Review: Wicked Games (Wicked Bay #4) by L.A. Cotton

Title: Wicked Games
Author: L.A. Cotton
Series: Wicked Bay #4
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
The edgy, angsty, addictive YA/NA crossover series from L. A. Cotton continues…

They thought the fight was over…

All Maverick Prince ever wanted was to play basketball in college. So starting for the Steinbeck Scorpions should be a dream come true. But not everyone wants to see him succeed. Just because you’re on the same team, doesn’t mean you play by the same rules.

Lo Stone thought her life was finally on an even keel. As if being a senior and having to think about her future isn’t bad enough, she’s a stranger in her own house. And the longer she goes without seeing Maverick, the harder it is to ignore the little voice of doubt whispering in her ear.

They thought the games were over, but the war is only just beginning…

My Review:
Another amazing addition in this highly addictive series. I just love Lo and Rick. They are right up there with Sam and Mason and Ella and Reed in my opinion. New antagonists combine with familiar ones to add suspense and tension, and Lo has to dig deep to find inner strength and finally overcome her demons, in this latest installment. I’m very intrigued by Macey now and I look forward to her story. Kyle was hysterical as usual. All in all, another fab read.

Thanks to the author for providing an ARC of this book which I am voluntarily reviewing.

Review: Ruin (Gods #1) by Samantha Towle

Title: Ruin
Author: Samantha Towle
Series: Gods #1
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
From Samantha Towle, the New York Times bestselling author of Wardrobe Malfunction and Breaking Hollywood, comes a dramatically powerful and passionate new contemporary romance.

And the new heavyweight champion of the world is…

Those are the words that Zeus Kincaid has been waiting to hear since he first put on a pair of boxing gloves. He just didn’t think they would come with a tragedy that would change how he viewed the sport forever.

Cameron Reed was in her second year at Juilliard when her childhood sweetheart, Zeus Kincaid, walked away from her. A few months later, Cam realized that she would never fulfill her dream of dancing for the New York City Ballet.

Now working as a dancer in an upscale club in Manhattan, Cam is brought face-to-face with the man she once loved. And it’s her turn to walk away from him.

After five years of missing Cam, Zeus isn’t prepared to let her go again. But when he finds himself standing on her doorstep the next morning, things don’t go quite as he expected…

My Review:
4.5 stars. Loved it. Great writing and great characterization. Loved Gigi girl. Spent the first part of the book hating on Zeus and then I fell head over heels. Swoon. Wish there had been more flashbacks to their teen years, when they fell in love, but that’s only a minor complaint.

Review: Just an Illusion – Unplugged (The Illusion #4) by D. Kelly

Title: Just an Illusion – Unplugged
Author: D. Kelly
Series: The Illusion #4
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Sawyer Weston is cocky and arrogant. With his sinful smile and sexy dimples, he’s gotten his way most of his life. Infamous for his one-night stands and moves between the sheets, the lead singer for Bastards and Dangerous has never considered relationships—until he meets her.

With her curvy body, sarcastic mouth, and uncanny ability to put Sawyer in his place, Amelia Greyson has captured his heart. She can see into his soul and knows what he truly wants from life. Sawyer has a problem, though—she’s dating his twin brother Noah.

Although he wants her with every breath he takes, Sawyer and Noah’s complicated history prevents him from making a move on her.

Just an Illusion—Unplugged tells Sawyer’s story. Every thought, every feeling, are yours for the taking. Are you ready?

My Review:
I am so in love with this series. It was amazing getting to read the first part of the story from Sawyer’s perspective, and I love how he loved her all along, and how obvious it is now that I see it through his eyes. Can’t wait for the last book to release. Roll on the summer!

Release Day: Just an Illusion Encore by D. Kelly


Happy release day release of Encore, the final book in her Illusion series. I have Encore locked and loaded on my kindle and can’t wait to get stuck in soon, although it’s bittersweet because I really don’t want to say goodbye to these characters yet. I guess it gives me an excuse to re-read the entire series again

Title: Just an Illusion – Encore
Author: D. Kelly
Series: The Illusion Series #5
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Sawyer Weston has done the unthinkable—he’s fallen for his brother’s girl. He’d never purposefully hurt Noah, but that’s exactly what’s going to happen if he can’t get her out of his system.

A stolen kiss between them finally brings Sawyer to his senses. No matter how much he wants her, Amelia has made her choice.

When tragedy strikes, Sawyer finds himself taking on more responsibility than he ever imagined. Can Sawyer remain the rock his family needs in their time of crisis? Or will he succumb to his deepest desires and fall in love with Amelia all over again?

Just an Illusion – Encore is the conclusion to Sawyer Weston’s story. Every thought, every feeling, are yours for the taking. Are you ready?

DON’T MISS THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE ILLUSION SERIES!

About the Author:
D. Kelly, author of The Acceptance Series, The Illusion Series, and standalone companion novels Chasing Cassidy and Sharing Rylee, was born and raised in Southern California. She’s a wife, mom, dog lover, taxi, problem fixer, and extreme multi-tasker. She married her high school sweetheart and is her kids’ biggest fan.

Kelly has been writing since she was young and took joy in spinning stories to her childhood friends. Margaritas and sarcasm make her smile, she loves the beach but hates the sand, and she believes Starbucks makes any day better.

A contemporary romance writer, D. Kelly’s stories revolve around friendship and the bond it creates, strengthening the love of the people who share it.

Links:

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Review: The Illusion Series – Box Set -Side A and The B Side by D. Kelly

Title: The Illusion Series – Box Set -Side A and The B Side
Author: D. Kelly
Series: The Illusion Series #1-2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Worlds collide …
Amelia Greyson, author of The O Factor, has been thrust into the fast-paced life of the music industry as the author commissioned to write the story of Bastards and Dangerous, a famous rock band with sexy twin brothers at the helm. Unbeknownst to them, she’s been here before; it’s not her first rodeo.
Two guys, one girl …
Sawyer and Noah Weston, front men for BAD, have an awful habit of falling for the same girl. When Mel enters their lives, they are spellbound, both vying for her attention. Noah wears his heart on his sleeve, but Sawyer is a master at hiding his feelings—or so he thinks.
All’s fair in love and war …
Between Noah and Sawyer competing for Amelia’s affection, the stalker set on ruining her life, and turmoil affecting the group as a whole, Amelia is forced to make difficult decisions. Will she throw caution to the wind and give in to the magnetic pull Sawyer has on her, or will Amelia release the demons of her past and allow Noah to own her heart?
This box set contains Just an Illusion—Side A and Just and Illusion—The B Side.

My Review:
FLOVED. This was an incredible start to a captivating rock star romance series. I’ve been on a rock star romance bingeathon the last few weeks and I’ve read lots of the bestselling, most-popular series’, and I’ve got to say this series is my ABSOLUTE FAVE. If you like angsty, swoony romance set within the backdrop of a traditional rock star scene, then I think you will ADORE this series.

I love, love, love Noah, and Mel is a great MC. The other guys in the band are equally intriguing as are all the secondary characters. This satisfied my angst-loving drama-loving heart to the max. I knew it was moving toward a key traumatic moment and it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through reading – I kept thinking when is it going to happen and what exactly is going to happen? I’m about to find out.

Review: Finding My Way (Beaumont #4) by Heidi McLaughlin

Title: Finding My Way
Author: Heidi McLaughlin
Series: Beaumont #4
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Liam Westbury has the world at his feet. He’s the quintessential golden boy. He’s the superstar quarterback for Beaumont High. His girl, Josie, is head cheerleader. He has his choice of colleges just waiting for him. Except he’s suffocating from all the pressure he’s under and no one understands.

Liam Page is the heartthrob he never wanted to be. He’s successful, smart and in demand by record companies and his adoring fans. Music is his passion, his love, but something’s missing. His nights are lonely and he longs for the girl he left behind. Seeing her in every face in the crowd haunts him with the knowledge that she hates him. Going home has never been an option until now.

Be there when Liam Westbury becomes Liam Page and follow the highs and lows of the Quarterback turned Rockstar as he finds a way back to Beaumont in this prequel to Forever My Girl.

My Review:
This was a great companion novel and it contained completely new material which was refreshing. I really came to understand Liam’s decision once I saw the backstory. I had read some of the reviews before starting, and was afraid I would hate him after reading this, but I didn’t. I actually really felt for him in the first half.

Mason’s decision was really shitty and while I had been looking forward to meeting him, he wasn’t a very good friend. He was mooning over Katelyn and no one else seemed to matter. I was hugely disappointed in Josie. She had complete blinkers on and she never asked her boyfriend what was wrong or made any effort to understand him. I actually came out of this thinking she doesn’t deserve him.

The second half of the story was difficult to read at times because I didn’t like seeing Liam with other women and I can’t understand how he could be in love with Josie for ten years and still sleep around so much. And he lied when he said in the first book that he had only enjoyed hook ups because he had a relationship with Sam. Hated reading that part and was glad it wasn’t too detailed.

There were a few timeline errors that bugged me, but that’s just a pet peeve of mine, and it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. My only disappointment is I would have liked to have seen some of the reunion with Josie (especially the initial scenes and him learning about Noah) from his perspective, but overall it was a fantastic addition to the series.

Review: Frayed Silk by Ella Fields

Title: Frayed Silk
Author: Ella Fields
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Our marriage wasn’t just in trouble—mere threads were all that held it together.
What was once my perfect happily ever after had dissolved right before my eyes.
I can tell you when it started to happen.
What I can’t tell you is why.
And after seven months of watching my husband turn into someone I didn’t recognize, I’d given up hope in finding answers.

So I decided to break his heart
… and he did nothing to stop me.

Trigger warning: This book contains cheating and other sensitive subject matter.

My Review:
Absolutely exceptional storytelling. I spent the first half of the book desperately trying to figure out Leo’s secret, and while I was on the right track, I still could never have guessed that. My heart broke for him, for them, but I loved watching them reconnect and become a team again.

I loved the family theme and the children’s characters and interactions were spot on for their ages.

Not really sure how I feel about Jared. He seemed to care for her but we didn’t really get enough of his backstory to fully understand. I guess I’ll just have to check out his book to discover more.

Wow, what an amazing thought-provoking story, and one that will stay with me for a long time.

Review: Suddenly Forbidden (Gray Springs University #1) by Ella Fields

Title: Suddenly Forbidden
Author: Ella Fields
Series: Gray Springs University #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
I thought he’d always be mine,
even when I was forced to say goodbye.

We were never meant to let go,
but it happened anyway.
Too bad I didn’t know someone was waiting to take my place, or I would’ve held on a lot tighter.

Two years later, we were exactly where we’d always planned to be.
I’d kept my promise.
He’d forgotten all about his.
Not only had he moved on, but the person he’d moved on with was my best friend, leaving me to begin college with a broken heart.

I guess this is the part where I’m supposed to tell you some other guy stepped in, repaired my shattered pieces, and made me smile again.

This isn’t that kind of story.

My heart might have been broken,
but it refused to fall out of love.

WARNING: this book contains cheating.

Each book in the Gray Springs world can be read as a standalone.

My Review:
I floved this book so much I stayed up all night reading it. I tried to put it down at 3am and spent the next two hours tossing and turning as anxiety twisted my stomach into knots. I gave up and picked the book back up again, and finally got to sleep at 7 a.m. I’m totally blaming Ella Fields for my crappy productivity today, lol.

This book completely satisfied my craving for a messy, angsty romance and I lapped it right up. There were plenty of times where I wanted to project myself into the story to throttle the characters, but I had to settle for silently screaming abuse at my Kindle instead. I really hated Quinn for a lot of this book. He professed undying, eternal love and then gave up too quick, and the way he treated Daisy at the start really frustrated me, especially when he allowed that beatch Alexis to crawl all over him in deliberate malicious PDAs. I don’t think I have hated a character as much as I hated Alexis. What a cow. Quinn redeemed himself in the end so I forgave him, but I really wanted to kick Daisy in her ladyparts a few times and tell her to stop mooning over him in such a transparent way. I also really wanted her to rub his nose in it by hooking up with Callum, but she was too nice and too heartbroken to do that.

I adored the flashback scenes and I really felt their connection, hence why I became so involved and felt so much frustration with Quinn.

The writing was superb, the pacing consistent, and we got a fab epilogue and HEA in the end.

In summary, this was a fantastic read and one I would highly recommend to readers who enjoy angsty forbidden romance.

Review: Black Swan Affair by K.L. Kreig

Title: Black Swan Affair
Author: K.L. Kreig
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
I’ve loved him as long as I can remember.

The gangly boy with big brown eyes and unruly hair who grew up into an intoxicating man. He wears scruff like he invented it and ambles with a swagger that makes panties drop.

Killian Shepard.

Shep.

We grew up together. We played Ghost in the Graveyard. Had our own rock band. It didn’t matter that he was five years older than me. It didn’t matter that he looked at me as a kid sister even as I grew into woman. It didn’t even matter when he left me behind to go to college and start his adult life.

He’d be back.
He was always meant to be mine.

He came back, all right. But instead of smelling of promises, he stunk of betrayal. And he destroyed me—us—the day he married my sister instead of me.

So I did the only thing a girl like me in my position could do.

I got my revenge.
I married his brother, Kael.
Now we’re one big happy f*cking family.

***mature content appropriate for 18+

My Review:
Amazing, loved it. Could hardly put it down, and when I did I was thinking about it obsessively. Superb writing, tons of angst and emotional complexity, and the author had me switching my mind constantly over what was going on and with which guy. Loved how it turned out, as I was rooting for that one all along! What a gem of a new author discovery for me. *Runs to KU to check out more of her work.*

Review: The Maxwell Series Boxed Set (Maxwell #1-3) by S.B. Alexander

Title: The Maxwell Series Boxed Set
Author: S.B. Alexander
Series: Maxwell #1-3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
DARE TO KISS

The worst thing that could happen to anyone has happened to 17-year-old Lacey Robinson–she found the murdered bodies of her mother and sister. Now she and her dad have moved across the country to start over in a new town where Lacey has three dreams: to conquer her debilitating PTSD, to play good enough high school baseball to get a scholarship, and to stay alive. Because evidently somebody doesn’t like her family.

She’s so not the “popular girl” type–at least not with the popular girls. But she makes male friends easily. Just not with sexy, moody Kade Maxwell. And yet…she’s drawn to him both as a person–a mysterious, yet kind person–and in a blind visceral way she’s never known before, not with her last boy friend, not even with hot quarterback Tyler, whose friendship with her has the cheerleaders sharpening their claws.

Once Kade gets over the gun and the shiner (just a misunderstanding!), he doesn’t want to let Lacey out of his sight. Because Kade has his own dark past. He and Lacey sense in each other that they’ve both experienced something too horrible to mention–and yet, each guards his or her own private tragedy like a state secret. Until their carefully constructed walls start to crumble. And then the mutual sparks ignite, creating a bonfire of love, hope, and passion.


DARE TO DREAM

S.B. Alexander’s escalating love story takes a suspenseful–yet ever more passionate– turn as the two embark on much more than a hot, temporary tryst. Despite her own tragedy, Lacey’s beauty, determination, and dedication make Kade believe he can dream again–she’s the only one who can take him to a perfect place where nothing else matters. Not even trauma-induced migraines, or his long-standing feud with Sullivan and Seever–the numbskulls responsible for putting Kade in jail and one of his triplet brothers in the hospital. And by the way, all the Maxwell boys are searing hot and scary smart, blessed with both brains and muscles…

For her part, Lacey longs fiercely for a future with Kade, but her long-term dream of a baseball scholarship must come first, and now there’s something even more immediate—she’s desperate to solve the brutal unsolved murders of her family. Because during a trip back to California, Lacey finds her family may have a dark secret it’s kept from her–threatening ties to the mob. And then she finds herself face-to-face with the killer she’s dreamed of cornering.



DARE TO LOVE

“I’m a knight in shining armor, I’m Prince Charming on a steed; I am Superman and Rocky, hell I’m all you’ll ever need.” Thus begins Kelton Maxwell’s sarcastic ode to love. An impossibly sexy, cocky, charming college playboy, Kelton’s got the world by the balls–and he has absolutely no interest in the trappings of romance–even if he’ll admit it’s made his big brother happy.

My Review:
Book 1: Dare to Kiss
OMG, why am I only discovering this series now? I just love those Maxwell boys! Very entertaining, well written, with a strong MC you can root for and a plethora of gorgeous boys. And I loved all the drama and angst.

Book 2: Dare to Dream
Another great read, and a fab conclusion to Kade and Lacey’s story. Loved how we had the same elements as book one with the addition of a suspenseful sub plot and some heart-in-the-mouth scenes that had me on the edge of my seat. Cannot wait to get stuck into Kelton’s story as he’s my next favorite Maxwell brother. Highly Recommended.

Book 3: Dare to Love
Kelton and Lizzie’s story – loved it. A great second chance friends to lovers romance. Dillon is a great new additional character and I wonder if we might get his story at some point in the future?