Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Talk This Way by Dakota Cassidy

Title: Talk This Way 
Author: Dakota Cassidy
My Rating: A+

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Plum Orchard #.5
Main Characters: Cat and Flynn
Release Date: April 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
In her sexy new series, bestselling author Dakota Cassidy introduces the Call Girls, a spirited group of friends ready to take on lust, love and everything in between…. Find out where it all began in this delicious novella!

If life is like a box of chocolates, Cat Butler has tasted them all—and decided on none. It's no wonder she can't keep a job, even though her mother's health depends on it. Just when she finds herself up a creek without a paddle—again—a benevolent friend throws her a lifeline. In the form of a job at, of all places, a phone sex hotline. Not exactly what she had in mind, but if it pays the bills for her mom's expensive nursing home, what's the harm?

Successful entrepreneur Flynn McGrady knows a thing or two about responsibility. So when his mother has a stroke, he knows the right thing to do is relocate to Atlanta to be near her while she recovers. He's got a plan for everything—except for feisty Cat, who finally gets his mama to talk again. Talk dirty, that is, and he's not pleased. Cat is gorgeous and sassy to boot…too bad she's not the type to settle down.

Cat and Flynn may have bigger fish to fry, but the sparks between them are hotter than hell. And when they finally give in to temptation, the results are explosive. Can a girl who follows her heart and a guy who follows his head find their way to forever?

My Review:
Honestly, I went into this book having read #1 in the series first. Because that book was so incredibly good and this was a novella, I truly thought this one would be somewhat of a let-down. But I read it because I was hoping to see some scenes with Landon before he died. I got that and so much more from this novella. It may be a shortened book, but it is in no way short on story or emotion. I cried almost as much in this one as I did reading #1 (which I reviewed yesterday and gave an A++ rating.)

This book is about three people who by a series of coincidences and fate find their lives intertwined. It takes place about a year before book #1. Cat met Landon when he was doing chemotherapy. He was this eccentric, sweet, caring, smiling guy who obviously had money, but even in the midst of his own sickness, was doing all he could to make those around him feel better. Cat was there visiting her mother who got hurt and needed extra care. She also works next door at the coffee shop. Flynn's mom is also at the facility recovering from a stroke and doesn't like the fact that Cat with her dirty romances is the one helping her recover. 

Cat is one of those people...she's so giving of herself and takes care of everyone, but she's more than a little flighty in her own life. When she loses her 13th job and faces her mom being kicked out of the facility, Landon steps up and offers her the perfect job for her...managing a phone sex company that currently runs out of his penthouse. 

Landon...even if this book sucked (which it totally doesn't!), I would totally love it because it shows Landon before he died. In the first book the reader doesn't get that. You only get to see his legacy of love that he leaves behind for his two friends. But this book showed him...nice guy, who so should have lived longer because he made everyone's life around him better. I bawled all the way through the final chapter. But what I really love is that this entire series has been built around this guy and the legacy he's left of this company. It's a phone sex company, but he used it to save so many people. It's a delicious irony that I just love. 

And I haven't even touched on Flynn and Cat's relationship. I loved how completely they were. Flynn is uptight and controlled except around Cat. They are a great match. 

I am already a huge fan of this series. And there is so much emotion to the books (so far), but they aren't all tears. These are Dakota Cassidy books...maybe you've heard of her...she's pretty fabulous with snark and that humor is definitely in these too. 

Go forth and one-click and read them now!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

When We Met by Susan Mallery

Title: When We Met
Author: Susan Mallery
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Fool's Gold #13
Main Characters: Angel and Taryn
Release Date: April 2014
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery invites you back to Fool's Gold, where a newcomer to town might finally meet the man she never knew she needed…

Angel Whittaker earned his scars the hard way, but the scars that can't be seen are the ones that haunt him the most. Since he moved to Fool's Gold, California, he's cobbled together a life for himself as a bodyguard trainer. If he's not exactly happy, at least his heart is safe.

Working with pro-football superstars taught tough-talking PR woman Taryn Crawford one thing—she can go toe to toe with any man. But then dark, dangerous former Special Ops Angel targets her for seduction…and challenges her to resist his tempting kisses.

Even in four-inch heels, Taryn never backs down. Unless, somehow, Angel can convince her that surrender might feel even better than victory.

My Review:
You know, I keep expecting for this series to get old. This is the 13th book in it, but they don't...not at all. Fool's Gold keeps getting bigger and I fall a little more in love with it in every book. 

This book had two wonderful main characters...Taryn and Angel. 

Angel is a former special forces dude that is part owner of the bodyguard school in Fool's Gold. He's scarred, big, muscular, and serious, but truly has a heart of gold. He lost his wife and 14 yo son to a car accident six years ago and has the mental scars that go with that kind of horrific loss. But he's still a giving guy. In this book, he ends up in charge of a group of 7 yr old little girls in a Fool's Gold version of the girl scouts...and I LOVED reading those scenes where he's interacting with them. They terrify him, but he's so good with them in his gruff way. 

Then there's Taryn. She's my fashion heroine. This is a girl that likes her spiked heels and power suits because she likes (and needs) the burst of confidence that comes with them. Her shoes define her and they say that this girl likes her sexy heels. She works with three ex-pro NFL football players in a PR company. I love how direct she is. Working with the guys has transformed her view of all guys because she has to deal with them every day and their physical regime and drama. She's tough, she's  direct, she's honest, but she has such an incredible that she's really not comfortable with. She's used to life in LA where she doesn't get involved. That isn't a choice she has in this small town. They suck her in...bigtime. 

The two get involved, but it's not a relationship in the pure sense of the word. They go into it...not just for is more than that, but they know that this isn't going to result in a love match. Neither one of them wants that or feels that they even have the ability to fall in love any longer.  

I loved the two of them together. They are upfront and honest about what they want from each other. Their relationship is incredibly hot and fun. Taryn helps Angel with his sprout troop and he helps her learn how to be a little less girly. 

There were so many moments that just made me smile in this book... 
*When Angel learned how to french braid. 
*The many discussions (by everyone) about Taryn's shoes. 
*The 3 nfl players and how they protect Taryn at the same time use her as a somewhat mother figure in the company. I loved Taryn and Jack's relationship and the history there that resulted in such an amazing friendship. 
*Then there's little Chloe and her final interactions with sweet and heartbreaking and heartwarming. So many little vignettes that made this into just one incredible book. 

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

Searching for Perfect by Jennifer Probst

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

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Searching For #2
Main CharactersNate and Kennedy
Release Date: April 2014
Publisher: Gallery
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
The up-and-coming matchmaking agency Kinnections is the hottest thing to hit Verily, New York—just like Kennedy Ashe, social director for the service she owns with her two best girlfriends. A coach, consultant, and cheerleader rolled into one super-sizzling package, Kennedy creates dream dates, encourages singles to shine, and never refuses a challenge—not even Nate Ellison Raymond Dunkle, rocket scientist, nerd extraordinaire, and Kennedy’s newest client.

Kennedy vows to work her magic and transform this hot mess in a lab coat with a disastrous relationship track record into the most wanted man on the Verily dating scene. If only she could turn the wand on herself . . . 

Though she radiates confidence and sex appeal, Kennedy harbors deep-seated insecurities from a tormented past and lifelong struggle with weight issues. When she realizes she and Nate are cut from the same cloth and might be perfect together, can Kennedy learn to let her heart lead the way? Or will her fears sentence her to the sidelines as Nate finds love—with someone else?

My Review:
This book hit several of my love-hot-buttons in tropes that you just don't see enough in romance lately.
1. The hero is a serious nerdy geek, but so sexy and hot underneath that hot mess of an outward appearance. Did I mention sexy?? OMG, this guy studies and that means he has SKILLS in the bedroom. Sizzling hot scenes in the bedroom.
2. I also really love make-over stories and Nate's is an incredible one. I love that aspect of these stories and this series. The matchmaking business employs a team to help put a person together with the right look. But it's not all about the outside. They usually end up with soul-deep transformations and discoveries within the characters which I love!
3. Kennedy is perfection...on the least in appearance. But she's hiding so much. This former fat girl has body issues, self-esteem issues, and confidence issues. She was sexually tormented all through high school and has worked to overcome all that, but it doesn't take much to send her into a tailspin and falling in love...and with a client at that...definitely alters her balance in life.

And that's just the beginning of what I loved about this book. 

First of all the premise is amazing. These girls have built the perfect matchmaking business which works with their clients from the inside out. There's also a very light touch of magic to the method too which I love. Three women own this matchmaking business right outside of NYC, in a small town called Verily. They employ makeovers, workouts, therapy (several different types), and things like massages into their whole package. It is truly all-inclusive and they each have their area of speciality. 

This book was especially good because of Nate and Kennedy's characters. At first glance, they don't have much in common, but as you get to know them better, you find out just how perfect they are together. They had such similar experiences growing up and though Kennedy hides it well, she is a serious geek at heart too. I love it every time she slips up and begins to chat science with him. 

Then there are the side characters which have so much story-possibility too...Connor (Nate's emotionally scarred brother...gah, I NEED him to find an HEA...he's PERFECT hero material), Wayne (the super rich, tattooed bad boy friend), Gen (who is so obviously marrying the wrong guy), and Arilyn (the final partner in the business who I'm really curious about because something's up with her but I'm not sure what)... There can be so many more good stories to come. I just want to know, who's going to be featured in the next book!

This book (and this series) is just plain good, entertaining fun. There's no heavy emotional angst...although there are moments of deep emotion. But overall the story left me feeling happy for having read it. I recommend it!

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

Talk Dirty to Me by Dakota Cassidy

Title: Talk Dirty to Me 
Author: Dakota Cassidy
My Rating: A++

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Plum Orchard #1
Main Characters: Dixie and Caine
Release Date: April 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:

Notorious mean girl Dixie Davis is back in town and it's payback time. Literally. Dixie is flat broke and her best�make that only�friend, Landon, is throwing her a lifeline from the Great Beyond. Dixie stands to inherit his business…if she meets a few conditions: 
She's got to live in Landon's mansion. 
With her gorgeous ex-fiancĂ©, Caine Donovan. 
Who could also inherit the business. 
Which is a phone sex empire. 
Wait, what? 
Landon's will lays it out: whoever gets the most new clients becomes the owner of Call Girls. Dixie has always been in it to win it, especially when it comes to Caine, who's made it clear he's not going down easy. (Oh, mercy.) Can Dixie really talk dirty and prove that she's cleaned up her act? Game on!
Plum Orchard, Georgia, is about to get even juicier…

My Review:

This, this book. I started it tearing up and ended it bawling. The absolute best, most emotionally moving character in the book was Landon, both Dixie and Caine's best friend, who dies of pancreatic cancer at age 28 before the book even begins. He's the one that starts this journey for his two best friends who need to heal the rift they had 10 years prior. 

I loved Landon and what he did and how he knew his best friends. His presence is constant throughout the book and every time he showed up on the page, it broke my heart for the loss of him. And that's just the beginning of the emotional roller-coaster that is this book. 

The other huge emotional touchpoint is Dixie. I LOVED her character. She's so tough on the outside. That's all she lets anyone see, but she is truly so vulnerable and needy and wanting of someone to love her. My heart ached for her throughout the entire book. I just wanted Quinn to see her for what she truly is. That and I was dying to know the full story of what happened in Chicago and when I finally did know, I started crying all over again. 

Seriously, everything about this story was so good and so emotional. 

Then there is the whole phone sex business and the girls, and Em, and Walker, and Sanjeet (sp??), and even Quinn's mom...every single character added so much depth and emotion to the story and the back story between Quinn and Dixie.

It will be interesting how this whole series plays out because after this book, I hate this little town with their close-minded views and how they judge and condemn. The Mags and that group of women are horrid, caustic creatures that made me so angry. I'm hoping eventually they see the error of following the few witches that have led them over the years. 

Then there are Quinn and Dixie and what they truly mean to each other. Their chemistry is amazing which makes it so sad because there is so much standing between them. They both had their hearts completely shattered ten years ago and it's so hard for either of them to recover from that. But both of them also realize that they've never found another love like that since. But at the center of their relationship is also this incredible competitiveness that drives them. Landon knew that and decides to use it against them to help them move past their hurt. Like I said before, I absolutely adored Landon for how he saw and knew and loved both Dixie and Quinn. He only wants them to be happy after his death. My heart mourned him so much in this book. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book for honest review, but upon finishing the book, immediately bought a print copy for my favorites shelf. 

Top Off Tuesday: Surrender by Cindy Stark

It's a cowboy book..
And the cover looks like that. 
I'm thinking this book has to be a winner.

Surrender by Cindy Stark

Story Overview:
She took what was his… 
In a desperate attempt to escape the aftermath of her husband’s death, Starlee Rinehart purchases an old farmhouse in the small town of Aspen in the hopes of creating a new life for herself. The little house needs a few repairs, but she’s up for the challenge. What she doesn’t expect are the mixed signals she’s getting from the sexy, yet elusive cowboy who owns all the land surrounding her. 

He wants it back… 
Tyler Morgan grew up believing he’d inherit his grandparents’ farm. Upon his grandpa’s death, Tyler gains title to the land, but a callous twist of fate steals the accompanying farmhouse from him. He’s determined to get it back, no matter the cost. There’s only one problem, Starlee’s determined to stay. 

Who will win? 
He wants to hate her, but can’t. She wants to love him, but he won’t let her. When he finally realizes what’s important in life, will it be too late to convince her to stay? 

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 28, 2014

His Secrets by Lisa Renee Jones

Title: His Secrets
Author: Lisa Renee Jones
My Rating: A

Genre: Erotic Romance 
Series: Inside Out #3.1
Main Characters: Sara and Chris
Release Date: February 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:
An Inside Out story, Chris's POV

In a world where my only escape has been my art, Sara has been the light in my darkness. And there is darkness, the kind of inky black that can bleed from my life to hers.

She doesn't see it. She doesn't understand what I've shown her. And my biggest fear is that soon...she will.

My Review:

Anyone that knows me knows that I prefer my stories from the guy's POV, so I loved this novella, especially since the full-length books are told entirely from Sara's POV.

This novella is also extremely important to the overall story just because it sheds some light onto Amber and Tristan and how they play into Chris's life. This novella picks up immediately where Revealing Us left off...and is Amber pulling more stunts to try to get Chris's attention. The thing that I loved about this novella was Sara...and her unwavering love for Chris. This is some hard-core stuff going down in this story and traditionally that would make both Sara and Chris waver in their commitment to each other. 

Even though Chris expects that to happen, it never does with Sara. I hope this is signaling a new level in their relationship. That was my big complaint with book #3...that they say these things and commit, but when push comes to shove, they back away and get scared. There was NO SIGN of that with Sara in this segment and that made me VERY happy...FINALLY! I really hope that trend continues. 

I definitely liked this one all the way around. Now bring on book #4...and I want to know more about what's happening with Mark and Crystal!