Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Indecent Exposure by Tessa Bailey

Title: Indecent Exposure
Author: Tessa Bailey
My Rating: A+

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: The Academy #2
Main Characters: Jack and Katie
Release Date: January 2018
Publisher: Avon
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Is there a problem, Officer? 

Jack Garrett isn’t a police officer yet, but there’s already an emergency. His new firearms instructor—the one who just dropped every jaw in the academy gym—is the same sexy Irish stranger Jack locked lips with last night. The Olympic gold medalist and expert markswoman is now officially off-limits, but Jack’s never cared much for rules . . .

Katie McCoy’s been cooped up in a shooting range for too long. A wild love affair is just what she needs to let loose, though she never imagined it would be with her smokin’ hot trainee. She cannot get involved with Jack—but a quick fling? Perfect. Falling hard for a charismatic recruit with an equal amount of sex appeal and secrets? Bloody stupid.

Jack’s charmed the pants off plenty of women (literally), yet few have ever looked beyond his perfect surface. Until Katie. He’ll do anything to keep her in his life . . . except tell her about his past. But a tiny lie of omission never hurt anyone, right?
 

My Review:
This book was so, so good. Jack...gah...Jack is one of the most broken heroes I think I've ever read. Reading his story is painful. Reading where he is at mentally is painful. Watching him go through this story is painful. But that's what makes this story so darn good. Because it's a romance novel and you know that redemption is coming. No one deserves to find his happy place more than Jack. 

So, this story...Katie is in the states for two weeks, teaching a special arms class at the NYC police academy. This time frame is her chance...her chance to break out of her glass box for the first time in her life. As a gold medalist, she's done nothing but train for years. She's ready to break out of her shell...to truly live for the first time ever. And the first night in the states, she meets Jack and is enchanted and fascinated by this gorgeous, flirt of a man. 

Jack is charming. He knows he's good in bed and figures that's his talent in life...to give women a good time in bed. The problem is...that's the ONLY thing Jack thinks he has to give in life. Jack has had an unusual upbringing that is absolutely heartbreaking and left deep, deep scars on his psyche. 

But everything is different with Katie. He feels with Katie, and that both terrifies him and gives him hope, something to hold onto. But he's a student at the police academy. She's an instructor. She's only here for a couple of weeks. And Jack is hiding huge secrets. This is never going to work out and it's eventually all going to come crashing down. 

I read this entire book with my heart in my throat. I wanted to sob for Jack. His pain on the page is palpable. I just wanted to wrap him up and take care of him. Katie has no idea what she's getting into, and even though she knows she shouldn't, she just keeps getting deeper and deeper. 

I loved them both as individual characters, but the two of them as a couple were phenomenal. They're healing, empowering, passion, and HOPE. Gah, this book was SO GOOD! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

When the Stars Come Out by Laura Trentham

Title: When the Stars Come Out
Author: Laura Trentham
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Cottonbloom #5
Main Characters: Willa and Jackson
Release Date: January 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's 
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Cottonbloom. A beautiful, faraway place where a woman can escape her past—and find reason to stay forever. . .

Willa Brown never planned to stay in Cottonbloom. She was on the way to somewhere else when she landed there and found work at the Abbot brothers’ garage. . .and a sense of comfort and safety that she had never known. The same holds true for Jackson Abbott himself. With one glance in her direction, he can make Willa’s heart melt. But what begins as an unrequited crush turns into something far more powerful than Willa could have ever imagined. . .



Jackson’s most meaningful relationship has always been with his car—and he’s not afraid to admit it. Still, he can’t help but become emotionally entangled with his new star mechanic Willa, who is definitely hiding some dark secrets of her own beneath the hood. Jackson desperately wants Willa to trust him, and to seek protection in his arms. But even as the two slowly surrender to their shared attraction, the danger lurking in Willa’s past remains a stubborn obstacle. Can she open up enough to give them both a chance at having real and lasting love?
My Review:
Willa and Jackson...whoohoo! The grumpy, serious twin...and Willa, the quiet, secretive mechanic. 

Okay, first of all you should know that Willa has worked at this shop for two years and she's actively worked to fade into the wallpaper...to the point where when Jackson does finally notice her, he's floored at everything that he missed...and feeling more than a little guilty about it. 

The thing that causes him to notice her...the idea that she might be leaving. See, Willa is on the run...and plans to stay that way if that's what it takes to stay undiscovered. She has some big skeletons in her closet (although my personal opinion were that her personal demons were much bigger than the actual secrets that weren't as bad as she thought). So, yeah...Willa is not the most open person in the world...at all. She knows that connections will sink her and that she doesn't deserve them so when Jackson tries to connect with her, her walls go up. 

Jackson has his own issues, but I liked that they weren't much of a deterrent when it came to his feelings for Willa. No, he doesn't see himself as a forever guy, but that sure doesn't stop him from wanting to take care of and protect Willa...no matter what. 

There was a TON to love in this story. First, I love that Willa's skills as a mechanic are easily equal to or better than all the brothers. I also thought it was ironic that she drove such a crap car...just another small symbol of how she's always putting her needs very last. These brothers are a complex bunch. They have no problem getting into one another's faces and business up until the point where it looks like someone else might have a problem with one of them and then they present a totally united front (with the exception of Ford, although his brothers take care of him even when he doesn't want it). I also loved the story of River and the way she bonded with Willa. I even loved Sutton in this story and how she embraced Willa and forced her out of her shell a bit. 

This series continues to surprise me just in how much I'm loving every installment of it. It's small-town contemporary romance, but these aren't your mother or grandmother's stories. They are hot and sizzling with fantastic emotional hits that come along with the romance. I highly recommend this book and the others in the series. 

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

Final Siege by Scarlett Cole

Title: Final Siege
Author: Scarlett Cole
My Rating: B-

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Love Over Duty #2
Main Characters: Mac and Delaney
Release Date: January 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
IN THE LINE OF FIRE…

Former SEAL Malachai “Mac” MacCarrick is all about the future he’s created with his Navy brothers in Eagle Securities, taking assignments in the most dangerous places, and doing things no one but ex-military would attempt. But when an urgent phone call brings his troubled past—and the woman he once loved—into the present, it’s a chance to redeem himself that he can’t refuse.

STRAIGHT TO THE HEART…

An investigative journalist researching an explosive story, Delaney Shapiro tells herself she got over Mac—and his role in her brother’s death—a long time ago. But the first moment she sees him at her bedside in an overseas hospital, she knows it’s not true. Every moment together rekindles the desire that once burned between them, and now that she’s a target for an emerging Russian arms dealer, Mac won’t let her out of his sight. To protect her, he’ll risk it all—including his life…

My Review:
I thoroughly enjoy Scarlett Cole's ability to write. Her books are always easy to read and usually pretty engaging. That being said, this book didn't quite work for me. To be specific, Delaney (the heroine) didn't work for me. I don't know why,  but I just never could warm up to her character. I'm not sure if this was a 'me' thing or not. Usually, when I don't connect with a character, it is.

But other than Delaney, I enjoyed the majority of this book. Mac was an awesome character. My heart hurt for him and all that he lost when Delaney's brother died. And he's just so accepting of her wrath...even though he doesn't deserve it. I'm usually a good sucker for a second chance at love story, but Delaney's inability to let go didn't work for me. (And I shouldn't harp on the things about her that bugged me...because they are many...and I've already pointed out that I didn't like her). But as a reader when you can't connect with one of the main characters, it pretty much ruins the entire book. *sigh*

So, I'm going to end my review there. There's no reason to harp on it all over and over.

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

Do Over by Serena Bell

Title: Do Over
Author: Serena Bell
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series
Main Characters: Jack and Maddie
Release Date: January 2018
Publisher: Loveswept
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:


Toe-curling? Check. Sheet-twisting? Check. But is that enough for a second chance?

Jack:
 I’m pretty much as tough as they come. But when a woman comes to me in tears, I’m jelly. Scratch that—when Maddie Adams comes to me in tears, I’m jelly. That’s how we ended up making our incredible son five years ago, and that’s why I practically beg her to move in with me when she’s in a tight spot. Of course, the last time I got the chance to be the hero, I let her down, but I’m not making the same mistake twice. This time, I’m going to be the man she deserves—and then I’m going to lay every ounce of sexy on her until she lets me back into her heart.

Maddie: Jack Parker is hot, and he knows it. What he’s not is a family man, something this single mom had to learn the hard way. Still, moving into his place until I get back on my feet makes all kinds of sense. He’s an old friend. He’s, ahem, the father of my child. And let’s face it, now that I’ve just been colossally dumped, we’ve got nowhere else to go. The truth is, I never could resist Jack. Living under the same roof puts dirty thoughts in my head. And when my brilliant plan backfires, my whole body is begging for a do-over. . . .

Do Over is a standalone novel with no cheating, no cliffhangers, and a satisfying happily ever after. This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

My Review:
This is both a second chance at love story AND a friends to lovers story...it's the best of all the tropes. And the book was really good for all that. 

Jack grew up in an unhappy household...his father was a holy terror for his entire family. As a result, Jack doesn't trust himself to be any different if he were to have a family...so he won't have a family. Surprise! 

But that surprise came five years ago in the form of an accidental conception with his best friend. He's done okay with his son since then, but that's only because he doesn't spend any time alone with his son (in his estimation). He always has his mother and sister as a buffer. But when Maddie shows up on his doorstep with no where else to turn, he lets both her and his son move in. 

Whoops...sudden family. And Jack is just as uncomfortable as you would expect...until something begins to change. 

The problem now is that they've tried a relationship once before. Jack cheated. That isn't something Maddie can just forget, not if she wants to come out of this relationship with her heart intact. 

It's a complicated, emotional mess...and that made it such a good read. Because, despite everything that has gone on between these two, they've been best friends almost their entire lives. Beneath the fear and the pain lies the fact that they truly do love and like one another out of years spent together. That's not just something they can brush off. 

I liked it. I highly recommend it for just a sweet, second chance at love read.

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

Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne

Title: Runaway Groom
Author: Lauren Layne
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: I Do, I Don't #2
Main Characters: Gage and Ellie
Release Date: January 2018
Publisher: Loveswept
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
For one charming playboy, getting cast on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show is the shock of a lifetime—until he finds love where he least expects it. And now the chase is on!

Gage Barrett’s reputation as a ladies’ man has been greatly exaggerated, but none of that matters after a drunken bet lands him on Jilted, a reality TV show that matches runaway grooms with wannabe brides. Now he’s stuck at a Hawaiian resort with nineteen women competing to drag him back to the altar—and one contestant who’s even more miserable than he is. Gage has no idea how feisty, independent Ellie Wright wound up in the cast, but it’s obvious she hates his guts. And if there’s one thing Gage likes, it’s a challenge. . . .

Ellie can’t believe she let her best friend talk her into exchanging her dignity for a glorified bikini contest. Still, she could use the exposure—her business is struggling—and she’ll probably be one of the first to get eliminated anyway. But Gage isn’t the shallow jerk Ellie anticipated—and he’s in no rush to send her home. As stolen kisses turn into secret trysts, she finds herself losing track of what’s real and what’s for the camera. With the wedding finale looming, this runaway groom is tempting Ellie to start believing in storybook endings.


My Review: 
Reading this book I had a first...this was the first time there was ever a point where I stood up and cheered while reading a book. (I kind of love that...it was a fun moment in the story.)

So, this whole story is fun. Ellie got wrangled into doing this show based on the Bachelor called Runaway Groom. She and her best friend own a T-shirt company and figure this is a great way to advertise for the company...wearing the T-shirts on national TV. What they don't plan on is the connection that Ellie finds with movie star, Gage.

Gage didn't particularly want to do the show either, but he lost a bet. So, he's trying. But he's intrigued by Ellie, who really doesn't seem to like him or any of the ideas surrounding the premise of the show. In other words, she's completely different from every other contestant trying to vy for his attention. He's intrigued by that at first, but as the show (and the book) progresses, he finds an ally in her in the show. She doesn't have any intentions toward him, so he convinces her to help him with the game...and a friendship develops. 

I really, truly enjoyed this story. It was fun and entertaining and I loved how things developed between Ellie and Gage. It felt very natural and real (well, as real as a hollywood-created setting in a fictional book can feel). I loved them together. It was an interesting premise and I'm so glad I got to read the book. 

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

Monday, January 29, 2018

Trick Roller by Cordelia Kingsbridge

Title: Trick Roller
Author: Cordelia Kingsbridge
My Rating: A

Genre: Romantic Suspense (m/m)
Series: Seven of Spades #2
Main Characters: Levi and Dominic
Release Date: January 2018
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
It’s the height of summer in Las Vegas. Everyone believes the serial killer Seven of Spades is dead—except Levi Abrams and Dominic Russo—and it’s back to business as usual. For Levi, that means investigating a suspicious overdose at the Mirage that looks like the work of a high-class call girl, while Dominic pursues a tough internship with a local private investigator. The one bright spot for both of them is their blossoming relationship.

But things aren’t so simple. Soon Levi is sucked into a dangerous web of secrets and lies, even as his obsession with the Seven of Spades intensifies. Dominic knows that Levi isn’t crazy. He knows the Seven of Spades is still out there, and he’ll do anything to prove it. But Dominic has his own demons to battle, and he may be fighting a losing war.

One thing is certain: the Seven of Spades holds all the cards. It won’t be long before they show their hand.

My Review:
I am a huge fan of this series so far and this installment did not disappoint. This is a series that you need to read all the books since the story builds from one installment to the next...which makes it really tough to write a review because I don't want to post spoilers...just in case you haven't read the first book. 

But (in the vaguest terms possible) here's what I liked about this book. Although it really hasn't been long, I really enjoy the relationship that Dominic and Levi are developing. They're so good together and really, truly understand one another. In this book there is a bit of strife mentally for both guys, but they are so strong together. I really enjoyed that aspect for them.

There's a great sense of suspense that flows throughout the story. Levi is a homicide detective, so there's always murders happening. And then Dominic is training to become a private eye. And then there's the fact that neither one of them believes that the serial killer, Seven of Spades is dead...so that specter is always lingering in the periphery. 

Okay, I know I haven't said much...but seriously, this series is so good. Even though this one ended on a cliffhanger, I was so darn excited about that ending (which I should note NEVER happens with me and cliffhangers). I feel like everything about these stories is done really well...the romance, the suspense. I read every book waiting to turn the page knowing that the other shoe is going to drop. It makes for a great book to read. 

I loved this book and highly recommend the whole series. I'm so excited that there are several more books to come. So, start reading the series now...because I have a feeling it's going to just keep getting better and better as the guys get deeper and deeper. 

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

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Can't Hide From Me by Cordelia Kingsbridge (audiobook)



Title:  Can't Hide From Me
Author: Cordelia Kingsbridge
My Rating: A
Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Genre: Romantic Suspense (m/m)
Series:
Main Characters: Angel and Charles
Release Date: November 2017 (audiobook)
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Charles Hunter’s team is on a mission to extract an unidentified ATF agent from an undercover job gone wrong. All they’ve got to go on is the rendezvous location—until Charles recognizes the ex he hasn’t seen in years. Their “simple rescue mission” is about to get a lot more complicated.

For Ángel Medina, adjusting to life after his cartel nightmare is hard enough without confronting memories of a failed relationship. All he wants is a fresh start. But when a violent stalker lashes out from the shadows, Ángel realizes his nightmare is far from over.

As the stalker’s obsession escalates and bodies start dropping, Charles and Ángel are thrown together in a desperate search for the culprit. Tempers flare and old passions reignite, drawing them back into the same turbulent relationship that once ended in disaster.

But the stalker isn’t letting go—and the next strike might hit straight through the heart.

My Review:
Overall: 4.5
Performance: 4.5
Story: 4.5

Everything about this audiobook was good...from the narrator to the story. I loved every single minute of listening to it. 

Charles and Angel have a really turbulent history...one that shattered Charles' heart two years ago. But unbeknownst to him, in the two years since that point Angel has been undercover acting as a cartel boss's boytoy...not an easy job, so Angel is a little messed up, too.

But now they have to work together and not let on about any of their history...because Charles is in the closet and if anyone knew about them, they would't allow them to work together. 

There is drama and angst bleeding all over the place in this book...and suspense and danger...and all that combines to make for an absolutely fabulous, riveting read. 

Note: Nick J Russo was incredible as the narrator on this one. I highly recommend it!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Cover Reveal: The Curse by Harper A. Brooks

The Curse by Harper A. Brooks Cover Reveal


About the book:

For wolf-shifters like Astrid marked by the curse, time is running out. If she doesn’t find her soul’s mate before her twenty-fifth Blue Moon rises, she will die. And with only three weeks left, things aren’t looking good for her. True love just doesn’t fall out of the sky.

Lone wolf Erec is determined to stop a crazed killer from harming anyone else. Even if it means helping a rival pack. But he never expected to feel such a pull for the alpha’s beautiful daughter, Astrid. He doesn’t have time for distractions if he wants to find a killer before his final Blue Moon rises.

Danger looms, and the swirling patterns on their skin mark them for death, but Astrid and Erec are willing to do whatever it takes to save the pack, even if they die trying.






About Harper A. Brooks:

Harper A. Brooks lives in a small town on the New Jersey shore. Even though classic authors have always filled her bookshelves, she finds her writing muse drawn to the dark, magical, and romantic. But when she isn’t creating entire worlds with sexy shifters or legendary love stories, you can find her either with a good cup of coffee in hand or at home snuggling with her furry, four-legged son, Sammy.

She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Author Website: www.harperabrooks.com
Author Twitter: www.twitter.com/harperabrooks (@harperabrooks)
Author Street Team/Facebook Group: H.A.B.’s Originals https://www.facebook.com/groups/245573029185006/
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