Friday, May 29, 2015

Delivered Fast by Annabeth Albert

Title: Delivered Fast
Author: Annabeth Albert
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Portland Heat #3
Main Characters: Chris and Lance
Release Date: May 2015
Publisher: Lyrical
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Portland, Oregon, aka Hotlandia, where the coffee shops, restaurants, and bakeries are ready to serve everything piping hot, fresh, and ready to go—like the hard-working, hard-bodied men behind the counters—with no reservations…

Sure, Chris O’Neal has problems. His restaurant is still co-owned by his ex. His flannel-and-tattoos style is making him accidentally trendy. He can’t remember the last time he went out and had fun. But he’s not lonely, he’s driven. And the hot bakery delivery boy is not his problem, no matter how sweet his buns.

Chris is old enough to know Lance Degrassi’s sculpted good looks and clever double entendres spell nothing but trouble. Lance is still in college—he should be hitting the clubs and the books, chasing guys his own age, not pursuing some gruff motorcycle-riding workaholic. Especially when he’ll be leaving for grad school in a few months. But Lance keeps hanging around, lending a hand, charming Chris to distraction. Maybe some steaming hot no-strings indulgence won’t hurt.

Then again, maybe it will…

My Review:
I've read and enjoyed this entire series, but this book was without a doubt my favorite of the trilogy. And note...this is a trilogy, but besides a passing mention of the previous characters, they are COMPLETELY stand alone. You will never know the difference if you haven't read the others so I say read the ones that appeal to you the most. (Although, like I said, they were all worth reading.)

But this book...wow, I really, really liked it. Lance and Chris have a May/December relationship. Chris is 35. Lance is 22. That is something that Chris is NOT comfortable with. He knows that this with Lance is temporary and that soon Lance will come to his senses and realize that he needs someone more. Regardless, Lance is going to graduate school in California in just a few months, so this is temporary. No getting attached allowed...no matter how perfect the two seem like they are together. 

The entire book is told from Chris's point of view and he's just so sure that they can't work long-term. It's never even an option to him. He gave up his dreams for a guy he loved. He refuses to let Lance do the same. Chris refuses to even consider that they might have a permanent, long-lasting thing between them. He cares too much to let Lance give up his dreams.

Seriously, this book is so good. Lance has agreed to the rules set out by Chris that this is casual, but it's so obvious that Lance's feelings are so much deeper. And Chris simply refuses to consider any other option. This has to be casual. There are too many differences between them for it to be anything more. That age difference is a HUGE hangup for Chris, despite the fact that Lance is so much mature than his age. Lance knows what he wants and I loved his character for that. 

I went to a writing workshop once that talked about the fact that a romance novel should not be able to stand on it's own without the sex scenes. While that's easy to say, it's not so easy to implement. In fact, I can honestly say that this is one of the best examples I've ever read of this happening. There is a lot of sex in this book, but every single sex scene had a HUGE IMPACT on the characters and their emotional well-being. It was such a gorgeous and emotional thing and HUGE KUDOS to Annabeth Albert for her ability to write this book in such a manner. 

I did truly love this book. I could understand Chris's reticence about the relationship, but LOVED how Lance eventually stood up for what he wanted and fought for it. I enjoyed the influence of Chris's fish and how they played into the story. I liked the coffee shop and watching Chris work that very demanding schedule. It was simply a really good book and I highly recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Brokedown Cowboy by Maisey Yates


Title: Brokedown Cowboy
Author: Maisey Yates
My Rating:B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Copper Ridge #2
Main Characters: Connor and Liss
Release Date: May 2015
Publisher:  Harlequin
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
There are lines best friends shouldn't cross, but in Copper Ridge, Oregon, the temptation might be too much…

If practice makes perfect, Connor Garrett should be world champion of being alone. Since losing his wife he's concentrated exclusively on his family's ranch. Until his dear friend Felicity Foster needs a place to stay and Connor invites her to move in temporarily. That's what friends do—and Liss is his rock. What friends don't do? Suddenly start fantasizing about each other in their underwear. Or out of it…

Since high school, Liss has kept her raging crush in check. Another few weeks should be a breeze. But helping Connor rebuild his life only reinforces how much she longs to be a part of it. One explosive encounter, and she'll discover that getting what you always wanted can feel better than you ever dreamed…
 

My Review:
It's been three years since Connor's wife, and Liss's best friend, died suddenly in a car accident. Since then, Liss has been Connor's anchor. She's his best friend and his support system. She fills his refrigerator and keeps him functioning at least on a minimum level between bouts of drunkenness. Connor is very much only living a half life. 

Lisa's last boyfriend left her with a load of debt and bad credit. It's inconvenient, but she's surviving until her landlord decides to sell her home. With her credit, she doesn't qualify for renting another place so she ends up moving in with Connor as a temporary solution. She's already there every day to help him out, so now she's just sleeping there too. But when Connor finds her lime green thong in the laundry basket, suddenly he's seeing Liss as a woman, not just his best bud.

I do like a good friends to lovers story. This is a good one just because the progression of the development of the relationship feels so natural. Unfortunately, Liss has been in love with Connor ever since they were teenagers, so she's excited that she finally has permission to act on those feelings. For Connor, things are much more complex. He doesn't want another relationship...ever again. He doesn't feel like he was a good husband and never wants to go to that place of horrific pain again. 

While my heart broke for him, it also hurt for Liss. She loves him so much and despite his obvious feelings, he just isn't willing to give her a real chance. It's painful to read. Although I do have to admire how far Liss was willing to go to give him a chance, but she also had the strength to realize when she had had enough and needed to stand up for herself. I loved that about her.

I enjoyed the set-up with this tight group of friends. I also really liked the whole setup of the story. The backstory for Connor is horribly tragic, but it sets up so well for him to have a second beginning and chance at life. It was well-written and very entertaining. I'll definitely read from this author again.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cover Reveal: Exposing the Heiress by Jennifer Apodaca

ExposingtheHeiress


Exposing the Heiress by Jennifer Apodaca
Release date: 8/4/15
About the book:
  This Marine will protect her at all costs… When wealthy heiress Alyssa Brooks finds out her stepfather has been paying her fiancĂ© to marry her, she's humiliated and betrayed. She quickly breaks the engagement, only to be blackmailed by her now ex-fiancĂ©, who threatens both Alyssa and the son she gave up for adoption. With nowhere to go, she turns to the one man she can trust.   Former Marine sniper Hunter Reece's lethal skills could save Alyssa's life. But his little sister's best friend has turned into a woman, who is an irresistible mix of secrets and sexiness. And while Hunter can trust himself to protect her, he can't trust himself to keep his attraction hidden...or even pretend to be the man that Alyssa remembers. Because the only way to keep the lovely heiress safe is to become the one thing he knows she could never love...a killer.


About Jennifer:
 Award winning author Jennifer Apodaca grew up in Southern California and met her very own hero at the dog pound. She worked there, he came in on business, and it was puppy love. They married and had three wonderful sons. While her husband worked on his master’s degree, Jen did the mom thing by day and went to college at night with the intention of pursuing a marketing degree. But her true passion was writing. With time at a premium, she had to make a choice. Choosing writing, and with the full support of her husband, she poured herself into her dream. A mere eight years later, she published her first book DATING CAN BE MURDER. In her career, Jen has written a fun and sexy mystery series and a variety of contemporary romances. Taking the pen name of Jennifer Lyon, she also created a dark, sizzling paranormal series, and most recently, The Plus One Chronicles, an emotional and sexy adult contemporary series. Jen has achieved many of her dreams except for attaining a self-cleaning house, a latte delivery service, and finding the holy grail of nonfattening wine and chocolate. She can live with those disappointments as long as she can keep writing the stories she loves to share with readers.






Back To You by Lauren Dane

Title: Back To You
Author: Lauren Dane
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Hurley Boys #3
Main Characters: Kelly and Vaughan
Release Date: May 2015
Publisher:  Harlequin
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot



Story Overview:
Former model Kelly Hurley has finally put the ashes of the past behind her. After a passionate but turbulent marriage to rock star Vaughan Hurley that ended in heartbreak and divorce, Kelly rebuilt her life in Portland, where she settled so their two young daughters could be close to their father. Just not so close Kelly couldn’t truly make her own way without interference from the man who shattered her heart. Now Kelly’s finally ready to move on, and she’s planning to marry another man.

But not if Vaughan has anything to say about it.

Vaughan knows he was a fool all those years ago. A young, selfish—and prideful—fool. Even as he buried himself in the fast, decadent rock star lifestyle, he could never drown out the memory of Kelly’s beauty and love. Or the sweet, searing heat whenever they touched. For years, he’s had to deal with the pain of seeing her only because of their daughters, but it was never enough. Now Vaughan must prove that he’s the only man Kelly needs, before he loses her for good. And there’s only one way to do it….

My Review:
There aren't too many second chance love stories out there, but when I read one, it seems like I always like them. This was a good one.

Vaughan and Kelly divorced eight years before, not because they weren't still in love, but because they were too immature to be married. Vaughan especially, living the life of a rock star, couldn't handle the commitment that a wife and kids entailed. 

But even with getting divorced, Kelly has sacrificed a lot to keep Vaughan in her kids' lives. She was a highly successful model, and left NYC so her kids would be near Vaughan's family ranch. Something that was so much more of a sacrifice than it should have been because they've never treated her well or respected her. But she knows they love Vaughan and the girls and she never had a decent family life growing up. She knows her girls need that even if it's painful for her. I loved her so much for that sacrifice. Talk about an amazing heroine. 

I also really loved Kelly overall. She doesn't let Vaughan get away with crap...constantly calling him out when he doesn't handle things the way he should. I love that she kept him on his toes and made him earn the right to be back. He devastated her and she has learned her lesson with him, even though it is difficult for her to stick to her resolve when he's so sweet and sexy and she still loves him. Kelly had an awful childhood and continues to have a horrific mother. That left scars on her psyche, but this is one strong woman. She works so hard so that her girls will have a solid role model. She doesn't want them to grow up obsessed by body image like she did. She knows she has issues, but she works extra hard to keep those from influencing her girls adversely. Her girls are her number one priority, above ALL else, and that was amazing about this book and this character. Seriously, Kelly was the PERFECT heroine!

This was a great book. I loved the setup of the story and thought that it all was very believable. A rock star and a model...it sounds like one of those that would be way over the top and hard to relate to, but for most of the book they are in their small town or on the ranch so it feels like a normal life, even though they are huge stars each. I thought the wake-up call for Vaughan was believable and thought he showed great growth over the course of the story. 

I definitely recommend this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Searching for Beautiful by Jennifer Probst

Title: Searching for Beautiful
Author: Jennifer Probst
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Searching For #3
Main Characters: Gen and Wolfe
Release Date: May 2015
Publisher:  Gallery Books
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
The highly anticipated third novel in the Searching For series from Jennifer Probst, “one of the most exciting breakout novelists” (USA Today), featuring a runaway bride and the man who wants to be more than just her best friend...

Genevieve MacKenzie has her life completely under control. About to wed the charming Chief doctor at the local hospital, she’s an up-and-coming surgeon with everything she could ever want. Until an escape through the church window on the day of her wedding sends her life into a tailspin...and flings her right into her best friend’s arms.

When Wolfe catches his best friend falling out a window on her wedding day, he doesn’t ask questions. He whisks her away, determined to watch over her and discover the truth behind her desperate escape. But when his feelings turn more than platonic, he realizes he may risk his most important relationship in order to protect his damaged heart, and the woman he loves.


Can Genevieve and Wolfe’s friendship turn into something deeper—or is it already too late for true love? 

My Review:
I ADORE a good friends to lovers book and Jennifer Probst nailed the trope with this book. 

Everything about this book was good. Gen is super-intelligent, on her way to becoming a surgeon. But even the most intelligent people can fall under the spell of manipulation. Luckily, she realized her mistake on the cusp of her wedding and Wolfe was there to sweep her away. 

But Wolfe's character broke my heart. Wow, this is one wounded guy who knows that he will never be whole enough to offer anyone a serious relationship...even his best friend who he loves more than anything. The flashbacks were such an added bonus to this story. Many times, flashbacks feel like a distraction, but the author added these in just the perfect amount and manner, so they just added to the story and to the heartbreaking facts of Wolfe's childhood. 

Love, love, LOVE the way this story set up. There was so much emotion and angst and conflict, but never at doubt was the love between Wolfe and Gen. They are bigger than the romance brewing between them. They've been close friends for a long time and that translates into a gorgeous romance, even when they (especially Wolfe) are fighting the emotions. 

I loved how Gen fought for him, for them. She was seriously an amazing heroine, which is a sign of great writing considering that she started out in an abusive relationship where she was being manipulated, which on the surface shows weakness. She was NOT a weak character...at all. And I love the way the author wrote that.

I'll be honest. I've loved this entire series from the very beginning, but with each book, it just gets better and better. I loved the added suspense that the ex-fiance added to the story line. And I liked the end where they went back to that original spell and spell book. There wasn't as much of the matchmaking office in this book as there has been in the others and I did miss that, but everything else was so freaking good, I can forgive that. I even liked the conflict between Wolfe and Gem's father, because that felt so real. I have to admit, I'm curious about Gem's twin sister...I'm really hoping we see more of her in a future book. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Lonely Shore by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen

Title: Lonely Shore
Author: Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen
My Rating: A+

Genre: Sci Fi Romance (m/m)
Series: Chaos Station #2
Main Characters: Zed and Felix
Release Date: May 2015
Publisher: Carina Press
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Book two of Chaos Station

All they can do is live day to day...


Felix Ingesson has returned to his duties as the Chaos's engineer with Zander Anatolius, his ex-boyfriend-turned-broken-super-soldier, at his side. Hope means something again. But there's nothing Felix can do to battle the alien poison flowing through Zander's veins, or his imminent mental decline. With each passing day, the side effects of Zander’s experimental training are becoming more difficult to ignore.

When the ruthless Agrius Cartel seeks their revenge—including an ambush and an attempt to kidnap the Chaos’s crew—Zander is pushed over the edge. He can no longer hide his symptoms, nor does he want to. But hurting Felix when he’s not in control of himself is Zander’s worst nightmare—when it nearly happens, he agrees to seek help. Even if that means trusting the unknown.  

As Zander places his life in alien hands, Felix appoints himself his lover’s keeper. And though he tries to be strong, he can’t ignore the fact that he might lose Zander…forever this time.


My Review:

When a book moves me to tears, that's always a sign that it's a really good book. And while I do cry every once in a while in books, there are only a handful that I can say reduced me to a sobbing, ugly crying mess. This is one of those books.

This is the second book in a series of five. The first book was, Chaos Station. While I think you could read these books as stand-alones, I don't think you should. The series follows the lives of one couple...Zed and Felix. Both of these guys are very broken characters. They were lovers 9 years before, but then the war separated them and Zed thought Felix had died. He states it very clearly in this book...he lost his heart at that point. *sob* But now they've found their way back to one another and have a second chance, EXCEPT...

While as a soldier, Zed agreed to a last ditch experimental technique to turn him to a super-soldier. Humans were about to lose the war, so he and his team did what they had to and saved humanity from the evil Stin. But now that Stin poison is killing him. His brain is slowly deteriorating and he's literally dying. But it's a slow thing and so freaking painful...for him, for Felix, and for the crew which are all watching him deteriorate...entirely too quickly. 

This book is so painful. These two guys have lost out on the last NINE years together. To have this debilitating blow so soon after finding one another is soul-crushing. It's so not fair. And the thing is Zed isn't sick. He just disappears becoming virtually catatonic for longer and longer periods, which is then followed by a horrible migraine. I can't imagine anything more painful than watching your lover decline like this. 

There is a continuing sub-story with the Agrius cartel that began in the first book, but that story definitely is just playing out in the background as the crew focus on Zed's issues. 

Huge, HUGE kudos to these two authors for the writing in this book. It was brilliant the way they showed both Zed and Felix's pain and trauma over it all. Everything about the book is so real and you are right there with the characters going through their emotional trauma with them. I definitely felt like I'd gone through the wringer after I finished reading it. A book hangover is guaranteed with this one. 

And the emotions don't stop with just Zed and Felix. The Chaos space ship carries a crew of five and they are all amazing characters. I continue to adore Qek and her really interesting and creative alien culture. I also continue to be fascinated by Zed's brother Brennan....I want more of him on the page...SOON!!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Note...here is the list of other books that have left me a sobbing mess:
1. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
2. Night Blade by J.C. Daniels
3. This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak
4. The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski
And now this one...
5. Lonely Shore by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen



Promo Post: Torque by Shauna Allen

Release day for Torque by Shauna Allen!

It's here! Torque, Shauna Allen's newest novel in her Jack ‘Em Up series is now available for purchase!


Genre: Contemporary Romance




Torque blurb:

The darkness that fills him . . . the pain . . . they call to me.
I see so much more than his crime, his past, his demons.
I see the promise . . . the man who fills all the empty spaces inside me.
I’m not the perfect, untouchable girl he thinks I am. I’m just dirty enough to take what I want.
Him.
~
I could never deserve her.
She is the light . . . the sun, the moon, a billion stars.
She gives me hope.
But hope is a dangerous thing for a criminal like me.
I am hopeless.
Infinitely flawed.
Tainted.
We are more than opposites.
We are the dangerously perfect collision of dark and light and pain.



Available now!

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Excerpt:

Did she honestly have no idea how close I was to saying ‘fuck it’ and throwing her down on her dining room table to taste her for the first time?

“Jesse . . .”

I waited, not sure I trusted myself to speak. I may be well read and reasonably intelligent, but right now I was practically drunk and stupid on her scent.

“What’s going on here, Jesse?” Her voice was rough and whisper soft.

Tread carefully, man. “Nothing. You’re hiring me to fix your bike—”

“That’s not what I meant and you know it.”
I sighed and ran a hand through my hair. “I know.”

“And?”

I met her fierce gaze. “And I’m a felon, Rachel.” I would not voice the rest. Never. That was enough.

“So? You served your sentence.”

Ha. “I’m on parole for the next year. I’m not a normal guy who can just . . .”

“Just what? Spit it out, Joyner!”

That fine tether of control snapped deep inside me. Without another thought, I prowled toward her, intent on showing her just how she needed to stay away from me.

Her eyes widened, and with each step I took in her direction, she backed up one until I had her against the wall, our chests mere inches from each other. I brushed a wayward curl from her face, where it stuck to her lip.

Her eyes stayed pinned to mine. Wide, observant, but not scared. “Say it,” she pleaded.
“I can’t want you like this, Rachel. You need to stay away from me. I’m no good for you.”
Her breath heaved in and out, making her chest brush mine, as we stared each other down.

Seconds ticked by. She licked her lips. I thought I’d implode.

“Why don’t you let me decide what’s good for me?”

Then she tugged my head down and her mouth was on mine. Her tongue brushed my lips and I couldn’t help my moan as I gave myself over to her completely. It was my first taste of paradise. Dark and sweet and dangerously perfect.

***



Shauna grew up an only child with two open and loving parents in Central Texas. She’s married to her high school sweetheart and is the mother to three awesome teenagers, including one she’s about to send off to the Air Force. She is the award-winning author of the Cupid Chronicles series, including Charlie’s Angel and Cupid’s Last Stand. Shauna also writes emotional Contemporary YA novels as SC Montgomery, works as a freelance editor, and is personal assistant to two NYT Bestselling authors. She loves all things sexy, sassy, and Gerard Butler.

Shauna would love for you to visit her at her website and blog at: www.shaunaallen.com





You can also sign up for all the latest Shauna Allen news with her Angel Kisses Newsletter here! http://eepurl.com/D_RcP

And please learn more about her YA alter-ego at: www.scmontgomery.com

***

Praise for Shauna Allen’s Crank:

Shauna gives you believable characters that you will fall in love with, she has wonderful supporting characters with feeling that you feel throughout the read. She gives you a wonderful compelling story that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
Cyn’s Reviews

What an AWESOME book! Shauna writes with such emotion that will make you laugh and cry.
Gail, a Goodreads Reviewer

AMAZING - there is no other word for this book and series!!! Torque has so much emotion in it - you laugh, cry and cheer.
Nancy, a Goodreads Reviewer

Shauna Allen is a master of grabbing your heartstrings from the very first page and not letting go until the end.
Anna, a Goodreads Reviewer