Saturday, June 23, 2018

One Last Time by Corinne Michaels (audiobook)

Title:  One Last Time
Author: Corinne Michaels
My Rating: A-
Narrator: Andi Arndt and Sebastion York

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Main Characters: Noah and Kristin
Release Date: February 2018 (audiobook)
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
I’m getting really good at cutting my losses. 

First, the husband. Divorcing him was the best decision I ever made. But between single-parenting and job-hunting, I can’t catch my breath. When a celebrity blogging position falls into my lap, I’m determined to succeed. 

That is, until I get my first assignment and actually see Noah Frazier for the first time . . . practically naked and dripping wet. My heart races and I forget how to form complete sentences. His chiseled abs, irresistible smirk, and crystal blue eyes are too perfect to be real. So, what do I do? Get drunk and humiliate myself, of course. 

I’m ready to forget the awkward night, yet Noah has no intention of allowing me to move on. Instead, he arranges for me to write a feature on him, ensuring a lot more time together. One embarrassing moment after another, one kiss after another, and before I can stop myself, I realize—I’m falling in love with him. 

But when the unthinkable happens, can I even blame him for cutting his losses? 
What I wouldn’t give for just one last time . . .
My Review:
Overall: 4.25
Performance: 4.25
Story: 4.0

I've really enjoyed the books that I've read from Corinne Michaels and I can say with honesty that if you've enjoyed any of her other books, that you'll probably enjoy this one, too. It definitely has the same type of feel to it that the others have had. (Note: I've listened to most of her books on audio with these same two narrators and that may have helped all her stories have the same, similar feel to them that really may not be there if reading them  without the audio.)

Something that Corinne Michaels does very well is the broken down, scorned woman and giving her a hero who can truly build her back up. This book was that same story line. When the book begins, it's at the beginning of Kristin's marriage blowing up, so we get an up close and personal about what a jerk her ex was and just how verbally abusive he was to her. 

But that's where Noah comes in...the perfect guy. He's a movie star with gorgeous good looks who's never even been tempted into a relationship before...until he meets our heroine and then he's swept away.

I'll admit, the story felt a little far-fetched this time around, but that may be because I've read it all before...or the familiarity to the narrators like I mentioned before. I truly do NOT believe it is a fault within the book. I've just read several of these stories before, but honestly if I'd read this one first, I have no doubt I would have adored the story. And I did still really enjoy it...don't get me wrong. The writing is tight and entertaining and I liked listening to the audiobook. 

This is every woman's fantasy...have the perfect movie star (our american version of a prince, right?) come in and fall at the normal, housewife's feet and fall helplessly in love with her. What's not to love? 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Cursed Bones by Kelly Apple

Title: Cursed Bones 
Author: Kelly Apple
My Rating: A

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Grimwood #3
Main Characters: Isobel and Cade
Release Date: September 2016
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Once upon a time, Isobel Grimm had been the favored daughter of one of the oldest families in Grimwood. Prideful, arrogant, and vain, she found out the hard way that not all those she saw as beneath her are weak. Fleeing to her family manor hidden in the depths of the great forest seemed her only option when a powerful curse stole her looks and made her a monster in the eyes of most.

When an intruder invades her sanctuary, Isobel is forced to face some painful truths—she’s lived in solitude far longer than she realized and her problems are only the precursor for something far more deadly. For the trees in the forest are dying, stricken by a mysterious disease rotting them slowly from the inside.

In the manor hidden away from prying eyes, a pact has fallen and the entire forest is paying the price. As a Grimm, it’s Isobel’s duty to right this wrong and reverse the curse spreading across the land.

If she can’t, all of Grimwood may fall.

My Review:
I've read and enjoyed several of Kelly Apple's books, but this is by far my favorite of hers that I've read so far. This story is part of her series that's based on twisted fairy tales and since this one is based on my favorite fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, then it seems appropriate that it's my favorite story. I love the way Ms. Apple twisted the fairy tale to truly make the story her own. 

In this version of the well-known story, the heroine is the beast. Instead of being a monstrous animal, she has black lines under her skin. Imagining them, I saw them like her entire body is covered by tattoos. For the hero, Cade, he never thought of her lines as something hideous. He sees Isobel as a beautiful and slightly sad woman, especially as more and more of her story is revealed. 

And I don't want to say anymore, because I don't want to spoil the story any. But I will say that I love the brilliant twists on the original story. All the details of the original story are there, but twisted into a new version of the same story. I loved it so, so much. 

Cade is a true hero in every sense of the word. He's brilliantly loyal, but he also has other obligations beyond Isobel. There's the whole Grimm family and their effect on the Grimwood Forest is fascinating and I loved the fix that occurred in the story. It will be interesting to see the way it plays out in the rest of the series. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Promo Post: Guarded Desire by Christi Snow

Guarded Desire Details...

NM Protectors #1
(m/f new adult, romantic suspense)
Kidnapped and terrorized, I refuse to let anyone break me. I can stand on my own, no matter what it costs...even if that cost is my life.
I was living the life of an ordinary college coed, but that existence was blown wide open when I was kidnapped while visiting my very famous mother, rock-star, ViviAnna.
Now I’m back at college, pretending life is normal while dodging paparazzi and dealing with my face showing up regularly on the nightly news. Trying to find a new balance isn’t happening and the effort to not jump at every shadow or bump in the night is messing with my head more than I ever expected.
I’m a highly trained bodyguard, but that doesn’t mean I want to deal with some spoiled pop princess’s daughter, especially if she’s anything like her handsy mother.
But when I met Elle, she shocked the hell out of me. She’s nice and thoughtful with an incredible inner strength. Even more surprising...she doesn’t want me anywhere near her. But every once in a while I see a flash of fear and vulnerability that make all my protective instincts flare.
I have to protect her.
Because they never caught her kidnapper...
Note: This book is the first in a series of stand-alone, romantic suspense, new adult novels involving sexy bodyguards and the coeds they protect.

I'm trying something new with this release.
For the first 24 hours of release (until June 22nd),
the price will be $.99. 

For the week after that, it will be priced at $2.99.
Then the price will rise to its regular $3.99 price tag.
(this only applies to the ebook)

Amazon buy link

How about a sneak peek at an excerpt?


Chapter One

Three weeks later...
I shivered as a wave of fear rolled over me. Looking at the big windows of my penthouse loft in downtown Gran Colina, New Mexico shouldn’t affect me like this. I was safe now.
When I’d bought this loft, I’d loved those windows and all the light they infused into the apartment, but that had been when I’d lived in relative obscurity. Now after only being home for a few hours, all I could think about was how many eyes were out there, watching me through the clear glass.
And any of them could be his.
I wrapped my arms around my waist, feeling the tremors start deep inside. No, I’m stronger than this, I chanted to myself as I sank to the floor behind the safety of my kitchen island. No one could see me behind this thick wood.
I reached up and felt my way across the countertop for the remote to shut the floor-to-ceiling curtains. My hands shook so bad, I could barely hold the tiny piece of plastic to find the button. Finally, I could hear the rhythmic whirring of the motors that controlled the huge swaths of fabric shrouding my apartment in darkness so unlike the bright-shining, New Mexico sky.
But that didn’t stop his voice inside my head, mocking me. I’ll make you famous. You’ll be my most renowned creation.
I had never seen his face, and I knew that more than one cop had thought I’d made the whole thing up, but I could guarantee them that I’d never forget that creepy, sing-song voice. I could identify him by voice recognition alone. How could I forget it when it had haunted me every moment after he’d drugged and kidnapped me, making me into the very image of my way-too-famous mother before disappearing into the night.
Stop it!
Going through it in my head over and over and over again would slowly drive me insane. That’s why I’d escaped my mother’s house in Texas. I couldn’t live like this. I’d always prided myself in being strong and independent. It was time to take my life back. I wouldn’t let him steal it from me.
I called the front desk of my building.
“Ms. Wilcox, is everything okay?”
“Yes, Jennifer, everything’s fine.”
Jennifer Sloane ran security for the building, and she was tougher than any bodyguard that ViviAnna had ever hired to protect me, but since her bodyguards were usually glorified boy-toys, that wasn’t too surprising.
That was part of the reason I chose to live in this building. I liked that the head of security was a woman and tough as nails. It also meant my mom wouldn’t try to get in her pants. Thankfully, mom’s experiments with lesbianism had failed right along with her album on feminism. That awful publicity ploy had been an utter bomb.
I cleared my throat and peeked around the island to the massive, twenty-foot high windows now shrouded in darkness, but I still didn’t feel safe. In my mind, I knew the bulletproof glass would protect me, but that didn’t stop the ants from crawling under my skin.
“I’m sorry, Jennifer, I know this isn’t your area, but I was wondering if you might be able to help me.”
“I’ll do my best. What seems to be the problem?”
“I need...” My voice cracked, and I cleared my throat. “Um, sorry. I need something to cover my windows. Shutters, I think. Metal ones.” My voice wavered, and I just prayed Jennifer couldn’t hear the fear in it, but then I considered my request. Yeah, I might be becoming unhinged. I laughed a little hysterically. “I know. That sounds crazy, right?”
“No.” Her voice softened. “Would you like me to come up and check your apartment for you? I have equipment that can sweep it inside and out for bugs or any other electronic devices like cameras.”
My breath whooshed out of me, and I almost sobbed in relief. “That would be...helpful. Thank you, Jennifer.”
As I turned off my cell phone, I knocked it against my forehead. Of course, she had seen the story. Everyone in the country had seen the story. Poor, little, rich girl, kidnapped by a phantom, by someone who the police couldn’t even verify existed. It hadn’t taken long for the press to glom onto the idea that it was all a hoax.
But it wasn’t.
I still heard his voice.
I’ll make you famous.
That was the one thing I’d spent my whole life trying to avoid, and already, it was happening. In the past three weeks, my name had been in every paper, on every newscast in the country, but instead of becoming famous, I had become infamous.
I’d run home to escape it all, but as the prickles under my skin increased, I began to think that there was no escape from this living nightmare.
After Jennifer came and swept my loft for bugs, I managed to calm the panicked ants crawling under my skin. It helped that I’d sent an SOS out to my best friend, Trace, and he’d promised to be there as quickly as humanly possible. He’d been shooting a video for a commercial up in Santa Fe. He hadn’t known I’d be coming back today, or he would have already been here, taking care of me. I just had to survive the quiet alone for the two hours it would take him to drive from Santa Fe down to Gran Colina.
Trace had been taking care of me from the time my mother gave him to me for my fifteenth birthday. What? Didn’t everyone’s mother give her a hot, viral guy to take their virginity when they turned fifteen? Yeah, I know...totally unfair. But that’s what it’s like having grown up as ViviAnna’s offspring.
But it didn’t work out quite like she’d planned since Trace was gay, and I had no desire to shed my pesky virginity just because VA decreed it. Instead, Trace had become my very best friend, and the one person in this world who kept me safe when ViviAnna’s crazy seemed to be taking over.
Case in point...the circus my life had become in the last three weeks. Paparazzi, panic attacks, and paranoia...oh my. I’ve needed my best friend more the last few weeks than I ever had in my entire life. The problem...ViviAnna wasn’t aware that I’d never let him go after my supposed deflowering. Since he was trying to survive in an already brutal entertainment industry, he and I agreed it wasn’t worth the risk to let her know. One bad word from her could ruin him. I refused to have that on my conscience.
Instead, I’d spent the last three weeks trying to ignore the building panic buzzing inside of me to the point that I’m now having panic attacks inside my completely secure apartment.
Even that thought had my heartbeat speeding up again. Crap. I tried to gain control. Wasn’t there something on the internet about breathing into a paper bag to stop things like this?
I frantically started yanking my kitchen drawers open. Why didn’t I have any paper bags? Would recycling shopping bags work? As the spots began to encroach on my vision, I decide it couldn’t hurt. I sank to the floor and pressed my face into the recycled bag, focused on slowing down my breathing.
It felt like it took hours, but eventually, the elephant taking up residence on top of my chest began to climb off, leaving me exhausted and more than a little strung out.
I still sat on my kitchen floor, the idea of facing those windows enough to feed the tendrils of another panic attack looming.
Instead, I grabbed my cell phone and crawled across the width of my living room to the guest bedroom next to it. This room had been built as a panic room with a false wall included. But even after the wall closed behind me, I still didn’t feel secure enough. I crawled into the solid, thick wood armoire where I stored my winter wardrobe. Only as I settled inside the smaller space did I feel like I could breathe again.
I set the alarm on my phone so that I would be out before Trace arrived in two hours. He might be my best friend, but he didn’t know how deep my crazy was running right now.
No one needed to know.
Exhaustion pulled at me.
I just needed to relax and maybe take a little nap. Then, I’d feel like my normal self to face the windows of my apartment. Even with the shivering, I finally started to feel myself drift off to sleep.

Wanna

And remember, the ebook is only $.99...for TODAY ONLY!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Untamed Cowboy by Maisey Yates

Title: Untamed Cowboy
Author: Maisey Yates
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Gold Valley #2
Main Characters: Bennett and Kaylee
Release Date: June 2018
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
In Gold Valley, Oregon, love might be hiding in plain sight…

Some things are too perfect to mess with. Bennett Dodge’s relationship with Kaylee Capshaw is one of them. They work together at their veterinary clinic and have been best friends for years. When Bennett’s world is rocked by the appearance of a son he didn’t know he had, he needs Kaylee more than ever. And he doesn’t want anything else to change. But then Kaylee kisses him, and nothing will ever be the same…

Kaylee’s done her best to keep her feelings for the man she’s loved since high school hidden away, but one unguarded moment changes everything, and now there’s no more denying the chemistry that burns between them. But the explosion of desire changes all the rules, and what’s left could destroy their bond—or bring them to a love that’s deeper than she ever imagined…
My Review:
OMG, I loved this story so, so much. But then again, I'm a HUGE sucker for a friends to lovers story and this was a fantastic example of one done well.

Bennett and Kaylee have been best friends since junior high, and almost that entire time, Kaylee has been in love with Bennett, but he's never seen her as anything more than his friend. While she'd love for there to be something more between them, it's not worth the risk of their friendship which means everything to her. 

This book has a slow build just because Bennett is a true guy...he doesn't see what's right in front of his face. At the beginning of this book, he truly doesn't even see Kaylee as a female. She's simply his best friend...end of story. But as the story evolves so does Bennett's ability to see her as something more. I loved watching that evolution. It's a great character arc. 

Because they've been friends for so long, there are tons of little things tying these two characters together. The main thing though is that they run a veterinary practice together. I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes that took place between them in the clinic and in their various roles they play in the community through their vet clinic. It provided a GREAT setup for the story. 

I also loved, loved, LOVED the addition of Dallas to the story. He was awesome. Every single time he was on the page, I'd end up smiling. I loved his sarcasm and wit. He was the perfectly written, screwed up teenager. The scenes between him and Kaylee melted my heart every time. There was so much honesty to him and I loved the way both Kaylee and Bennett handled him even when they had no clue what they were doing. 

Then there's Bennett's whole extended family. I love them so much. This is a great series and I'm so excited to read more books featuring them!

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

The Cottages on Silver Beach by RaeAnne Thayne

Title: The Cottages on Silver Beach
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Haven Point #8
Main Characters: Megan and Elliot
Release Date: June 2018
Publisher: Harlequin
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: mild

Story Overview:
Years after betraying her, he’s back in Haven Point…and ready to learn the truth.

Megan Hamilton never really liked Elliot Bailey. He turned his back on her family when they needed him the most and it almost tore them all apart. So she’s shocked when Elliot arrives at her family’s inn, needing a place to stay and asking questions that dredge up the past. Megan will rent him a cottage, but that’s where it ends—no matter how gorgeous Elliot has become. 

Coming back home to Haven Point was the last thing bestselling writer Elliot Bailey thought he’d ever do. But the book he’s writing now is his most personal one yet and it’s drawn him back to the woman he can’t get out of his mind. Seeing Megan again is harder than he expected and it brings up feelings he’d thought were long buried. Could this be his chance to win over his first love?
My Review:
I forget between books just how much I enjoy RaeAnne Thayne's stories. I think the covers of her books throw me off because they're sweeter looking than I normally like to read. But then I jump into the story and find myself enthralled quickly. She always writes great characters. 

So, this book. Elliot and Megan have a history. She grew up with him being one of her brother's best friends. And then she dated Elliot's brother until he tragically died. Although both of them have felt a certain draw and chemistry to the other throughout that time, neither of them have ever been in a place where they could act on it. As a result, they've actually spent a lot of years actively avoiding one another. 

But when Elliot comes to town to finish writing his book, he ends up staying in the cabin next to Megan's and things develop from there. 

Like I mentioned before, I really enjoyed this story. These two characters were everything I love in characters. Megan is an artistic photographer who's always dreamed of a bigger life, but never been free of her obligations where she could follow those dreams. She's actually right now on the cusp of gaining some acclaim for her photography and the pressure is getting to her. Elliot is an FBI agent, who's been put on mandatory leave after he screwed up a mission. But he's not only a tough law enforcement officer, he's also a best-selling author. Yes! And they've known one another for years, so there's a familiarity between them that creates a bond that's already there even if they really don't know the adult versions of one another. 

There were also some great sub-plots in the book...the upcoming wedding, Megan's gallery showing, Elliot's book deadline, and the whole mystery of what happened to Luke's (Megan's brother) missing wife. Overall, it was a riveting read and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute that I spent inhaling it. It was great and I definitely recommend it.

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

Monday, June 18, 2018

Damage Control by Kate McMurray

Title: Damage Control 
Author: Kate McMurray
My Rating: A

Genre: Romantic Suspense (m/m)
Series: Laws of Attraction #1
Main Characters: Parker and Jackson
Release Date: June 2018
Publisher: Carina Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Senate candidate Parker Livingston chose his political dreams over a future with the man he loved. He lives with constant regret about not having Jackson Kane in his life. Or his bed. And when a strange woman is found murdered in Parker’s apartment, Jackson is the only person Parker trusts to help clear his name.

Jackson never forgave Parker for the way their relationship ended. He moved on, built a name for himself as a criminal defense attorney and swore he’d never let heartbreak back in. But when Parker shows up on his doorstep, wild-eyed and handsome and desperate for his help, Jackson can’t say no. Parker is a lot of things, but he’s no murderer.

Forced back together, searching for answers, their attraction returns with a vengeance. Any distraction—personal or professional—could be deadly. The murderer is still at large, and he’s made it clear one of them is his next victim.

This book is approximately 74,000 words

My Review:
This was a new-to-me author and the first book in a series and I'm thrilled that I took a chance on it because I loved this story. It was entertaining and riveting and I didn't hardly put the book down once I started reading it. 

This is a second chance at love story. Parker and Jackson were exclusive for 8 years, but Parker dumped Jackson for his career. See, Parker has political aspirations that don't fit with him being gay. He's a republican.

*gasps heard round the m/m world*...I know, I know. Parker is sometimes a hard character to like. First of all, because he totally dumped Jackson for the wrong reasons, but also because of his politics. (Don't worry...Jackson doesn't necessarily agree with Parker's politics either.)

But love should ascend political beliefs, shouldn't it? It's a difficult call because a person's politics say a lot about who they truly are. But all that aside, for this review, I'm going to focus on the romantic relationship...

Because for these guys, neither one of them ever really got over their love for one another. They learned how to carry on, but once they get around one another again, those same emotions flare up. 

So, what brings them together? Parker is running for Senate, but he's also the prime suspect in a murder. Jackson just happens to be the best defense lawyer Parker knows, so he turns to him for help and suddenly they're doing everything together again.

Like I said, I really liked this one...and I'm definitely looking forward to more. The author gave hints at who the next couple might be and I am so excited about the possibilities that story line might entail. 

I definitely recommend this one in the meantime!

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

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Where I Belong by J. Daniels (audiobook)

Title: Where I Belong
Author: J. Daniels
My Rating: B
Narrator: Eric Michael Summerer and Stella Bloom

Genre: New Adult Romance 
Series: Alabama Summer #1
Main Characters: Mia and Ben
Release Date: June 2015 (audiobook)
Publisher: Audible
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
A New York Times bestselling enemies to lovers STANDALONE

When Mia Corelli returns to Alabama for a summer of fun with her childhood best friend, Tessa, there's only one thing keeping her on edge. One person that she’d do anything to avoid.

Benjamin Kelly. World’s biggest dickhead.

Mia hates him with a fury and has no desire to ever see him again. When she decides to start her summer off with a bang and finally give away her v-card, she unknowingly hands it over to the one guy that excelled at making her life miserable, learning a valuable lesson in the process.

Always get the name of the guy you’re going home with.

Ben can’t get the girl he spent one night with out of his head. When she leaves him the next morning, he thinks he’ll never see her again. Until he sees her lounging by the pool with his sister.

Mia is determined to hate Ben, even though she can’t forget him.

Ben is determined to prove he’s not the same guy he used to be.

What happens when the one person you wish never existed becomes the one person you can’t imagine being without?
My Review:
Overall: 3.5
Performance: 3.75
Story: 3.0

I need to preface this review with a disclaimer. I listened to the audiobook version of this book. THIS AUDIO did not work for all. But honestly, I don't think it was the author or even the narrators faults. I've noticed an interesting phenomena with my personal tastes and audio. ***I cannot handle extreme dirty or sweet talk in audio.*** They drive me nuts. I can read a book with over the top dialogue and be just fine with it. In fact, a lot of times I really love it. 

But there's just something about listening to it that drives home and cheesy and schmaltzy the dialogue can sound. That was my issue with this book. The dialogue just hit me all wrong...the cutesy pet names and then turning around with the dirty talk. *shudder* It did NOT work for me. 

But to be honest, I don't think it would have bothered me near as much if I'd been reading the book myself. In fact, I think I would have really enjoyed the book. recommendation...if you want to read this book, read it. Don't listen to it if you have the same little pet peeves that I do. And again, this was not a narrator issue. There are just some words and phrasing that sound like too much when listening to them aloud.