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Review – Binding Agreement – Pam McKenna

binding agreementBinding Agreement
Author: Pam McKenna
Rating: ✩ ✩ ✩ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author via RABT

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Description:
A chance encounter on a moonlit beach draws sensible, cautious Kay Denehy into a night of anonymous passion and surrender with a ruthlessly dominant stranger. As John Randall introduces her to the exotic thrills of bondage and discipline, she discovers who she really is under the prim schoolteacher exterior—a sexual submissive who needs the strict and ardent guidance of a take-no-prisoners Dom like him. John carries more than his share of emotional baggage, the result of a tragedy for which he feels responsible. Though he cares for Kay, he refuses to pursue a relationship, certain he could only bring her pain. He pushes her away even as his unconscious dream self turns her into a sex slave to be punished and enjoyed ménage-style by two other zealous and demanding Doms. For the first time in her life, Kay knows what she needs, and who she needs, to be sexua lly and emotionally fulfilled. She knows, too, the path John must take to escape his dark places—if only he’ll trust her to lead the way.

Review:
This is a hard review for me to write, not because I didn’t enjoy the book, but because my opinion of it is split into two distinct trains of thought. Even now, 5 days after reading it, I’m confused on how I wanted to rate it or what to say. So I guess, i’m just going to go with the flow.

It has been a while since I’ve read a book like Binding Agreement – a few years ago, I was reading similar books frequently, but felt myself getting burnt out, so I took some time off. But when the call for reviews of Binding Agreement popped in my email, I was sufficiently intrigued to put my virtual hand up in the air to participate. I will admit that like usual, I did little to no research on the author or the book before hand (mostly because I don’t like others opinions affect my own). But the gorgeous cover caught my eye – I’m a sucker for these types of covers – but I will say after reading, that I don’t think this cover in general (as much as I love it) is a good representation of the story. So after I was done I went back and took a look and after finding out this was a re-release, and seeing the other cover (while cheesy), it fit the theme of the story much better to me.

This isn’t your mothers romance, that is for sure. I won’t argue that the author can write and write well. I was sucked into the story. Unfortunately, I felt that the length (only 111 pgs) was detrimental – there was so much detail packed in, that for me it seemed kind of choppy in places. I think this would have been a great story with another 10k or so words. Just a way to develop the storyline a bit more. It was too sparse in places, which led to some of the other issues that I had with the idea of consent (which seemed almost non-existant – there was no real “discussion” for lack of a better word) and how Kay/John’s relationship progressed. While the writing was hot, it also left me feeling a bit cold (not sure if that actually makes sense or not).

There were also some parts of the storyline that just seemed to be left hanging – I know why they were introducted – to help develop John more as a person and not just a Dom, but to me, there was just no resolution, which I kind of needed. I also wanted to see more of Eric after we were introduced to him, unfortunately, from the authors website, it doesn’t look like he has a story (as of yet).

But when all was said and done, I gave Binding Agreement 3.5 stars – because as I mentioned above, it was well written. I just needed more.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Review – The Changeup – Rhonda Shaw

the changeup The Changeup
Author: Rhonda Shaw
Series:#1 in the Men of the Show series

Description:
After nine years of striking out in the dating department, Maddie Hamlin is throwing in the towel. But just as this mom resolves to remain single, she meets sweet and sexy pitching phenom Chase Patton at a family dinner. He’s perfect for her–aside from the fact he’s only twenty-two.

Chase knows he should be focusing on his rookie year with the Detroit Rockets, but he can’t stop thinking about Maddie. He doesn’t care that the beautiful school counselor is twelve years older, and he’s already lost his heart to her adorable daughter. When an incredible date leads to an incredible night of passion, he knows he never wants to let her go.

But dating in the media spotlight is a whole new ball game. Maddie quickly discovers that not everyone accepts their unconventional relationship and that finding love may mean losing everything else.

Review:
So normally I’m a sucker for sports romances – I mean, hot sweaty guys (or girls) participating in feats of athletic prowess…I mean, who wouldn’t be. And to top it off, it was an older woman/younger man storyline which I am normally a fan of (it isn’t my favorite romance trope, but I often enjoy it). And while the Changeup worked for me on the level of a sports romance, it was how one of the main characters acted and the secondary characters that I had the biggest issue with. But I did love Chase until the very end…

Unfortunately, I don’t think Maddie deserved him – she was too weak-willed and a doormat – I swear, if I had to hear/read about her questioning him or his motives again, or doing her woe is me, my ex dumped me behavior, I was going to reach through my kindle and bitch-slap her. And then there were her daughter, who was supposed to be 9 if you read her description, but I don’t remember the last time I met a 9 year old who acted like her. In fact, the daughter acted much more like a 4/5 year old (grabbing Chase’s hand to go and play toys; wanting to be swung between Maddie and Chase when they were out) – I mean, its been a while since I was 9, or hung out with a 9 year old, but most I know are more likely to be in the pre-teen/sullen phase. Honestly, it just didn’t work for me

And then there were the antagonists – don’t worry, I won’t spoil the story for you by revealing how they are – I’ll just say that for me, it didn’t work – yes, I know this is fiction, but this forced me to suspend disbelief just a little bit too much on how everything played out and how it was just executed perfectly…ugh!

Overall, a disappointing read for a book that seemed intriguing and I could tell when it came to baseball, that the author had done her research because while I know little about baseball, what I did know seemed to show up in the book. A disappointing 2 stars.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Problems in Paradise – Kelsey Brown

problems in paradiseProblems In Paradise
Author: Kelsey Brown
Series: #3 in the Texas Nights series
Rating: ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩

Review Copy Provided By Author

Description:
Eden Durant hasn’t always been Eden Durant. She’s made a fresh start in Shelbyville, Texas, far from her mother’s notoriety. Running the Paradise Garden Café is as much excitement as Eden wants—or it was, until she meets Beck Childress. Although he’s the one man who could expose her past, she’s willing to open up enough to see if he might be her future.

Chief Deputy Childress is determined to get to know the real Eden, when he isn’t busy cleaning up after the sheriff and running in the election to replace him. When several men fall sick after eating in Eden’s café, he investigates even as her mysterious past raises both his suspicions and his protective instincts.

As their relationship heats up, so do the pressures of Beck’s campaign. When Eden’s secrets are revealed, jeopardizing his dream of becoming sheriff, he’ll need to choose: serve and protect the town he loves or the woman who makes it home.

Review:
I blame Jamie Farrell for my current addiction to Kelsey Brownings books – back when book 2 in the Texas Nights series (Running the Red Light) was released, she was talking about it on her facebook page and like a sucker, I one clicked it on Amazon and was hooked. I will however admit that while I remember Beck from the previous books, I don’t have as strong a recollection of Eden. I vaguely remember the discussions about her organic vegan restaurant – which I found funny, since the series in set in Texas (yeah, I know it was supposed to be) and how most texans I know (although not that many) are red meat lovin’ people. So seeing the interaction between Beck, the self-avowed junk foodie and Eden, the organic, homemade, health food junkie made me squee. (and yes, squee is a word!)

The sexual tension between Beck and Eden was hot enough that I found myself fanning my face a few times while reading – i’m sure red in my skin tone is such an awesome look! But it wasn’t overly done – meaning, there was so much more to the story than sex. Especially, the mystery about who was trying to sabotage both Beck’s campaign for Sheriff (I personally, still don’t get that, shouldn’t the Sheriff be the best at the job, not the person that can lie, whoops, I mean campaign the best). I will admit that I kind of had the mystery figured out before the reveal, but then I quite often do – its rare that I had no idea prior (except with this darn new J.K. Rowling book that STILL has me stumped, but that is a story for another day). I will admit that I did like the underlying, OMG, vegetarian food may kill us vibe that I got from several of the characters who made an appearance – it reminds me very much of my family and how they still react to this day with my sister who is a vegetarian (going on 10 years now). Such an insight, it was like the author is or knows someone who is a vegan and sees the interaction that occurs between us meat eaters (yeah, I’m admittedly one) and the non-meat eaters – haha!

Plus as with her previous books, we got to visit once again the couples from both Personal Assets (bk 1) and Running the Red Light (bk 2), but without their stories taking over, they were just there, in the background, hanging out, like good friends do. So basically, sexy contemporary romance, personal beliefs tension (carnivore vs. vegan), unresolved sexual tension and lite mystery make so a great read from Kelsey Browning. Overall, I gave Problems in Paradise 4 stars.

Kelsey will be giving away 1 copy of Personal Assets (the first book in the series) to one lucky commenter, so make sure you leave some love below (and your email, so I can get a hold of you if you win) and good luck. You have until July 25th (next Friday)

Buy Links:
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights) – Amazon
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights) – Barnes and Noble
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights) – Carina Press
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights) – Books A Million
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights) – Kobo

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Enemies on Tap – Avery Flynn

enemies on tapEnemies on Tap
Author: Avery Flynn
Series: #1 in the Sweet Salvation Brewery series
Rating: ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩

Review Copy Donated by Author

Description:
Enemies …After years away, Miranda Sweet returns to Salvation, Virginia to save her family’s brewery, but her fate is in the hands of her lover-turned-enemy, Logan. What’s a girl to do when the only person who can help her is the man who betrayed her?

Lovers …Logan Martin can’t believe his luck when the woman who smashed his heart to smithereens walks into his bank asking for his help. What she doesn’t know is that he needs the land her brewery is on–and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it.

An Irresistible Combination …Their wager becomes a battle between their attraction and their determination to win. But it’s in each other’s arms that they realize there might be more at stake now than their bet. With the town against the Sweet Salvation Brewery’s success, Logan has to choose between what’s expected of him and what he really wants…

Review
Oh Avery, Avery, Avery…lol! Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for an Enemies to Lover story – it is probably one of my favorite romance tropes. So when I saw the description of Enemies on Tap, and then saw the post on facebook that there were going to be ARC’s available, I was on it faster than (insert some kind of inappropriate joke here) – which goes along with the story itself.

To say that I hugely enjoyed EoT (since i’m too lazy to write out Enemies on Tap everytime – sorry Avery!) is an understatement. There were times I was laughing so hard, I’m sure the people around me (I was on the metro heading home from work) probably through that I was having an attack or something. EoT was a short read (only about 160 pgs according to Amazon), so I managed to read it in about 2 metro rides – but I made the drudgery of my day job just fall away as I was sucked into Miranda and Logan’s story.

I will admit that for a good portion of the first half I wanted to go and find a baseball bat, reach into my kindle and boing Logan over the head. He was such a stick in the mud – and yet at the same time, I could kind of understand with the history that he shared with Miranda and the small town prejudices (having grown up in one myself, it was almost like a reoccurring nightmare). The whole Sweet and Martin dynamic (think Hatfield and McCoy’s without the shooting at each other – although I’m surprised it hadn’t gone that far) was funny and it was like Ms Flynn had grown up in a town where stuff like that occurred. The romance wasn’t as hot as some, but there was a reasonable amount of UST between Miranda and Logan, as well as some seriously hot moments – it just wasn’t all wham, bam, thank you ma’am type stuff (which is a pet peeve of mine).

But it wasn’t just Miranda and Logan who I loved – there was a colorful cast of secondary characters that made up the town of Salvation, Virginia. I think my favorite secondary character, aside from the curmudgeon of a Brewmaster (who rumor has it is going to get his own book in the future) was Ruby Sue and her pie (yes, the pie is a secondary character in my mind!) and with quotes like this:

“I’ll be damned. Miranda Sweet, is it you or is my glaucoma acting up again?” Ruby Sue sat her glass down on the Formica countertop with a clank. “You always did know how to make an entrance. Who do you think you are, the Queen of England?”

I can’t wait to see more of her in the later books.

I am kind of bummed that I failed to write down some of the awesome quotes that I found while reading – I always think about it and then forget. Thankfully people on Goodreads do a much better job than me (yes!).

I can’t wait for the next book in the series, to see where it goes (and of course, to see what Miranda and Logan get up to in the future). In fact, I was even tweeting the author, almost as soon as I was done, asking her when the next book was going to be out. This book has firmly put Avery Flynn on my current autobuy pile. 4 stars.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Hard Hats and Doormats – Laura Chapman

hard hats doormatsHard Hats and Doormats
Author: Laura Chapman
Rating: ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩

Review Copy Provided by Author via RABT

Description:
Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.

But after losing out on a big promotion–-because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.

While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.

Who says nice girls have to finish last?

Review:
When I read the description of Hard Hats and Doormats, I was intrigued – having worked in a male dominated capacity for a few years, it is an environment that I know and can appreciate (while also getting exceptional frustrated with). Although, I will admit that I know little about the oil business – so reading about that was introducing me to a whole new world. I sat down on Thursday night intending to only read a chapter or so on my kindle, but I was soon sucked in and before I knew it, I had read about 50% of the book (not complaining because it was the great way to start a holiday weekend). Ms Chapman has a very smooth writing style, that isn’t overly flowery, but just works well.

The relationship between Jason and Lexi made me giggle because it reminded me so much of workplace relationships that I have seen – not that I agree with them – but sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t – I liked how they tried to keep theirs on the DL, even though everyone “knew” about it. Because that is just how it always seems to be, the more something is tried to be kept quiet, the more people actually seem to know about it (I wonder if there is a psychological theory in there somewhere..)

I will admit that I was kind of disappointed in the fact that while she worked in a male-dominated world, Lexi was still in what could be seen as a more female-centric position (human resources/training). I would have loved to have seen her more in the environment, or actually doing a job on one of the oil platforms. I was also kind of disappointed in how little she seemed to know about the company she worked for – yeah, she could spout all the various rules/regulations – but when it came to the actual functioning of the company – it seemed like she had never really bothered to learn (and I can kind of see where the Doormat label could be applied). I don’t know, maybe it is just me, but if I was working for a company where I was a complete newb, I’d be down on the deckplates, trying to learn as much as I could.

However, even with those issues, Hard Hats and Doormats was a solid read. It wasn’t overly romance/spicy, but rather toned down (at least to me – others may disagree). I know I’ll be looking forward to reading more by Ms Chapman in the future. Overall, I gave Hard Hats and Doormats 4 stars for a lite contemporary romance/chick lit read.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Seriously Saturday Series Catch-Up – Update

seriously saturday

So i’ll admit, I’ve been a complete slacker when it comes to doing updates for this challenge. I have been reading, but between work, school and triathlon training, my blog posts have really fallen off, so I apologize. But never fear, here is one of my updates – I’ve read enough of my books over the last few months that I’ll probably spread this out over several updates.

spider bonesSpider Bones – Kathy Reichs

I’ll admit that I was disappointed in this 13th installment in the Tempe Brennan series. While the mystery was decent (bones found believed to be a MIA from the Vietnam but are they really?), but i felt like the drama between the secondary characters took up too much time in the story and kind of started to overpower it. There were also moments where it felt like the author was trying to show the readers just how much she knew, rather than developing the mystery. It was kind of disappointing, since I normally enjoy this series. I did enjoying seeing the insights into the location out in Hawaii where a location of the unknown solider identification goes on, it is something that has intrigued me since I first read about various soldiers who died in wars being identified, it is a place that I would love to visit.

helsinki whiteHelsinki White – James Thompson

I’ve been putting off reading this book because a friend and reviewer that I trust gave it a bad review and then turned around and revised her review – so I was conflicted. Most of her comments revolved around how the character had done a total 180 in his character following the twist at the end of book 2. And now having read the book, I totally agree with her. I finished the book scratching my head and wondering what happened to the Kari Vaara that I had enjoyed in the previous books, in this one, he left a real dirty taste in my mouth – I guess it just goes to show that good and evil can be just a flip of a coin. But I was intrigued enough by how it ended to continue on with the series.

this side of the graveThis Side of the Grave – Jeaniene Frost

I know everyone seems to rave about this series, but I don’t know, for me, yeah, its mildly entertaining but I dunno – I guess I keep reading because I like the mindless entertainment that it gives me enough to be willing to sacrifice the time to read. And this installment was no different – in all honesty, I’m struggling to remember what happened in this book. I remember that it took place after Cat found out about all her cool new vampire powers, and that there were weird stuff going on with ghoul’s and vampires in New Orleans. Hmmm…yeah, I’m sure i’ll finish the series, but yeah…I know that sounds like kind of a downer, but when I really can’t remember all that much of the book, I guess it didn’t impress all that much

come home to meCome Home to Me – Brenda Novak

This was an ARC that I received from the author, but like my other books in this post, it seems like this one was also a disappointment. For me, it deviated too far from a traditional romance and there was too much going on, that it felt like the primary characters kind of took a backseat. Plus there were some actions by the secondary characters that almost made me throw the book across the room, in fact, I may have if I hadn’t been reading it on my kindle…but I persevered even though the book didn’t get a good review (although I wasn’t the only person who apparently felt that way…)

It really seems like all of the books in my series continuation challenge were downers, but they really weren’t, I did manage to read some I enjoyed…they were just few and far between…

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

#JIAM – Audies Winner – Romance

audies 2014
hey everyone! well, its day 24 of #JIAM (June is Audiobook Month) – unfortunately like the goof I am, my post was supposed to go up yesterday and I wrote the wrong date in my calender – hopefully, everyone will forgive me (pretty please!)

I’m an admitted audiobook junkie, having had a commute to work over the last few years that is anywhere from 2-3 hours (even though its only about 50 miles), I’ve become well-acquainted with audiobooks. This was my second year of participating in the Armchair Audies, where we attempt to listen to all the books nominated in the various categories for the Audies and it was my second year of listening to the romance category.

the longest rideThe winner for the romance category this year was The Longest Ride – Nicholas Sparks – you can read my review HERE. I was impressed by the narration by both January LaVoy and Ron McLarty. It was the best nominee out of the ones in the category and I was glad to see it win (although, I know lots of strict romance readers disagree – but hey, disagreement is the spice of life).

Hachette Audio has gracious decided to offer up a copy of The Longest Ride to one lucky person who comments below. I’ll draw the winner at random on July 1 (so you have about 6 days to go). Simply answer the following question:

What is your favorite romance book? (it can be an audiobook or print – since I know some of my favorites are still not available in audio).

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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