Blog Tour: Butterfly Dreams by A. Meredith Walters

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for Butterfly Dreams by A. Meredith Walters. I share my review of this book with you today and an excerpt from the book.

Butterfly Dreams coverTitle: Butterfly Dreams
Author: A. Meredith Walters
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
In a powerful romance hailed as “heartbreaking, real, and breathtakingly beautiful” by Stacey Lynn, New York Times bestselling author A. Meredith Walters tells the story of a troubled young woman and the unforgettable guy who teaches her to live—and love—to the fullest.

She’s waiting to die. . . . Corin Thompson is paralyzed by her obsession with mortality. Having lost both of her parents, she is terrified by the idea that she too will die young, and she loses control at any sign of illness. But when Corin connects with someone who has survived a very real brush with death, she begins to see the world in a whole new way.

He’s learning to live. . . . As Corin struggles under the weight of her neuroses, Beckett Kingsley is attempting to rebuild a life that feels all too temporary. With the ever-present threat of heart failure never far from his mind, he just wants to make the most of whatever time he has left. And that means pursuing the girl he never expected to find.

Together, Corin and Beckett finally learn to let go of their fears and take solace in everyday pleasures. Who knows what the future holds? After all, nothing lasts forever—the only promise they have is right now.

Butterfly Dreams graphic #1

My Review:
This author certainly knows how to write a powerful emotionally-charged book that had me blubbing like a baby. I was captured from the very first word right until the last page.

Corin hasn’t effectively dealt with the deaths of both of her parents and she’s suffering from anxiety, depression, and a morbid fear of her own impending death. She basically camps out at her doctors and every day she has a new health worry or concern. At the time we meet her, she is convinced she has a heart condition, so she joins a support group and there she meets Beckett.

They share some history – he was the kind stranger who helped her overcome her anxiety attack on the sidewalk – but Corin is really embarrassed over the whole incident and tries to push him away.

Beckett has undergone a massive life transformation after a recent heart attack. Having struggled to adjust to his new reality, he is trying to make the best of it, even though he can no longer do all the things he used to love doing.

They meet at an important crossroads in their lives and see something in the other which draws them closer. This is a heartwarming, beautiful love story and I loved every moment of it.

I felt that the author handled the anxiety and depression very realistically and the opening scenes were so emotive that I almost felt like I was the one suffering from the panic attack, not Corin. At times, it’s painful to be around Corin and there were plenty of moments where I cringed at her awkwardness and social ineptitude.

The twist toward the end, though not completely unexpected, left me in tears. I could hardly see the words through my blurry vision. Gosh, I love when an author literally reduces me to a sobbing mess and my heart physically ached for our couple.

This is my second A. Meredith Walters book and it’s clear that she is a very accomplished, talented writer. Character development was superb and the writing flowed smoothly. I could scarcely put this book down and I read it in two sittings.

If you enjoy well-written romances that pack a powerful emotional punch then Butterfly Dreams is a must read.

Butterfly Dreams graphic #4

Excerpt:
My doorbell rang.
What?
I looked at the clock and realized it was already 7:30.
So that meant it was Beckett on the other side of the door.
Shit.
I looked down at my half-naked body.
Shit!
And then I started freaking out.
“I’ll be right there!” I yelled.
Should I let him in?
But I was practically naked!
I couldn’t let him see me like this!
Maybe I should own it. Shake my hips and let him get a look at the goods.
Like that would ever happen.
Crap, what was I going to wear?
I grabbed a pair of jeans from my floor and wiggled them on, not really paying attention to which ones they were.
I reached into my closet and pulled the closest shirt off the rack. I tied my hair into a ponytail and slipped on a comfortable pair of ballet flats.
I hoped Beckett hadn’t planned on five-star dining because I was dressed more for a McDonalds milkshake before hanging with the bowling league.
“Sorry,” I said, out of breath, opening the door and letting Beckett inside.
“I was starting to think I needed to break in and make sure you hadn’t gotten stuck in the toilet or something.” Beckett looked damn near perfect in a dark pair of jeans and button-up blue shirt the same color as his eyes.
He had even gotten a haircut. Way to make me feel like a total underachiever in the getting ready department, buddy.
“Looks like you cut yourself,” I said, indicating the piece of toilet paper stuck to his chin.
“Fuck. I forgot about that,” he muttered, pulling it off, looking embarrassed.
“You should have left it there. It’s cute,” I teased, putting on my black wool coat.
“You ready?” he asked.
“As I’ll ever be.” I gave him a wide smile and he laughed.
“I’m not taking you to your death by firing squad. You could act a bit more excited.”
I jumped up and down, clapping my hands together. “OMG, Beck! I can’t wait!” I gasped.
“Is that better?” I asked, closing my apartment door behind me and locking it.
“Much.” Beckett leaned down and I swear he was checking out my ass.
“Excuse me, but what in the hell are you doing?” I demanded.
“Are you aware that the Cheshire cat is on your right butt cheek?”
I craned my body to get a look at what he was talking about. And sure enough, there was a bright purple patch with the damn Cheshire cat on my derriere.
“I must have picked up the wrong jeans,” I groaned. These were my hanging-out-doing-laundry jeans. Not meant to be seen by anyone but myself and the cat.
“I was in a rush. I couldn’t figure out what to wear. It was stressful,” I tried to explain, pulling my coat down over my feline-covered bum.
“The last thing I want is to stress you out, Cor-Cor.”
I smacked his arm. “I thought I warned you about using that damn nickname,” I threatened.
“I show up with toilet paper stuck to my face and you have a cat on your butt. I think we make a pretty awesome pair,” Beckett snickered, unlocking his car.

Butterfly Dreams graphic #3

A Meredith WaltersAbout the Author:
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary and Paranormal romance including The Find You in the Dark and Bad Rep series as well as the upcoming stand alone romance, Reclaiming the Sand, and a dark new adult series for Gallery Books.

A. Meredith spent ten years as a counselor for at risk teens and children. First working at a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault program and then later a program for children with severe emotional and mental health issues. Her former clients and their stories continue to influence every aspect of her writing.

When not writing (or being tortured with all manner of beauty products at the hand of her very imaginative and extremely girly daughter), she is eating chocolate, watching reality television that could rot your brain and reading a smutty novel or two.

A. Meredith is represented by Michelle Johnson with the Inklings Literary Agency.

Links:

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Review: Beautiful Surrender (Forever #3) by Priscilla West

beautiful surrenderTitle: Beautiful Surrender
Author: Priscilla West
Series: Forever #3
Rating: 3.75 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
“What gives you a thrill Kristen?”

The conclusion to the Surrender Series by Priscilla West.

No one is who they seem to be.

Kristen let Vincent into her heart because he seemed so different from everyone in her conservative world of wealth management. She thought they shared something special, but when she realizes that Vincent has been playing her the entire time, her heart is crushed.

As Kristen’s relationship with Vincent reaches a crisis point, a man from Kristen’s past returns looking for a second chance. Is her ex-boyfriend really looking for redemption or is his goal something more sinister?

Kristen struggles to hold herself together, until she discovers a revelation that will change everything.

My Review:
Actual Rating: 3.75 Stars

This was the best book of the series and finally we saw some real suspense, some gritty action. I had a much better sense of both characters in this book though I have to say that I warmed to Vincent much more than Kristen.

Kristen flies off the handle with Vincent when she discovers what he’s done. I didn’t understand her reaction and it wasn’t natural in my view, all he was doing was trying to protect her and she freaked-out.

Marty is a very disturbed boy and the scenes at the end were explosive.

Now that I’ve read all three books I’m feeling a little frustrated because I think this series could be really great with a little bit more fleshing out and stronger plot development. For me, this story lacked originality: Everything that happens is predictable and apart from the romance there isn’t much else happening. Even the sub-plot centering around Marty could have been woven more intricately throughout the story so that he really felt like a threat. He only felt like that at the very end. I think there was a missed plot opportunity with Richard, and excepting Gizelle and her family, none of the side characters added any value to the plot. They should have been expanded on or removed.

Though this might sound like a contradiction, I did still enjoy reading this series, but I was frustrated at the wasted potential because Priscilla West is clearly a talented writer and I admire her writing style. I am definitely going to check out some of her other books.

With stronger structural/developmental editing this series could be so much better. I also think that this would work better as one larger book. While I know it’s trendy to serialise in shorter segments, I just didn’t feel like it worked here.

I received a review copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Secret Surrender (Forever #2) by Priscilla West

secret surrenderTitle: Secret Surrender
Author: Priscilla West
Series: Forever #2
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
“What gives you a thrill Kristen?”

I knew that giving in to Vincent Sorenson was a risk, but it was one I was willing to take. I had hidden my heart for so long and for the first time in a long time, Vincent was close to breaking down the walls.

When a trip to Vincent’s exclusive private island reveals the real Vincent underneath the layers of suave nonchalance, I thought we were close to the start of something special.

Just when things were looking up for us, I would discover the one secret that Vincent never intended for me to find.

My Review:
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars.

I thought this book was better than the first installment though I still had some issues with it.

Character development was stronger in this book, mainly because it centers on Vincent and Kristen’s romance. I enjoyed the world-building as Kristen was shown a taste of what it’s like to date a wealthy, successful, man.

The romance is smokin’ hot, just as I like it!

The main issues I had again were underdevelopment of the plot. Kurt and Bernie were so obvious it was almost laughable. Poor Riley is relegated to the sideline which was a shame as she seemed like an interesting character in the first book. Kristen’s ex, Marty, makes an appearance but then disappears again. While Vincent took this seriously, Kristen was way too flippant. She’d been having nightmares about the guy for years and she was too easy-breezy about it.

The writing remains very good, but this series is still not hitting it’s true potential in my opinion.

I received a review copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review: Forbidden Surrender (Forever #1) by Priscilla West

Forbidden SurrenderTitle: Forbidden Surrender
Author: Priscilla West
Series: Forever #1
Rating: 3 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
“What gives you a thrill Kristen?”

The minute I saw Vincent Sorenson, I knew he was trouble. Billionaire. Bad boy. And dangerously sexy. He was everything I craved, and nothing I needed.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t just avoid him. The higher ups at my company decided they needed his business, and I was on the team to bring him in. Vincent Sorenson didn’t seem as interested in business as he was in me, but I knew that was a door better left unopened. If I got involved with him, it would only unearth the pain I spent years trying to bury.

I thought I had it under control, but I seriously underestimated Vincent’s seductive charm and silver-tongue. I would soon find out how delicious it would feel to let myself fall into this forbidden surrender.

My Review:
I liked this book, but I didn’t love it.

I enjoyed the writing style and the book flowed smoothly, but it was too short and there wasn’t adequate time to really connect with the two mains.

Kristen was initially presented as risk-averse, sensible, a bit boring, and quite condescending when she first met Vincent. However, her character was inconsistent and she suddenly became aloof, fiesty, and then she totally folded on the second date. As you do.

Vincent actually seemed like a decent enough guy, if a bit overpowering at times.

Kristen’s work colleague, Richard, has slime-ball potential written all over him.

The romance happened too fast – there wasn’t enough build up – and the whole plot felt a bit rushed. For me, it lacked depth and substance.

However, I’m engaged enough to continue the series and I’m hoping the character development is stronger in Book 2.

I received a review copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Blog Tour: His Witch to Keep (Keepers of the Veil #2) by Zoe Forward

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for His Witch to Keep (Keepers of the Veil #2) by Zoe Forward. I’ll share my review with you today and there’s a tour wide giveaway!

His_Witch_To_Keep_500Title: His Witch to Keep
Author: Zoe Forward
Series: Keepers of the Veil #2
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Wanting her was one thing. Keeping her was another…

Serenity Danssaert was already in way over her head. Not even her MI6 training or her powers as one of the seven Pleiades witches is going to save her sister. Then Alexi Jovec shows up. A secret operative working for unknown forces, he’s impossibly sexy and dangerous…and the guy who bailed on Serenity after a red-hot, racy night.

So bonding to him as her destined—the One—is so very wrong.

While Alexi’s need to own Serenity—body, soul, and beyond—is nearly unbearable, it’s also forbidden. He’s the last man who could ever be her destined. Besides, Hades’s right-hand man cannot bond with a chosen Pleiades witch. He may be the one man who can protect her, but she can never be his to keep.

Teaser 1

My Review:
Serenity is one bad-ass ex-M16 Pleid witch with a feisty mouth to match. We were first introduced to her in the first book (Protecting His Witch) and I loved her instantly. She’s a fantastic MC and her chemistry with Alexi was smoking hot. I lurved the romance in this book.

Alexi is a death-reaper and destined for a life of solitude. But he’s been watching over Serenity for years and they share an undeniable connection. Hades may have told him he can’t have her but fate seems to think otherwise.

This book was fast-paced and well-written, with a good blend of action, mystery, fantasy, and romance. Where I felt the first book was too focused on the romance and not enough on the plot and world-building, I didn’t have the same issues here. Zoe got it bang-on this time.

Someone is trying to kill Serenity, and they have taken her sister hostage, so a large part of the story is tied up with Alexi and Serenity trying to unravel the mystery in time to save her sister. Toward the end, I started to suspect the truth, so it wasn’t completely unexpected when it was revealed, but it was still a brilliant twist.

I loved the interaction with the other witches, and the fact that we got to see Kat and Matt again. I’d still like more of the witchy-stuff, but I presume this will be developed as the series progresses.

My only complaint – and it’s minor – is that she seemed more interested in getting into Alexi’s pants than she was in finding her kidnapped sister. There was a definite lack of urgency that wasn’t realistic, but, hey, it’s a work of fiction so I can overlook it.

Overall, this was a fantastic read and I look forward to continuing this series.

Teaser 2

zoe_photo_webAbout the Author:
Zoe Forward is a hopeless romantic who can’t decide between paranormal and contemporary romance. So, she writes both. In addition to being a mom to one rambunctious kindergartener and wife to a conservation ecologist who plans to save all the big cats on the planet, she’s a small animal veterinarian caring for all the small furries, although there is the occasional hermit crab.

When she’s not typing at her laptop she’s tying on a karate belt for her son or cleaning up the newest pet mess from the menagerie that occupies her house. She’s madly in love with her globe trotting husband of ten years and happiest when he returns to their home base in North Carolina.

Links:

There’s a tour wide giveaway, for a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
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Blog Tour: Vanquished by S.E. Green

Vanquished BT Ban
Today is my stop during the blog tour for Vanquished by S.E. Green. I’ll share my review of this book and there’s a giveaway.

Vanquished-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalTitle: Vanquished
Author: S.E. Green
Series: standalone
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Fantasy/ Mystery
Links:

Blurb:
For a price, the world’s most powerful people can explore their darkest desires. On a private island hidden in the ocean they may hunt humans for game, attend gladiator-style fights, participate in elaborate orgies, and freely indulge in all the deadly sins within the cosplay of ancient times.

Abducted from their life in Miami, Valoria and her younger sister wake up in this secret society, wherein Valoria is condemned to the fights and her sister is taken away to become a sex slave.

Now “property” of a sadistic tyrant, Valoria joins other men and women captives who are forced to fight and maim for others’ enjoyment, to run in their hunts, and participate in deviant fantasies. And she’s under the cold, watchful eye of Alexior, a hired trainer with his own agenda for being involved in the twisted decadence.

After surviving several near-death ordeals, a defiant Valoria focuses on her training and against all odds soon becomes a favorite. But she fights for one thing and one thing only—to be reunited with her sister and to be freed.

But promises of freedom are sometimes just manipulative lies . . .

My Review:
Valoria (not her real name) and her sister Lena are kidnapped and taken to a mysterious island where the rich and powerful rule supreme. If you are not one of the elite you are either a slave or a recruit/warrior. Valoria doesn’t know where her sister is so she makes a deal with her captor Dominus and becomes his most prized warrior possession.

I was intrigued when I read the premise and couldn’t resist requesting a review copy, even though I hoped it wouldn’t be too gruesome. The themes are dark and twisted but not too graphic, thank God; I would not have had the disposition to read it otherwise. The elite are disgustingly depraved and most of their actions were totally deplorable. Valoria was a great MC. She had to make some very tough choices, but her sole motivation was her desire to find and rescue her little sister. She tried hard to hold onto her sanity, her conscience, and her humanity. Not an easy task in a world without morality.

At first I struggled to visualize the world and I was a little confused as to what was going on – was it all a fantasy or an actual real place? As the story progressed, it was made clear that it was an actual place, hidden from society at large, where the rich could indulge their sick fantasies. The scary thing is I don’t think this is beyond the realm of plausibility. (Shivering profusely.)

The author keeps us guessing over Alexior and his real agenda – was he a friend or a foe? Initially, I thought Camille had a dual agenda as she told Valoria that Dominus had bought her sister when that wasn’t the case. But it all made sense in the end. Character development is strong and there are some very decent secondary characters.

The first half of the book dragged a little in parts and I found myself skimming but the second half more than made up for that, and I really enjoyed the last few chapters in particular. The very end felt rushed and I would have liked more of a glimpse into the future – I can’t imagine the trauma and stress of having lived through an experience like that and I wonder how the characters adjusted.

The writing was very good and overall this was an enjoyable read.

S.E. GreenAbout the Author:
S. E. Green (aka Shannon Greenland) is the award winning author of the teen thriller, Killer Instinct, a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers; the teen spy series, The Specialists, an ALA Popular Paperback and a National Reader’s Choice recipient; and the YA romance, The Summer My Life Began, winner of the Beverly Hills Book Award. Her books have been translated into several languages and are currently on numerous state reading lists. Vanquished is her debut novel for adults.

Shannon grew up in Tennessee where she dreaded all things reading and writing. She didn’t even read her first book for enjoyment until she was twenty-five. After that she was hooked! When she’s not writing, she works as an adjunct math professor and lives on the coast in Florida with her very grouchy dog. Find her online everywhere @segreenauthor.

Links:

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Review: Beautiful Elixir (Beautiful Oblivion #3) by Addison Moore

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00031]Title: Beautiful Elixir
Author: Addison Moore
Series: Beautiful Oblivion #3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
The sharper the lies, the darker the secrets…

Kennedy is mine. Too many tortured years have gone by without her, and I’m not about to let another one slip by. There’s nothing that’s going to keep us apart this time, not my psychotic family, not hers, not the tornado that’s ripping through her life or the one that’s ripping through mine.

I want to open up my heart to her, tell her everything I’ve done, but that’s the one thing I can never do. Some things in life are best left unsaid.

Caleb McCarthy is back in Loveless, turning heads, melting hearts and breaking them. We had a few sultry summers together, way back when. Those stolen nights were our treasured secret. But now he’s here, ready to take the next step with me just as my life burns to cinders. Our timing was never good. Someone has lifted the lid off Pandora’s Box and my every worst nightmare is floating around cyberspace.

All of the secrets I thought I’d take to the grave are filtering out one by one, and I need to find a way to put the lid back, to bury the box, before the darkest part of my soul is exposed—no one can know what I’ve done.

Kennedy’s every worst nightmare is coming true.

Caleb’s are just beginning.

My Review:
TEAM CALEB ALL THE WAY.

Loved this book and it was a fantastic addition to what is proving to be an excellent series.

This time we get Kennedy (Ken) and Caleb’s story. This one is a lot darker than the previous stories and filled with suspense and intrigue. It was difficult to read at first because Ken is filled with so much self-loathing and she’s really in a dark, self-destructive place.It’s not pleasant to be in her head.

Caleb and Ken had a few summer flings and both of them left a lasting impression on the other. Caleb always promised he would come back for her and now he has, and boy is he determined in his quest for the girl he’s always loved. He was completely unwavering in his commitment to Ken, even though she pushed him away and was less than honest at times. He is there for her through thick and thin and he never lets her down. Swoon 🙂

By her own admission, Ken is prone to telling lies and the tensions and suspense are well-developed as the story progresses. I did figure out the identity of the villain of the piece, and a few other things, but it had enough twists and turns to keep me on my feet.

Caleb is hiding his own secret, but it wasn’t as explosive as Ken’s. It introduced an interesting family dynamic though.

Ken’s sister Reese is in this book, along with Ace and all the other characters I’ve come to love. Reese actually grated on my nerves this time – she came across as fluffy and spineless and she was quite annoying. While I had minor irritations with her in the first book, I did warm to her character. Not so much in this book.

All in all, this was a fantastic read. Now I’m torn between Ace and Caleb – two amazing guys; great dilemma though!

I look forward to continuing this series when the next book is released.

Blog Tour: Cadence (Ruby Riot) by Lisa Swallow

Cadence_BLOGTOUR
Today is my stop during the blog tour for Cadence (Ruby Riot #1) by Lisa Swallow. I’ll share my review with you today! And there’s a tour wide giveaway!

Cadence.Ebook.AmazonTitle: Cadence
Author: Lisa Swallow
Series: Ruby Riot #1
Genres: Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Links:

Blurb:
Tegan Hughes joins Blue Phoenix and Ruby Riot on tour, and drummer Bryn isn’t the only one who notices his little sister isn’t a kid anymore.

Jax Lewis is the guitarist for Ruby Riot and the band are rising to success. He’s hot property and loving every minute of his new found fame. Now, he’s on tour supporting Blue Phoenix and living his rock star life to the full. Until Tegan walks into his world and puts the brakes on.

Tegan Hughes is taking a year out and has her sights set on touring Europe with her big brother’s band. Blue Phoenix drummer, Bryn isn’t happy when his sister arrives unannounced at his hotel in Lisbon, but Tegan isn’t the type of person to take no as an answer.

With her big brother breathing down their necks, Jax and Tegan attempt to keep a handle on their growing attraction but that proves harder than they thought. Jax is used to getting whoever and whatever he wants and after kissing Tegan once, he knows one thing…he wants more.

The problem is, Tegan isn’t rock star girlfriend material. She has ambitions of her own and refuses to let anything stand in the way of her plans. But when Jax and Tegan’s relationship becomes public knowledge life becomes a hell of a lot more complicated.

Cadence is the first standalone book in a new rock romance series, Ruby Riot. The series is a spin-off from the Blue Phoenix books but you do not need to read the Blue Phoenix series first.

My Review:
I love Lisa’s Blue Phoenix series and having only recently read Jem and Ruby’s story (which was my favorite of all the books) I was really looking forward to reading Cadence. Overall, it was a very enjoyable read and I can’t wait to read Nate and Riley’s story next.

From what I learned previously, Jax is a total man-slut but he has a heart of gold underneath that player persona. What I didn’t realize until I read Cadence is that he’s drowning in this new world that he’s been thrust into, and he doesn’t have the self-discipline required to keep on the straight and narrow. At times, he was extremely immature and way out of line, but, for the most part, I felt an urge to mollycoddle him and shower him with love.

Tegan has begged her brother Bryn to let her tour with him and he reluctantly agrees. The minute she meets Jax they form an instant connection and I just knew the sparks were going to fly. Jax’s star is ascending and he’s in hot demand. Tegan doesn’t want to be another one of his groupies so she tries her best to stay away from him. When that proves impossible, she insists that they try dating in an attempt to have a normal relationship.

As they grow closer, they often grow further apart. Both are young and relatively inexperienced, and they most definitely are not equipped with the wherewithal to deal with the intrusive press and Jax’s obsessive fan base.

While Jax is sweet and protective of Tegan, there is no ignoring his destructive side. While Tegan is falling hard for him, she worries he will bring her down. Eventually, they deal with their demons, and the obstacles to their love and they get their HEA in the end.

I really enjoy Lisa’s writing style and her last book was exceptional – her best book in my opinion. The writing in this one was not quite as good but still well executed. I felt the plot dragged a little in the second half, was quite repetitive in places, and some of the dialogue was cringeworthy.

However, it didn’t impact my overall enjoyment and I will definitely continue the series.

If you enjoy rockstar romances, you should check out Lisa’s Blue Phoenix series. Summer Sky, Book 1, is free to download and all the other books are on sale this week.

Thanks to the author and Inkslinger PR for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Oh, and I love that stunning cover. Beautiful.

About the Author:
Lisa is an Amazon bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. She is originally from the UK and moved to Australia in 2001. She now lives in Perth, Western Australia with her husband, three children, and Weimaraner, Tilly, who often makes appearances on Lisa’s social media.

Lisa’s first publication was a moving poem about the rain, followed by a suspenseful story about shoes. Following these successes at nine years old there was a long gap in her writing career, until she published her first book in 2013.

In the past, Lisa worked as an English teacher in France, as an advertising copywriter in England, and ran her own business in Australia. Now she spends her days with imaginary rock stars.
She lived in Europe as a child and also travelled when she left university. This has given Lisa stories which would sound far-fetched if she wrote them down, and maybe one day she will. These days, Lisa is happy in her writing cave, under Tilly’s supervision.

Links:

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Review: Beautiful Illusions (Beautiful Oblivion #2) by Addison Moore

Pageflex PersonaTitle: Beautiful Illusions
Author: Addison Moore
Series: Beautiful Oblivion #2
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Sometimes the past comes back to haunt you—in the most heartbreakingly beautiful way.

Gavin’s story.

I fell in love hard and fast as lightning. As quick as she came into my world she was gone. Demi said she has secrets—that she’s done horrible things. Who hasn’t? I’m not going to let the past determine our future. Sometimes love lays forever at your feet and sometimes you need to fight for it. Demi is worth every damn battle we’ll have to go through. I’d burn down the world just to keep her safe. And, after what I’ve discovered, I just might have to. All I need with Demi is one more night to convince her we’re worth it. And that one night is going to cost me everything.

My Review:
This is the second book in this series and on this occasion the story centers around Gavin and Demi. We met Gavin in the first book, but this is our first time meeting Demi.

Demi has had her fair share of knock backs in life – she has lost both her parents and had to deal with an evil stepmom and a thoroughly nasty stepbrother. She’s been on the run for the last few years and is barely treading water. She ends up in Loveless out of desperation and accidently bumps into Gavin. I think it’s fair to say it was pretty much love at first sight for both of them.

There was a good twist about 40% into this book that I didn’t see coming. Love when that happens.

This book has it all by the bucket load – hot romance, steamy sex, angst, torment, drama, betrayal, suspense, intrigue, revenge, pain, and longing.

The writing was superb and I loved both main characters and all the other side characters that made a reappearance in this book. The men in this series ( except Warren Jnr. and Snr.) are totally swoon-worthy – the obligatory movie star knock-out looks mixed with strength, compassion and an all-or-nothing type attitude when it comes to the women they love. Aw, love it! Gavin was willing to give up EVERYTHING for Demi and it was so endearing, but Ace still has my heart. 🙂

This book lost a star for me in the last quarter. I’m not sure what happened really, but it was almost as if the author ran out of time or steam at the end and just rushed it. There was a really great subplot that was totally glossed over and I felt it should have been fleshed out in greater detail. Then it got a little repetitive with both Demi and Gavin talking about love, fate, how they were brought together etc. over and over again. It had already been said on previous occasions and it was overkill, not necessary. The only other thing I didn’t like was how easily Warren appeared to be forgiven for what he did to Reese in the first book. So not cool. This is a serious subject matter and in my opinion it warranted being treated as such.

However, it was still an excellent read and I’m totally hooked on this series now.

Blog Tour: Burn for You (Protector #3) by Stephanie Reid

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for Burn for You (Protector #3) by Stephanie Reid . I’ll share my review with you today! And there’s a tour wide giveaway!

BurnForYou_EbookTitle: Burn for You
Author: Stephanie Reid
Series: Protector #3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance/ suspense
Links:

Blurb:
Vic Russo is just one of the guys. Except she’s not a guy. A paramedic, affectionately known as Vic within her firehouse, Victoria is a permanent fixture in the friend zone. But when her childhood crush, firefighter Graham McAndrew, becomes single once again, she decides enough is enough. It’s time for Graham to see her as the woman she’s become. There’s only one problem. A photo of her in the arms of another man has captured the nation’s attention.

Jason Meadows is not thrilled to have his police work interrupted by a small media craze. In fact, he’d be content never to see Victoria or that photo-gone-viral again. But a series of fires in town, paired with a growing attraction to the quirky paramedic, make staying away impossible.

Determined to ferret out a potential killer, Jason enlists Victoria’s help as his eyes and ears inside the firehouse. And while threats rise from within, Victoria is forced to choose between the love of her past and the man who’s ignited her fire within.

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My Review:
This was a fantastic read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Burn for You is the story of Victoria and Jason. She is an ex-veteran paramedic working with the fire department, and he is a cop and newly appointed arson investigator. They cross paths through their work and an instant attraction sparks leading to a full-blown love affair. Except Jason doesn’t do relationships and he’s a pro at keeping women (and people in general) at arms length. So the path of true love is definitely not going to run smoothly for our couple. Cue plenty of emotional angst and drama, throw in a smattering of the sexy stuff, and a meaty mystery subplot, and you have the recipe for a great read!

When we first meet Vic (or Toria as Jason comes to call her) she is pining for Graham, her old on-again-off-again crush. What she has ever seen in him is beyond me. Seriously, he was a total preening idiot who thought the whole world revolved around him. I loved the scene at the end where she finally put him in his place.

I really loved how the sex didn’t overshadow the plot in this book. So many times I pick up a book where the sex completely eclipses everything else, so this was a refreshing read. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of romance and sexy scenes, but it never took away from the story.

The plot around the arsonist was solidly built and added plenty of intrigue and mystery.

Character development is really strong in this book and both mains were multi-layered. Jason, in particular, has a dark, complex past which was gradually revealed as the book progressed. My heart bled for him. I enjoyed Vic’s character – while she was sassy and independent she had a vulnerable side that she didn’t shy away from. Essentially she is a really nice person and someone who always sees the best in others. An easy MC to warm to.

It’s obvious this author has a counseling background as the character development spoke to overcoming deep-rooted anxieties and fears and dealing with past trauma. The author writes with strong emotional impact and it’s clear she has a firm grasp on human behavior, motivations, and drivers, and strategies for dealing with self-destructive traits/actions.

The writing style is very good and consistent with the genre. Pacing is spot-on, and I also really enjoyed the worldbuilding.

While this is part of a series it is a standalone read. I haven’t read the other two books, and I didn’t need to. It was a seamless smooth read.

Highly recommended if you enjoy well-written character driven romance with a well-developed plot.

Author Photo--Stephanie ReidAbout the Author:
Stephanie Reid writes contemporary romances with heart, humor, and a happily ever after. She holds a master’s degree in Human Development Counseling and enjoys using counseling theories on her fictional characters (and from time to time her husband).

She draws inspiration for her stories from life experience, and when writing, she frequently asks her police officer husband for his input on all things law enforcement. They’ve agreed not to discuss the bits of advice she doesn’t take when it doesn’t serve her plots well, and this makes for a very harmonious marriage.

Born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, Stephanie now resides with her husband and three children in central Illinois.

Links:

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