Genre: General

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Dangerous Angel – Stacy Gail – 4.5 stars

March 31, 2014 Carina Press, 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.

Dangerous Angel – Stacy Gail – 4.5 starsDangerous Angel by Stacy Gail
Series: Earth Angels #4
Published by Carina Press on 2014-03-31
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 196
Source: the Author
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four-half-stars

Book four of the Earth Angels series

Miami's best bounty hunter, Nikita Tesoro will do anything to collar a fugitive. Including stepping into a stripper's stilettos for the night. Outsmarting her rival Kyle Beaudecker is just a bonus. Despite the sexual tension sparking between them, Nikita keeps a professional distance from "Hurricane" Kyle. After all, she can't get hurt if she doesn't care.

A descendant of the archangel Barakiel with the power to harness electricity, Kyle should be focusing his energy on tracking down a demon that may be hiding in the human realm. But he's a lover, not a fighter, and he'd much rather use his special talents for pleasure: specifically Nikita's. And teaming up to find a bail jumper means spending lots of time together...

But when their case takes a turn for the demonic, Kyle can no longer hide his true nature from Nikita. He'll do whatever it takes to win her heart--even stop the apocalypse. But he can't do it alone.

As sad as I am to see this series end, I truly loved this last installment.  Honestly the pairing of Kyle and Nikita made me laugh but also had a lot of heart behind the heat that arcs between the two of them.

Nikita doesn’t do relationships.  She’s all for a quick turn between the sheets to scratch an itch but when it comes to any other kind of entanglement she’s the type to run away.  She cares for people but her past makes her wary of believing in love in any way shape or form.  You see her past makes it where she believes everyone will leave her and it is best to not let yourself be weak enough to love someone else.  She does care for her one relative but that is the exception to the rule and even then she’ll tell you she really doesn’t care but does things out of a sense of obligation.  She’s always been attracted to Kyle but as much as she finds herself attracted to him she also finds herself wanting to kill him.  They compete for the same bounties and while he’s definitely someone that would be fun to play with she also senses that he might be someone that could get to her more than she wants.  As things play out during this story we get to see this strong woman finally come to terms with her childhood and open her mind/heart to love.

Kyle is something else.  He plays the fun loving playboy with the best of them but behind this is a man who desperately wants to find someone as much as he also doesn’t want to subject them to his secret.  He’s a lot more complex than people give him credit for but when he finally opens up to Nikita we get to see a man who would do anything to protect those he loves even if it means giving up himself.  I loved how protective he was of her but also enjoyed that when push came to shove he trusted in her abilities and brains even as he wanted to kill her for putting herself in danger.  He’s hot as hell when he gets what he wants but there is always a sense of humor in his interactions that helps cut thru the tension that permeates this book.  I felt for him as he navigates thru his family’s history and finally comes to terms with his unique abilities.

I enjoyed the heart, humor and heat that winds thru this entire series but this installment had the best chemistry in the main pair.  Trust me there will be many times when you can’t help but laugh at Kyle’s antics and the banter between the pair.  They really are a fun read even with the harder moments.

Thanks to Stacy Gail for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  I’ve enjoyed reading all of the series and while sad to see this one go I’m glad we got a fun one to end on.

four-half-stars

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Taken With You – Shannon Stacey – 4.5 Stars

March 24, 2014 Carina Press, 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.

Taken With You – Shannon Stacey – 4.5 StarsTaken with You by Shannon Stacey
Published by Carina Press on 2014-03-25
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 185
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-half-stars

Hailey Genest has seen most of her friends marry and have babies, and she's happy for them, but it was a lot easier before she hit forty. She's spent her entire life in Whitford, Maine, and if she hasn't found her Prince Charming by now, she has to accept she's probably not going to. When a new friend suggests they go on an adventure and embrace being single, Hailey agrees.Surviving in the woods is game warden Matt Barnett's idea of a relaxing vacation. But when he meets two women in need of help, he leads them back to safety—a task that proves more fun than expected, thanks to a certain hot blonde. He can't resist pushing her buttons, even though she's made it clear that the rugged, outdoorsy type just isn't for her.Hailey is glad to see the back of her tempting-tour-guide-slash-pain-in-the-ass. When he shows up in her life again, she's determined to avoid him, no matter how good he looks in his uniform. But that's easier said than done in Whitford, especially when he's renting the house right next door….74,000 words

What if what you needed in a partner wasn’t what you thought you needed?  This is what both Hailey and Matt find out in this heartwarming story.

Hailey is really starting to feel left out as her friends all seem to be finding the men of their dreams and while she still gets to see them it just reminds her of what she doesn’t have.  She’s agreed to go on an outing with another single lady but she’s not in her element in the great outdoors and when they get rescued by a man with all the qualities she doesn’t want but damn is he hot, other than the beard, old clothes and sloppy presentation, she starts to wonder if she’ll need to move away to find the professional, yuppie man she thinks she needs.  I liked her spirit and spunk but did get frustrated with her inability to see what was right in front of her until it was almost too late.  She’s so set in her attitudes that I wanted to slap her a few times because he was trying except for one instance where he did the same thing to her that she did to him.

Matt is hot hot hot.  He’s always loved being outdoors and in nature so having a job that requires him to be outside and protect the nature he loves is just perfection.  Now if he could find a woman that would be able to tolerate his odd work schedule, smelly clothes and  love of being one with nature he’d be all set.  He’s been burned by a city girl before so he does things to test all of his girlfriends that have driven them all away but he’s drawn to Hailey.  There is something about her that calls to him even though he’s convinced she’ll be like all the rest and want him to change.  When he pulls his stunt with her I wanted to kill him for not being willing to compromise but instead he has his head so messed up from past experiences that he ruins the evening for both of them.  Once he wakes up and finally realizes what he might lose if he doesn’t grow up…. well then we get a sigh-worthy hero.  He’s sigh-worthy during most of the book so the one moment didn’t ruin it for me but when he realizes it he does own his mistake.

They both do a little compromising in this book which is what makes it work.  She opens her eyes to the fact that her heart may know best and he opens up to not every female is the same.  While we all like our men to clean up nice to go out every once in a while most of us just want a partner to share our lives with.  I think the best thing about this story is that both grew up and compromised to make something that was special work.

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

four-half-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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My Summer With The Marine – Susan Meier – 5 stars

March 16, 2014 Entangled Publishing, Read in 2014, Sent 0

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

My Summer With The Marine – Susan Meier – 5 starsHer Summer with the Marine by Susan Meier
Published by Macmillan on 2014-03-10
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 266
Source: the publisher
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five-stars

Their competition has never been so irresistible

The last person Ellie McDermott wanted to run into after returning to her hometown is Finn Donovan, her high school nemesis and the guy she crossed the line from enemies to lovers with one night years ago. Now ex-military, tattooed, and still sexy as hell, Finn is a complication Ellie doesn’t need—she needs to concentrate on saving her family business.

Finn’s entire life, Ellie was there, going head-to-head with him in every class, bee, and test. So it’s no surprise she’d show up just as he was about to take over her father's struggling business. It is a surprise, though, that his attraction to her is even more explosive than it had been. Acting on their attraction is one thing, but Finn has to turn a profit to save his own family, and nothing—not even love—will get in his way.

This was a book that had moments where I wanted to slap sense in to both the hero and heroine but also one that made me laugh and cry.  The sparks that fly between Ellie and Finn are palpable but what makes the story work is the hearts behind the heat.

I don’t want to give away too much because the troubles they both have to go thru to get to their happy ever after is so worth being in the moment to discover that I don’t want to ruin it.  You’ve got a heroine in Ellie that is willing to go toe-to-toe with the town that she left as fast as she possibly can when she graduated high school.  The hero, Finn, has done time as a Marine but now is back to try to resolve some issues in his past and create a new life for his family.  We have to work thru misunderstandings from high school between them and the fact that there are so few reasons for Ellie to trust Finn but also so few reasons for Ellie not to trust Finn that you will have trouble staying mad at either of them during their ups and downs.

I will say the story lines that aren’t the main pair is what made this book a 5 star read.  I loved seeing more of both families and look forward to more of Finn’s brothers as they should prove to be interesting stories as they create their own lives after the nightmare they lived thru as children.  The strength that they show as they come together was wonderful to see and the fact that they were so very protective of each other plus their mother shows that once they find their matches sparks will fly!

Be prepared to have some tissues on hand as there are some sequences that will make you tear up but overall this was a wonderful story about two people who are so made for one another it is hard to see why they fought so long and so hard against it.

Thanks to Entangled Publishing for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

five-stars

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Down On Her Knees – Christine Bell – 4 stars

February 26, 2014 Entangled Publishing, Purchased, Read in 2014 0

Down On Her Knees – Christine Bell – 4 starsDown on Her Knees (A Dare Me Novel) by Christine Bell
Published by Brazen, Entangled Publishing on 2014-02-24
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 250
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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four-stars

Four lessons, no strings…Detective Rafe Davenport has always made Courtney DeLollis uneasy. While her instincts whisper, Touch him, her mind says, Run. But since she learned that he’s dominant in the bedroom, she hasn’t been able to forget about it. She should be appalled—she knows all too well what happens when a man has too much control—but a deeper, darker part of her is fascinated...And so is Rafe. The sexual tension between them is thick enough to touch, and damn, does he want to touch. So he suggests something that will benefit them both. Four scenes—because anything more is a relationship, and Rafe won’t go there ever again. Each scenario is designed to tease and torment. To show Courtney that with every submission comes the reward of scintillating pleasure. But once he has Courtney down on her knees, Rafe realizes that she might be the one woman capable of bringing him to his…

I have been looking forward to this story as we’ve seen the heat that the main pair throw off when they are in a room together for more than 30 seconds.

Courtney is a nurse who has no room in her life for a relationship.  She’s not looking for anything due to her ex but when she hears about what Rafe likes to do with women she’s on the outside horrified but on the inside intrigued.  She equates BDSM with abuse because of her past experience with a controlling boyfriend but when Rafe pushes her to try it for only four scenes she’s interested enough to jump at the chance.  Well…  maybe not jump but she does decide that she can trust him enough to try it before she loses her nerve.  She ends up getting more than just amazing sex out of the bargain, she gets her sense of self confidence and power back.  I liked seeing her emerge from her past to become someone that loves life.

Rafe is a love-em and leave-em kind of man since his girlfriend died years ago.  He’s not looking for anything other than short-term, 4 scene maximum things so when he decides to act on his attraction to Courtney he fully expects this to be nothing different than getting her out of his system.  All romance readers will roll their eyes at that thought because as we all know this is not the way it works in these stories.  As they spend more time together and he scenes with her there are boundaries that are crossed and walls that start to come down.  He does the normal stupid hero BS but I loved his grovel (short but very honest) at the end.  He’s really not a bad guy at all but has a heart that has already suffered a horrific loss and fears that if he lets someone else in that he won’t survive another loss.  He’s growly and sexy but dear lord how much he craves Courtney’s happiness sparks off the page…  She’s a lucky woman for catching this sexy Dom.

Short hot and oh so good….  make sure you read it and the others in this series.  🙂

four-stars

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Before You Break – Christina Lee – 5 stars

February 26, 2014 Intermix, 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.

Before You Break – Christina Lee – 5 starsBefore You Break by Christina Lee
Published by Penguin on 2014-02-18
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Love & Romance, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 144
Source: NetGalley.com
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five-stars

A sexy, emotional New Adult romance about a bad boy on the edge and a good girl about to lose control... A college baseball star isn’t supposed to have skeletons in his closet. But Daniel Quinn is hiding a guilty past so dark he refuses to let anyone get close. Except there’s something about gorgeous, studious Ella Abrams that goes beyond the electric attraction between them—something that makes him want to open up. Ella has suffered enough heartache and guilt to fill one of her psychology textbooks, but she keeps that part of herself hidden behind a bubbly exterior. Until she receives an anonymous call while working a suicide helpline and the voice on the other end touches something inside of her that she can’t ignore. Soon Ella and Quinn’s physical connection heats up, even as their deep and revealing hotline talks intensify. But by the time Ella realizes that her seductive jock and her sensitive caller are the same guy, it might be too late to save him—or to stop herself from falling too far...

There was something beautiful about this story.  It might have been that both Quinn and Ella have so much pain in their short lives that is abated by the time they spend together or it might be due to the fact that Ms. Lee doesn’t shy away from a very tough topic.

Ella loves the fact that she is in school and around people that she cares about but her relationship with her boyfriend is falling apart which might not be such a bad thing.  She’s starting to notice his frat brother and isn’t quite certain what to think about the fact that he has shown her more kindness and attention than the man who is supposed to be there for her has in quite some time.  She works for a local suicide hotline and when she gets a call from someone needing help she finds herself more interested in the man on the phone than she knows she should be.  As she finally makes some decisions about her love-life she finds herself spending more and more time around Quinn but knows there is something he hasn’t told her but that it is something huge.  She opens up to him about her brother’s suicide and how that has impacted her life in so many ways including the boyfriend she stayed with because of his ties to her brother.  As she and Quinn start to get closer there is a secret that both of them hold which could split them apart or finally bring them the love and sense of being whole that they both crave.  I loved her journey in this and the strength she shows when the truth comes out is amazing to read.  She’s something else and seeing her find what she needed was beautiful.

Quinn…  where do I start with him.  He’s sexy..  well hell that’s a given..  but what you’ll love about him is his heart.  He’s such an amazingly sweet man with this need to belong.  He wants to have someone love him for him but the truth is he doesn’t feel he deserves it.  He made a mistake that cost him dearly and because of that one mistake he’s living a life he doesn’t really want to out of a sense of survivor’s guilt.  We get to see him work through his feelings for Ella and his belief that he doesn’t deserve her plus his sense of responsibility for a horrible accident.  I loved how strong he really is as he works through everything but I especially loved how he tried to take care of her first but was willing to show her his vulnerabilities when he needed to.  There was something special about watching him slowly start to rebuild himself and let people help him when they needed to.  He’s got an amazing soul and seeing it heal on his journey in this book was sigh-worthy.

This was a fairly deep story in that we have a character that is suicidal and one who harbors guilt about what they believe they could have done to stop a suicide.  It could have been a very dark story but instead by seeing their journey it showed that even in the darkest times there can be hope and hope should be what you reach for.

I’d like to thank Intermix and NetGalley.com for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

I’ll also close with this…  If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide or need help coming to terms with someone close to you who has chosen this option please please please get help…  Speak to someone you trust or reach out to your local suicide helpline.  You can also reach out to:

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five-stars

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Molly Gets Her Man – Julie Rowe – 3 stars

January 27, 2014 Entangled Publishing, 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.

Molly Gets Her Man – Julie Rowe – 3 starsMolly Gets Her Man by Julie Rowe
Published by Entangled Publishing, Ignite on 2014-01-27
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 250
Format: eBook
Source: the Author
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three-stars

When flaky Las Vegas hairdresser Molly McLaren overhears hears a Russian hit man planning to kill a US congressman and take out Hoover Dam in the process, she becomes a target for murder. Now, on the run from the assassin and a dirty cop, she winds up in an eighteen wheeler with an ex-cop sporting a bum leg, a bad attitude, and a body built for loving.Grey Wilson just wanted to be left alone. No more Las Vegas. No more casinos. And no more floozy women like the one his best friend sent him to pick up on the side of the road. She talks fast, but her endless curves and sensuous nature make him want to slow down. Which is not in the cards. Grey knows he needs to unload his excess baggage. And quick.But when someone tries to kill the Vegas beauty, Molly captures his heart with her backbone of steel, and brains to boot. Now in order to grasp the future that had once seemed impossible, Molly and Grey need to keep Hoover Dam, the congressman, and their love from being blown sky-high.

So what do you get when you mix a woman who thinks that negotiation and using your words is the way to solve things with a man who thinks that force and physicality are the best ways to get things done?  You end up with our pair, Grey and Molly…. You also end up with some moments where both of them need to have some sense smacked in to them.

Molly is having a really bad day.  I mean how else to describe a day where you just are there to give someone a haircut and end up overhearing a plot to kill a congressman?  She’s on the run and when her brother sends someone to protect her she ends up meeting a man who scares her at first but ends up being the thing she didn’t think she’d ever find.  I liked Molly during most of the book but I will tell you her tendency to talk and not completely think things thru did piss me off a couple of times.  She’s just not always using common sense even though she means well.  I get that you don’t like violence but to put yourself in the middle of things that not only put you in danger but put others in it just frustrated me.  I also liked how she did tend to recognize when she was making those mistakes but still couldn’t help herself and made them any way.

Grey was described as an amazingly big man and proved himself to be a gentle giant in many respects with her.  He does tend to act without thinking thru his actions but I didn’t find myself screaming at his actions as much as I did Molly’s.  He’s still coming to terms with the shooting that left him injured and off the force but while he does this he is still trying to investigate the drug dealer that played a role in his injury.  He’s very shocked by his reactions to Molly and when he claims her it is definitely a sexy time.

Overall this was a nice story with decent pacing but Molly’s tendency to act without thinking did piss me off a bit as I read it.  Also you have to suspend belief quite a bit as the pair gets to their “I love you”s very quickly but they do have fairly decent chemistry.  I guess part of me would’ve liked the story to take place over a bit longer time so we could see them together a bit more but unfortunately things don’t always work that way.  If you are looking for a quick read with a bit of heat but not too much then this is the story for you.  Quick pace and characters that are well defined with a bad guy you know from the first page make this a fun, sexy read.

Special thanks to Julie Rowe for giving me the chance to read this with no input on my review.  I can’t wait to see you again at RT in NOLA!

three-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
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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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Ruined – Jus Accardo – 4 stars

January 8, 2014 Entangled Publishing, Read in 2014, Sent 0

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

Ruined – Jus Accardo – 4 starsRuined by Jus Accardo
Published by Embrace, Entangled Publishing, Macmillan on 2013-12-30
Genres: Coming of Age, Fiction, General, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 340
Format: eBook
Source: the publisher
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four-stars

Hell is looking for a way to break loose...Jax lost the genetic lottery. Descended from Cain, the world's first murderer, he's plagued by a curse that demands violence in exchange for his happiness. He left everything behind, including the girl he loved, but thriving on the pain of others is lonely… And it's killing him.After a series of heartbreaking losses, Samantha put rubber to pavement and headed for college as fast as her clunker could carry her. But she can't outrun her problems. When an attack at school drives her back home, she's thrown into the path of a past—and a guy—she's been trying to forget.Sam strains Jax's control over his darkness, but running isn't an option this time. Someone—or, something—followed her home from school: a ruthless monster with a twisted plan centuries in the making. Forced together to survive, and fighting an attraction that could destroy them both, Jax and Sam must stop a killer bent on revenge.

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this from Entangled Embrace and I have to say I was rather impressed by the world that Jus has created.  I cannot wait to see more of how this all plays out and hope that our pair gets the happiness they deserve.

Sam is not having a good day, week, month, year…  She’s unhappy with the way her life is playing out and when a man she thought gone forever suddenly appears in town she just wants to tell the world to stop and let her off.  She’s forced to confront him on a lot of levels but also finally gets to understand what his issues have been for years and, in some respects, gets a bit of closure on the hurt that has been her entire life to this point.  I liked that she was strong and independent but was willing to listen to others even if she didn’t want to lean on anyone.  She loves our hero deeply and I liked that she pushed him to really tell her the truth even if it was unbelievable.  What she does at a pivotal moment is really testament to how much she really knows about him and the level of trust it showed was phenomenal.

Jax is such a tortured soul.  As you find out more about the hell he has lived with his entire life you cannot help but want to soothe him in any way possible.  He loves Sam but knows that all he would bring to her is pain and destruction but he can’t help but be drawn back to her time and time again.  He keeps his distance but he’s been guarding her in his own way for years.  When he gets pulled back into her life he is tormented by being so close to the one thing he knows he can’t have.  His life has been nothing but misery and torture unless he’s around her but around her leads to pain and a different kind of torture.  I loved his willingness to sacrifice everything to keep his brother safe but hope that he will get a chance to be truly happy at one point in his life.  He’s such a great soul stuck in a terrible situation.

I hope you give this one a try as it was very well done and I can’t wait for more stories about Jax and Sam.  Thanks again to Entangled for giving me the chance to read this and while you gave this to me for review you did not color the review in any way.

four-stars

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