Thursday, September 19, 2013

ARC Review: So Tough to Tame by Victoria Dahl

Tough to tame, but not too tough to love...

Charlie Allington is supposed to be on the fast track to the top--a small-town girl who was making it big in her career. Instead, she's reeling from a scandal that's pretty much burned all her bridges. Now, out of options, she needs a place to lick her wounds and figure out her future. True, working at a ski resort in rugged Jackson Hole, Wyoming, isn't her dream job. But if there's one perk to coming back, it's a certain sexy hometown boy who knows how to make a girl feel welcome.

Cowboy Walker Pearce never expected a grown-up Charlie to be temptation in tight jeans. She's smart and successful--way out of league for a man like him. But he's not about to let that, or his secrets, get in the way of their blazing-hot attraction. Yet when passion turns to something more, will the truth--about both of them--send her out of his life for good...or into his arms forever?

I really liked this adult romance. It was simple, sweet and sexy. Charlie and Walker both have baggage, they’ve been around the block once or twice or more, and it’s not easy for either of them to totally give into the attraction between them.

Charlie really knows what she wants in her life and in the bedroom, and even though she had some crappy stuff happen to her in the past, she keeps moving forward,and doesn’t let it stop her. I liked that about her.

Walker is hot, sweet, and has troubles of his own that are making his life difficult, like family illness, loss of a job, and a learning disability. He doesn’t even have a HS diploma, but he manages. He’s not really looking for much out of life, until Charlie comes along. She won’t give up on him, even when he pushes her away, causing some conflict there. She sees what he’s good at and pushes him in that direction.

There is some light mystery, no really huge conflicts, and the sex is hot and spicy. I loved Charlie and Walker together and was invested enough to hope they made it at the end. This is a perfect read when you want something that isn’t too heavy.

Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequinn for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon    |     B&N  

Monday, September 16, 2013

5 Flames for Covet by Tracey Garvis-Graves

What if the life you wanted, and the woman you fell in love with, belonged to someone else?

Chris and Claire Canton’s marriage is on life support. Downsized during the recession and out of work for a year, Chris copes by retreating to a dark place where no one can reach him, not even Claire. When he’s offered a position that will keep him away from home four nights a week, he dismisses Claire’s concern that time apart could be the one thing their fragile union can’t weather. Their suburban life may look idyllic on the outside, but Claire has never felt so disconnected from Chris, or so lonely.

Local police officer Daniel Rush used to have it all, but now he goes home to an empty house every night. He pulls Claire over during a routine traffic stop, and they run into each other again at the 4th of July parade. When Claire is hired to do some graphic design work for the police department, her friendship with Daniel grows, and soon they’re spending hours together.

Claire loves the way Daniel makes her feel, and the way his face lights up when she walks into the room. Daniel knows that Claire’s marital status means their relationship will never be anything other than platonic. But it doesn’t take long before Claire and Daniel are in way over their heads, and skating close to the line that Claire has sworn she’ll never cross.

I absolutely loved this book! I had a very tough time putting this down once I started it. Covet tells the story of Claire and Daniel. They’re experiencing the first real, long term test of their marriage. Told primarily through Claire’s point of view, this story is a very well paced and engaging study of a marriage in trouble. I’m guessing that many married readers will relate to the scenarios here in one way or another.

What I truly loved about this story is that the circumstances are presented in a very non-judgemental way. It wasn’t about temptation or cheating so much for me, but about the pain these three people are experiencing and the choices they make. The many emotions of the situation came through very clearly in the writing and I really loved how things flowed in this story. It was so easy to get caught up in it.

I loved this very intimate inside view of marriage. I liked getting some of Daniel’s and Chris’s point of view as well. It balanced things out for me and was another way this story focused on emotions of the situation.

The concept of the neighborhood and their troubles as secondary characters worked very well in this story too. I really couldn’t wait to get to the end of this book to see how it was all going to turn out, and what revelations Claire and Chris would take away from it. I was not disappointed.

This is going on my favorites shelf. Recommended.

Amazon    |     B&N 

Thanks to Netgalley and PENGUIN GROUP Dutton for the opportunity to review this in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

4 Flames for Facade by Nyrae Dawn


Can love save them?

After her father commits a crime that shatters her family, eighteen-year-old Delaney Cross is tired of pretending everything is all right. Packing up her car, she sets out to find the people her father hurt. Her search leads her to places she’s never been—and into the arms of Adrian Westfall.

To the outside world, Adrian is a sexy, charming ladies’ man. But his playboy persona is just an act. Secretly his soul is tortured by a memory too painful to share. Only Delaney seems to see through his fa├žade to the real man underneath. And for the first time in his life, Adrian feels he can begin to open up about his past.

Together, Adrian and Delaney share a passionate love they never expected to find. Yet both still harbor their own secrets. When the dark truth is finally revealed, will it bring them closer together—or tear them apart forever?

I liked this. A lot.

Facade hit the mark for me with a story about two young adults learning to deal with loss, only in this second book in the Games Series, the circumstances are not exactly typical. Both are working through an incredibly painful situation, and the reader gets very close to their agony in this book.

I personally like the deep point of view that we get from Adrian in this book, although it is sometimes hard to take because his wounds are so very raw. When drugs,alcohol and all night parties no longer provide the release from his pain (more like avoidance, really) his struggle intensifies. Then he meets Delaney. At first he’s just looking for a one-night stand, but as their relationship progresses she starts to mean something to him. He also doesn’t know how Delaney is linked to him, setting up for a huge moment in the story.

Delaney is dealing with loss too. Her family has fallen apart and all she has is her brother, Maddox, who tries to help her realize that she can’t fix the situation they are in. But Delaney doesn’t listen, and she falls for Adrian, knowing that it will probably mean heartbreak for her when he finds out the truth. I loved Delaney’s innocence and her belief that she could somehow make a difference. (ps. I wanted to smack her mother upside the head.)

This is a very poignant story, full of heartbreak and sadness, so if you choose this be prepared. There’s a bit of repetition of their thoughts, but it didn’t bother me because it seemed natural for their circumstances. If you’ve ever experienced this level of grief, you know that it just doesn’t go away, and it come back to haunt them both, over and over. That might be cryptic, but I don’t want to spoil. I wasn’t expected the big reveal from Adrian near the end, and it made his situation all the more heartbreaking.

It was good to see Cheyenne and Colt in this story as well, and I was thrilled to read that Maddox will be featured in the next story, because that boy has some issues he has to deal with as well. So it was a nice setup for the next book in this series.

This was a beautiful story of how people can accept and move on from really bad things that happen to them and how you can learn to live with the consequences of the past. In the end, I thought Delaney did make a huge difference in Adrian’s life and she helped him move to a better place. The book ends on a very upbeat note, making this journey all the more sweet.

If you like deep, emotional stories this might be for you.

Thanks to Forever (Grand Central Publishing) and Netgalley for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Review:The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski


Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett had always been one to think out-of-the-box, who knew she wanted something more in life than following the same repetitive patterns and growing old with the same repetitive life story. And she thought that her life was going in the right direction until everything fell apart.

Determined not to dwell on the negative and push forward, Camryn is set to move in with her best friend and plans to start a new job. But after an unexpected night at the hottest club in downtown North Carolina, she makes the ultimate decision to leave the only life she’s ever known, far behind.

With a purse, a cell phone and a small bag with a few necessities, Camryn, with absolutely no direction or purpose boards a Greyhound bus alone and sets out to find herself. What she finds is a guy named Andrew Parrish, someone not so very different from her and who harbors his own dark secrets. But Camryn swore never to let down her walls again. And she vowed never to fall in love.

But with Andrew, Camryn finds herself doing a lot of things she never thought she’d do. He shows her what it’s really like to live out-of-the-box and to give in to her deepest, darkest desires. On their sporadic road-trip he becomes the center of her exciting and daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But will Andrew’s dark secret push them inseparably together, or tear them completely apart?

Two young adults running from their problems meet up and find insta-love on a bus. I thought this story had promise with the opening scene, but I was a little disappointed to see that Camryn thought the answer to her problems was to get on a bus for some random destination. If you have ever traveled by bus across country, you know that's not a fun way to run. She meets Andrew who is on his way to his father's deathbed in Wyoming. It isn’t obvious at first that he too is running from something.

I wanted to like this. But for me, the pacing was much too slow, especially when they are on the bus and later when they are traveling by car from Wyoming to Texas.. Too much minutiae for me that slowed the pace of the story. The shopping lists and vagisil took me out of the story.

I did like both of these characters though and I did read to the end. The ending is very gut-wrenching and my heart hurt for both of them. But things seemed to be resolved rather quickly and I had trouble believing the ending because of that. I will say that I liked the ending, but it felt a bit contrived because of the short time span, and so much of the details occured off-page.

So for me, this was an okay read, not one of my favorites.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group, GRAND CENTRAL PUBLISHING and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for a honest review.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Review: Beyond Pain by Kit Rocha


A woman with no future…

Live fast, die young–anything else is a fantasy for Six. She’s endured the worst the sectors had to throw at her, but falling in with Dallas O’Kane’s Sector Four gang lands her in a whole new world of danger. They’re completely open about everything, including their sexuality–but she hasn’t survived this long by making herself vulnerable. Especially not to men as dominant as Brendan Donnelly.

A man without a past…

Bren is a killer, trained in Eden and thrown to the sectors. His one outlet is pain, in the cage and in the bedroom, and emotion is a luxury he can’t afford–until he meets Six. Protecting her soothes him, but it isn’t enough. Her hunger for touch sparks a journey of erotic discovery where anything goes–voyeurism, flogging, rough sex. He has only one rule: he won’t share her.

In Bren’s arms, Six is finally free to let go. But his obsession with the man who made him a monster could destroy the fragile connection they’ve forged, and cost him the one thing that makes him feel human–her love.

I love this series. It’s got really incredible characters, action-based plotlines, an interesting world and last but not least, some of the hottest, dirtiest, and creative erotic scenes I’ve read. Real;y, my review could consist of three words… Go READ this!

Beyond Pain is about Bren, an O’Kane with a reputation for not only kicking ass in the cage, but for servicing the women afterward. He’s got some pretty serious baggage. Good thing he has his O’Kane family to watch over him.

Six is still trying to put her life together after years of abuse at the hand of Wilson Trent. She’s not sure about trusting anyone, even the O’Kane gang that has taken her in, but she is willing to help Dallas as he moves into Sector Three and she’s developed feelings for Bren that she is struggling to understand.

I thought Beyond Pain to be a bit more visceral than Beyond Control, and I liked that. As a reader I liked the intimate view of these two as they worked through their issues about trust and sex.

I just love this world that the ladies called Kit Rocha have created. They’ve done something very interesting with sex here and how its viewed by the O’Kanes. Sector four is everything Eden isn't, and that includes open sexuality.

The views on sex in this world are twisted just right for me, making it both subtle and in-your-face interesting. The erotic scenes are fresh, sexy and dirty and have a natural quality to them that this world promotes. It’s really done well, much better than I’m explaining it here, but the world building in this series is just outstanding in my estimation. I always feel get the sense that I’m watching the action in this series from eye level, right down in it, instead of above like a spectator.

The complex and interesting characters in this series are fabulous too. The buffet of bad boys as I’ve called them since Beyond Shame didn’t disappoint in this installment.

And kudos to Kit Rocha for continuing to include the characters from the previous books as the series continues. We get a great look at Dallas, now he has his queen Lex at his side. Even Lex’s role as Dallas’ queen isn’t your traditional view, with her counseling him in private. No, she’s front and center, running things right along side him. I’m kinda hoping that we get to see what happens when that dynamic gets challenged.

There’s plenty of Ace, Cruz and Rachel in Beyond Pain, setting up for the next book in the series. Ace continues to be one of my favorite characters, and we get to see some of his other talents in Beyond Pain. Rachel has got some talents too!

Overall, LOVE this series. One of the best reads for me this year. Big thanks to Donna and Bree from Kit Rocha for giving this reader something dark, sexy and full of action, just the way I like it.

Buy links from 
Digital – $4.99
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, ARe, Amazon UK

Review: Hemlock Island by Kelley Armstrong

    St. Martin's Press • Hardcover & eBook • September 2023 • ISBN: 978-1250284198 Hemlock Island Laney Kilpatrick has been ren...