Source: the Author

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Beyond Ecstasy – Kit Rocha – 5 Stars

May 25, 2016 Read in 2016, 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 Ecstasy – Kit Rocha – 5 StarsBeyond Ecstasy by Kit Rocha
Published by Kit Rocha on May 23, 2016
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

The O’Kanes have a reputation for working hard and playing harder—except for Hawk. He joined the gang with one goal: to ensure his family’s survival through the impending war with Eden. It’s been years since he had the luxury of wanting anything for himself. Now, he wants Jeni. From the first moment he saw her, he’s been obsessed with making her his. Not for a night—forever.

Jeni’s been lusting after the former smuggler for months, but he keeps shutting her down. She’s almost given up on getting him in her bed when he offers her the last thing she ever expected—a collar. Accepting it means belonging to him, body and soul. It’s a reckless gamble, but Jeni can’t resist the chance to slip under Hawk’s armor.

The only thing more shocking than the dark, dangerous pleasure they discover is how right it feels. But falling in love is even more reckless when forever is far from guaranteed. Because they aren’t just at war, they’re out of time—and every breath could be their last.

Excuse me while I go whimper in a corner for a while after reading this book.  There are a couple of reasons for this – this is book 8 of 9… *sobs* …. and I swear Kit Rocha is trying to KILL ME.  I MEAN SERIOUSLY TEAR MY HEART OUT OF MY CHEST AND KILL ME!!!

via GIPHY

I mean seriously…  rip my heart out with a single freaking word then just stomp on it.

I can’t really do this book justice with a review because it was just that wonderful but I am going to do a quick list of supplies for this and just leave you with them and…

READ IT NOW DAMMIT… If you don’t well hell you are missing out on EVERYTHING>>>  ALL THE FEELS!!!

  • Have Kleenex on hand
  • Don’t read in public after the 50% mark (not giving you exact point but let’s just say be safe you should perhaps not read in public at all)
  • Schedule recovery time
  • Find a happy place after the story to reflect and get back to a normal heart rate before you go out in public again
  • Take a moment to have a treat (I personally had a fruit pop to recoup *note that I had no chocolate*)
  • I should put —- HAVE A TREAT READY… so maybe this should be first….
  • Try not to think of how you need to ask a significant other to maybe act out a couple of things.. *hmmmm got distracted for a sec remembering what of the things might be fun*
  • Did I mention Kleenex?  Seriously dude ONE FLIPPING WORD….

Hmmmmm….. also where did I put the flogger???  LMAO

But honestly, Kit Rocha once again managed to both rip my heart out and give me the story that made me happy sigh at the end.  Hawk and Jeni were such a wonderful pair to get to know even as the world as we know it rips apart.

And ummmmmm… when a certain someone gets his story (no not book 9 but trust me this one’ll be AWESOME) I need to have it ASAP but also need to make sure to take the day off so I can read/recover without interruption from real life.  He’s going to be AMAZING.

five-stars

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House of Payne: Steele – Stacy Gail – 4.5 Stars

May 24, 2016 Read in 2016, Sent 2

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

House of Payne: Steele – Stacy Gail – 4.5 StarsHouse of Payne: Steele by Stacy Gail
on May 1, 2016
Pages: 348
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
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four-half-stars

TRIGGER WARNING: This book deals with the sensitive subjects of surviving rape, trauma suffered during combat, child abuse, and possible sterility. If you have issues with these elements, this book might not be for you.

Raped. Tortured. Beaten. Essie Santiago’s life fell apart when she was sixteen, and it’s taken eight years to put it back together. There are some pieces that can never be mended; it would take a miracle for her to get pregnant, and physical closeness is something that makes her shudder. Only her love of creating beauty in the form of fashion gets her through the worst of the darkness.

When a mortar attack destroyed half his face and all of his life as he knew it, something vital died inside of former Marine, Ezekiel Steele. For years he’s felt nothing… until he sees Essie trying her best to be invisible. But the feisty spark inside the lovely fashion designer is too bright to be concealed, and like a moth to a flame, he’s helpless to resist her.

Chicago’s premiere tattoo studio, House Of Payne, is taking the world of fashion by storm, holding a contest to find the best designer the city has to offer. Competition is fierce, but all Essie can concentrate on are Steele’s dirty-talking lessons in sex. But when the student surpasses the master when it comes to love, Steele’s inner demons get the better of him. If he can't face them down, he’ll lose Essie forever.

123,000 words

***This standalone, mildly erotic contemporary romance contains a dirty-talking Alpha with a penchant for having sex in public places. No cheating, no love triangles and no cliffhangers. Fairy tale HEA guaranteed. Due to adult language and sexual content, this book is not intended for people under the age of 18***

 

If you haven’t picked up this series yet I would advise you…  GET MOVING..  BUY BUY BUY!!  Ok now that this little bit of business has been completed let’s look at this story.

This was not an easy story in some respects as Essie has a lot to work thru after her attack when she was just a teenager.  She’s so strong though and seeing her let down the walls with a man who is anything but easy to handle was wonderful to watch.  She’s thinking she’s made a mistake coming back to her hometown but what she finds as she struggles thru a competition that could make her fashion career is the life she never thought she’d have.  I loved her strength, her weakness and the fact that even as broken as she believes she is she’s not willing to accept anything but what she deserves.  She’s not a person who will accept less than everything and this causes some moments where, once again, I wanted to hurt a Stacy Gail hero *she does this on purpose I just know it* .  Essie will have you laughing with her, cheering for her and crying at times as you see her finally emerge from the shadows to become exactly who she should be.  I loved seeing her transformation in this book.

Steele was something else.  He’s got demons of his own to exorcise and dammit if I didn’t want to strangle him as much as I wanted to cuddle him.  He’s drawn to Essie in a way I won’t spoil but they are perfect for one another.  There is something gentle about the man even as he is not someone to be trifled with.  You’ll melt as he works his magic on Essie and really wish you were in her shoes.  I have to admit there are some things he does that makes me think about a man currently in my life who has helped me open up more than I ever have been able to before.  There is something freeing about having someone that really does seem to see you… not the persona… but the real you and pushes you to let that side free.  Steele is this person for Essie and it turns out Essie is this person for Steele.

This was not an easy read but it is worth getting to see two damaged people finally find what they need to truly live life again.  You’ll definitely be cheering for them to figure things out so run away and pick this up.

Thanks again to Stacy for sending this my way…  I’m sorry I ran so late on getting this up but you know I love ya!

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
Buy on Amazon
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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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Anything But Broken – Joelle Knox – 4 stars

August 27, 2015 Read in 2015, Sent 2

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

Anything But Broken – Joelle Knox – 4 starsAnything But Broken Published by Joelle Knox on August 25, 2015
Pages: 237
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

The first in a New Adult series about small towns, fast cars, bad boys and the girls who keep falling for them.

After five years, tragedy brings Hannah Casey back to Hurricane Creek to bury what's left of her family. She's flunking out of college, haunted by scandal, and the only person who cares is Sean Whitlow, an irresistible bad boy with a soft spot for her. The problem? He's her dead sister's ex.

Sean doesn't bleed red, he bleeds motor oil. During the week, he struggles to turn his auto repair shop into a profitable business. But when Saturday night rolls around, he's the reigning stock-car king of the local race track. He doesn't know how to lose-or how to walk away and leave Hannah alone with her grief.

Between her grades and her wealthy family's dark secrets, Hannah's barely holding her life together. And the last thing Sean needs is to get tangled up with another Casey girl. As the attraction between them spins out of control, they'll either find a love with no limits-or go up in flames.

This is a story about a scarred girl becoming the woman she was meant to be in spite of her family’s chaos and destruction.  This is not the same writing that we see from Kit Rocha or Moira Rogers but  a new voice and outlet for the amazing pair we know and love.

Hannah has always tried to be the perfect good girl.  The one who does what is right and keeps up the perfect appearances expected of her by her image obsessed parents.  She is struggling with the loss of her father and still coming to terms with her sister’s death many years earlier but also having to deal with a decision noone ever wants to have to make.  She finds herself struggling with everything but finds a lifeline and anchor in someone from her past… Sean… her sister’s ex boyfriend.  The man she shouldn’t be attracted to… the man who she has a secret that she knows would hurt him… the man who truly sees her and not another Casey fuck-up.  We see her struggle to be human and to let people in but I liked her strength behind the fear plus saw how badly she just needs to be held/told she matters.

Sean was someone I would soooooooooooo love to have in my life.  He’s a good guy who knows what he is capable of.  He’s very strong but has such a good heart that you just want him to be happy.  He knows that Hannah can’t be his but dammit if he doesn’t want to do everything in his power to help her.  He sees how badly she needs affection but doesn’t make it seem like he sees her as a charity case but that he sees her as a woman who was badly damaged by a family more concerned with appearances than love.  He fights for her to be herself and even pushes his best friend, Gibb, to give her a chance.  He does see her as someone different from her sister and ends up finding out what exactly she means to him in the end.

Now…  I know I am not alone but can we please PLEASE PLEASE have Gibb and Evie’s story…  NOW!!!!!  Their story promises to be an incredible one and I cannot wait for it to come out!

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
Buy on Amazon
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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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Moment of Clarity – Karen Stivali – 5 stars

May 6, 2015 NetGalley, 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.

Moment of Clarity – Karen Stivali – 5 starsPublished by Dreamspinner Press Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
five-stars

Moments in Time: Book Three

Spending the summer together on Fire Island brought Collin and Tanner closer than ever, but back in their conservative college town, challenges confront them at every turn.

As they search for their new normal in their old environment, Collin's brother Sean surprises them with help when they need it most. But when word about their relationship gets out, trouble erupts with friends and family. When Collin's relationship with Tanner becomes an issue in his brother's custody battle and Tanner struggles with his feelings for a heartbroken Wendy, Collin wonders if everyone he cares about would be better off without him in the picture.

In order to save them both, Tanner must make it clear to Collin that their love for each other is all that matters.

This series has been a very enlightening one with realistic stressors on our heroes and a chance for some to see the varied reactions that can happen when someone comes out.  I found Karen’s treatment of Collin and Tanner to be handled with a deft hand as not everything will be perfect but love can truly overcome all.

Tanner and Collin have gone thru a lot of things and of course we can’t have their lives be completely drama-free.  They are looking forward to getting back in the dorms but unfortunately there has been a small incident that means they can’t check in.  They end up bunking temporarily with Collin’s brother who is going thru his own drama with a wife that has abandoned him and the kids.  They have a good life and routine going while they wait for the dorms to complete but still can’t completely be together which is driving them insane.  A moment of weakness results in a disaster that runs them over to a friend until their dorm becomes available.

Life in the dorms is going well… School is going well…. and then disaster strikes in the form of homophobic behavior and the boys are trying to deal with the fall out when a true friend gives them a chance to have a home without fear or having to hide who they are to one another.  They are starting to be happy and then yet another strike comes at Collin which makes him do something that I truly wanted to slap him for being so dense but I did get why he thought what he thought.  I loved Tanner’s mother and what she does even as Collin tries to separate himself from everyone.

My favorite moment has to be the ending as we finally get Collin to be accepted by those around him and get the support he so desperately needed.  He’s finally grown in to his skin which shines thru to those around him.  The moments at the end give you hope and a great feeling for their future.

five-stars

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The Tears of the Rose – Jeffe Kennedy – 4 stars

May 4, 2015 Kensington, 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.

The Tears of the Rose – Jeffe Kennedy – 4 starsThe Twelve Kingdoms: The Tears of the Rose by Jeffe Kennedy
Published by Kensington Books on 2014-11-25
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical
Pages: 336
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
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four-stars

Three sisters. Motherless daughters of the high king. The eldest is the warrior-woman heir; the middle child is shy and full of witchy intuition; and the youngest, Princess Amelia, she is as beautiful as the sun and just as generous.

Ami met her Prince Charming and went away to his castle on the stormy sea-cliffs--and that should have been her happily ever after. Instead, her husband lies dead and a war rages. Her middle sister has been taken into a demon land, turned into a stranger. The priests and her father are revealing secrets and telling lies. And a power is rising in Ami, too, a power she hardly recognizes, to wield her beauty as a weapon, and her charm as a tool to deceive. . .

Amelia has never had to be anything but good and sweet and kind and lovely. But the chess game for the Twelve Kingdoms has swept her up in it, and she must make a gambit of her own. Can the prettiest princess become a pawn--or a queen?

For a chance to win a paper copy of The Talon of the Hawk please go here.

I am going to admit something…  This is my least favorite sister of the series but her book is well done.  I didn’t dislike her as strongly after this as I did by the end of the last book but she still isn’t the favorite one of the trio.  I also found the way this story unfolds to be intriguing and it left me ready for MORE.

We know Ami as the spoiled one… the favorite daughter of the High King who has always gotten what she wanted.  She’s managed to find a man who adores her but then has her perfect life ruined by his death.  She’s driven to find out who killed her precious true love and when she finds out it was her sister…  well then her sister is evil.  I got why she was upset but her refusal to even listen to those around her trying to get her to understand what happened just served to enforce the spoiled rotten view of her.  Her adoration and devotion to being the spoiled princess devoted only to her Goddess and her now-deceased love takes a bit of a beating as she starts to be intrigued by a monk in white that seems to push her to be more than just a pretty face.  As she finally starts to open her eyes to the world around her we finally get to see a woman emerge that may prove to be a formidable foe for the challenges that lie ahead.  I enjoyed seeing her finally realize that her actions have true consequences and that she needs to make her own mind up in order to truly see what is waiting for her in her future.  She’s stronger than I expected once the worst of the bratty child goes away.

Ash…  I enjoyed this scarred man who wasn’t swayed by the bratty princess but pushed her to be something more.  He’s such a sweet man under the scars and attitude but mainly his heart shines thru to show a man driven by duty and love.  His strength and unique talents serve this tale well plus set up some action we see in the next book.  I loved how he didn’t accept her originally and actually wasn’t afraid to show her how badly she has acted over the years.  He shows her that life didn’t end when Hugh was killed but that she not only could live again… she could find a love that in most respects is truer than the one she thought was perfect.  He wants her not the avatar… not the beautiful princess..  not a woman to be spoiled and worshipped but…  a woman with flaws and all that is true to herself and not a puppet on a string.  His sacrifices for her were amazing and beautiful.

Overall this is a good story with a few surprises but mainly I found this to be a big redemption for a character I wasn’t fond of in any way, shape, or form from the last book.  I liked how she was changing and was very glad to see her come out of her spoiled background.

four-stars

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Don’t Walk Away – Vivian Arend/Elle Kennedy – 4 stars

April 30, 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.

Don’t Walk Away – Vivian Arend/Elle Kennedy – 4 starsDon't Walk Away by Vivian ArendElle Kennedy
Published by NLA Digital LLC on 2015-04-21
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Humorous, Romance
Pages: 211
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
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four-stars

Book 3 of the DreamMakers. A red-hot collaboration from New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors VIVIAN AREND and ELLE KENNEDY.

He wants to rock her world—in bed and out of it

For former Army Ranger Dean Colter, sexual escapades and wild flirtations are the norm—but it wasn’t always that way. Years ago, the DreamMakers co-owner was a one-woman kind of guy until he tore Emma Lee’s heart apart. Yet he’s never forgotten her, and when Emma waltzes back into his life, a second chance is suddenly within his reach…and he’ll be damned if he’ll screw up again.

She wants her world to stop spinning apart

Emma’s no longer the naïve girl she used to be. Now a successful designer in the fashion world, she refuses to let Dean’s killer smile and sweet-talking ways distract her from her goals. But being the target of Dean’s full-out seduction isn’t easy to resist, even as the dynasty she’s built teeters toward disaster. This time she might the one who breaks both their hearts when she has to walk away.

--------------

DreamMakers
All Fired Up (Parker & Lynn)
Love Is A Battlefield (Jack & Pepper)
Don't Walk Away (Dean & Emma)

I have to start this off with the note that I adore Vivian Arend as both an author and a person I have been lucky enough to spend time with in real life.  I am sad that I won’t get to see her this year but I still have her writing to keep me company….

I have been looking forward to seeing our resident Casanova get knocked on his ass by love and this story was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO worth the wait.  He’s down for the count and we get to see a side of him that we had a feeling was there hidden underneath the swagger.  Dean is such a sweet, sensitive man under the talk and OHHHHH BOY can he talk….  I loved seeing his confidence take a back seat to truly wanting something real with Emma.  He shows his vulnerability to her and I enjoyed seeing him struggle with what he wants while not being certain if she is on the same page with him or not.  He’s so willing to show her all that he has to offer her but at the same time acknowledging that he might lose her this time.  I loved his personality and the glimpse of what made him in to the man we adored in the first two books.  He’s deeper than many give him credit for and for this I adored him.

Emma was a surprise to me.  I didn’t always care for her dismissal of him at the start but I understood where it was coming from as we got the story of their younger years.  She’s strong but isn’t always aware of how strong she truly is.  She hides behind a shell but with Dean’s affection and support we see her step out of the shadows to be her own person.  She doesn’t need Dean to carry her but needed the kick in the pants he provides her to show her she really is strong.  I liked seeing her start to open up to those around her and even more enjoyed that she didn’t hesitate to ask Dean for everything he had not just a pretty, soft side of himself.  She’s definitely his match and I enjoyed seeing them surprise each other.

Overall this has been a fun series of books and I hope to see more from this duo of authors….

four-stars

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Moment of Truth – Karen Stivali – 4.5 stars

March 9, 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.

Moment of Truth – Karen Stivali – 4.5 starsMoment of Truth by Karen Stivali
Published by Dreamspinner Press on 2015-03-04
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 113
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Moments in Time: Book Two

Collin expected to spend another summer fixing cars and working at the college pizzeria. Instead, he's living in a beach house on Fire Island, waiting tables at a hip seaside restaurant and, for the first time since he and Tanner got together, they can publicly be known as boyfriends. Being "out" takes some getting used to, but with the help of new and old friends, Collin is happier than he ever imagined. And more in love. But newfound freedom brings unexpected challenges, and when friends get flirty, old insecurities arise. Moments of doubt and jealousy threaten their happiness, and Collin and Tanner must confront the truth or risk losing it all.

I have to start with the fact that I really tend to enjoy everything Karen Stivali writes and have enjoyed getting to spend time with her in person at a couple of conventions.  I am also looking forward to seeing her in Dallas this year and getting to congratulate her for this wonderfully honest series.  Collin and Tanner do not have an easy road ahead of them but we get to see more of how they really feel about one another without having to hide who they are to one another.  I look forward to the next story in the series but let’s chat about this one first…

We get to see the boys in a wonderful environment where there is no judgment about being gay and they can finally be open in their affection for one another.  I adored seeing Collin start to come out of his shell and be open with his feelings even as he struggles with the loss of his family.  The way that we get to see his struggle with who he is and what he wants is heartbreaking but very honest as not everyone going thru this struggle has a great support system.  His struggle makes it difficult for Tanner to know exactly how he stands with Collin but Tanner is very patient with this and understands.  They do have some conflict but the conflict is handled well and is completely understandable when it comes.

There is also a side story with a woman from Tanner’s father’s past and someone extremely close to our boys…  I am going to be honest here and say that I hope this person realizes the major mistake they’ve made sooner rather than later as to lose someone that truly is a friend is a very sad price to pay for someone that doesn’t deserve it.  I do admit that it would’ve been nice for something to have been said earlier in the summer but I did understand why they kept their suspicions to themselves even as I wanted them to spill the secret.

If you want to see a story that builds at a realistic pace and that also shows how much pain being narrow-minded can cause someone who doesn’t fit the “traditional” mold then please read this.  It is a struggle too many people go thru in the world where in some places being gay can be a death penalty.  I have enjoyed watching their relationship build and look forward to seeing what happens when they get back to school.

four-half-stars

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Living in Secret – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 stars

March 2, 2015 Read in 2015, Samhain, 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.

Living in Secret – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 starsLiving in Secret Published by Samhain Publishing on February 24, 2015
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
four-half-stars

She always tried to be good, but now he needs her to be bad…

Living In…, Book 3

Lawyers Connor and Victoria Blake had a high-powered marriage to match their meteoric careers—until a secret from Victoria’s past came back to haunt her. A year after it all fell apart, Victoria is ready for a new job, a new town.

Instead of signing the divorce papers, though, her husband has a tempting proposal—one week of no holds barred before moving on with their lives. She’s never stopped wanting him, but he’s always kept the deepest part of himself locked away.

Connor already endured one brutal betrayal in his life, and Victoria’s cut him to the core. But during a naughty game of one-upmanship with a sexy stranger, he sees a different woman, whose warmth and passion he craves like a drug.

In one week they expose dark passions that set them both free. But amidst searing desire that should fuse them together, Connor is coming to the brink of a decision to choose what’s more important. The last secret he’s holding inside, or the woman he can’t let go.

Warning: Contains a man coming to terms with his inner darkness, a woman ready to match him kink for kink, secrets, lies, and a marriage getting its sexy back. Could take readers on a one-way ticket to WTF city.

Where to begin…

Jackie always brings the angsty heroes which I adore even as I cry because of the way they hit my buttons.  I also like her heroine’s strength and the way they won’t take crap from the hero.

Victoria just wants one thing…. her estranged husband’s signature on their divorce papers.  She is getting ready to uproot her life and head to London to begin again but she needs those pesky papers signed.  She’s repressed and seemingly always in control but she hides a deep need to be accepted for who she is and not what people expect from her.  I liked her drive and also enjoyed how she was able to get under our hero’s skin but didn’t like how she expected him to bare his soul but wasn’t willing to do so in return.  She’s at her best when she finally admits what she wants and needs which doesn’t happen completely until the very end of the story.

Connor is intense.  This is the best way to describe him and when you read this story I think you’ll agree.  He’s very driven to be perfect and in control.  He’s also driven to prosecute the lawbreakers and make sure that justice is done but is very passionless when it came to his marriage.  This is a part of his extreme control and hides a man that is very good at being bad.  He craves a chance to let loose and sees using what Victoria needs to get her out of his system.  As he breaks down and gives in to his baser needs he ends up finding out that what is best for him might be to finally tell the story of his past.  I hated what he went thru as a child but liked that Victoria saw the truth behind his actions and didn’t believe the same way that Connor did.

The sex scenes are intense as both of them are so repressed that when the control is gone…. when they finally let their bodies take what they crave and need… *fans self*  LOVED.

 

four-half-stars

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