Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Break for Me by Shiloh Walker

Title: Break for Me
Author: Shiloh Walker
My Rating: B+

Genre: Romantic Suspense 
Series: Secrets & Shadows #.6
Main Characters: Jensen and Dean
Release Date: May 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Jensen Bell had twelve happy years before her her mother disappeared and her whole world went to pieces. Since then, she's become a cop—one who takes great pride in her work, and in helping keep others safe. The saving grace in her own life has been Dean West, the only man who can make her burn with desire and help her through her burdens. But when a shocking discovery turns her life upside-down, even being wrapped in Dean’s arms might not be enough to keep her out of harm's way…
My Review:
This is the second book/novella in the novella prequels to this new series by Shiloh Walker. I highly recommend that you read all three of the novellas in order because although they follow different characters (tied together by three siblings), they also follow the mystery of disappearance of those characters' mother 15 years ago. 

This book is about Jensen, a cop, and Dean, a DA. The nature of their jobs often has them at cross-purposes, but these two have been circling each other for a while (like years) now. Honestly, this book is really about the mom. Yes, the two have a new relationship, but I was amazed at how quickly they settled into that. You could tell this was a novella just in the speed in how quickly that happened. But other than that, I did enjoy this one. I liked both characters. They had great chemistry and were really, really hot in the bedroom...and up against the door...and on the floor. ;o)

There were some interesting turns in the mother's story. Some that are going to have heartbreaking consequences in the two main characters for the final novella. I can't wait to read it. 

I love romantic suspense and Shiloh Walker does it really well. While these novellas are pretty light on the suspense story, they hold a great mystery about how it all played out fifteen years ago when the mother disappeared. I'm loving getting to know this small town and can't wait to delve into the full-length novels of the series. But first, the final novella...Chrissie's story...the baby of the family. And Guy...poor Guy.

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

Burn for Me by Shiloh Walker

Title: Burn for Me
Author: Shiloh Walker
My Rating: A

Genre: Romantic Suspense 
Series: Secrets & Shadows #.5
Main Characters: Ali and Tate
Release Date: April 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Scarred long ago by the disappearance of his mother, Nichole, Tate Bell aches to spend his days and nights with Ali Holmes, a woman he’s loved for years. But while Ali’s heart pines to be with Tate, her head has reservations... Ali knows that Tate has never forgiven his father for the fight he had with Nichole right before she left the house—and was never heard from again. Ali thinks that Tate's unresolved anger is a force to be reckoned with...even though the heat that blazes between them is undeniable. Now both Tate and Ali are left to wonder: Can love really conquer all?  
My Review:
This is labeled as a novella and it can be read in just a couple of hours, but it definitely doesn't read like a novella. This is a story rich in depth, with incredible characters.

Tate and Ali have had a friends-with-benefits arrangement for several years and it's still as hot as ever. But it's becoming something more which is something that Ali can't live with because Tate has always made it perfectly clear that they will never have anything more. But with two small boys who are becoming attached to Tate and the knowledge that she's falling in love with him, she knows she has to let him go. She needs more. 

Tate is haunted. 15 years ago, his mother disappeared and is assumed dead. He thinks his father killed her and as the 14 yo listening to them fight that night, he blames himself for her death. He's haunted by that and the fact that he is so much like his father. That terrifies him and although he cares deeply for Ali and her boys, he can't ever be anything more to them. He won't risk their lives.

Because this is a novella there is a ton of backstory that is loaded into it that happened before, but it works and makes this story so much deeper than a normal novella. I loved that. One of the things I love about Shiloh Walker's writing is her ability to show the emotions through her characters, who are usually pretty tortured souls. This book and Tate's character in particular did that so well. This, I just wanted to hold him. He doesn't want to let Ali go and it's killing him that he's losing her. He has a great character arc in a short amount of time to try and fix that. It's incredibly well-done and I absolutely fell in love with him. 

On the other hand is Ali who is doing what she has to do to preserve her family...even though she doesn't want to with everything in her. She knows she deserves more. She was such a strong character and I love that she stood up to Tate. 

Overall, this is a fabulous introduction to this new series. And I will say that I'm really intrigued because this is an unusual way to start a new series. The three siblings (Tate and his two sisters) get a novella before the first book releases. They honestly don't know what happened to their mother. I have a feeling that mystery will impact the entire series, but I have no idea how. Like I said, I love the set-up and am so excited about the entire series. I love romantic suspense and  Shiloh Walker is a master at writing it!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Song for Us by Teresa Mummert

Title: A Song for Us
Author: Teresa Mummert
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: White Trash #3
Main Characters: Sarah and Eric
Release Date: April 2014
Publisher: Gallery Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
In this highly anticipated follow-up to White Trash Damaged, Cass and Tucker have finally found their happily ever after, but can Eric, the band’s brooding drummer, ever let go of his past and find love?

From a small-town boy with fantasies of superstardom to rock star on tour with the suddenly famous band Damaged, Eric’s life has not been an easy journey. Now he struggles to let go of his past of physical abuse, a past that still haunts him. His anger is causing him to spiral out of control and he risks losing everything he has worked so hard for.

Only one person has ever gotten him to open up about his past: Sarah, the lead singer of Filth, the opening act on their first national tour—a fellow rocker with a confident fa├žade that masks her own painful secrets. But their bands’ rocky past and Sarah’s tumultuous relationship with her bandmate and boyfriend Derek force her to keep Eric at a distance. As their friendship begins to grow into something more, Eric has to find a way to let go of his tortured past, or it could jeopardize his only chance for a happy future...
My Review:
Again, this is another one of those's #3 in the series, but I haven't read the rest of the books. While I could tell that this one would have been better if I'd read the others first, it was definitely one that worked okay as a stand-alone. 

This book is about Sarah and Eric. They've been friends for a while and Eric has wanted more forever. While Sarah suspects that, they've never actually gone to that place...mainly because Sarah is in a serious relationship with her fellow band-member Derek, who's a complete and total jerk. The thing is that although Eric and everyone else sees that about Derek, Sarah doesn't. 

This book is all about the emotional angst of this love triangle. The band members are legally adults (I think), but they all had a very teenagey, high school feel about them. This book felt like a young adult novel trying to make it to the New Adult level, but the characters' maturity level didn't quite make it my opinion. And because of that...for me...this book just didn't quite make it. It featured lots of unresolved issues with parents, self-cutting and abuse, and lots and lots of drinking way too much. 

I enjoyed the music/rock band aspect of the book and loved it when Sarah and Eric were connecting through their music and song-writing. But the unspoken feelings, secrets, and longing looks just got to be too much. I wanted to yell at them both to grow up and grow a pair because dangling all these characters emotionally wasn't fair to anyone in the book.

And there is a whole group of friends involved with this whole drama...two bands worth. But my question is...where the heck were they all when Eric got thrown in jail? Only Donna, his love interest throughout most the book, was there and she was the one who shouldn't have been. 

But the book definitely kept me engaged. The writing was tight and the characters memorable. I pretty much read it straight through...again this was that soap-opera mentality. It's hard to look away...LOL. 

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

All Fired Up by Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy

Title: All Fired Up
Author: Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: DreamMakers #1
Main Characters: Parker and Lynn
Release Date: February 2014
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:
He’s ready to lead the way

Parker Wilson never thought he’d go from battle-hardened soldier to romance expert, but after his stint in the Rangers, that’s exactly what happened. As the owner of DreamMakers Inc., he helps other men win in the love department, using every resource available to plan the perfect date. When a routine recon turns into an unexpected night of passion, Parker’s mission becomes more personal—and he won’t give up until Lynn Davidson is all his.

She’s more than willing to follow

Lynn is a goner from the moment she lays eyes on the delectable Parker. She’s just ditched her boring almost-boyfriend and is tired of sticking to the straight and narrow. It’s time to walk on the wild side, and what better way than in the arms of the most irresistible man she’s ever met? But when their red-hot affair is threatened, it’ll take a team effort to make their dreams come true.
My Review:
This is the start of a brand new series and collaboration between two incredibly talented authors who know how to write sexy romance: Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy. And this premise...OMG, I wish I'd thought of it because it's pure brilliant fun...three former Army Rangers who go together to form a dating business. But this isn't just any dating business. These guys specialize in helping other men, who are hopeless at romance, make those little moments special and memorable for their women. And yeah, they also spend quite a bit of their time helping men get themselves out of the romantic messes they've gotten into with their significant other. 

At the heart of this premise is an idea that I love. Guys aren't naturally romantic...none of them. They just aren't programmed that way. Well, the three men of DreamMakers have realized that and they've made romance into a step by step process. Basically these three guys make it so that romance is easier for the normal guy. Because the fact of the matter is, guys don't mean to be jerks when it comes to this area. They just don't think it through as well as they should, but it is in NO WAY a reflection on their love for their girl. Through DreamMakers, these guys help their clients show that love in a way that wouldn't normally occur to the client. That client wants to do the romantic thing...he just has no clue how so the DreamMakers guys show him the light. (And I made that sound way more complicated than it truly is). Just know that the heart of this business is love and romance.

Which is not the first two words you think of when you think former Army Rangers...and is why I love it. It's so unexpected and the three guys: Jack, Drew, and Parker. Yeah....they're pretty awesome and yummy and when I picture them, sex-on-a-stick comes to mind. And they truly are all about romance. I'm seeing new book boyfriend possibilities here. 

This book though begins with the undesirable client...a guy who's not really there because he wants his girl to be happy. He's there to manipulate his girl which is not what this company is about, but despite their reservations, they accept him as a client. That fact is made worse though when Parker and Drew meet Lynn, the client's girl, and she's gorgeous, intelligent, sweet, and sexy. This is not a girl who should be with that jerk and no one is more sure about that than Parker. And that's all I'm going to tell you about the actual  story spoilers!

It's a fun...really, really fun book to read. And OMG, it is sexy. I knew that it was labeled as erotic, but I had to admit, I was surprised (pleasantly so) in those first few sexual scenes. This book is hot. But what's different about it from most erotic romances is that it's still really fun and is all about the love and romance within that fun. I grinned almost the entire way through the book. The three friends that own the company together are best friends and they have as much fun at their job as they do in their off-hours. They had a great vibe in all of their scenes and all three characters are very well-defined right off the bat. I can't wait to see where all the stories go. 

In this one, there was a touch of intrigue too which made it pretty intense toward the end. And there are a couple of story lines left hanging that as a reader, weren't bothersome, but definitely made me ready to read book #2 as soon as possible. I'm looking forward to more. Parker and Lynn were an awesome couple and their chemistry made me love this book. I highly recommend it!

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

East of Ecstasy by Laura Kaye

Title: East of Ecstasy
Author: Laura Kaye
My Rating: A+

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Hearts of the Anemoi #4
Main Characters: Devlin and Anna
Release Date: April 2014
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Annalise Fallston made peace with postponing her big-city dreams to care for her ill father, but lately she’s been filled with a restlessness not even her beloved painting dispels. Worse, the colors don’t speak to her as they always have, and all her efforts produce dark, foreboding images of a dangerous man and a terrifying future.

Devlin Eston, black-souled son of the evil Anemoi Eurus, is the only one who can thwart his father’s plan to overthrow the Supreme God of Wind and Storms. But first, Dev must master the unstable powers he’s been given. Distrusted and shunned by his own divine family, he never expected to find kindness and passion in the arms of a mortal.

But Devlin’s love puts Annalise in the path of a catastrophic storm, and in the final Armageddon showdown between the Anemoi and Eurus, sacrifices will be made, hearts broken, and lives changed forever…or lost.

My Review:
There is one single thing that makes this book one of the best of Laura Kaye's that I have ever read...Devlin. This character...just whoa. I don't think my heart has ever ached so much and so painfully for a character like it did for him in this book. I just wanted to hug him and never let him go...something that he's never had in his entire life which is so much the problem. 

Devlin's father is evil and as a result, his brethren of the winds have also judged Devlin to be the same...he is so not that guy. In fact, he's sweet and nurturing and protective and so freaking wounded. Gah. When others go to touch him, he literally flinches because he's been so abused for so long. And because he's also been mentally abused, he also self-abuses...blaming himself for not being stronger and unable to save his father from killing his brother. This is a guy is just so wounded...and I fell in love with him for it.

Seeing him for who he truly is, is Anna. Although he terrifies her at first, she quickly realizes just how vulnerable and scarred this guy truly is. I loved her for recognizing that. I love her when she stands up for him....especially to him when he talks down about himself. She's the perfect match for him and I loved them together. 

He's been so wronged by both his father and the anemoi who should have been helping to protect and love him. It's hard to watch how hurt he's been by that and for them to truly realize the depth of their injustice to him also. 

There were some interesting aspects to this story line and I loved Anna's part of it and where she truly is descended from. I liked how she used his coaching of her to help Devlin in his problems too. Seriously, they were so good together. I was also completely fascinated by Seth and his whole transformation throughout the book. Not much time was spent explaining him, but I did enjoy his part. 

There was a lot of transition and changes among the anemoi in this book which were difficult after 4 books with them. I've grown to love these guys and their significant others and surrounding people they love. There's a lot of change in all that in this even beyond the depth of emotion that Devlin brings out, there is just a lot of emotion overall. But it was the perfect ending to the series that I have loved. 

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

Top Off Tuesday: Light Up the Night by M.L. Buchman

I've adored this entire series...
And this cover is gorgeous!
Talk about bad-ass... 
I love it!
And can't wait to read it!

Light Up the Night by M. L. Buchman
releasing September 2, 2014

Name: Trisha O'Malley
Rank: Second Lieutenant and AH-6M "Little Bird" Pilot
Mission : Take down Somali pirates, and deny her past
Name: William Bruce
Rank: Navy SEAL Lieutenant
Mission : Rescue hostages, and protect his past-against all comers
They both have something to hide
When hotshot SOAR helicopter pilot Trisha O'Malley rescues Navy SEAL Bill Bruce from his undercover mission in Somalia, it ignites his fury. Everything about Trisha triggers his mistrust: her elusive past, her wild energy, and her proclivity for flying past safety's edge. Even as the heat between them turns into passion's fire, Bill and Trisha must team up to confront their pasts and survive Somalia's pirate lords.

It's so fun to see so many people get excited about this meme.
(But honestly, we're looking at gorgeous men and talking about can that be a bad thing?)
If you want to play along, we have a plethora of Top Off Tuesday buttons for you to choose from:
created by Deb at HEA Romances with Kick

created by Missie at The Unread Reader


created by Diana at Book of Secrets

Pick one...or all and post it to your blog post.
Then find you a gorgeous cover featuring a gorgeous male specimen and head on over to The Geeky Book Blogger and post your link. We can't wait to see what good books you've found!
Hosted by Geeky Book Blogger's Book BlogOn a Book Bender, & Smitten with Reading (me!)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Poster Boy by Anne Tenino

Title: Poster Boy
Author: Anne Tenino
My Rating: B 

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Theta Alpha Gamma #5
Main CharactersToby and Jock
Release Date: April 2014
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
It's all fun and games until someone puts his heart out. 
After being outed to his hockey team and then changing schools, Jock figures he’s due for something good—like the sex he missed out on in the closet. Toby, the hot grad student he meets at a frat party, seems like a great place to start, and their night together is an awesome introduction to the fine art of hooking up.
Toby’s heart takes a bruising after the near-perfect experience with Jock leads to . . . nothing. He’s been left on the outside as his friends pair up into blissful coupledom, and he’s in danger of never completing (or starting) his thesis. Can’t something go right? 
Then Toby’s coerced into chaperoning a Theta Alpha Gamma trip to France. Not that he’s complaining. What better place to finish his thesis and get over that frat boy? Except Jock’s outing is leaked to the press, turning him into an unwilling gay rights martyr, and he decides France would be a great escape, too. It’s a break from reality for both guys, but they soon find their connection is as real as it gets.

My Review:
Oh, these boys in have to love them. *shaking head in wonder how most of them actually got accepted into college* LOL. 

Okay, this is book #5 in this series. Toby is NOT one of the frat boys. He's a grad student who's been friends (ahem...regular one-night-stand guy) with several of the main characters from the other books. He's gay and feeling a bit lonely since all his friends are slowly pairing up as couples. He's one of the last of his group to still be single. 

Jock is the new kid on campus after a scandal at his last college meant that he needed a new place to call home. His older brother is Tank, one of the members of TAG, who's been in most of the books although Tank is straight. Jock has very limited experience. His focus has always been hockey and he knew that being gay would endanger that so he just ignored his needs. But now that's all blown out of the water and he's ready to experiment. Toby seems like the perfect solution and they have amazing chemistry. 

For Jock, that works. For Toby, not so much. Toby is ready for something more and even though Jock is young, he sees it happening with him. This was an interesting twist because throughout the series, Toby has been the player, but now he sees other possibilities when he meets Jock. It's a complete 180 for his character and made even more ironic by the fact that Jock isn't completely on-board with this idea. Jock wants to experiment, but realizes that his limitations on those experiments won't work for a relationship. He had some interesting ideas about the whole gay sex experience which seemed a little off to me. But I liked how Toby dealt with him and the issue. I thought Toby's reactions were spot-on and I liked that dichotomy between them. 

Midway through the book, Toby and several of the TAG members relocate to France. That change made this book feel VERY different from the others in the series. Having them in another country...Provence region of France, which I loved the visuals from in the book, just gorgeous...made this book so different from the ones at the college campus. Of course, Toby and Jock are there along with several of the other, more clueless, TAG members. Seriously, the word airhead comes to mind when it comes to most of these guys. How is that even possible for them to be so naive?? does make for some fun scenes, but a few times it just felt a bit over the top. 

But overall it was another fun installment to this series that I've loved. I liked that it was set in France and I loved Toby and Jock. It was fun to see Toby finally find his forever love.

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