Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review: Overexposed (In Focus, #4) by Megan Erickson

Love runs wild on the Appalachian Trail in the latest from the author of Out of Frame and Focus on Me...

Levi Grainger needs a break. As a reality show star, he’s had enough of the spotlight and being edited into a walking stereotype. When he returns home after the last season of Trip League, he expects to spend time with his family, only to learn his sister is coming back from her deployment in a flag-draped casket. Devastated, Levi decides the best way to grieve will be to go off grid and hike the Appalachian Trail—a trip he'd planned to do with his sister.

His solitary existence on the trail is interrupted when he meets Thad, a quiet man with a hard body and intense eyes. Their connection is stronger than anything Levi has ever experienced. But when Levi discovers the truth about what Thad is hiking to escape, their future together looks uncertain, and uncertainty is the last thing Levi needs...

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What I thought about Overexposed

So what happens when two men decide to use a hike on the Appalachian Trail to work out their individual problems, only to find that they have a spark between them that will either destroy them or make them whole again?

I was totally enthralled by this book within in the first few pages. Even though I haven't had the opportunity to read the first three books in this series, I jumped right into this one and finished it in a few hours, just because it was that engaging.

I love a story that relies on the two main characters talking to each other rather than having tons of external conflicts.  In this story, Megan Erickson does a fabulous job showing how Levi and Thad's relationship grows from a simple night watching the moon together to something much more. The setting provides enough conflict to keep it interesting, as did their limited communications with their loved ones back home.

Levi is trying to get over the loss of his sister, while Thad's reasons for hiking the trail are released to the reader more slowly.  But I've got to say, it's Levi who made this book sing for me, and I could so relate to Thad's feelings for Levi as the story progresses.  For me, that makes this a five-star read -- the emotions got to me early and went deep.  

I thought this worked very well as a standalone, although the epilogue had some characters I hadn't met yet, I didn't really mind that. I got what I needed from the overall scene and it was just a lovely way to end Levi's and Thad's story.

So, loved, loved, loved this. It was just the right size story for the circumstances and  I am definitely going back and reading books 1-3.  

About the Author

Megan Erickson is a former journalist who switched to fiction when she decided she liked writing her own endings better. She likes to pretend she has control now, but usually her characters are the ones who hold the reins. Her romance novels have a touch of humor, a dash of nerdy, and always a happily ever after.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and two cats named after John Hughes characters. She's still waiting for the party she was promised when she grew to five feet... maybe because she never got there.

In Focus series
Trust the Focus
Focus on Me
Out of Frame (Coming soon)

Bowler University series
Make it Count
Make it Right
Make it Last

Mechanics of Love series
Dirty Thoughts
Dirty Talk
Dirty Deeds

Gamers series
Changing His Game
Playing for Her Heart
Tied to Trouble
Leveling the Field (coming soon)

Review:Wilder by Rebecca Yarros

He’s Paxton Wilder.

Twenty-two-year-old, tattooed, smoking-hot leader of the Renegades.

Five time X Games medalist.

The world is his playground—especially this year—and for the next nine months I’m stuck as his tutor on the Study at Sea program.

He’s too busy staging worldwide stunts for his documentary to get to class.

But if I can’t get him to take academics seriously, I’ll lose my scholarship…if I don’t lose my heart first.

Six unlikely friends on a nine-month cruise with the Study at Sea program will learn that chemistry is more than a subject and the best lessons aren’t taught in the classroom…but in the heart.

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Check out the trailer!
What I thought about Wilder

I really liked this story about Paxton Wilder, one of the original Renegades.  He's a daredevil, looking for a new thrill when he meets Leah.  She's his tutor on a nine month cruise around the world.  There's a bit of an instant spark between these two, and a definite rough start, but I really did enjoy their falling in love.  This is a storyline that Rebecca Yarros does best -- I just love how hard Paxton falls for her.

There's some intrigue from a mysterious perpetrator who sabatogues their rigs which provided some nice tension and provided the needed breaks from the romance.  I have to admit, I sometimes found Pax too good to be true, and his continued use of the word "exquisite" got on my nerves a bit.  I also liked that Leah was a lot stronger than she thought she was, and really came through when she needed to and got angry in the right spots too.

Overall, Rebecca Yarros does a nice job with this NA romance.  The characters don't come off as too young or too seasoned and I found the backdrop of the cruise and the Renegades fresh. I did have a few problems in spots that had to do with pacing.  The middle was a bit slow, and the ending seemed rushed.  It would have been nice to have some balance there. These are the reasons I'm giving this four stars.  

Looking forward to rest of The Renegades!

ARC provided for review.

About the Author

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She's a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores.
When she's not writing, she's tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years. They finally can call Colorado home along with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog.

Stalk Rebecca here: 

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Monday, September 19, 2016

ARC Review:Levi's Blue by M. Leighton

Are you ready to #unzip #LevisBlue?

Levi's Blue by M. Leighton is LIVE!

From the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, M. Leighton, comes a brand new super sexy standalone that is guaranteed to make you sweat and make you swoon.
"Amazing. Unique. Beautiful. Sexy.  LEVI'S BLUE by M. Leighton is ALL THAT and MORE!" ~~ Shayna Renee's Spicy Reads

Levi’s Blue

Four beautiful days. Three steamy nights. One breathtaking love.

Levi Michelson. He wanted four dates. Four opportunities to prove I could trust him. Four chances to change my mind about him.

I agreed.

Probably not my smartest decision. He was everything I knew to avoid—gorgeous, charming, sexy as hell—but I couldn’t help myself. When he touched me the whole world disappeared. I should’ve known I could lose myself to him, that he could be the one man to destroy me.

I guess it’s true what they say—some things are too good to be true. And Levi Michaelson might just be one of them.

#LevisBlue  #Unzipped  #Sept19  #NewRelease  #ComingSoon  #MLeighton

NOW LIVE on all platforms!

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What I thought about Levi's Blue

 One thing I love about Michele Leighton’s books is that they are unique.  There’s always something about them that gets right to me, whether that’s the story or the writing or the wonderful hero’s and heroine’s she crafts.  Levi’s Blue is no exception, starting with the yummy cover and title that twists your head around a little.

Evie isn’t exactly confident when it comes to men. She doesn’t trust them.  But when she meets Levi, she gives him a bit of a chance. Four dates is all he has to change her mind about their future. These two are super-sexy when they are together. If you want passion, you definitely get it with Evie and Levi. Passion for me is a lot about how the couple talk to each other and these two really do the banter up right.

Of course there are some bumps in the road that are going to give them challenges.  Levi has a secret and when it gets revealed, their connection gets tested big time.  I love a man confident enough to be able to really work for what he wants, and Levi does an awesome job of reminding Evie of everything they are together and just what she means to  him.

Another winner from M. Leighton.  I love books that make me feel something, and she always manages to stir something inside me that keeps me wanting to read her work. Recommended.

ARC provided for review.


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Sunday, September 18, 2016

ARC Review:Twelve Truths and a Lie by Christina Lee

Contemporary Romance

COVER DESIGN: Natasha Snow

Aurora Jones has it all—a job she loves as a child and family therapist, supportive friends, and a decent place to live. What she doesn’t have is much luck when it comes to dating men. And not only are her choices terrible, she also hasn’t been boyfriend free since she was a teenager. So she places herself on a sabbatical of sorts. No dating for twelve months.

ameron Miller has had a crappy year. His girlfriend fell for his best friend and to ease the pain, he drowns his troubles in more booze and women than he can count. When his buddies finally slap some sense into him and urge him to focus on his new position as a special education teacher in an urban school district, he decides to get his act together.

way from the prying eyes of their mutual friends, Cameron and Aurora agree to hang out once a week in their newly dubbed Chastity Club. Number of members? Two. It’s a chance to find solace, companionship, and something neither anticipated – a burgeoning attraction. But when Cameron invites Aurora to be his fake date at the reunion his ex-girlfriend and best friend will be attending, their passion ignites. What happens in Chastity Club stays in Chastity Club, right? Until they discover that a year of self-truths might actually lead them to true love.

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“Well,” I explained, after swallowing a bite, “depends how, um, sexually frustrated you’ve been and—”
“Extremely,” she said without hesitation, and I nearly choked on the cheese sliding down my throat. “I mean, Richard doesn’t even—”
She smashed her hand over her mouth, looking positively mortified. “Shit, never mind.”
“Who’s Richard?” I asked, thoroughly confused, wondering if I’d missed something in the conversation.
“Oh, God,” she said. “Can you forget I even said that?”
“Not a chance,” I replied, knowing it would bug the shit out of me all night if she didn’t fess up. “Don’t be embarrassed, we’ve talked about plenty of things already…”
As she took deep breaths, I tried to match up the name Richard to one of her old boyfriends she might’ve mentioned. Or was she more mortified that I’d brought up the idea of being sexually frustrated?
“Look, I wasn’t trying to embarrass you,” I said, attempting to dislodge her hand from her face. “Guys talk about jacking off all the time, I don’t know if girls do, but—”
“Of course we do,” she finally huffed out, her eyes bulging. “Richard is the name of my vibrator.”
Oh fucking Christ, what a visual. My dick immediately tented against my zipper. In that moment, I was so grateful the tablecloth was covering me. After I got over the initial shock and stimulation of her bringing up her vibrator, I focused in on the fact that she had named it in the first place. Richard.
I couldn’t hold back a snort and that caused a chain reaction in Aurora, who began giggling and then full-on laughing. Her face was so beet red that when we made eye contact and I said, “Richard. As in dick?” she howled even louder, causing the people in the booth behind her to turn around and stare.

What I thought about Twelve Truths and a Lie

I love a good friends to lovers book.  Twelve Truths and a Lie is a well crafted romance involving two people who want to keep it in the friends zone but just can’t.  It’s about finding a soulmate and falling in love.

Through their “Chastity Club”, Cameron and Aurora find a connection of the mind.  I loved how they built the intimacy between them through their “club”.  It’s always a treat to see how an author finally gets them from friends to the lover zone.  Christina Lee does a nice job of getting them together using the tried and true “fake date” approach.

I liked this romance.  While there wasn’t anything incredibly new to the story, it was very well done and enjoyable.

ARC provided for review.

Once upon a time, Christina Lee lived in New York City and was a wardrobe stylist. She spent her days getting in cabs, shopping for photo shoots, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at her favorite hangouts.

Now she lives in the Midwest with her husband and son—her two favorite guys. She’s been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn't until she wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that she realized she could turn the fairytales inside her head into the reality of writing fiction.

She’s addicted to lip balm and salted caramel everything. She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.



Tuesday, September 13, 2016

ARC Review:5 ★'s for Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci

  Happy Release Day to
Alice Clayton & Nina Bocci
Roman Crazy

Avery Bardot steps off the plane in Rome, looking for a fresh start. She’s left behind a soon-to-be ex-husband in Boston and plans to spend the summer with her best friend Daisy, licking her wounds—and perhaps a gelato or two. But when her American-expat friend throws her a welcome party on her first night, Avery’s thrown for a loop when she sees a man she never thought she’d see again: Italian architect Marcello Bianchi.

Marcello was the man—the one who got away. And now her past is colliding with her present, a present where she should be mourning the loss of her marriage and—hey, that fettuccine is delicious! And so is Marcello…

Slipping easily into the good life of summertime in Rome, Avery spends her days exploring a city that makes art historians swoon, and her nights swooning over her unexpected what was old is new again romance. It’s heady, it’s fevered, it’s wanton, and it’s crazy. But could this really be her new life? Or is it just a temporary reprieve before returning to the land of twin-set cardigans and crustless sandwiches?

A celebration of great friendship, passionate romance, and wonderful food, Roman Crazy is a lighthearted story of second chances and living life to the fullest.

What I thought about Roman Crazy

 I'm going to make this review short and sweet -- I absolutely loved this story!  It's a wonderful feel-good second chance romance set it Italy, which makes for a somewhat exotic story. After Avery discovers her husband's cheating, she flees to Rome to visit with her best friend and get over her husband.  There's a really nice friendship thing going on in Roman Crazy, too. 

Things get really interesting when the lover she left to marry her husband happens to also work with Avery's best friend.  What follows is a really sweet story of two people who are made for each other spending time falling in love all over again. The pacing was perfect and kept everything moving along while somehow letting the reader revel in the love that sparks between Marcello and Avery.

Roman Crazy left me satisfied and reminded me of those wonderful days of falling in love with your soulmate, when life is so very, very good. If you are looking for a really sweet romance that's high on happiness and low on drama, you just might enjoy this title as much as I did.

I can't give a better endorsement of this romance than that. And did I mention that Marcello is absolutely dreamy? *sigh*  

ARC provided for review.  

 About Alice Clayton
ALICE CLAYTON worked in the cosmetics industry for over a decade before picking up a pen (read laptop).

She enjoys gardening but not weeding, baking but not cleaning up, and finally convinced her long-time boyfriend to marry her.

About Nina Bocci


Nina Bocci is a novelist, publicist, eternal optimist, unabashed lipgloss enthusiast, constant apologist, and a hopeless romanticist. She has too many college degrees that she’s not using, and a Lego addiction that she blames on her son.