Genre: Contemporary

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Kidnapped By The Billionaire – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 stars

March 8, 2016 Macmillan, NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

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

Kidnapped By The Billionaire – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 starsKidnapped by the Billionaire by Jackie Ashenden
Published by Macmillan on 2016-03-01
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 400
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-half-stars

Get lost in the deeply passionate, darkly sensual new novel from Jackie Ashenden, Kidnapped by the Billionaire.
He kissed her the way he’d run her down, conquering her, taking her…

A priceless plan. An illicit attraction.
Seven years ago, billionaire-turned-bodyguard Elijah Hunt lost everything he had—his family, his future—and now he wants revenge. But when he decides to kidnap the daughter of the man who ruined his life, Elijah gets a lot more than he bargained for. Violet Fitzgerald is nothing like her corrupt wealthy father. In fact, she’s so disarmingly independent—and irresistible—that she just might be dangerous…

And a love that’s too good to be true.
Violet never thought she’d feel a connection to her captor. But there’s something beneath Elijah’s steel-bodied exterior that makes her want to know him more deeply…and surrender to his every demand. But once Elijah’s erotic fantasies become a reality—and he and Violet develop a real romantic connection—he finds himself in a quandary: Is he still the one in control? Or has Violet imprisoned him—body and soul?

Jackie Ashenden's novels are:
"Sexy, emotional." -Laurelin Paige, New York Times bestselling author
"Tantalizing . . . explosive."-Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Mine to Take
"Not to be missed."-RT Book Reviews

Ok, Jackie is a master at making you want to hate the hero but then love him as you get to understand more about their demons and what has driven them to be the damaged men you meet.  Elijah is no exception as he is driven to a desperate act in order to complete his mission.  You’ll sort of hate him but he’s someone that was given one of the hardest moments that anyone could ever survive and came out the other side a different man.

We’ve seen Elijah in the previous books as he seemingly thwarts our other leads in their pursuit of their own revenge and answers but as we discover in this story he had his own ax to grind with our bad guys.  He’s now having to scramble to complete what he believes to be the best revenge for his loss but, as he discovers when he meets our heroine, perhaps what he needs has been standing right in front of him in the guise of a spoiled princess.  I loved how severely he lived his life because of his trauma but as we saw the walls tumble down around his inner self there is a man with such a deep heart and feelings that just needed to find a new mate.

I LOVED VIOLET *ahem* I really loved Violet and how she surprised everyone with how strong she is.  She really got to come in to her own true self and find out that she was ready to be seen as the strong person she was.  She really surprised me as she let go of her dreads which allowed her to hide and accepted that she couldn’t escape Elijah.  She tried but was smart enough to wake up quickly and embrace what she was stuck with.  As she opens her eyes and heart to a man that is not what he seems, she also has to realize who her family truly is and accept that her biological ties may not be what she should focus on.  I also appreciated that she pushed Elijah and accepted his dark side while working to make sure he saw the light side that deserved to live.  She’s insightful and isn’t willing to just take the easy ride if push comes to shove she can and will push hard.

This series has been so wonderful to read and I look forward to much more from Jackie.  I know she will push me to the dark side but then deliver heroes that love their partners with no reserve once they accept that this is truly theirs.

four-half-stars

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Beyond Ruin – Kit Rocha – 5 Stars

March 7, 2016 Read in 2016, Self Published, 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.

Beyond Ruin – Kit Rocha – 5 StarsBeyond Ruin by Kit Rocha
Published by NLA Digital Books LLC on 2016-02-23
Genres: Contemporary, Dark Fantasy, Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 334
Source: the Author
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five-stars

The explosive 7th book in the bestselling BEYOND series. The sectors will never be the same.

Adrian Maddox fled his royal life--and tragic past--in Sector One, choosing instead to join up with the O'Kanes. For years, he's lived by one rule: love fast, love hard, and always be willing to walk away. He's managed to guard his heart, keep it whole and untouched--until now.

They couldn't be more different--Dylan, the brilliant, burned-out doctor from Eden who drowns his pain with drugs and self-destruction. Scarlet, the sensuous, sexy rocker from Three, a woman unafraid to embrace the world. And Jade, the whore turned spy from Sector Two, who battled addiction and came out stronger than anyone he's ever met.

Separately, they make Mad long to open his heart, to tumble head-first into a sea of possibilities and wild love. Together, they make him burn, inside and out, with lust and unbearable, unimaginable pleasure.

Then one fateful moment shakes their world to its foundations--and leaves the sectors on the verge of all-out war with Eden. It's the biggest fight the O'Kanes have ever faced, and Mad and his lovers are at the dead center of it. They could end up with everything they never knew they wanted--or lose it all. Including their lives.

Ok…  I don’t know if I can adequately state how awesome this book is and where it is taking us in the future!  I can’t give away spoilers but let’s see if I can come up with a list of my top 10 things (no particular order) that made me love this story so much:

 

  1. Glimpses of Dallas and Lex that show how much they really care about everyone and solidify them as my favorite in power couple.  The heart is what keeps the sector going and is shown here as they face major changes.
  2. The views of Sector One and how Mad became the man we all love.  He’s something else but seeing the powerful moments that made him who he is were heartbreaking.
  3. Seeing Jade become who she really is and watching her kick-ass as she gains back her core self.  She’s powerful and needs people around her that let her live as her true self.
  4. Dylan… oh dear lord…  I knew he would be something else but the depth to him surprised me as he finally understood who he was and what he wanted to be.
  5. Scarlet made me quite happy as I saw her finally realize her own self-worth.  She’s got such an amazing heart but has a difficult time realizing that she is worth everything.  I really enjoyed watching her gain confidence from partners that made her finally realize she mattered.
  6. Sector 2… This was something else to read about and will make everyone think thru the future for those we care about.
  7. Gideon and Mad’s family….  I enjoyed seeing them and understanding what they feel for Mad.  He’s something important to them but they truly do love him even if they struggle to understand why he walked away.
  8. Hints of Ashwin… Dude… I CANNOT WAIT FOR HIS STORY!!!!!!
  9. Glimpses of Cruz, Rachel and Ace… *happy sigh* we don’t see them much but dammit if it isn’t powerful as hell.  Love my trio!!!
  10. Hawk and Jeni will be AMAZING to see navigate thru the changing world as they find their path to each other.  Loved the hints of this story…

So I know I kept my hints short on this but you really need to read this story so you can see how this all played out.  I loved seeing the heat between them all but most of all the heart that is core to making this foursome such a powerful thing to watch.

five-stars

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The Queen – Tiffany Reisz – 5 stars

November 2, 2015 Harlequin, NetGalley, Read in 2015 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 Queen – Tiffany Reisz – 5 starsThe Queen by Tiffany Reisz
Published by Mira on 2015-11-01
Genres: BDSM, Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 448
Source: NetGalley.com
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five-stars

Once upon a time, Nora and Søren made a fateful deal—if he gave her everything, she would give him forever. 

The time has finally come to keep their promises. 

Out of money and out of options after her yearlong exile, Eleanor Schreiber agrees to join forces with Kingsley Edge, the king of kink. After her first taste of power as a Dominant, Eleanor buries her old submissive self and transforms into Mistress Nora, the Red Queen. With the help of a mysterious young man with a job even more illicit than her own, Nora squares off against a cunning rival in her quest to become the most respected, the most feared Dominatrix in the Underground.

While new lovers and the sweet taste of freedom intoxicate Nora, she is tempted time and time again by Søren, her only love and the one man who refuses to bow to her. But when Søren accepts a new church assignment in a dangerous country, she must make an agonizing choice—will the queen keep her throne and let her lover go, or trade in her crown for Søren's collar?

With a shattering final confession, the last link in the chain is forged in The Original Sinners saga. It's the closing chapter in a story of salvation, sacrifice and the multitude of scars we collect in the name of ecstasy—and love.

Ok I am going to do a rare thing and use gifs to help a bit with summing up my thoughts going in to this book…

This was me as I processed the end of the Original Sinners series…

Which was closely followed by:

You see like many others I DID NOT want to let these characters go but Tiffany gives us a great story that ends in a way that made me very happy even as I was sobbing because it was over.

I can’t say much without possibly spoiling some of it but we get:

  • Confessional Sex – not a spoiler because Tiffany promised us this and YEP she delivered.
  • Kingsley being his usual self with all the personality in the world and such a deep love for our beloved priest even when he was at odds with him.
  • A sense of the gamesmanship between the trio and how that impacts those around them.
  • A better idea of the dynamics between Nora and Søren as they struggled to understand what they were to one another.
  • Did I mention confessional sex???  Cause…  if not…  CONFESSIONAL SEX….  yes I went there… *fans self*
  • An amazing scene that made me all sentimental and was such a great way to address certain items.  (Can I be any more vague? *cue evil laugh*)

All in all this was a story of a woman finally coming in to her own, a man who is driven to do things because of his need to punish that which he loves the most, a man who loves but won’t open his eyes and mind to what his love really needs or who they are, and a glimpse at the incredible people they have become after so many years near and with one another.

I hate that we are done with the series but Tiffany hasn’t completely closed the door to additional stories with these characters but instead has closed the door, for now, to longer glimpses at their lives.  We may still see them popping up in other places but for now I must accept that Søren is taking a small break from us to continue being with those he loves the most and  I can always go back and read those stories again.

I must say thank you so much to Tiffany and all the people who worked so hard on this series.  You’ve made me more comfortable with experimenting with things that seem outside my comfort zone which means I have expanded my horizons in reading and life.  I cannot thank you enough for opening these doors for me.

five-stars

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Begging For It – Lilah Pace – 5 stars

September 1, 2015 NetGalley, Read in 2015 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.

Begging For It – Lilah Pace – 5 starsBegging for It by Lilah Pace
Published by Penguin on 2015-09-01
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 352
Source: NetGalley.com
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five-stars

Some secrets should only be shared in the dark.

Jonah and Vivienne’s erotic bond—living out raw scenarios of captivity and force—began as no-strings sex between strangers who shared the same desires. Now the intimacy between them is turning into love, but it’s a love built on fantasies so extreme that exploring them makes guilt inescapable. But the risks they're taking are far more dangerous than they'd imagined.

A stalker is terrorizing the city, and one of Jonah’s ex-lovers names him as a potential suspect to the police. Standing by a man under suspicion could cost Vivienne everything. But when Jonah’s stepfather takes advantage of the scandal to seize control of the Marks family fortune, Vivienne is drawn into her lover’s broken family and twisted past. Only then will she learn how dark the truth really is...

It’s over…  *sigh* … It’s really over… unless we can talk her in to letting us see them again Jonah and Vivienne’s story is over..  *SOBS*

As I work to come to terms with the fact that there isn’t another story of theirs coming out I have to share what I thought of this one.  We get more of the people surrounding our pair in this story but we also finally get to see Jonah completely…  YAY!!!

Vivienne still has a messed up family who choose to believe that she went after her rapist and that she wasn’t raped.  I mean who cares as long as the facade is kept.  I mean who cares that you chose to ignore her when she did try to say something and when he basically admitted it when Jonah stood up for her.  She’s not being honest right???  Right???  I mean I wish we didn’t have to deal with them at all in this book but it did help finally let her see that nothing was going to change and as much as she adores her niece there comes a time when she has to do what is healthy for her.  I felt for Vivienne in this story as at the beginning she has to take a stand (I must say BRAVA) and let Jonah know she wants it all or nothing.  She also proves her worth by standing up for him when everything looks bleak and standing up for them when he falters.  She gets her strength completely back in this book and finally comes to terms with something that her therapist has been trying to get to all along.  I enjoyed seeing her grow as the story went on and finding a healthy balance in her mental state.

Jonah…  my dear tortured Jonah.  I adored him in this even when I wanted to scream at him.  He’s such a good man under all of his issues there is a general goodness that the years of torment cannot touch.  I loved seeing his family other than his stepdad and how hard they all work to bring the asshole down.  He’s right when he wants more than just the games with Vivienne and what he does to work towards a completely healthy relationship shows he’s in it for all the right reasons.  He has a long way to go to come to terms with his own past but I think he’s in good hands with Vivienne and her therapist.  This story also underscored how easy it is to take things out of context and twist them in to something that makes someone look evil or depraved.

The side-story of abusive relationships made me sad and I was glad to see him starting to heal from going down that path.  *I’m not saying who cause I think it helps the story not to say who*  This also makes me want his story and see him find his match.  I’d also like to see our loved alcoholic get his one and only but hey I’m greedy…  LOL

five-stars

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30 Days – Christine d’Abo – 3 stars

August 31, 2015 Kensington, NetGalley, Read in 2015 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.

30 Days – Christine d’Abo – 3 stars30 Days by Christine d'Abo
Published by Kensington on 2015-07-28
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Erotica, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-stars

For years, Alyssa has been going to bed with a memory. Is she ready to wake up with a fantasy?

Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mate, but not Alyssa Barrow. She met Rob at nineteen, and they were set to live happily ever after—until he became ill. In his final days, Rob urged his beautiful, young wife not to abandon happiness—or pleasure. He even left her a special gift, a sexy game plan to help her move on: Thirty cards with instructions for thirty days of passion. You'll know when the time is right, he'd said. Now it's two years later, and when Alyssa meets her hot new neighbor, Harrison Kemp, she begins to think the right time is right now…

From his sculpted thighs to his devilish grin, Harrison is the kind of man women want. Before she can lose her nerve, Alyssa tells Harrison about her long-ignored cards…and asks him to help her fulfill them. It's a favor he's more than happy to, um, perform. With his skillful touch, and the hot press of his lips against her skin, Alyssa finds herself re-awakening to life—and a host of other sensations. But what began as not-so-innocent fun soon grows into true intimacy, and Alyssa realizes she's opening herself up not just to sex…but to love. When it comes to a future with Harrison, what's really in the cards?

Saucy, heartwarming, and insightful, 30 Days explores the agony—and the ecstasy—of starting over, and how a little encouragement, and a little courage, can go a long way…

Be ready to tear up a little bit as you read this but also be ready to have a couple of issues with both the hero and heroine…

I’m struggling a bit with this one…  I liked it but I didn’t like how little we got to see of who Harrison is and what he wants other than thru her eyes.  I didn’t like that we really had limited time with him outside of what they did in bed or when they were fulfilling one of the cards.  I liked what we saw of him but I found myself wanting more of his time than of her time.  We just get a glimpse of a good man that has his own demons to put away but I just don’t see how they can be in love without more from him.

My biggest issues were with the heroine and her obsession with the past.  I get that she lost the love of her life… I really do… but I struggled with how much we had to hear about him and what he meant to her and blah blah blah.  Okay that sounds a bit harsh but come on really????  In real life there are these sorts of stories but I guess we have uncovered that in my fiction I don’t want to constantly hear about the ex or see the heroine obsess over her dead true love.  I mean we are in the story to see a couple develop and to be quite honest I felt for Harrison as he was fighting a ghost.  Granted what let him in to her life was her wanting to use the cards the man left her but dammit…  I wanted to understand more about the pull they shared which was constantly interrupted by the musings she had about her dear, sainted dead true love.

Yeah I guess I am a meanie but overall the story wasn’t bad but wasn’t something that I adored.  I liked the idea of the cards and the way it could bring someone back to life but dammit I want my couple to be a couple without a constant ghost cropping up.

three-stars

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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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Deadly Strain – Julie Rowe – 3.5 stars

June 15, 2015 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2015 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.

Deadly Strain – Julie Rowe – 3.5 starsDeadly Strain by Julie Rowe
Published by Carina Press on 2015-06-15
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary, Fiction, General, Military, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 242
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-half-stars

Book one of Biological Response Team

Major Grace Samuels, a trauma surgeon deployed to Afghanistan, spends her life helping her fellow soldiers overcome disease and combat injuries. But her own wounds are harder to heal. Wracked with guilt over the death of a fellow soldier, she finds comfort in her only friend and appointed bodyguard, weapons sergeant Jacob "Sharp" Foster.

Sharp feels more for Grace than a soldier should, more than he wants to admit. When the team discovers a new, quick-to-kill strain of anthrax, he tries to focus on the mission to find its source. He knows he can help Grace defeat her demons, but first they must defeat the deadly outbreak.

Sharp is Grace's most loyal ally, but in close quarters, he starts to feel like more. She can't watch someone else she cares about die—but she might not have a choice. The closer they get to finding the source of the strain, the closer it gets to finding them.

79,830 words

Interesting story about modern day biological warfare and those who work to keep us safe.  I look forward to more from this series as the work that went in to researching the biological weapon and special forces personnel showed in a believable threat with action that kept me interested during the story.

Grace just wants to do her job and do it well.  She wants nothing more than to save lives and make a difference to those she works with but she’s also haunted.  She will never forget people she’s served with and lost but one loss haunts her more than any other.  When they get a call to go check out a suspicious set of deaths at a relatively remote outpost, she has to come to terms with not only her past but the man who wants to be there for her future in order for any of them to have a future.  She’s driven and damn good at what she does which shines thru even as she doubts herself because of survivor’s guilt.  I liked how she would work herself to the bone in order to get answers but mainly liked that she does what she has to in order to survive and complete the mission.  She is someone that I would want in my corner should the worst happen as you know that she will sacrifice herself if it means more survive.

Jacob..  *swoon*…  he’s something else but I would expect him to be all that and a bag of chips.  He’s Special Forces but he’s also a man who has discovered the woman that makes him a bit crazy.  He’s driven to protect Grace from not only outside threats but also herself as he discovers more about how driven she is.  When he pushes her you understand her frustration with him but you also see why he pushes her to let go.  She needs someone who will act as a relatively neutral voice of reason in order to get her to eat and take care of what her body needs.  She really does need a babysitter in some respects but the way Jacob goes about it occasionally made me laugh.  He was someone that while driven to defend his woman also realized that she was quite capable of holding her own.  He didn’t coddle her but instead worked to make her see his side even as much as she hated that.

Overall this was an interesting story with some information that will frighten those who haven’t kept up with modern or heck even old-school biological warfare.  The weapon described is frightening in nature made more so by how much of a possibility this is.  I hope that we never see something like this created but one never knows what evil is out there.

 

three-half-stars

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Asking For It – Lilah Pace – 5 stars – Excerpt/Contest

June 1, 2015 Berkley Trade, Contest, NetGalley, Read in 2015, Tours 1

Asking For It – Lilah Pace – 5 stars – Excerpt/Contest

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

Asking For It – Lilah Pace – 5 stars – Excerpt/ContestAsking for It by Lilah Pace
Published by Penguin Publishing Group on 2015-06-02
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley.com
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five-stars

“This is who I am. This is what I want. Now I need a man dangerous enough to give it to me.” 

Graduate student Vivienne Charles is afraid of her own desires—ashamed to admit that she fantasizes about being taken by force, by a man who will claim her completely and without mercy. When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy.

Their arrangement is twisted. The sex is incredible. And—despite their attempts to stay apart—soon their emotions are bound together as tightly as the rope around Vivienne’s wrists. But the secrets in their pasts threaten to turn their affair even darker...

Reader Advisory: Asking for It deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.

This is going to be a very long post as I want to get you excited to read this one….  I was blown away by this title and hope that people will be drawn to it like I was.  This is NOT for everyone and the warning should be heeded.

My review:

I think all of us that have read this struggle with the same thing which is “How do we review this?”  I mean this is an incredible story but the subject material isn’t for everyone but the way Lilah is able to show you how torn Vivienne is about her needs makes the story oddly compelling.  The thing that spoke to me most throughout this book is the way we see her crave the rough usage from our hero even as she finds her needs disgusting and wrong.  She’s got a lot of work to do to realize that while her needs are the same as everyone else’s they aren’t wrong nor are they something to be ashamed of.  The key is that she has to come to an understanding about her past and perhaps finally get someone to believe her about the incident from her past that colors everything.

Vivienne is a character that made me wince, cry and cheer as she finally gets something that makes her stronger.  The ability to find someone that can fulfill her darkest desires unlocks the true woman she is.  She finds strength in this new relationship that makes it where she actually wants her connection with our hero to be more than just the fulfillment of her desires.  As she navigates her own mental recovery she is compelled to understand why her partner is also drawn to this as he seems to be struggling with demons as well.  I am being careful in this review to not spoil things because the way they unfold is the main reason why I adored this story.

Jonah is our dark horse because we don’t get to see his viewpoint in this that often.  His actions speak volumes and what glimpses we get make me want to know more.  He has his own demons to slay but his care of her shines out.  I admit he made me flinch a few times but after the scene when he wants to actually care for her made me adore him.  I look forward to seeing where we go with him in the next book because DAMN is he compelling.

I can’t say it enough but I am BEYOND ready for book 2!!!!

Excerpt:

“It’s okay. This is difficult.” He pauses a moment before adding, “Are you scared?”

Deep breath. Honest answer. “Yes and no. I believe you aren’t going to do anything without my permission. But what we’re doing feels a little like jumping off a cliff. I’ve had this fantasy since – since always, but I never thought I’d act it out with a stranger –”

At that moment, a waiter appears by our sofa. Why do bar waiters only show up when you least want them around? Offhandedly Jonah says, “Bring me whatever she’s having.”

I don’t think he’s even looked at my glass. What if I had some ridiculous tropical drink, the kind of thing served in a pineapple with pink straws and paper umbrellas? The thought of someone as serious as Jonah sipping one of those makes me smile. Finally I’m able to relax a little – but not much.

As soon as the waiter hurries off, Jonah turns to me. “What would it take to make you feel safe?”

I like that he asked this. But how do I answer?

Cut to the chase, I remind myself. Jonah’s blunt honesty is the only way to go. “I’d need you to wear condoms. Unless you want to show me your medical records.”

Jonah nods. “I can get those for you. Can you show me test results too?”

It hadn’t even occurred to me that Jonah also might be concerned about that. “Um. Yeah, sure.”

“No rush,” he says. “I don’t mind wearing a condom at first. Makes it last longer.”

My cheeks flush as I envision Jonah inside me, pounding me, going on and on and on without mercy –

Jonah must know what I’m thinking, because he tilts his head as if he’s relishing the effect he has on me. He murmurs, “What else?”

Another sip of wine steadies me enough to answer. “I wouldn’t want you to tie me up. Not the first time, anyway.”

He smiles. “I like that you’re thinking about the future. I’ll have plenty of chances to give you what you want.”

It hadn’t even occurred to me before today that Jonah might have been considering a one-time fling. Now that I think about it, that makes more sense than assuming we’d keep playing out this scenario. But I’ve wanted this too long, too much, to assume one night will be enough to get it out of my system. If Jonah’s the right partner for this fantasy, then we have a chance I don’t intend to waste.

Already I sense that one taste of Jonah Marks won’t be enough.

 

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five-stars

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Under the Lights – Shannon Stacey – 4 stars

May 28, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Sent 0

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

Under the Lights – Shannon Stacey – 4 starsUnder the Lights by Shannon Stacey
Published by Penguin on 2015-05-26
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 304
Source: the publisher
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four-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Kowalski Family novels, a sweet, sexy new series about taking hits, making second chances, and finding love…

They were the golden boys of fall: Stewart Mills High School’s legendary championship winning football team. Fourteen years later, they’re back to relive their glory, save the team—and find themselves again…

Chase Sanders’s life has taken a lot of crazy turns lately. But returning to his hometown to help his old coach keep his high school football team afloat might be the craziest thing to happen to him yet. That is, until he starts falling for the last person he should—Coach’s gorgeous daughter…

Kelly McDonnell learned the hard way that cocky, charming men are nothing but trouble, so she knows Chase is bad news. Still, she can’t resist his smile—or the rest of him. But when his loyalty to her father conflicts with their growing attraction, any hope for a relationship might be blocked before it can even begin…

Where do I start?  As most of you know I am a HUGE Shannon Stacey fan and have managed to get my mom and others addicted to her stories over the past few years.  I wanted to love this story as much as I LOVE the Kowalski’s but I must admit I miss my things of DOOM references.  This was a lovely story that I quite enjoyed but I admittedly do miss getting more of the family I adore.

In this book we get to meet a man who is in the process of losing everything to a dishonest partner and has lost a woman he thought he would spend his life with.  We see a broken man who has worked so hard to get to where he is at but now what does he have?  He’s asked to help out a man who believed in him and became a father to him so why not take this time to escape his new reality while trying to figure out what to do…  He’s broken in some ways but strong in so many others that he just doesn’t see and you just want to beat him over the head with it.  You want to yell at him “You are so much more than a broken man…”  I enjoyed how much he was willing to help out those who are in more dire straits than himself while not burdening or whining to others about what he’s going thru.  I didn’t enjoy him keeping it all to himself as it didn’t help him or anything to keep completely quiet.  He’s very honorable and that is part of what makes him almost miss the best thing that could ever happen to him.

We meet a woman who quite honestly wears her heart on her sleeve even as she tries to keep it hidden.  She does so much for so many but struggles with wanting to be seen as someone on her own two feet.  She wants something she believes needs to come from someone safe but what she needs is someone that is also strong.  She wants everything planned to the nth degree and love isn’t something that can be planned.  You find it when you least expect and in packages that at times are completely opposite what you think you wanted.  She has such a good sense of humor when the “boys” get drunk and go wandering but I enjoyed it most when she truly stood up for what she wanted.  She’s tough, honest and while she wants to keep her little “fling” hidden from the town she never lies to our hero about why this is important.  She never expected him to be anything other than a fling and he never promised her anything.

These two do give us a wonderful story and I do look forward to more of this series.  I’m sure they will become just as addictive as the Kowalski clan in their own way…

four-stars

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Let It Ride – Vivian Arend – 5 stars

May 26, 2015 Read in 2015, 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.

Let It Ride – Vivian Arend – 5 starsLet It Ride by Vivian Arend
Published by NLA Digital LLC on 2015-05-19
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Western
Pages: 187
Source: the Author
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five-stars

He’s her rock in the midst of the storm

When Maggie Ward’s world is torn apart by sudden tragedy, the only thing that makes her days bearable is Clay Thompson’s unwavering presence. He’s protective, caring, and everything she could ask for in a friend. But when she finds herself longing for more than friendship, it will take a little seduction to convince the stubborn mechanic she’s ready to start living again.

She’s his heart, whether he knows it or not

Clay Thompson’s got the taking-care-of-others business down pat, only he’s never faced this particular challenge before—the one woman he’s always wanted is unexpectedly his to care for. Suddenly it's not just responsibility driving him, but a wild desire to make Maggie truly his. But following his heart might mean sacrificing the family he’s held together for years.

Tissue Warning on this one!!!

I have to say you will need them at the beginning and again as things come to a head but…  this story is so worth the pain.  There is something about the pair and how they truly do find a match in one another which honestly is true to what some people experience in their lives.  While the beginning was a bit brutal the love that they share made up for the pain.

Maggie has had everything collapse around her but the one thing she counts on is her friendship with Clay.  She’s strong and definitely hurting but I loved her dedication to living life and not hiding from everything that has happened.  You’ll love her willingness to admit when she needs help but also love that she doesn’t always need it.  She is strong and she’ll need to be in order to prove to everyone that she’s the best match for a strong man.  While not everyone will approve of their relationship I think that it was perfect and quite honestly where she needed to be.  Her willingness to open her heart back up to a man who meant so much to her and her past was wonderful to see but also to see that she truly saw him as his own person made me happiest.  She isn’t trying to replace what she had but is reaching for life again where she’s happy and whole.

Clay was amazing.  He’s so strong and caring that you’ll adore him as he struggles with doing what he thinks is right and taking what he wants.  Once he makes his mind up well….  actually hmmmmmm Maggie made it damn hard for him to stay “honorable” which is what he needed in order to be hers.  He’s also very family driven and what happens in this story made me mad for him and had my heart break a bit.  This moment doesn’t diminish the story in any way but makes it very clear what he wants and needs.  I enjoyed seeing his care and concern for Maggie with regards to sentiment in town but honestly she’s strong enough and to see her call him on his ways made me smile.  I also enjoyed that the one thing that could’ve kept them apart is what made them strong enough to reach for what was in front of them.

You get two strong people who have been brought to their knees by tragedy but where they end up is a beautiful place with a bit of trouble along the way…  I loved this story and can’t wait for more….

five-stars

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