woman in place of the naïve girl whose love he rejected years earlier.

Jude is shocked when Michael turns up in her hospital, wounded and in German uniform. Though he broke her heart, she agrees to flee Belgium with him—she has information about an imminent attack that she must deliver to the British War Office, before it's too late.

Posing as a married couple, Jude and Michael journey to the border, in constant danger of discovery—and of giving in to their mutual passion…

For more stories of love and war, download Saving the Rifleman, available now!

I have to say I have enjoyed both books in this series so far.  Both of them have heroines who fight for what they believe in even if it means being in harm’s way.

Jude has been working hard at keeping people healthy and her identity secret.  She’s shocked when a man from her past is sent to remove her from the place she loves but realizes that she is in more danger than she thought.  I liked her willingness to stay in the war zone even though others of her station would have run away but I also liked her ability to see things as they were and act accordingly.  She’s not a wallflower or afraid of being killed but this man has the ability to destroy her in a way that no one else ever could.  She tries very hard to resist her feelings for him but knows that he has always held her heart in his hands even after his behavior.

Michael was something else.  He’s always loved Jude but did what he thought was right and ended up betraying her trust plus breaking her heart.  This is a man driven by duty but when he has to save her from a potential nightmare he’s forced to admit that he wants her every way he can have her.  This is the woman for him and no one else will ever mean as much.  I liked his sense of duty but also was pissed off for both of them as we find out what happened to drive them apart.

Once again Julie has drawn me in to the war with a great story of a strong woman getting the support and love she deserves from an equally strong man.  I love how the women in these stories are as strong as the men they love.  It makes me very happy to recommend this series to people.  🙂

Oh…  Julie…  hopefully you will be at RT in New Orleans so I can gush to you in person again.   😉

 

 

four-stars

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Real – Katy Evans – 4 Stars

September 22, 2013 Purchased, Read in 2013 0

Real – Katy Evans – 4 StarsReal Series: ,
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

A fallen boxer.
A woman with a broken dream.
A competition…

He even makes me forget my name. One night was all it took, and I forgot everything and anything except the sexy fighter in the ring who sets my mind ablaze and my body on fire with wanting…

Remington Tate is the strongest, most confusing man I’ve ever met in my life.

He’s the star of the dangerous underground fighting circuit, and I’m drawn to him as I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. I forget who I am, what I want, with just one look from him. When he’s near, I need to remind myself that I am strong–but he is stronger. And now it’s my job to keep his body working like a perfect machine, his taut muscles primed and ready to break the bones of his next opponents . . .

But the one he’s most threatening to, now, is me.

I want him. I want him without fear. Without reservations.

If only I knew for sure what it is that he wants from me?

My Thoughts:

This review is for the self-published copy and I have not read the new release so am not sure what might have changed between my copy and the new one.

This book has been in my pile for a while but I let myself get sidetracked by other reads and when I finally had a chance to sit down and read this I was impressed.  There is some repetition with the descriptions of how Remy makes our heroine feel but I found myself not caring about that as there is something mesmerizing about this complex man.  Ms. Evans does a very good job of showing the impacts of mental illness on an individual without making it cheesy or overworked.

Brooke is still reeling from the disappointment of her injury but has rebuilt her life to be about taking care of other athletes and helping them regain their lives post injury.  She’s very repressed because up until recently everything in her life was about being an Olympian and everything else took a backseat.  When she sees Remy fight the first time there is a part of her that is repulsed by the violence and aggression this underground fighter unleashes but he makes her feel things she never has before.  She tries to rationalize this by quoting medical jargon and facts from human sexuality texts but she can’t deny her attraction.  When his team approaches her about touring with them as his personal physical therapist she says yes but is determined to leave this as a purely professional relationship.  Of course we all know this isn’t possible but watching them dance around one another was fun and when they finally cross the line it makes sense.  I didn’t like some of the side story with her sister but I liked how she really did try to stick it out with him even when he reveals his big secret.  I didn’t like her knee jerk reaction towards the end even though I did understand it but it did feel like a bit of a cop out on her part.

Remington Tate is a beast.  An amazingly sexual man with a huge personality that just draws women to him like moths to the flame.  When he sees Brooke he is drawn to her more than he ever has been drawn to a woman or honestly an individual in his life.  This is a man who gets what he wants when he wants it and watching him pull back from her to take things slow was fun but I could see how it was maddening for Brooke as he seems to play with her but not give her what they both obviously want.  As we get to know him and see what he is struggling with it was eyeopening to say the least.  This is a very complex man with major demons to slay but those demons are not ones that can be killed but just controlled.  I loved our insights in to his mental state but at the same time wish he had been able to find something that really worked for him long-term without causing himself so much physical damage.  He’s such a sweet person under the surface but getting there is such a tough haul.

While there are issues with the story being a bit slow at times I found myself still engaged enough to keep working through this story.  It isn’t 100% easy to work through the descriptions but ultimately Remy is worth it!  He’s just something else and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the stories.

four-stars

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Fearless – Tawny Weber – 3.5 stars

September 21, 2013 Harlequin, Read in 2013 0

Fearless – Tawny Weber – 3.5 starsFearless Published by Harlequin on September 17, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
three-half-stars

Promising career: check

Amazing apartment: check

The best of friends: check

Sex life: MIA

There’s just one thing missing from Gia Renyard’s life: sexual adventure. And the one man she’d like to have it with is her hot co-worker, Luke Monroe. If only company rules didn’t prohibit her from asking him out. So Gia comes up with a plan: make herself over into a fantasy seductress, follow Luke to a convention in Sin City, and have her way with him for one erotic weekend. The man will never even know who did him.

Everything is going according to plan—until Gia discovers that Luke is perfect for her outside the bedroom too. And suddenly she’s no longer content to let what happens in Vegas stay in Vegas…

My Thoughts:

What do you get when you push yourself out of the rut you’ve cornered yourself in?  In this case you get a red-hot sexual relationship that ends up being so much more than sex.

Gia has always been the safe one.  She’s got the good job, good apartment, good friends and in most respects a very good life but… She wants more and that more takes the form of having her sexual fantasies come to life.  Her friends talk her in to going to Vegas to go after the man she wants for a weekend fling but what if she discovers she wants more?  As she gets back to her real-life things don’t go the way she figured when she ends up having to work for the man of her dreams.  As she tries to avoid him she can’t help but wonder what if he knew she was the one that he spent the amazing time in Vegas with.  Would he still want her or would he just ignore her?  I liked how she let herself walk on the wild side but I didn’t like how much she doubted herself even after the weekend.  She’s strong and opinionated but has a major self-esteem issue that I think is handled well in this short read.

Luke is the golden boy who has always had things handed to him with little to no effort.  He’s drawn to the woman in Vegas and finds himself pissed when she runs off without giving him a chance to spend more time with her.  While they did have some amazing sex it was the fact that she pushed him and challenged him in ways he never expected that makes him continue to think of her even after she left.  He decides to push himself at his office and is intrigued when Gia pushes his buttons and shows how valuable she is to his team all while avoiding him like he had the plague.  This gets him more and more curious until …  well..  I’m not going to give it away.  I liked Luke and liked that even though he had things come to him easily he really didn’t like that.  He wanted challenge but it took spending time with someone that pushed him to be more for him to realize how bad he had let it get.  He wasn’t happy but didn’t know how to fix it.

This was a nice read with some good heat between the main pair at the beginning and a real bit of conflict/issues in the middle.  Thanks to NetGalley.com and Harlequin for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

 

three-half-stars

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Cake – Lauren Dane – 3.5 stars

September 21, 2013 Harlequin, NetGalley, Read in 2013 0

Cake – Lauren Dane – 3.5 starsCake Published by Harlequin on September 15, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
three-half-stars

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Dane comes the latest release from Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin.

She won’t be satisfied with just one bite...

Art student-slash-bike messenger Wren Davis pursues what she wants. And what she wants now is Gregori Ivanov, rock star of the Seattle art scene. With his tattoos, piercings and sensual sneer, Gregori is the ultimate bad boy. Wren’s gotten to know the man beneath the body art, too—and it only makes her crave him more.

But Gregori loves women like he loves cake and champagne—intensely, but only for the moment. And after Wren experiences just how scorching sex with Gregori is, she’s determined to show him that just one taste won’t be enough...

My Thoughts:

This is an extremely quick read with a very strong heroine and sexy as hell hero.

Gregori is a Russian artist with the temperament and talent to match his impressive body of work.  He’s been married and since that time just enjoys women as outlets for his needs but nothing more than that.  He’s intrigued by the messenger that brings him stuff from his assistant but even though he is attracted to her he isn’t going to cross the line.  His penchant for withdrawing in to his work at the expense of everything else then lashing out or going off the rails when things get to be too much in his head are legendary but all of this masks a man who really does want something real and permanent.  I adored this sexy, rough man even when he was being a moron.

Wren works as a delivery person for a way to earn money while she is in school.  She has been delivering to Gregori for a while now and is fascinated by the man and his work.  She sees the real him behind the mask and wants him more than she has ever wanted anything before.  When she sees that their flirting is starting to heat up she decides to go for the man she wants.  What she runs into is a man who wants her, craves her but insists on pushing her away for her own good.  I loved how she was willing to put everything on the line for something she knew was real and worth fighting for. She’s amazingly strong and assured for a person her age which I found refreshing.

This is a quick read but the pair definitely heats up the pages with amazing chemistry and great personalities.  Thanks to NetGalley.com and Harlequin for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

 

three-half-stars

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Sponsored Contest – All of You – Christina Lee – 4 stars

September 17, 2013 Contest, Intermix, NetGalley, Read in 2013 0

Sponsored Contest – All of You – Christina Lee – 4 starsAll of You Published by Intermix, Penguin on September 17, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

Nursing student Avery Michaels wants nothing to do with dating—she’s perfectly happy single. Privy to too many of her mother’s bad decisions and even worse taste in boyfriends, all Avery can handle is a string of uncomplicated hookups whenever the mood strikes.

When she meets smoking hot tattoo artist Bennett, she wants him—for just one night. But he won’t accept a no-strings-attached arrangement. He lives by a straight-laced code of values based on his own troubled upbringing.

Bennett sees something special in Avery and he wants more from her. Way more. As Avery wrestles with her emotions for Bennett, danger and tragedy force them to open up to each other. And Avery must face the terrifying realization that she wants more from him, too.

So she needs to make a choice—let Bennett go or finally let him in.

AoYbanner

My Thoughts:

A nice twist on the whole one virgin in the couple.  I liked that this time the hero was a virgin and the heroine was more experienced.

Avery isn’t looking for anything other than someone to scratch an itch and she is enthralled by a man she sees at a party.  The only issue is he doesn’t seem to be interested in her but his friend is and she is a bit stunned to find that even though the friend would scratch her itch she doesn’t really want him.  Instead she heads home alone to think about this stunning man only to find her mystery guy lives upstairs from her.  She’s startled awake later by strange noises and a man attempting to break in but of course our lovely mystery man comes to save the day.  As she spends more and more time around him she finds herself wanting more than to just scratch an itch which terrifies her due to her past.  I liked how she handled his announcement and even though I did find myself frustrated at times with her pushing this amazing man away I was happy when she finally let him in.  She’s been burned so many times and to see her finally let her walls down for him was nice to see.  I liked her strength and her own acknowledgement that what she’s been doing maybe isn’t what she wants but fear held her back for so long.

Bennett is one sexy man.  I loved his reasoning behind being a virgin still and appreciated that while he was one he didn’t look down on others who chose to have sex.  I understood why he felt the way he did and adored how persistent he was with Avery.  He showed an amazing amount of patience every time she pushed him away but when he first saw her he knew there was something special there and didn’t want to risk letting it go.  I liked that he didn’t accept her reasoning during the last conflict but he’s such a great guy he is willing to wait everything out because in his heart he knows they have something rare.  He’s sexy, protective without being smothering and tattooed…  who could resist???  I would love to have met someone like him when I was younger to build a relationship with.

Overall this was a nice read and I would gladly read more about them or more about their friends…

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Intermix for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  I’m also quite happy to be a review stop on the blog tour for this release.  Thanks SubClub Book Blog for inviting me.

Be sure to enter her great contest!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Christina Lee

Image 1

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives near Cleveland with her two favorite guys. She’s addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything.

New Adult/Young Adult author. NA Contemporary Romance, ALL OF YOU, releases September with Penguin. BEFORE YOU BREAK in 2014. Repped by Sara Megibow.

Also the creator of Tags-n-Stones (dot com) jewelry.

How to Contact the Author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorChristinaLee
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Christina_Lee04
Website: http://www.write-brained.com/

four-stars

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Release Day Spotlight & Contest – Tempted in the Tropics – Tracy March – 3.5 stars

September 9, 2013 Contest, Entangled Publishing, Read in 2013, Sent 2

Release Day Spotlight & Contest – Tempted in the Tropics – Tracy March – 3.5 starsTempted in the Tropics Published by Bliss, Entangled Publishing on September 9, 2013
Pages: 200
Format: eBook
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
three-half-stars

he only thing they agree on is the sultry heat between them.

 

Nothing’s more important to Paige Ellerbee than her struggling bakery, Sweet Bee’s. When Lane Anderson, the temporary new doctor hot enough to rival McDreamy, moves in next door, though, she’s sure things are looking up. Until he threatens her business in their first conversation.

 

Lane just wants to practice medicine responsibly—not argue with the flighty bakery owner next door. But when he finds himself traveling down to the Caribbean to play guitar for Paige’s best friend’s wedding, suddenly the sight of the blonde in a bikini eclipses the fact they can’t agree on anything. And as their vacation romance grows, his reservations about starting something after getting burned by love are washed away like sand on the beach.

 

But once Paige and Lane land back home, will these polar opposites be able to forgive their feud and find lasting love?

My Thoughts:

 This was a cute entry in the series where we get to see the friend of the heroine in book one find love when she didn’t expect it.

Paige is happy running her little bakery in her hometown and getting to keep an eye on her father but she does want more than that.  She wants to have a man look at her and love her like Cole loves her friend Liza but with a town full off older people and married younger ones she knows she probably won’t find it any time soon.  She’s worked hard to help people in her town with the cooperation of the doctor but when his nephew comes in to cover for him while he is on vacation all hell breaks loose.  She doesn’t know his story but is pissed when he won’t continue the little program she has with his uncle.  As much as she is pissed at him there is a huge amount of chemistry between them and when it combusts while at Liza’s wedding she ends up making herself vulnerable to a man she knows is leaving and has a lot of baggage he needs to work through.  I liked her strong personality and adored how she wasn’t 100% willing to let him in unless he was completely invested as well.  They make a good couple when they both just be themselves.

Lane is at a really bad point in his life.  His partner who he also happened to be engaged to just ruined their medical practice in Austin and to add insult to injury was having an affair with her attorney.  His life is in shambles so when his uncle asks him to step in and help while he’s out of the country well why not?  He starts things off rather badly but as you get to know him he does redeem himself.  I loved his willingness to be in the moment with her although things don’t always work out as they planned and when he does realize what he has with her is special he does an amazing grovel to try to win her back.  This is a man who has had his world rocked to the core but is a great guy that needs someone as in the moment as she is to bring him out of his doldrums.

About the author:

Award-winning author Tracy March writes romantic thrillers influenced by her career in the pharmaceutical field, and her interest in science and politics. She also writes lighthearted romances inspired by her real-life happily ever after.

Always up for travel and adventure, Tracy has flown in a stunt plane, snowmobiled on the Continental Divide, ziplined in the Swiss Alps, and been chased by a bull in the mountains of St. Lucia. She loves Nationals baseball, Saturday date nights, and Dairy Queen Blizzards—and rarely goes a day without Diet Coke and Cheez-Its.

Tracy lives in Yorktown, Virginia, with her superhero husband who works for NASA. They recently spent two years living in Washington D.C., and enjoy visiting often—especially when the Nats are in town.

Tracy’s links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Giveaway Info:

Tropics Beach Bling prize pack including a charm bracelet, ring and a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

three-half-stars

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Birthday Week Giveaway 1 – Forbidden Obsessions – Jodie Griffin – 4.5 stars

September 8, 2013 Carina Press, Contest, Read in 2013, Sent 3

Birthday Week Giveaway 1 – Forbidden Obsessions – Jodie Griffin – 4.5 starsForbidden Obsessions Published by Carina Press on September 9, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
four-half-stars

Book four of Bondage & Breakfast

Bondage & Breakfast was a safe place for couples to explore BDSM—until an arsonist almost destroyed it. While the inn is closed for repairs, owner Gabe McConnell allows injured firefighter Olivia Watterson to stay and recover as a favor to a mutual friend. His attraction to her is unexpected and intense—but there's no way she's strong enough for the type of play he demands from a sub.

When she arrives at the inn, Liv is shocked—and intrigued. Her unanticipated obsession with the sexy, skilled Dom makes her all the more impatient with her slow recuperation. Even more frustrating is the way Gabe handles her like fragile glass, and she's determined to prove she's anything but by pushing her body to the limit.

Holding back should be easy for Gabe, but the more Liv challenges his limits, the more he craves her, body, mind and heart…

Welcome to the first of a few giveaways in honor of my birthday later this week.  I’ve also decided to make this a week where we celebrate the existence of my blog that is just over a year old but ya know I’m a bit busy with school and work so I decided let’s make it easy…  Celebrate both the same week!  WOOOHOOOO!!!  So enjoy the posts this week and be sure to enter the giveaways.  This one will run for only a few days as I’d like to get it in your hands on release day so…

 

My Thoughts:

I have to say I have enjoyed every book in this series and like most people have been waiting on Gabe’s story.  He’s been a wonderful presence in all the other stories so you can’t help but want him to find his own lady love.

Liv decides to take an offer of a place to stay and rest/recuperate from a friend of a friend.  She knows the place was a sort of BDSM getaway for those in the lifestyle who wanted somewhere they could play in safety and learn from a man with a great reputation for teaching/nurturing healthy relationships in the lifestyle.  She’s still coming to terms with her accident and trying to figure out where she goes from here but also is terrified because she is dealing with some lingering issues that could cause everything she ever worked for to be permanently wiped away.  I liked her strength and the fact that she never made things easy for Gabe but instead stood up for herself as she wanted to be treated as if she never had the accident.  This does lead to some stupidity on her part of pushing her body harder than it needed to be and not asking for help from a man she’s drawn to in spite of her inner reservations.  She’s smart, strong and a perfect match for a man who needs someone that submits to him but also is a true equal to him outside of the bedroom.

Gabe has intrigued me from book one as we’ve seen this intense Dom guide our other couples to a happy place in their relationships.  He’s a bit disconcerted by the fire and incidents that happened in the last book which has left him wondering what exactly he wants to do with his life.  He’s wrongly blaming himself for the events in the last title and to see this strong man wondering if his instincts are wrong about everything around him was a bit hard at times to stomach.  I loved how he wanted to push her but at the same time needed to make sure that she properly recovered from her accident.  This of course leads to some major conflict between the two of them which results in a good grovel scene late in the book.  Gabe is to me the prime example of what a Dom should be – caring, controlled, passionate and growly.  He’s always been the one with the answers and seeing him realize he doesn’t have to be but can share his fears and joys with a true partner was a lot of fun.

These two are perfect together and I cannot thank Jodie enough for letting me get my greedy hands on it early.  Now for the good stuff…

So…  this releases on September 9th, 2013 and in honor of its release I’ve decided to give 5 lucky commentors a Kindle or Nook version of this book.  

My question for you is – What do you think makes a good Dom or Alpha hero in romance stories?

Contest entries must be in by 1 PM US Central on September 9, 2013 in order to be counted.  Please leave me your preferred format in your comment so I can send them out as soon as possible once the winners are determined.  🙂

Good luck!!

four-half-stars

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Sponsored Contest – Beauty Bites – Mary Hughes – 4 stars

September 3, 2013 Contest, Read in 2013, Samhain, Sent 2

Sponsored Contest – Beauty Bites – Mary Hughes – 4 starsBeauty Bites Published by Samhain on August 27, 2013
Pages: 357
Format: eBook
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
four-stars
Beauty Bites (Biting Love Book 6)
Beauty is skin deep…but the beast goes all the way.
When top Minneapolis ad man Ric Holiday is asked to design a campaign for a quaint little town, his first reaction is absolutely not. Meiers Corners is too near Chicago, home of the vampire who turned him as an orphaned boy.
Then the city sends an angel-faced med student with a body made for sin to plead their case. Synnove Byornsson is the ray of sunshine Ric hasn’t felt since he was human.
Armed with determination and a micro miniskirt, Synnove is prepared to crash Holiday’s penthouse cocktail party—and to dislike him on sight. But Mr. All-Style-No-Substance turns out to have a deadly smile, a barely restrained, feral strength, and piercing blue eyes that look at her—not at her cleavage.
Unfortunately Synnove has competition in the form of a sly temptress with a counterproposal. For the first time in her life, Synnove must cash in her genetic lottery ticket and fire back with some sizzle of her own—or her beloved Meiers Corners could become the new Sin City.
Warning: Contains a doctor with a bod for sin, an ad exec with a chip on his shoulder, sarcasm, sex, and a cabin full of annoying friends. Secrets are revealed. One heart-stopping, horrific moment leads to the ultimate of happily-ever-afters.

My Thoughts:

I have to say I really enjoyed this latest entry in the series although it did serve as a reminder that I missed a short story and another full length one somehow.  I’m going to have to go back and grab it so I can make sure not to miss a second of the craziness that is Meiers Corners.

Synnove is at a crossroads in her life when her cousin talks her in to visiting an ad executive in order to persuade him to help the town with a needed ad campaign.  What she ends up getting is thrown in the middle of a battle that has its roots in the 1800s and a war that goes back even farther than that. I liked how she wanted to be something other than the genetic outward gift that she was cursed with but also that she didn’t really understand her full worth.  She pushes back when way out of her element and doesn’t back down when someone larger tries to get their way.  She uses her brain to figure the clues out that end up getting everyone what they want in the end and that takes guts along with the amazing smarts.

Ric was something else.  I enjoyed how hard he tried to keep her at arm’s length but like all the other vampires in this series doesn’t stand a chance against claiming his mate.  He’s got an über protective streak towards his people and her but does try to fight it in order to make her happy.  His conversation with Bo was a wonderful scene that I’m glad Mary included as it puts a lot of things in to perspective for the reader and provides a great moment for Ric to really show how much he cares for Synnove.  His past is something else and I hope that as we see more of this world they both will play a part in the war that you know is coming closer to a head.

Overall this was a nicely paced story with a pairing that made me laugh at times.  Both of them are stubborn and her tendency to spout medical jargon when flustered should make you laugh a few times as they bust out of her mouth at the most inopportune times.  I really want a story starring his right hand man/partner so hopefully we will get that one soon.  😉

Special thanks to Author’s Angels who allowed me to be a part of this tour and help spread the word about this fun book.  They also provided this to me for review and I’m so happy that I got to get my greedy hands on it as a result.  Please scroll down a bit for a fun contest that is a part of this tour and take advantage of the excerpts below.

Excerpt:

It was all fun and games until the gun hit my skull.
Thud. A bright pain cracked in my brain, telling me the mountainous hostage-taker had brought his own weapon to bear.
Almost immediately something heavy plowed into us, spinning me away from the gun. I staggered to a stop.
My sight cleared to Ric, wrestling the mountain.
The big goon seized Ric with one arm, hugging him close like he was going to give him noogies. But the gun in his noogie hand made reality more chilling.
Ric shimmered, and suddenly the mountain was holding a cloud of mist.
Vampire fighting technique? I cheered before it occurred to me to wonder why Ric hadn’t used it before and why the shadowman helping us hadn’t used it at all.
The edge of Ric’s mist caught a stray beam of sunlight. It instantly combusted—poof. My elation turned to horror.
Ric snapped back into being like a rubber band. His cheek was seared open, exposing red muscle surrounded by blackened, bubbling skin. But he lost no time raising his bound hands, swinging, and whacked the bad guy’s head with fists like a mallet.
The mountain swayed but didn’t go down. Ric spun, once, twice, winding up his whole body behind it, and whacked him again.
Still the guy didn’t go down. My heart tripped double time. The mountain swept his gun toward Ric.
I leaped at them. Went oof when I hit the shadow’s arm, stuck out like a bar. I folded over it like a cheap towel and staggered back.
Ric slid into the rifle.
The mountainous goon opened fire as Ric knocked the gun to the side—the side where the ogre-like head hostage-taker stood.
Ogre Face ducked and covered. A spray of bullets rat-a-tat-tatted a line where his head had been.
Ric chopped his forearms across the mountain’s right wrist. The mountain howled, both arms flying up in defense, right hand dangling with a protruding lump at the wrist presenting as broken. The gun fell to hang from its clip. The mountain groped for it with his left hand.
Ric grabbed the big man’s balls.
The guy shrieked. Ric wrenched. The mountain dropped, curling on the floor like a shrimp. Apparently Ric also had a grip like a nut crusher.
“Stop!”
I whipped around. Ogre Face pointed his gun at my head. He rasped, “You’re dead.”
Terror burned that instant into my head like a snapshot. I stood facing the ogre. About ten feet separated us. Behind me was the hostage-lined bank of windows, the shadowman already running toward them. A few feet to my right, the mountain goon curled on the floor, Ric breathing deeply over him.
Both Ric and I were too far away to stop the ogre from shooting.
“Down!” The shadowman pushed hostages to the floor, starting with the ones in Ogre Face’s direct line of fire. Well, if you didn’t count me.
Ric leaped.
My knees started to bend.
Ogre Face pulled the trigger.
Ric wouldn’t hit him in time, even though he’d leaped before the ogre pulled the trigger.
The gun went off.
———————————————-
I turned.
Ric Holiday in his full sizzling glory was right on top of me.
I stepped back, spine hitting the edge of the elevator shaft. My nipples reached out as if trying to stay in touch. *The erection of the mammary papilla is due to muscle contraction, like the pilomotor reflex which causes goose bumps*—Stupid nipples. “What do you want?” I spoke a bit sharply, but his heat and heady scent had goosed my frustration into borderline rudeness. I flushed but held my place. Well, fused against the corner of the shaft, I had to.
He stared down into my eyes, his own frustrated too. “I want to explain.”
“You made it clear enough. Me and Camille at the O.K. Corral, one week from today.” I looked away. The elevator was leaving.
“Synnove.” He slid two strong fingers under my chin and urged my face back to him. The blue had softened. “I’m sorry.”
“Why? There’s worse?” I scowled, but I had to work at it. Why did he have to be so gorgeous? Why did his fingers have to be so gentle, so warm? “You’re going to make us bikini mud wrestle?”
“Ouch.” He smiled slightly. “I deserve that.”
“No,” I grumped. “You don’t. But you’re getting it anyway.”
The grin slowly widened, making his whole face edible. “The vaunted Byornsson honesty. I’m beginning to see the advantages.”
And I was beginning to see the advantages of hot sexy sizzle. But no way I was admitting that to him. Not lying, just omission, which is not a lie. Mostly.
When my lips parted to say something that was not a lie and definitely wasn’t about how sexy he was, his eyes darkened. “Shh.”
He replaced the two fingers on my chin with two cupping hands, holding my face gently, like it was something precious. Like I was precious.
My lips stayed parted but no words came out.
In that moment of silence, he lowered his head. Slowly, so I could have stopped him.
Should have stopped him.
Did not want to.
*He’s nothing but image.*
*Image and intense pleasure.*
*The lips have one of the highest density of nerve endings in the body…*
*Argh. Shut up and kiss him.*
While I was arguing with myself his warm mouth settled on mine, tongue sliding deftly between my lips. It rasped my sensitive skin, rubbing my lips awake like a thorough toweling. A steamed towel, hot and wet.
Confused feelings fled. I gave a little moan and opened wider.
He swept inside, all spice and heat. He groaned, a sound of masculine hunger. His questing mouth, his hot kiss, said lust plain and clear. Yet his hands were tender on my face, his sweet caress speaking of something beyond sex, a closeness that transcended the physical.
Happiness blossomed in my heart. Our groans were intertwined, mutual. For this one moment, the battle was suspended and we were on the same side.
His fingers tunneled into my hair, holding me firmly while his tongue drove deeper. He pressed closer yet, pinning me to the edge of the elevator shaft with his body, imprinting me with every muscle, every bulge, every place he was hard and primitive under his worsted.
I rippled against him and moaned softly in response. If he could generate this kind of pressure standing, how would the weight of his body feel, pressing me into a mattress?
At the thought I nearly exploded.
He shifted me, his powerful hands urging me away from where the corner of the elevator was digging into my spine and guiding me onto the wall. There he pressed me into vinyl wallpaper and kissed me like he was starving for me. The honest hunger in his kiss undid me. I grabbed his head and kissed him back with everything I had.
A big hand slid up my ribs, sparking a trail of heat, stopping under my breast. The mound throbbed, waiting, wanting, yearning for that hot hand to slide up the curve, to touch my delicate and private flesh. To brand it as his own. My soft moans shortened to whimpers, and I arched to thrust my breast more fully into his hand.
A deep rumbling started, a lion’s purr. His hand moved, fingers barely brushing the bottom curve. I stopped breathing. His fingers skimmed higher, circling nearer, nearer to the hardening tip. I twitched in anticipation, greedy for his touch on sensitive flesh barely covered by a thin blouse and the wispiest scallop of lace. Bless Twyla’s endless supply of sexy bras.
Finally, finally his thumb scraped my nipple. I shrieked into his mouth, jerking against him. My nipple furled instantly, wordlessly urging him again, more, now.
He opened his hand and covered my breast, his heat searing. Slotting the nipple between two fingers, he began to pump and tug gently, rhythmically squeezing, pulling. I thought I’d go insane from the sweet soft tugging.
Until he replaced the hand with his mouth.
His lips closed on my erect nipple through thin blouse and bra, breath wetting the material until he could have been sucking directly on flesh. It was the dream become real; it was better. More aroused than I’d been in my life, I grabbed his ears and beat my hips into him, not thinking at all, just moving. A pressure built between my legs, a hot, heavy throbbing that made me want him on his back and me naked and clamping him between my thighs.
A ding startled me; my eyes flew open. The elevator, which had gone and come back again, disgorged half a dozen professional-looking people.
Bio:
I’ve worked as everything from a cleaning temp to project manager for global clients. Currently I’m an author, musician, and computer consultant. I live in the United States Midwest with a basement full of spare computer parts and several musical instruments including my husband’s romantic cello and my flute for playing bird parts in orchestra…ask me to tell you that story sometime 🙂
Hugs!
Mary

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four-stars

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Stay With Me – Elyssa Patrick – 4.5 stars

September 2, 2013 NetGalley, Read in 2013 1

Stay With Me – Elyssa Patrick – 4.5 starsStay With Me on September 1, 2013
Pages: 270
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
four-half-stars

New Adult/Contemporary Romance - recommended for ages 17 and up.

With one look, I’m his . . .

With one touch, he’s mine . . .

With one kiss, it changes everything between us . . .

I’ve been famous since I can remember. Singing, acting, dancing—I’ve done it all. The tabloids cover my every move, but I don’t want that anymore. I want to be normal, whatever that is.

When I leave Hollywood for college in Vermont, I’m on my own for the first time in my life. This is my chance to figure out who I am and what I want in life.

But it’s a lot harder than I expected. I can’t escape my image. Classes are difficult, and I’m struggling. And then there’s Caleb Fox.

Sexy, intriguing Caleb Fox.

Caleb is the one man who doesn’t want to use me. He breaks down my walls. He challenges me. He wants me. And I just don’t know if I can give him the same—or if he’ll stick around when he finds out my shameful secret that the tabloids haven’t managed to uncover.

Dating him is risky enough, but loving him could break me.

My Thoughts:

I have to say that I enjoyed this story of a girl coming in to her adult life not knowing who to trust or what exactly she wants to do.  She’s lucky in that she meets an incredible man that sees the real her she doesn’t even know exists.  I know a lot of the child stars who had mothers like the one Hailey has turned out messed up and result in the train wrecks we see all the time on the news but in this case Hailey wants more and sees that the life she’s been pushed in to is not the one she wants to lead as an adult.  She’s grounded but scared to death of the unknown and watching her learn to trust others and in herself was a wonderful thing to do.

Hailey has been in the public eye since she was a baby due to her mother’s quest for revenge on the father she never knew and then the love of the money her only child manages to pull in.  Her mother doesn’t care about anything other than the paycheck but I would’ve liked to see Hailey confront her after a horrible incident from her past is revealed by this…  umm… trying to figure out how to say it nicely but … bitch of a woman.  She’s always been used by the people around her including any men she’s chosen to spend time with who rapidly sold their stories to the tabloids.  As she decides to leave Hollywood all behind her she discovers that living a normal life is harder than she planned and her history of being used leaves her skittish about letting anyone close.  She meets our hero at a party where he doesn’t leave the best of impressions but still manages to catch her eye and leave her wanting more than she believes she should.  As she has more run-ins with him she finds herself more and more drawn to him but still keeps herself a bit aloof even though she desperately wants to let him in.  It takes a lot of patience on his side and time for her to trust him but will the secret she’s holding on to drive him away?  Luckily the secret wasn’t as huge as it could have been and his reaction to it was a reaction any sane person would have if they paid attention to the truth of it.  She’s an amazing person and watching her bloom with the attention from Caleb plus friendships she develops with his sister and friends made me smile.

Caleb is something else.  He’s a man who is stubborn but sweet, infuriatingly stupid but smart as a whip, and amazingly romantic.  He says and does some really stupid stuff when he first meets Hailey but at the same time it isn’t anything you would be able to stay truly mad about for a long time.  What he is good at though is being there for her and not wanting anything from her other than time and her.  He’s instantly drawn to her out on the deck but sees that she’s got demons to slay that he needs to let her do but he isn’t going to let her withdraw from him without a fight.  I loved how loyal he is to the people around him and how much time he gives her to just be without any pressure from him to decide what she wants immediately.  His gestures to her ,while simple, mean everything in the world to a woman that has been treated as a commodity all of her life.  He really does see the potential she keeps locked inside and is willing to just be there for her whatever she decides.  I mean wouldn’t that make you melt?  I can’t say enough how much I loved Caleb but let’s just say he’s a wonderfully complete romantic hero.

I cannot wait to read more about the friends in future books and hope we get more glimpses of Hailey and Caleb in those stories.  Nick’s book should be fun as he hopefully stands up for what we see he might want in this title.  My guess is major fireworks if the pairing is who I think it is because let me tell you the repercussions could prove to be hot as hell.  Thanks to NetGalley.com and Elyssa Patrick for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

four-half-stars

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Glitterland – Alexis Hall – 5 stars

August 26, 2013 NetGalley, Read in 2013, Riptide Publishing 0

Glitterland – Alexis Hall – 5 starsGlitterland Published by Riptide Publishing on August 26, 2013
Pages: 248
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon

The universe is a glitterball I hold in the palm of my hand.

Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash Winters has given up on love, hope, happiness, and—most of all—himself. He lives his life between the cycles of his illness, haunted by the ghosts of other people’s expectations.

Then a chance encounter at a stag party throws him into the arms of Essex boy Darian Taylor, an aspiring model who lives in a world of hair gel, fake tans, and fashion shows. By his own admission, Darian isn’t the crispest lettuce in the fridge, but he cooks a mean cottage pie and makes Ash laugh, reminding him of what it’s like to step beyond the boundaries of anxiety.

But Ash has been living in his own shadow for so long that he can’t see past the glitter to the light. Can a man who doesn’t trust himself ever trust in happiness? And how can a man who doesn’t believe in happiness ever fight for his own?

My Thoughts:

I’m going to start this review with a quick warning – Do Not go in to this book thinking you are getting a light read or easy one.  This being said it was a brilliant debut well hell a brilliant book period!  I’m struggling with how to sum this book up as it was a very hard read that I just couldn’t put down.

I’m going to start trying to put my thoughts down for you by beginning with Darian.  I’m starting here because he’s the heart of this book and brings his amazing personality to the page from the moment you first see him as Ash does at the club.   He’s brilliant in form and truly brings an infectious love of life to everyone around him that let’s this unique man in.  I loved how he didn’t make any real apologies for who he is but owned the fact that he might not be the most respectable person for polite society but he is who he is and you just have to deal with it.  He’s not stupid though and even when all he wants is to be loved he’s willing to step back to force Ash to give him the respect he deserves.  His dialogue can be hard for those not used to hearing or reading British street lingo but I adored that touch as it kept him real in my mind and with all my adoration of BBC I’m pretty used to hearing it so reading it didn’t throw me.  I loved watching his willingness to put himself out there and my heart broke with his as Ash makes a horrible mistake.  He’s just someone I think in real life I’d love knowing even as a part of me would cringe at how horribly inappropriate he can be.  I have to admit being jealous of people and characters that comfortable in their own skin as I wish I could let myself be.  I get my outlet via reading and now the blog but have issues truly letting go in public (those who know me or have met me can attest to that) but watching Darian demand what he deserved was awesome!

Ash is where we get to the hard parts…  Alexis does a great job bringing you in to the head of a mad man.  No I’m not exaggerating, Ash is certifiably a mess and has the scars to prove it.  We get to see his struggle with being bi-polar and how exhausting it is for him to even pretend to function.  Only as he spends time with Darian does he start to find some inner peace but he doesn’t trust that as the disease tells him he’s not worthy and that he will just end up destroying anything that comes near him.  I mean look at what he did with Niall.  He’s got himself so far down the rabbit hole that even heading out to the grocery store is a major event to dread.  His voice in all of this is one of a man that is struggling to want to even stay alive let alone allow someone to mean more to him than a quick anonymous shag.  As he spends more time around Darian he finds himself wanting more and more but being incredibly frightened of what will happen if Darin finds the truth out about him.  When the truth does come out he finds that Darian doesn’t really care as life/love is never guaranteed so why not live for the moment and let the pieces fall where they may.  Is this extremely optimistic?  Yes  but Darian has such an infectious joy of life you can’t help but want to give him everything he wants just to keep him happy.  Ash really is trying but when push comes to shove he makes some comments that slice to the bone and I found myself gutted as we saw Darian’s reaction.  I am very thankful that the author made the struggle Ash has to come to terms with what he wants/needs a hard one and even happier at the grovel that was very well done.  He has to work for what we as readers all know is what he needs and I loved how the disease was not whitewashed at all but highlighted and in a way a living, breathing character in the book as well.

We see books at times that whitewash mental illness and thankfully this one is not another one of those.  We get to see the nitty gritty painful details and the devastation it leaves for not only the sufferer but those around them that just want to help but go about it at times in the wrong ways.  Niall is a case in point on this but as much as I wanted to hate him for his behaviour I did understand it especially when  it comes to a head later in the book.  I would love to see more of the supporting characters especially Niall as I feel he deserves a chance to finally be happy.

As I said at the start this is not an easy book to read and there are a few parts that drag as we get deeper into the psyche of Ash but I wouldn’t trade those sections for anything as it makes you better understand the struggle he is having with feeling worthy of love or even of living.  I have to thank NetGalley.com and Riptide Publishing for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  I also have to thank Sarah Frantz for being on the elevator with me at RT which started me down the path of actively seeking out more Riptide titles.  I have enjoyed seeing some of the amazingly complex stories that have come out of that initial meeting.  Keep them coming!

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