Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Taste of Sugar by Marina Adair

Title: A Taste of Sugar
Author: Marina Adair
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Sugar, Georgia #3
Main Characters: Charlotte and Jace
Release Date: August 2015
Publisher: Forever
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
A blast from her past...

Charlotte Holden, Sugar's favorite pediatrician, knows better than anyone that love only leads to heartbreak. Instead, she's focused on creating the Grow Clinic, an outpatient center for children. All she has to do now is to host the best Founder's Day Parade in the history of Sugar, Georgia, to win over a big-city donor. Easy as peach pie. Then sexy Jace McGraw blows back into town and utters those three words every woman dreads: we're still married. 

...leads to tantalizing trouble

Jace McGraw was making an offer on his dream business in Atlanta when he was told that his wife had some credit issues. Wait, his wife? The annulment went through years ago—or so he thought. He'd walked away only to keep his troublemaker reputation from ruining her dreams. But now that they have a second chance, Jace offers Charlotte a deal: he'll grant a discreet divorce in exchange for 30 days and nights of marriage. Because this time he isn't going to let her go without a fight. 

My Review:
I've really enjoyed this series, but this book is, by far, my favorite in the series. This book was so good, I immediately got online and ordered a print copy when I finished it for my keeper shelf. 

I love second chance romances and this is a good one. A lot of that is because Charlotte and Jace are just so good together, but it's also because no one knew they were ever involved, much less married. So, the only two people seeing their pain is each other. And I liked that, too. There's an honesty between the two of them that you don't often find in books like this. They don't try to hide their pain...for the most part. And there is a LOT of pain between the two of them, because neither one was ready for their relationship to end 4 years ago. But Jace's life was in turmoil, and he refused to take Charlotte down with him. He loved her too much to do that to her...and that's why this book is so magical. That love never, ever ended.

There's so much to love about this book. Charlotte has a fantastic character arc. She's a doctor and in the previous books has come across as completely put-together and confident, but she's not. No, Charlotte is a hot mess with a spoon constantly stuck in a tub of ice cream and I loved her for it. But she learns to embrace that messy side and stop worrying so much about what everyone else thinks about her. I loved that...because she is such a good person with such a good heart. Just knowing her special project with the children's hospital proves this. She wants the best healthcare for every child...insured or not. 

Then there's Jace and his love of cars and racing. I loved that bit of the south made it into this Georgia novel. I especially loved how it became a bonding moment between him and his niece just like it was between him and his father. Seriously, there were scenes around the cars that had me crying because of the emotion in them and those moments spent bonding. 

My one sticking point in these books has been the elderly ladies. I loved that in this book they took more of a background role. But I did love the glimpses of the other two brothers. I do love those sexy McGraw's and their tempestuous background that has made them such great heroes. This has been a fun series. I hope there's still more to come...we need Jackson and Lavender's book! 

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

Friday, August 28, 2015

Promo Post: Harmony's Healing by T.J. West

Harmony's Healing
By T.J. West

Cover Model: Daniel Wells

Danny Jay, lead guitarist of the hottest new band, JINXS has found himself fighting for control in his own life. He can’t control his father’s choices, the sister he blames for his abandonment or his best friend dating his sister. It’s the ultimate betrayal leaving him bitter, angry and unforgiving.
Harmony’s older sister raised her after their parent’s fatal car accident instead of going into the foster care system. When tragedy struck again Harmony made the hardest choices to pay the bills and survive. She gets a second chance to build a better life when offered a job at Montgomery Suites, where she crosses paths with Danny.
After one horrible drunken evening at Montgomery Suites, Harmony takes care of Danny and feels a connection but he is damaged and reserved. Will these two abandoned souls be able to heal each other?

(((Insert Buy Links Here)))

I'm a stay at home Mom of two teenagers. I became a self published author in 2014 after being inspired by many self indie authors. I have enjoyed writing for a long time, but never thought my imagination would carry me to this point in my life. After many years of losing my passion, and from enjoying raising my children I am finally at a place where I can reach for my dreams. Whether I become a best seller or not, I am loving the journey I am on and will continue to write as long as my readers are willing to read my stories.
Other interests: Watching many many TV shows (yes I am addicted), movies, hiking, going to the beach, spending time with the family, road trips, cocktail nights with friends and being interactive with my fans, friends and family on Facebook.

Twitter: @AuthorTJWest

Amazon: Author Page
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Check out TJ West's other books.....


Level Hands by Amy Jo Cousins

Title: Level Hands
Author: Amy Jo Cousins
My Rating: A-

Genre: New Adult Romance (m/m)
Series: Bend or Break #4
Main Characters: Rafi and Denny
Release Date: August 2015
Publisher: Samhain
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as smooth sailing.

Rafael Castro is so far out of his element he can’t even see it anymore. Carlisle College in Massachusetts is a long way from his Chicago home, even farther from his Dominican Republic roots.

The only thing keeping him attached to his last nerve is the prospect of seeing Denny Winslow again. The first time they met, Denny taught Rafi to fly across the water, rowing hard in a knife-like boat. Now, two years later, on the wings of a rowing scholarship, Rafi is attending Denny’s elite college.

Even before the excitement wears off, Rafi is struggling with classes and fending off rumors that Denny’s family, not Rafi’s talent, won him his spot. To quash the gossip, Rafi tries to steer clear of the man he wants. A plan that evaporates in the fire of renewed attraction.

But Carlisle’s academic pressure cooker has Rafi barely treading water. And when a family crisis hits, both Rafi and Denny must pull hard to keep their relationship from capsizing in rough waters.

Warning: Contains a surly Dominican-American guy determined to show no weakness, a golden boy who knows his soft spots, some seriously dirty bachata dancing, and an excellent excuse for voyeurism in the locker room.

My Review:
Aw, I've loved this series and this is another great addition to it. In the last book, we got to see the initial rumblings of this romance between Denny and Rafi. Now this book takes place two years later when Denny has pulled some strings to get Rafi to college with him. And Rafi is still the one who's holding back. Before he was holding back because Denny was too young, but that's not the issue anymore. But Rafi still sees walls around why this romance still won't work, no matter how much both of them want it. And they do both want it, but Rafi comes from a very different background and he doesn't want to rely on Denny for everything. He already knows Denny pulled the strings to get him here, but that's enough. From here on out, Rafi needs to pull his own weight and succeed or fail based on his own merit. 

Rafi's a hard character to swallow sometimes. Pride is a serious thing with him. He's also dealing with a lot of prejudice...ethnic, homophobic, social-class issues...he doesn't want to be the 'hanger-on' for Denny too. That's just one step too far and is the one thing that he CAN control, so he feels he can't give in. 

Despite that, these two guys have so much chemistry together. Poor Denny...Rafi's hot and cold, back and forth is giving him whiplash and I couldn't help but feel for the poor guy. His emotions are taking a serious battering. But I could also see why Rafi was that a certain point. This is where I have to take the New Adult genre into consideration. I hit the point where I just wanted to thump Rafi upside his head and tell him to get over it already and grow up. But he is young...and I think that came heavily into play in his actions in this book. Eventually he does get there, but geez, it was painful at times. 

I continue to love this college/NA setting. I liked the boat crew setting and the interesting group dynamic with Rafi's roommates. I loved that we got to see a lot of Cash and Steph in this book, too. 

I liked the book and definitely recommend this one and the entire series. Each book works as a stand alone, but there are recurring characters that float through each of the books. It's more fulfilling to have read them all, but not necessary.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Running Wild by Susan Andersen

Title: Running Wild
Author: Susan Andersen
My Rating: A-

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Sisterhood Diaries #4
Main Characters: Mags and Finn
Release Date: August 2015
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
They can't escape the heat… 

Magdalene Deluca isn't the damsel-in-distress type. But if she has to involve a stranger in a dangerous chase through South America, she's glad Finn Kavanagh's the guy she sucked into her problems. Very glad. The man oozes sex and magnetic confidence. And since their connection is steamier than the sultry rain forest, why waste time resisting him?

Finn's peaceful vacation is blown to bits the second Mags strides into view. For years he's ignored his family's pleas to settle down. Now he's falling hard for a blonde force of nature who's allergic to commitment. First he has to keep Mags safe as they search for her missing parents. Then they can determine if it's time to stop running—and take a chance on the wildest thrill he's ever known…
My Review:
I really enjoyed this book. It's action packed from page one and was just one of those reads that full of adventure and adrenaline-fueled escape that's fun to read and imagine. 

The entire book takes place in the Amazonian jungle as Finn and Mags are on the run from cartel thugs trying to capture her. There's a whole layer of story here about families and what they mean to people. Finn has come to the Amazon to escape his huge and, many times, overwhelming family. Mags is there to save her parents...the only family she has, but they basically turned her out at the age of 13. She's incredibly envious of Finn's family, and he just doesn't get that.

Like I said, the book was a fun non-stop adventure. I love that Mags is a make-up artist and how that played into their ability to hide and blend into the crowd. She's a strong person and has spent her life fighting against the world and her own insecurities. But I also loved that Finn just jumps into help her without any regard for his own danger or plans. They also worked in that Mags spent the first 13 years of her life here so even though she's blonde and fair-skinned, she knows how to blend in. For Finn, he has the technical know-how and gear. He came outfitted for backpacking so a trek across the Amazonian jungle is no big thing. They have the right equipment for it.

Simply put, the book was fun and if you like a bit of jungle romantic suspense, I recommend it. There were a few moments when I had to suspend a bit of disbelief, but I managed to overlook those details and simply enjoy the book.

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

Wildest Dreams by Robyn Carr

Title: Wildest Dreams
Author: Robyn Carr
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Thunder Point #9
Main Characters: Lin Su and Blake
Release Date: August 2015
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Blake Smiley searched the country for just the right place to call home. The professional triathlete has traveled the world, but Thunder Point has what he needs to put down the roots he's never had. In the quiet coastal town he can focus on his training without distractions. Until he meets his new neighbors and everything changes.

Lin Su Simmons and her teenage son, Charlie, are fixtures at Winnie Banks' house as Lin Su nurses Winnie through the realities of ALS. A single mother, Lin Su is proud of taking charge and never showing weakness. But she has her hands full coping with a job, debt and Charlie's health issues. And Charlie is asking questions about his family history—questions she doesn't want to answer.

When Charlie enlists Blake's help to escape his overprotective mother, Lin Su resents the interference in her life. But Blake is certain he can break through her barriers and be the man she and Charlie need. When faced with a terrible situation, Blake comes to the rescue, and Lin Su realizes he just might be the man of her dreams. Together, they recognize that family is who you choose it to be.

My Review:
Nine books into this series and I've read every single one and in just about every book, I have the same complaint...I don't want to see all the sporadic, random points of view from every person in the town. 

And because I complain about that every time, I guess I either need to get over it or stop reading the series, because that's simply the way Robyn Carr has chosen to write this series. 

At this point, I will say that when we go into one of those 'other' pov's, I simply start skimming...because you know what, I don't really care about the stress between Gwen and Norm caused by their surprise cruise. That doesn't affect the main all...and thus, I DO NOT CARE. Ugh. I could even overlook it if that side-story had ANYthing to do with the main story, but I can't even think of a time when they even interacted in the story. It's just the random points of view and tidbits about the characters from Thunder Point that are seemingly just thrown into the stories at random...every single book. Please stop with that... These books would be so much better without those random POV's.

But this book was 'mainly' about Blake and Lin Su. Overall, I enjoyed their story. It worked for me that they both had such harsh backgrounds even though it doesn't seem like it on the surface. 

I loved that Blake recognized that fact first. I adored Blake. He's a world-champion tri-athlete and I found him so alpha and sexy. I love the way that he connects with Charlie, Lin Su's 14 yo son. His work with underprivileged kids was fantastic. I also loved the detail that went into his races and training and simply the experience into his mind during a race. Bravo to Robyn Carr for those details.

I had a harder time with Lin Su. She's a tough, rigid woman. She's had to be to survive what she has, and I understood that, but she never ever relaxed...not even during the tender moments with Blake. As a result, i had a really hard time connecting with her. She should have only been 32 years old in the story, but she was written so that she came across as a 65 yo bitter woman. She felt so old and unforgiving in the story and I really couldn't deal with her actions at the end with Blake. She's just so...rigid. 

So again...another mixed review for a Thunder Point book. I want to enjoy this series. I like the set-up and the town. And for the most part, I really enjoy the characters. But there's just something... It may be time for me to step back and spend my time reading something else. 

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

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sustained by Emma Chase

Title: Sustained
Author: Emma Chase
My Rating: A+

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Legal Briefs #3
Main Characters: Jake and Chelsea
Release Date: August 2015
Publisher: Gallery
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
A knight in tarnished armor is still a knight.

When you’re a defense attorney in Washington, DC, you see firsthand how hard life can be, and that sometimes the only way to survive is to be harder. I, Jake Becker, have a reputation for being cold, callous, and intimidating—and that suits me just fine. In fact, it’s necessary when I’m breaking down a witness on the stand.

Complications don’t work for me—I’m a “need-to-know” type of man. If you’re my client, tell me the basic facts. If you’re my date, stick to what will turn you on. I’m not a therapist or Prince Charming—and I don’t pretend to be.

Then Chelsea McQuaid and her six orphaned nieces and nephews came along and complicated the ever-loving hell out of my life. Now I'm going to Mommy & Me classes, One Direction concerts, the emergency room, and arguing cases in the principal's office.

Chelsea’s too sweet, too innocent, and too gorgeous for her own good. She tries to be tough, but she’s not. She needs someone to help her, defend her…and the kids.

And that — that, I know how to do.

My Review:
This book...I sat down and read it in one sitting. I literally could not put it down. Then I dreamed about it all night. Can we say book hangover? Yep, I have one, because this book was so good. 

This book is told entirely from Jake's point of view and I love that. Usually I'm not a fan of a single pov, but it worked and here's why. Jake is a defense lawyer. He's super-smart and sees everything. He knows how to read little signals. So while we may not know everything going on inside Chelsea's head, Jake notices those little nuances. He may ignore them, but he notices them, so not once did I wish I knew what she was thinking. Besides, Jake's brain is active enough for both of them because this is a guy who is always looking at all the angles. That's what makes him a good attorney.

Chelsea's brother and his wife were killed suddenly in a tragic car accident. They left six kids ranging from 6 months old to 14 years old. At the time, Chelsea was only 26 herself and going to grad school in Berkley. She dropped everything and moved from Calif to DC to take care of her overwhelming nieces and nephews. Jake is not a guy who would EVER get involved with a girl with 6 kids no matter how attractive she is. He's an unapologetic man-whore. But he gets pulled into the vortex of this family when the 9 yo targets Jake and pickpockets his wallet. 

Jake may be a man-whore, but he's a good guy. Over and over again, he can't help but come to Chelsea's aid. She needs him. And it's not that she's overwhelmed, because she's really very competent, but there are six of them and only one of her and she doesn't have the support system in place to help her survive. Jake becomes that for her. 

I loved the way that this story evolved. It felt so real. Jake doesn't want to be there, but he steps up. Chelsea has moments where she can't deal, but for the most part she's doing brilliantly. But even the most competent person would have moments where they're overwhelmed. And these kids are overwhelming. Did you catch that? SIX of them. But the kids characters are so perfect in the story too. They each have very distinct personalities and impact on the family dynamic. None of them are dealing too well. It's only been two months since their parents died. 

Jake takes in the family dynamic and he helps it work. He's also a tough defense attorney which comes through at some of the best times. He knows how to argue a case with the best of them and that's an extremely valuable skill when dealing with this brood. 

There are several scenes that really make this story. The most beautiful scene in this book was a monologue with only Jake talking to the dead brother/father while looking for his liquor in the house. I was cracking up with tears in my eyes. Seriously, that scene is a perfect example of why this book is just so freaking good. It's heartfelt and emotional, but still real. Then there's the law firm and this core group of four lawyers that support one another. I love them, and when they come to Jake to intervene about his fathering skills...heart melting. They're all incredible characters.

Absolutely everything about this book worked for me. I loved the set-up, the kids, the dynamic. I loved Jake and his ability to empathize with anyone. There's some behind the scenes drama at the law firm and even that story ripped my heart out with the emotions involved. I loved Chelsea and Jake together. They form such an amazing team when racked up against the kids. I loved them...and it wasn't just about the romance. Individually, they are amazing characters. Together they are everything that makes an incredible story. 

I highly, highly recommend this book. It's on the short list for one of my favorite reads for 2015!

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

Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne

Title: Blurred Lines
Author: Lauren Layne
My Rating: A+

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: -
Main Characters: Parker and Ben
Release Date: August 2015
Publisher: Loveswept
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
In a novel that's perfect for fans of Abbi Glines and Jessica Sorensen, USA Today bestselling author Lauren Layne delivers a sexy take on the timeless question: Can a guy and a girl really be “just friends”?

When Parker Blanton meets Ben Olsen during her freshman year of college, the connection is immediate—and platonic. Six years later, they're still best friends, sharing an apartment in Portland's trendy Northwest District as they happily settle into adult life. But when Parker's boyfriend dumps her out of the blue, she starts to wonder about Ben's no-strings-attached approach to dating. The trouble is, even with Ben as her wingman, Parker can't seem to get the hang of casual sex—until she tries it with him.

The arrangement works perfectly . . . at first. The sex is mind-blowing, and their friendship remains as solid as ever, without any of the usual messy romantic entanglements. But when Parker's ex decides he wants her back, Ben is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ben starts seeing a girl from work, Parker finds herself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship on the rocks for the first time, Parker and Ben face an alarming truth: Maybe they can't go back. And maybe, deep down, they never want to.

My Review:

This book is everything I love about friends to lovers romances. Every.Thing. This book was so good!

For the last six years, Ben and Parker have been inseparable. BUT it's always been platonic. Always. Without even a hint at anything else. A lot of the reason for that is because for the last five of those six years, Parker has had a serious boyfriend. And Ben is a unapologetic man-whore. It works...and they're good friends, roommates, and carpool buddies. Why would they ever mess with that? 

But then Parker's boyfriend dumps her. She's trying to get over him. She simply wants to have sex, but after trying to find someone to do that with for a couple of weeks, she just can't. She isn't a girl who can feel that level of attraction for a stranger...BUT she doesn't want a relationship. Five years. There's no way she's putting herself out there to get hurt like that again...not so soon. And that's where Ben comes in. They're friends. They're both attractive. They could scratch her itch and she could move on from the ex. So they do...and do...and do. And it's good.

Lauren Layne is simply the best story teller. Every little move with these characters, I felt it. I was completely emotionally invested in them and their really complex emotions. I loved them both so much and my heart broke for each of them as they struggled through their transition of their growing feelings.  They are both amazing characters. I want to be their third bestie... ;) But this is why I love friends to lovers stories. These two are absolutely as close as two friends can be, so when they step it up a notch, it's simply magical. That connection is there, but suddenly so much deeper. I loved them (have I mentioned that already?) Just such a good, heart-warming story. And it had great touches...but the karaoke was simply the best! LOVE....big-time love for this book!!

And then when things went a bit deeper about exactly why Ben is the way he is about commitment...swoon. Per.Fec.Tion.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review. I really, really, really wish the book was available in print because I would buy it in a heartbeat. I NEED this book on my keeper shelf. Who do we need to talk to at Loveswept to get them to start printing Lauren Layne's books??? PLEASE...