Review: Hopeless (Hopeless #1) by Colleen Hoover

HopelessTitle: Hopeless
Author: Colleen Hoover
Series: Hopeless #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

My Review:
Stayed up until 3am reading this in one sitting. Wow. Awesome read.

Full Review:
There are so many words I could use to describe how freaking amazingly perfect Holder is. He is swoonworthy and sexy and protective and strong and loyal and romantic and caring and hot-headed and argumentative and witty and …. you get the point, right?

Sky is a great MC with a strong voice and an even stronger will.

Character development was astounding in this book and both mains were really complex. The writing is phenomenal as I’ve come to expect from CH.

The plot was quite predictable but as Colleen didn’t go to huge lengths to disguise her clues I’m guessing she wants the reader to figure it out before Sky does.

This book had me in tears – of laughter and sorrow. Some of the dialogue between Holder and Sky was hysterically funny and I was in the major bad books with my hubby because I woke him up several times shaking with laughter.

Colleen handles some pretty heavy subject matter in this book and I thought it was very well written. Sympathetic but raw, not glossed over. It was so difficult to read at times but I genuinely felt their pain and a deep emotional connection to them and the story.

Really, story telling doesn’t get much better than this.

Absolutely superb.

Some fav quotes:

“I nod and hope he backs the hell away from me, because I’m about to have an asthma attack and I don’t even have asthma.”

“…in the time it took him to speak those five words, my heart was shredded and minced, then placed back inside my chest with the expectation that it should somehow know how to beat again.”

“I’m bored, ” he says. “So go home.” ” I don’t want to. What do you do when you’re bored? You don’t have internet or TV. Do you just sit around all day and think about how hot I am?”

Blog Tour: Falling Under You (Fixed #4.5) by Laurelin Paige

FALLING UNDER YOU - Tour banner
Today is my stop during the blog tour for Falling Under You (Fixed #4.5) by Laurelin Paige. I share my review of this book and an excerpt. And there is a giveaway.

FALLING UNDER YOU - coverTitle: Falling Under You
Author: Laurelin Paige
Series: Fixed #4.5
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Norma Anders has always prided herself on her intelligence and determination. She climbed out of poverty, put herself through school and is now a chief financial advisor at Pierce Industries. She’s certainly a woman who won’t be topped. Not in business anyway.

But she’s pretty sure she’d like to be topped in the bedroom.

Unfortunately most men see independence and ambition in a woman and they run. Even her dominant boss, Hudson Pierce has turned down her advances, leaving her to fear that she will never find the lover she’s longing for.

Then the most unlikely candidate steps up. Boyd, her much-too-young and oh-so-hot assistant surprises her one night with bold suggestions and an authoritative demeanor he’s never shown her in the office.

It’s a bad idea…such a deliciously bad idea…but when Boyd takes the reins and leads her to sensual bliss she’s never known, the headstrong Norma can’t help but fall under his command.

FALLING UNDER YOU - Available Now

My Review:
Learning how to let go…

Norma has been in control of every aspect of her life for as long as she can remember. When her parents died, she took on the parental role to her two siblings, Gwen, and Ben. It’s been far from plain sailing but she has dedicated a huge chunk of her life to taking care of others. Very career-orientated, she has risen through the ranks to become Hudson Pierce’s trusted No. 2.

Feeling somewhat unfulfilled, she decides to indulge her lengthy crush on her boss, and she makes a pass at him, which he rejects. She is up on the roof, trying to deal with the burning humiliation when her assistant Boyd finds her and makes her an offer she can’t refuse.

Boyd and Norma’s professional relationship is superb and they both highly respect the other. Now, things are about to get personal and the roles are reversing. Norma has to allow Boyd to take the reins in their personal relationship while she abides by his rules and his commands. It is difficult for someone like Norma to fully let go and let someone else take charge. But she needs it, and she deserves it. After years of looking after others, it’s time for someone to look after her.

Boyd was a sweetheart even though he was a sexual deviant who loved pushing both their boundaries. I only wish we had been given more opportunity to fully understand him in his own right. He was quite mysterious and I would have enjoyed delving into his backstory in order to properly understand what drew him to Norma.

Their developing relationship was a mix of romance and sex and it was very well written. The struggle for control was an ongoing battle but one they overcame in the end.

I’ve worked in the corporate world for years and I have to admit to being quite skeptical at the start about their relationship. I found it difficult to fully accept that such a career-driven woman with control issues would so readily drop her panties for her assistant, but, hey, it’s fiction, so I just let those concerns wash over me and enjoy the story for what it is. A sort of sexual coming of age story that turned into a sweet, caring relationship that evolved into a blissful forever.

I really liked Norma, and having read the Fixed and Found trilogies, I was intrigued to know her story. She has always come across as a bit strict and too serious, so it was nice to get under the hood and find out what made her tick. I could relate to her work ethic, and her like of control in the workplace, and her strong desire to take care of others. It was nice to see her taking a backseat and letting Boyd set the pace in their relationship. I also enjoyed how she stood up to Hudson at the end and was prepared to sacrifice everything for her lover.

I think this would have worked better if it had been a full-length novel, as I felt it skimmed too much, and we never really got to see how their relationship developed. We were told rather than show and that was a little disappointing. The ending was very rushed, and I didn’t like the epilogue – I felt very disconnected from the future we were presented with. Again, if the story had been fleshed out better then this wouldn’t have been such a stretch.

Overall, though, this was a great short read, and a good addition to the series. While it isn’t essential to have read either the Fixed or Found series, I would recommend it as both are excellent series! I would recommend this to fans of Laurelin Paige or those who want a well-written quick read.

Actual rating: 3.5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher and Inkslinger PR for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

FALLING UNDER YOU - Tour Teaser 1

Excerpt:

I groaned and threw the covers off of me, heading for the shower. Usually I ran first, and I still planned to, but I needed something to cool the fire in my veins. Hopefully standing under an ice cold stream of water would do the trick.
It didn’t.
I tried running next, opting for ten miles instead of my normal six, thinking maybe I could sweat out the lust like it was a cold. Or was that a fever? Whatever, I came back tired, achy and soaked in perspiration, and the buzz between my legs was stronger than ever.
I was distracted by it through the rest of the morning. Gwen and I caught up on America’s Got Talent before she planned to go to bed for the day—her job at a nightclub kept her on a strange schedule. Afterward, I couldn’t remember a single thing I’d watched, but I could recall with clarity every moment I’d spent with Boyd the night before. That wasn’t a subject I planned on discussing with Gwen, though. So most of my responses to her were nods and grunts. Then she’d gone to sleep, thankfully, except after that I was left alone with the agony of my desire.
The rest of the night was more of the same, and Sunday as well. By Monday morning, I’d run over twenty miles, cleaned my entire house, taken five showers, and not thought about Boyd Barrett about a thousand times. Maybe even two thousand times. And now I had to go to work and face him.
Help me God.
I decided to go in early. That way I could sneak into my office without having to pass him on the way in. It wasn’t until I was in the elevator on my way to my floor that I remembered I also didn’t want to see Hudson. Several years with a clean, respectable work record, and in one evening I’d shattered my reputation with not one, but two, colleagues. The two colleagues who were the most important to me, no less.
Jesus, maybe I did need to quit.
It wasn’t yet seven, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Hudson were already working. Often, he slept in the loft above his office, which made an early appearance more probable than one from Boyd. Anxiety rose in my chest, an odd feeling for me since I was usually composed and calm. As soon as the doors opened, I ducked my head and scurried down the hallway, letting out a sigh of relief when I made it past Hudson’s office without seeing him.
And then gasping sharply when I ran into him, instead, outside my own office.
“Norma, I was hoping you’d be here early. I wondered if I could have a few minutes of your time.”

Laurelin Paige - headshotAbout the Author:
USA Today and New York Times Bestselling Author Laurelin Paige is a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, or dreaming of Adam Levine. She’s also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn’t do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio. She is represented by Rebecca Friedman.

Links:

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Blog Tour: Seducing the Fireman (Risky Business #3) by Jennifer Bonds

STF_TourBadge
Today is my stop during the blog tour for Seducing the Fireman (Risky Business #3) by Jennifer Bonds. I share my review of the book and there’s a tour wide giveaway.

Seducing the FiremanTitle: Seducing the Fireman
Author: Jennifer Bonds
Series: Risky Business #3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
He’ll break her three-date rule or go down in flames trying…

Firefighter Jackson Hart is back in Brooklyn and on the hunt for the girl who’s kept him burning for ten long years. The girl he left, in a total prick move, without saying goodbye. Now he’s determined to make it right, to hell with her three-date rule.

But Becca’s not ready to forgive and forget. In fact, she seems determined to stoke his fire every chance she gets. She wants to avoid sexy distractions like him? Fine. Because what she doesn’t know—yet—is that Jax isn’t the kind of man to give up when he wants something. And he always gets what he wants.

My Review:
Dangerously sexy and seductive. I adored this book from the first word to the last. I love it when a book ticks every box and this one delivered in spades:

*Sublime writing
*Consistent fast pace
*Well developed characters
*Witty, sexy banter
*Plenty of scorching hot love scenes
*A man in uniform
*A fiesty female lead
*Nicely progressed plot

This flowed really smoothly and there were no superfluous scenes and no tendency to skim.

Jax/Jackson was a perfect leading man. He could come across as a tad bit arrogant at times, but it was all in good humor, and he wasn’t afraid to poke fun at himself. Becca was a wee bit mean at the start, but it was hysterical to read. I actually had my hand over my eyes during the radio bit in the fire station. I cringed with Jax. I loved that he knew what he wanted (her) and how he wasn’t afraid to go for it, even though she was quite callous and she kept throwing him out. His confidence was very endearing.

I loved that Becca was no pushover, and how she tried to deny her feelings, but that man was way too hard to resist.

They are perfect together, and I loved reading their story.

In summary, this was a superb read and one I highly recommend.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Jennifer BondsAbout the Author:
Jennifer Bonds writes sizzling contemporary romance with sassy heroines, sexy heroes, and a whole lot of mischief. When she’s not writing or wrangling toddlers, she can be found curled up with a good book and a bottle of wine. Jennifer lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where her overactive imagination and weakness for reality TV keep life interesting. She’s lucky enough to live with her own real life hero, two adorable children, and a pair of rambunctious dogs. Loves Buffy, Mexican food, the Winchester brothers, and all things zombie. Sings off-key.

Links:

There’s a tour wide giveaway, for a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
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Blog Tour: Blown Away by Brenda Rothert

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for Blown Away by Brenda Rothert. I share my review of this book with you.

Blown Away_RothertTitle: Blown Away
Author: Brenda Rothert
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
In a sensual, emotionally charged novel of love and loss, a tender affair gives two daring storm chasers the strength to overcome shattered dreams and the courage to build a future together.

Drew McGovern is living for two. Her fiancé, Colby, used to savor the feeling of a powerful gale, the rain pelting his face as the sky grew dark—until a shocking tragedy struck him down. Drew’s still grieving his death a year later when she bumps into some of his old storm chasing buddies. For reasons she can’t explain, she volunteers for the next tornado. But when she reconnects with Colby’s best friend, Aiden O’Neal, Drew gets a breath of fresh air that stirs the ashes of her broken heart.

Aiden doesn’t trust himself around Drew. He’s wanted this girl for a long time—long enough to remember the stab of jealousy he felt the first time he saw her in Colby’s arms, long enough to remember the tears that fell as they buried the man they each still miss. Now he’s trying his best to behave himself. But when the wind ruffles Drew’s hair and puts a sparkle in her eye, Aiden can’t resist the urge to hold her close. And when it comes to true love, he’s holding out hope that lightning strikes twice.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

My Review:
Dangerously sexy and addictive. I absolutely adored everything about this book, and I can’t find fault with a single thing.

Drew has been trying to get on with her life in the aftermath of the devastating death of her fiance. She is feeling antsy, and that she needs to get out of small-town Lipton for a while. A chance encounter with Murph, her fiance’s storm-chasing crew-leader sets her on a new path. Throwing caution to the wind (excuse the cheesy pun) she decides to join them for one month which turns out to be the experience of a lifetime.

Aiden was Colt’s best bud and he always felt guilty that he harbored a secret crush on Drew. Now that temptation is on his doorstep, he is doing everything in his power to ignore the growing attraction between them. But you know what they say about best-laid plans and all!

The romance was sizzling hot between the pair and they are so good together. Their chemistry zinged off the pages of my Kindle. And I loved it!

I adored the setting for this book and it very much reminded me of the movie Twister. It was exciting, thrilling and gripping, and informative without bogging the reader down in unnecessary detail.

Both mains were well developed with decent complexity, and I really connected with them and became invested in their journey to coupledom.

The other characters were an interesting mix though we didn’t find out too much about them.

The writing was great and the pacing was consistent. I had a hard time putting this one down as I just wanted to keep on reading.

In summary, this was a superb read with a good blend of adventure and romance. This will appeal to fans of well-written contemporary women’s fiction with strong emotional and plot development.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Netgally, in exchange for my honest review.

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About the Author:
Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.

Links:

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Blog Tour: The Purest Hook (Second Circle Tattoos #3) by Scarlett Cole

TPH_TourBadge
Today is my stop during the blog tour for The Purest Hook (Second Circle Tattoos #3) by Scarlett Cole. I’ll share my review of the book, an excerpt and a giveaway.

PurestHook_coverTitle: The Purest Hook
Author: Scarlett Cole
Series: Second Circle Tattoos #3
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Can a love built on secrets survive?

Rugged, hot, and rock hard, Dred Zander is exactly the type of man that normally sends Pixie running. Not dreaming about running her hands down his washboard abs…and lower. The lead singer and guitarist for the band Preload embodies trouble behind his quick smile and guarded eyes, and Pixie left trouble behind her years ago along with the name Sarah Jane Travers and the pathetic trailer her mom called home. With her abusive past in her past, she has a new life, a new family at Second Circle, and a dream of opening her own business. She needs capital and time. What she doesn’t need is a tempting long-haired rocker or the paparazzi that follow him around.

But Dred has other ideas. Pixie’s sweet hazel eyes, purple hair and kaleidoscopic tattoo of exotic flowers that swirl up her arm haunt his dreams, and he knows she wants him too. He just has to convince her. But as a juicy exposé threatens to expose their pasts, and a blackmailer terrorizes their present, Pixie and Dred have to decide what really matters and fight like hell to keep it.

My Review:
I’ll start by mentioning that I haven’t read the first two books in this series, and it was a great read in its own right. It completely stands alone and it isn’t essential to have read the other stories first because this author is fantastic at building each character’s profile one step at a time. A lot of times, I find books of a similar nature are on the short side and have a tendency to rush characterization. Not this book. Not this author. Scarlett took her time presenting and molding her characters and the book is such a good read because of it.

Both Dred and Pixie are complex characters with plenty of skeletons in the closet. I adored reading their love story. Especially, how they gradually grew closer to one another, and starting opening up and sharing their demons and the details of their past. By the end they were a very solid union with a promising future.

Family features quite heavily as a theme in this book, and how the notion of family can come in many guises. Pixie’s own family let her down and she has a surrogate family in the guys from Second Circle. They were so protective of her and it was lovely!

Dred’s own situation is far from ideal either and he still bears the scars from his dysfunctional childhood. His band members are his family and they all looked out for one another. Dred is a hard-core rocker with a hidden inner sweetness that comes to the fore when Petal enters the scene. Gosh, those scenes were so emotional, so beautiful! Imagine a badass tattooed rocker swooning over a baby, and more than that, doing everything in his power to ensure that baby has the best start in life and the prospect of a happy, healthy future. And it wasn’t just him – his bandmate brothers were equally as protective and caring – and I LOVED that aspect of this story. It really tugged on my heartstrings.

I did think the plot was quite predictable in parts and it’s not difficult to figure out who the antagonists are and what they are up to. It’s all building toward a confrontation at the end that felt a little rushed to me, and lacked punch as a result.

I also thought that Pixie’s sexual transformation was a little too quick for a girl with so much baggage.

The writing and pacing were great and I really enjoyed the worldbuilding. Love rocker romances and this one had the balance right between all key components.

Overall, this was a really great read and I look forward to reading more in the series in the future.

Thanks to the publisher and publicist for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Excerpt:
Pyrotechnics went off all the way around the stage as the crowd screamed and cheered. He hugged each of the guys, then ran off the stage to pull Pixie from Harper and Drea. The break between the end of the act and the encore was approximately four minutes, and he had plans to use them wisely.
Pixie looked at him, her eyes wide in shock as he grabbed her hand.
“Quick,” he said to her, tugging her down the stage steps. There was no way he could make it back to his dressing room in time, so he hurried them along the black curtain that surrounded the stage into a darkened corner. He pushed her gently against the wall, trapping her in his arms.
“Watching you watch me, Pix . . . drove me crazy. You going to let me kiss you?” he begged. “Please.”
Pixie looked at him and put a hand against his cheek. “Yes.”
He slid both hands into her hair and pressed his mouth against hers. Energized from the performance, Dred struggled to rein in the need to kiss her fiercely. When he heard her groan, felt her lift up on her toes to loop her arms around his neck, he was done for. She was more than he’d dreamed of, and he’d dreamed a hell of a fucking lot. And yet none of his half-asleep fantasies could match the emotions currently blazing through him. Her tongue tentatively brushed against his so gently it was almost innocent. Well, as innocent as it could be when what he really wanted to do was take her against this black curtain.
It was fucking heaven.
He slid his hands down her body. Pixie giggled when he gripped her waist to pull her close. Ticklish. He’d have to remember that.
Not that he wanted to, but he needed to get back onstage. Fucking encore. He kissed her one more time, tasted the whiskey he’d given her earlier. The telltale thump of Lennon’s bass drum started to sound. He pulled back, willing his hard-on to take it down a notch before he got back onstage.
“That was quite the kiss,” Pixie said shyly.
He took her hand and led her back to the stage, positioning her right where she had been. It was impossible to resist kissing her again, and he grinned when Trent raised an eyebrow in his direction.
“Agreed. As beginnings go, Pix, it was pretty fucking epic,” he said with a wink, and walked back onto the stage to face the screaming fans.

Scarlett Cole PhotoAbout the Author:
Scarlett Cole is a writer of contemporary romance and a two-time RITA finalist. Her debut, THE STRONGEST STEEL, has already become an Amazon best seller in romantic suspense, was a Best Debut Goodreads Author Finalist 2015, and Authors On The Air Global Radio Network Contemporary Romance Pick of 2015.
When Scarlett isn’t writing, she spends her time reading, hoarding mason jars, and working out to off-set an epic sour candy habit. She likes hot men, cold beer, and expensive shoes.
Having travelled the world for work and fun, Scarlett is a citizen of both Britain and Canada. A true city-dweller, she considers Toronto and Manchester home and likes to set her books in vibrant locations such as Miami and Los Angeles.
Rep’d by Beth Phelan at The Bent Agency, and published by St. Martin’s Press.
She’d love to hear from you on twitter @itsscarlettcole

Links:

Giveaway
There’s a tour wide giveaway, for a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
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Blog Tour: The Debt by Tyler King

Tyler King Blitz Banner
Today is my stop during the blog tour for The Debt by Tyler King. I’ll share my review of this book, some teasers and an excerpt.

The DebtTitle: The Debt
Author: Tyler King
Series: standalone
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: contemporary romance
Links:

Blurb:
Hadley saved my life…and I ruined hers

Hadley’s my best friend. We share a house, our friends, a life. She knows all my secrets…except one. My desperate need for her is inked on my body, it’s the best I can do. But Hadley needs to hear the words…

Growing up as foster kids, Hadley made me feel whole—sane. And what did I do? I destroyed our chance to be together. I ran out on Hadley when I should have stayed, and something broke between us. Now I’ll do anything to fix it.

I’ll never leave her again. I won’t ever let her feel afraid again. But the more I try to protect her from my pain, the more I just make things worse. I’m terrified that if I tell her everything, she’ll never forgive me. I’m even more terrified that it may be too late to make her mine. I have to try to give her what she needs…it’s a debt I’m determined to repay.

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My Review:
The Debt is an exceptional debut by an author that is definitely on my “to watch” list. The writing was fantastic, the subject matter emotionally-heavy, the characterization complex and multi-layered, and the romance one you couldn’t help cheering for from the sidelines.

I LOVED that this was written entirely from the male POV, and I thought it was well executed. Josh has had a very traumatic childhood and he still bears significant scars. Hadley is the only other person on this planet who truly understands him because she experienced some of it with him. They came to rely on each other as little kids, and that hasn’t changed as they’ve grown into adulthood. Things have been far from plain sailing, and they are at a point in their lives and their relationship, that is definitely make-or-break time.

They love each other so much, but are afraid of hurting one another, so they hide a lot of their feelings behind their issues. At times, this was very heavy going. Both mains have deep-seated issues that go back to their dysfunctional childhood. I really liked that therapy formed a central part of this story, and I feel it was important to put that message out there. I also liked how the author didn’t gloss over what had happened to Josh. It was brutally painful to read, raw and heartwrenching, totally realistic and believable; superbly written.

Through therapy, the support of family and friends, and their love for one another they finally make progress and a future they never thought possible now seems within reach. I love my happy endings 🙂

I felt the pacing was off in parts of this story, and it became repetitive and dragged a little. I also didn’t like how abruptly it ended. But they are my only complaints, and the only reason this is a 4-star rather than 5-star review.

The subject matter meant it was a very intense read despite some great comedic scenes, fantastic banter, and plenty of scorching hot sexy times. It’s not for the faint of heart.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. Both characters were complex and magnificently developed. The emotions were real and I felt everything they were experiencing. This isn’t an easy story to pull-off as a debut piece of work, but Tyler delivers with aplomb. She is definitely an author to follow, and I have no doubt she will have a successful writing career.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.

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Excerpt:

Hours later, just after 8:00 a.m., I was still awake when the woman next to me stretched and reached for her phone on my nightstand. Propped up against my headboard, I watched the silhouette of a leggy blonde dressing at the foot of my bed. She shoved her tits into a push-up bra and wiggled her way into a tight black dress.
“It was fun,” she said. “See you around, MacKay.”
“Later.”
She tiptoed away with her shoes in her hand and closed the door behind her. I knew I shouldn’t have brought Kate home, but at the time I didn’t have the clarity of mind to do otherwise. Women had always been transient in my life. This one was no different.
I pried myself from the covers, then crossed the room and stood at the floor-length mirror beside my dresser to inspect the new ink peeking around the right side of my rib cage. The skin there was still tender and swollen, a result of six hours under the needles to continue the design that decorated my back. Bear was an artist with an implement of pain.
My eyes fell to the framed photo lying facedown on my dresser: a younger me in a tux, standing onstage with my adoptive parents beside a piano before my first sold-out concert. It was one of the happiest days of my life, and I couldn’t bear to look at it.
I was skinnier then, and lanky. Hadn’t yet grown into my body. Next to my pale, freckled parents, I stood out like one of those exotic adopted children of yuppie celebrity parents. Dark skin. Black hair. Green eyes. People told me I was “interesting” to look at, to gawk at. So little by little I covered all the pretty bare flesh in tattoos.
The first piece I ever had done was of a raven with its wings spread wide across my chest. The tips of each broken wing nailed down. I was seventeen then. After my first sitting, I came to understand why people said tattoos were addictive. I suppose I became a glutton for pain, because when Bear’s wife offered to put a hole in my lip, I let her stick a needle through my face. For shits and giggles. At twenty-one, I had two full sleeves. My dad only asked that I keep the modifications within reason. I was a bit fuzzy on that definition.
From the top dresser drawer, I grabbed a tube of antibacterial ointment and applied two fingers’ worth to the new tattoo. My stomach growled. It was empty and angry from last night. So I sifted through the field of laundry-pile bunkers scattered around my bedroom until I found a black shirt and dark jeans on the passable side of clean.
When I hit the landing at the bottom of the stairs, I felt a pair of knowing brown eyes watching me from the living room. Nothing good ever came from the morning-after ritual. Even so, I couldn’t help but glance at my roommate curled up on the leather couch with her laptop open and earbuds hidden under her long dark hair. She held seven fingers over her head. Hadley averted her gaze back to the computer screen rather than look for my reaction. Like she didn’t give a fuck.
“Don’t you have anything better to do than wait for the walk of shame?”
“Don’t you have an appointment to get your dick swabbed for STDs?”
“Fuck off.”
“Get bent.”
And so everything was par for the course on a Sunday morning. I held out my middle finger as I turned toward the kitchen. That was fun. Let’s do it again next week, shall we? I had yet to decipher her scoring system. Asking for clarification would only validate her participation in my sex life.
Neither of us enjoyed living together. My parents’ house in the middle of nowhere was too big for two people and not big enough for the both of us. Since my dad left to take a job in New York during our freshman year of college, every day was a special kind of torture. But Hadley needed me. And as much as I couldn’t stand being near her, I wouldn’t abandon her again.

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About the Author:
Tyler King was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Creative Writing. As a journalist, her work has appeared in Orlando magazine and Orlando Business Journal, among other publications. She is a proud army spouse currently living in Virginia with her husband.

Links:

Review: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Ugly LoveTitle: Ugly Love
Author: Colleen Hoover
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

My Review:
This was a beautifully written poignant, heart-wrenching love story that really tugged at my heart strings.

I’m almost ashamed to admit that this is my first Colleen Hoover read. I’ve heard so much about this author’s books and she’s been on my TBR list since forever. When I spotted this book on sale on Amazon a few days ago I grabbed a copy and I’m so glad I did. Now I understand the hype, and I totally get it.

I ADORED the writing. Gosh, I was highlighting so much I just gave up in the end. May as well just highlight the entire book. Lol.

The best part of this book was the skillful way the author elicited emotion from the reader. I felt EVERYTHING alongside Miles and Tate. All the pain and the heartache and the hurt. I cried and I laughed and I cringed.

Miles was in so much pain that it was difficult to read at times. I knew his treatment of Tate came from the issues in his past, but he was really horrible to her at times, and it was challenging not to scream at Tate to walk away, because he trampled all over her. However, she was tenacious and determined to cling onto her hope that he would come through and realize what they had.

I liked the way this book was written in dual perspective, switching from persent to past. It didn’t take much to figure out what had happened six years ago so I can’t say it was a major shocker, but it was very emotional all the same. I enjoyed getting Mile’s current perspective at the end.

I loved how protective Corbin was of Tate, though it was a little OTT at times. My favorite secondary character, without a shadow of a doubt, was Cap. He was awesome, and so full of wisdom. He always knew the right thing to say, the right way to act.

I had a few minor issues with this book, but not enough to merit mention or a reduced rating.

All in all, this was a really great read and I look forward to checking out more of this authors work.

This review will be posted to my blog in due course: http://myyanabookobsession.com

Some favorite quotes:

“That’s how it is when a person develops an attraction toward someone. He’s nowhere, then suddenly he’s everywhere, whether you want him to be or not.”

“His lips against mine feel like everything. Like living and dying and being reborn..”

“I’m not Tate when I’m near Miles. I’m liquid, and liquid doesn’t know how to be firm or stand up for itself. Liquid flows. That’s all I want to do with Miles. Flow.”

“I don’t know if I can do this, Miles. I don’t know if I can follow rule number two, because I suddenly want to climb into your future more than I want to climb into the backseat.”

Blog Tour: Deception (Infidelity #3) by Aleatha Romig

BK3.1 Deception Facebook Cover Art (1)
Today is my stop during the blog tour for Deception (Infidelity #3) by Aleatha Romig! I’ll share my review of the book with you, some teasers and an excerpt.

BK3 Deception E-Book CoverTitle: Deception
Author: Aleatha Romig
Series: Infidelity #3
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Dark Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
It all began in Del Mar, a chance meeting with a single rule–one week only.

Or did it?

Lennox ‘Nox’ Demetri and Alexandria ‘Charli’ Collins had every intention of following it but rules are made to be broken. In CUNNING they are reunited with Nox setting down new rules for the game and Charli having no choice but to follow them.

Now, once again, the game has changed. Nox and Charli’s hot sensual encounter has grown into something more but it is threatened with secrets and regrets. Is it their love and intense sexual chemistry that’s pushing them together or something darker, a puppetmaster behind the scenes pulling the strings on their love affair?

Shadowy villains lurk around each corner and everyone is suspect as Nox’s and Charli’s pasts collide with the present and threaten to compel them back to their predestined fates.

Can deals brokered in the past be negated by something as pure as love and as steamy as the attraction shared by Nox and Charli? Or was it all a deception—starting with that very first meeting?

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Aleatha Romig comes a sexy, new dominant hero who knows what he wants and a strong-willed heroine who has plans of her own. With classic Aleatha Romig twists and turns, the depth of this epic romantic suspense continues to reach new levels as past and present intertwine. The Infidelity series will have readers swooning one minute and screaming the next.

Have you been Aleatha’d?

DECEPTION is a full-length novel, over 300 pages, and the third of five books in the INFIDELITY series – It isn’t what you think!
(This series is not about nor does it advocate or condone cheating)

My Review:
Another spine-tingling read from the wonderfully-talented Aleatha Romig.

Book 3 in the series opens up exactly where we left off in Cunning. While Charli and Nox are trying to sort through their issues, others are attempting to manipulate them for personal gain. At times, it is difficult to identify who is playing who, but I love that aspect of this series! The intrigue ramps up a notch and we have the undercurrent of political wranglings mixed in with the Collins mafiosa-type family shenanigans and the downright nasty goings on in Montague Manor. Bryce and Alton are still up to no good and this time they drag someone else close to Charli into the frame. Alton is also seriously toying with Adelaide’s sanity, and I suspect I know exactly what he is doing (there will be no spoilers here!) Damn, it is seriously messed up.

I adored the flashbacks narrated from Oren and Adelaide’s perspectives. I love how the past and the present are colliding and what that seems to imply for our couple’s future. When the revelations come out, it is going to be explosive!!!

Nox and Charli are much more secure in their relationship and it was a joy to read. Nox is still a dirty, dirty boy, but it’s hard not to love him, especially when he finally opens up and exposes his vulnerability. The romance is sweet and steamy in equal measure. Adore this couple!

Charli has really come into her own now, and she is feistier, more resilient, and more vocal in defense of her needs and goals. I’m really enjoying her progression as a character.

The writing is fantastic and I really enjoy Aleatha’s writing style. The pacing was a little off in the first third of the book, and it was starting to lose my attention. Thankfully, things really picked up then, and it became almost impossible to sit it down.

I’m not a big fan of how this book ended. Not that I’m complaining about the cliffhanger, because I’m not – I’ve come to expect that from Aleatha -but I was unhappy with Charli’s behavior. It felt inconsistent with her stronger persona. I would have preferred a different reaction to demonstrate how much she had changed.

Overall, though, this was a superb read, and I can’t wait to continue this series. I’m grateful that Aleatha is writing this series so quickly so that we don’t have to wait too long to find out what happens next. I would highly recommend this series to fans of well-written romantic suspense with emotionally complex characterization and tons of mystery and intrigue.

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

DECEPTION - ANY WOMAN

excerpt:
Gripping the phone, I nodded, though I knew he couldn’t see me.
“If I were there, I’d unwrap you, like a fucking Christmas present. Each piece of your clothing would find its way to the floor as I exposed your perfect, sexy-as-hell body. I’d run my fingers and tongue over every inch of that soft skin, tasting you and leaving goose bumps as a trail of my exploration.”
My eyes closed as his words touched me.
“Princess, I’d punish your ass for your insolence in pushing to go back to the city tomorrow and for scaring the shit out of me by not answering your phone. Then after I turned it fire-engine red, I’d make it feel better, showing you how much I admire your strength and determination.”
My neck strained as I sucked in a breath, lifting my behind from the mattress and imagined all he described.
“I’m not there,” Nox continued, “but I’m going to take what I can get. Do you have a problem with that?”
“N-no.” My voice sounded wonton, even to my own ears.
“Now, princess, tell me what you’re wearing.”
I hurriedly kicked back the covers, revealing my yoga pants and stocking-covered feet. “A big t-shirt, yoga pants, socks…”
“Stop.”
I sucked my lower lip between my teeth, waiting for his next command.
“Tell me what I want you to be wearing.”
“Nox?”
“Is the bedroom door locked?” he asked.
“I-I don’t remember.”
“Lock the door, Charli.”
Without thinking, my feet, covered with fuzzy socks, landed on the soft rug that surrounded the big bed. My socks slid as I skated across the wood floor, no longer worried about ghosts or Demetri secrets.
My thoughts were now consumed with everything Nox.
I tested the knob. As I did, it clicked and the small button within the knob popped out. I pushed the button back in and verbally confirmed my mission. “The door’s locked.”
“Are the blinds shut?”
I turned toward the windows. Was it still raining? I couldn’t hear anything but the way Nox’s voice reverberated through the phone, sending shockwaves throughout my body, my blood coursing to keep up. “They’re shut.”
“Keep the lights on.”
My hand lingered over the switch. Would he know if I disobeyed?
“Tell me they’re on.”
With a sigh, I did as he said and moved my hand away from the switch. “They’re still on.”
“Now, put me on speaker phone. I want you to fix the attire problem we mentioned earlier.”
My lower lip disappeared as I hit the speaker button and laid my phone on the bed.
“Charli, you need to respond to me. I can only hear you.”
“Yes, Nox.”

DECEPTION - SUSPENDED

aleatharomig1About the Author:
Aleatha Romig is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who lives in Indiana. She grew up in Mishawaka, graduated from Indiana University, and is currently living south of Indianapolis. Aleatha has raised three children with her high school sweetheart and husband of nearly thirty years. Before she became a full-time author, she worked days as a dental hygienist and spent her nights writing. Now, when she’s not imagining mind-blowing twists and turns, she likes to spend her time a with her family and friends. Her other pastimes include reading and creating heroes/anti-heroes who haunt your dreams!

Aleatha released her first novel, CONSEQUENCES, in August of 2011. CONSEQUENCES became a bestselling series with five novels and two companions released from 2011 through 2015. The compelling and epic story of Anthony and Claire Rawlings has graced more than half a million e-readers. Aleatha released the first of her series TALES FROM THE DARK SIDE, INSIDIOUS, in the fall of 2014. These stand alone thrillers continue Aleatha’s twisted style with an increase in heat.

In the fall of 2015, Aleatha moved head first into the world of dark romance with the release of BETRAYAL, the first of her five novel INFIDELITY series. She also began her traditional publishing career with Thomas and Mercer. Her books INTO THE LIGHT and AWAY FROM THE DARK will be published through this mystery/thriller publisher in 2016.

Aleatha is a “Published Author’s Network” member of the Romance Writers of America and represented by Danielle Egan-Miller of Browne & Miller Literary Associates.

Links:

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Blog Tour: Risk of Exposure (Alpha Ops #6) by Emmy Curtis

RiskofEx_badge1
Today is my stop during the blog tour for Risk of Exposure (Alpha Ops #6) by Emmy Curtis. There’s an excerpt of the book and a tour wide giveaway.

RiskofExposure4_RGB300Title: Risk of Exposure
Author: Emmy Curtis
Series: Alpha Ops #6
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Links:

Blurb:
He is a trained professional—but nothing can prepare him for the hottest mission of his life. Assigned to protect his boss’s daughter, British former SAS operative Malone Garrett breaks the first rule of covert surveillance—don’t make contact. And especially don’t take your mark out to dinner, then agree to a rooftop quickie. But now that Mal has Abby in his arms, he has no intention of ever letting her go.

Abby Baston told herself it was a hit and quit, a one-nighter with a hot, handsome stranger whose hands were trained to take action. Working undercover for the CIA, she can’t risk anything more. But when an international crisis ignites, Abby must make a call: trust Mal with her secret—and her heart—and partner up, or lose everything in a split second . . .

You can read my review of Risk of Exposure here

Excerpt:
He reached for her.
“You can stop right there.” Her voice startled him. He dropped his arm to the covers.
“I was just going to shake you awake. You’ve been snoring like a bear,” he said, swinging his legs out of bed.
She ignored his insult, such as it was. “You were supposed to wake me when it stopped snowing,” she said, also climbing out of bed and seemingly not caring a whit that she was totally naked.
He sat still, taking in the sight. Her nipples puckering in the frigid air, her tight muscles moving in glorious efficiency toward the bathroom. “It was your watch. Technically you should have woken me.”
“Ass.”
“Don’t you forget it, love.” He stood and got dressed, having dug out his Under Armour thermals from the kit bag he’d brought.
She poked her head around the bathroom door. “What? Don’t forget what?”
“That I’m an ass. You’ve blackmailed me into helping you, and someone as well trained as you knows that isn’t a recipe for success.” He finished tying his laces.
She shrugged. “I trust you.”
“You shouldn’t. I have a healthy regard for self-preservation and even I don’t know what I’ll do if you get in the way of that. So you’re much better off not trusting me for anything. Just a friendly PSA.” He knew he sounded like a dick, but he just couldn’t help himself.
“I’m not worried. If you piss me off, or if you’re in the way of my self-preservation”—she punctuated with air quotes—“or my mission, I won’t hesitate to shoot you.” She disappeared again.
“There’s one problem with that, love. I’ve got your gun.”
She didn’t reply, but he heard the unmistakable sound of a shotgun being charged. “Fair enough,” he said, trying not to smile at her resourcefulness. “What else have you got in there?”
“Hairspray,” she said.
“Awesome.” She was such a smart-arse. His sister would love her. He made a mental note that no matter what, they would never, ever meet. Ever.
She came out of the bathroom as if she’d come through a Tomb Raider portal. She wore a white snowsuit that matched his, a white knife strapped to her thigh, a white holster holding a white handgun under her shoulder, and a white shotgun on a white strap over her back.
“I’m sorry. The CIA gave you all that gear but couldn’t give you a sat phone that worked? What the fuck?” Jesus. This was why he was in the private sector now. One too many times he’d been put in a sketchy situation without the right equipment. That didn’t happen anymore.
She shrugged. “I guess they thought snow was more likely than the need to use an emergency phone?” She frowned, though, as if she was only just now considering that herself.

Alpha_Ops_Series

Start this series with the novella Dangerous Territory for only 0.99$!
Links:

Author_EmmyCurtisAbout the Author:
Emmy Curtis is an editor and a romance writer. An ex-pat Brit, she quells her homesickness with Cadbury Flakes and Fray Bentos pies. She’s lived in London, Paris and New York, and has settled for the time being, in North Carolina. When not writing, Emmy loves to travel with her military husband and take long walks with their Lab. All things considered, her life is chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny. And if you get that reference…well, she already considers you kin.

Links:

Giveaway
There’s a tour wide giveaway, for a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
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Blog Tour: His Undercover Princess by Avery Flynn

HUP_BlitzBadge
Today is my stop during the blog tour for His Undercover Princess by Avery Flynn. I share an excerpt of the book, some teasers and there’s a tour wide giveaway.

Title: His Undercover Princess
Author: Avery Flynn
Series: Tempt Me #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Stylist Elle Olsen lives in fear of someone discovering her secret identity as Princess Eloise. But the men who killed her entire family in a bloody coup have done just that and now they’re coming for her. All Elle wants is to disappear into anonymity again, but the panty-melting billionaire who kidnaps her isn’t about to let that happen.

On the society pages, smoking hot financier Dominick Rasmussen is one of the world’s most eligible bachelors, but there’s more to him than meets the eye. As a secret resistance fighter, his one goal is to get Princess Eloise on the throne and restore the monarchy. The biggest problem? His stubborn and sexy undercover princess has no interest in ever wearing a tiara again.

Their goals couldn’t be more opposed, but neither Dom nor Elle can deny the attraction bringing them closer together. As the stakes rise and danger increases, they are forced to choose between love and country…

HUP Teaser2

Excerpt:
“Dom—”
The rest of the sentence was smothered by the white cotton cloth he held in his free hand and forced against her nose and mouth. Shock froze Elle to the spot. She couldn’t blink. She couldn’t breathe. All she could do was feel the banging of her heart as panic sent it into overdrive. The people who killed her family had found her.
“This is for your own good,” he said as he looked down at her. “I couldn’t take the chance you’d fight me, and there isn’t time to explain.”
Too damn bad for him, because her fight-or-flight response zinged into action. Whatever was in the cloth, she didn’t want to breathe it in. Adrenaline clawed at her, demanding life-giving oxygen, but she refused to give in. They might have murdered everyone she loved and sent her into hiding, but she wouldn’t go down without a fight. She grabbed his arms, yanking and stabbing her nails into the sliver of his wrists not covered by his shirt. He didn’t flinch.
Dom kept his cold gaze on her, a icy determination making them even bluer somehow. “Just relax and breathe.”
Fat fucking chance. Holding on to his forearms for leverage, she slammed her knee upward, aiming for his most vulnerable spot. He deflected the move with an ease of a natural athlete or a man trained to do whatever it took to force the world to do his bidding.
She fought against him, kicking and hitting, but he kept the cloth pressed against her nose and mouth. Her lungs burned with the effort not to breathe as she struggled in his iron grasp, but it didn’t do her any good. Blackness ate around the edges of her vision, the lack of oxygen taking its toll. She didn’t have long before she’d pass out, with or without the help of whatever chemical was in the cloth.
Ten years. She’d made it a decade without anyone finding her, without her secret coming out. Foolishly, she’d thought she was finally safe. Now she’d pay the price for a crown she’d never worn and a kingdom she’d never ruled. Dom pulled her close to his hard chest so she wouldn’t fall to the cold marble floor, holding her tight but without cruelty. No doubt that would come later.
“Everything is going to be okay, Princess Eloise,” he whispered against her ear. “I promise.”
But it wouldn’t. She knew better than to ever trust a man who promised happy endings in the middle of a kidnapping.

HUP Teaser 3

AveryFlynnAbout the Author:
Award-winning romance author Avery Flynn has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip. Avery was a reader before she was a writer and hopes to always be both. She loves to write about smartass alpha heroes who are as good with a quip as they are with their *ahem* other God-given talents. Her heroines are feisty, fierce and fantastic. Brainy and brave, these ladies know how to stand on their own two feet and knock the bad guys off theirs.

Links:

There’s a tour wide giveaway, for a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
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