Friday, July 31, 2015

30 Days by Christine d'Abo

Title: 30 Days
Author: Christine d'Abo
My Rating: B

Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: Jackson: 30 Days #1
Main Characters: Alyssa and Harrison
Release Date: July 2015
Publisher: Kensington
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:
For years, Alyssa has been going to bed with a memory. Is she ready to wake up with a fantasy?

Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mate, but not Alyssa Barrow. She met Rob at nineteen, and they were set to live happily ever after—until he became ill. In his final days, Rob urged his beautiful, young wife not to abandon happiness—or pleasure. He even left her a special gift, a sexy game plan to help her move on: Thirty cards with instructions for thirty days of passion. You’ll know when the time is right, he’d said. Now it’s two years later, and when Alyssa meets her hot new neighbor, Harrison Kemp, she begins to think the right time is right now…

From his sculpted thighs to his devilish grin, Harrison is the kind of man women want. Before she can lose her nerve, Alyssa tells Harrison about her long-ignored cards…and asks him to help her fulfill them. It’s a favor he’s more than happy to, um, perform. With his skillful touch, and the hot press of his lips against her skin, Alyssa finds herself re-awakening to life—and a host of other sensations. But what began as not-so-innocent fun soon grows into true intimacy, and Alyssa realizes she’s opening herself up not just to sex…but to love. When it comes to a future with Harrison, what’s really in the cards?

Saucy, heartwarming, and insightful, 30 Days explores the agony—and the ecstasy—of starting over, and how a little encouragement, and a little courage, can go a long way…
My Review:
Even though this book comes from the beginnings of a sad place, it's such a sweet, heartwarming, sexy story. Overall, I really enjoyed it. 

It's been two years since Alyssa's husband died from cancer. They both knew he was dying and he left her with instructions and an envelope filled with cards. When she was ready to move on, he left her 30 cards of sexual exploration so that she could work through the guilt and difficulties of moving on. He was her first and only lover...that's not easy to get past.

My heart bled for Alyssa and what she's going through. She was completely in love with her husband and it's hard to let go of that, especially with the parameters that Harrison sets forth for her. This is all about sex...they both agree. Neither wants a relationship, but comparisons for her are inevitable, especially when she's not allowed to form an attachment especially on the surface. 

I liked the way the story and the sexual relationship between the two of them evolved. It seemed more natural than just jumping into sex and I loved Harrison for seeing that she needs that. The cards were fun, although I would have loved to have seen a list of all 30 cards, regardless of whether they got to them all or not. There were some interesting details and side stories with the condo building/coop and the elderly couple. There were also fun little details throughout the book. Harrison is named for Harrison Ford and there's a Star Wars thread that runs through the book and the way that Alyssa tackled the final conflict was brilliant. I was laughing out loud as I read it.

My one complaint...I wish there had been alternating POV's in this book. I just didn't connect with Harrison's character as much as I did with Alyssa. And I know that was by design, but I think I could have really fallen fully in love with his character if we'd had his POV. But other than that, it was a fun, sexy book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Frisk Me by Lauren Layne

Title: Frisk Me
Author: Lauren Layne
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: New York's Finest #1
Main Characters: Luc and Ava
Release Date: July 2015
Publisher: Forever
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Officer Luc Moretti had no idea that his dive into the East River would have him drowning in a media frenzy. No matter how many times he tells reporters he was just doing his job, they're determined to make him into NYC's newest hero. Coming from a long line of NYPD's finest, Luc knows that being a cop has nothing to do with headlines and viral videos, and he's more than ready to get back to life away from the cameras—until he meets the gorgeous but jaded journalist assigned to film a TV special on him.

Ava Sims may be the only woman in NYC who isn't in love with Officer Moretti. That's why she's going after the real story—to find out about the man behind the badge. Ava's determined to keep things strictly professional, but the more time she spends around Luc, even she has to admit there's something about a man in uniform . . . and she can't wait to get him out of his.


My Review:
I love this family full of sexy, alpha, Italian cops. I do not love the blond cover model. What part of dark, broody, Italian is confusing? He's gorgeous, but...LOL.

But regardless of that, this is a pretty good book. I loved the fantastic chemistry  and conflict between Luc and Ava. They were simply explosive together and that made for a really sexy read full of sexual tension that I enjoyed. 

And they have things in common too because they both have internal conflict about their job. 

For Luc, that tracks back to a case which resulted in the death of his partner and a young girl. He has a lot of guilt over his actions surrounding those events. Actions that everyone agrees weren't his fault. Hindsight is 20/20 and he's human. It wasn't his fault. Period. Dot. He also has issues in this family of cop over-achievers...it's hard to live up to.

For Ava, she's conflicted about her job. Her family also has high expectations for her, which she has taken into her psyche. She has to succeed at any cost...even though she really doesn't enjoy the job, how completely groomed she has to be, or the exploitation of others she has to do for the job. 

A lot of people are hating on this book for what Ava did and her lack of character growth, and to a certain extent, I agree with those criticisms. I just think the author didn't take it far enough. There was a way to do what Ava did and turn it so that she could maintain the story she originally set out to tell, but point out the way that media exploits cops both good and bad. These men and women in uniform are still human beings that have to make split second calls and follow procedure with very real and many times dangerous repercussions. But at the end of the day, they are human, with human emotions, reactions, and they pay for it in a much deeper way...both them and the people who love them and worry for them every day when they leave their home to report into the job. That story line was there, but I don't feel like it was used to the extent it could have been.

But regardless of that one tiny complaint, this was a fantastic book and is setting up a great series. I loved the witty dialogue, the wide cast of characters, and the set-up for the chemistry between Luc and Ava. I thought they were incredibly sexy and fun. And I'm definitely looking forward to more of the Moretti clan. 

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

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Thrill Me by Susan Mallery

Title: Thrill Me
Author: Susan Mallery
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Fools Gold #18
Main Characters: Maya and Del
Release Date: July 2015
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Meet the Mitchell brothers of Fool's Gold, California—five gorgeous men who've left a trail of broken hearts in their wake… 

Maya Farlow learned the hard way to depend only on herself, so when she fell too deeply for the bad-boy charms of Del Mitchell, she did the only thing she could—she ran. Stunned, Del left Fool's Gold to make his name and fortune in extreme sports. 

Now ten years later, Maya's been hired to promote her hometown's new slogan, The Destination for Romance. The celebrity spokesman is none other than Del, the man she dumped but never forgot. Awkward! 

Although Del's not the type to hold a grudge, he's determined to avoid falling a second time for the woman who broke his heart. He's a daredevil, not an idiot. Trouble is, in all his adventures, he never found a rush as exhilarating as Maya's kiss. Maybe risking his heart will prove to be the biggest thrill of all…


My Review:
It's been a while since I gave a Fool's Gold book a 5* rating, but I really liked this one. The set up and the history between Maya and Gabe really worked for me. They dated and were engaged ten years ago until Maya got cold feet and broke Gabe's heart. Although she regretted how she handled things since then, they've been okay in the ten years since those events happened. Yes, it was heartbreaking, but they've both managed to live good, full lives then, so maybe that was the way it was meant to be.

That's the way they both think until they both come home at the same time and are thrown into working on a project for the town by the mayor. Suddenly there are all these "what if" questions and feelings arising again that neither one feels good about. It's ten years too late for them...or is it?

There's a lot to this story. Gabe has an interesting and unusual family dynamic. His father is a world famous and ego-driven glass artist. For his father, nothing is more important than his art and the entire family has learned how to work around that and deal with his ego. There are five sons (Gabe's the oldest) and their mother. When Gabe and Maya began to date, his mother took Maya under her wing since she'd never had a mother she could count on. Their friendship has lasted ever since and comes into play heavily in this book as his mother is dealing with some secrets that she doesn't want the men in her family to know about. Can we say conflict?

I liked that whole family aspect of the story line. I enjoyed the five brothers and the conflicts within them...there are some fantastic future heroes to this bunch. I also loved the artistic touches throughout the story. While Gabe didn't inherit the full amazing abilities of his father, he did get some creative genes which come to play in the videos that he and Maya are creating. I always enjoy stories that have a creative bent to them. 

Like I said...I did really like this one. I enjoy all the Fools Gold books, but this one was just a little step better to me in the overall story depth and details that made it a better book for my personal reading tastes. 

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Promo Post: Chasing Cassidy by D. Kelly




Title: Chasing Cassidy
Author: D. Kelly
 Release Date: July 28, 2015



Blurb

When Zachary Stafford first set eyes on Cassidy Pope she was being beaten by her father. After witnessing the traumatic event, he made it his mission to befriend her. As the years pass, their relationship evolves and Cassidy not only gives Zack her friendship but her love, as well.

Cassidy spent her childhood being verbally and physically abused. The best part of her life is her friendship with the Stafford twins, Zack and Rylee. Although she tries to put on a brave front, the years of abuse have turned Cassidy into a woman filled with insecurities who doesn’t believe she deserves love. Especially not the kind of love Zack has given her for the last twelve years.

On their wedding day, Cassidy’s insecurities get the best of her and she does the one thing she knows how to do well…she runs. Zack is devastated and when he discovers why Cassidy ran, his devastation becomes fury. Long ago, Zack made Cassidy a promise he fully intends to keep and sets off on a journey to bring her back into his arms where she belongs.

Will Zack and Cassidy get their happily ever after, or will Cassidy’s inner demons keep her from getting the only thing she ever wanted in this world? To be loved.






Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK




Excerpt

Releasing my hands, he pulls my dress over my head and runs his hands across my black bra and gives my breasts a quick squeeze. When he reaches my panties, he slides his hand inside and cups my pussy, sliding one, then a second finger inside of me. My eyes close momentarily while I absorb the exquisite feeling of him inside me. It’s been too long.

“That’s my vixen. Wet as fuck and just aching for me to make you scream. My fingers are the only ones that ever belong in your pussy, Cassidy.” Chuckling, he corrects himself, “Well, mine and yours. You know how much I love watching you finger yourself until you come.”

“Zack.” His name falls easily from my mouth as he continues to finger me. There’s no way anyone could ever make me feel as amazing as he does. He’s right—he’s the only one for me, the only one I could ever love. I know that more and more with every passing second we spend here, but I still have a secret to tell him.

One that will change everything.

As he slowly pulls his fingers out of me, he brings them to his mouth one by one, tasting each one slowly, savoring the taste of me on his tongue. It’s as if he’s enjoying his favorite dessert, the eroticism of the moment is heady.

“Fuck, I’ve missed tasting you on my lips, and I’ve really missed running my tongue along your sweet, tight pussy as you come all over my face.”

Suddenly, he flips me around, holding both wrists in a single hand above my head with my face against the wall. His teeth bite down onto my shoulder but he soothes the pain with a swipe of his tongue and with the touch of his kiss against it.
“Perhaps I should punish you for running. What do you think? What should the punishment be for delayed sexual gratification?” Zack’s punishments are filled with pleasure and just the thought of it makes me want him even more. With my history, there’s no spanking, but the exquisite pleasure he brings me while he has me tied up is incredible.



Also Available


The first book in The Acceptance Series
is currently free

AMAZON US / UK
and 99c at B&N




Author Bio


I'm a wife, a mom, and a dog lover. I'm also a taxi, problem fixer, extreme multi-tasker, and my kids’ biggest fan in anything they do. I’m married to my high school sweetheart... how cool is that? Margaritas and sarcasm make me happy. Chocolate makes that happiness grow exponentially. People who make me laugh are my favorite kind of people. I believe Karma is a bitch who slaps back hard and mean people suck. I'm California born and raised, and I love the beach but hate the sand. And, of course, I believe Starbucks makes any day better. I’m the author of The Acceptance Series and Chasing Cassidy with more books soon to come.




Author Links


Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl

Title: Taking the Heat
Author: Victoria Dahl
My Rating: A+

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Jackson: Girls' Night Out #3
Main Characters: Veronica and Gabe
Release Date: July 2015
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Passion this hot can't be faked… 

All revved up for bright lights and steamy nights, writer Veronica Chandler chased her dreams to New York City. When she hit a dead end, reality sent her back home to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Saving her pride and her new gig—writing a relationship advice column!—requires some faking. No one can know the truth about her big-city flop or her nonexistent sex life. But the town's irresistibly rugged librarian is determined to figure her out… and give her hands-on lessons in every wicked thing she wants to know.  

Gabe MacKenzie's heart might be in Wyoming, but secretly his future's tied up in his family's Manhattan legacy. Getting down and dirty with Veronica is supposed to give him a few memorable nights—not complicate his plans. But the thing about heat this scorching is there's just no going back… and it might be too hot for either of them to take.

My Review:
This book was so incredibly good. There's a ton going for it that made it one of the best books I've read this year. 

Gabe is a male librarian who's in love with the outdoors and things like rock-climbing...not a great combination for a guy who's expected to take over the family business in NYC. He has one year to enjoy his life and freedom in Jackson Hole, and then he has to go back to his responsibilities.

Veronica is an advice columnist who's come back home to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with her tail between her legs after she hated and failed in NYC. Veronica has spent her life faking it to get by. She grew up in a family where she was always a disappointment and thought that NYC would mean the fulfillment of her dreams. Instead it was a devastating disappointment in a long string of disappointments that have made up her life. As a result, she has self-esteem issues. She has fear issues. She has TONS of issues. But she's an advice columnist and is good at giving advice. One of my favorite things about her was her ability to step back from her situation, whatever it was, and look at it like she would one of the letters that came into her Dear Veronica column. 

I loved her character. She knows her weaknesses and is so strong in that she will face them head-on, no matter how terrified and mortified she is about doing it. 

Then there is Gabe in how he handles her. Rawr...he is so sexy in just that he wants to help her. He can see her...see her struggles...and likes her so much more for her weaknesses. He's a good guy with a great heart and a sexy physique and beard. I seriously wanted to take a bite out of him. He's the perfect hero...no, not perfect...but so damn perfect for Veronica. He helps her be a better person and in the end she does the same for him. 

I had NO IDEA how this book would/could work out, but I loved that Veronica stood her ground in the end. It broke her heart, but she was so freaking strong. She showed so much growth over the course of this book, I wanted to stand up and cheer for her. She was a great heroine and Gabe was the perfect hero. I ADORED their story. Definitely one of my favorite reads for the year. It was incredibly emotional...I connected really deeply with both characters. I also loved the setting with Veronica's advice column and how she feels like a fraud through so much of it, but she is still so incredibly good with what she does. I loved how she handled her father in the end and definitely was cheering her on!

I HIGHLY recommend this book!! It was fabulous contemporary romance...fun, entertaining and so incredibly sexy! Everything I love in a good book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review, but I will be buying a print copy because this one needs to go on my keeper shelf.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Prickly Business by Kenzie Cade and Piper Vaughn

Title: Prickly Business
Author: Kenzie Cade and Piper Vaughn
My Rating: A

Genre: Paranormal Romance  (m/m)
Series: Portland Pack #1
Main Characters: Avery and Dylan
Release Date: July 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Links to Purchase:
Amazon
Sexual Intensity: hot




Story Overview:
Some people might call Avery Babineaux a prick. He’s a hedgehog shifter from an old-money Louisiana family with a penchant for expensive shoes and a reputation for being a judgmental snob. His attitude is why he and his fated mate are estranged. Not that Avery cares. He doesn’t want to be mated to some blue-collar werewolf anyway. Or so he keeps telling himself.

No werewolf likes to be looked down upon, least of all Dylan Green. He doesn’t need a mate, especially not some snotty hedgehog who sneers at his custom motorcycle shop and calls him a grease monkey. But when Avery gets into trouble with a shady loan shark, Dylan can’t stand by and let him be hurt—whether he wants the brat or not.

Yet once Dylan steps into Avery’s world, he realizes there’s more to Avery than his prickly exterior, and that unexpected vulnerability calls to Dylan’s protective instincts. The sassy little hedgehog needs a keeper, and despite their horrible first impressions, Dylan starts to believe he might be the wolf for the job.


My Review:
I'll admit...I've been looking forward to this book for MONTHS!! A hedgehog shifter? Yes, please. BUT that's a lot of expectation to live up to, so I was a bit worried when I got it. Would I end up disappointed?

*wipes brow in relief* No, I was not disappointed. In fact, this book was much deeper and so much more than I expected. I loved it. 

Okay...Avery is a hedgehog shifter...probably the first in literature. But his character is very much what you'd expect...a bit prickly, standoffish, and he has a bit of a defensive attitude about his shifter form. But underneath all that is a guy who has awful parents and is left solitary and lonely. He's sad and I just wanted to hug him and tuck him into Dylan's embrace. Luckily, Dylan has the exact same ideas when he's around Avery. As destined mates, he can't help but want to protect Avery...something that Avery finds very offensive. He can take care of himself. 

And that's the crux of the issue between these two guys for the last two years. They both know they're mates, but Avery refuses to open himself up to any vulnerability and refuses to see that there may even be a possibility with Dylan. He always jumps to the worst possible conclusion and Dylan isn't much better. They've spent 2 years avoiding or sniping at one another...that's a hard habit to change, but when Avery ends up in a bad situation, it's Dylan who saves him which throws the two together. 

There is SO MUCH to love about this book. I love how just like his shifter form, Avery is tough and prickly, but that's just hiding a soft underbelly....he really just wants to be loved. And by the end, he is... so much. 

Dylan is part of a crew of four. These guys grew up together and all had each other's backs. I love every single one of these guys, but most especially for how they open their hearts to Avery too. He's Dylan's so that automatically makes him accepted amongst them and wow, that was HUGE. I seriously LOVE these guys and really hope they are all part of the upcoming books in this series. I need all their stories...as soon as possible!!

The book was equal parts sweet, heartbreaking, and sexy. I loved how the relationship between Dylan and Avery developed. It's definitely not as easy as you would think it should be, especially since they are shifter mates, but I love how much constraint they use so they don't make a mistake either. I love how much Dylan wants to protect Avery, but he holds himself back to a certain to allow Avery to show his strengths. These guys learn to respect one another and that is the BEST basis for a relationship. I loved them and this story!! Highly recommend!

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

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Breakng by Barbara Elsborg

Title: Breaking
Author: Barbara Elsborg
My Rating: A

Genre: Romantic Suspense (m/m)
Series: Fall or Break #2
Main Characters: Archer and Conrad
Release Date: July 2015
Publisher: Samhain
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic



Story Overview:
Archer Hart is on the move before the man he’s just killed is found. When a bullet whizzes past his ear, he realizes hunter is now hunted. So much for his retirement plans. Someone wants him dead and all he can do is keep running.

Downed by a hit and run driver, barrister Conrad Black is certain the ‘accident’ was deliberate but he has no proof or support. In recovery, struggling to work out of partial paralysis, he has plenty of time to wonder who regrets not striking him harder. At this point, running anywhere is a distant dream.

The confidence, determination and stamina of two alphas males will mean little if neither is willing to bend—seize the love offered—and work together to understand why they’re suddenly both marked men. Not easy for either when Archer has broken the law in the worst possible way and Conrad is the law.
 

My Review:
I have to admit I was surprised by just how sexy this book was. Both the main characters, Archer and Conrad, are exclusively tops...and they have very good reasons for that. This isn't all about preference. It's about trust and their not-so-great pasts. And they are both really rugged alpha-types who don't like to back down...EVER. So, you can imagine what some of the bedroom scenes are like in this book. SE.XY!

And this is a riveting story too. Both these guys have people trying to kill them, but for very different reasons. The problem is Conrad was recently hit by a car that broke his back and left him basically crippled. He's recovering, but it's slow and he's certainly not physically up to being on the run. One of the best things about the book though is that Archer doesn't look down or coddle Conrad for his injury. He treats him like a whole sexy man which is something Conrad needs desperately right now because his injury has left him feeling "less" in more ways than one. 

Like I said the scenes between the two guys are sexy, but I just love their chemistry. They are big-time competitive...in all things. They complement one another completely, even though on the surface one is a criminal while the other is a lawyer...opposite sides of the law. They even compete for the dog, Deefor's, love and that was just funny, especially since he's Archer's dog, but seems to be more loyal to Conrad. 

There is so much good about this book. There were a few moments in the book that left me gasping. There were moments when I smiled. And then some where I teared up. The suspense line was wonderful and the action kept my heart pumping almost non-stop. I loved it. I loved the first in the series, too, so I kind of expected this one to be less. But nope...I think this one was even better. 

Highly recommend!

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

Written in the Stars by Alix Bekins (audiobook)



Title: Written in the Stars
Author: Alix Bekins
My Rating: B+
Narrator: Peter B. Brooke

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: -
Main Characters: Bailey and John
Release Date: February 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: mild

Story Overview:
Bailey McMillan’s life is a mess. The general public blames him for his former employer’s nuclear pollution, resulting in professional disgrace. Humiliated, he takes a job as an editor at a science magazine run by his best friend, John. That part isn’t so bad; Bailey is fond of John, who seems to find Bailey’s abrasive nature amusing.

Unfortunately, working for John also leads to writing an astrology column in exchange for getting free rein in some op-ed articles—and then being sued over one. The (totally coincidental) accuracy of the column offers opportunity for further professional disgrace if anyone discovers its author—and then Bailey digs himself a little deeper.



In an attempt to prove astrology is bogus, he agrees to an experiment to date someone from each star sign. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Bailey’s got a stupid crush on John, who stubbornly insists on a detailed breakdown of every date—bad and otherwise. Bailey’s luck has to improve sometime… right?
 
My Review:
Overall.... 4.0
Performance... 4.25

Story.... 4.0

Honestly, I have no idea how I came across this audiobook. I've never read this author before, so it was either an Audible rec or another reviewer that enjoyed it. Either way, I am so glad that I grabbed this one. It was a good book.

This book is entirely Bailey's book. Think Sheldon from Big Bang Theory and you have Bailey...he's just a bit more sexual than Sheldon is on the show. Bailey is a scientist who's very confident in his intelligence level and not so patient with everyone else's lack of intelligence level. He has very exacting expectations of others. So it's really humorous that he ends up writing the horoscope column for the magazine he works at. 

In an effort to prove that horoscopes are nonsense, Bailey places a bet with his boss and best friend, John, that he will go on twelve dates with men from other zodiac signs. For the experiment to work, he has no idea what signs any of the men are and then at the end they will compare the quality of his dates to who he should be compatible with based on the stars. 

It's a fun premise as we watch Bailey go on these twelve dates...some successful and some of them REALLY not. But even more interesting was watching John's reactions to the different dates. Bailey has no idea that John could even be interested in him. He doesn't even know John is bi-sexual, so to watch that all play out and revealed slowly was fun. The entire book is told from Bailey's POV so you are guessing right along with him.

It was simply a sweet book and a fun read. I love a good friends to lovers story and this is definitely one of those. These two are best friends and that makes the best basis for a romance (in my opinion). 

And it should be noted that the narrator did a PHENOMENAL job with this book. There are 12 dates, plus the main characters and situations. That is a lot of different voices and inflections. He did each one of them COMPLETELY different. I was amazed at his range of voices...truly impressive.

If you've never read m/m, this is actually a good book to start with. Most the sexual moments take place off the page, so it's not real graphic. The book is concentrated on the story and the build-up between the two characters. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Undeclared by Jen Frederick (audiobook)


Title: Undeclared
Author: Jen Frederick
My Rating: B+
Narrator: Connor Kelly-Eiding and Andrew Eiden

Genre: New Adult
Series: The Woodlands #1
Main Characters: Grace and Noah
Release Date: September 2014
Publisher: Pear Tree LLC
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
8 hrs 35 mins

For four years, Grace Sullivan wrote to a Marine she never met, and fell in love. But when his deployment ended, so did the letters. Ever since that day, Grace has been coasting, academically and emotionally. The one thing she's decided? No way is Noah Jackson - or any man - ever going to break her heart again.



Noah has always known exactly what he wants out of life. Success. Stability. Control. That's why he joined the Marines, and that's why he's fighting his way - literally - through college. Now that he's got the rest of his life on track, he has one last conquest: Grace Sullivan. But since he was the one who stopped writing, he knows that winning her back will be his biggest battle yet.
 
My Review:
Overall.... 4.0
Performance... 4.25

Story.... 3.75

The beginning of this book started out so good. I loved the fact that Grace and Noah had been pen pals for four years because it built up so much history and emotion between them. 
BUT...
I had an issue with the fact that Grace is 19 in this book. I loved the idea that the two of them truly fell in love during their correspondence, but with the timeline between the two of them, that meant Grace was ages 13-17 while they corresponded. Okay, yeah....now I'm liking the beginning of that story line a whole lot less. Noah would have been a grown man while Grace was little more than a child throughout most of their correspondence. Now, that whole aspect that I loved is feeling more than a little icky.

Luckily, I didn't really do the math throughout most of the first half of the book so that didn't occur to me until later. By that time, I was enjoying the story. 

And I did enjoy this story overall. It's a New Adult romance so there's a lot of immaturity and angst on the part of Grace. She's young and the author wrote her that way. She's only 19 and doesn't know how to aim her life, unlike Noah who's much older and has been on his own with goals and reasons for life for a long time at this point. The two just seemed like they were at such different stages in life, even though they are both in college. 

I liked how devoted Noah is to winning her. He's dreamt of her for years (yeah, there's that ick factor again...2 years before he dumped her and she was only 17...not even legal...ew. I just really wish the author had made her at least a couple of years older) and now he sees this as his opportunity. He came to this college specifically to win her heart and I do love his devotion. 

The Woodlands is the name of this series and there are 5 guys total who live in this gorgeous house out at the Woodlands. Noah is the first to have his story told, but I liked all the guys, especially his best friend, Beau. I definitely plan to read more in the series because the book was written really well and it was interesting. My main issue was with the age thing, but everything else about it was actually pretty good. It stalled out a bit at the end, but overall I enjoyed it. I just wish that the rest of the series was available on audio too. 

Note...the audiobook is done by two narrators because the book is broken into two POV's...both in first person, alternating between the hero and heroine. So there is a male and a female narrator. Both the narrators on the audiobook were VERY good. Noah has a bit of a southern drawl and they both did pretty good with him, although I will admit, I liked the male's version just a slight bit better.