Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Bad Boy for Christmas by Jessica Lemmon


Title: A Bad Boy for Christmas
Author: Jessica Lemmon
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Second Chance #3
Main Characters: Connor and Faith
Release Date: September 2015
Publisher: Forever
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Tis the Season to Be Naughty 

Connor McClain knows what he wants. And after four harrowing years in Afghanistan, that's a quiet life in the lakeside town of Evergreen Cove. But coming home has land mines of its own-the most dangerous of them being long-legged bombshell Faith Garrett. Now getting her into his arms this holiday is going to require more than mistletoe . . . 

With a cheating ex behind her, all Faith wants is a relaxing holiday free from man drama. And even though every moment with gorgeous Connor is a sweet temptation, Faith is determined not to give in. But Jack Frost has other plans, and soon Faith and Connor are snowbound in a winter wonderland with only the sparks flying between them to keep them warm. As one hot kiss leads to another, they'll have to decide if they're ready to give each other the best gift of all-love. 


My Review:
This is just one of those series that's been really enjoyable. This book was no exception to the rule, but I did feel like this particular installment had a lot more than normal going on with the characters...and I liked that. 

These are two people who've both been burned by love, but for Faith, it goes deeper than that. She truly thinks that she's cursed with love and never plans to ever get that deep again. As a result, she really tries to keep Connor at a distance...something he simply doesn't allow. I love that about him. 

Connor is a driven guy, and he wants Faith. I love how upfront he is. He doesn't allow her to think, to doubt, to question what they have going on. He seems to really get her and her issues...which are many. The best scene is with her breasts. I seriously fell even deeper in love with this guy after that. He's just incredible and so perfect for Faith.

But he has his haunting issues too. He has PTSD after 4 tours in Afghanistan. But I love how he works through that with his landscaping company. There's some great symbolism in the book with plants in winter and what he gets out of that. And I really love that he smells like lavender because of it...just one of those little details that makes him even more lovable. 

And then if that's all not enough, there's an age difference. I don't think it was ever settle exactly how much of a difference there is between them, but for Faith, whose mother is an unapologetic cougar, this is definitely an issue...even if Connor is more mature than she is. Honestly, Faith is a hot mess, but Connor doesn't care. He handles her beautifully. I loved them together and how he calmed and soothed her. It's a great story about how the perfect mate can make a person better...in every way. This is what happens with these two. 

And then it's set in the middle of a snowy Christmas season with decorating, snowbound, romantic scenes in front of the fireplace...all really good things. I just plain liked the book and think you will, too.
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Storytime by K. Lynn

Title: Storytime
Author: K. Lynn
My Rating: B-

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m) 
Series: -
Main Characters: James and David
Release Date: September 2015
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Since the death of his partner a year ago, sci-fi writer James Murphy has lived a quiet, secluded life. But at the urging of his agent, he finally makes an effort to rejoin society. His first step is volunteering for a weekly storytime at the local library. The decision seems like a good one when he meets the children's librarian, David.

Bright and engaging, David somehow manages to make James feel like everything will be okay. But when mutual friendship leads to a budding romance, the move forward could be too much for James. Leaving his past love behind once and for all might be a step he'll never be ready to take.
 

My Review:
On the surface, this book was fine. The writing worked and the story kept my attention. BUT it's super, super short...and what's missing from the story is the emotion. While I somewhat enjoyed reading James and David's story, I never did emotionally engage with them. It was like reading a narrative where I could clap and say, "well done", but five minutes later, just not care. All the surface story telling is there, but there's nothing deep in the story to let the reader connect and root for the characters. Which is kind of sad, because the surface story is decent. It just needed more. I wanted to care for these characters...and I just didn't.

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

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Playing with Fire by Kate Meader

Title: Playing with Fire
Author: Kate Meader
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Hot in Chicago #2
Main Characters: Alexandra and Eli
Release Date: September 2015
Publisher:  Pocket 
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
From popular romance author Kate Meader comes the second novel in Hot in Chicago, a brand-new, sizzling series that follows a group of firefighting foster siblings and their blazing hot love interests!

As the only female firefighter at Engine Co. 6, Alexandra Dempsey gets it from all sides: the male coworkers who think she can’t do the job, the wives and girlfriends who see her as a threat to their firefighter men, and her overprotective foster brothers who want to shelter their baby sister at all costs. So when she single-handedly saves the life of Eli Cooper, Chicago’s devastatingly handsome mayor, she assumes the respect she’s longed for will finally come her way. But it seems Mr. Mayor has other ideas…

Eli Cooper’s mayoral ratings are plummeting, his chances at reelection dead in the water. When a sexy, curvaceous firefighter gives him the kiss of life, she does more than bring him back to the land of the living—she also breathes vitality into his campaign. Riding the wave of their feel-good story might prop up Eli’s flagging political fortunes, but the sizzling attraction between them can go nowhere; he’s her boss, and there are rules that must be obeyed. But you know what they say about rules: they’re made to be broken…

My Review:
We were introduced to Mayor Eli in the first book in this series...and in that book, he plays the part of villain pretty well. The Dempsey clan DO NOT like him or his politics at all, but it's been obvious from the very beginning that he had some off-the-charts chemistry with Alex. And all of that tension and conflict makes this book so, so good!

Alex is the only girl among this family of boys. She's dealt with the stigma of being a female her whole life and is willing to put up with it to continue the family tradition of firefighting. That's one of her main issues with Eli...he's made  it pretty clear that he doesn't think women should be firefighters. Oh, and he's a politician trying to keep his Chicago budget in the black...which is messing with the firefighter pensions. I love how tough she is. She's definitely not a girly girl, but she wants what every girl wants...a guy to make her feel special...and she's not afraid to keep trying to get that. There were moments in this book when I simply laughed out loud just because Alex doesn't hold anything back. She's awesome, straightforward, and spunky as hell. She makes me smile. 

But what I really love about Eli is how much he gets Alex. Alex isn't a gorgeous model type, but he wants her desperately. He seems to really get her insecurities, but doesn't have the patience for them. He wants her. He thinks she's sexy as hell. End of story. And even though Eli is a politician, he doesn't hold anything back either. He's upfront, straight-forward and in your face about a lot of things. Between the two of them, I spent the majority of reading this book grinning. 

The book was amazingly good. The chemistry between them makes it fun with an edge of anticipation which meant I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I will tell you right now, Kate Meader is the Queen of writing sexual tension. Wow, this novel sizzles. 

She's also really good at writing Eli. He's a politician stuck in a situation with lots of grey areas. He's certainly not all good and has had to make some really difficult choices. That gave the story an sense of realism because I'm sure that's something ALL politicians have to deal with on a daily basis. To get things done, sometimes compromises have to be made...and they aren't all good things. He's made questionable choices and is honest with himself about what kind of person that makes him. I liked that vulnerability that the author was pull out of him through that. 

The book is just really, really well done and well written. It was entertaining and PERFECT for this romantic lover's heart. I adored Eli and Alex as characters apart from one another, but they are so freaking good together. I highly recommend this book...and the entire series. (Note: You don't have to read the whole series. Each book works perfectly well as a stand-alone although the characters and couples make appearances in the subsequent books.)

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

Marry Me At Christmas by Susan Mallery

Title: Marry Me At Christmas
Author: Susan Mallery
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Fools Gold #19
Main Characters: Madeline and Jonny
Release Date: September 2015
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: mild

Story Overview:
Wish upon a Christmas star with New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery's sparkling Fool's Gold romance! 

To bridal boutique owner Madeline Krug, organizing a Christmas wedding sounds like a joy—until she finds out she'll be working closely with the gorgeous brother of the bride, movie star Jonny Blaze. How will a small-town girl like her keep from falling for the world's sexiest guy? Especially with mistletoe lurking around every corner! 

Jonny came to Fool's Gold looking for normal, not for love. Happily-ever-after only happens in the movies. Still, nothing about this quirky town is quite what he expected, and "ordinary" Madeline is the most extraordinary woman he's ever met. Refreshingly honest, disarmingly sweet. Achingly beautiful. 

Planning the perfect wedding leads to candlelit dinners and strolls through snow-covered streets. And Madeline finds Jonny in real life even more captivating than her celebrity crush. But will the action star be brave enough to risk his heart and step into the role of a lifetime?

My Review:
I have to admit, I'm a sucker for this trope...and I'm not even sure what to call it...when the normal girl next door catches the heart of the most wanted man in Hollywood. 

This was just a fun book. Madeline runs Paper Moon, the bridal gown store in Fools Gold (I LOVE the name of it.) Ever since she heard Jonny Blaze was moving to town, she's been a little bit flustered over it. Every one of her friends knows about her crush on him. It's really kind of sweet just how awkward she is around him. So, it's a huge deal when Mayor Marsha comes to Madeline to ask her to help Jonny plan his sister's wedding for the day after Christmas. 

This is everything a Christmas story should be...sweet and fun and full of those tiny magical moments that left me with a smile on my face. I love how overwhelmed Madeline is by the thought that Jonny could even be interested in her. And I love how aware Jonny is about his "famousness". This is another book that shows just how perfect this little town is, because they couldn't care less about him being Jonny Blaze as they prove over and over again. I loved those little glimpses of his ego taking a decent hit. It showed that yes, he's a huge movie star, but still just a normal guy. He's aware that his life doesn't make a good environment for relationships, but that's where Fools Gold is perfect for him...because here he IS just like anyone else. 

It was a fun book, full of romantic, holiday moments. I loved getting to see the town in its holiday splendor. I think this book is right up there among my favorites from this series. It's hard to beat Charlie and Clay...another one of those "normal girls gets the star everyone wants" stories. I also LOVED...omg, I was laughing out loud...at how Clay and Jonny know one another. Classic and so funny. I also adored how Jonny handled the older ladies...Eddie and Gladys. 

Like I said, this one's a winner. Tons of fun and laughs. The story left me with a smile on my face and happier for having read it. 

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

Evergreen Springs RaeAnne Thayne

Title: Evergreen Springs
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Haven Point #3
Main Characters:Cole and Devin
Release Date: September 2015
Publisher: Harlequin 
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: mild

Story Overview:
Celebrate the magic of Christmas in Haven Point with New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne, where hope, home, and happily-ever-after are as close as your holiday stocking...

Christmas is the last thing Cole Barrett is thinking about this year. He's barely hanging on trying to care for his two grieving children since his ex-wife died in a tragic accident. For the reclusive Cole, this is no time for gift-giving and celebration—and certainly not for a sunny-natured optimist to blow into his screwed-up life.

In the years since her cancer treatments, physician Devin Shaw has researched the curative powers of Lake Haven's mineral waters. Unfortunately, the hot springs are on Barrett property, forcing Devin to strike a bargain with the ranch's attractively gruff owner: she'll give Cole's children the magical Christmas they deserve, and Cole will allow her patients access to the springs. But can she work her holiday magic to heal the Barrett family's battered hearts—and her own?

My Review:
A doctor and an ex-con, alcoholic...not your typical romance pairing which is where the conflict for this story comes in, too, because that's exactly the way Cole thinks. There is no way Devin could be interested in him. He has too much baggage, made too many mistakes in his life. But she is interested. She's also interested in his two kids...ages 6 & 8...who just lost their mom and are dealing with a difficult Christmas season with an overwhelmed father. Devin can't stand by and let them all suffer through the season without any help. At her heart, she's a nurturer. 

This is another sweet, g-rated romance from RaeAnne Thayne. I like these books because they have good angst-filled, emotionally deep characters, but they still remain light Christmas reads. The scenery is gorgeous and definitely evoke all the scents and sights of Christmas. Reading one of her Christmas books is like settling in for a good Hallmark holiday movie. They leave you with a warm, happy feeling, with a few heart-wrenching emotions along the way. 

I liked both Cole and Devin. They are great characters and the cast is rounded out by some really interesting and deep side-stories involving Cole's family. His ex-wife just died, so his 6 yo son and 8 yo daughter are living with him for the first time. The 8 yo isn't adjusting well and has a difficult personality. Also living on the ranch is Cole's estranged father who's trying to rebuild a relationship with his son...something Cole wants no part of. His sister also lives there, but is in the hospital on bed rest because she's 9 months pregnant with twins and is estranged from her husband. 

There's a lot of interesting family dynamics at play here and a lot of past sins that need forgiveness. This is a story that dwells heavily on fathers and their relations and mistakes they make with their kids...and we watch 3 fathers try to muddle through. 

I enjoyed reading the book. It's a sweet story...no sex on the page, so it's truly a wholesome holiday read. I've read this one and the one right before this one in the series and enjoyed them both. But all the books in this series work perfectly well as stand-alone. Pick up any of them, and I guarantee you won't be lost in the story line.

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

Cover Reveal: Angel of Redemption by J.A. Little

Bite me off a piece of that...COVER REVEAL
by J.A. Little
AOR-final copy .
..sure wish I saw this on my Tinder

Story Overview:
Seasoned social worker Kayla Brooks has dealt with her fair share of difficult situations, but nothing could have prepared her for the likes of Dean Wyatt, head of Wyatt House Group Home for Boys. When a case unexpectedly brings Kayla to his door in the middle of the night, sparks fly. With a piercing gaze and heavily inked skin, Dean looks like a walking wet dream. Until he turns out to be an asshole.

Dean Wyatt has always kept those around him at arm’s length. Secrets lurk beneath his tattoos—a traumatic past known to very few. Forced to work together in order to help two vulnerable boys, Kayla slowly penetrates Dean’s tough exterior. Along the way the two discover something they've each been missing—but only time will tell if they can overcome the painful past that’s kept anyone from bringing true happiness into Dean’s world.

This book contains adult situations and sexual content. For mature audiences only. 

Angel of Redemption will be available on November 24th. Pre-order now to add this hunk directly to your bookshelf!

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Finn Factor by Rachel Bailey

Title: The Finn Factor
Author: Rachel Bailey
My Rating: A

Genre: New Adult
Series: -
Main Characters: Finn and Scarlett
Release Date: September 2015
Publisher: Entangled 
Links to Purchase:


Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
A new adult romance from Entangled's Embrace imprint...

Sometimes all a girl needs is a little practice...

It's been twelve months, three days, and eleven hours since accounting student Scarlett Logan made it past a second date. A pitcher of mojitos in hand, she employs her supreme graphing skills to narrow things down to one horrifying explanation. Kissing. Clearly someone needs to teach her how to kiss properly. Like, say, her best friend and roomie, Finn Mackenzie. He's safe, he's convenient, and yeah, maybe just a little gorgeous.

Finn knows exactly why Scarlett's boyfriends are disappearing quickly. Him. Not a single guy she's brought home is nearly good enough. And he'll be damned if he lets some loser give her "kissing lessons." No. He'll do the honors, thank you very much. The moment their lips touch, though, everything turns upside down. But Scarlett deserves the one thing Finn can't give her. And if he doesn't put an end to the sexy little shenanigans, he'll teach Scarlett the hardest lesson of all...heartbreak.


My Review:
I really enjoyed this book. It was just pure, good, fun, entertaining reading. The premise is great. 

Finn and Scarlett have been best friends for four years and roommates the last year of that. After his parents died when he was 18, Finn doesn't get close to anyone any more. Except Scarlett. The circumstances of their meeting allowed her to sneak under his walls. She definitely has a special place in his heart which is why he won't do anything to jeopardize their relationship. But as her friend, no one is good enough for her. He's been sabotaging her dates.

Scarlett is on the driest, worst dating streak of her life. She's a chart girl so she's trying to figure out why this is and notices a trend. Four years ago, her dating record started going downhill. A year ago, it completely dried up. She thinks she's doing something wrong as she ages. It's her best friend who points out the other common denominator...the Finn Factor...and his presence in her life that just happens to correspond to her dating dips.

Friends to lovers is my favorite trope and this book was all things good about that trope. My heart broke for Finn. To take on such responsibility for his two younger sisters at the age of 18 has left him with issues. He doesn't want any more responsibility in his life. He basically gave up his life at 18 to raise them. But he cares so much about Scarlett. He just can't see what all that really means. 

Then there's Scarlett. She was basically raised as a homeless gypsy...never staying in one place more than a year. She needs stability more than anything...the one thing Finn can't give her. Once his sister is done (she's 16 now), he wants to be free to do his thing. The exact opposite of what Scarlett wants and needs. 

The book is perfectly well-rounded. The romance is fabulous, but there's a lot of side scenes/story lines to balance it all out. I loved the different family dynamics and how they've so deeply shaped both these characters. There were great little details in the story too...the dog, the paintings, the career decisions. All of it just worked for me and really, really well. 

I loved, LoVeD, LOVED this book. This is officially my first time reading a Rachel Bailey book. I liked her style of writing a lot. She has a new fan right here. I'll definitely be keeping my eye out for more of hers.

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

Rough Road by Vanessa North

Title: Rough Road
Author: Vanessa North
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Lake Lovelace #2
Main Characters: Wish and Eddie
Release Date: September 2015
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic


Story Overview:
Eddie Russell is many things: A wealthy pillar of the community. An outrageous flirt. A doting best friend. A masochist with a kink for brawling with his bedmates. But he is definitely not a man who invites intimacy. His friends are close but few, his lovers rarer still.

When Eddie runs his Mercedes off the road on a hot July afternoon, Wish Carver comes to his aid—and leaves his number in Eddie’s phone. Wish, a road crew worker half Eddie’s age and sexy as sin, seems fascinated by Eddie’s different sides. Mutual attraction and compatible kinks ignite the sheets, but it’s their connection outside the bedroom that Eddie begins to crave.

When the two come down on opposite sides of a local issue, Eddie finds his growing feelings for Wish at odds with his business interests and his devotion to his best friend, local wakeboarding legend Ben Warren. Torn between old loyalties and his new love, Eddie is reluctant to make a choice. But he knows he can’t make Wish wait too long to make up his mind.
 
My Review:
When we met Eddie in the first book, I had no idea what kind of character Vanessa North could pair him up with. Wow...she exceeded my expectations with Wish. I loved him. 

But first we need to talk about Eddie, because he is at the center of this book, since the book is entirely told from his POV. Eddie is rich, privileged, a bit of a flaming diva, a huge flirt, but he has a kinky masochistic side. He's also been completely devoted and in love with his best friend, Ben, for years. Ben was the hero in book number one, when he found the love of his life, Dave. Regardless of that, Ben is still Eddie's best friend and he's completely devoted to the man...as his friend...only his friend. 

When the book starts Eddie has a tire blow out and he wrecks his pricey Mercedes, right next to a road construction crew. Pulling him out of the car is Wish. Wish is 20 years younger than Eddie, works on a construction crew, and is  a sadist...he's big, young, and a guy's guy...not exactly who I would think would be a good match for Eddie, but wow...Vanessa North did good with this match. 

Like I mentioned Eddie has moments where he can be an emotional diva. I love that even though Wish is so young, he's really more mature than Eddie. He calls him on his crap...over and over. They don't do the whole Dom thing...their kink is pain not D/s, but Wish is definitely in charge of their emotional well-being. He's more responsible about what they're doing to one another emotionally, and I loved that about him.

Eddie is caught up on the age difference, which Wish thinks is just plain stupid. But Wish has his own hang-ups with their relationship. Eddie is really rich. Wish isn't...he's barely getting by and that's with two roommates. Eddie tends to be a bit myopic about the world around him. His world revolves around him and his little group of friends...that plays out with his politics. He's fighting a road improvement project which will make his life more difficult. But that project could mean the difference of Wish having a job in the area. 

It's a good book. I laughed out loud a lot. The antics between Wish and Eddie were both hot and fun. I loved them together. And I could understand Eddie's worries, but wow...they were so perfect together. I definitely recommend this one if you're looking for an entertaining book (seriously, some of Eddie's quips are just priceless) with an emotional impact and some really good sexy times. Warning...this is a masochist/sadist relationship, so be forewarned...there's a bit of BDSM within the pages. I never thought it was too much...just incredibly sexy.

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

Cover Reveal: Rebel Love by Jodi Linton




REBEL LOVE by JODI LINTON

Rebel Love is book 1 in the all new Dirty Sinners Motorcycle Club from Jodi Linton and Entangled Publishing.  Available January 4, 2016
Synopsis:
The Dirty Sinners Motorcycle Club is Em Connors’s only family, but she’s ready to risk everything—both her club and her life—for vengeance. Ten months ago, she was brutally attacked and her lover gunned down by a rival gang member. Now, she’s using her position as the Dirty Sinners president to track down the truth and exact her revenge.
He’ll risk it all...
With his partner murdered by a local motorcycle gang, Houston police officer Cade Jackson jumps at the chance to go back undercover and bring down the woman the department calls the Motorcycle Princess. But the sexy-as-hell leader awakens a hunger in Cade. Dark desires run deep—and he intends on teaching Em exactly how dirty he can be. But when his cover is blown, Cade must choose to uphold the law or protect the woman he’s grown to love...by going rogue.

Get More information at: Goodreads  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes



"Sexy, suspenseful and thrilling. Jodi Linton's gritty, MC world of the Dirty Sinners leaves you breathless with excitement and is one you won't ever want to escape."  Author Naima Simone

"Hot bikers. Thrilling suspense. Searing Passion. Gut-wrenching emotion...and oh my God. Hot bikers. Rebel Love by Jodi Linton is everything a romantic suspense is supposed to be." Author Naima Simone



About Jodi Linton
Jodi Linton is the author of the Deputy Laney Briggs Series and the upcoming The Dirty Sinners Motorcycle Club with Entangled Publishing. She lives in Texas with her husband and two kids. When she is not writing about sassy females and dirty talking heroes, she enjoys long walks and family time down at the river. Join the Pink Pistol Readers! Jodi Linton's official Street Team for insider scoops on all her upcoming books. 
Connect with Jodi at: Website | Facebook | Twitter |GoodReads | Amazon