Tuesday, August 21, 2018

All The Way by Kristen Proby

Title: All the Way
Author: Kristen Proby
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Romancing Manhattan #1
Main Characters: Finn and London
Release Date: August 2018
Publisher: HarperCollins 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new Romancing Manhattan series, three brothers get more than they bargain for as they practice law, balance life, and navigate love in and around New York City.

Finn Cavanaugh is known for being a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom. He owns a successful law firm with his brother and brother-in-law in Manhattan. On the rare occasion that he has down time, he spends it at his home in Martha’s Vineyard. But when Finn’s troubled niece goes to stay with him for the summer in Martha’s Vineyard, he’s reluctant to take time off from work. That is, until he meets his beautiful new neighbor, London.

London Watson is a Tony Award winning actress on Broadway. When tragedy strikes her family, leaving her alone and injured, she flees Manhattan for Martha’s Vineyard. Hoping she can figure out how to pick up the pieces of her life, London is convinced that she’ll never be able to return to the stage. But when she meets the charming young girl next door and her sexy uncle, they soon lure London out of her shell as she finally begins to heal from the wounds of her past.

But when London feels confident enough to return to the spotlight, she’s dealt another devastating blow. Will the newfound love between London and Finn be enough to conquer all? Or will it be over before it has a chance to grow…?

My Review:
Yay...I loved this first installment to this new series! This book started off with London after she'd been hurt which made me immediately fall in love with her and this awful circumstance she finds herself in. Overall, the book just got better from there. 

I loved Finn and London. I loved our introduction to Finn and how London put him in his place. In fact, she spends pretty much the whole book doing that with him. I LOVED that about her. She's seriously strong. And I loved the two of them together...so much. 

I did have one issue with the book. Finn is supposed to be a smart guy, but he's really pretty stupid when it comes to "handling" her. The issues at the end just seemed contrived, because the guy is NOT that dumb...really! But other than that, the book was completely engrossing and entertaining. 

London has a lot of issues, but Finn is good for her. I enjoyed them together. I also really liked the complexities of London's career and the issues she has there after her injury. 

I felt so badly for London. After losing her parents, it's awful that her brother is in such a bad place that she can't be in touch with him. He's toxic.

This book started off the series in a place that I loved. And I'm ready for more. Finn owns a Manhattan law firm with his brother and brother-in-law, who I assume will be the heroes in the next two books. I can't wait. This started off good.

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

Good Time Cowboy by Maisey Yates

Title: Good Time Cowboy
Author: Maisey Yates
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Gold Valley #3
Main Characters: Lindy and Wyatt
Release Date: August 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
In Gold Valley, Oregon, forbidden desire just might turn into the love of a lifetime…

When Lindy Parker lost her cheating husband, she gained a vineyard. She’ll do anything for Grassroots Winery, including teaming up with the hottest devil she knows, rancher Wyatt Dodge. Wyatt is her ex’s friend and has an ego as big as the bulls he rides. But in spite of that, disciplined Lindy has always wanted him…
Lightning struck Wyatt Dodge the first time he saw Lindy Parker. But there were two problems with that: she was married to his friend, and Wyatt doesn’t do strings. But now Lindy is free, and the two of them can finally explore the heat that’s burned between them for so long. But can Lindy make this good time cowboy decide on forever? 
My Review:
Enemies to lovers...at least that's what this book seems like on the surface, but these two MC's have been fighting more than each other for a long time...and that little twist added so much to this story. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to watch these two work toward their HEA. 

So far, I've enjoyed this entire series, but I think that Wyatt and Lindy have been my favorite couple so far. I like the partnership they've formed although neither one is sure about working with the other. My heart hurt for Lindy in just how worried she is about other people's vision of her. She's been hurt so much over the years and is still so strong in the face of adversity. I LOVED where she ended up with her ex, and liked that she was so strong that even he couldn't fault her for what she's earned. 

I wanted to kick Wyatt a few times. He's just so dang stubborn, but like how he truly begins to see Lindy. I hated the secrets he's keeping from his brothers and wanted him to tell off his father in the worst way. He's also been through so much and it's frustrating to see everyone including his brothers talk down to him when he's trying so hard. 

Like I said, I really liked this one. The chemistry between the two was fantastic. I liked watching their relationship evolve and grow as they began to truly get to know one another. 

I definitely recommend this one and the entire series. This has been a great one!

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

Tempted By Love by Jennifer Ryan

Title: Tempted by Love  
Author: Jennifer Ryan
My Rating: A-

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Montana Heat #3
Main Characters: Alina and Jay
Release Date: August 2018
Publisher: Avon Books
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
She was this Montana Man’s greatest temptation . . .

Alina Cooke—little sister of his two best friends—is the last woman DEA agent Jay Bennett should be waking up next to on the day of her brother’s wedding. But their powerful attraction ignited a powder keg of desire, and their once simple friendship has just become impossibly complicated.

Alina’s always been steady, focused, and lived on the safe side of life. Jay is totally devoted to his dangerous job. She knows a future with him will be filled with worry that one day he won’t come home. She’s done it with her brothers. She’s not sure she can face that uncertainty with the man she loves. Yet being in his arms is a bad idea they keep repeating, again and again.

When Alina is run off the road, Jay fears his job has made her a target. But the threat in Alina’s life is closer than they think. As the enemy gets more ruthless, Alina proves she’s no easy target and Jay will do anything to bring them down. Because surviving and being together is the only thing that matters.
 

My Review:

There was so much to love about this book, but I'll be honest...it was like reading two amazing books together. The beginning is the fun, happy, contemporary meet-cute with all the light-hearted wedding activities. Then the last 2/3's is filled with action, drama, suspense, and danger. It was the best of both worlds. 

Alina has two brothers who work in the DEA. Their boss is Jay, so she's known Jay for a while as an acquaintance that she sees at big social gatherings...like her brothers' weddings...which is what's happening at the beginning of the book. Both her brothers are getting married in back-to-back days. As a result, Alina is feeling a bit down. BOTH her brothers (who've always been confirmed bachelors) have found their forever-love before her. She doesn't even have any prospects on the horizon. Her career is established. Everything is in place, but there's no guy or even a hope of a guy. 

So, when Jay sees her in the hotel bar, she's at a pretty low point. But he's in his forties and has been having the same thoughts all weekend while watching his two best friends find their forever. He wants that, too. The two spend the evening drinking and commiserating in the hotel bar where one thing leads to another. 

They're both surprised at how easily and naturally they connect, so they end up doing it again the next night, but this is only supposed to be a one-time thing...even if they're both getting hints of emotions to go along with the fantastic bedroom gymnastics. Alina knows the fear in life with a DEA agent. She doesn't want that. And Jay doesn't exactly want to confess to his two friends what he's been doing with their sister.

But he's DEA, and she's a pharmacist...they have more in common than they ever thought possible.

It's a great book. I enjoyed every minute of reading it. The romantic setup was fun and the suspense line made for some really great intense moments. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and definitely recommend it. 

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

Monday, August 20, 2018

Hold You Close by Melanie Harlow and Corinne Michaels

Title: Hold You Close
Author: Melanie Harlow and Corinne Michaels
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series
Main Characters: Ian and London
Release Date: August 2018
Publisher: 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
From NYT Bestseller Corinne Michaels & USA Today Bestseller Melanie Harlow, comes a second chance standalone romance.

Ian Chase broke my heart at seventeen, and I’ve spent the last eighteen years hating him for it.

He makes it easy, with his smart mouth and playboy lifestyle—which I unfortunately have to observe since he lives behind me. Every time I see him climbing out of his pool, practically naked and unreasonably sexy, my blood boils.

I’ve always loved to loathe him.

I never planned to need him.

***

London Parish is my little sister’s best friend, not that it stopped me from falling for her.

Our history is complicated. The only thing we have in common is being godparents to my sister’s three adorable kids—until our lives are changed in one tragic moment.

Now we’re trying to raise the children we love, mourn an unthinkable loss, and fight an undeniable attraction.

My life is already upside-down, and the last thing I need is for old feelings to resurface.

Because I’ll never be able to keep her, no matter how hard I try to hold her close. 
My Review:
When I saw these two authors were pairing up together to write a book, I knew I had to have it. And it was so, so good!!

London and Ian hate each other...kind of. They have a long, tumultuous history that has colored every interaction between them. Have you ever heard the saying, there's a fine line between love and hate? This couple takes that saying seriously. For the last twenty years, they have literally been at one another's throats. They can't stand each other, but that's entirely because they care way too much about one another. Twenty years ago everything between them blew up and ever since then, they don't stay around one another long enough to fix it. They fling insults and hateful words and then get away to lick their wounds. 

But then they are thrown together and they HAVE to deal with each other, despite the pain that brings...and slowly (like really, really slowly) things begin to change between them. 

This was a great enemies to lovers story. I enjoyed every minute of reading it. While there were more than a few times where I got frustrated with the characters because they simply wouldn't talk to one another, that conflict is needed to keep the story going. The chemistry between them is sizzling and there is a TON of hurt feelings that have built over the years keeping them apart. 

I loved the story and definitely recommend it!

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

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Hudson's Luck by Lucy Lennox (audiobook)

Title:  Wilde Fire
Author: Lucy Lennox
My Rating: A-
Narrator: Michael Pauley

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Forever Wilde #4
Main Characters: Hudson and Charlie
Release Date: July 2018 (audiobook)
Publisher: 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Listening Length: 9 hours and 8 minutes. 

Hudson: 

Don't ever accidentally propose to your girlfriend. In front of her family. Especially if her dad is your boss. Because when you make it clear you've made a mistake, he's likely to send you out of the country to get you as far away from his brokenhearted daughter as possible. 

It happened to me. Now I'm stuck in Ireland trying to redeem myself so I can get promoted and have the life I've planned for: successful career, loving wife and kids, a comfortable, financially secure home life in Texas. 

But all of that seems to evaporate the moment I walk into the historic pub and see the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. Only, he's not a woman. 

Charlie Murray is most definitely a man - the kind of man who causes me to take a second look for the first time in my life. And a third look, and a fourth. I can't help but want to get to know him better...to get close to him, touch him, maybe even kiss him. But I'm straight. Or so I've always thought. Even if I'm not, how in the world could a feisty Irishman ever fit into the safe, predictable life for which I've always planned? 

Charlie: 

Don't ever accidentally fall for the straight guy. Especially when he's trying to pry your family's business right out from under you. I should know. Because when Hudson Wilde walks into my family's pub and begins babbling so adorably, I can't help but fall just a little bit in love. But I'm looking for Forever Man, and the sexy American is certainly not him. He's so confused about what he wants, even choosing something from the dinner menu throws him into a fuddle. But those eyes...how can I resist? 

So maybe I'll give in. One steamy night before he heads home and I go back to life at the pub. We'll never see each other again. 

Until, of course, his business deal sends me to Hobie, Texas, right into the middle of Hudson's steady life, more gay Wildes than can fit on a dance floor, and an ex-girlfriend who may or may not be content remaining an ex. 

But the more time I spend with Hudson, the more I think he might be my Forever Man after all. And I may be his. Is it possible we could both be so lucky?


My Review:
Overall: 4.25
Performance: 4.75
Story: 4.0

Hudson is the straight Wilde sibling...or is he? 

No one is more surprised than Hudson to find out that he's attracted to a man. In his mid-thirties, he's never been attracted to a man before and with all gay siblings, he's had plenty of opportunity. He gets dragged regularly to the gay clubs. He's just never been tempted...until Charlie. 

So, I'm thinking this is definitely a "gay for you" trope. And it definitely helps that Charlie is on the more femme side of the masc coin. In fact, when Hudson first meets Charlie, he has no doubt that "he's" a "she"...until he turns around. What's that saying about first impressions? Well, Charlie's first impression on Hudson definitely affects their every interaction because that initial attraction never dissipates. In fact, it just gets stronger and stronger. 

But there's a huge issue here...beyond Hudson being straight. These two guys live on opposite sides of the ocean and are very involved with their families...to the point where neither one can imagine a life where they aren't living nearby their family. But Charlie lives in Ireland and Hudson lives in Texas. 

There is a lot happening in this story. There's the pub (which belongs to Charlie's family) and all the controversy evolving with the business there. But both Charlie and Hudson have careers beyond that pub that are in a bit of upheaval throughout the story, too. Then there's obviously all the Wilde family drama happening in the background, too. 

Like every Lucy Lennox story, this was a fun and entertaining one. I didn't see how she was going to resolve everything, but she did...wonderfully. And I have to take a moment to gush over Michael Pauley's incredible narration of Charlie's Irish accent...it was gorgeously done!

Overall, it was just another GREAT installment to the Wilde saga. Now, I'm ready for Saint's story!!!

Friday, August 17, 2018

One Match Fire by Lissa Linden

Title: One Match Fire
Author: Lissa Linden
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series
Main Characters: Paul and Amy
Release Date: March 2018
Publisher: Carina Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
When Amy left her beloved summer camp, heartbroken and ashamed, she swore she’d never return. Twelve years later, she’s desperate to unearth the person she was before turning into a workaholic. When her old camp advertises for a new director, Amy leaps at the chance to start over—only to find herself face-to-face with the very guy who broke her heart.

Paul hasn’t forgotten kissing Amy beneath a shooting star, or how she bolted from camp without saying goodbye. When she shows up to take the job he never thought he’d leave, Paul can hardly believe his luck. Amy is now a woman with killer curves and a sexual appetite to match. With serious vibes between them, and him nearly dead from the celibacy of life at camp, they strike a deal for a few days of sexy fun in the wilderness.

But when feelings that started long ago enter the mix and it becomes clear Amy will only trust him with her body—not her heart—Paul desperately wants to break through the armor she’s built to protect herself. And although Amy knows there’s something special about the way she reacts to Paul, something beyond skin on skin, the stakes are high enough to scare her.

With a past like theirs, they’ll either ignite a future…or burn out for good.

My Review:
I had no idea what I was getting into when I started this book. I also didn't realize until I was about a quarter of the way into it that this was the author's debut book. Wow...bravo, Lissa Linden. This book is amazing!

This book is a second chance at love story for two characters who fell for one another throughout their growing up years while they attended summer camp. That all fell to pieces the summer of their 16th year when both of them got their hearts broken. 

But regardless of how it ended between the two of them, they both still desperately love this camp where everything made sense.

So, for Amy, when her world ceases to make sense, she searches out the camp online, only to discover they need a new director. She applies for the job and gets it. When she arrives at the camp, she finds out that she's replacing Paul, the guy for her best and worst memories from camp. 

Paul has been the director for 5 years. He loves the job and the camp. What he doesn't love is the loneliness of it. There's no way to meet anyone and he wants a family someday, too. So, he makes the gut-wrenching decision to quit the camp to see if he can find some fulfillment in the other areas of his life. 

He never knew what happened with Amy. He just knew that she completely disappeared without a trace or warning from his life just when things were getting interesting. So, he's really happy when it's Amy that shows up. But this isn't the same Amy he knew from before. She's harder and has very high walls around herself that he finds it almost impossible to breach, but he's not going to give up. They have two weeks together while he trains her. He fully plans to reach her in that time. 

I loved this book so, so much!! The camp is such an amazing setting for romance, especially since they're there alone for most of the book. I loved everything about it. The setup worked for me. Both Paul and Amy are great characters. I wanted them to make it together in the worst possible way.

And you should note...the cover of this book gives the impression that it's going to be a sweet, lighthearted read...which it is to a certain extent. BUT it is also incredibly hot...like hotter than most other contemporary romances out there. Although I wouldn't classify it as erotic, the amount of very hot sex in the book definitely takes it close to that ledge. Second note...the sexy times are all wonderfully, sensually written. It's HAWT!!

I definitely recommend this book. It was a GREAT read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It would be a great way for you to finish out the summer...take an imaginary adventure to summer camp! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book as a gift from the publisher.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Teaching Ben by Shae Connor

Title: Teaching Ben
Author: Shae Connor
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series
Main Characters: Ben and David
Release Date: February 2018
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Learning to love means a study in patience.

Fresh out of the military, Ben Cooper is ready for a new start. He’s away from his domineering father, making his own choices… and out of the closet. On his first day of college, he meets David Powell, who’s just the kind of gorgeous man Ben’s dreamed of. Too bad he’s the teaching assistant—which makes him off-limits in Ben’s eyes.

David is Ben’s age, but his life has taken a different path. He’s close with his family, who helped him deal with personal struggles after he came out. And while he’s staying away from any hint of scandal, Ben’s a kind of temptation he hasn’t faced in years. If only they’d met on more equal footing.

As the semester progresses and their lives become more entwined, keeping their relationship platonic becomes more difficult. They just have to hold out until the end of the semester….


My Review:
This book is exactly what I would expect from this line of romance. It was sweet and pretty light on depth of story, but it was very well written. It was entertaining and held my interest. 

In this story, David is a TA. After a rough start to his college career, he's pulled his life back together and is managing it. That is until Ben hits his class and for the first time, David finds himself tempting to get a little wild again. 

Ben has had a rough life all the way around. He joined the military when he was basically given no choice by his homophobic father. He's spent his life hiding his true self and is excited to be at college where he can be who he was meant to be...he just has to figure out exactly who that is. 

Like I said, the story was entertaining and definitely caught my attention. There's a subplot with a character named Larry that I wish had been written either a little bit better, or not there at all. As it was in the story, it seemed to jolt the story a bit because it seemed almost contrived and maybe inserted into the story after the fact. If that had been smoothed just a bit more, I think I could have really loved this book. But as it is, it provided a nice day's worth of reading diversion.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher as a gift.