Genre: Contemporary Women

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The Bourbon Kings – J.R. Ward – 3 stars

July 29, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015 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.

The Bourbon Kings – J.R. Ward – 3 starsThe Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
Published by Penguin on 2015-07-28
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, Romance, Sagas
Pages: 400
Source: the publisher
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three-stars

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal.... For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.From the Hardcover edition.

I struggled with exactly how to rate this book before landing on a 3 star.  It has some things going for it but a few things going against it.  I can understand why some DNFed the book because it is full of EPIC WTFery but that WTFery was the thing that kept me entertained.  I mean it was like looking at a train wreck and being unable to turn away because you just want to know WTF happened next.

I equate this book to a cross between a telenovela and a traditional US soap opera…  we have the following:

  • Family Empire – come on you know Dallas, Dynasty and The Young and the Restless all have family businesses that are empires.  In this case we have a Kentucky Bourbon dynasty.
  • Sibling Squabbles – well in this case it isn’t so much a squabble as it is dynamics between the 3 children we see and the 4th that is non-existent.
  • Villains – Well in this case we have a bastard of a father, a bitch of an estranged wife and well an amazingly entitled asshole of a suitor (damn if you should call him that cause I’m sorry he’s just a supreme asshole)
  • Unrequited Love Interests – The heroine of this story, rival family’s daughter and the dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild
  • Secret Baby – The dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild that doesn’t know he’s a father….
  • Spoiled Princess – Beleive me when I say this woman is SPOILED…  She wouldn’t know how to live without her money and damn if she doesn’t make the single largest mistake because of this HUGE reliance on the finer things in life

Don’t go in to this story thinking you are reading a romance because to be honest the romance is in many respects the weakest part of this.  I enjoyed Lane and Lizzie but they weren’t the focus.  I also found myself a bit frustrated with Lizzie’s attitude during most of the story.  She’s very quick to jump to conclusions and typically the conclusions she jumps to are the most negative ones you can have.  I also felt the ending to be a bit abrupt and choppy but as much as I hate to admit this…  I’m hooked so give me more.

I am looking forward to the next books in this series because I think like this one I will be most interested in how the family deals with the revelations in this story.  I want to see what happens with the oldest brother and the sister as they find their matches because damn if those stories won’t prove interesting.  The dun-dun-dun father of the lovechild will prove the most interesting when he finds out the secret as he has finally decided he’s done playing the games…  or is he…  tune in for more from this series…  LOL

three-stars

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Sweeter Than Sin – Shiloh Walker – 4 stars

October 6, 2014 NetGalley, Read in 2014, St. Martin's Press 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.

Sweeter Than Sin – Shiloh Walker – 4 starsSweeter Than Sin by Shiloh Walker
Published by Macmillan on 2014-09-30
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-stars

CAN’T FORGET THE PAINIt took years for Adam to stop drowning his regrets in alcohol, and running the local bar doesn’t make it any easier—especially not when everyone he knows gathers there to discuss the shocking allegations that have shattered his hometown. When another murder rocks sleepy Madison to its core, it becomes chillingly clear that even more vicious wounds are waiting to be exposed.WON’T RESIST THE PLEASURENothing is sacred anymore, and no one is safe, least of all the mystery woman who shows up in town out of the blue, looking like every fantasy Adam’s ever had. She may have her own dangerous secrets, but she can’t ignore the urgent heat between them any more than he can. As a killer’s quest for vengeance explodes into violence, Adam is tempted to lose himself in the delicious promise of her body—until he realizes he’ll risk anything if she’ll give him her heart…in Sweeter than Sin by Shiloh Walker.

I’m loving this series so much and this entry has an amazing balance of suspense and romance.  I loved the fact that we have two people who really have always felt something for one another even though one of them wasn’t really aware of what the other one meant to them even back then.

Adam has buried himself in alcohol and women to dull the pain of not being there for the woman who meant everything to him when she needed him.  As his town starts to unbury the past he is forced to recall the horrifying details of what happened that long ago night and is confronted with someone that he never expected.  I loved how damaged he is and how aware of his own weaknesses but still making the effort to not slip back to addiction.  He’s so strong but shows such a weakness when it comes to his heroine.  I loved watching him work so hard to stay within boundaries with her and truly respect her even as he wants to get the answers he so desperately needs.  His need for her leaps from the pages and you’ll probably want him for your very own….  I have to admit to sighing a few times as his need shines thru.

The one thing I am not going to do is give the heroine completely away.  Her journey is part of the story I wouldn’t trade because as you see her work thru her issues you get to see how much she needs Adam.  She’s got so much guilt and so many secrets that you want to help her but know that she needs to do this by her own terms otherwise she won’t be able to move forward.  She’s very strong and my hope is Shiloh will give us more time with her as she gets on with the life that has been in limbo for so long.  She’s got a strong soul and it shines as it lets go of the secrets and embraces a future with a man that is everything to her.

The story told about this town is not a pretty one or an easy one to read.  As someone who has lived with an abuser as a child it hit me a bit harder than some but I loved that Shiloh went there.  I think while it is something that is disquieting and honestly disgusting in nature it is something that happens every day all over the world.  Only by bringing stories to the public, even fictional in nature, it hopefully will make some people do more research to see what they can do to help victims of these horrible crimes and also bring those perpetrators to justice.

Special thanks to NetGalley.com and St. Martin’s Press for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest opinion.

four-stars

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Virgin – Radhika Sanghani – 3 stars

August 25, 2014 Berkley Trade, NetGalley, 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.

Virgin – Radhika Sanghani – 3 starsVirgin by Radhika Sanghani
Published by Penguin on 2014-08-05
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley.com
Virgin<img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=booaholano0c-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00HFXK46U" target="_blank">Buy on Amazon
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three-stars

For those who grew up on Judy Blume—and graduated to Lena Dunham—a “hilarious”* debut... “Bridget Jones and Carrie Bradshaw, meet your wisecracking, vagina obsessed match. Sanghani's debut is a hilarious, irreverent look at smart-alecky, painfully self-concious, 21-year-old Ellie's relentless mission to rectify a disasterous first attempt at performing oral sex, get deflowered, find the perfect Brazilian wax, avoid her tradition-bound Greek mother's nagging, graduate summa cum laude, be a writer, and fit in...This story for millennials is a wonderful blend of modern agnst with old-fashioned sweetness.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Even Bridget Jones’s Diary could take a page from this novel.

I really struggled to get to the halfway point in this book but that is where I started to actually like it so please be prepared for a very, very slow start.

Ellie is obsessed with the fact that she hasn’t turned in her V-plates and yet others around her seem to have had no issues with losing theirs.  She’s now 21 and convinced that if she just got rid of that pesky virginity she would magically fit in.  I found myself getting frustrated with her whining at the beginning of this book about how out of place she was and how much of her sex life, or lack of one, was due to an incident when she was 17.  I admit to cheering her BFF on when she finally let loose on Ellie with stop the whole “wah wah wah” thing and live your life.  I got that she was awkward but as someone who didn’t lose hers until she was 19 I couldn’t seem to be that sympathetic to this obsession.

Where the story made me enjoy it was with the many insane circumstances she ends up in as she tries to figure things out…

  1. The slipping in her BFFs one night stand’s cum in the tub… *snort*
  2. The experience with shaving down there and getting nicks that ummmmmm aren’t too comfy later… *giggles*
  3. The experience with getting waxed..  *I admit to smothering laughter here as damn that was funny*
  4. The experience with when she finally loses her V plates..  *yeah all of us have been there and had the momentary this is what people crave??? Really???*
  5. The experience buying condoms for the first time… *truly this can be embarrassing if you happen to work for the main drug store in town and it is the only place within walking distance of your apartment plus you don’t have a car*
  6. Computer volume getting stuck when watching a porno so she could learn how to give a BJ and handjob… *seriously this is what headphones are for*
  7. And this was my favorite part…. Mom walking in on Ellie using her computer to check out down there post wax…. *almost choked on the Diet Dew I was drinking*

Overall this is a slow story but the moments above made me laugh and while it was a tough read I’m glad I stuck with it.  I think there are some decent things to take away from this story and the main one to me is…

Be yourself!!!  Until you finally get comfortable with yourself and who you are (flaws and all) you’ll never be happy!  It doesn’t take a man, perfect hair, perfect clothes, perfect body, etc to have a great life…  It takes a sense of self and accepting that you might not be everyone’s cup of tea but you are just fine on your own two feet!

 

Special thanks to NetGalley.com and the team at Penguin for giving me the chance to read this.  I’m glad I did even if it took me so long to do so!

three-stars

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Four Weddings and a Break Up – Elyssa Patrick – 4 stars

May 12, 2014 Read in 2014, Sent 1

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

Four Weddings and a Break Up – Elyssa Patrick – 4 starsFour Weddings and a Break Up by Elyssa Patrick
Published by Elyssa Patrick on 2014-05-12
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 370
Source: the Author
Goodreads
four-stars

**NEW RELEASE SPECIAL! $2.99 FOR A LIMITED TIME!**From Elyssa Patrick comes a light, sexy, emotional contemporary romance perfect for fans of Jill Shalvis, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Bella Andre, about what happens when a fake relationship becomes all too real.One fake relationship . . .Ginny Michaels has always been a good girl and—ever since surviving a school shooting a little over a year ago—hailed a hero. Except she doesn’t feel like a hero. She can’t even have a one-night stand with sexy Wes Dalton properly. When her big city fling resurfaces in her hometown with an intriguing proposition, she’s powerless to resist. A fake relationship is exactly what’s needed to keep her small town’s matchmakers at bay during the upcoming wedding season. If only her attraction to Wes were as easy to ignore.Too many real kisses . . .Wes Dalton doesn’t have many regrets, and that includes his night with Ginny. But he’s always hoped to strengthen his relationship with his estranged family. When his father’s health takes a bad turn, Wes puts his life on hold and moves to the meddling seaside town of Cape Hope. With his barriers in place—and a beautiful woman to help him hold them up—he’s prepared for anything. Or so he thinks. Despite his determination to leave as soon as the summer is over, those fake kisses are starting to feel an awful lot like the real thing.

Wonderful story about a woman finding out that she’s worth and deserves everything in the world while finding a man who finally learns what love is.  I enjoyed seeing the couple find themselves as they navigated a fake relationship that became something more than they ever dreamed.

After a dare from her sister and sister’s friends Ginny finds herself approaching the man that she nicknamed Mr. Dangerous with the intent of giving him her phone number, getting a kiss and asking him out on a date.  She ends up doing something even more unexpected when they have a very quick encounter on the wall outside the bar which is quickly doused by his comments post-coitus.  She has always seen herself as invisible and undesirable but for a very brief moment a gorgeous man seemed to want her and no one else.  When she runs in to him again in her small hometown she finds herself incredibly hurt when he doesn’t even seem to remember her at all which just serves to reinforce her personal feelings of being nothing.  I liked her strength but at the same time you will want to shake her when she seems to be willing to accept the crumbs she is given but is unable to push for her voice to really be heard.  I was very happy when she finally realizes that she is worth more and needs to quit settling for being in the shadows.  She’s smart and with everything she has gone thru recently she deserves something that will make her happy.

Wes is an ass at the beginning.  Well actually I can’t completely call him an ass even as he behaves like one because you do see that he instantly realizes his behavior and while not wanting to completely admit why he is reacting the way he does he owns his mistakes.  He’s had his own demons to slay over the years and they have left him very unwilling to consider anything other than flings so when he sees Ginny he decides to resolve an annoyance and proposes a fake relationship while he is in town dealing with family issues.  They put down rules for each other and even have a safe word that made me laugh but results in a wonderful gesture at the end.  Wes takes a lot to start to love but you do fall for his endearing ways even as he tries so hard to not admit what she means to him.  He’s strong, stubborn and such an amazingly caring man that he’d make anyone soften towards him once you see behind the facade of arrogance.  I loved watching him struggle to find his place even as he was trying to fix everything.

I want to see more of this town and both families as you start to fall for each of them as the story progresses.  Special thanks to Elyssa for sending me this story in hopes of a review of any kind.  I loved the town, families and pair that made up this story.

four-stars

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Blue Notes – Carrie Lofty – 4 stars

April 29, 2014 Read in 2014, Sent 0

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

Blue Notes – Carrie Lofty – 4 starsBlue Notes by Carrie Lofty
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2014-05-06
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 352
Source: the Author
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four-stars

Carrie Lofty brings her “exciting, sensual” (RT Book Reviews ) romantic storytelling to a sizzling new adult novel of a gifted pianist with a troubled past, the enigmatic stranger who unlocks her secrets, and sultry nights of passion in the Big Easy. A piano prodigy on a scholarship to a prestigious New Orleans university, Keeley Chambers is finally striking out on her own after a roving life dictated by her criminal parents. Her soulful, brilliant, fiery improvisations tear through her like a storm but are played for an audience of one: herself. However, sinfully handsome Jude Villars refuses to abandon Keeley to her private world and calls her out on her fear of performing in public. The irreverent, seductive billionaire playboy awakens Keeley to the blissful pleasures of letting go as he tempts her into the spotlight of the city’s hottest clubs. Yet Jude has secrets of his own and pain that no one but Keeley recognizes. Will revealing themselves as they really are be too great a risk? Or will the truth make their tumultuous connection hotter and more irresistible than ever?

BLUE NOTES is Carrie Lofty’s first New Adult romance, and it’s currently on sale for $1.99 in all digital formats through May 5.

I have to admit that when I was approached about this one I jumped on it because I’ve enjoyed her writing as part of Katie Porter.  I haven’t read her on her own yet although I do have some titles they are just buried in my TBR.  I will definitely have to dig them out and move them up on the list because reading this one makes me want more.

We start this book with a bit of a history lesson in the life of Keely Chambers our heroine.  Her history isn’t a pleasant one and it plays a major factor in how this book plays out so seeing the pain is vital to understanding why she does what she does as we get deeper in to the story.  She has an amazing gift for the piano and music but isn’t comfortable on the stage nor is she comfortable with letting anyone really get close to her.  She’s intrigued and oh so out of her comfort zone when an arrogant man pushes her buttons and gets her to do something she never thought she’d like, perform on stage!  As she gets to know this man she finds that love is something she deserves but that it is worth fighting for even if you feel like you aren’t worthy.  She finds her worth not in this relationship but it pushes her to face her fears and really reach for what she deserves not what she’s always thought she deserved.  I loved her strength and ability to see where she was floundering but admittedly got frustrated when she kept her secret for so long.  I understood it but it was a struggle to not yell “Tell him dammit!!” at the Kindle.

Jude…  now he pissed me off at one point and trust me he’ll piss you off as well but there is so much pain behind this man who appears to have the world at his feet.  While he does have the world at his feet he needs someone who will call him on his behavior and push him to have to work for her.  He’s very closed off at the beginning of the story but as he spends more time around Keely he becomes something more than just a wealthy man keeping his only remaining family stable, he becomes a man you can admire for his strength but also one you can admire for letting his walls down to show the wounded soul behind the facade.  I was so pissed at him because of one moment but once we got past that and saw how much he let her in finally I found him delectable.  He’s sexy as hell and everything he does to try to make her comfortable speaks volumes about how much he cared for her even as he was denying it.  There’s something about a man who will move everything to make you happy even when you don’t know what you want/need that is sexy as hell.

Overall there will be moments when you want to slap both of them but the story is powerful in that both main characters truly learned something from one another and really developed the ability to stand on their own but more powerfully learned how to trust one another enough to let the other in.  While they both could’ve stood on their own they really do understand the value of having a partner to weather the storms and rely on but it definitely took time.

Special thanks to Carrie Lofty (actually her partner in crime, Lorelie Brown) for sending me a copy of this with no pressure or expectation of review.  I really enjoyed this and would love to see her roomie and his sister also find love.

 

four-stars

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Burn For Me – Shiloh Walker – 4 Stars

April 26, 2014 April 2014 Read-A-Thon, NetGalley, Read in 2014, St. Martin's Press 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.

Burn For Me – Shiloh Walker – 4 StarsBreak For Me by Shiloh Walker
Published by Macmillan on 2014-04-22
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 80
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-stars

Jensen Bell had twelve happy years before her mother disappeared and her whole world went to pieces. Since then, she's become a cop—one who takes great pride in her work, and in helping keep others safe. The saving grace in her own life has been Dean West, the only man who can make her burn with desire and help her through her burdens. But when a shocking discovery turns her life upside-down, even being wrapped in Dean’s arms might not be enough to keep her out of harm's way, in Break for Me by Shiloh Walker.

More to the story of a missing woman and the mess that it left behind with her family…

Dean has been lusting after Jensen since he met her but he’s never made his move.  He senses that she wouldn’t handle him moving in on her so has been watching and waiting for a chance.  He’d walk away if it wasn’t for the fact that he has seen the same longing reflected in her eyes at rare moments so he just can’t give up on the one woman who has really sparked his interest in years.  Once he finds out her history he finds a kindred soul in more ways than one as he has a massive source of pain in his own past.  Different but still as life-changing to him as hers was to her path in life.  I loved how he stood for her as she gets the news that part of her needed but the other part of her always dreaded hearing.  He worked so hard to keep strong for her and watching him struggle with what he wanted from her but wasn’t willing to risk what he finally managed to get from her was a bit heartbreaking.  He’s an amazing man and I hope that we get to see more of them together as the other stories release.

Jensen is the strong one.  She channeled the pain of her past in to the career she loves but she’s lonely.  When she sees Dean she’s drawn to him like a moth to a flame but can’t seem to let her guard down enough to take a chance.  As things start to flare between them she gets word that something has come to light which throws her for a loop.  As she struggles with this information she also struggles with the intense passion that Dean has unlocked within her and seeing this strong woman come to terms with this intense need was interesting to read.  She’s strong but I liked that she let herself feel when with Dean even as she wanted to retreat.  She’s good with everyone around her but seeing her get someone who will truly cherish her as much as she deserves made me happy.

A good second part to the story arc which will continue in Long For Me….  Special thanks to NetGalley.com and St.Martin’s Press for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

four-stars

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Break For Me – Shiloh Walker – 5 Stars

April 26, 2014 April 2014 Read-A-Thon, NetGalley, Read in 2014, St. Martin's Press 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.

Break For Me – Shiloh Walker – 5 StarsBurn For Me by Shiloh Walker
Published by Macmillan on 2014-04-01
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 80
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
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five-stars

Scarred long ago by the disappearance of his mother, Nichole, Tate Bell aches to spend his days and nights with Ali Holmes, a woman he’s loved for years. But while Ali’s heart pines to be with Tate, her head has reservations... Ali knows that Tate has never forgiven his father for the fight he had with Nichole right before she left the house—and was never heard from again. Ali thinks that Tate's unresolved anger is a force to be reckoned with...even though the heat that blazes between them is undeniable. Now both Tate and Ali are left to wonder: Can love really conquer all? Get lost in a world of secrets and shadows in Burn for Me by Shiloh Walker.

Smoking hot with a hero that really believes himself so damaged and likely to be a monster because of his past.

Ali loves Tate with all her heart but knows this isn’t what he wants to hear.  She’s been willing to be his lover in private but an acquaintance during the day.  I use acquaintance instead of friend because in a lot of respects that is what it felt like.  Did they spend some time together in public?  Yes..  but… there is always a wall up and in many respects that sort of wall would make it seem like a lesser relationship than a friendship would have.  She’s aware of the trauma of his past but if he won’t let her in why should she keep hurting herself by letting him give her so little of himself?  I liked her willingness to push him away even as it hurt her but I loved the fact that when push comes to shove she really does open her arms to help him heal.  She’s smart and someone that I would potentially love to know in real life as she has had a hard time in life but doesn’t let it break her.

Tate…  my dear broody, stubborn as hell Tate.. I loved your depths and wish that you had woken up before you put Ali thru such pain.  Well and put yourself thru the wringer as well as you work thru the pain of your past.  I loved your strength and once you were confronted with the truth that you were honest about what you needed/wanted.  I loved watching you struggle with what you believed was right even as others knew what you were doing to keep yourself hurting.  You will love watching how sexy he is but I think the fact that he’s held on to what he had to in order to function was amazing.  Was he right?  No…  but as you’ll see in the story it made sense even as much as it didn’t.

Overall a very good start to the series and I can’t wait to see more.

five-stars

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The Billion Dollar Bad Boy – Jackie Ashenden – 4 stars

March 17, 2014 NetGalley, Read in 2014, St. Martin's Press 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.

The Billion Dollar Bad Boy – Jackie Ashenden – 4 starsThe Billion Dollar Bad Boy by Jackie Ashenden
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on 2014-03-11
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Erotica, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 100
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-stars

The Billionaire’s Club: a fabulously sexy contemporary series about some of the world’s wealthiest, most powerful men and the women they claim…and keep. The face of the Morrow company, Donovan Morrow is the ultimate Trojan. But despite his entrepreneurial gifts—in the boardroom and the bedroom—he always comes in second to his big brother, Jax. Until Victoria de Winter, a beautiful and brilliant corporate rival, enters the picture…Victoria has enjoyed great success in her family’s business—and now that she’s engaged, she seems to have her future all figured out. But as soon as she meets Donovan, she is tormented by their mutual desire…and soon she is his to possess. But what is the price of surrendering to the Billion Dollar Bad Boy?Don’t miss Jax’s story in The Billion Dollar Bachelor, available now! And Sean’s story in The Billionaire Biker coming in April 2014.

While overall this was an enjoyable story I can see where there might be some issues for readers.  The heroine is actually engaged at the start of the story and while you know upfront that the relationship is not one of love but convenience please don’t read this if any sort of infidelity bothers you.  In this case I didn’t get too fixated on the engagement but I know many see this as unequivocal cheating and won’t look beyond that to the “arrangement” the two of them have.

Victoria has always wanted one single thing – her father to treat and consider her his own daughter not just the kid he adopted to make his wife happy.  She’s lived most of her life (mom died at 8) wanting to matter to her father but knows that he just sees her as a burden.  She’s desperate to get the land that Morrow is selling in order to maybe just maybe finally be seen as a de Winter and get a bit of her father’s attention/affection.  As she works to get the deal she is forced to deal with Donovan Morrow who is adamant he will not sell the property but plays games with her and causes her to maybe want something real….  She’s so locked up and used to living behind a mask that the fire unleashed by her chemistry with Donovan throws her for a loop.  I liked how she was honest with herself once the walls started to come down and that she stood up for herself in the end.

Donovan just wants to be a real Morrow.  Sure he is related by blood to his family but his father never considered him worth anything, even when he did things that made him deeply ashamed in order to get information for his dad.  He’s so good at putting on the mask everyone expects to see and when Victoria manages to get under his skin he just keeps lying and saying there is nothing there.  I liked how he was so able to see behind the mask with Victoria but hated how he wasn’t willing to give her the chance to show him that her feelings were real.  He needed to have a major wakeup call but I did get that his actions were a direct result of years of damage from his prior lifestyle and not a direct attack on Victoria.

The two of them have a chemistry that burns up the pages but there is a definite amount of heart and angst that play factors in the story.  Donovan just needed someone to show him he was worth everything and Victoria needed someone to show her she belonged.  They find this in one another and I am happy to have read the story.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley.com for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  I really did enjoy it!

four-stars

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Live – Mary Ann Rivers – 5 stars

January 16, 2014 NetGalley, Random House, 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.

Live – Mary Ann Rivers – 5 starsLive (The Burnside Series) by Mary Ann Rivers
Published by Random House LLC on 2014-01-21
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 352
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Mary Ann Rivers kicks off a new contemporary romance series—sure to please readers of Ruthie Knox, Kristan Higgins, and Jill Shalvis—where love can be found unexpectedly.   If there’s an upside to unemployment, Destiny Burnside may have found it. Job searching at her local library in Lakefield, Ohio, gives her plenty of time to ogle the hottest man she has ever laid eyes on: the sexy wood-carver who’s restoring the building. But as the rejection letters pile up, Destiny finds an unexpected shoulder to cry on. With his rich Welsh accent, Hefin Thomas stirs Destiny so completely that, even though he’s leaving soon, she lets herself believe the memory of his scorching kisses will be enough.   Hefin can’t help but notice the slender, confident woman with ginger hair who returns each day, so hopeful and determined. So when the tears start to fall, his silence—penance for a failed marriage—finally cracks. Once he’s touched her, what Hefin wants is to take her back to Wales and hold her forever. But Destiny’s roots run too deep. What they both need is each other—to learn how to live and love again.Praise for Live  “Sizzling, sweet, and superbly written, Live is a marvelous love story.”—New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes“A beautiful, aching exploration of love, family, and loss—highly recommended!”—USA Today bestselling author Ruthie Knox  “Such an elegantly layered story.”—Dear Author“The romance in this book is super hot. . . . Such care is taken to craft the characters’ lives. . . . Just when things get really heavy there is naughtiness in a batting cage and sex in a limo. And Hefin, with his stubble and curls about his ears make things very steamy and put a smile on my face. He is such a good guy, and just what Des needed.”—Smexy Books   “Live blooms with the freshness of thoughtful storytelling carefully tended by beautiful prose. . . . Rivers is actively staking new, lyrical ground in a genre often sidelined as a guilty pleasure. There’s no need to choose between heat and good writing. From this author, readers get a two-for-one deal.”—New York Journal of Books   “Mary Ann Rivers’s debut full-length, Live, will make you curl up with your box of tissues and cry until you’re not even sure whether they count as happy or sad tears. Rivers’s world and characters feel so real, their emotions so raw, that I need the almost poetic beauty of the words to bear so much truth.”—Heroes and Heartbreakers  “This is a rich, tender story, not at all the usual contemporary family series fare. I’m looking forward to seeing where life takes the Burnside siblings next.”—Karen Knows Best   “Rivers has written a remarkable romance novel: beautifully . . . written; tormented as only youth can be; serious as only the un-ironic are.”—Miss Bates Reads Romance“Emotionally enthralling . . . intense, complicated, lyrical, passionate.”—Straight Shootin’ Book Reviews   “A stellar start to a new series that is so compelling and emotional, the characters won’t soon be forgotten.”—The Window Seat on a Rainy DayIncludes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Words cannot express the gem that this story ends up being.  I cannot wait to see the siblings find their loves but this story will tug at your heartstrings.  You will tear up, sniffle, mope and find great joy as two damaged souls finally find themselves while finding each other.

Do not go into this book expecting a happy, everything is roses love story, please go into the story expecting to see two people who are at a major crossroads in their lives and find that by letting someone else in they might just get their true selves back.

Destiny has been floundering since her dad  passed away and she lost her job.  What she’s had is fantasies of The Woodcarver, a man who she has been covertly watching while she does her best to find employment by using the library’s computer system.  When she gets one too many lumps thrown at her and breaks down she is surprised by the fact that the person that comes to pull her out of it is none other than this man she has been wanting to know more about.  Hefin is also surprised by his need to be there for her and cannot stop the impulse to finally talk to the woman who has kept his attention all of this time.  As they start to open up to one another we get glimpses of their pasts, presents and potential futures which lead us on a journey to discovering what it really means to be happy and to just LIVE.  They both put such pressure on themselves to not name what is happening between them and to ignore the brutal fact that he will be leaving for Wales (home) soon but just to live in the moment as if that day will never come.

There was something poignant about watching Destiny finally come in to her own and understand that she needed to do what truly made her happy.  She is stuck so hard in her life and while it isn’t a bad thing I was cheering when her friend, Lacey, finally took the gloves off to make her see what she was doing.  She’s such a strong person but there was also an almost painful amount of need that emanated from her to be seen as a real person that you couldn’t help but struggle with her as she tried to just be something she thought everyone needed.  The only person other than Lacey that I think really saw this was Hefin.  Others in her family were too caught up in their own hells that they didn’t fully understand what was happening under their noses.  Her neighbor also recognized it in many respects but floundered on what to do to help her.

Hefin was another case entirely.  He’s such a contradiction between a strong man and an extremely sensitive soul that reading about his own torments just made me tear up.  I loved how he loved with every fiber of his being even as he was trying hard to deny it.  There is no question in your mind as a reader that both of them really are meant for one another as they begin their courtship and I loved how that made you secure as Ms. Rivers pulls you thru their mutual torments to get to such a wonderfully healthy place.  I really don’t want to completely flesh out the torments that Hefin has or more about him as I enjoyed getting to know him by reading the words that Ms. Rivers puts in place for him and their journey.

Mary Ann has such an amazing way with words and I am glad that I was able to read my first full-length novel from her.  She took my breath away with how masterfully she pulled off The Story Guy and I had high hopes for her in a longer format.  She pulled it off and I think readers will be amazed at how much emotion and heart that this book conveys.  I cannot wait for more of this series and more from her in general.  Special thanks to NetGalley.com and the wonderful people at Random House who were nice enough to let me get my hands on this with no expectations of any particular type of review.

BTW – Mary Ann…. if you happen to read this…  you can stop past any time or send me anything you wish…  Your mastery of how to weave words together to tell these amazingly beautiful, poignant stories has the ability to make me cry and laugh often within the same paragraph.  Thanks for sharing this talent with us!!

five-stars

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Back To You – Jessica Scott – 5 Stars

January 7, 2014 Forever Yours, NetGalley, Read in 2014 0

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

Back To You – Jessica Scott – 5 StarsBack To You by Jessica Scott
Published by Forever Yours on 2014-01-07
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Erotica, Family Life, Fiction, Romance, War & Military
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

He's in for the fight of his life . . .

Army captain Trent Davila loved his wife, Laura, and their two beautiful children. But when he almost lost his life in combat, something inside him died. He couldn't explain the emptiness he felt or bridge the growing distance between him and his family—so he deployed again. And again. And again . . . until his marriage reached its breaking point. Now, with everything on the line, Trent has one last chance to prove to his wife that he can be the man she needs . . . if she'll have him

. . . to win back his only love.

Laura is blindsided when Trent returns home. Time and again, he chose his men over his family, and she's just beginning to put the pieces of her shattered heart back together. But when Trent faces a court martial on false charges, only Laura can save him. What begins as an act of kindness to protect his career inflames a desire she thought long buried—and a love that won't be denied. But can she trust that this time he's back to stay?

Like most fans of this series I have been waiting for this story since we first met Trent and Laura.  While I would like to be greedy and say I wanted it much faster than we got it… I have to be honest and say that the wait, while torturous, was definitely worth it!  You will laugh and cry big ugly tears but in the end everything is sooooooo worth it!

Laura and Trent love each other but due to some major mistakes on Trent’s part they are at a point where everything seems to be lost.  Laura has filed for divorce and Trent is having to deal with major issues surrounding his last command.  We start this story by seeing how bleak everything is for both of them as Trent prepares for a deployment then get thrust in to the thick of things in present day.

I loved how Jessica wove their past in to the book as it gives the reader a sense of what they had and what seems to be lost forever until someone finally understands that while they have changed they need to work hard and accept that even they need help from those around them.  Trent was at a major crossroads in his life and watching this strong man break down his walls to let someone help him cope with what happened while he was deployed was heartbreaking and uplifting.  He tries so hard to not show how badly war has impacted him in order to protect his family but in the process ruined the trust that they had in him and when he finally owns up to how badly it hurt them you will just cry.  The realistic way that Jessica portrays his struggles will cause you to hurt deeply but war is not pretty and the havoc it plays with people’s lives should not be sugarcoated even for a romance.

Laura has had her own struggles.  She wanted to believe in Trent but finding out that he was volunteering to be deployed just broke her. She did not file for divorce on a whim and is still reeling from having to make this decision even though in her heart of hearts she still loves him more than life itself.  I appreciated that it wasn’t ever about the lack of love but it was more about protecting herself from more hurt.  She volunteers to play the part of a reconciled couple just to get him cleared of something that she knows is false but the question becomes can she really keep him away from hurting her again.  She’s just tired of being hurt and kept out of everything so does all she can to protect herself but as we all know sometimes love will find a way.

This couple has been through so much and I loved how Jessica made it clear that while you may love one another more than anything else open lines of communication and letting the other one in even if it hurts is the only way to make a relationship work.  With glimpses of the other couples we know and love this made a wonderful story that while filled with angst is also filled with immense amounts of hope and love.

Go grab this one and join me in waiting for Reza’s story…

As always I have to thank Forever Yours and NetGalley for giving me access to this title.  While I appreciate the access this in no way impacted my review of this work.

 

BTW – Jessica….  ummmmm when can I get my greedy little hands on Reza????  😉

 

five-stars

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