Saturday, April 30, 2016

Perfection by R.L.Mathewson (audiobook)

Title: Perfection
Author: R.L. Mathewson
My Rating: B+
Narrator: Fran Jules

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Neighbor From Hell #2
Main Characters: Zoe and Trevor
Release Date: March 2014 (audiobook)
Publisher: Audible
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Zoe is used to taking care of herself and has long ago accepted that if anything bad was going to happen, it was going to happen to her. So when she loses her job over something most bosses would probably be happy with and her life starts going down hill from there she doesn't expect it to get any better. She certainly didn't expect any help from the loud jerk next door, but then again she has nothing to lose so puts her trust in him and hopes for the best. What she didn't expect was the once in a lifetime opportunity that he offers her through an arrangement where they both benefit and no one is supposed to get hurt, but she should have known better because her luck has never been that good.

Like most Bradfords, Trevor has a soft spot for food, but that's about all. He leads a pretty straightforward life and likes to keep things simple and that includes his relationships. He wants the perfect woman and knows exactly what she'll be like. So when he discovers much to his horror that he's thinking about his frumpy little neighbor he decides the best way to get his head straight is by working her out of his system. He'll keep her around, but only until he finds perfection.


My Review:
Overall.... 4.00
Performance... 4.75

Story.... 3.75

Okay, I have to say...despite my lower rating on this one, overall, I did really enjoy it. 

My problem with it...I had a serious issue with the hero. He's a bit of a misogynist jerk. I hate how he talks and thinks about Zoe throughout so much of the book. In his opinion, she's good enough to have sex with, but isn't nearly attractive or perfect enough to be The One for him. *gah* I wanted to kick him in the balls...and then he had the gall to be upset when Emma had confidence issues. 

I love that Emma is a curvy girl. Overall, she's fairly confident, but she also thinks she's not good enough for the really good-looking Trevor. Throughout the book, they're having sex, but it isn't a temporary thing. Although the sex and their friendship is amazing...for Trevor, it's just until he finds The One and for Emma, she just plans to enjoy it as long as Trevor will have her. 

Does that scenario make anyone else sad? It definitely did me. If you ask me, Trevor wasn't good enough for Emma and although the book is really written well, very humorous, and highly entertaining, I'm still not sure how I felt about the first 3/4's of the book. 

But the last quarter was AMAZING...because finally Trevor realized what he had and how badly he'd been blowing it all along. I just wish that realization had come a bit earlier. 

But I did enjoy it. The Bradford stomach's still make me laugh and in this book the legendary Bradford appetite goes even further. That thread was awesome. I also loved all of Trevor's family...his uncle, Jared, and his cousin, Jason (hero from bk #1), who were both incredible characters in this book. 

So not an entirely positive review, but I'm still so glad that I "read" it and once again...Fran Jules, the narrator was BRILLIANT. I want to go out and listen to every single book she's done...yes, she's that good. 

And note...I did immediately move to listening to book #3. I'm loving this series!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Return of the Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon

Title: Return of the Bad Boy 
Author: Jessica Lemmon
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Second Chance #4
Main Characters: Asher and Gloria
Release Date: April 2016
Publisher: Forever
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot...pushing close to erotic

Story Overview:
He's a mess...

Asher Knight has three constants in his life: music, beautiful women, and a bottle of Jack. He lives for the next gig, the next city, and dreams only of a life spent in front of an arena full of screaming fans. But Asher's nomad ways come to a sudden stop when he learns he's the father of a three-year-old from a past relationship and suddenly this rock star bad boy is forced to put down roots.

Only she can clean up

Gloria Shields is no one's fool. Sure, the sexual chemistry between her and Asher has always been intense, but she'd never risk giving her heart to a man who has a perfect record for breaking them. Except the man desperate to make things right with his newfound son is nothing like the rock god she's guarded her heart against for years. And it isn't long before she starts to wonder if life with this bad boy might be the best thing that's ever happened to her.


My Review:
Okay, I'll admit it...I'm probably going to be in the minority here, but this wasn't my favorite book in the series and it's hard to pinpoint exactly why. Honestly, I think I just never really connected with Gloria, but that's the nature of her character. She's prickly and withdrawn and doesn't like to connect with anyone. And she stays that way almost throughout the entire book. She has her moments, but every time she moves forward a step in letting someone in, she steps back about ten more within 12 hours...all the way through the end. As a reader, I just needed...more. She flip-flopped so many times, it was hard to believe that she and Asher will make it for the long-haul. :( I don't like that feeling.

But I did enjoy reading the book and I LOVED Asher. He's trying so hard...to be everything he can be for his son, Hawk...to convince Glo that they are worth the emotional risk...to take care of things for the band (i.e. writing the music for the next album). BUT it's ALL an uphill battle for him. 

Needless to say there is a lot of drama in this book. There's a lot of drinking used as stress relief (hey, they live in a rock and roll world). And there is a lot of baby-mama-drama because the baby mama is an immature groupie who shouldn't really be allowed to procreate until she grows up a LOT. There is also a whole heck of a lot of sex in this book. Asher is used to banging groupies every night. He likes to use his nine inches (yeah, I could have used a few less references to this) as often as possible. But I think the drama between the two would have lessened if they had used their words more often to solve their problems rather than their hormones....but again, that's probably just me. 

Like I said, this wasn't my favorite, but I loved it as a finale for the series. The scenes with the group were incredible. I adored the epilogue and all the weddings. I've enjoyed this entire series. While this wasn't my favorite, I'd still recommend it because it was an enjoyable read especially after having read the other three books. I loved these bad boys and they had a fitting end to their penis bandit days/reputation, too, that had me laughing out loud.

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

The Bad Boy's Guarantee by Sara Daniel

Title: The Bad Boy's Guarantee
Author: Sara Daniel
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Bad Boys of Regret Hollow #3
Main Characters: Haley and Seth
Release Date: April 2016
Publisher: -
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
If she trusts him, she can have it all…or lose everything.

Between working her day job in the city and tending her father’s small-town bar every weekend, Haley Miller can’t remember the last time she had a date. When she trips over a stack of her dad’s unpaid bills and into the man of her dreams, she knows the night is guaranteed to be the best of her life…or the worst.

Seth Gardner returns to Regret Hollow to save his family’s business from their landlord’s financial mismanagement. The chance to finally act on his crush on Haley is a bonus he’s not about to turn down. But if he waits too long to confess his secrets, he’ll lose her trust and his chance.

Just when Haley thinks she can have the love and the life she always dreamed of, she discovers everything was built on a lie. Seth will lose her unless he can guarantee a lasting love built from nothing more than their fantasies.
 


My Review:
This is another really short little story, but it worked for me. Seth is a lawyer and has come home to help out his aunt and uncle sort out the developer who's threatening to shut their pizza shop down. They rent the building from Haley's dad who's been very tight-lipped or completely non-responsive about what's going on. 

Haley has no idea that this is happening. Her father had a heart attack a year ago and she's been coming home on weekends to help take up the slack at his bar so he can rest and recover. She has no idea that things are as bad as they are. 

Seth and Haley knew one another in high school. He was the geeky nerd. She was the high school bad girl. Neither ever knew that the other had a crush on them. So there's that existing attraction already brewing between them and the business issues become a bit secondary as they realize that they really do have something in between them. 

It's a quick story, but I liked it. I had NO IDEA how in the world the author could work out that fantasy sequence to possibly work, but she did, and it worked for me as the reader, too. 

The nice thing about these little novellas is that they're quick. You can read them and get a pretty satisfying contemporary romance with very little time commitment. They're well written...a little shallow for a happily ever after, but they definitely work as a happily for now grouping of books. Each book in the series covers a different couple so you get to see more of them in the later books, too, which helps. 

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




If she trusts him, she could have it all…or lose everything.
Out April 26th – The Bad Boy’s Guarantee (The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow #3) by Sara Daniel
Title: The Bad Boy’s Guarantee
Author: Sara Daniel
Series: The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Blurb: Between working her day job in the city and tending her father’s small-town bar every weekend, Haley Miller can’t remember the last time she had a date. When she trips over a stack of her dad’s unpaid bills and into the man of her dreams, she knows the night is guaranteed to be the best of her life…or the worst.
Seth Gardner returns to Regret Hollow to save his family’s business from their landlord’s financial mismanagement. The chance to finally act on his crush on Haley is a bonus he’s not about to turn down. But if he waits too long to confess his secrets, he’ll lose her trust and his chance.
Just when Haley thinks she can have the love and the life she always dreamed of, she discovers everything was built on a lie. Seth will lose her unless he can guarantee a lasting love built from nothing more than their fantasies.
For more information on The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow – visit Sara Daniel’s webpage.


About Sara Daniel:
Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to steamy and everything in between. She grew up in a small town and was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels. She has no regrets about turning her back on her accounting degree to write romance, but she deeply regrets her inability to keep track of her car keys.

Find out more about Sara: 
Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


More from The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow:
The Bad Boy’s Gift
Available from:  
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks
The Bad Boy’s Guilt
Available from:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks
The Bad Boy’s Goodness – Releasing May 10, 2016
Available for pre-order from:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks


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Excerpt:

            “Are your plans so urgent that you can’t make out with me right now?”

Nothing in his life couldn’t wait until after he’d kissed her. “No.”

“Good. Then I don’t want to know about them.” She dived at his mouth, thrusting her tongue inside.

As much as he enjoyed her bold moves, he couldn’t let her think he didn’t have anything to match them. He met her stroke for stroke, exploring her sweetness, demanding more.

She rubbed her thigh over his leg, and he glided his hand up her silky, smooth skin under her skirt until his fingers reached the delectable curve of her ass. She really had come prepared to carry out her fantasy. She moaned something incoherent, and he inched his fingers higher, the heat from her core drawing him closer.

“Do you always go commando under your sexy skirts?” He needed to explore her heat and sweetness more than he needed his next breath. The good guy inside warned him to stop touching her until they’d settled everything between their families’ businesses, but after discovering the freedom of reinventing himself, he couldn’t stop.

She pulled away, pushing against his chest until their bodies broke contact and he had no choice but to release his hold on her. “I need to do something. I’ll be right back.”

Disappointment threatened to choke him, as she chose the right, responsible option. He’d been foolish to hope a staid attorney who wore a freaking business suit to a basement drinking party would be enough for her. Of course he didn’t fit in with her crowd.

            He’d never been a bad boy and didn’t know her well enough to guarantee her the satisfaction she demanded.





Best of My Love by Susan Mallery

Title: Best of My Love
Author: Susan Mallery
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Fools Gold #20
Main Characters: Shelby and Aidan
Release Date: April 2016
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
An irresistible new love story from the #1 New York Timesbestselling author of the Fool's Gold series, set in a town Library Journal calls "so appealing, readers will want to start scoping out real estate."  

To overcome her painful past, baker Shelby Gilmore goes on the hunt for a friend—a male friend—to convince her stubborn psyche that men can be trusted. But where in a town as small as Fool's Gold will the petite blonde find a guy willing to not date her?

Dark, charming Aidan Mitchell puts the "adventure" in Mitchell Adventure Tours…and into the beds of his many willing female tourists. Until he realizes he's inadvertently become that guy—the one-night Casanova—and worse, everyone in town knows it. Maybe Shelby's boy/girl experiment will help him see women as more than just conquests so he can change his ways and win back his self-respect.

As Aidan and Shelby explore the secret lives of men and women, the heat between them fires up the Fool's Gold rumor mill. If no one will believe they're just friends, maybe they should give the gossips something to really talk about!
 


My Review:
One of my favorite tropes is friends to lovers and this was a great one, just because these two have a deal. There is no possibility of the lover part. Aidan and Shelby have a plan. This friendship was developed to help them both become better people. Aidan needs to learn to see women as people not just the means to an orgasm. And after growing up with an abusive father, Shelby needs to learn that she can trust men. Adding sex or emotions to that would ruin everything they are trying to do. So they set out to become friends...and quickly develop a REALLY good friendship. In fact, soon it's so good and natural that the town doesn't even question the fact that the two are in a relationship and falling in love. Everyone can see it...except Aidan and Shelby. 

I liked everything about this story. While I usually enjoy Susan Mallery's stories, this one is right up there at the top of my favorites. Aidan and Shelby together were incredible. I liked how perfectly they fit together. When they first started hanging out, they really didn't know one another so they quickly decided to take turns...one time they'd do a chick activity, the next they'd do a guy one. I loved the way this played out over the course of the book, but by the end of the story, it really played out perfectly. I was laughing out loud about how the two characters dealt with the town when they were down and out about how to fix things between them. 

There was so much to love about this story. Aiden's dog, Charlie, was classic. I loved Aiden's scenes with his brother, Nate...that whole family history still makes my heart hurt. But I have to wonder...is Susan Mallery setting up another small town series with the three brothers who have moved to Happily, Inc (? not sure about the town name...it was something like that.) If so, I approve of this plan. I'm dying to know how the "twins" are dealing with the shocks they've been dealt. I also really loved hearing all the possible business expansion ideas for both Shelby's bakery and Aiden's Adventure company. These are both fabulous careers and it was fun to see little glimpses of them through the story. 

Overall this was just another really phenomenal installment to what has been a great series. I can't believe there's been 20 stories. I think I've read all of them. It's been a great series. But don't worry...you can jump in at any book and I don't think you'll be lost. It will just leave you searching out the other 19 in the series. 

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

After We Fall by Marquita Valentine

Title: After We Fall
Author: Marquita Valentine
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Take the Fall #3
Main Characters: Hunter and Evangeline
Release Date: April 2016
Publisher: Loveswept
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
After winning raves for Take the Fall (“crackling with tension, intrigue, and romance”—Katy Evans) and When We Fall(“sexy, emotional, heartfelt”—Monica Murphy), Marquita Valentine ratchets up the tension as new beginnings lead to undeniable passion.

A tough cop with an even tougher past, Hunter Sloan has never let anyone stop him from getting what he wants—and he wants Evangeline Ambrose bad. With her gentle curves and raw vulnerability, Hunter’s beautiful, mysterious new neighbor awakens his protective side. Determined to do right by a woman who’s gone through hell and back, Hunter could be the one to take away the pain—so long as his own secrets don’t sink their relationship before it begins.

Having escaped an abusive marriage, Evangeline simply wants to start over in the small, quiet town of Forrestville. She’s also avoiding all contact with the opposite sex, because she just can’t trust her instincts when it comes to men—not even with the sinfully sexy cop next door. So why can’t she stop thinking about him? Hunter has darkness in his soul, and yet no one ever made her feel so safe. For all her best laid plans, Evangeline didn’t count on choices this hard—or temptation this hot.


My Review:
These characters were introduced in the last book in this series, and I'll be honest, I wasn't sure I would like their story. Evangeline's back-story is not an easy one, and while I like emotion-filled stories, depressing doesn't work for me at all. Thankfully, this was not that book. While her story absolutely is heartbreaking, it's also inspiring because she overcomes and works through the trauma even when it would be so easy to let her hold back. 

Hunter and Evangeline met when he was on the job as a cop. He found her beaten to within an inch of her life by her husband and wandering along the highway. It's a night she doesn't want to remember. It's one he can't forget. Even though he's helped tons of domestic abuse victims during the course of his career, he can't forget Evangeline. Six months later, in a twist of fate, she ends up living across the hall from her. 

Evangeline doesn't trust men and she sure doesn't trust her judgment of them anymore. As a result, she doesn't want to have anything to do with Hunter despite her attraction to him. Slowly things evolve as she begins to heal from her trauma. 

I loved Hunter's patience with Evangeline. His own childhood experiences gives him a great insight as to what she endured. I loved him so much and the fact that he always put her needs first. He's a great hero...and he fosters dogs. You can't help but fall for a hero like that. (And note...I did really like the side story with Jake. Added into Evangeline's job at the animal shelter, and I really liked that entire aspect of the story.)

My only complaint...before she got married, Evangeline was a huge YouTube music star. We didn't get to see her reclaim that part of her. I could understand why she wasn't quite ready to go public again, but I wanted to see her find her passion for music again. Just one more part of herself to reclaim from her jerk of an ex. 

I'm ready for the next story in the book...maybe between the firefighter and the manager of the animal shelter. Sparks certainly seemed to by flying in that final scene of the book. I think I'll like them together. I'm definitely looking forward to more from this series. 

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