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Review – Riptide – Skye Jordan

Riptide
Author: Skye Jordan
Series: #6 in the Renegades series

**Review Copy Provided by Author**

Description:
When pro surfer Zach Ellis isn’t traveling the world-wide competition circuit, he works as a Renegade stunt double for the hit TV series, Hawaiian Heat. After years of tangling with the ocean, his body has paid the price. So when he gets a shot at a star role on the show, Zach’s all in. He celebrates the career opportunity by taking a chance on a woman who’s not his usual island-girl type, only to discover he can’t bear to let her go.
 
Tessa Drake belongs mired in legislation battles in Washington DC, not standing on the sidelines of a filming set in Maui like a wannabe starlet. But even more important than her law career, Tessa needs Zach Ellis’s signature on legal papers. Papers that relinquish his parental rights so Tessa can adopt the girl who already calls her mommy. When she discovers Zach has slipped out of town before she makes contact, Tessa takes solace in the sexy star of Hawaiian Heat. A man whose warmth and dazzling grin makes her Mensa-level IQ vanish into thin air.
 
After an electrifying night together, Tessa is horrified to discover just who rocked her world. Zach is stunned to learn he’s a father. And both find themselves caught in a riptide pulling them in the opposite direction of their dreams.

Review:
I’ll admit, when I first got the email from the author asking if I would be interested in reviewing her newest Renegades book, I was a bit skeptical because I’ve been in a serious reading slump lately – I think I’ve had more 1-2 star reads in the last month than all of last year. But since I’ve pretty much wholly enjoyed all the previous books written by her – I figured what the heck and said, sure I would love to read it. And it did the trick to help pull me out of my slump!

Previous to this, I’d only read the first book in the Renegades series, but I will definitely be adding the other ones to the TBR pile (or borrowing via KU) in the near future. This was one of those books that just tugged at my heart-strings with the storyline (adoption, single mom) and add in the hot hunky stunt double (who was a former pro surfer – ummm yes please) for a solid romance that just made me all happy inside. Unlike many books I’ve read that feature children, where they kind of just stay off to the side, Ms Jordan made sure that Sophia was integral to the story – I laughed at some of the one-liners she came up – total gems that you would expect to hear from a 3/4 year old as well as the portrayal of the epic kid meltdowns (you know, when you just look at them wrong and the world implodes).

I also learnt a lot about legislative law (which I’d never really heard of before this) – aka, the lawyers that work with politicians to craft the bills that go before congress. I applaud the author for maintaining a very even keel POV on something that is often so fraught with emotions (never really demonizing any one group of people that play a role in the process). I always love when I learn new things from reading romance novels 🙂

I know that I’m looking forward to going back and reading the intervening books in the Renegades series, as well as more books by Syke Jordan in the future. A solid 4 star read and a recommendation for anyone who likes action driving contemporary romance.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Book Review

 

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Audiobook Review – The Baller – Vi Keeland

audie-nominee-erotica

the-baller The Baller
Author: Vi Keeland
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrators: Mackenzie Cartwright, Sean Crisden
Audiobook Publisher: Tantor Audio
Run Time: 8hrs 49min
Audiobook Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Description:
The first time I met Brody Easton was in the men’s locker room. It was my first interview as a professional sportscaster. The famed quarterback decided to bare all. And by all, I don’t mean he told me any of his secrets. No. The arrogant ass decided to drop his towel just as I asked the first question. On camera.
The Super Bowl MVP quickly adopted a new hobby: screwing with me. When I pushed back, he shifted from wanting to screw with me to wanting to screw me. But I don’t date players. And it’s not because I’m one of the few women working in the world of professional football. I’d date an athlete. It’s the other kind of player I don’t date. You know the type. Good looking, strong, cocky, always looking to get laid.
Brody Easton was the ultimate player. Every woman wanted to be the one to change him. But the truth was, all he needed was a girl worth changing for. Turned out I was that girl. Simple, right? Let’s face it. It never is.
There’s a story between once upon a time and happily ever after…and this one is ours.

Review:
Sometimes I feel like i’m uber far behind in current hot authors that friends are reading – and Vi Keeland is just one of those authors who I had heard a lot about and never read – so when one of her books was nominated for an Audiobook Audie in the Erotica category, I figured it was time that I checked her out. Although asking several of my goodreads friends told me that The Baller possible wasn’t the best of her books to be my first one – but I have to say it honestly wasn’t horrible – I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. the romance between Brody and Delilah was hawt – but I could have done without the addition of Brody’s ex – I honestly just felt like that didn’t add anything other than un-needed angst to the story that was actually pretty solid in the romance department (although I will debate whether its actually erotica, but that is a story for another day).

This was my first time listening to Mackenzie Cartwright but not my first time listening to Sean Crisden. I will say that I really enjoyed Mackenzie’s narration – I found her range of voices to be solid and even the portions where she narrated as a male was enjoyable. The pacing of her narration felt natural (meaning I didn’t feel like I needed to speed up or slow down the narration to enjoy it). Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Sean Crisden (although I have listened to other stuff by him before). While I enjoyed the portions where he was narrating as Brody (or other male characters) – I wasn’t a fan of his female voices – in fact they actually made me cringe at times. His female narration was one of the reasons for my 3.5 stars for this audiobook – I just personally, I couldn’t get past them.

I’ve been a fan of Tantor Media’s audiobooks for years and enjoy their continued high quality audiobook productions. I know when I listen to a book done by them, that it will be solid with no issues. Overall, I gave The Baller – 3.5 stars for the book and the narration and 4 stars for the audiobook production.

 

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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 – These Battered Hands – Laurel Ulen Curtis

these battered handsThese Battered Hands
Author: Laurel Ulen Curtis
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Callie
Blood, sweat, hard work, and a disconcerting lack of tears—my entire life—was meant to culminate in a flourish of glory and significance.
I’d thought I’d always known exactly what that meant.
But I’d had the timing wrong by about three minutes.
I knew now.
This moment wasn’t everything. The one person I found myself wanting more than anything during it was.
Nik
One preconceived notion can haunt you for the entirety of your life.
I thought I owed it to myself and to everyone who’d ever backed me to do what was expected. What was right. What I was supposed to do.
But nothing is forbidden in love. Not circumstances or propriety or the denial of the object of said affection.
I knew now.
This was it.
If I wanted it, I had to take it.

This gymnastics love story is more than grips, rips, and battered hands.
For Calia Nickleson and Nikolai Bagrov, it was everything.

Review:
Its really hard to say what exactly caught my eye about These Battered Hands, but there was something in the book description that just screamed read me and I am glad that I did. These was something so raw about Ms Curtis’ writing style that I just found myself sucked it and didn’t want to leave the world that she had created. I’ll admit that I know next to nothing about gymnastics, aside from the fact that I watch it during the Olympics and gaze in awe at what these men and women can do (I tried gymnastics growing up, and let’s just say it wasn’t all that successful…lol). But even I could tell that the author was well-versed in the world of gymnastics – she was able to easily fuse the different technical explanations for routines into the story, in a way that made it educational and yet fun to read. I actually felt like i learned quite a bit which could make watching the 2016 Olympics all the more entertaining next year 😉

I liked how the romance between Callie and Nik developed – it wasn’t a wham bam type one, but rather a severe dislike (at least Callie’s side) and a desire to help her (on Nik’s side) and it just happened. I also enjoyed how the author didn’t have to rely on the sexual scenes the move the story forward – they were there, but it just felt natural – there wasn’t too much or too little (if that makes sense?). And while there were definately a few angsty spots towards the end, it wasn’t the totally manufactured type angst that is so often used, but rather a potentially naturally occurring incident used to provide some angst/tension, as well as moving the story towards its ultimate conclusion. I will admit that I wasn’t a fan of Callie’s dad (in fact he was a manipulative bastards), but then, as a reader i wasn’t supposed to be – although I could see why he did some of the things that he did – i just didn’t agree with them…at all!

One of the things I found really cool with the authors writing style was how the words from the end of each chapter and the start of the new chapter merged together and yet each one was from a different POV (the story alternated chapters between Callie and Nik). It was definitely a writing technique that I had never really noticed before in books, but it made the flow between the 2 POV’s much smoother and less choppy. The symbology of Callie’s battered hands from being a gymnast, the power in them was something that i kind of felt awe over – we take our hands for granted every day, so to hear them described in this way throughout the book just make it all the more poignant.

This was the first book i’ve read by Laurel Ulen Curtis, but it wasn’t be the last, in fact, I hope to check out some more of hers in the near future. I gave These Battered Hands 4 stars and definately recommend for people looking for a solid, fairly non-angsty sports-based (since I count gymnastics as a sport) romance.

LaurelUlenCurtissmallerAbout Laurel:
Laurel Ulen Curtis is a 28 year old mother of one. She lives with her husband and son (and cat!) in New Jersey, but grew up all over the United States. She graduated from Rutgers University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology, and puts that to almost no use other than forecasting for her friends and writing a storm chasing heroine! She has a passion for her family, laughing, and reading and writing Romance novels. She’s also addicted to Coke. The drink, not the drug.

Laurel’s Social Media:
http://www.facebook.com/laurelulencurtis
http://Laurelulencurtis.blogspot.com
http://www.twitter.com/LUCurtisAuthor
http://www.pinterest.com/Laurelcurtis/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6912103.Laurel_Ulen_Curtis
http://instagram.com/lucurtisauthor/

Buy Links:

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – The Risk – Skye Jordan

the riskThe Risk
Author: Skye Jordan
Series: #1 in the Xtreme Heros series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Former Olympian turned physical therapist to the elite Julia Bailey knows all about pushing the limits. But when a sexual harassment suit costs her a dream job—not to mention her reputation—she takes on the biggest risk of her life. Rehabilitating the X Games’ most notorious bad boy might be just what she needs to secure the funds for her own treatment center. Problem is, the only kind of recovery her new client is interested in is under-the-covers freestyle—gear optional.

Daredevil snowboarder Noah Hunt is a rock star—on and off the slopes. A recent accident might have him down, but he’s far from out. He doesn’t care what the sexy therapist with the sweet curves says. He’s got sponsors to impress and trophies to collect, and taking things slow and steady just ain’t his style. A little dirty talk and a sizzling night later, Julia learns just how fast and hard he likes to play. Too bad for him, his heart goes all in, and one wrong move could cost him more than just his career.

Review:
Skye Jordan is a name that I have heard thrown around both groups on Goodreads and on Amazon as a author I should try, but as seems to be the case, I have a book of hers sitting on the pile, but not yet gotten around to reading. So when the opportunity arose to review her newest book as part of the launch blog tour I was intrigued enough by the description and by the cover (I mean, seriously, have you SEEN the cover?!?!) that I knew I wanted to try it and for the most part I wasn’t disappointed.

From the get-go you could tell how much research the author had done not only into the world of snowboarding (which I know very little about), but also physical therapy (while never having busted my ankle, some of the techniques described have been used on me during various periods of recovery from other sports injuries). It added a sense of realism to the story – although I will admit that you could tell some of the process had been speed-up to fit with the storyline. However, from the description, I kind of expected more about the issues Julia had prior to working with Noah, but they were fairly hidden away/downplayed in the story – which was a bit of a let-down (I always figure if something is important enough to be featured prominently in the blurb, then why not include it more in the storyline…otherwise, it just feels as though it was added for angst and not really conducive to the story).

I liked the whole development between Noah and Julia as a relationship in general – but then I’m a sucker for doctor/patient and other healthcare themed romances. It very vaguely reminded me of an old school Sandra Brown (Adam’s Fall) but with the physical therapist being a former athlete. The romance between Noah and Julia felt hot and yet sweet at the same time – I actually like how she tortured him a bit before giving in and how she was willing to fight people who said “i’m the specialist that’s why” when it came to his health. My least favorite part of their romance was the random thoughts that Noah had towards the end that felt a bit 50shades-ish – it didn’t add to the story at all, and honestly felt like it was just added in as a shock factor. It was because of that, that I actually lowered my rating from 4 stars, down to 3.5 – it just felt unnecessary/didn’t work for me (don’t get me wrong, I read erotic romance regularly, but in this instance, it just wasn’t needed (IMHO).

Overall, I enjoyed the Risk – the romance was for the most part really well done and Ms Jordan did a good job developing the sexual tension between Noah and Julia. I will be curious to see where she takes the series with future books and I know that I will be moving other books that I have by her up my to-read pile.

Buy Links:
Amazon – The Risk (Xtreme Heroes 1)
Barnes and Noble – The Risk
Apple – The Risk
Kobo – The Risk

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – Just for You – Rosalind James

just for youJust for You
Author: Rosalind James
Series: #.5 in the Escape to New Zealand series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ 1/2

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
No shirt, no shoes, no … problems?

Hemi Ranapia isn’t looking for love. Fun, yes. Love, not so much. But a summer fishing holiday to laid-back Russell could turn out to be more adventure than this good-time boy ever bargained for.

Reka Harata hasn’t forgotten the disastrously hot rugby star she met a year ago, no matter how much she wishes she could. Too bad Hemi keeps refusing to be left in her past.

Sometimes, especially in New Zealand’s Maori Northland, it really does take a village. And sometimes it just takes a little faith.

Review:
If you are new to Rosalind James or have previously read her books, Just for You works for everyone. Notionally, a prequel to her Escape to New Zealand series, it focuses on Hemi and Reka who are pivotal secondary characters through the other 5 books in the series. So if you have read the series, like me, you are probably looking forward to their story and if you are new to the series, then it is a great place to start.

Just for You was originally a novella that showed up in one of the Amazon box sets, but the author re-released it as a single title a few months after. So it was also a short read, but I will say that the author managed to put a lot of detail and story into a 33k words. This book, much more than previous ones, really highlighted how much the author knows about rugby – at times I felt like I was actually watching the game.

My biggest gripe was the “big misunderstanding” which is personally one of my least favorite tropes in romance. It just bugs me because most of the time, it could be cleared up with a couple of simple questions. While I liked Reka in previous books, this just kind of irked me – maybe because it wasn’t how I thought she’d act based on previous characterization.

Aside from that, my only other complaint is that I wished it was a little bit longer – I really liked Hemi/Reka as a couple and would love to see more of them as they settled into their lives together. I guess all I can hope is that the author will continue to feature them in more books. Overall, I gave Just for You 3.5 stars and look forward to continuing the series.

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2014 in Book Review, Review

 

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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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