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 It was hideously outdated.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: First Touch (First and Last #1) by Laurelin Paige

First Touch blog tour
Today is my stop during the blog tour for First Touch (First and Last #1) by Laurelin Paige! I’ll share my review of this awesome book with you today!

First TouchTitle: First Touch
Author: Laurelin Paige
Series: First and Last #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Romantic Suspense/ Erotica
Links:

Blurb:
When Emily Wayborn goes home to visit her mom while on hiatus from her hit TV show, she receives a voicemail from her former best friend, Amber. Though the two were once notorious party girls, they haven’t spoken in years. Although the message might sound benign to anyone else, Amber uses a safe word that Emily recognizes, a word they always used to get out of sticky situations during their wild days. And what’s more chilling than the voicemail: it turns out that Amber has gone missing.

Determined to track down her friend, Emily follows a chain of clues that lead her to the enigmatic billionaire Reeve Sallis, a hotelier known for his shady dealings and play boy reputation. Now, in order to find Amber, Emily must seduce Reeve to learn his secrets and discover the whereabouts of her friend. But as she finds herself more entangled with him, she finds she’s drawn to Reeve for more than just his connection to Amber, despite her growing fear that he may be the enemy. When she’s forced to choose where her loyalty lies, how will she decide between saving Amber and saving her heart?

FIRST TOUCH_teaser 3

My Review:
My initial thoughts:
Honestly there are no words. Why isn’t there a ten-star rating, hell a gazillion star rating? I’ve read some amazing books recently but they all pale in comparison to First Touch. That cliffhanger is the best cliffhanger EVER. Damn, this is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s sick and twisted and depraved and the most addictive story ever. LP is a phenomenal writer. Okay, must stop gushing now, need sleep. Freaking amazing book.

FULL REVIEW:

Laurelin Paige delivers another scintillating good read that will blow your mind. Wow. Superb writing combined with complex characters and a plot that kept me on the edge of my seat has ensured First Touch a place on my absolute favorite reads of 2015.

Emily appears to be the consummate up-and-coming TV personality on the outside; beautiful, intelligent, professional, and self-sufficient. But underneath that carefully created exterior lurks a girl who is almost the exact opposite. Since she parted ways with bestie Amber seven years ago (on bad terms) she has reinvented herself and tried to suppress that side of her nature. Now, Amber has reached out, indicating she’s in trouble, and out of a misguided sense of loyalty, Emily sets out to uncover the truth behind her friend’s disappearance.

Her quest for the truth brings her to elusive billionaire Reeve Salis, hot hotelier with a somewhat dubious rep. Ah, Reeve. Love the name, and by the end of the book, I loved the man. At the outset, I believed everything that was said about him, and I was scared for Emily, but as the story progressed and Emily’s opinion started to change so did mine.

I really enjoyed the mystery/suspense element of the plot and the mob connection. My personal view is that Reeve was being coerced or blackmailed, and I never believed he was willingly involved in that whole scene. What he says toward the end seemed to corroborate that view. I am so curious to see where this goes in the next book.

Sex, power, and control are a huge theme in this story. The relationship between Reeve and Emily is abusive though consensual. She liked to be debased and hurt and it was the sickest, most depraved thing I’ve ever read. But weirdly addictive. Even as I was disgusted at several scenes I couldn’t stop turning the pages. As they grow closer they start to open up to one another and we see a different side to both of them as individuals and as a couple. In the last few chapters, they are very close to admitting the love they share, and certain things are brought front and center stage. Then that cliffhanger happens. OMG. I can’t say the thought hadn’t crossed my mind because it did, but it was still an electrifying, suspenseful end to this book. I have not been able to stop thinking about it and I think I’ll die if I don’t get to read what happens next.

This is such an incredible read and it’s hard to find words to properly express how amazing it is. This is sheer genius. Superb writing (as I’ve come to expect from the phenomenally talented Laurelin Paige) bang-on pacing, subtle yet strong plot development, excellent characterization with both mains being steadily developed with their fair share of complex strengths and weaknesses. Emotional depth is there – I felt a strong connection to the two mains, and the secondary characters are decent too.

This may not be for everyone as some of the scenes are difficult to read, but if you are a Laurelin Paige fan, or you enjoy well-written erotic romantic suspense, then is is a MUST read.

Thanks to the publisher for supplying an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

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About the Author:
NY Times & USA Today 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 and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She is represented by Rebecca Friedman and Friedman Literary.

Links:

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.

Review: Sweet Temptation (The Sweet Series #4) by Wendy Higgins

Sweet TemptationTitle: Sweet Temptation
Author: Wendy Higgins
Series: The Sweet Series #4
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Bad boy Kaidan Rowe has never wanted for anything—money, popularity, musical talent…hot girls—but seducing them is part of his duty as a Nephilim, slave to the demon Dukes. As the son of the Duke of Lust, Kaidan has learned his father’s ways, becoming a master of passion, a manipulator of chemistry. Disobeying his father would mean certain death. Thankfully for Kaidan, he’s good at his job. And he enjoys it.

Until he meets Anna Whitt—sweet, smart, feisty, and inexplicably good—the one girl seemingly immune to his charms. The daughter of a guardian angel and a fallen one, she has a certain power over him, one that makes him wish for more than he could ever deserve.

Determined to save all the Neph from their dark lives as the influencers of sin, Anna joins forces with Kaidan to overcome the demons’ oppressive ways. In the light of her affections, Kaidan must undergo his toughest test of all, a battle of the heart.

Sensual and swoon worthy, this companion volume to the acclaimed Sweet Evil series from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins, told from the perspective of the irresistibly sexy and mysterious Kaidan Rowe, gives readers revealing insights into his struggle, his intense connection to Anna, and most of all, the true emotions that drive him.

Author Note:
Sweet Temptation will encompass the entire trilogy in a condensed version, beginning with Kai’s life before he met Anna, and taking readers through the epilogue of Sweet Reckoning. Sweet Temptation is a companion novel, not meant to be a stand alone story. It will definitely be a richer experience for those who have read the original trilogy.

My Review:
So here’s the dealio: I LUV Kaidan Rowe. I mean, come on, he’s Extra-T worthy and then some. I was so excited for this book and in the main I really enjoyed it.

This is exactly as Wendy says – a retelling of the Sweet Trilogy from Kaidan’s perspective. Still, I thought we might have gotten more of an insight into his character and meatier scenes depicting what he was up to during the lengthy periods when he was apart from Anna. We got some, but I felt more character development was in order.

Kaidan has been largely ignoring his unhappiness until Anna shows up and he starts to think more reflectively about his life. She brings out the best in him and makes him want to be a better person/Neph. He has a good heart underneath and he just wants to be loved.

He hated how he was entangled with Marissa and his dad and the sex slavery business, and it was great that he got to do something about it at the end. He does have a moral compass despite his upbringing.

There are plenty of sexy times in this book and it was fun being in his head. He’s more than just your typical sex-obsessed teenage boy and there were plenty of cheeky, LOL moments. And of course, all my fav dialogue and funny one-liners are repeated here too. I love all his British slang and Wendy nailed it perfectly.

I was pissed at Belial in the initial series over how he tried to separate Anna and Kai. It never felt natural to me given his forbidden relationship with Mariantha. Having read the scene where he warned Kaidan off, I now hate him even more. Overprotective dad or what?

At times, it felt like I was pressing the fast-forward button on my DVD – it jumped around in a jerky fashion, and it pulled me out of the story. It reminded me a bit of those Team Edward/Team Jacob clips on the Twilight DVDs – you know where it just fast forwards to all their scenes? There were parts of Sweet Temptation that felt exactly like that to me.

All in all, though it’s a very good read, and essential if you are a fan of the Sweet Trilogy. You won’t be disappointed.

Romance Writing Contest: Win a Publishing Deal and $500USD

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Inkitt and The Rebecca Friedman Literary Agency are looking to find the next ‘50 Shades of Grey’!

The pair are running a new romance writing contest from Jan 12 Feb 23, where the winner gets published and receives $500USD! The judges are bestselling authors
Laurelin Paige and Melody Grace, as well as literary agent Rebecca Friedman herself. The trio will work closely with the Inkitt analytics team to pick the most engaging stories of the contest.

The judges are looking for romantic stories that engage the reader, with dynamic characters, fresh storylines and any level of heat. All works over 40k words are
welcome! Find out more below.

Rules:

  • Starting: 12th of January at 13:00 PST
  • Ending: 23rd February 23:59 PST with voting continuing for an additional week.
  • Novel Length: 40,000 words or more at time of submission.
  • Entries must be posted on the Inkitt contest page to participate
  • Stories in the top 10% of the “most voted” and “most popular” categories get the opportunity to be picked for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places.

Prizes:

  1. Publishing Deal + $500USD
  2. $100USD
  3. $50USD

Submit your romance novel here!

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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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Review: Darken the Stars (Kricket #3) by Amy A. Bartol

Darken the StarsTitle: Darken the Stars
Author: Amy A. Bartol
Series: Kricket #3
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Science Fiction Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Kyon Ensin finally has what he’s always wanted: possession of Kricket Hollowell, the priestess who foresees the future. Together, their combined power will be unrivaled. Kricket, however, doesn’t crave the crown of Ethar—she has an unbreakable desire to live life on her own terms, a life that she desperately wants to share with her love, Trey Allairis.

As conspiracies rage in the war for Ethar, Kricket’s so-called allies want to use her as a spy. Even those held closest cannot be trusted—including Astrid, her sister, and Giffen, a member of a mysterious order with a hidden agenda. But Kricket’s resolve will not allow her to be used as anyone’s pawn, even as the Brotherhood sharpens its plans to cut out her heart.

As the destiny prophesied by her mother approaches, Kricket will backtrack through her fiery future to reshape it. For she knows one thing above all else: the only person she can truly count on is herself.

My Review:
Gosh, that was totes emote. Very unexpected in a lot of ways.

Kricket has been kidnapped by Kyon and taken to his island home. He is his usual controlling, psychotic self from the get-go and Kricket uses every opportunity to plot her escape. However, it becomes clear quite quickly that she’s not getting off that damned island. What also becomes obvious is that Kyon has acted to protect her. She still has considerable enemies who want to take her out of the equation, and Kyon has her back, always. He is a bit of a conundrum of a character. He is everything we have seen of him in the previous two books, but we also see a different side to him here. He secretly loves how she stands up to him and tries to boss him around. It’s easy to see how she’s a true match for him in many ways.

I felt this book started quite slowly and it took me longer to get into it than the first two books. Part of that was because I was missing Trey, Wayra and Jax so much. We hardly see them at all in Darken the Stars and it lacked as a result.

Kricket seemed worn out in this book and I couldn’t really blame her. It must get tiring fighting for your life all the time and having so many different factions gunning for your ass. What I didn’t like is how quickly she gave in to Kyon and how easily she seemed to forget about Trey. It didn’t seem consistent with her character though I could understand how jaded she was of everything.

When the book picked up pace it was action packed and I raced through the second half holding my breath most of the time.

Now onto the ending. Holy Moley. The ending felt very rushed and I don’t feel like I have closure. I’d love a novella showing what happens after the epilogue.

Overall though, this was a brilliant emotionally-charged conclusion to a superb series. Hate that it’s over. I need more.

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