Thursday, November 30, 2017

Promo Post: Found at the Jazz Club by Christi Snow

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas...or does it?

Emily Hodges went to Vegas for her best friend’s wedding. She was NOT looking for a husband. Been there, done that, never doing it again. She has enough scars on her heart, and doesn’t need or want any more.

Brady Gresham went to Vegas to find his musical voice again. Instead he found an inspiring muse in the form of Emily. But right now his musical career is his focus. He’s too young to want or need to be tied down.

Somehow their drunken get-together turned into a wedding that neither one of them can remember or explain.

Waking up married was never part of the plan, but you know what they say about best laid plans...

Chapter One

Emily Hodges awoke pretty sure something rancid had died in her mouth. She rolled over with a low moan as the orchestra made up mainly of bass drums began a symphony in her head.

Slowly, she opened her eyes and squeezed them shut again when the bright sun blinded her. How much had they drunk last night? Was Brady as bad off as her?

She glanced across the bed that had been left in shambles. Well, obviously they hadn’t been that drunk if they’d managed to have sex. She smiled. Sex with Brady was one of the best perks of this trip to Las Vegas. She’d forgotten what really good sex felt like. Her core clenched in memory, giving her a roll of delicious soreness that spoke of a very good time last night even if she couldn’t quite remember it.

She needed water, aspirin, and then Brady. Maybe she could convince him to have one more round before she had to catch her flight back to Denver. Slowly, she threw her naked legs over the side of the bed, dragging the sheet with her. Her head swam with being upright, so she breathed through her mouth, waiting for the rush of nausea to pass.

A water bottle, a packet of aspirin, and a note sat on the nightstand. She smiled despite realizing there probably wouldn’t be a second round. Brady had already left.

Well, that sucked.

She picked up the note and read.

Hey, gorgeous.
Do you know how hard it is to leave this bed when you look so fantastic and tempting in it? We won’t talk about the pounding in my head that wants to convince me that I should stay in bed, too. But work calls.
Thank you for a fucking fantastic weekend...and for the fucking fantastic fucking. You were incredible.
Now, take the pills, because I have a feeling your head hurts just as much as mine does. Hopefully, you can remember more of the night than I can, but from the looks of things—ahem...I cleaned up all the trash—I think we had a good time.

A glance at the alarm clock told her she still had a couple of hours before she had to be at the airport for their chartered flight home. She could shower, and she’d head back to her hotel.

She squinted around the strange hotel room...well, it actually looked more like a luxury suite. Why would they have stayed here rather than her suite that she’d already paid for? Or they could have gone back to Brady’s borrowed apartment. Weird, but they’d been drunk. There was no telling what they’d been thinking.

She shrugged, grabbed the bottle and took the pills, and made it to the luxury, spa-like bathroom. She glanced in the trashcan and was impressed at the number of condom wrappers. They’d been energetic, even drunk. She gave a small giggle and then glanced at herself in the mirror.

Whoa. Thank goodness, Brady had already left. If he’d seen this version of her, he’d have been running. Hot mess didn’t even begin to cover it. Her hair that had been in an updo leftover from Mac’s wedding was a huge rat’s nest, half a teased up, tangled mess and half falling over her face. Her mascara had made it almost to her chin. She grabbed a washcloth, wet it, and started scrubbing at the—

She froze, staring at her hand in the mirror as shock and ice-cold fear zinged straight from her stomach to her feet. Why the hell did she have a diamond ring on her left hand?

She stared, hoping it would disappear. It had to be a trick of the reflection on the mirror. That couldn’t really be there. But she was terrified to look down at her real hand. Her hands started trembling, her stomach roiled, and her legs suddenly felt way weaker than they had moments before.

She had to do this before she collapsed.

She glanced down at her hand and dove for the toilet as reality set in. She had a wedding ring on her hand.


And guess what?
The releases for 2017 aren't ending yet!
Next week... Shiver, an m/m paranormal novella featuring a deer shifter and a guy who really didn't need to wreck his truck meet in the most epic way possible.
Coming December 8, 2017

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Van by Sawyer Bennett

Title: Van
Author: Sawyer Bennett
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Carolina Cold Fury #9
Main Characters: Van and Simone
Release Date: November 2017
Publisher: Loveswept
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Score one for the Carolina Cold Fury hockey team as a stone-cold badass melts for a woman who makes his blood run hot.

As one of the league’s toughest enforcers, Van Turner is ruthless on the ice. He plays hard because it’s the only way to channel the rage boiling inside, and a reputation as an A-hole is better than everyone knowing the truth. Van has spent his entire life running from a secret that’s kept him from getting involved in relationships—or accepting lucrative deals with East Coast teams. Then the Carolina Cold Fury makes him an offer he can’t refuse . . . and Van meets a woman he can’t resist.

Simone Fournier is the stubborn one in her family—and that’s saying something, considering her brothers are two of the Cold Fury’s biggest stars. Simone gets what she wants, and what she wants is Van. Still, there’s a part of him Simone can’t reach, no matter how hard she tries. In private, he’s all fire and passion. In public, he freezes her out. Van may want to push her away, but Simone won’t let him go that easily. Because this time, she’s playing for keeps.

The Carolina Cold Fury series from New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett can be read together or separately:
My Review:
Another great installment to this series. This book ran in conjunction with Lucas, but it was different in that it didn't concentrate on what was happening on the hockey rink. In fact, despite the fact that the Cold Fury is making a serious run toward the Stanley Cup, there's very little hockey on the page in this story. No, this story is completely focused on the relationship (and it's HIGHLY sexual) between Van and Simone.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book. The two characters have an interesting dynamic just because they aren't your typical H/h. The heroine is very sexually aggressive. She wants Van and is really not put off by anything that he tries to turn her down with. On the other hand, Van is extremely unfriendly. He wants nothing to do with people of any sort. Like I said, anti-typical heroes.

But overall, I did like watching their dynamic evolve (although by the last 1/4 of the book I was skimming the sex scenes because I really wanted to focus on the relationship rather than the sexy times).

The one thing I did really enjoy was the really creative backstory to Van's life. There's an extremely good reason why Van doesn't like people or deal with anyone besides his aunt. 

This wasn't my favorite of the series, but I found it extremely readable and interesting. The fact is...this whole series is really exceptionally good. I love the Carolina Cold Fury.

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

The Bachelor Contract by Rachel Van Dyken

Title: The Bachelor Contract
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
My Rating: A+

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: The Bachelors of Arizona #3
Main Characters: Nikki and Brant
Release Date: November 2017
Publisher: Forever
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
A second-chance romance from the #1 NYT bestseller of The Bet, Matchmaker and Elite series!

She's everywhere.


Love of his life.

The last person in the world he wanted to see...ever.

And now that he's working beside her every day, he can't escape her. Her scent, glimpses of her smile, even the tension in the air that makes his body hum with the kind of need he'd only experienced with one person-all of it is driving him over the edge.

Brant Wellington was certain of three things: 

Alcohol wasn't going to solve this. 

He really was losing his F-ing mind. 

And his gorgeous ex-wife was going to be the death of him.

My Review:
This is a second chance at love story and it's almost lyrical in the way that it's written. It's hard to describe it, but there is most definitely a unique style to the writing of this book and it really worked for me. 

This book is so emotional. It's been four years since Nikki and Brant's marriage fell apart in the worst way. They were both left completely broken and that's a wound that's just not healing. So powers that be converge to get them together so they can heal. 

The pain from the characters leaps off the page in the way this book is written. If you don't like angst in your romance, then you should steer clear of this book, because it has angst on every single page that makes you want to weep with the sheer pain of it. Personally, I loved it. 

It's obvious that these two desperately loved one another. What isn't obvious as the reader goes through the first half of the book was exactly what destroyed that love and their marriage. There are hints, but it takes a long time for the full story to come out. Part of the problem is that neither of the characters knows the full story either...and that's just another way that makes this hurt so incredibly painful. They just blew up and fell apart at a time when both of them were already reeling. It was all reaction and pain and hurt. 

And I don't want to say anymore because I don't want to spoil anything. I thought the book and story telling was gorgeous. It was unusual, but the style worked for me in a very big way. The author does a really good job of not dragging the reader into the angst. Yes, the book is emotional. Yes, it is heart-breakingly sad, but there are moments of light and joking that balance out the sad parts and keep it from becoming too heavy. 

In one word...Cole. OMG, I loved this character...and I'm going on record right now requesting that Rachel Van Dyken write his story. He was so amazing...both as a character and as Nikki's best friend. My heart hurts for him, though. He needs his own HEA...PLEASE!

But Cole is a side character in this book. At the center are Nikki and Brant and they are everything. I loved them so, so much and adored this book. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT. Definitely one of the best books of 2017.

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

Always You by Denise Grover Swank

Title: Always You
Author: Denise Grover Swank
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Bachelor Brotherhood #3
Main Characters: Matt and Anna
Release Date: November 2017
Publisher: Forever
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
First love is better the second time around.

Matt Osborn had no idea coaching his five-year-old nephew's soccer team would get him so much attention from the mothers-attention he doesn't want now that he's given up on love and having a family of his own. Yep, Matt's the last of his bachelor buddies, and plans on staying that way. That is, until he finds himself face-to-face with the woman who broke his heart.

Single mom Anna paused her life in England to help her father recover from an illness. She can't afford complications, and too-hot-for-his-own-good Matt Osborn-her almost former fiancé-is definitely a complication. He's a reminder of what might have been-or should have been. That irresistible pull between them isn't over. Not even close. But if she's not careful, she'll break both their hearts . . . again.

My Review:
Ooh, I do love me a second chance at love story and this was a good one. 

Matt and Anna dated 12 years ago. Matt thought it was forever; Anna had other ideas. So, when he proposed she broke his heart. Neither one has really been the same since.

But now Anna is back...temporarily. To add insult to injury, she has a 5 yo old son and a divorce under her belt...both things she swore she never wanted when Matt proposed (something that was a complete shock to Matt.)

Anna's father broke his leg and since he's elderly is having a harder time recovering. Anna has no choice but to come home to help even though she's not supposed to take her son out of England, her dad doesn't want her there, and her boss is giving her a hard time about her working long distance. It's certainly not the ideal. But her son, who's also not happy about the move, has one bright light in his world...his best friend, who just happens to be Matt's nephew that he has temporary custody of. As a result, the two are thrown together time and time again. They have to get over their hard feelings quick...for the sake of their boys. 

Like I said, it was a good story. Anna is stuck in an impossible situation. Yes, she made some bad choices, but as the book progressed I became more and more empathetic to her plight. 

I really liked how no matter what was happening between them, these two absolutely put the boys' needs first. They were always very aware that what they were doing impacted two young lives who had already gone through too much emotional trauma.

The story was really sweet. The boys cracked me up, especially with how literal they were about everything. I liked how pragmatic Matt could be regardless of the fact that Anna devastated him. I liked that she was really honest about how much she screwed up. 

In fact, I've enjoyed the entire series built on three men who vowed to stay bachelors, but all three got married within a year of that vow. It's pretty much awesome when karma happens like that.

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

Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Title: Moonlight Over Manhattan
Author: Sarah Morgan
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: From Manhattan with Love #6
Main Characters: Harriet and Ethan
Release Date: November 2017
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
She'll risk everything for her own Christmas miracle... 

Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list--dealing with Madi's temporary dog sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry.

Ethan thought he was used to chaos, until he met Madi--how can one tiny dog cause such mayhem? To Ethan, the solution is simple--he will pay Harriet to share his New York apartment and provide twenty-four-hour care. But there's nothing simple about how Harriet makes him feel.

Ethan's kisses make Harriet shine brighter than the stars over moonlit Manhattan. But when his dog-sitting duties are over and Harriet returns to her own home, will she dare to take the biggest challenge of all--letting Ethan know he has her heart for life, not just for Christmas?

My Review:
Aww, I forget how good this series is until I dig into another one of the books and fall in love. This is a great addition to the series. 

In this book, Harriet is trying to push herself, to improve. We've met her siblings who've been her support system in two of the other stories, but they have new spouses/priorities now. So, she's trying to push herself to be more assertive, more independent this holiday season. It starts with a Challenge Harriet plan. Every day she will do something that pushes her outside her comfort zone. Well, one of those challenges ends with her in the ER after she had to escape a bad date through a bathroom window and twisted her ankle. 

There she met hot, hunky ER doc, Ethan, and made an impression on him just because she's such a nice person...something that he sadly doesn't get very often. But once she's gone, he figures he'll never see her again...but he's wrong. In a strange twist of fate, she's his sister's dog-walker...and he ends up taking care of the dog through the holidays. It's fate...or a fun author...LOL. 

I loved that their encounter at the ER was so incredibly good and that their first encounter out of the ER was equally incredibly bad. My heart hurts for Harriet. She doesn't deal with contention well, and on that first/second meeting, Ethan is a pretty confrontational guy. Harriet runs, but she is trying to do the hard things, so she comes back. I admire her character so much. Everything she is doing is hard for her, but she knows she'll be better off for it. That makes her such an empathetic character.

I also really liked Ethan. As an ER doc, he's learned how to shut off his emotions on a certain level. As a result, he thinks that marriage or forever for him is impossible.

This is a great romantic, happy story. It's perfect for the holidays with all the images of NYC during Christmastime that I loved. Reading it was like watching a favorite holiday movie with all the happy feels and the need for a cup of cocoa, a roaring fire, and a big cozy blanket. I loved it and HIGHLY recommend you add it to your holiday reading essentials!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review, but I bought a print copy of the book for my keeper shelf.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Infamous by Jenny Holiday

Title: Infamous
Author: Jenny Holiday
My Rating: A+

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Famous #2
Main Characters: Jesse and Hunter
Release Date: November 2017
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
All that up-and-coming musician Jesse Jamison has ever wanted is to be on the cover of Rolling Stone. When a gossip website nearly catches him kissing someone who isn’t his famous girlfriend—and also isn’t a girl—he considers the near miss a wake-up call. There’s a lot riding on his image as the super-straight rocker, and if he wants to realize his dreams, he’ll need to toe the line. Luckily, he’s into women too. Problem solved.

After a decade pretending to be his ex’s roommate, pediatrician Hunter Wyatt is done hiding. He might not know how to date in the Grindr world, how to make friends in a strange city, or whether his new job in Toronto is a mistake. But he does know that no one is worth the closet. Not even the world’s sexiest rock star.

As Jesse’s charity work at Hunter’s hospital brings the two closer together, a bromance develops. Soon, Hunter is all Jesse can think about. But when it comes down to a choice between Hunter and his career, he’s not sure he’s brave enough to follow his heart.

My Review:
This was my first book that I've read by Jenny Holiday, but it certainly won't be my last. Wow...this book was so, so good!

Jesse and Hunter meet on the train. It's a chance meeting...before Jesse's band have really made it big and just after Hunter had broken up with his boyfriend of 8 years. They hit it off in a spectacular way...but Hunter has no idea that Jesse is bisexual. 

Hunter is a doctor...pediatrics and two years later when he sees Jesse's poster on the wall of one of his patient's rooms, he calls in a favor. A friendship develops. 

This book covers years. These guys are the best of friends, and while both of them are attracted to the other, they know they can't act on it. For Jesse, he's agreed that to make his music and be successful, that he'll stay in the closet. For Hunter, he has no idea that Jesse might even consider something between them. But regardless, Hunter spent years hiding a relationship with a man he loved. He won't do it again.

Friends to lovers is an amazing trope just because best friends already know how well they get along. This book had all the incredible friendship that both these guys need in their lives. They count on the support from the other guy. But the feelings are slowly deepening which is where the conflict comes in. Jesse's a rock star. His life is not his own. It plays out in a very public way.

The emotional impact of this story was phenomenal. I was swept away in the romance between these two was so, so gorgeous. At the same time, I ached for the pain they're going through. They most definitely don't have a smooth road to happily ever after, but the bumps along the way were exactly what they needed to show them how to appreciate everything they had together. 

I adored this book. It's definitely a favorite going onto the keeper shelf. 

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

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Owning It by Riley Hart and Devon McCormack

Title:  Owning It
Author: Riley Hart and Devon McCormack
My Rating: B+
Narrator: Michael Pauley

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: The Metropolis #3
Main Characters: Derek and Jackson
Release Date: July 2017 (audiobook)
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Just out of an eighteen-year marriage, the last thing Jackson expects the first time he visits a gay bar is for a sexy, drunk twink to mistakenly climb into his Jeep. The twink part he’s good with, the drunk part…not so much. As far as Jackson’s concerned, the boy should come with a warning label. But Derek is not as flighty as Jackson thought…he’s actually pretty incredible. Getting to know the wild, funny man is a breath of fresh air. And when Derek calls him Daddy? Christ, he never thought something like that would feel so right.

Derek has serious daddy issues, and his name is Jackson. He’s stubborn and controlling…and ever since Derek woke up in the silver fox’s condo, he can’t get Jackson out of his mind. Maybe because no matter how many times he throws himself at him, Jackson doesn’t take the bait. And maybe because Jackson is the one person who sees him for who he really is. But Derek loves a challenge, and he’s eager to rock Jackson’s world.

Jackson isn’t interested in a meaningless hookup. He wants the real Derek, not just the sassy jokester everyone else sees. But it’s not easy for Derek to open up. He feels much safer guarding his heart. And Jackson needs to figure out the balance between living for himself and the mountain of responsibilities weighing him down. Derek and Jackson must find the common ground between hookup and commitment—if they can’t own their issues and work together to overcome their faults, they could smother the flame between them that’s just beginning to ignite.

Listening Length: 7 hours and 49 minutes
My Review:
Overall: 4.0
Performance: 4.5
Story: 3.5

Confession: Even after reading/listening to this book, I still just do NOT get the Daddy kink. It's seriously creepy to me, but beyond that, this book was enjoyable. 

For me, Jackson made this book. (And again, I probably would have liked Derrick more if it wasn't for the whole 'daddy' thing.) Jackson has never been with a guy. He's bisexual, but he fell in love with his ex-wife when he was only 16...and she got pregnant. So Jackson never got to be that young, experimental guy. Now he's 37 and exploring for the first time ever. 

Derrick is the group's manslut, and pretty proud of it. He will sleep with anyone, pretty much. But Jackson definitely pushes all his buttons, so he chases Jackson big time. Jackson also isn't sure about the whole 'daddy' thing, but he finds himself intrigued by Derrick. And then he starts to realize there's much more to Derrick than he ever lets anyone know.

The real moments between these two made the book. There are truly some sweet ones and then when Jackson's real son, Zane, gets involved...I couldn't listen to the book fast enough. 

This has been an interesting series. I'm looking forward to more from it. There were a couple of new characters introduced in this story that I hope are coming soon!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Closer to You by Jill Sanders (audiobook)

Title:  Closer to You 
Author: Jill Sanders
My Rating: B+
Narrator: Joe Arden

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Haven, Montana #1
Main Characters: Tyler and Kristen
Release Date: October 2017 (audiobook)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
New York Times bestselling author Jill Sanders strikes gold with a sizzling series about oil-rich playboys whose hearts are up for grabs.

No one’s more surprised than Tyler McGowan when he discovers he has a knack for running the family’s oil business—a role he took on after his father’s sudden passing. Now, to keep the old man’s legacy afloat, Tyler’s giving up his playboy ways and settling into small-town life. But his newfound resolve is tested when trouble strides into his office in five-inch heels.

Kristen Howell has spent the last five years working her way up the corporate ladder. And somehow it’s landed her smack-dab in the middle of nowhere: Haven, Montana. It’s her job to convince the head of McGowan Enterprises to sell. But the tall and rangy hunk is proving to be exceedingly stubborn—and overwhelmingly hot. When someone attempts to derail her negotiations, Kristen is ready to get down and dirty. But the sparks she and Tyler are throwing near the oil field may be dangerously combustible…

My Review:
Overall: 4.0
Performance: 4.25
Story: 3.75

I've grown up in the oil business and now my husband works in it, too. So, I picked up this book to read purely out of curiosity about how the author approached this rarely used (and usually completely overblown) setting as a world. I didn't expect much so I was completely blown away about the fact that she got it right. The guys out there in the field...even the owners of the really successful service companies don't have a glamorous, sexy HUGE KUDOS to Jill Sanders for getting it right!

But that's completely an aside. Let's get to the meat of this story...the romance. Kristen is in the wilds of Haven, MT to convince the brothers to sell their oil company to her bosses. They aren't interested, but her bosses don't plan to take no for an answer. She's in town for up to a month if that's what it takes. Kristen is not made for Haven, Montana. She's a city girl through and through. She likes her thousand dollar shoes and custom fit suits. She is NOT made for the real world out in the muddy, messy oil business. 

So, immediately Kristen and Tyler are at cross-purposes, but that doesn't stop their sizzling chemistry. Overall this was a good book. It was a little bit slow at times, but listening to audiobook meant that worked for me, because I could walk away when I needed to do something besides listen to the book. But overall, it was very enjoyable. I'm looking forward to the other brother's stories. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Counting on You by Kelly Jensen

Title: Counting on You
Author: Kelly Jensen
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Counting #3
Main Characters: Henry and Marc
Release Date: November 2017
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Henry and Marc can’t seem to catch a break. They’ve had two disastrous dates—the first trapped in a car during a blizzard and the second locked in a basement—followed by nearly two months apart. Even though they work for the same firm, their relationship is held together by flying visits, phone calls, and text messages. A joint assignment in Washington DC might be more togetherness than they can handle, however.

Henry is still battling insecurity, and this assignment is too important to his career to mess up. Marc is committed. He’s falling for Henry and looks forward to having him permanently on his team and at his side. But the real test isn’t the assignment. When Marc finally lays his heart on the line, can he count on Henry to be there for him, in every way that matters? And can he do the same for Henry when Henry needs it the most?

My Review:
This has been an enjoyable series, but poor Henry and Mark have never had a chance to really find out who they are as a couple. Their first couple of encounters were a disaster and ever since then they're rarely even in town at the same time. 

So, when they are sent out of town to work on the same project, this is their chance to connect, to see what life together really looks like. know it's not going to be that simple. They haven't had normal. They truly haven't even had a relationship. And every new relationship has pains at the beginning of just how to make all this work. So, while they may actually be last, that sure doesn't mean it's all smooth sailing from here.

At issue for these two guys is that they have extremely different personalities. Henry is very methodical and measured. The whole 'counting' aspect of the books come from him. Mark is more headstrong and act-before-he-thinks kind of guy. Mark has also just freshly admitted that he's gay so there are some lingering issues there. Then, add to that...the guys work together and there's the whole 'how do you work with someone who you're also in a relationship with'...aspect to deal with. 

So, no...not all smooth sailing from here. But they are navigating their relationship. This time without getting trapped somewhere...although I have to admit I did love the whole ending and how Kelly Jensen wrapped it up. It truly was perfect for this series. I've enjoyed the whole series and definitely recommend it. 

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