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Review – Sweet Serendipity – Jamie Farrell

sweet-serendipitySweet Serendipity
Author: Jamie Farrell
Series: Part of Kindle Worlds tied to Hope Falls series (Melanie Shawn)
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by the Author

Description:
Wyatt Owens has had a crush on his best friend’s little sister for as long as he can remember. So when he unexpectedly finds her at his buddy’s vacation home – naked, no less! – when he arrives for a week of hanging in Hope Falls, he can’t decide if this is his lucky day, or if he’s in for the longest week of his life.

Skye Ryder has never much liked Wyatt. He’s bossy and disapproving and he never does anything wrong. But she’s also never been alone with him before. Nor has she ever noticed how sexy he can be, especially when he’s showing off his military-issue muscles and flashing those rare smiles. She’s not looking for love, but the man she hated is suddenly the man she can’t resist.

Review:
It’s been a while since I’ve read and/or reviewed one of Jamie’s books – mostly because she is a good friend of mine and I struggle to sometimes remain impartial on my reviews (because I could go total fan girl). But when she mentioned that she had been asked to participate in Melanie Shawn’s Kindle Worlds novellas for the Hope Falls series – I was intrigued (and even though I haven’t read any of the Hope Falls series, I’m now planning on it). If you aren’t familiar with Kindle Worlds, authors license the use of their fictional world to other authors to write novellas in – stories need to stay to the same vibe of the original series (so no vampires in a historical romance world) – I haven’t read many of these Kindle Worlds books, although I’ve been intrigued – so Sweet Serendipity seemed the right way to dip my toe in.

Not only did Sweet Serendipity feature a romance trope that I love (friend falling for best friends sibling), but it also featured a smexy military and an adorable, yet slightly klutzy young boy. Having known Jamie for several years (and her kids through her various social media postings) – I have no doubt that some of Nicolas’s adventures may have been inspired by her own kids. I love that when she features kids in her stories, they aren’t just there for added kid drama, but rather that they contribute to the story in often significant ways (in this instance, some of Wyatt and Skye’s relationship was due in part to Nicholas wanting them both with him during certain events in the story). Skye’s backstory was intriguing and her ex was (for lack of a better term) a dick – so seeing her struggle a bit with that as she and Wyatt developed a relationship make the book feel more real to me.

If you are looking for a small town romance, with a hot military hero and a (fairly) stable headed heroine – then Sweet Serendipity might be a book for you to try. You can purchase Sweet Serendipity from Amazon.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2017 in Book Review, Review

 

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Review – Dirty Like Me – Jaine Diamond

dirty-like-meDirty Like Me
Author: Jaine Diamond
Series: #1 in the Dirty series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by the Author

Description:
Struggling barista Katie Bloom doesn’t even know who Jesse Mayes is until she inadvertently wins the coveted role of sex kitten in his hot new music video. But by the time she’s in bed with him, she knows his reputation.

Love maker. Heartbreaker.

Making out with a stranger in front of a camera crew isn’t how Katie imagined herself getting over a broken heart, but when Jesse touches her, sparks fly. The sex is fake but the chemistry is real, and soon the steamy video is blazing up the charts.

Then Jesse makes Katie an irresistible offer: act as his girlfriend for six weeks while he promotes his new album. The only catch? Their sizzling make-out sessions will be for the cameras only.

Which is fine with Katie, since she’s not about to trust her heart to rock’s most legendary lover. Her body? Maybe…

Review:
It seemed kind of like fate that the same day I started reading Dirty Like Me, that I saw the facebook video featuring auditions for the live show of Magic Mike…trust me when I say this video is worth your time…Magic Mike Live Audition YouTube or Magic Mike Live on the Ellen Show. Anyways, when I picked up Dirty Like Me, I had some great visuals in my head after I read the opening (and found myself fanning my face a bit because it definitely got a bit steamy in the car where I was reading).

So early on in the book, not only was I drooling over the cover (because just look at it), I had a solid visual of Jesse and Katie’s first(ish) meeting and it was a relationship of convenience…yeah, I knew I was either going to have a great reading experience or I’d eat my hat (or is it cover, since I was in uniform while I was reading?) One of the things that drew me to Katie early on was that she was independent but at the same time, wasn’t afraid to ask for help if she needed it (and had a solid family support system too). It was something that was slightly different from many of my recent reads when characters have needed help but were too stubborn to ask for it.

To say that the hotness of Dirty Like Me was chartable would be a lie…there were so many times when the chemistry between Katie and Jesse was like a volcanic explosion. But the smexy scenes (both the UST build-up and the actual scenes themselves) weren’t overdone and felt natural (and not forced or overpowering the rest of the story). Not only that, but the whole traveling with the band portion of the story was well done – there was drama but wasn’t drama for drama sake! If you are in the mood for a rock-star romance with the right touch of smexyness and unresolved sexual tension, then Dirty Like Me might be a book for you.

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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Review – Wild Zone – Skye Jordan

wild-zoneWild Zone
Author: Skye Jordan
Series: #4 in the Rough Riders Hockey series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Tate “The Saint” Donovan’s jaded outlook really makes him more of a devil’s advocate. Ever since he discovered his ex-wife doing more in their bedroom than rooting for the home team, he’s given up on finding The One. In fact, he’s given up on finding Any One. So he isn’t surprised when his teammate’s engagement party is one mishap away from going up in flames—until a sexy, free spirit whisks in from Paris and drags the party from the fire. She’s whimsical, wild, and oh so wrong, but her breezy, freestyle attitude makes her utterly irresistible. Tate’s halo slips. He takes a walk on the wild side. And discovers wrong has never felt so right.

With big plans on the horizon, Olivia’s laissez faire attitude toward men is a perfect pairing. She’s drawn to Tate’s wounded soul, and the protective warrior beneath his brooding mask intrigues her…right into bed. Olivia quickly realizes the possessive passion he brings to the bedroom is like nothing she’s ever experienced, and her feelings for Tate turns her take-it-or-leave-it style love life on its head.

With her return to Paris imminent and his grueling hockey season approaching, Olivia and Tate must face the possibility that they are destined to be nothing more than star-crossed lovers.

Review:
I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I have binge read a series (and by binge read, I mean, reading all the available books in the series within about a week and a half time), but I did just that with Skye Jordan’s Rough Rider’s Hockey series. I randomly grabbed the first book in the series from Kindle Unlimited when I was looking for something non-sci-fi (because I had been on a huge alien/sci-fi reading binge) and I had read a couple of her books before and decided what the heck. The first book was great for breaking up the monotony of my daily metro ride the work (yay DC metro that breaks down on a regular basis) and I quickly read the next two books in the series. Then to my great surprise, I received a review request from Skye to read the fourth book in the series (and I totally jumped on the opportunity).

While I loved all the books in the series, Wild Zone was probably the most emotional read for me. I’ll admit to not always being a fan of love (or lust) at first sight romance tropes, but for some reason, it worked for me in Wild Zone. I loved Tate and Olivia (Liv) from the first mistaken meeting to the roller-coaster of their relationship. But Wild Zone was so much more than just a romance – the family dynamics that existed within Liv’s family (between her, her sister and her mother) just made me so sad and frustrated at the same time. I spent a good portion of the book hating her mother (and that didn’t resolve itself with the end of the book) – even though I had an idea of what was going to happen with her family, I was praying that I was going to be wrong. But alas, I wasn’t…I debated actually throwing my kindle at one stage (but I didn’t because my precious 🙂 )

The quick blooming romance between Tate and Liv, even with all the drama from her family, hit my happy buttons. Especially, since having seen him in previous books and how he had been screwed over by his ex-wife…I just wanted him to find his HEA. They just played well of each other – you could tell that Liv needed to find her home again and while she hadn’t expected to find that with Tate, that was what he was to her. And seeing Tate’s interactions not only with his teammates, but with various kids throughout the story just gave me warm and fuzzies. Through-out this series, I’ve loved how Ms Jordan hasn’t shyed away from including children as supporting characters.

I gave Wild Zone a solid 4 stars and kind of hope that she’ll write some more books in this series – not only because it features my hometown(ish) of Washington DC, but just because I love her writing style for this series so much.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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Review – Worth the Risk – Jamie Beck

worth-the-riskWorth the Risk
Author: Jamie Beck
Series: #3 in the St James series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
When Jackson St. James decided that six weeks in Vermont’s Green Mountains would help him get his life together, he didn’t anticipate replacing his craving for whiskey with a craving for his alluring new landlord, Gabby. Now, instead of prioritizing his sobriety and the resolution of the lawsuit threatening his business, he’s making excuses to spend time with the spunky young landscaper whose candor is more than a little addictive.

Gabby Bouchard refuses to let her pill-popping mother and unreliable baby daddy turn her into a cynic, so she doesn’t fight her attraction to her enigmatic new tenant. Although Jackson’s smile rarely reaches his eyes, his generosity and dependability make her willing to overlook his demons. But once she convinces him to give in to temptation, Gabby’s jealous ex threatens to disrupt the life she has built for herself and her son.

With so much at stake, Gabby and Jackson must decide if love is worth the risk.

Review:
While Jamie Beck is a new to me author (on the reading front), I had previously come across her books in my recommendations on Amazon (I had just never quite jumped on the opportunity…which basically means, I’m an idiot!) – so when I was approached by a publicist to participate in a book tour for her new release, I jumped on the opportunity. Coincidently, my plan to read Worth the Risk, also fell on the same weekend as a planned 24 hour read-a-thon and knowing that I would likely need something compelling in the early hours of the morning, I held onto the book until then. And boy, it didn’t disappoint…I can safely say that it got me through the early hours of the morning (somewhere between 3 and 4am) when all I wanted to do was curl up and take a nap.

Its hard to decide where to begin in writing this review – from the total cover love that I had (I mean, I would love to live in a place with scenery like that) to the vivid descriptions of Vermont to the interactions between Gabby, Jackson, her father and her son…this book was just the whole package. As a reader, I enjoyed how the author tackled the topics of drug addiction and alcoholism – it made the characters seem more real because it showed how flawed people can be and still find love – rather than the need to be perfect. It just goes to show that sometimes love is worth the risk – what does it take to be willing to step off that cliff and fall in love with someone who may have a dark past, or potentially a dark future? the risk to stick your neck out after being hurt and to try again? every day of life is a risk – small or large and its the risk that we take that let’s us live the lives we that we do…but anyways, let’s get away from the philosophical musings…

Before I had even finished Worth the Risk, I had logged onto amazon and using my trusty Kindle Unlimited subscription – had borrowed the previous books in the St James series (now to find time to read them in the near future)…I also (as soon as it was a sane hour for facebooking people), told one of my friends that she needed to pick up a Jamie Beck book if she hadn’t already. So that is my advice to you – if you like contemporary romance with wit and humor, that is smexy without being too overboard – then Worth the Risk might be the book for you – but you can’t be afraid of darker, more honest themes.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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Review – Bookish – Olivia Long

bookishBookish
Author: Olivia Long
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
My name is Aubrey Britton. I was your every day average nerdy book blogger, obsessed with the hot guys on the covers but lusting from afar. I knew I’d never meet a guy like the ones in my books, with muscles like that, with eyes like that, with a mouth like that.

I knew I was destined to be an old maid, get a bunch of cats, work at a book store and live in my fantasy world until the day I died.
Hot, steamy sex was something reserved for the girls in my books, not a girl like me.
Until the day I literally fell for Isaac James, the hottest man to grace the cover of any romance novel.

And he wanted a girl like me.
And he had muscles like that.
And eyes like that.
And a mouth like that…and was a filthy talking sex god in the bedroom.

But we both had our secrets and we both had our guarded pasts. When all was revealed, would the nerdy book blogger get the guy?

Or was I destined to be alone forever?

Review:
One of the many things that I love about Goodreads are the friendships that I’ve made and the book recommendations that I get from them. Bookish is just one of those recommendations – it popped up in our August what are you reading thread in one of my romance groups and the mini-review by the member that posted caught my eye. Of course, seeing that it was also available via Kindle Unlimited helped (since I could borrow it as part of my subscription). Double bonus was that it fit into a reading challenge as I needed a book that featured a writer (including book bloggers) as a main character.

I’ll admit that there wasn’t anything in Bookish that blew me away writing or plot wise. In fact, I actually found how the story unfolded to be kind of predictable – there weren’t really any surprises in what happened (and at least to me, much of it was telegraphed through previous actions of the characters). Also, I have to admit that insta-love is one of my least favorite romance tropes.

But don’t get me wrong – just because I found the plot to be fairly predictable, didn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy Bookish and I found Ms Long’s writing to be fluid with few errors – just solid – which is this day and age I find to be a bonus. If you are looking for a cute, but predictable romance with an insta-love trope, then Bookish might be the book for you.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Opening Up – Lauren Dane

opening upOpening Up
Author: Lauren Dane
Series: #1 in the Ink & Chrome series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Sasha Dunbrooke
Audiobook Length: 9hrs, 55min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Hachette Audio

Description:
The men of the Twisted Steel custom motorcycle shop are great with their hands… and they’re not afraid to get dirty.

PJ is exactly the kind of woman Twisted Steel owner Asa Barrons doesn’t need. The last thing he wants to do is mix business with pleasure, and PJ has some of the best custom detailing he’s ever seen. But the chemistry between them won’t be denied, and soon he’s introducing her to a whole new world in the bedroom, pushing her far beyond anything she’s ever experienced. PJ finds she can’t get enough, but how far is too far before he consumes her completely?

Review:
I’ve lost track of how many Lauren Dane books i’ve read over the years, but in all that time, I’ve never actually listened to one (that actually surprises me because of the amount of audiobooks that i’ve listened to over the years). Typically, I know when I pick up a book of hers, i’ll be immediately sucked it – that it will be hot and steamy at times (and oh wow, was it!), that will likely be a quick read (mostly because once I start reading, I can’t stop!).

In Opening Up, we meet Asa Barrons, one of the owners of Twisted Steel – a custom car business – he is the kind of tough guy with a soft interior that Dane does really well as a character – he’s all tough and business, but that right woman, just makes him fall to his knees. And that right woman, is PJ…I’ll admit that having a woman go by her initials isn’t necessarily a common occurance, in real life or in books, but she countered Asa’s hardness in all the right ways. its hard for me to describe what I liked and didn’t like about PJ – I think for the most part it was how she continued to face shit (for lack of a better word) from her family (specifically her father) and yet, didn’t let that deter her from her dreams/wishes of doing custom paint work on cars (which is just perfect considering the business that Asa owns). she also wasn’t a dainty flower, as seems to be the common character in romance novels – she wasn’t a virgin and knew exactly what she wanted from men and in bed. While there were a few times that I wanted to scream in fustration about how her family treated her, I loved seeing PJ grow and overcome their objections and find her way towards Asa.

Sasha Dunbrooke is a new to me narrator, but i can guarantee it won’t be the last time that I listen to her. She managed to hit all my emotional buttons at various times during Opening Up – I both laughed and cried in several places, sucked into the storyline that I was. I was so glad that I had a substantial amount of time that I was out and running and errands because i got to essentially binge listen a good half of the book in the space of a couple of days, rather than just getting to listen in fits and starts. I honestly have no real complaints about Sasha’s narration – its hard to pick if there is anything that I disliked about her narration…she had a good range of voices for the various characters, her men sounded like men (and not like women with a really bad falsetto)…overall, just a solid and enjoyable listen.

Overall, I gave the book itself 3.5 stars and the narration 4 stars. Fans of Lauren Dane will enjoy Opening Up and I recommend to people who like hot, sexy romance with a bad boy and slightly bad girl.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2016 in Audiobook Review, Review

 

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Review – A Passion to Pursue – Kelsey Browning

a passion to pursueA Passion to Pursue
Author: Kelsey Browning
Series: #2 in the Prophecy of Love series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
What if a pair of cowboy boots could foretell true love?

For years, Texas girl Greer Maddox waited to inherit her legacy as the next prophecy bootmaker. But that day never came. Now, instead of living out her rightful destiny, she’s lost, restlessly jumping from one art project to the next.

Until the day leather tooler Alejandro Villanueva strolls into town looking like ten kinds of sexy trouble.

After surviving his dark and dangerous past, all Alex wants is a quiet future. Alone, where his former life and mistakes can’t hurt anyone else. Even casually screwing around with a girl next door like Greer–whose dulce de leche voice and curvy body make him sweat–is a bad idea. But when she gets involved in his attempts to win the Prophecy Boot Company’s tooling contract, waving adios is the last thing on his mind.

Their attraction flares hot and undeniable. He wants her, and even knowing he shouldn’t have her can’t stop him from indulging in the temptation she offers. But when his past comes calling, he is forced to choose between hiding from his sins, or saving the woman he loves.

Review:
When a book has characters saying things like “I think I just orgasmed a rainbow” you know that you are going to have an enjoyable and likely laughing out loud reading experience. And that is exactly what I got when I read A Passion to Pursue by one of my auto-buy authors, Kelsey Browning. I know instinctively when picking up a book by her that i’ll likely laugh, maybe cry and just find myself in a happy place.

A Passion to Pursue takes the reader back to Prophecy, Texas where the legend of the prophecy boot is part of the town’s identity. This time we get to know Greer at a deeper level (we had previously met her as she is Cal’s sister – Cal being the hero of the first book in the series). And then there is Alex (although his real name is Alejandro – which just kind of rolls off the tongue in a sexy kind of way)…the leather carver who is being considered by Prophecy Boot Company to come on board and carve the designs in the boots that would lead people to their soul-mates (or is it sole-mates) 😉 Kelsey created a character that had so many mysteries – why did he need the money that the Prophecy Boot Company would pay them? why does he have tattoo’s on half his body? Every time I thought I was beginning to understand him as a character, something else new was revealed.

I think the thing that drew me most to the story, aside from the holy hotness factor of the Greer/Alex romance, was seeing the struggle that Greer went through trying to find her place in the world. She had always been around people who knew what they were destined to be – Delaney being the Prophecy boot designer, Alex and his leather carving – but she never truly found her place in the world. Seeing her struggle with that in A Passion to Pursue made me thing about struggles that many people go through as they try to find their place – heck, i’m older than Greer is and at times, I still feel like I am trying to find my place in the world.

If you are looking for a spicy read, with a sexy tattooed artist with some serious life choice undertones, A Passion to Pursue might be the read for you. Of course, I do recommend reading the first book in the series if you want to get up to date on the series first. I gave 4 stars to A Passion to Pursue and intrigued to see where Kelsey takes the series next…she definately introduced a few characters in A Passion to Pursue who I would be interested to know more about.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2016 in Book Review, Review

 

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