Monday, August 31, 2015

Running with Scissors by L.A. Witt

Title: Running with Scissors
Author: L.A. Witt
My Rating: A+

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Main Characters: AJ and Jude
Release Date: August 2015
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Eighteen months ago, drummer Jude Colburn made the biggest mistake of his life when he walked away from his band just as they were on the brink of success. Now, he’s got a second chance. The band’s bassist just quit, and Jude plays bass almost as well as he plays drums. The other band members aren’t thrilled, but they are desperate. 

Running with Scissors needs him, but there’s one condition: no hooking up with bandmates. That’s what ruined things eighteen months ago, after all. Jude’s on board, but no one warned him about the drummer who replaced him. A.J. Palmer is shy and unassuming . . . until he hits the stage. He gets Jude’s attention from the first beat, and suddenly that “no hookups” rule isn’t so easy to follow. 

Keeping secrets on a tour bus isn’t easy either, and it’s only a matter of time before the band catches on. When everything hits the fan, Jude has to choose: a second chance at the career he’s always regretted leaving, or a shot at the man of his dreams?

My Review:
I don't know what I expected going into this book, but it was so much more and better than I expected. 

Running with Scissors was a band that was made up of childhood friends. Within that group were Conner and Jude. Once they hit high school, their friendship morphed into more, but Conner isn't an easy guy. He's very passionate, very artistic, and he's not the easiest guy to live with. As a result, their romance was on and off constantly and very explosive. Until Jude had enough and self-destructed what they had left by cheating. He knew there was no coming back from that and left...left Conner, left the band, left his friends. He lost it all and has spent the last 18 months regretting that.

AJ took his place in the band, but he was the one outsider within this tight-knit group of friends. He's never really been accepted by them. They tend to not see or consider in group discussions and he doesn't force it, fearing if he rocks the boat, they'll simply kick him out. So he sits at the side trying to blend in with the environment most of the time.

When Conner decides to get romantically involved with another band member, it puts the band in a lurch. They are in the middle of a concert tour and their bassist just left. They have to find a replacement now. Jude is a musical savant..he can play any instrument, and can pick up music after hearing it only once or twice. He knows Running with Scissors style and music so their manager comes to him hoping that he can save the band. He's been miserable so he jumps at the chance. 

But just like AJ, Jude is an outcast. He's lost the band's trust when he left and screwed them. The guys are also both drummers. They connect over both these issues and then what started out as just a physical attraction morphs into so much more. 

This story is fabulous. It's a slow build, but so wonderfully done. These two cannot get involved. Both of them are in precarious positions with the band already. To do something together would ruin everything and get at least one of them kicked out. The chemistry and suspense between them is fantastic and made for a wonderfully sexy read. 

But more than that, this is a book about friendship and what responsibilities friends have to one another. There are a lot of personal failures in this book, which is true to life in real friendships and relationships, too. Every single person in this book has been hurt by at least one other person in the story. The band is having to live in very close quarters under less than ideal circumstances most the year. That makes things tough. Both AJ and Jude are barely hanging on to their sanity in it all, but I felt for Conner and the band, too. No one person is at fault with what has happened in this group.

While I didn't agree with a lot of the band's response to certain things, this book was a great study in how a group dynamic can shift and evolve if everyone can learn to respect...something they didn't have at the beginning of the book. I truly loved the book and would love to see future stories for Conner (definitely) and even Richie would be interesting just because his character is asexual in this book and it could be interesting to see how he dealt with it when he meets someone that challenges that aspect of him...someone that piques him sexually.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review, but immediately after finishing the book, I got online and pre-ordered a print copy of the book for my keeper shelf.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Up-Ending Tad by Kora Knight (series review)

The format for this review is going to be a bit different than my normal just because I read this entire series back to back one Saturday. Yes, it was that good. I HIGHLY recommend it. 
My Rating:
5 ***** stars
Favorite read of 2015

Just a bit of intro into the series for you. The books are novellas and follow the journey of Tad, a straight guy, who's introduced to gay sex by Scott. It's completely eye-opening, somewhat earth-shattering event for Tad who never ever suspected he could be attracted to guys. 

The first book is entirely that sex scene and it's incredibly hot and pure romance per se. But as the series develops, so does the romance and the story of these two incredible characters. The entire series is told completely from Tad's very confused, mixed-up point of view, but it works. 

Again, I have to say...I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!

Story Overview:
Tad’s weekend started out like any other: hitting a college frat party with a handful of buddies. But just as the evening hits its peak, things get up-ended fast. Ditched by his drunken, trolling friends, Tad winds up getting hustled by three jocks playing poker. Now he’s forced to pay his dues in the most outlandish of ways: accepting a couple broken bones or spending an hour with his victors’ favorite flogger, Scott. But the tantalizing torture quickly proves to be the least of Tad’s worries… and the kickoff to a night of raw, shocking lust.

Experience the graphic, minute-by-minute account of that hour spent at the hands of Tad’s insatiable tormentor. Addicting chemistry lights the stage as Scott ignites Tad’s reluctant desires into a frenzy of forbidden need.

My Review:
This first novella is all about the sex. It's pure erotica, and pure heat and sexual exploration through BDSM. For Tad, he's never even considered sex with a man, but that changes when it's a choice between this BDSM torture or broken bones. He can handle a little flogging, but what he doesn't expect is the sexual high he gets from it all. 

Seriously, this novella is so sexy. It's one huge BDSM scene, but for Tad, it's so much more just because he's never been with another man or ever even considered it. As a reader who loves straight guys in m/m romance, this was right up my alley. It was incredibly sexy and a great way to kick off the series. And whoa, Kora Knight is the QUEEN of writing pages upon pages of sex and still managing to keep it interesting. Not once, did I consider skimming in any of these scenes in her books...and they are really drawn out...that's a skill!


Story Overview:
The last time Tad saw Scott, the ripped physical trainer left him with quite a lot to think about. And that's pretty much all Tad's been doing for nearly two weeks straight. At his wit's end, he seeks Scott out, voluntarily, on his own terms. Will the completely different setting offer what he's seeking; proof that their exchange's unexpected turn was just a random mishap? Hormones run amok and truly nothing more? Or will being in Scott's presence suggest something different... their newest encounter tempting Tad's resolve while testing his ultimate limits. 

My Review:
In this second book, we find Tad reeling from what happened between him and Tad. That had to be the result of the endorphin high from the flogging, right? Tad has convinced himself, it was just the circumstances which made it the best sex ever, but he needs to test the theory so he seeks Scott out. Scott is a physical trainer who also does workout videos. He mentioned to Tad that he would give him a job as a model in those videos if he was ever interested, so Tad calls him up. 

The thing I like about these two guys is just how well they mesh when it has nothing to do with sex. They truly like one another and make great friends. That's why it's so hard for Tad to stay away. He truly wants to spend time with Scott simply because he likes him. 


Story Overview:
Round two with Scott hadn't been what Tad expected, but it did end up providing a few important realizations. For one, that crazy first encounter was definitely more than mere male hormones. Which meant he felt a true attraction to the guy. Something that explained his defenselessness against Scott's smoldering charms. Seriously, the dude had cut through his fortifications like the things hadn't even existed.
Which, yeah, was pretty unsettling.
So Tad had resolved to cope with his findings the only logical way he knew how: purge the guy from his system once and for all by staying away for good. Unfortunately, that proved way more uncomfortable than he'd anticipated. Seemed his 'stupid infatuation' ran considerably deeper, which made going cold-turkey one miserable chore.
So when Scott unexpectedly seeks him out, Tad's too drained to fight his turmoil any longer. Allowing himself a much needed fix, he agrees to hang out, neither he nor Scott knowing Dom boy Max will end up part of the deal. What starts out as an unassuming evening quickly turns shockingly licentious. Question is, will Tad be able to handle it? And more importantly, what path will it send him down in his ongoing journey of discovery?

My Review:
In this book, we find the guys trying to move onto purely a friendship. Tad still isn't so sure. Even though he's had two of the most intense sexual experiences of his life, he isn't willing to accept yet that he might be gay. So Scott has made him a deal. They'll just hang out. Sex is off the table. If Tad wants it, he has to make the first move. 

But then they get to Scott's house, and Scott's roommate, Max, who's a professional Dom, needs their help. He has a client who gets off on voyeurism. He needs the guys to watch him with his client. Well, you can see where this is leading, right?

Oh yeah, this one is sexy...but then again,the entire series is completely sexy. And I have to admit, I'm intrigued by Max, the roommate, and Sean, the client. Max, so far in the story, has been this harsh, hard character. To see him acting so differently with Sean...loved that. 

And I need to just interject here...I love the way this room is set up in Scott and Max's house. Love the imagery of the dungeon and the observation room, but there's also the whole gym set-up. It's fabulous!


Story Overview:
With Tad's reservations firmly on the one-eighty, he's finally more at ease exploring this intriguing new part of himself, especially where his attraction, and affections, for Scott are concerned. But when their evening plans get cancelled, Tad winds up watching the guy in action at the gym instead. Kickboxing lessons lead to sparring, which in turn leads to a face-off more erotic than Tad could have ever imagined. With huge new boundaries crossed, both men are floored like never before. Have these milestones finally put all Tad's hang-ups behind him? 

Warning: this 30k+ story includes erotically rough physical play and graphically explicit gay sex. 
Intended for mature audiences only.

My Review:
Oooh, this one was so good. I love that in this one Tad gets to turn the tables and dominate Scott a bit. Have I mentioned how sexy this series is? Yeah, well, it's definitely worth repeating again. 

In this story, Tad is becoming a bit more confident in what he's exploring with Scott. Up until this point though Scott has always been the more dominant of the two, even though Tad is pretty alpha, too. In this one, he's taking the lead and I love that. And it's not only in their sexual relationship, he's also stepping up a bit more to challenge Scott in all areas. 

We get to see more of Tad's group of friends in this one, with an interesting dynamic that appears to be setting up between one of his friends and one of Scott's friends. What's the history there? I'm definitely intrigued. 

I think this is my favorite book of the bunch, just because it's so out of the norm for the two of them. I liked to see Tad asserting himself and being less submissive. Over time, I think these two are just going to get hotter and hotter. Seriously, Kora Knight could just continue to write installments for them, and I think I'd be happy, because there are a lot of areas they could really explore. *ahem* the swing... I'm just saying.


Story Overview:
It’s Friday night and Tad finds himself doing pretty much what he’d expected. Celebrating with his friends at a night club in honor of their buddy Breck’s birthday. The music’s pumping, drinks are flowing, as laughter and dancing bodies abound.

Nothing too outlandish, nothing unusual.

Until Scott and his own crew show up at the place. Funny how the one person Tad prefers above all others is the last person he wants to see. But now that he’s spotted the guy across the room, he can’t seem to take his eyes off him. Which winds up being a very bad thing. Seems Scott out in public with other attractive men is a much different story than Tad’s used to.

As one disturbing event after another unfolds, Tad splits before he loses his mind. But the breather he needs he does not get. In fact, things just go from bad to worse, the night ending on a note he never would have imagined. As things between Scott and him hit rock bottom, the only direction left must be up. If only Tad’s life would follow such a formula. But the path he’s been walking lately has never been that simple.

With a world of revelations finally revealed, can Tad find it in himself to make peace with Scott’s past so they can finally head into the future?

My Review:
The final book to least so far. There's still one more to come in the series...and yes, it's supposed to release next month! Tad has finally accepted who he is and what Scott means to him and is on the cusp of coming out of the closet. But first he has to get through Breck's birthday. He doesn't want to take from his friends celebration, but that ends up blowing up on him big-time. 

This is an explosive installment...just because emotions are riding so high. Scott's been patient, but he' the end of that. I loved this story so much just in that we got to see some real insight into Scott and Max's background. So far, there really hasn't been all that much about Scott, since the entire book is told from Tad's point of view. That depth to Scott was definitely missing and I have to say, I was really surprised by what came out. But it made so much sense with what we know about Scott. 

There was a lot of conflict and emotion to this installment, but I really love where the two guys are. I think that blow-up was needed for them. The entire series has been so phenomenal. I maintain that it's one of the sexiest things I've read, but I love how the characters and emotional ties between them has grown over the stories. They started out as completely about the sex, but have become so much more. Kora Knight is an incredible story teller and she has a new fan right here. I cannot wait for #6...although I'm sad that it's supposed to be the final in this series. Although, in good news, I was snooping on her website and there are two full-length books coming for both couple of Max and Sean and Breck and Kai. YES!! (and a print version of this entire series...YES! Because I need this one for my keeper shelf.)

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
Follow TJ West's Blog

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.