Friday, September 30, 2016

Sparking the Fire by Kate Meader


Title: Sparking the Fire
Author: Kate Meader
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hot In Chicago #3
Main Characters: Molly and Wyatt
Release Date: September 2016
Publisher: Pocket Books
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Kate Meader’s blazing Hot in Chicago firefighter series has “everything you want in a romance” (RT Book Reviews, Top Pick)! The flames of desire burn out of control in this sexy third novel when ex-lovers unexpectedly reunite for a sizzling affair that will have the director yelling, “Quiet on the set!”

Actor Molly Cade, America’s fallen sweetheart, finally has her shot at a Hollywood comeback with a dramatic new role as a tough-as-nails firefighter that promises to propel her back to the big time and restore her self-respect.

Wyatt Fox, resident daredevil at Engine Co. 6, needs a low-key job to keep him busy while he recovers from his latest rescue stunt. Consulting on a local movie shoot should add just enough spark to his day. Especially when in struts Molly Cade: the woman who worked his heart over good, and then left him in the Windy City dust.

Their story is straight out of a script: irrepressible, spunky heroine meets taciturn, smoldering hero. But these two refuse to be typecast, and when the embers of an old love are stoked, someone is bound to get burned…
 

My Review:
The thing that absolutely makes this book is the scintillating history between Molly and Wyatt. I loved the glimpse the reader got of the two of them five years before in the prologue when they never even knew one another's name. 

Now, it's five years later and everyone knows Molly's name since she's a big name movie star, but that's not all she's known for since naked photos of her were leaked last year. Now, she's trying to revive her reputation and wants to do that with the story of Wyatt's sister, Alex's, crazy career within the Chicago FD. That's something Wyatt doesn't want and he has secrets of his own about why it's so important that the story doesn't happen. 

I've loved this series just because of the family orientation of it, even though most the siblings aren't true siblings...just foster brothers and sister, but that family tie ran so deep in this story and I loved that. I also adored Wyatt. He's a strong, silent, alpha type who's always kept himself somewhat separate from the rest of his family. His character arc in this book is magnificent and so fun to watch unfold. My heart ached for him and just the whole visceral loss of his brother Logan that still hurts so much even 9 years after his death. The addition of Roni added so much to that story line. 

And the fact is...I simply adored Molly and Wyatt every time they were on the page together. They are explosive together and it's not always in a sexual. The two of them bring out big passion in the other...even for the normally staid Wyatt.

And of course, we can't talk about this book without the whole family. I love them all so much, but Gage and Brady are still my favorites and I loved that their characters played such a large part in this book. The scene after Roni walked in on the two of them together...OMG, I was rolling. I bookmarked it because it was such a good, funny scene. 

I just adore this series. 

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

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Crossroads by Riley Hart (audiobook)

Title:  Crossroads
Author: Riley Hart
My Rating: B+
Narrator: Sean Crisden

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m) 
Series: Crossroads #1
Main Characters: Nick and Bryce
Release Date: November 2016 (audiobook)
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
7 hrs 23 mins

After divorcing the woman he’d been with since he was seventeen, Nick Fuller is starting over. He owns the restaurant of his dreams and he’s determined to meet new people, find new passions, and experience life to its fullest. Easier said than done—that is until he meets his new neighbor, Bryce Tanner…

Bryce is all about a good time. He plans to show Nick how it’s done, help him meet a few women, and enjoy the gift of the single life he’s been given. But things don’t go as planned, and soon they realize they’d rather be together than with anyone else.

Neither man has ever wanted another guy, but there’s a connection between them from the start—a spark they can’t deny. They find themselves navigating an unfamiliar new world and dealing with unforeseen obstacles. Physical desire isn’t enough, and now Nick and Bryce are at a crossroads. They have to decide which way to go—the easy path they’ve always followed, or the one that's determined to trip them up at every turn.
 

My Review:
Overall: 4.0
Performance: 3.25
Story: 4.25

This was a really interesting story just in that neither of these guys have ever considered other men as love interests before. I like straight guys turning and gay for you stories, but this one had the different twist in that neither guy was gay before they met the other. I'll admit I liked it in this particular story, but I'm not sure another author would be able to pull that off. But Riley Hart did it beautifully. And the way she did that was by building the friendship and bond between the two guys very slowly....that worked. 

I also thought the author did an amazing job showing the difficulty of this kind of sudden switch for two straight men very realistically. They have no idea what they are doing sexually and I liked that she made sure that wasn't smooth sailing for them. Also, their families are shocked by the changes in the men and not exactly open to all those changes. I loved the realism of that.

But beyond all that is just the relationship between the two men. I liked them and the extremely upfront way they handled this change in sexuality. They're guys...they don't keep much inside, even when it's uncomfortable. And the two guys are very different. Nick is a chef who has only been with one person...his ex-wife who he met in high school. She was always it for him. Bryce builds motorcycles and has never really had a serious relationship except for with his bff. They became romantically involved after Bryce almost died, but I think that was more a reaction to that scare more than anything. Bryce is up for anything. Nick is much more cautious about things, but at their hearts...they're guys. Everything is more upfront and honest with guys especially when it comes to sex. 

I love audiobooks and wouldn't have read this book when I did without the audio version of the book, but I had one real beef with this narrator...I could not stand his women's voices. I'm dying to read the rest of the series and would love to listen to them on audio, too, but am just not sure I can handle the books if there is much in the way of females in the stories. Yes, it was just that grating to me. I thought he did a great job with the guys, but gah...the female voices ruined the audio for me.

But I do plan to read the the next books in the series. I just have to find time to slide them into my reading schedule. 


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen (audiobook)

Title:  Rookie Move
Author: Sarina Bowen
My Rating: A
Narrator: Nicol Zanzarella and Rock Engle

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #1
Main Characters: Leo and Georgia
Release Date: September 2016 (audiobook)
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
The first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series.

In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold... 

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.



Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast....

My Review:
Overall: 4.5
Performance: 4.5
Story: 4.5

I am so excited about this book...mainly because it was so good and it's just the first book in this series so that means there are more books to come. YES!

This was a second chance at love story. The book starts with Georgia. She works as the PR person for the Brooklyn Bruisers, but on the first day of her handling the main job, she finds out that both her father and her high school ex are coming to work for the team. Dad as the coach. Leo as the rookie player that dad does NOT want on his team, but Leo was hired by the owner without consulting the new coach. 

For Leo, Georgia was the woman who broke him. They were seniors in high school and her world imploded in a single night taking her relationship with Leo with it. Truly, neither one of them ever recovered. 

This book has all the feels. There's heartache galore, but there are also light and funny moments. Moments that twisted my heart and made it swell with possibilities.

Seriously, this book was so good. I picked it up when someone mentioned just how good it was and it lived up to everything I hoped. Such a good, good read. It had just the perfect amount of hockey story line mixed in with the incredible romance. Then there were the friends of both the MC"s that I loved getting to know. I just loved everything about it. 

And the narrators for the audiobook nailed the voices. Absolutely fantastic!

I highly, highly recommend it and cannot wait for books #2 and #3 to come out. So excited for this new series. 


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Snowfall in Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne

Title: Snowfall on Haven Point
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Haven Point #5
Main Characters: Andrea and Marshall
Release Date: September 2016
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
There's no place like Haven Point for the holidays, where the snow conspires to bring two wary hearts together for a Christmas to remember  

It's been two rough years since Andrea Montgomery lost her husband, and all she wants is for her children to enjoy their first Christmas in Haven Point. But then Andie's friend asks a favor—to keep an eye on her brother, Sheriff Marshall Bailey, who's recovering from a hit and run. Andie will do anything for Wyn, even park her own misgivings to check on her grouchy, wounded bear of a brother. 

Marshall hates feeling defenseless and resents the protective impulses that Andie brings out in him. But when a blizzard forces them together for the holidays, something in Marshall begins to thaw. Andie's gentle nature is a salve, and her kids' excitement for the holidays makes him forget why he never wanted a family. If only he and Andie can admit what they really want—each other—their Christmas wishes might come true after all.


My Review:
I always love a wounded hero and this book starts out after Marshall was injured by a hit and run driver. Marshall is the town's sheriff, so he has a few enemies. But this injury just so happens when his friends/family are all out of town and he doesn't have anyone to help him adjust to life on crutches...in the middle of winter. That's where Andrea comes in. She's his neighbor and Marshall's sister calls in a favor...can Andrea check on him? 

And that's where the relationship comes in. The thing is...Andrea has been through hell over the last few years...starting when her cop husband died on the job and then ending with another cop attacking and raping her. She's pretty much through with cops...which means Marshall is off limits. But that's easy because his injury and circumstance means he's grumpy and difficult. 

I love that this relationship is such a slow build. It makes it all the more believable and I liked how it snuck up on both the characters, too. I really enjoyed the story and the book. The different story lines with the kids worked...in fact, everything about this book worked for me. I simply enjoyed reading it. There's a lot of emotion to it and it's simply a perfect read for the holidays. I need to order it in print. 

BTW, this is part of a series, but I promise you will never be lost if you haven't read the rest of the series. It works perfectly as a standalone.

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

The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

Title: The Trouble with Mistletoe
Author: Jill Shalvis
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #2
Main Characters: Willa and Keane
Release Date: September 2016
Publisher: Avon
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
If she has her way ...

Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand. He needs a kitty sitter, stat. But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her ...

He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.

Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands. But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead-gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him ...

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice ...

Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but can she trust him not to break her heart again? It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish—and let the mistletoe do its work ...


My Review:
Happy sigh...there was so much to love about this book...Pita, Keane's house, Willa's "family", the pet shop, the Christmas season, and the MC's fantastic back story. But at the very center of this story are Willa and Keane and the fact that neither of them trust the other to the point of connecting...even when they do. Yeah, these two are both very confused. One would be all-in and then the other wouldn't be and then they would flipflop. Neither one of them had the best foundation in how to make interpersonal relationships work and that shows in every one of their confrontations...and it made me love them both more than just a little bit. 

Willa owns the local pet shop and animals aren't the only strays that she takes in. She has a huge group of people that she surrounds herself with. She's a caretaker, but she doesn't let any of those people really see "her"...even though they really do. I loved the scenes between her and Archer, because he saw so much of her below the surface. Keane also sees her. But Willa's friends also see him. I loved their reactions to him...mainly how much they transitioned throughout the book. At first, because Willa doesn't trust him, neither does anyone else. But slowly as they see more and more of him, they get behind him and his campaign to win Willa's heart. I loved that. 

Neither of these characters truly knows what it means to be in love. As a result there are some serious speedbumps in their relationship. I loved getting to watch them fall in love and learn how to deal with all the repercussions of that. There is a ton of angst and emotion to this book right alongside so many laughs and giggles. It's classic Jill Shalvis and that means it's simply excellent reading. I loved reading this one, and cannot wait for Archer and Elle's book...wow, talk about sparks. These two are going to have a fantastic story! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.
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From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes a captivating story of love, second chances and new beginnings...

THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE, the second standalone novel in Jill Shalvis's Heartbreaker Bay Series, is out today! Check out the excerpt below and grab your copy of this fantastic new novel today!

   
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If she has her way…

Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand. He needs a kitty sitter, stat. But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her…

…He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.

Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands. But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him…

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice…

Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but he doesn’t even remember her. How can she trust him not to break her heart again? It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish–and let the mistletoe do its work…

Order THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE in ebook or paperback

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | B&N

Add to your Goodreads

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And don’t miss the first novel in Jill Shalvis’s Heartbreaker Bay Series, SWEET LITTLE LIES, now available! Grab your copy HERE!

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Willa sighed and headed to the door. Again Keane held the pink bedazzled cat carrier, which should have made him look ridiculous. Instead it somehow upped his testosterone levels. His sharp eyes were on her but they turned warm in a way that melted her right through her center as she moved toward him. She stopped with the glass door between them, hands on hips, hoping she looked irritated even if that wasn’t quite what she was feeling. His gaze lowered from her face to run over her body, which gave her another unwelcome rush of heat. Dammit. Now she was irritated and aroused—not a good combo. His mouth quirked at the saying on her apron that read Dear Santa, I Can Explain. Drawing a deep breath, she opened the door. “You’ve got Petunia again. I hope that means your great-aunt Sally isn’t still sick.” He looked surprised that she’d remembered his aunt’s name, or that she’d care. “I don’t know,” he said a little gruffly. “She left me a message saying that I was in charge for the rest of the week but for two days now Pita’s been happily destroying my jobsite. I’m throwing myself on your mercy here. Can you help?” Wow. He must be really desperate since he was actually asking and not assuming. But since Petunia was a sweetheart, she knew she’d do it. “I’ll even tell you where I went to high school,” he said, adding a smile that was shockingly charming. Wow. He hadn’t lost his touch when it came to turning it on. “Not necessary,” she said, painfully aware of their audience. Keane’s attention was suddenly directed upward, just above her head. She followed his line of sight and found a sprig of mistletoe hanging from the overhead display of small portable doggy pools. Mistletoe? What the hell? She glanced behind her and what do you know, suddenly Rory and Cara were a flurry of movement racing around looking very, very busy. “When did the mistletoe go up?” she asked them. “And why?” “FOMO,” Cara said from behind the counter. “Fear of missing out,” Rory translated. “She was hoping a hot guy would come in and the mistletoe would give her an excuse.” Willa narrowed her eyes and her two soon-to-be-dead employees scattered again. “Interesting,” Keane said, looking amused. “I’m not kissing you.” His mouth curved. “If you take Pita for the day, I’ll kiss you.” “Not necessary,” she said, gratified no one could see her heart during the two-step in her ears. “I’ll take Petunia for the day. No kiss required or wanted.” Liar, liar…  
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About Jill Shalvis: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.      
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Monday, September 26, 2016

Kinky Sprinkles by L.A. Witt

Title: Kinky Sprinkles
Author: L.A. Witt
My Rating: B+

Genre: Erotic Romance (m/m)
Series: -
Main Characters: Joel and Andre
Release Date: September 2016
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Blurb:
Joel has finally walked away from his abusive ex and is ready to meet new people. But that isn’t easy for a guy who’s shy, self-conscious, and struggling with his body image.

Andre has wanted Joel since the first time he laid eyes on him, and finally Joel is single. But Andre is a Dom and a sadist, and Joel is unapologetically vanilla. There’s no happy medium—either Andre reins in the kinky side that took him years to accept, or Joel grits his teeth and subjects himself to kinks that aren’t his thing. No matter who bends, someone’s going to be unhappy.

They agree to walk away, but they keep circling back to each other. Though their kinks might not line up, the chemistry between them sizzles and the emotional connection keeps getting deeper. But none of that will get them anywhere if they can’t find some kind of middle ground in the bedroom.


My Review:
This is a fairly short book. As a result, there's not a lot of space on the page devoted to delving into the details of the heroes' lives. Overall, for me, that worked just because there are times when I want a quick and dirty read...and I did enjoy what was on the page. 

Joel had a bad relationship. The true details of how it all fell apart are a bit vague...there was more than a little abuse that everyone could see, but Joel himself. He just thought he was being a good sub and although he hated almost all of that, he'd been brainwashed to a certain extent. He never wants to go there again...in either the kink or that kind of relationship. But now that his ex is out of his life, he's floundering. All his friends and social life was through the kink. How does that work now that the kink is out of his life?

Andre is a Dom who was fascinated by Joel from first sight...three years ago. But Joel was taken so he never acted on it. Now's his chance, except their kinks do NOT match up, although their chemistry most certainly does. 

I loved these two together. It was interesting seeing how they navigated the new levels of their relationship and negotiated how things could work between them with their very differing needs. Like I said this book isn't very long, but I thought it was a pretty satisfying read. I enjoyed it quite a bit. There's a bit of kink present, but this is really more about the relationship. It was a fun little read. 

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

Single Player by Elia Winters

Title: Single Player
Author: Elia Winters
My Rating: A-

Genre: contemporary romance (m/m)
Series: Slices of Pi #3
Main Characters: Matthew and Silas
Release Date: September 2016
Publisher: Pocket Star
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Geeky meets kinky in the third novel of the sexy Slices of Pi series by RITA-nominated author Elia Winters, where the employees of a gaming company in sultry Florida work hard—and play even harder.

Matthew Abrams finally has the life he’s always wanted—a promising career as a programmer at PI Games, a decent apartment in a nice neighborhood, and a thriving social life. And he’s perfectly content until he has a one-night stand with Silas Benson, a biomedical engineer with a charitable side to boot. Suddenly Matthew is doubting his life choices and worrying he might not be living up to his full potential.

Silas Benson doesn’t have time for much else outside of work, and that’s how he’s always liked it. As a biomedical engineer, he’s at the cutting edge of advances in the field, and he’s not going to waste his life partying when he could be doing actual good in the world. After a one-night stand at his friend’s twenty-fifth birthday party, though, Silas feels his focus shifting toward a certain tall, dark, and handsome almost-stranger.

When an emotional breakdown requires Silas to take a leave of absence from work, Matthew rushes to his aid and teaches him the merits of frivolity. Silas is an unwilling student at first, but Matthew soon has him in the groove, which makes for one steamy, wild ride. But is this a forever sort of affair, or will Silas abandon Matthew’s wanton ways in favor of a life of serious-minded solitude?
 


My Review:
I've seriously cut down my reviews this late summer/fall because of my other obligations, but this book was an exception. I've loved this series, but honestly probably would have passed on this book if it had been an m/f. But it was an m/m and I couldn't resist my curiosity about what this author would do with two guys. OMG, I was not at all disappointed. This story was excellent. 

Silas and Matthew have nothing in common. Silas is brilliant and works every day in his biomedical engineering career to make differences in people's lives. He does important work and is ALWAYS conscientious about that. As a result, he works long, long hours every single day of the week. He can't enjoy time off because that time could make a difference to a person's value of their life. That's the way his parents raised him and after they died suddenly four years ago, he's gotten even more obsessive about his work. 

On the other hand is Matthew. He's a video game programmer and he spends his life kind of skating by. He does the bare minimum at work to do his job and is always the first one out of his chair at 5:00. He likes his life because it gives him the freedom to relax and party. He does bartend on the weekends, but come on...that's fun, not work. 

But when Silas is dragged out for his friend's birthday to the club where Matthew works, things get hot and heavy between them. It was supposed to be a one-time thing, although they both thought it was incredibly hot. But then they run into one another and a pseudo-friendship/hookup relationship develops. It's pretty much an accidental thing, because these guys don't have much in common besides really hot sex. But when circumstances change, they both begin to see the possibilities. 

I really enjoyed the book. I liked how the story developed so that the reader got to see exactly why Silas is the way he is. This poor guy, but even while he's learning to chill out a bit, he brings out a better side of Matthew, too. I like how they equalized one another and they both became better people because of the other's influence on their life. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read and story. 

The entire series has been good, but all the books work perfectly well as stand-alone reads.

Note: Can we take a moment to enjoy the view on that cover? Yum-mm-my. OMG, that cover is hot. LOVE it so much. 

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