Review: The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years #1) by Sarina Bowen

the year we fell downTitle: The Year We Fell Down
Author: Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years #1
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genres: contemporary sports romance
Links:

Blurb:
he sport she loves is out of reach. The boy she loves has someone else.

What now?

She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead.

Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.

Also, he’s taken.

Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over tequila, perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else understands.

They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard.

But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.

My Review:
I’ve had this on my Kindle for months but I only picked it up after I read another book by this author (Coming in from the Cold) and I loved her writing style so much that I couldn’t wait to get stuck into another one of her stories.

Corey is an amazingly strong MC. She’s been through the wringer and back but she doesn’t let it beat her down. Determined to forge a new path in life, she enrolls at Harkness and meets Adam Hartley on the first day. Adam is hot but he has a really really really (yes it deserved three reallys) annoying cow of a girlfriend. The only bright spark was the fact that she was going on a sabbatical to Paris for a semester so we didn’t have to put up with her too much. Yay.

Corey and Hartley hit it off and become firm friends, though her lingering crush is developing into something much deeper. They bond over their disabilities (hers permanent, his temp) and their love of hockey.

There are some great side characters in this novel too – Dana, Bridger, Daniel in particular.

The plot wasn’t overly original and there weren’t any major shockers – I was pretty much expecting the reveleations that come out in the second half of the book. I knew there was some reason why Hartley was putting up with that idiot Sasia, and there were enough hints on the family drama to give it away. The beauty is in the exemplary execution of the story and the flowing, fluid writing style.

I really connected emotionally with both mains and I felt Corey’s pain and heartache and Hartley’s fear of rejection.

Hartley lost some bonus points from me after Sasia returned from her Paris trip. He knew she was screwing around with some other dude but was prepared to overlook that? ( I know they had a ‘deal’ but still) Also, he just spent the night with Corey and then allows Sasia to kiss the face off him in front of her? So not cool. I was hopping mad with him, but he redeemed himself in spectacular fashion so I forgave him.

The disability storyline was sensitively handled and Corey had a very pragmatic approach to her limitations. I’m not sure how realistic that was though, but I can’t comment as I don’t have a disability or know anyone that does. I would have expected it to take her longer to come to terms with her changed circumstances and at least experience some prejudice, but neither was the case here. I thought for sure that Sasia would throw that at her when Hartley dumped her, but that didn’t materialize.

All in all though this was a fanstastic read. If the two books I’ve just read by Ms. Bowen are any indication, she is fast becoming a new favorite author. I love character driven books that aren’t afraid to tackle sensitive moral or emotional topics and ones that delve deep into the psyche of the characters. Ms. Bowen has shown clear talent for snuggling deep under her characters skin and we gain well developed, complex characters as a result. I will definitely be checking out more of her work.

Blog Tour: Forbidden (Her British Stepbrother #1) by Lauren Smith

Forbidden_BlitzBadge
Today is my stop during the blog tour for Forbidden (Her British Stepbrother #1) by Lauren Smith!

An American college student falls for a mysterious British bad boy who brings her deepest fantasies to life, neither of them knowing they’ll soon become step-siblings.

Award winning, and fan favorite, author, Lauren Smith has a brand new, New Adult, series! Love taboo relationships? You’re going to love FORBIDDEN: HER BRITISH STEPBROTHER, featuring a hot and smoldering British man and an innocent college student—neither of whom knows their parents are about to be wed, making them step-siblings!
And more exciting news, FORBIDDEN: HER BRITISH STEPBROTHER is debuting at only $.99! What a steal! Make sure to grab your copy today!

Forbidden1_RGB300Title: Forbidden
Author: Lauren Smith
Series: Her British Stepbrother #1
Rating: 3 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
He’s her first. He’s her everything. He’s her . . . stepbrother.

Kat has always been a good girl. She studies hard and never stays out too late. But when sitting in a pub on her birthday, she realizes she’s a nineteen-year-old virgin who’s never really lived. And she wants tonight to be the night that changes.
Then she sees him walk in. He’s tall, dark, handsome, and straight out of her deepest fantasies. His voice makes her knees feel weak, and when he smiles, she imagines him doing wicked things to her in bed. From the look in his eyes, she knows he’s imagining it too. So when he asks if he can walk her home, she hears herself whisper yes . . .

*Note to Readers, this is not a first person point of view story.

My Review:
I have very mixed feelings about this book. The premise was very enticing and I loved the sound of the story. Unfortunately, for me, this book fell short on execution.

The writing is fine in the main, nothing stand-out or unique, but decently written and edited. I enjoyed the world Lauren created and it was interesting with the royalty/peerage angle. Both mains are likeable enough, and Tristan is the quintessential love interest.

The biggest issue I had was the insta-lust-love. Now, ordinarily, I have no issue with either insta-lust or insta-love, provided it’s written well. I also had no issue with the manner in which Tristan and Kat met, and I liked that she went for it with him the minute they met. I disliked the way they spoke and interacted as if they had known each other for far longer. It had only been a day or two and already player Tristan was sworn off his old ways and Kat was opening up to a virtual stranger when she was quite a guarded character. I also felt a lot of the dialogue was cheesy and cliche and I was indulging in plenty of eye-rolling.

This book is a short quick read but I feel it would benefit from additional scenes to develop the relationship between Tristan and Kat, and to develop the characters in a more realistic manner. It was only toward the end of the book that I started to care about what happened to them. There are no surprises in the plot though that didn’t affect my enjoyment; I expected as much entering into it based on the blurb and title. I’m still curious to see where it’s going, but not curious enough that I’d buy the next installment.

Overall, I can’t say that it was terrible (because it wasn’t) but I also can’t say that it was great. I see most of the early reviews are 5 stars so I’m clearly in the minority. Perhaps this just wasn’t the book for me.

I’d like to thank the publisher and Barclay Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Lauren_Smith_2014About the Author:
Amazon Best-Selling Author Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets: a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award.

Links:

There’s a tour wide giveaway, for a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
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Cover Reveal: One Day Soon by A. Meredith Walters

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Today is the cover reveal for One Day Soon by A. Meredith Walters. Let me know what you think of the cover! There are also some teaser images.

OneDaySoon AmazonTitle: One Day Soon
Author: A. Meredith Walters
Series: standalone
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

ODS teaser #5

Blurb:
He found me in blood and tears.
I stayed with him through darkness and fire.
We loved each other in the moment between innocence and bitter truth.
We were the kids easily ignored, who grew into adults we hardly knew.
We weren’t meant to last forever. And we didn’t.
He ran away.
I tried to move on.
Yet I never stopped thinking about the boy who had fought to keep me alive in a world that would have swallowed me whole. He was the past that I buried, but never forgot.
Until the day I found him again, years after believing I had lost him forever.
And in cold, resentful eyes, I saw the heart of the man who had been everything when I had nothing at all. So I vowed to hold onto the second chance that was stolen from the children we had been.
Sometimes fate is ugly. Life can be twisted.
And who we are can be ruined by who we once were.
For two people who had survived so much, we would have to learn how to hold on before we were forced to let go.

ODS teaser broken heart

ameredithwaltersAbout 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: Holding Strong (Ultimate #2) by Lori Foster

Holding StrongTitle: Holding Strong
Author: Lori Foster
Series: Ultimate #2
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Heavyweight fighter Denver Lewis plays real nice, but he doesn’t share. That’s why he’s been avoiding top-notch flirt Cherry Peyton. But a man can only resist those lush curves for so long. Their encounter surpasses all his fantasies, bringing out protective urges that Cherry’s about to need more than she knows…

Denver’s combination of pure muscle and unexpected tenderness has been driving Cherry wild. Yet no sooner does she get what she’s been craving than old troubles show up on her doorstep. And this time, Cherry can’t hide behind a carefree facade. Because the man by her side is one who’ll fight like hell to keep her safe…if only she’ll trust him enough to let him…

My Review:
Cherry has had her eye on Denver pretty much from the first moment she met him, but he has been deliberately keeping her at arms length. Finally caving, they decide to hook-up only for Cherry to fall ill and Denver ends up looking after her. They quickly become involved in each other’s lives and discover that both of them are harboring secrets.

Cherry has had an awful childhood and her past is threatening to catch up with her. She wants Denver nowhere near that, but he is in protector mode and he’s having none of it. He’s got his own family issues to deal with too.

Cherry and Denver were really good together though his bullying behaviour at the start was a major turn-off however he eventually won me over. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the world Lori has created and all the other guys are amazing. Armie is such a walking contradiction, but it’s hard not to fall for him. I can’t wait to read his book and I hope it’s coming soon.

This book lost a half star because I felt the pacing slowed during the period where Cherry was sick, and I was annoyed that Denver didn’t call Pamela out after she was spotted with Carver – it was out of character for him and not believable.

However, all in all this was a fantastic read and I’m totally hooked on this series now.

Actual rating: 4.5 stars

Review: Betrayal (Infidelity #1) by Aleatha Romig

BETRAYAL 1Title: Betrayal
Author: Aleatha Romig
Series: Infidelity #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance/ Erotica
Links:

BK1.1 Betrayal Facebook Cover Art

Blurb:
One week. No future. No past. No more.
Alexandria Collins has one week to live carefree—no ghosts of her past or pressures of her future haunting her. Reinventing herself as “Charli,” she is knocked off her feet by a sexy, mysterious man who brings her pleasure like she never imagined. With her heart at stake, she forgets that decisions made in the dark of night reappear in the bright light of day.

“Some of my tastes are unique. They aren’t for everyone. I understand that.”

Lennox “Nox” Demetri is wealthy, confident, and decisive—he knows what he wants. From the first time he sees Charli at an exclusive resort, he knows he wants her. Although he is usually the one to make the rules, together they agree on one:

One week. No more.

When betrayal comes from those closest to Alexandria, she must decide how far she is willing to go to survive. Choices are not always easy, especially when they involve the heart, body, and soul. After all, Infidelity is a business, and some rules are meant to be broken.

“Is it really cheating if you’re doing it to yourself?”

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, turns, deceptions, and devotions, this new epic dark romance will have readers swooning one minute and screaming the next. Have you been Aleatha’d?

BETRAYAL is a full-length novel and the first of five in the INFIDELITY series.

My Review:
What a sensational read! I’ve just read a couple of books that were a bit meh, so this book was like a welcome breath of fresh air. I loved it in its entirety – the beautiful writing, solid, consistent character and plot development, steady pacing, and steamy romance. This book had it all in spades and it sucked me in from the very first line.

There was a heady, enticing mix of romance, mystery, and suspense, combined with dark secrets and plenty of skeletons in the closet. The premise is so intriguing – one week to be someone else, and to indulge pent-up (hidden) desires, one week to escape the trap lying in wait. Who wouldn’t want an opportunity to enact out some fantasies with an amazing, hot guy before taking a return trip to reality?

I felt shivers all over whenever Alton was in the frame. I know where this is going and it’s going to be explosive. No wonder she referred to herself as Rapunzel – her childhood was a prison and her family do their best to lure her back in. I loved that Alex was strong enough to stand up to them, and so willing to forge a future path in life on her own terms, even though she is letting go of everything she has known and taken for granted. She was a strong character who wasn’t afraid to stretch herself out of her comfort zone with Nox either, and it can’t have been easy to relinquish control to him, but she was brave.

I’m intrigued to find out more about Nox. We only get one chapter from his perspective and I’m hoping the second book has more in his voice. I still need to understand what really makes him tick.

When Infidelity was introduced I was blown away by the unexpected turn in the plot – totally unpredictable, and I love when a book catches me by surprise. Though I did foresee where it was going with our couple after that revelation, it was still a fantastic twist.

And that ending? Sweet Jesus, I think I’ll DIE if I don’t get my hands on the next book, like NOW!! I need it like I need air to breathe. I know plenty of people hate cliffhangers, but I love’em even though they are the worst form of bookish torture. I like them because it makes the book MEMORABLE and difficult to forget. This is definitely one that is going to stay with me until I can get my hands on the continuation of this story.

I would highly recommend this book, especially if you enjoy strong storytelling, complex characters, and flawless writing. I also think it will particularly appeal to fans of Laurelin Paige, Lori Foster, Elle Kennedy and Addison Moore.

Favorite Quotes:

“Dreams, like Fairytales, all come to an end. We wake or turn that final page. There’s no escaping it. It may take days, years, or an entire lifetime, but forever doesn’t truly exist. No matter how hard we wish or try, the end always comes.”

“The void in my chest gaped open. It was so painful I feared looking down. If I did, I was sure I’d see bloody shreds of vessels and flesh where my heart had been.”

betrayalteaser2

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: All In by Aleah Barley

AllIn_BlastBadge
Today is my stop during the blog tour for All In by Aleah Barley. I share a excerpt form the book with you and there’s a tour wide giveaway!

All In CoverTitle: All In
Author: Aleah Barley
Series: Leaving Las Vegas #2
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
World-class statistician and poker prodigy Daisy Drake has two rules: never risk anything you can’t afford to lose, and never, ever, trust a gambler. Which is why she gave up the game and moved to Los Angeles, where she became a tenured professor. But when an old acquaintance calls needing Daisy’s…expertise…to help catch a cheater, she heads back to Las Vegas and the poker tables.

FBI Agent Ryan DiNatto’s been a gambler since he was four, and a hustler since he hit puberty. Coming off an undercover mission that ended with him shot and his partner in a wheelchair, Ryan’s out for blood. With a mob accountant and a hit man on the loose, the stakes have never been higher, and this time, he’s determined to make things right—even if it means beating spunky, sexy, Daisy Adams at her own game.

Excerpt:
In the two weeks he’d prepped to go undercover as a tournament poker player at the Hendrix, Ryan had studied the case file more thoroughly than he’d ever studied anything in college. This was his chance to prove he was really back. That he wasn’t just the screw-up who’d gotten Jack shot.
More importantly, it was his chance to take another crack at Vic Morelli. There’d been enough stolen property in the warehouse to send Vic upriver for five to thirty—depending on the judge—but the Feds were still working to build racketeering and corruption charges. Ryan wasn’t about to let that stand. He wanted the mobster in jail for life or—better—parked on death row for conspiracy to commit murder.
Forget the drug dens in Manhattan or the warehouse in the Bronx; he was going to hit the man where it hurt.
His wallet.
Edgar Blethins was Vic’s best friend and personal accountant. The FBI had frozen all of the accounts he managed, but there was still a chunk of money unaccounted for.
Ten million, seven hundred and twenty-six thousand dollars to be exact.
Almost eleven million dollars hadn’t just gotten up and walked away. So when Blethins signed up for the Hendrix’s inaugural poker tournament in Las Vegas, it only made sense to send an agent in undercover to keep an eye out for him.
Ryan had demanded to be put on the case. He’d fucking begged, and when he’d finally gotten the go-ahead for the assignment? He’d started doing his homework.
He knew every employee, every longtime guest, and every big winner currently checked into the hotel. He for damn sure knew every player registered to play in the tournament, but he didn’t know “Adams, Daisy Adams” from Eve.
The woman had to be a last minute entry.
But how? And why?
In the world of professional gambling, the women who played were tough, domineering, and sexy as hell. Men wore TT-shirts, shorts, and lucky charms, anything to stay comfortable. Women wore low-cut shirts and too much makeup, working their own special charm to gain the slightest advantage.
Daisy Adams wasn’t sexy. She was cute.
Wearing a pair of cotton-candy pajamas with fluffy white sheep embroidered on them, she was adorable. The pajamas were a size too big, hanging loose on her already petite frame, but they didn’t completely hide her curved hips and firm, high breasts. Her hair was inky black, loose waves flowing around her heart-shaped face like a dark and twisted halo. Her features were delicate, like the rest of her. Her eyes were royal blue, so deep they were almost purple.
“Is there any other reason I’d be in Las Vegas?” she snapped, answering his earlier question. Her tone was harsh, coming from soft pink lips that curved generously on top and were full on the bottom. At five in the morning, she probably wasn’t wearing any makeup, so the apple red color of her cheeks had to be all natural. Fresh from bed, she smelled like the orange trees his grandparents kept in their dining room in Coney Island in winter, then dragged outside for the summer months.
Fresh faced and innocent, what the hell was she doing in the casino?
“You play poker?” Ryan asked, just in case he was missing something.
“Sure, want some pointers?”
Cute wasn’t his type. He liked leggy law-enforcement professionals who knew the score—he’d been engaged to three of them—but Daisy had spunk.
Ryan liked spunk.
It kept things interesting.
He wondered if the blush that was coloring her skin went all the way down, underneath those absurd pajamas. The way she was glaring at him, she’d probably cut his throat if he tried to find out, but it might be worth it. His gaze moved back to those warm, full, lips. It would definitely be worth it.
“I’m always up for improving my technique.” He ran his fingers through his hair, wishing he’d had time to brush it before he opened the door. “Give me a second to throw on a shirt, and I’ll take you out to breakfast.”
“What?” Daisy’s hands went to her hips—all spunky and defiant—and those threadbare pajamas pulled tight against her petite curves.
Ryan lost the ability to think.
Damn. Daisy might be small, but she was very well proportioned, with luscious breasts and full hips. What was she wearing under those things anyway? A gentleman would step back and close the door, but—fuck it—he definitely wasn’t a gentleman.
He moved closer for a better view.

Check Out the First Book in the Leaving Las Vegas Series!
LLV Cover - NEWTitle: Leaving Las Vegas
Author: Aleah Barley
Series: Leaving Las Vegas #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
When West Virginia wild child, Glory Allen enters a private poker game with her town’s dreams at stake she loses it all. To make matters worse, she’s trapped in a car with the sexy but infuriating man who won—and accused her of cheating. Now because of him, she’s on the run from the mafia who put out a hit on the stuck-up casino magnate with the toe-curling good looks—and he isn’t even her type. So why can’t she cool the explosive chemistry between them?

She’s out of control…and she’s enough to drive Luke Tanner crazy. Yet she’s the only one willing to put her neck on the line…for him—a complete stranger she professes to hate. Now he’s in debt…to her. And it’s a debt he’s willing to work off any way she wants…on the hood of his sports car, in a waterfall—wherever she’ll have him, he’s willing to pay the price.

But the stakes are raised when they return to West Virginia—helping Luke escape has put Glory and her hometown in the sites of someone who wants him dead. This time Glory decides she’s not going to end up empty-handed—it’s time for the winner to take all and she won’t stop ’til she wins his heart.

Aleah Barley Author PhotoAbout the Author:
Aleah Barley is a writer of explosive romance for everyone. She lives and writes in Detroit, Michigan, with a cat who’s recently learned how to levitate, an over enthusiastic Labrador, and the cutest guy in the world. She will do anything for a hot cup of coffee or a wild romance–and, she can spell onomatoepia without using spell check.

Links:

There’s a tour wide giveaway, for a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
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Blog Tour: Wicked Reunion (Wicked White #2) by Michelle A. Valentine

Wicked Reunion releaseday
Today is my stop during the blog tour for Wicked Reunion (Wicked White #2) by Michelle A. Valentine. I share my review with you and there’s a tour wide giveaway!

Wicked ReunioncoverTitle: Wicked Reunion
Author: Michelle A. Valentine
Series: Wicked White #2
Rating: 3 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Wicked Reunion teaser 3

Blurb:
College sweethearts London Uphill and Jared Kraft were inseparable. He was a rising baseball star with a promising future, and she seemed destined to become “Mrs. Kraft.” Then a tragic night and a series of devastating mistakes caused Jared to walk away from his life, leaving London without any explanation and tearing the couple apart.

Five years later, Jared has reinvented himself by putting down the bat and picking up a guitar to play for the red-hot band Wicked White. In all that time, London hasn’t gotten over her forever love—or the pain—despite seeking solace in the arms of the one man no one dreamed she’d run to.

When Wicked White’s lead singer goes MIA, Jared finds the time—and courage—to return to his hometown and face the mess he made. He’s shocked at how London’s life has changed, yet he’s determined to prove their love is worth fighting for. Is this breakup too big for any hope of a reunion tour? Or can London open her heart to Jared once again?

Wicked Reunion teaser 1

My Review:
I have mixed feelings abut this book. On the one hand, I loved the premise and it’s what sucked me in, but unfortunately, the execution of the story fell flat in parts which dented my overall enjoyment.

London and Jarod have been in love since they were kids. Jarod’s older brother Wes also seems to be harboring romantic notions toward the lovely London, which she is largely clueless about. Everything seems to be going according to plan for our lovebirds until a family tragedy turns their world upside down overnight. Then everything turns a full 360. Cue betrayal, sacrifice, heartbreak, and angst.

I enjoyed London’s character, for the most part, and I felt she was the most consistent. Though, I didn’t like her treatment of Wes at the end- she was very unfair to him.

I really loved Julie, and I thought she handled the conflict with her sons in a very fair manner. Those scenes were very well written.

I didn’t warm to Jarod for ages. Honestly, he was a selfish self-obsessed jerk. Wes was too much of a wet blanket for me to lust after him, so I found myself reading a book with no enticing man to root for. That was definitely a turn-off.

I felt both character development and plot development required more fleshing out. I didn’t really feel the characters emotions or pain, and it was difficult to remain engaged the whole way through the story.

At times, the writing is excellent, at other times not so much.

This book had so much potential, and the actual concept is brilliant, with further development I think it could be fantastic. But as it stands it was a bit frustrating to read. However, the quality is still decent and that’s why I’ve rated it 3 stars instead of lower.

Wicked Reunion teaser 2

About the Author:
Michelle A. Valentine is a Central Ohio nurse turned New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of erotic and New Adult romance. Her love of hard-rock music, tattoos, and sexy musicians inspired her erotic BLACK FALCON series.

Links:

Be a little naughty – join Valentine’s Vixens (http://on.fb.me/1mh1uFq) on Facebook for sneak peeks at Michelle’s upcoming works, as well as fun and chatting with her and other readers!

There’s a tour wide giveaway, for a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
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Review: Say You’re Mine (Shillings Agency #5) by Diane Alberts

Say You're MineTitle: Say You’re Mine
Author: Diane Alberts
Series: Shillings Agency #5
Rating: 3.75 stars
Genres: Military Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
She’s a challenge he can’t afford to lose…

Navy SEAL Steven Thomas has only ever been able to count on three things: waking up in the morning, going to sleep sometime during the night, and Lauren Brixton. She’s been his best friend since grade school, and what they have is the only relationship he’s managed not to ruin.

Until one drunken night puts that all in jeopardy.

Lauren’s watched Steven flit from one-night stand to one-night stand, seemingly not interested in something more. So when the long-ignored attraction between the two of them blows up in their faces, she does the only thing she can-she pretends she doesn’t want him. But all’s fair in love and war, and Steven’s not about to lose the only person in his life who matters…

My Review:
This is a well-written ‘friends to lovers’ story and an entertaining quick read. Steven is a Navy Seal who has returned from his stint overseas struggling to deal with the horrors he faced. He’s been in self-destruct mode since then, drowning in booze and women. Lauren has been his best friend since forever. At the same juncture, they both seem to realize that they have more than friendly feelings toward each other and the story is essentially about their transition to lovers.

There is plenty of witty dialogue and tons of sexy scenes, and it’s signature Entangled/Brazen.

I enjoyed Diane’s writing style and the two mains were solidly developed and likable despite their flaws. I also liked Holt and Lydia and they were decent side characters. I assume Mark and Daisy’s story is coming next and I look forward to reading that in the future.

For me, this book felt like it was missing an element. The story is purely about the romance and generally, I only enjoy contemporary romance where there is an extra dimension or layer to the plot. For example, with Elle Kennedy’s Out of Hours series and Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Gamble Brothers series (both from the same publishing house) there was a mystery/suspense/dramatic sub-plot running behind each romance that made it more intriguing and added more depth.

That said, I still massively enjoyed reading this book and if you are a fan of this series, or of this author, in general, then I think you’ll love it.

Actual Rating: 3.75 stars

Diane AlbertsAbout the Author:
Diane Alberts is a USA TODAY bestselling Contemporary Romance author with Entangled Publishing. Under the name Jen McLaughlin, she also writes New York Times, USA TODAY, and Wall Street Journal bestselling books with Penguin RandomHouse. She was mentioned in Forbes alongside E. L. James as one of the breakout independent authors to dominate the bestselling lists. Diane is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

Diane has always been a dreamer with a vivid imagination, but it wasn’t until 2011 that she put her pen where her brain was, and became a published author. Since receiving her first contract offer, she has yet to stop writing. Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, and three cats. Her goal is to write so many fantastic stories that even a non-romance reader will know her name.

Links:

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Review: No Limits (Ultimate #1) by Lori Foster

no limitsTitle: No Limits
Author: Lori Foster
Series: Ultimate #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
A surprise inheritance reunites a mixed martial arts fighter with the woman he’s never forgotten in the first in a smoldering new series from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster…

Cannon Colter is quintessential hero material: chiseled jawline, shredded body—the works. He’s also the guy who rescued Yvette Sweeny from kidnappers, only to put an end to her romantic dreams. These days, she’s older, smarter, determined to face whatever life throws her way. Even the prospect of sharing a house and business with Cannon.

Cannon knew Yvette wanted him three years ago. But she was young—and some things are worth waiting for. Thrown together by her grandfather’s legacy, he realizes how deep Yvette’s scars really go, and how much danger lurks in their quiet town. As pent-up desire explodes between them, protecting her becomes the only fight that matters. And he’ll break all the rules to do it…

My Review:
I actually read the third book (Tough Love) first and then decided to start at the beginning (as you do.) At the time of writing this review I have now read all 3 books, and this book is my favorite so far.

Cannon is a Saint, in more ways than one. He has always been there for Yvette whenever she needed him. As soon as she reappears in his life he steps up and never lets her down. And I just loved him for it.

Yvette is a woman on a mission – she’s out to prove that she is not damaged by her past and that she is a strong, independent woman who doesn’t need Cannon to swoop in and save her all the time. Yvette has been in love with him for years though she doesn’t realise that Cannon has never forgotten her. With his help, she is finally able to leave the past in the past.

This book contained all my favorite ingredients – compelling characters, angst, longing, betrayal, hurt, revenge, suspense, intrigue, swoony romance and redemption. I loved it in its entirety and I’d highly recommend it.

Review: One Night of Trouble (After Hours #3) by Elle Kennedy

One Night of TroubleTitle: One Night of Trouble
Author: Elle Kennedy
Series: After Hours #3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
No More Mr. Nice Guy…

The moment AJ Walsh sees the sexy, tattooed pixie walk up to his bar, it’s lust at first sight. He’s always been labeled the “nice” guy―opening doors, buying flowers, and never, ever having one-night stands. But with this wicked little angel with red lips and unfathomably dark eyes? Oh, yeah. Tonight, “nice” has nothing to do with it…

Brett Conlon is trying to convince her family that she’s put away her reckless wild girl side for good. Nothing―and no one―could be better for her reputation than golden boy AJ Walsh. So they make a deal: if he plays The Good Boyfriend for her family, he can be a very, very bad boy with her. Now their one naughty night is about to turn into a whole lot of trouble…

My Review:
So this is AJ’s story and for me this book was the best in the series.

AJ is carrying his fair share of baggage as a result of a tragic accident when he was a kid. Consequently, he has spent most of his adult life trying to please others – trying to be the perfect son, friend, and boyfriend. But there is only so much of that a person can take before they start to fall apart. AJ is in that space when he bumps into Brett in Sin (the nightclub he co-owns with his friends Gage and Reed)

Brett is almost the antithesis of AJ. She has lived her life the way she wants and she’s been rather reckless. Her choice in men has been disastrous up to this point. She has finally copped on and is trying to sort out her life and stay on the straight and narrow. These two meeting when they are at completely different stages could have been disastrous but it isn’t. They are perfect for one another.

Brett wants AJ to be the person he truly is and the man she fell in love with and AJ is a rock for Brett as she tries to focus on her career and convince her dad that she has what it takes to manage their new business.

This book is HOTT – yes, Extra-T worthy hot – and uproariously funny. There is one scene where AJ ends up in the wrong place and is forced to spend the night at a gay couple’s wedding. I almost peed my pants I was laughing so hard. Man, it was so so funny.

I loved this book in it’s entirety and you won’t hear me complaining about a single thing. Elle Kennedy’s writing is amazing and I can’t get enough of her books.

Highly Recommended.