Blog Tour: Shuffle (Ruby Riot) by Lisa Swallow

SHUFFLE_BlogTour
Today I am sharing my review for Shuffle by Lisa Swallow. I read the first book Cadence awhile back and really enjoyed that one too, you can read my review of Cadence here.

Shuffle.EbookTitle: Shuffle
Author: Lisa Swallow
Series: Ruby Riot #2
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Will Campbell, Ruby Riot bassist, is back at university and failing badly at everything apart from partying.

With Ruby Riot on a break, Will returns to university to finish his degree. He needs major help if he wants to pass his final year and attempts to join a not-very-rock star study group. Will is horrified to discover the person organising the group is Fleur Roberts, the girl he’s secretly crushed on for two years and who recently threatened him with a restraining order.

Fleur’s rock stars are history academics. She has no interest in any variety of pierced, tattooed slacker, especially not the jackass rock star who humiliated her at a party. There’s no way in Hell that Will Campbell is joining her group.

Faced with losing the easiest way to fix his academic problems, Will has the perfect solution: pretend he’s his twin, Nate. Will and Nate have swapped identities before so nothing can go wrong. Surely.

Fleur is successful academically, but her love life is a failure. Following a number of disastrous dates, she finds herself falling in love with a guy who is lying to her. But Will’s deceit isn’t the only thing about to shatter her world. When another man Fleur trusted betrays her, and she attempts to retaliate, Fleur discovers how dangerous he is. And when Will becomes involved, the repercussions threaten both of their futures.

Shuffle is the second standalone book in the Ruby Riot series and can be read separately to the first book.

Shuffle available now

My Review:
Another stomping good read from Lisa Swallow. I’m a big fan of her Blue Phoenix series so I was delighted when I heard about this spin-off series featuring new up and coming band, Ruby Riot. Book 1, Cadence, was about Jax and Tegan and I mistakenly thought this book was about Nate and Riley. But it’s actually about Nate’s twin, Will, and his crush, Fleur.

I really enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to continuing the series. It has all of the things I’ve come to expect from Lisa – great writing, consistent pacing, good world building and a plot that always keeps me engaged. There’s usually a great dollop of smexy times too, though Shuffle was a little on the lighter side compared to some of her other work.

Will has been harboring a crush on Fleur for a couple of years but she has barely noticed him. She’s no time for wanna-be rockstars, and she has her heart set on a life of academia and a man that blends seamlessly into that world. Will makes a total mess of it the first time they actually speak, so much that Fleur threatens him with a barring order if he comes near her again. So he pretends to be his twin Nate, as you do. Obviously, you know that’s not going to end well!

Fleur was the star of the show, in my opinion. She’s quite a different MC and I found that refreshing. She is intelligent, articulate, well-educated and very focused on her studies and her desired future academic career. She wants a nice boy, the type you could take home to Daddy. But all the supposed ‘nice boys’ end up being anything but. I really felt for her even though she has lousy taste in men, and she just keeps on picking em!

Will is a bit of a strange character, but charming and sweet too. Eventually, he wears Fleur down and they start dating. Cue the inevitable dramas, breakup and then HEA makeup.

I really enjoy rock star romances, and Lisa paints (what I imagine is) a realistic picture. We didn’t get to see too much of it here, though, as the band are on a sabbatical, thanks to Ruby’s maternity leave.

I enjoyed the first half of the book much more than the second half, as I felt some of the inner monologue became a bit repetitive, and I thought the part from the incident with Shaun to the end was a little rushed. I also disliked the way Fleur kicked Will to the curb after he saved her. I can understand her initial reaction, but she could have shown more understanding and gratitude. Will had so much to lose and I felt she could have been more sympathetic. That’s the only reason this is a 4-star instead of 5-star rating.

As an aside, I love these covers, and I loved Fleur’s name.

Overall, though, this was a fantastic read and I look forward to reading Nate’s story next.

Some of my fav quotes from the ARC copy I received:

“Have you ever kissed a guy with a piercing?” “No.” “Want to try?”

“Nothing’s changed – apart from everything.”

“Fleur is a million miles away, but I’d walk twice as far to reach her.”

“This girl is my opposite, but my everything.”

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

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

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

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

Links:

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Review: Coming in from the Cold (Gravity #1) by Sarina Bowen

Coming in from the ColdTitle: Coming in from the Cold
Author: Sarina Bowen
Series: Gravity #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance/ Sport Romance
Links:

Blurb:
He can’t have her. And he can’t tell anyone why.

Ski racer Dane “Danger” Hollister does not do relationships, though he keeps his reason a secret. The real-life curse he’s inherited from his mother will eventually cost him everything: his place on the Olympic ski team, his endorsement income, and his ability to fly downhill at top speed.

Reluctant country girl Willow Reade meets Dane by accident. Literally. Her skidding truck forces him off the road during a blizzard. Stranded together in his Jeep as night falls, the two loneliest people in Vermont find themselves sharing more than they’d planned. And not just conversation.

Yet neither can guess how their unlikely tryst will threaten Dane’s frightening secret and Willow’s tentative peace with her own choices. Only mutual trust and understanding can end their pain and give them a hard won shot at love.

My Review:
I picked up a copy of this book as part of a Bookbub promotion and it sounded like exactly what I was in the mood for. I planned on reading a few chapters last night but ending up staying up half the night reading it. It was just too good to put down. I adored it, totally loved it, and there is absolutely nothing I can fault about it.

It has to be said – Willow has lousy taste in men. First she ups sticks with her boyfriend to the middle of nowhere to set up a chicken farm and then he runs off with a younger model leaving her stuck with a load of debt and with no way out. Stranded in a snowstorm, she almost runs Dane off the road and a chance encounter turns into a life-changing event.

Dane has been hiding a big secret his whole life and he doesn’t let anyone get close to him. He can’t afford for that to happen. Then Willow comes into his life and she is like the embodiment of all he longs for but can never have. Though it kills him to walk away from her, he feels like he has no choice.

Circumstances thrust them together again but because of his big secret (a devastating medical condition that runs in his family and has already claimed the lives of his mother and brother at an early age) he continually pushes Willow away in a very hurtful manner.

This book deals with some heavy subject matter in a very realistic, sympathetic way. There was no sugar coating. Dane’s emotions dripped off the page and it was hard not to feel for him, even though he was a total jerkface to Willow for half the book. I really feel like Sarina got deep under the skin of her characters and I was so invested in both of the mains.

Willow is the nicest human being on the planet! Though she isn’t a pushover. She is compassionate with a big heart and lots of love to give. She is patient and kind with Dane even though he doesn’t deserve it half the time.

The romance was hot and steamy, just how I like it.

Callie is also a great BFF and she was well-developed for a side character. Book 2 is her story and I look forward to reading it soon.

The writing is fantastic and the book flowed fluidly the entire time. I was engrossed in every single page.

In summary, this was a fantastic read that dealt sympathetically and realistically with some heavy subject matter. The romance was steamy and angsty and thoroughly addictive. Highly Recommended.

Blog Tour: Dirty Tricks (The Burke Brothers #4) by Emma Hart

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for Dirty Tricks (The Burke Brothers #4) by Emma Hart. I share my review of this book with you, an excerpt of the book, some teaser images and a tour wide giveaway.

DirtyTricksTitle: Dirty Tricks
Author: Emma Hart
Series: The Burke Brothers #4
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

burkebroseriesbanner1

Blurb:
Chelsey Young’s dad was a rock star. Glamorous, right? But late nights, frequent travelling, and watching endless women rub their bodies against Lukas Young’s in a bid for his attention wasn’t exactly how Chelsey planned to spend her senior year of high school.

So when Kye Burke, of the ultra-sexy band Dirty B, sets his sights on Chelsey, she figures the best way to get him off her back is by taking his sexy butt to bed.

But after one night together, Kye has no intention of staying away from Chelsey, especially when she’s kissing him one minute then pushing him away the next. From watching her father, Chelsey knows the rock star lifestyle that Kye leads—being away for long stretches of time, girls throwing themselves at him on the regular, shirtless photos showing up in his inbox ten times a day. She wants no part of it.

Kye is determined for Chelsey to get to know him, the real him behind the rock star persona. But that isn’t so easy when Kye’s schedule will take him away for days, weeks, even a month or two at a time, which is a dealbreaker for Chelsey. Long distance means temptation to stray, and infidelity was the reason her own parents split. She knows it’s not fair to project her own insecurities onto Kye, but some things are unavoidable.

But Kye Burke isn’t Lukas Young.

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My Review:
This was my first Emma Hart read though I doubt it’ll be my last. While this is the fourth book in this series it can totally be read as a standalone and the author does a great job of backfilling essential bits of the previous stories. I’m intrigued enough by the other characters to want to check out the previous books.

I really warmed to Kye Burke from the outset. He was sexy, sweet, witty and so caring and protective of Chelsey despite the fact that she regularly blows hot and cold on him. I loved how he didn’t give up on her even when she was downright nasty to him. That’s not to say that he was a walkover – because he most definitely wasn’t. He challenged her and ultimately made her face up to things. Kye is easily the best thing about this book.

Chelsey was such a refreshing female lead. She was an out and out bitch, and I don’t just mean a snarky, sassy type. She was MEAN, but I actually loved it, and she gave me some great laugh-out-loud moments. And it’s not all a facade to hide her true persona though that was partly the case, but she does have an inherent mean streak.

I really enjoyed Emma’s writing style, and she writes superb, sharp, humorous dialogue. All characters were solidly developed, even the secondary characters, and the romance was steamy without being too hot. The book flowed at a nice pace and there weren’t any slow, repetitive, or overly descriptive parts. A nice even read. The plot is very predictable though but it wasn’t a major issue as I think that’s pretty much par for the course with these types of books.

In summary, this was a fab read and I’d highly recommend it to fans of NA/Contemp women’s fiction.

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

DTTEASE2

Excerpt:
“What,” Chelsey exclaims, “the hell is that?”
With a wide smile spreading across my face, I shove my hands in my pockets like a teenage boy and look at her. “A Christmas tree.”
“Are those . . . penises?”
“Technically, dildos.”
“Like real ones?” She jerks her alarmed gaze to me.
“No. Just plastic.”
She flicks her tongue across her lips. “Uh-huh. Why do you have penises across your Christmas tree?”
“Because he’s an immature little bastard,” Leila answers for me.
“You didn’t stop me,” I shoot back.
“Hell no I didn’t. I cannot wait to see Mom’s face when she sees this!”
“When she sees what?” Mom’s voice creeps through the house ominously, and the close of the door after her sounds like the signal that I should run away.
“Uh . . . I’m just gonna go . . .to the store. . . .” I shuffle toward the door that connects the front room with the kitchen.
Chelsey lifts her eyebrows in amusement, and Dad grabs the back of my shirt so I can’t escape.
You wouldn’t think I was twenty-four. For numerous reasons, obviously.
“Kye Burke, why are there tiny penises on my Christmas tree?”
Her voice is calm. Really calm. I’m even more convinced that I should run. “Merry Cock-mas?”
Mom’s expression is somewhere between insane amusement and extreme frustration.
“I’m just gonna come back later . . .” Chelsey whispers, edging toward the living room door. “When there are less . . . cocks.”
“Good idea! I’ll come with you.” I wrestle out of Dad’s grip and dart behind him, through the kitchen, and into the hall.
Chelsey laughs and grabs my arm, dragging me back into the room. “I said I was going. I didn’t say you were escaping this cock-up.”
“Great choice of words,” Dad chuckles.
Mom pinches the bridge of her nose. “I should have known that when three boys left, one boy would have to make the impression of three,” she says, mostly to herself. “I should have known that the one who never left his little peep alone at two would one day decorate my tree in cocks.”
“Mom! What the hell?” I sputter.
“I should have known that his ball-hoarding obsession at six was a sign of things to come,” she sighs heavily and drops her hand. “After all, there’s one in every boyband. I thought I was ready for this.” Then, she turns to me. “Kye, son, we love you anyway, but I have to ask. Are you gay?”
Chelsey lets go of me, and laughter rips from her. Leila laughs, too, her book falling to the floor. Dad covers his face with his hands, and Mom just stands there in the middle of the room, her eyes wide. Her hands are now clasped in front of her sympathetically, and the tiny upturn of the right side of her mouth explains it all.
“Well played, Mother,” I say reluctantly, walking back toward the front door. “Well. Played.”

DTTEASE3

DSC_9249About the Author:
By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies – usually wine – and writes books.
Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.
She likes to be busy – unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

Links:

And there’s a tour wide giveaway! For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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Shuffle is almost here!

Shuffle teaser
Today I am sharing some teaser images for Shuffle by Lisa Swallow. Shuffle releases next week on 28 january and I am really excited for this book. I read the first book Cadence and really enjoyed that one, you can read my review of Cadence here.

Shuffle.EbookTitle: Shuffle
Author: Lisa Swallow
Series: Ruby Riot #2
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Will Campbell, Ruby Riot bassist, is back at university and failing badly at everything apart from partying.

With Ruby Riot on a break, Will returns to university to finish his degree. He needs major help if he wants to pass his final year and attempts to join a not-very-rock star study group. Will is horrified to discover the person organising the group is Fleur Roberts, the girl he’s secretly crushed on for two years and who recently threatened him with a restraining order.

Fleur’s rock stars are history academics. She has no interest in any variety of pierced, tattooed slacker, especially not the jackass rock star who humiliated her at a party. There’s no way in Hell that Will Campbell is joining her group.

Faced with losing the easiest way to fix his academic problems, Will has the perfect solution: pretend he’s his twin, Nate. Will and Nate have swapped identities before so nothing can go wrong. Surely.

Fleur is successful academically, but her love life is a failure. Following a number of disastrous dates, she finds herself falling in love with a guy who is lying to her. But Will’s deceit isn’t the only thing about to shatter her world. When another man Fleur trusted betrays her, and she attempts to retaliate, Fleur discovers how dangerous he is. And when Will becomes involved, the repercussions threaten both of their futures.

Shuffle is the second standalone book in the Ruby Riot series and can be read separately to the first book.

Shuffle 1 week

About the Author:
Lisa is an author of new adult romance and writes both paranormal and contemporary, often with a side of snark.

Lisa is originally from the UK but moved to Australia in 2001 and now lives in Perth in Western Australia with her husband, three children and dog.

Links:

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Review: The Score (Off-Campus #3) by Elle Kennedy

The ScoreTitle: The Score
Author: Elle Kennedy
Series: Off-Campus #3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance/ Sport Romance
Links:

Blurb:
He knows how to score, on and off the ice

Allie Hayes is in crisis mode. With graduation looming, she still doesn’t have the first clue about what she’s going to do after college. To make matters worse, she’s nursing a broken heart thanks to the end of her longtime relationship. Wild rebound sex is definitely not the solution to her problems, but gorgeous hockey star Dean Di-Laurentis is impossible to resist. Just once, though, because even if her future is uncertain, it sure as heck won’t include the king of one-night stands.

It’ll take more than flashy moves to win her over

Dean always gets what he wants. Girls, grades, girls, recognition, girls…he’s a ladies man, all right, and he’s yet to meet a woman who’s immune to his charms. Until Allie. For one night, the feisty blonde rocked his entire world—and now she wants to be friends? Nope. It’s not over until he says it’s over. Dean is in full-on pursuit, but when life-rocking changes strike, he starts to wonder if maybe it’s time to stop focusing on scoring…and shoot for love.

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My Review:
The Score is another spectacular smoking-hot page turner from the NA Queen. Elle Kennedy OWNS this genre and the Off Campus series is the best NA series out there at the moment, in my opinion.

I ADORED the first two books, and I fell in love with Garrett and Logan, and I really didn’t think it was possible to fall for Dean given what I’d already learned about him, but boy was I wrong. I think Dean may just be my favorite male lead so far. What’s not to love? He’s SEXY, SMART, SUPER WITTY, SUPPORTIVE, SUPER HOT and SERIOUS about honesty. And no, I will not apologize for all the shouty-capitals because this book has earned them. Elle writes amazing male characters, and the voice is always spot on.

I loved catching up with the other characters, and there are plenty of hints of new couples for future books. I know that Tuck’s book is next, and I’m not sure what’s planned thereafter, but please, please, Elle, don’t stop writing this series because I am enchanted with this fantastic world you’ve created, and I’ve become totally immersed in your wonderful character’s lives.

Elle is a phenomenal writer and she creates complex characters and worlds, but the absolute best thing about her writing, for me, is the hysterically funny dialogue. When I say I laughed non-stop while reading this I am not exaggerating in the slightest. And I’m not talking little chuckles. I mean hearty, deep-bellied, unattractive snorting type of laughter. I swear my husband was on the verge of divorcing me last night because I literally laughed continuously for a solid half hour. I gave up highlighting after a while because it was getting ridiculous. I loved all the Twilight and Hunger Games references in this book. “Are you volunteering as sexual tribute?” Allie asks Dean at one stage and I nearly choked on my laughter. Man, this book is seriously funny.

There are two major reveals in this book. The first one hit me out of nowhere and I did not see it coming. My heart broke for poor Dean, and he was so upset and vulnerable. And poor Allie. She wanted to help him but didn’t know how to, though she was a trooper all the same. I did predict the reveal at the very end, and it had been obvious to me who he was sneaking off to meet at weekends. When he approached and said I have something to tell you I guessed immediately what he was going to say, so that reveal wasn’t a surprise in my case. I’m still intrigued to see where the plot is going and I’m already drooling at the prospect of reading Tucker’s story.

In summary, this is another solid 5+star read. If you haven’t started this series yet you need your head examined, and I say that in the nicest possible way. Now is a great time to get stuck in as I believe the first two books are discounted presently. I couldn’t recommend this series or this author more highly. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.

This review will be posted to my blog in due course: http://myyanabookobsession.com
Thanks to the author and publicist for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Some Fav Quotes (from the ARC I read):

“This guy has the attention span of a fruit fly, and the affection-giving habits of a puppy, offering his sexual devotion to whoever happens to be holding the treat. By which I mean the vagina.”

“Okay, so you know how Bella’s blood is extra special? Like how it gives Edward a raging boner every time he’s around her? Do you think it happens in real life? Pheromones and all that crap. Is it a bullshit theory some horndog dreamed up so he could justify why he’s attracted to his mother or some shit? Or is there actually a biological reason why we’re drawn to certain people? Like goddamn Twilight.”

“Allie.” I draw a steady breath. “We need to stop now. Before my balls disappear altogether and my man-card is revoked.”

what I want

Blog Tour: Royal Marriage Market by Heather Lyons

Today is my stop during the blog tour for Royal Marriage Market by Heather Lyons. I’ll share my review with you today.

Royal Marriage MarketTitle: Royal Marriage Market
Author: Heather Lyons
Series: standalone
Rating: 3.75
Genres: contemporary romance
Links:

Blurb:
Every decade, the world’s monarchs and their heirs secretly convene to discuss global politics and social issues—and arrange marriages between kingdoms.

Elsa may be the Hereditary Princess of Vattenguldia, but she finds the entire situation archaic and unsavory. While she wants what’s best for her country, she isn’t about to jump into an unwanted relationship—let alone a marriage—with a virtual stranger. Of course, her feelings matter little to her parents, whose wheeling and dealings over trade pacts and alliances achieved at her expense begin the moment they set foot in California for the Summit. So when a blindingly handsome royal runs into her, she doesn’t hesitate to tell him there’s no way she’s marrying him.

Christian is all too happy to agree: no marriage. As the Hereditary Grand Duke of Aiboland, his main goal is to get through the summit without a bride being foisted on him. Which is why he suggests they help each other field potential intendeds. As Christian slowly gets to know Elsa, though, he realizes they have a lot more in common than just their feelings about the Royal Marriage Market. Only he can’t fall for her, because royal or not, they’re not meant for each other.

Elsa and Christian will have to evaluate matters of the heart verses those of state and crown, and decide whether or not tradition trumps love.

My Review:
Actual Rating 3.75 Stars

This is an entertaining sweet romantic read that will appeal to lovers of adult contemporary or fantasy romance.

Elsa and Christian are respective heirs in their own countries. Both are steadfastly opposed to the archaic Royal Marriage Market (RMM) and I can’t say I blame them. It was hideously outdated. However, both are extremely dedicated and they want what’s best for their people. Considering the obvious opposing goals, there is plenty of heartfelt angst and shared frustration.

The first half of this book was a little slow, and repetitive in places, and I did find myself skimming some parts. It picked up pace in the second half and I really got sucked in then.

Though Els and Chris fall for each other in four days, it didn’t feel rushed or unbelievable because of how well it was written. For the most part, I enjoyed their banter and sparring, and I loved the 3 a.m. firsts! The romance was sweet with a little bit of sauce on top! Their chemistry was believable and I was rooting for them from the start.

The writing was beautiful and accomplished.

The world building was decent but I had issues with some aspects of how Royalty were portrayed. It wasn’t entirely credible.

The plot conflict wasn’t realistic enough to be believable, and this was probably my biggest disappointment. In my opinion, RMM as a concept wasn’t credible and I didn’t buy into the notion that the characters saw it as a true obstacle either.

I thought all the side characters were well developed and I especially warmed to Luke and Mat. Isabelle was annoying for most of the story until she redeemed herself toward the end. Both sets of parents were obnoxious and unlikeable, but that was the intent.

Overall this was a solid read and a great romance, and the only thing that took away from my enjoyment were some slight issues with world building and plot development. I’d still recommend it to readers who enjoy well-written light-hearted romance.

About the Author:

Links:

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

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Blog Tour: Captured by Jennifer Chance

Captured_BlitzBadge
Today is my stop during the blog tour for Captured by Jennifer Chance. I will share my review of the book and there’s a tour wide giveaway.

Fans of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries will enjoy CAPTURED, a New Adult Contemporary Romance with a modern royals flair by award winning author Jennifer Chance. Lauren Grant is a hard-partying celebutante dedicated to avoiding anything that might tie her down, but Dimitri Korba, the gorgeous and arrogant captain of the Garronia National Security Force and her unwanted bodyguard just might change her mind in this new installment in Chance’s Gowns & Crowns series.

CapturedTitle: Captured
Author: Jennifer Chance
Series: Gowns & Crowns #2
Rating: 3 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
For beautiful, pampered Lauren Grant, the idea of love without strings is a fairy tale and a trap. Though she’s skillfully maintained her image as the carefree celebutante, for years she’s been systematically stalked by the richest—and most ruthless—golden boy of the Jet Set. To stay one step ahead, she’s used every resource at her disposal. But now, stuck in Garronia with the whole world watching, she’s finally cornered by her nemesis, with no way out.

Well, no way out but one: the stubborn, forceful, impossibly gorgeous captain of the Garronia National Security Force, Dimitri Korba. The first man she’s ever trusted… which makes him the most dangerous man of all.

Dimitri Korba’s greatest duty is to keep those in his care safe. Since losing his closest friend, he’s vowed that he will not fail another. Not even the haughty, foolhardy American blonde whom he can’t get out of his mind. And once Dimitri glimpses the terror Lauren hides behind her icily perfect façade, protecting her becomes his only goal.
Dimitri has no idea how far his commitment will take him, however, nor how powerful his need for Lauren will flare when she’s not only in his care, but in his arms. With each stolen moment, the danger around them intensifies, burning away every doubt…until all that remains is their fierce, unexpected passion. But will that be enough to save them?

My Review:
Captured is a decent read that will appeal to readers of well-written adult contemporary romantic suspense with a fantasy feel.

I adored the world the author created in this book, and we have a very beautiful Mediterranean island setting with an interesting mix of characters and a royalty theme.

I enjoyed this author’s writing style and it’s clear she has talent.

I had major issues with the pacing of this book, finding it very slow in parts. I almost gave up at the 30% mark, but I persevered, and I’m glad I did because it definitely improved the further I read. There were plenty of scenes that were overly described or unnecessary, and I did find myself skimming sections. At times, this pulled me out of the story which is a shame as the plot is decent.

Character development is solid and well-balanced. Both mains were likeable despite obvious flaws. I had no issue rooting for them as a couple and their chemistry was great. The romance was very well-written and there’s a good balance between sweet and steamy.

Dialogue was a bit of a mixed-bag. It flowed naturally and smoothly in parts, then it was stiff and cringe-worthy on other occasions. I understand that the author was trying to showcase foreigners speaking English, but it didn’t read well. I felt Dimitri’s conversation was inconsistent in this regard too. He could be so eloquent and almost poetic and then he reverted to stilted language.

The plot was interesting in the main, and I’m especially intrigued by the storyline surrounding the missing prince. However, there were parts where it was either predictable, didn’t make sense, or plotlines were too dragged out. I’m not sure it would totally stand up to scrutiny but if you don’t delve too deep then it’ll work.

Overall, this was a solid read even though I wasn’t blown away by it.

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

Be sure to check out COURTED, book #1 in the Gowns & Crowns series by award winning author Jennifer Chance!
CourtedTitle: Courted
Author: Jennifer Chance
Series: Gowns & Crowns #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Aspiring concert violist Emmaline Aurora Grace Andrews is torn between her love of family and her love of music. A year ago, she deferred entering a prestigious graduate program to help her parents recover from a devastating accident. Now the deferment is expiring, but her parents still need her. Worse, every time she plays her audition piece, she mangles it. Is it too late to be the musician she’d always dreamed of? Should she even try?

Determined to get clarity, Emmaline accepts a friend’s offer for a whirlwind European vacation. First Stop: a real live fantasy kingdom—the perfect place to sort wishes from reality.

Prince Kristos Andris was a respected captain in his nation’s military… Was. In the wake of the tragic death of his elder brother, he’s managed to avoid his duties as the new Crown Prince of Garronia for months. But now he must accept his responsibilities and leave his troops behind. Outraged at the restrictions of his new royal position, he’ll do anything for one last adventure. So when opportunity suddenly lands in his arms in the form of a dreamy-eyed American girl, he embraces it (and her) for all he’s worth. What’s the harm in a quick fling, after all? It won’t change what he knows he must do…

Only this is Garronia in the summertime, where passion has a way of ruining even the most sensible of plans.

Jennifer ChancesAbout the Author:
Jennifer Chance is the award-winning author of the new adult Rule Breakers series as well as the modern royals Gowns & Crowns series. You can find her online at JenniferChance.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/authorJenniferChance and on Twitter at @Jenn_Chance.

Links:

Giveaway!
Jennifer is offering up some fabulous prizes during her Captured Virtual Blitz event. One (1) lucky grand prize winner will receive a $25 Gift Card for Amazon or B&N (winner’s choice) and two (2) runner-ups will win an eBook copy of Courted, book #1 in Jennifer’s Gowns & Crowns series! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:
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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

ONSbanner1
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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