Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Touch of Red by Laura Griffin

Title: Touch of Red
Author: Laura Griffin
My Rating: A

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Tracers #12
Main Characters: Brooke and Sean
Release Date: October 2017
Publisher: Pocket Books
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
When crime scene investigator Brooke Porter arrives at the home of a murdered woman, the only thing more shocking than the carnage is the evidence that someone escaped the scene. But where is this witness now? A thorough search of the area yields more questions than answers, and before Brooke even packs up her evidence kit, she’s made it her goal to find the witness and get them out of harm’s way.

Homicide detective Sean Byrne has seen his share of bloody crime scenes, but this one is particularly disturbing, especially because Brooke Porter is smack in the middle of it. Sean has had his eye on the sexy CSI for months, and he’s determined to help her with her current case—even if it means putting his attraction on hold so he and Brooke can track down a murderer. But as the investigation—and their relationship—heats up, Sean realizes that keeping his work and his personal life separate is more complicated than he ever imagined; especially when the killer sets his sights on Brooke.

My Review:
Another amazing installment to the Tracers series. Seriously, I don't think there's anyone out there right now who writes better romantic suspense than Laura Griffin. This series is phenomenal and each book just seems to get better and better. 

In this book we have Brooke. She's part of the Delphi unit...the group that tracks down the trace clues left at crime scenes. Four months ago she broke up with her cop boyfriend of two years, as it became more and more apparent that he was a controlling jerk. But she dated him for two years. She's not at the place mentally where she can even consider another relationship, no matter how much she's attracted to Sean. 

Sean is a detective. He was shot a few months back and that brought home some harsh realities to his life...like the fact he doesn't want to be alone anymore. He wants Brooke. As luck would have it, he's working a homicide case that she begins to get very personally involved in so they are spending a lot of time together. 

This was an action filled story, but it didn't lack in the romance department. I liked the way that things played out between Sean and Brooke. I also really liked that he was willing to wait and be patient with her, no matter what. 

The case made for really interesting intrigue...and I loved that little detail about kids fingerprints....I had NO IDEA...so cool. It was fun watching all the pieces of the puzzle fall together and the story was riveting until the very end. 

It was just a great story. I loved both the romance and the suspense aspects. It had a great balance and kept me highly entertained from the very first page until the very last. I definitely recommend this one!

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

Ready for Wild by Liora Blake


Title: Ready for Wild
Author: Liora Blake
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Grand Valley #3
Main Characters: Braden and Amber
Release Date: October 2017
Publisher: Gallery
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Featuring Liora Blake’s signature “funny, endearing, and more than a little hot” (Library Journal) style, the third novel in the Grand Valley series features a rough-talking game warden going toe-to-toe with a TV star who unexpectedly turns his life upside down.

Braden Montgomery is certain about three things: one, luck is for suckers; two, time spent outdoors is what keeps him sane; and, three, when it comes to sharing his bed, there’s only one female he’s willing to put up with—his Chesapeake Bay retriever, Charley. Braden’s constructed his life on these beliefs, and he’s quite content with the status quo.

But when a moment of bad luck lands Braden toe-to-toe with a blonde bombshell with her own television show, his stubbornly structured reality begins to unravel.

As for Amber Regan, her brand has been built on camo, cut-offs, and cleavage. With her own hunting show on the foremost sports channel and enough social media followers to garner her plenty of endorsement deals, Amber’s come a long way from the tomboy in a small Texas town she once was. Unfortunately, ratings are down and her contract for next season is in limbo, so she’s in desperate need of a reboot to save her show—and filming a rough and tough archery elk hunt in Colorado might be the way to do just that. Too bad the local game warden grunts more than he speaks, seems determined to despise her—and makes her heart race in all the most inconvenient ways.
My Review:
This was a sexy, fun story that I truly enjoyed. I love the idea of Amber. She's a sexy, blonde bombshell who models with guns in bikinis and has a hunting show where she's taken out on the most exclusive hunting ranches where she's completely catered to. She's everything Braden hates about hunting shows, so he's less than thrilled when he finds out that he's going to have to escort her out to the backcountry to see if she wants to bring her hunting show to his areas. 

Braden is a game warden. He's grumpy and curmudgeonly and isn't shy about showing it. He's also not shy about showing how he feels about Amber's fluffy style. But as he takes her out, he suddenly realizes that while she definitely has a flighty, bimbo type style for the camera, Amber truly is the real deal. She grew up hunting and knows as much, if not more, than he does about the sport. 

Suddenly his disdain switches to intrigue and fascination. I loved watching his attitude switch around for Amber. Unfortunately, Amber's show is on the chopping block and she's having to do everything she can to try and save it. If that means she has to pose and act, she will. Braden just doesn't get that aspect of her job, and that causes problems. 

I've loved this series. It's completely different and creative and this book especially was fantastic. I'm a Texas girl, so the hunting aspect of it worked for me. There were a few minor details that made me stop (the drive between Ft. Worth and Austin...yeah, no), but overall I thought this book was EXTREMELY well done and researched. It was fun and sexy and I was questioning right up until the very end how in the world the author was going to make it work out between Braden and Amber. 

It was a great book that's part of a great series. You can easily read any of the books as a stand alone, but I highly recommend the entire series. 

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

Can't Let Go by Gena Showalter



Title: Can't Let Go
Author: Gena Showalter
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Original Heartbreakers #5
Main Characters: Ryanne and Jude
Release Date: October 2017
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter is back with a sizzling Original Heartbreakers tale about an icy war vet and the only woman capable of melting him…

With trust issues a mile long, Ryanne Wade has sworn off men.  Then Jude Laurent walks into her bar and all bets are off.  The former Army Ranger has suffered unimaginably, first being maimed in battle then losing his wife and daughters to a drunk driver. Making the brooding widower smile is priority one. Resisting him? Impossible.

To Jude, Ryanne is off limits. And yet the beautiful bartender who serves alcohol to potential motorists tempts him like no other. When a rival bar threatens her livelihood, and her life, he can’t turn away.  She triggers something in him he thought long buried, and he’s determined to protect her, whatever the cost.

As their already scorching attraction continues to heat, the damaged soldier knows he must let go of his past to hold on to his future...or risk losing the second chance he desperately needs.

My Review:
ooh, talk about sexual chemistry. Jude is a guy who NEVER wants to love again. He loved his wife and twin girls with everything he had. When they died, he had nothing left to give, nothing left that he wanted to give to anyone. He loved them completely and their deaths broke him. (seriously, how can you not fall in love with a hero like this?)

Ryanne is the local bar owner. BUT the local mob boss has decided that he doesn't want Ryanne in business anymore, so he's slowly terrorizing her and threatening her. So, she goes to Jude, who is already halfway guarding her bar already. 

There is a TON of emotion and underlying conflict in this book. Jude's family died because of a drunk driver that was served too much alcohol at a bar. He hates bars, but Ryanne is part of his "family" in that she's part of his circle of friends. That puts her under his protection, but Jude has made a ton of assumptions about Ryanne that are nowhere near right. As he works with her, he begins to realize that. Before he thought she was unfairly sexy, but as he begins to actually like her, his draw to her becomes undeniable. 

Gah...there were so many times I wanted to put this book down and simply weep for the pain that Jude has gone through. If you love books with broken heroes, omg, you will LOVE this one. 

Ryanne is one tough chick. I loved how she comes across as this confident flirt, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Ryanne is hiding some hurts, too, that have kept her from EVER making connections. She and Jude are fantastic together. He's protective of her. She pushes his limits. It makes for a great, sexy combination! I liked it!

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

Right Where We Belong by Brenda Novak


Title: Right Where We Belong
Author: Brenda Novak
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Silver Springs #4
Main Characters: Savanna and Gavin
Release Date: October 2017
Publisher: Mira
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak returns to Silver Springs with a moving story about rebuilding your life when you've got nothing left to lose 
Savanna Gray needs a do-over. Her "perfect" life unraveled when, to her absolute shock, her husband was arrested for attacking three women. With her divorce settled, she takes her two children home to Silver Springs to seek refuge between the walls of the farmhouse where she was born. It needs a little TLC, but she's eager to take control of something
Gavin Turner understands the struggle of starting over. Abandoned at a gas station when he was five, it wasn't until he landed at New Horizons Boys Ranch as a teen that he finally found some peace. He steps up when Savanna needs help fixing things—even when those things go beyond the farmhouse. 
Despite an escalating attraction to Gavin, Savanna resolves to keep her distance. She trusted her ex, who had a similarly tragic background, and is unwilling to repeat her past mistakes. But it's hard to resist a man whose heart is as capable as his hands.
My Review:
After being attacked in front of her kids in the grocery store, Savanna has had it with living where she and the husband she obviously never knew had their home. Fortunately, she has a backup. She and her brother inherited a house in Silver Springs. She's never seen it and knows that it probably needs some work, but she and her kids need a fresh start, so she gets in the moving van and heads into the unknown. 

Gavin owns the bunkhouse nearby the old broken down farmhouse. He can't believe Savanna plans to live there. No one has lived there besides rodents in years and every part of the house needs help. She's adamant. He's intrigued by her courage and gumption and they form an alliance to get her into the house and maybe not settled, but not missing the essentials.

And things develop from there. 

I've loved the last two contemporary series from Brenda Novak. While this book featured a lot of the same characters, something about the setting and premise of the story felt bleaker reading it. I definitely did not enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed the others. Part of that can be attributed to Gavin's relationship with Heather. At moments she seems like a truly awful person. Other times, I felt sorry for her. Honestly, Gavin has a lot to be accountable for in that relationship. He always knew she felt more for him than he did for her. To string her along simply for accessible sex is wrong in every sense. And the back and forth between him and both women drove me nuts in this one. And that really messed with my ability to enjoy the story as much.

It was definitely my least favorite of the series so far, even though the book is very readable. It just wasn't quite the story line for me.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Life On Pause by Erin McLellan

Title: Life on Pause
Author: Erin McLellan
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series
Main Characters: Niles and Rusty
Release Date: October 2017
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Niles Longfellow is a nerd, and not the trendy type of nerd, either. He wears a historically accurate homesteader costume to work every day, has a total of one friend, and doesn’t know how to talk to guys. So when he gets a flat tire and the hottest hipster ever stops to help him, all Niles can think is that he’s wearing his stupid cowboy getup. Normally, Niles feels invisible to other men, but he’d take that invisibility any day over Rusty Adams seeing him in suede and fringe.

Rusty moved to Bison Hills to help his sister raise her daughter, and nothing is more important to him than that. He’s also fresh off a breakup, and isn’t prepared for anything complicated. But then he meets Niles. Rusty sees Niles as more than a clumsy, insecure guy in a costume. He sees a man who is funny, quirky, and unexpected.

Nothing about their connection is simple, though, especially the lies and insecurities between them. Niles doesn’t know if he can trust Rusty with his heart, and when Rusty’s sister decides to move away, Rusty doesn’t know if he can stay behind.

My Review:
It's official...this is the second Erin McLellan book I've read and she's now on my auto-buy list. I just really enjoy the way she writes her stories. 

This is such a good book. Niles is NOT your typical hero. He works in a museum...one that requires him to dress up like a frontiersman on a regular basis. He's tall and gangly and more than a little socially inept. To his mind, he's nowhere even close to Rusty's level of hotness. Niles has accepted that his hookups will be nothing more than that...back room hookups with no real emotional connection at all. But then he meets Rusty...and it almost seems like Rusty might...like him? It's hard for Niles to accept and that causes all kinds of conflict in this new relationship.

Because Rusty is into Niles...he actually thinks that Niles' awkwardness is cute and endearing. But Rusty has his own issues happening. He only came to this small town to follow his sister and niece and give them family support. But now his sister is moving and Rusty is torn. He loves this small town and his job...and now there's this new thing with Niles, but Niles isn't confident enough in their relationship to handle normal stressors...a long distance thing would never work. 

I really liked this story. This small Oklahoma town was quirky and fun. I've lived in Oklahoma several times over my life, and it was fun to go back and "visit" through the eyes of these characters. The romance was as sweet as it was painful at times. My heart hurt for Niles. No one has ever shown him that he's worthy of love and that's hard to read. I wanted and needed everything to work out for him and Rusty. 

I also really liked the side story of both of their closest friends. Todd and Victor added an interesting element to the story and things were kind of hot between the two of them. I'm thinking maybe a sequel to come with them as the heroes? I would LOVE that!

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

Off the Ice by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn

Title: Off the Ice
Author: Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
My Rating: A

Genre: Sports Romance (m/m)
Series: Hat Trick #1
Main Characters: Tristan and Sebastian
Release Date: October 2017
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Tristan Holt is nothing if not pragmatic. Despite a flourishing career as a defenseman for the Atlanta Venom, Tristan knows he can’t play hockey forever. One day he’ll retire—if an injury doesn’t force him to hang up his skates first. His backup plan? Finishing his business degree. But he doesn’t count on a very inappropriate attraction to his standoffish sociology professor, Sebastian Cruz.

Sebastian is on the bottom rung of the Sociology Department at Georgia State. He has his sights set on tenure, and he can’t afford to be distracted, especially not by a sexy student with a body straight out of Sebastian’s dreams. No matter how much Tristan tempts him, that’s one line Sebastian won’t cross. At least not until summer classes end. After that, everything is fair game.

But Sebastian lives loud and proud, and Tristan is terrified of being the first out player in the NHL. Neither of them can afford to risk their hearts when they can’t imagine a happily ever after. The problem is, unlike hockey, when it comes to love, there are no rules.

My Review:
Hands down...I'm a sucker for a sports book. Make it a hockey book and it's a pretty good bet that I'm going to love it. That was most definitely true for this book. OMG, I loved this one. But not only because it's a sports book, but it ticked several other things I really loved...a forbidden may/dec romance because the other hero is Tristan's college professor. Um...yes please!

So, this book...*happy sigh* 

Tristan is in the NHL. He's only 23, but he's a really smart guy. He realizes that playing a pro sport is a limited career. Therefore, he's still going to college on top of playing pro hockey so that he has something to fall back on.

Sebastian is Tristan's sociology professor (another confession...sociology was my FAVORITE non-degree class that I took in my entire 4 years of college, so I adored the tidbits that came out of this class and how it pertained to the story...LOVED!). Sebastian makes a lot of assumptions about the big jock that's in his class and I loved watching Tristan turn them all on his head. He may be a big jock, but he is not dumb. The first half of this book was so good just because of the interesting scenes set up in the class. 

Sebastian is known for being grumpy and gruff, but that doesn't stop Tristan from fantasizing about him, especially after he finds out that his professor is gay. Sebastian is definitely not one of those touchy feely prof's that everyone loves. In fact, it's quite the opposite and it's amazing that the two manage to make it to a relationship with how much conflict there was between them early on. 

But they still remain hot. That chemistry is sizzling and then the dynamic they develop once they become a couple is even hotter. I loved everything about this story. 

There's also a lot happening in the background. Tristan isn't out and he's a professional sports figure. That's not something to take lightly. He's also not out to his family. Sebastian is out and not going back in the closet for anyone, even though his family is not exactly supportive...something that doesn't exactly endear the idea of coming out in Tristan's world.

As the story develops there are a couple of characters revealed who might be good hero choices for upcoming books in this series. I, for one, can't wait for more. This series is off to a fantastic start!

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

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Possessed by Kelly Apple

Title: Possessed
Author: Kelly Apple
My Rating: B+

Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Series: When Worlds Collide #1
Main Characters: Char and Mal
Release Date: October 2017
Publisher: 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: erotic


Story Overview:
When she bought her new house, Char James didn't plan to also take on a ghost. It’s rude, creepy, and a downright terrible roommate. Despite that, she’s determined to show it they can live in harmony. Hopefully.

But Char's entire perspective changes when a surprise encounter rocks her world. She learns that sometimes pranks can be helpful, sometimes a ghost isn’t really a ghost...


And sometimes the scariest creature of all is the most protective. 
My Review:
Over the years of reading, I've found that I have a soft spot for ghost romances. They just do it for me. As a result, I really liked this book...but...there's much more to this story than just that. No spoilers...you'll have to read it for yourself.

Needless to say, the story was really sexy and hot. Dang that initial scene between Mal and Char...VERY NICELY DONE!! It's a quick, hot read and if I say much more, it will be spoilers. But I will say that it doesn't sound like this is the end of their story and I'm very excited to see what's to come. It was a great start to the series.

Oh, and did I mention it was hot???

Suddenly Yours by Jacob Z. Flores (audiobook)

Title:  Suddenly Yours
Author: Jacob Z. Flores
My Rating: B+
Narrator: John Solo

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: One Fine Day #2
Main Characters: Cody and Julian
Release Date: December 2016 (audiobook)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy


Story Overview:
What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas.

Cody Hayes is having one epic morning-after. The hangover following a Vegas bachelor party is nothing new to him, and neither is the naked man in his bed.

His apparent marriage is a different story.

Carefully plotting every detail of his life carried Julian Canales to a Senate seat as an openly gay man. A drunken night of Truth or Dare isn’t like him… and neither is marrying a man he just met. He’d get an annulment, but the media has gotten wind of his hasty nuptials. If Julian’s political career is going to survive, he has to stay married to a man who’s his opposite in every way.

Now he must convince Cody that all they need to do is survive a conservative political rival, a heartbroken ex, their painful pasts… and an attraction neither man can fight.

Listening Length: 6 hours and 33 minutes
My Review:
Overall: 4.0
Performance: 4.25
Story: 4.0

I enjoyed this book. I think waking up in Vegas stories have been around as long as it's been possible to do that...and I kind of love the trope. What makes this one interesting is that Julian is a congressman and that means that his quickie, drunken marriage has some serious repercussions especially since he's in the middle of a reelection campaign.

And the reason these two decided to get married in the first place is that neither of them believes in love...they are the perfect match...until they aren't...because Cody isn't as jaded or worldly as Julian is. It's not so easy for Cody to just shut down his emotions the way Julian can.

The book was good. I liked the romance and with both of their backstories, I could buy the beliefs that both Cody and Julian have that are holding them back. 

Overall this was fun. This was my first read from the Dreamspun Desires line, but I don't think it will be my last. And at 6 hours audio (faster because I listen to them at 1.5 speed, this is an easy audio to pick up and devour during a day cleaning the house).


Friday, October 27, 2017

Hunted Soldier by Jamie Lynn Miller

Title: Hunted Soldier
Author: Jamie Lynn Miller
My Rating: A

Genre: Military Romance (m/m)
Series: Shadow Unit #3
Main Characters: Connor and Shawn
Release Date: May 2017
Publisher: 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
The hunters become the hunted when the past returns to haunt Sergeants Connor Finley and Shawn Weller with deadly vengeance. In the wake of the harrowing missions in India and Pakistan, Connor struggles to come to terms with causing the accidental death of a child, while Shawn tries to put Julian's betrayal behind him. Adding to the emotional fallout, new trials arise - the appearance of a young man from Connor's past turned stalker may have fatal consequences for him, while Shawn must confront his former heroin addiction and break free of the hold it still has on him. The challenges continue when a Shadow Unit undercover op in Bangladesh to shut down the pipeline of terrorists being smuggled into the UK draws Shawn and Connor into a web of lies and deceit from a man hell bent on exacting revenge on the two soldiers - demanding a life for a life. Will Connor and Shawn survive? Or will the jungle become their final resting place? Don't miss BROKEN SOLDIER and ROGUE SOLDIER, available now! 
My Review:
I've really, really liked this series and this book was right up there in the quality again. This series follows two MC's who are in a committed relationship. But they also work in highly dangerous dark missions that put them at risk. That's why it's so important that they work together. They can get through anything...together. 

And the mission in this book puts that to the extreme test. Lots of intense action and high drama suspense. I liked it...a lot. The guys are just as good and committed to one another as ever. I love watching the way the two of them play off one another. 

This is probably a series that you should read all the books in order...and I recommend all the books in the series. But a warning...book #1 is pretty harsh, but the payoff of the love between the two guys is worth it.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

How Much For the Whole Night by RJ Scott

Title: How Much For the Whole Night?
Author: RJ Scott
My Rating: A

Genre: Erotica (m/m)
Series
Main Characters: Josh and Ethan
Release Date: January 2012
Publisher:
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Josh is mid divorce, fighting for custody of his son and escaping a marriage built on lies. In a bar the night before final hearings he meets a hooker with a body made of sin.

Just one night of being true to himself, one night of being held down and made to feel? Surely that isn’t too much to ask?



This was a free read and as such was not edited past a BETA and my own editing... 
My Quickie Review:
This is a super short little freebie...only 5000 words, but wow, it packs a lot of story. It is seriously hot with a couple of HUGE surprises. I loved it so, so much and plan on rereading it at least a few times. 

Now, I'm ready for RJ Scott to write a full-length follow-up. These guys deserve a full story. I loved them and their meet in this one! A great story and an amazing story to show just what you can do with just a few words. Seriously impressed!!!