Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Review - Taking Control ~Jen Frederick #BloggerShame #ShelfLove

Taking Control (Kerr Chronicles, #2)Taking Control by Jen Frederick
Kerr Chronicles #2
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Netgalley. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided.
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #BloggerShame, #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
I thought I needed only one thing in my life--the money and power to crush one man. But the moment I laid eyes on Victoria Corielli, my thirst for revenge was replaced by my craving for her.

No rule would keep me away; no obstacle too large to overcome. Not her will, not our differing social positions, not my infamous past. When she lost everything, I helped her pick up the pieces. When she trusted me with everything, she sealed her fate.

I've convinced Victoria she can put her heart in my hands. Now I have to protect it--from her shady stepfather and my business rivals, from enemies known and hidden. I'll do anything to keep her. And I might have to prove it, because now Victoria's risking more than her heart to be with me; she's risking her life.




I finished Losing Control and immediately dove into Taking Control. I *had* to know what came next for Tiny and Ian. And I thrilled at Frederick's use of dual POV this time around. Being in Ian's head was fascinating. However, Taking Control wasn't as gripping a read as its predecessor. Here's what worked for me and what could have worked better:

What Worked
  • Dual POV - as I said, being in Ian's head, seeing the rationale behind his decisions and getting to see the depth of his feelings for Tiny was fascinating.
  • Dynamics between Tiny and Ian - these two work well together even when they don't see eye-to-eye. I liked that there wasn't any unnecessary angst due to lack of communication. There was one instance where Tiny should have shared earlier but they talked things out rationally.
  • Tiny blossoming - I enjoyed seeing her find her way in the new world Ian's love came along with. She found something else she enjoyed doing and was brilliant at compensating for her dyslexia. She's so strong and resilient. I admired her!
  • Ian overcoming his demons - with Tiny's help. He's such an interesting man and his past absolutely affected who he was but making peace with events and people, letting go - that takes strength...and maybe a good woman by your side.
What Could Have Worked Better
  • The threats to Tiny and Ian - I felt like the groundwork could have equaled a lot more suspense but it wasn't capitalized on.
  • The showdown and revelations fizzled for me. Again, I felt there was quite a buildup and things could have been much more powerful with these particular plot threads.
Overall though, I liked following Tiny and Ian in their journey. I liked how the title paralleled Tiny and Ian's lives and how they each were approaching things. And I read that Frederick may write more in this world. If she does, I'll happily revisit.

Edit: There is a book 3 in this series focusing on a secondary character from Taking Control. Woohoo!


Saturday, May 27, 2017

My TBR List Review ~ May ~ Us ~ Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

MyTBRList

My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading


Us (Him #2)
Us by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy
Him #2
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Genre: Adult, M/M Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Kindle
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Goodreads
Challenges: #ShelfLove

Synopsis
Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He's living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves--Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There's just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It's not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn't help that his new job isn't going as smoothly as he'd hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they?

When Wes's nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Warning: contains sexual situations, a vibrating chair, long-distance sexytimes and proof that hockey players look hot in any shade of green.



Y'all, I can't get enough of Wes and Jamie! Why can't I have more?!?

Here are a few reasons why I love these guys!

  • Wes and Jamie as a couple. These two guys are so in love and good together. They each bring their own positives and negatives to the relationship and that only further enhances them as characters. Their relationship "feels" real. And I just love them!
  • The issues - the hurdles Wes and Jamie have to jump, the issues they fave - were also realistic and gave them even more depth. From family strife and personal pride to dealing with illness as well as the media and a bigoted public, they faced so much. And they both grew emotionally - both individually and as a couple.
  • Family and friends - y'all know I'm fond of a dynamic supporting cast. That the Canning family was so loving and accepting - it warmed my heart. And that Wes' teammates, for the most part, proved accepting (Jamie's boss too)...well, it restored a little of my faith in humanity.
    I'm also chomping at the bit to dive into the spinoff series featuring some of these characters.
So I not only enjoyed a most excellent sequel - and final book in the duology - but I also get to cross off a series on my "catch up" list! Of course, I'll be adding another series once I start Good Boy (the spinoff series)! LOL




Thursday, May 25, 2017

Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #63 ~ Blindfolded Innocence by Alessandra Torre


I recently binged on Alessandra Torre's Innocence trilogy. This particular scene is from Blindfolded Innocence, the first in the trilogy. It made me laugh...because I could so relate! *wink* See, Julia doesn't like seafood...

***

The bottom rung of the silver tower was empty when they had delivered it, but was now being filled with the empty lobster and crab claw shells.
Light bulb.
Fifteen minutes later, Brad sat back with a satisfied groan. "I have been dreaming of those claws for weeks." He met my eyes with a Cheshire grin. "Well? Was I right or what?" I smiled at him over the champagne and empty plate.
"It was very good, Brad. Thank you."
"I don't know how you look so put together. I always feel like I need a bath after eating this stuff." He wiped his face with his napkin and pulled at his bib, breaking the plastic tie. "Should we get another or do you want to go ahead and order dinner?"
"Dinner, please," I said quickly. Brad's eyes looked at me for a moments, then he shrugged. "Sounds good to me."
The waiter appeared and began pulling the silver trays off of the tower, starting with the top tray. Uh-oh. I had anticipated them taking the entire tower at one time, as they had brought it to us. My mind raced with something to distract Brad with.
Shrimp platter gone.
"I was thinking Brad..."
Clams and oysters level gone.
"...maybe tonight, after the show..."
Lobster level taken.
"...we could, ahhh..." Don't look down!!
The large silver platter that had housed the tangled pile of Snow and King Crab legs was lifted, exposing the plate of empty shells. Empty shells and expensive meat of crab and lobster I had carefully hidden under the guise of placing my shells in the plate. The meat, which had been strategically hidden from the side view, was now fully-exposed, crab and lobster stretched out like bathing beauties on South Beach.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The One Where I Profess My Undying Gratitude...


If y'all have followed me for awhile you know this but for those of you who are newer followers here's a little tidbit about me...my summers are crazy.*wink* And my "summer" started early this year. Between my kids' activities and the obligations I had for the music program and trying to finish writing the last little bit on my book, it's been busy here. On top of that, I was gone for a week to RT in Atlanta. Then Sky came home...for 8 days. Today, she and I left on a "road trip" heading back to Portland where I'm dropping her off to begin her summer of drum corps. 

It's also a rough summer for me, as a mom, because two of my kiddos are going to be gone. Of course, Berk, James, and I are taking 3 trips in order to see Sky and Jax at competitions but still...

All this is to say that I've been absent from the blogosphere for the last month and a half. And there will be weeks over the summer when I'll be absent. Because I love you all and appreciate you sticking with me and giving me love more than you know, I'm hosting my first Reader Appreciation Raffle of the summer.

Here's the deal:

  • Those of you who've left comments in April and May are automatically entered.
  • If you're here reading this, let me know your favorite genre in the comments.

That's it. When I get back next week, I'll give those who've commented a number and use random.org to pick the winner. The winner will get a mystery box of books and swag! (if you leave a comment with your favorite genre, I'll do my best to accommodate) I'll announce the winner late next week. And if you don't win, don't worry. You'll have at least 3 more chances over the summer. :D

Thank y'all SO MUCH for continuing to drop by and give me love. I really am so very, very grateful!!  <3

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

#COYER Summer Reading List Challenge Sign Up Post

COYER

Y'all. I'm so excited about the #COYER Summer Reading List ChallengeAs per usual, this challenge is hosted by Michelle @Because Reading, Berls @Fantasy is More Fun, and Stormi @Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! 

This summer, we can read whatever format and price point we want. AND we have options for how we participate. Here are the rules in a nutshell. For detailed information on the challenge, click the graphic above or here

Two Ways to Participate

  1. Just simply COYER. Read all the books. Any price, any format. 
  2. Reading List. Create a reading list of 30 books.
General Rules
  1. Challenge starts at midnight June 17 and runs to midnight September 8.
  2. Read any format - ebook, physical, audio, library book.
  3. Create a sign up post sometime between now and August 1. Make sure to state which way you're participating.
  4. Link up your sign up post!
  5. If you're joining the Summer Reading List, create a list of 30 books on a Goodreads shelf or on your blog. You don't have to read them all but you do have to read from those 30.
  6. You have until June 17th to create your list. Once COYER begins, you can't change your list. You CAN add 5 more books to the list for every 5 books you read - this is for us mood readers. ;)
  7. The last grand prize giveaway will be the number of books you read.
  8. Have fun!
There will be prizes, Twitter parties, Instagram challenges, and Read-a-thons! There's a Facebook group as well! This is such a fun way to clean off your ereader(s) and TBR shelves! I hope you'll join me in the fun.

***

Because my summer schedule is gonna be so hectic with travel, I'm going with simple #COYER this time around. All the books I can read, no matter the format, no matter the cost. :D 

Can You Read a Series in a Month? Challenge Goal Post



Berls @Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @Because Reading hosted this challenge last year and I really wanted to participate but just couldn't do it. THIS YEAR, I'm in! For all the details on the challenge, click the graphic above.

So to get started, I created a list of series I'd like to read - both those I hadn't started and a few I'd read ONE book from but haven't finished. Then I took a look at the number of books in those series. o_O Yeah, that made me stop and think. I went back to my list and picked books with only 4-5 books because, realistically, that's all I'm going to be able to accomplish. Then I took those series, numbered them, and used random.org to pick the series I'll use for this challenge. 

And the winner is...

Helena Hunting's Clipped Wings series

Cupcakes and Ink (Clipped Wings, #0.5)Clipped Wings (Clipped Wings, #1)Between the Cracks (Clipped Wings, #1.5)Inked Armour (Clipped Wings, #2)Cracks in the Armor (Clipped Wings, #2.5)There is No Greater Love Than Creation (Clipped Wings, #2.6)Fractures in Ink (Clipped Wings, #3)Get Inked: A Pucked Series and Clipped Wings Crossover Novella (Pucked #5.5 Clipped Wings #3.5)

Now, there are really only 3 books in this series...Between the Cracks, Inked Armour, and There Was No Greater Love Than Creation are all novellas/short stories. And Get Inked in a crossover with Hunting's Pucked series. But I'm gonna read them all. :)

How about y'all? You in?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Audio Review ~ Undone ~ John Colapinto #AudioChallenge #ShelfLove

Undone: A NovelUndone by John Colapinto
Narrated by: Will Damron
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Satire, Dark Comedy
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Media. This did not affect my review or my rating. 
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #AudioChallenge, #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
Already hailed and persecuted for its perverse humor and wildly wicked sensibility, Undone is the tour-de-force black comedy by International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Nominee John Colapinto.

In modern-day America, Dez is a former lawyer and teacher - an ephebophile with a proclivity for teenage girls, hiding out in a trailer park with his latest conquest, Chloe. Having been in and out of courtrooms (and therapists' offices) for a number of years, Dez is adrift, at odds with a society that persecutes him over his desires. From his couch one afternoon, Dez watches an interview with Jasper Ulrickson, a doting father and loving husband whose heartrending memoir, Lessons from My Daughter, has become a national bestseller. The memoir chronicles his journey with his wife, Pauline, who suffered a stroke giving birth to their only child and has been in a locked-in state ever since. Espousing their deep connection and chaste marriage, Jasper's selfless devotion to his wife made him one of the most popular and admired men in America. So Dez sets out to do what any red-blooded American would do: destroy Ulickson by using Chloe to pose as the famous author's long-lost daughter, infiltrate his family, seduce him, and, when he's sent to jail, claim his fortune.



Undone is one of those books that makes you uncomfortable. One where you're not quite sure you can root for any of the characters because their moral compass seems to be a bit off. However, as this is satire, that's precisely the point.

Undone revolves around three main characters. One, Dez, is the very definition of a sociopath. He impacts the lives of the other two main characters - Chloe and Jasper - in profound ways. Ways that will make you cringe in disgust and horror. Ways that will make you question your faith in humanity. Ways that mock certain aspects of our society. And yet, you'll find yourself glued to the story to find out how it all unfolds.

See, Dez has an unhealthy attraction to young girls - 15-18 year olds. A problem that has cost him many things - jobs, friends...and more. Since he doesn't believe there's anything wrong with his predilections, only society's view of them, he feels he's owed something. He therefore concocts an elaborate scheme to get his due. A scheme aimed at Jasper, since he's garnered celebrity with his memoir and Dez watched him on a popular daytime television show, and involving Chloe. 

Chloe's role in the destruction of Jasper, and Jasper's own role in his downfall, was pitiable even as they created disgust. I couldn't help but feel for them both being so manipulated. And the ramifications were so devastating to them both. Jasper's wife, daughter, and housekeeper were also deeply affected. And for what?

Undone inspired a lot of negative emotions in me but also some positives. It also was very thought-provoking and caused quite a few emotional discussions with my family. It is very well-written, inherently readable - even it it was a difficult read. The character development is well-done despite this being a plot-driven story. I became very invested in the futures of them all - wanting vastly different variations. This is a story that almost demands you think - consider your position on many topics - all while poking fun. It is a satire on celebrity and society's fascination with it but I felt it was also a commentary on other elements of society.

Will Damron did an excellent job narrating a story with many different characters. He did well with providing distinct voices and being consistent, as well as evoking the myriad emotions the story required. He was also able to keep the pacing just right.

I had a hard time deciding how to rate this book. However, I'm changing my original 3-Bookworm rating to 4-Bookworms because even though I wanted to cause bodily harm to Dez, this story, for all the discomfort is caused, was worth the listen.



Friday, May 19, 2017

Review ~ Losing Control ~ Jen Frederick #BloggerShame #ShelfLove

Losing Control (Kerr Chronicles, #1)Losing Control by Jen Frederick
Kerr Chronicles #1
Release Date: June 16, 2014
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Netgalley. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #BloggerShame, #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
I'd do anything to keep my mother alive.

Anything, including as Ian Kerr for help. I don't know much about him, except that he has more money than some small countries. And he's willing to spend it on me. Just one catch: there's a string attached, and not just the one I feel pulling me into his arms and his bed. There's also the plan for revenge he wants my help with.

Every time he says my name, it makes my body shiver and my heart stutter. I know he's going to wreck me, know there won't be anything left of me but lust and sensation by the time he's done with me, but even though I can see the heartbreak coming towards me like a train, ready to crash into me, I can't get out of the way. I want what he makes me feel. Want what he's offering.

This may have started out as something to save my mother, but now...now it's about what me makes me feel. I'm in danger of losing everything that's important. Worse? Ian's whispered words and hot caresses are making me believe that's okay.





Oh what I a thrill this was! It's been buried on my kindle and I'm so excited to have unearthed it!

Victoria "Tiny" is a bike courier doing all she can to take care of her cancer-stricken mother. She's dyslexic and therefore feels she doesn't have the skills to aspire to more in a career - besides she prefers the freedom of being outdoors on her bike. But her financial situation is worsening with her mother's health deteriorating and she resorts to couriering packages she'd rather not know the contents of. And that's when she meets Ian.

Ian is all alpha. And his intentions towards Tiny had me raising my eyebrows as much as Tiny's. Sure there's an immediate chemistry between them - the sparks fairly leapt out of my kindle - but the differences between them seemed insurmountable. Leave it to Ian to prove both Tiny and me wrong.

Then there's the little matter of the vengeance Ian's been gunning for for years. And the aim - one Richard Howe - he's a villain to be sure.

Losing Control had me flying through the pages - saying on the treadmill longer - to see what would happen next. Witnessing the passion ignite and the feelings bloom...*sigh* This is not a conventional love story and even if there were some familiar plot devices, I loved every minute of it. I adored finding that despite their differences, Tiny and Ian actually had a lot of things in common. I adored how they were there for one another - Ian in particular when helping Tiny with her mom. It all felt so genuine and I couldn't fault Tiny fighting her feelings for Ian at the same time as wanting to just lose control - or give it up for a little while anyway - and let Ian deal with everything.

JFrederick is a new-to-me author and I started Taking Control immediately upon finishing Losing Control. I'm also eager to see if I have any other reads from her backlist. I'll certainly be reading more.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

New Release Review ~ Provocative ~ Lisa Renee Jones #2017NewRelease

Provocative (White Lies Duet Book 1)Provocative by Lisa Renee Jones
White Lies Duet #1
Release Date: April 16, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Netgalley. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease
Goodreads

Synopsis
There are those moments in life that are provocative in their very existences, that embed in our minds forever, and sometimes our very souls. They change us, mold us, maybe even save us. But some are darker, dangerous. If we allow them to, they control us. Seduce us. Quite possibly even destroy us.

The moment I walked into Sonoma's Reid Winter Winery and Vineyard and made eye contact with Faith Winter for the first time was one of those moments. Provocative because I know at least one of her secrets, of which, I suspect she has many. Provocative because she believes I was a stranger to her when we met, but I am not. Provocative because I sought her out, with no intention of touching her. But now I have. Now I want her. Now I have to have her. But that changes nothing. It doesn't change why I came for her.




Wow. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy LRJ's writing. Why haven't I read more? Well, that's beside the point. She gives great contemporary romance with a side of mystery and suspense. Oh, and heat. My goodness the HEAT! After finishing Provocative, I immediately pre-ordered Shameless, book #2. Yep.

Nick Rogers and Faith Winter meet under conspicuous circumstances. He's come seeking her out and finds her in a rather embarrassing situation. This situation throws a wrench in Nick's plans - not only because he feels the need to help Faith but also because it makes him question his reasons for seeking her out in the first place. As these two become more and more entangled, more and more questions arise - for Nick, for Faith, and for the reader.

Both Nick and Faith are very compelling characters. Nick with his confidence and control, Faith in her vulnerability and vacillation between her dreams and what she feels is her duty. And the chemistry between them is electric!

The dual POV is the perfect format for this story. One of the things I found most riveting was that although Nick has his secrets - things he's hiding from Faith - we are privy to them. We get a glimpse inside his head and we see some of what's behind his motivations. Faith, on the other hand, has things she's hiding but I have no clue as to what her secrets are. And she's all the more interesting because of that. I'm also fascinated with how LRJ gets into their heads - the psychology behind their personalities. Nick and Faith have definitely been affected by their upbringing - their parents and their parents' relationships. This added so much depth to them both.

What can I say? I'm chomping at the bit for Shameless! I can't wait to have all my questions answered.



Monday, May 15, 2017

Audio Review ~ Your Inescapable Love ~ Layla Hagan #2017NewRelease #AudioChallenge

Your Inescapable Love (The Bennett Family #4)Your Inescapable Love by Layla Hagen
The Bennett Family #4
Narrated by: Sebastian York and Lidia Dornet
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Media
Rating: 3 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease, #AudioChallenge, #TakeControlTBR
Goodreads

Synopsis
Max Bennett was nine years old the first time he met Emilia. The two formed a tight friendship that lasted for years until she moved away. Now, years later, Max enjoys a successful career and loves his life: carefree and fun. He has everything he wants and does not intend to settle down anytime soon (even though his family might have other ideas). But when a chance encounter brings him face-to-face with Emilia, he starts questioning everything. Emilia Campbell has a lot on her plate, taking care of her sick grandmother. After practically being left at the altar, Emilia has sworn off men...until the childhood friend she hero-worshipped and hasn't quite forgotten steps into her clinic. Max is every bit the troublemaker she remembers, only now he has a body to drool over. They are both determined not to cross the boundaries of friendship. But as their chemistry spirals out of control, can Emilia trust her childhood hero with the key to her heart and accept she might have found her one true love? Contains mature themes.




Your Inescapable Love gives us Max Bennett's story. Now I'm a sucker for the friends-to-lovers trope so when I realized Max and Emilia had been friends when they were kids, I was eager to see how this would come together.

Max is a rather determined bachelor, believing he doesn't have time for romance since he's so focused on work. He's an excellent negotiator and makes Bennett Enterprises lots of money. Lest you think he's all work and no play, know that he and his twin, Christopher, are the pranksters of the Bennett clan, doing things like switching places to get out of dinner duty to kissing girls.

Emilia was raised by her Grams after losing her mother and having her father bail. Now she works hard as a physical therapist as well as caring for her Grams, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She is driven in her career and with the demands on her time caring for her Grams, romance isn't on her radar. 

Then Max walks into her clinic. And lucky Emilia is his PT. They immediately begin cathing up, not having seen each other for years. They also have an immediate attraction, something they both try to ignore until they can't.

I liked how their romance blossomed - Emilia having some baggage but Max being baggage-free and more than willing to take on helping Emilia shed hers. Some of Emilia's baggage felt a little contrived though. And I felt like their story could have had more depth in some ways. They had history and more could have been done with it.

The Bennett clan wasn't around as much in this installment and I found I really missed them. he dynamics between all the siblings adds more dimension to the stories and while they were present, they didn't have prominent roles and... well, I just missed that. I'm guessing Christopher will be the next to fall and I'm eager to witness that.

Lidia Dornet and Sebastian York narrated and were fabulous. They brought Max and Emilia to life and kept the story flowing. Dornet even added a bit of action in some scenes which better conveyed the emotions of those scenes. York is simply ear-candy. ;)




Saturday, May 13, 2017

My TBR List ~ May ~ And the Winner is...

MyTBRList

My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading. I think it's a fabulous idea because it gets y'all in the game and it helps me knock off some of the many, many books on my TBR list. You're more than welcome to join in the fun! I've included the basic rules below but you can click on the graphic above to hop over to Michelle's site where you can find all the details. 

Here's how it works:
On the first Saturday of each month, I will make a post with three books from my TBR List (these books can be already on your ereader or bookshelf OR books you might want to purchase) and add your link on the linky that will be provided on Michelle's post. Y'ALL will help me choose which book I will read next. The following Saturday, I will announce which book won. Then the last Saturday of the month, I'll post my review.

Fun, right?!?


***

Thanks to everyone who voted! I prepared and scheduled these posts during March's Blog Ahead so I've completely forgotten the choices for every month. When I started seeing the votes for this month, I got really excited.... ;)  I'm not gonna lie, I had a favorite going into this vote.



And the Winner Is:

Us (Him #2)
Us
Him #2

Synopsis
Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He's living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves--Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There's just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It's not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn't help that his new job isn't going as smoothly as he'd hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they?

When Wes's nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Warning: contains sexual situations, a vibrating chair, long-distance sexytimes and proof that hockey players look hot in any shade of green.



Check back on May 27th for my review! (and by the way, this was the one I was pulling for)


Friday, May 12, 2017

My TBR List Review ~ April #2 ~ Changing Tides ~ Sarah Darlington

MyTBRList

My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading

As y'all know, I had a tie in the vote for My TBR in April so I read them both. Here's my second review...sorry it's late! ;)


***

Changing Tides (Kill Devil Hills, #2)
Changing Tides by Sarah Darlington
Kill Devil Hills #2
Release Date: March 16, 2015
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Kindle
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove, #TravelingtotheTerminus
Goodreads

Synopsis
ELLIE
For years Ellie Turner's had a crush on the ruggedly handsome, beast of a man, television actor, Nate West. This isn't your average 'fan-girl crush' either, it's borderline obsessive, and totally inconvenient since, other that this one exception, Ellie's always been strictly into girls. But it doesn't matter...because Nate doesn't exist in real life. In real life Ellie has her own issues to worry about, including the death of her brother, the recent suicide attempt of her sister, and then there's always her annoying roommate Rhett to contend with.

NATE
Nate West isn't looking to start a new relationship. He's still heartbroken over the last girl who ripped out his insides, still learning how to manage his new-found fame, and, frankly, not even sure what time-zone he's in. His life is so full of stress, the last thing he wants is more of it.

So when Nate and Ellie meet on an airplane, nothing life changing should have come from it. But "sometimes in life--very rarely, I might add--you meet someone and you know instantly they're going to mean something special to you."





I really liked Kill Devil Hills so I'm not sure why I waited so long to jump back into this series. While Changing Tides didn't pack the emotional punch of Kill Devil Hills nor did I find it quite as compelling, I did enjoy Ellie and Nate's story as well as the continuing story of the Turner family.

Ellie Turner was a character I immediately liked when I met her in Kill Devil Hills. She's kind, loyal, brash, and funny...and very sure of her sexuality. In fact, she seemed rather certain of a lot about her life, which I admired, and it's also why she was completely thrown for a loop when she found herself attracted to a man. Not just any man, mind you. It just so happened that one Nate West was on her flight from North Carolina to California. The Nate West who happens to star in one of Ellie's favorite t.v. programs. 

Nate is immediately drawn to Ellie and he's shocked because that's a rarity for him. He's coming off a bad breakup though so he questions whether Ellie is just a challenge or more?

The way the relationship between Ellie and Nate was allowed to grow seemed very genuine. I liked Ellie's quote:
"sometimes in life--very rarely, I might add--you meet someone and you know instantly they're going to mean something special to you."
and it was very applicable to her situation with Nate. I don't know though. There was just something that kept this story from being quite as complex. Maybe it's because the focus wasn't entirely on Ellie and Nate? There was another focus in this story and I have to admit to being very intrigued and very eager to have all my questions answered where this other plot line is concerned. I *do* know it had nothing to do with Ellie falling for a guy. I mean, we can't help who we fall in love with. The heart wants what it wants...and all those other cliches. I liked how Darlington dealt with Ellie processing the fact that although she was attracted to women, she also had some serious chemistry and a connection to Nate. I also enjoyed watching Nate realize what he'd had in his previous relationship wasn't at all what he'd thought it was. And witnessing him woo Ellie was fun too! On top of that, it was a pleasure spending time with Georgie and Noah, Rhett, and other characters I met in the first installment.

So while I can't put my finger on precisely what caused my connection with Ellie and Nate to be somewhat weak, their story was a good one. And I'm anxious to continue this series.




Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #62 ~ Remember When #2 ~ T. Torrest (@TTorrest)


I'm currently binging on T. Torrest's Remember When trilogy. It's so much fun! So I thought I'd share...

***

But for the time being at least, we were able to sit in relative obscurity in a booth at some no-name eatery on 45th, polishing off the rest of our late-night snack Seemed like old times, just sitting in a diner with Trip, as we licked the last remnants of whipped cream off our lips.
Off our own lips. Just wanted to be clear on that.
I'd had the Snickers pie, and Trip had opted for the apple. With vanilla ice cream. And a side order of cheese fries with gravy. And an egg cream, the last of which he slurped out of the bottom of his glass.
We'd stopped off at a liquor store on the way to the diner, and I saw the fifth of Jack Daniels make another appearance from under his jacket as he spiked his gazillionth Coke.
I watched him in amazement, wondering where he put it all. He'd commandeered the majority of our vat of popcorn during the movie, then proceeded to down a junk-food feast of epic proportions at the diner. "You better watch it, Chester. You're gonna get fat and then no one'll ever hire you again."
He leaned back in his seat, patting his hands across his taut belly. "Impossible. I am a study in superior genetics."
Yep. That he was. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review ~ Outlander ~ Diana Gabaldon #2017HW #ShelfLove

Outlander (Outlander #1)Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Release Date: July 26, 2005
Genre: Adult, Historical, Romance, Time Travel
Source: Purchased paperback
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017HW, #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenack --an "outlander"-- in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire - and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.




So, Outlander has been on my TBR - at my friend Diana's request - for something like 12 years. I think I put it off mostly because...it's a big book. :) And it intimidated me somehow. Now that I've finished it I'm kicking myself for having waited and bowing to Diana's prowess with book recommendations. Diana, I should have known. :)

Since you'd have to live under a rock not to have heard of, read, or watched Outlander, I'm not going to cover what happens in the book so much as how it affected me. And it affected me greatly. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Claire - I love her. Her spirit, humor, strength...it all combines to make her this feisty, spit-fire of a woman who speaks her mind and acts according to her conscience no matter that it's 1743. As someone who has, on occasion, daydreamed of living in 1700 Scotland, Claire handles everything with grace (Claire grace, anyway) and aplomb.
  • And then there's Jamie. I'm not sure I've "met" a Highlander her - or any her - as brave and compassionate as he. On top of that he's intelligent and open-minded, both valuable assets considering he ends up attached to Claire.
  • The romance between Claire and Jamie is... I can't come up with the proper word. Their love is real, true and will stand the test of time. They quarrel but never stop fighting for each other. It's heartening to have been a part of them falling in love.
  • The history and detail made for an even more affecting story. The brutality of life during this time period, the clan dynamics and politics, the intrigue and suspense created between the Scots and the English, the imagery of the heather-lined hills and even the thief hole - it was all incredible. Gabaldon wove all these details - even antiquated language - into and around this amazing story.
  • Humor. I was grateful for the humor injected throughout the story as it was sorely needed at times. It was typically issued via Claire - speaking her mind - and Jamie more often than not.
I was seriously blown away by Outlander. I'm sorry not to have read it sooner and eager to continue the series. Oh and Dragonfly in Amber, the next in the series, became the first physical book I purchased in 2017!


This is now my favorite #2017HW read so far!



Saturday, May 6, 2017

My TBR List ~ May ~ Polling is Open!

MyTBRList

My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Michelle @Because Reading. I think it's a fabulous idea because it gets y'all in the game and it helps me knock off some of the many, many books on my TBR list. You're more than welcome to join in the fun! I've included the basic rules below but you can click on the graphic above to hop over to Michelle's site where you can find all the details. 

Here's how it works:
On the first Saturday of each month, I will make a post with three books from my TBR List (these books can be already on your ereader or bookshelf OR books you might want to purchase) and add your link on the linky that will be provided on Michelle's post. Y'ALL will help me choose which book I will read next. The following Saturday, I will announce which book won. Then the last Saturday of the month, I'll post my review.

Fun, right?!?


***

I'm continuing my quest, and working at one of my Bookish Resolutions to catch up on series (since I'm behind in 148 series) I'm once again having y'all decide which series I'm going to work at catching up on this month! :D

FYI, this will be my theme all year. And since I'm letting random.org choose from the list of series I'm behind in, you might see books show up more than once. ;)


Your Choices Are:

Us (Him #2)
Us
Him #2

Synopsis
Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He's living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves--Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There's just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It's not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn't help that his new job isn't going as smoothly as he'd hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they?

When Wes's nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Warning: contains sexual situations, a vibrating chair, long-distance sexytimes and proof that hockey players look hot in any shade of green.




Dark Desires After Dusk (Immortals After Dark #6)Dark Desires After Dusk
Immortals After Dark #6

Synopsis

A seductive beauty he can never have, yet can't resist...
Cadeon Woede will stop at nothing to atone for the one wrong that will haunt him forever. But once he secures the key to his redemption, the halfling Holly Ashwin, Cade finds that the woman he thought he could use for his own ends and then forget haunts him as much as his past.

A tormented warrior she should fear, but can't deny...
Raised as a human, Holly never knew that some frightening legends are real until she encounters a brutal demon who inexplicably guards her like a treasure. Thrust into a sensual new world of myth and power, with him as her protector, she begins to crave the demon's wicked touch.

Surrender to dark desires...
Yet just when he earns Holly's trust, will Cade be forced to betray the only woman who can sate his wildest needs -- and claim his heart?





Turn and Burn (Blacktop Cowboys, #5)Turn and Burn
Blacktop Cowboys #5

Synopsis
Tanna Barker is a world champion barrel racer. But her personal life has been less of a success, and she's feeling adrift. After her mother's unexpected death, her father has remarried, and sold the Texas ranch she called hom. Now a rodeo injury has lfet the restless spitfire holed up in Muddy Gap, unsure what her next move should be.

Until she meets her match in a wild, wild cowboy.

Veterinarian August Fletcher has always put his job first. He's never found a woman who could handle his on-the-road lifestyle. But when sassy, sexy Tanna blows into town, he finally finds the woman of his fantasies. And there's something between them, but she claims she's been burned by love 'em and leave 'em road dogs before. How can Fletch prove that he's in it for the long haul, and that their sizzling relationship is better than winning any rodeo medal? It'll take some sweet persuasion to convince Tanna that Muddy Gap is where she belongs.




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Friday, May 5, 2017

New Release Review ~ The Deep End ~ Kristen Ashley (@KristenAshley69) #2017NewRelease

The Deep End (Honey, #1)The Deep End by Kristen Ashley
Honey Series #1
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Erotic Romance, BDSM
Source: Purchased on Kindle (pre-ordered in 2016)
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease
Goodreads

Synopsis
Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are pleasure slaves committed to fulfilling a woman's every desire. At the elite Honey club, no boundary will be left untested, and one's darkest desires will become a sensual reality.

Olivier isn't sure what he's gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him craves the lifestyle offered by this secret, exclusive club.

When Amelie invites Olivier to surrender, she pushes him to explore his deepest desires as a submissive. As they grow closer and find themselves falling harder than either of them anticipated, the truth about Olivier's past could threaten the budding relationship they both long for.

Gripping and seductive, The Deep End is the first book in a sensational new series from bestselling author Kristen Ashley.




Y'all are well aware of my love and adoration for KA. I'm always singing her praises - and I'm about to again. Y'all also know I never hesitate in recommending a KA book. But with The Deep End I have to warn y'all - it deals with the BDSM lifestyle and won't be for everyone. It was, however, for me. :)

I was at a KA signing when she announced she was working on something new - going in a different direction for her. She was excited yet nervous. This new direction being erotica. But this is KA so I held my nerves in check. I didn't know she'd be going in this direction - that being BDSM - but I was confident with KA taking me there. I don't claim to understand BDSM or those who live the lifestyle. I also can't deny being fascinated. I think this is mostly due to the fact that I think people involved in this lifestyle have this whole other level of trust in their relationships. But I digress...

The Deep End is a story revolving around Amelie and Olivier and the rocky road hey travel down in trying to have a relationship that satisfies them both on all levels. But since this is also the first story in a new series, it also introduces many of the players that will inhabit this series as well as a new setting: Phoenix. Quickly, I want to say I already adore and/or am captivated by many of the secondary characters and am more than eager for the next installment.

On to Amelie and Olivier... Amelie is a Domme. Yep. She's confident, intelligent, caring, and in charge. But that doesn't mean she wants a sub who rolls over and bares his tummy in submission. Oh no. She craves a challenge. Unfortunately, men like that are rare. 

Enter Olivier. Olly is all alpha and KA gives good alpha. But in the sexual arena, he craves a woman who will take control. In Amelie, he gets exactly that. But these two have some hurdles to make it over. Amelie longs for the whole package - not just a club relationship but one outside as well with marriage and children. She's been burned in the past though so she's unsure of where she and Olly are heading. Olly is alpha, as I said, so he has some issues outside the playroom/bedroom with his woman already having "more" than he could ever provide monetarily. He's also a member of Honey under dubious circumstances and that secret could break what he's trying to build.

As this is KA, there's also a strand of suspense and it was really well done. But for the most part, this is one HOT erotic romance where Amelie and Olivier enjoy their kink.

I have to admit that it took me some time getting into Amelie and Olivier's story. I thought on that and decided this was because it's not familiar. These aren't characters or a locale I'm familiar with. And then there's the BDSM. But KA took me by the hand and led me there. By 40% I was hooked! I was loathe to put it down, flipping through pages quickly needing to know what came next. And so, I'm a believer. Yes, this was a different KA but it's still KA. And I put my trust in her knowing she'd deliver the goods. She did as she always does. Bring on book #2!



Monday, May 1, 2017

Audio Review ~ Your Forever Love ~ Layla Hagan #AudioChallenge #ShelfLove #TakeControlTBR

Your Forever LoveYour Forever Love by Layla Hagen
The Bennett Family #3
Narrated byJeremy York and Kendall Taylor
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Media
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #AudioChallenge, #ShelfLove, #TakeControlTBR
Goodreads

Synopsis
Eric Callahan is a powerful man, and his sharp business sense has earned him the nickname Shark. Yet under this facade is a man who loves his daughter and would do anything for her. When he and his daughter move to San Francisco for three months, he has one things in mind: expanding his business. As a widower, Eric is not looking for love. He focuses on his company, and his daughter - until he meets Pippa Bennett. She captivates him from the moment he sets eyes on her. Pippa Bennett knows she should stay away from Eric Callahan. After going through a rough divorce, she doesn't trust men anymore. But there's something about him that draws her in. He has a body made for sin, and a sense of humor that matches hers. Not to mention seeing how adorable he is with his daughter melts her walls one by one. The chemistry between them is undeniable, but it's the connection that grows deeper every day that has them wondering if love might be within reach. When it's time for Eric and his daughter to go home, will he give up on the woman who has captured his heart or do everything he can to remain by her side?



Pippa Bennett has been the driving force behind all the matchmaking in the Bennett family - as evidenced by Sebastian's wedding and Logan's engagement - so it was fun to see the tables turned on her.

Pippa hasn't had it easy in love - the only one to have married and then divorced in the Bennett clan. Her ex was a real piece of work - marrying her for her money - and he did a number of her self-confidence.

Eric Callahan is the CEO of his family's company and considered a shark in the business world. But outside of the office, he's a softie. Oh, he's all alphas but when it comes to his daughter, he melts with a look. He's a single dad, having lost his wife. Since then, he's devoted his life to his daughter and his business.

Neither Pippa nor Eric want anything to do with love or romance but when it comes to the other they can't seem to help themselves.

I enjoyed watching Pippa and Eric's second chance at love - the fall was sweet. I loved that the Bennett clan was present and we got to spend time with them. And I adored Eric's daughter Julie. It's always a joy when children are incorporated into a story and although she could have played a more prominent role, I didn't feel she was a gratuitous addition.

For all their reasons for avoiding romance, I felt Pippa maybe gave in a bit too easily while I was agreeing with Eric's mom in that he needed to pull his head out. There was also a little more predictability in this installment but it was still a fun read.

Jeremy York and Kendall Taylor did well with the narration, even with Julie's 12 year old voice. They both handled the multiple voices of the cast well, kept the pacing even, and infused the story with the proper emotions.

Overall, I'm still a Bennett Family fan...I'm eager to watch the rest of them fall. On to Your Inescapable Love