Review: Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy #1) by Wendy Higgins

Sweet EvilTitle: Sweet Evil
Author: Wendy Higgins
Series: The Sweet Trilogy #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

My Review:
Anna Whitt has always known she is different. Raised by her protective adopted mom, Patti, Anna has led a pretty sheltered life. She is good, kind and sweet with huge compassion for others. Yet, she struggles with an inexplicable inner pull towards alcohol and drugs.

When she meets bad-boy ‘man-slut’ rocker, Kaidan Rowe, her life turns upside down in a flash. Kaidan helps her come to terms with who she really is and in the process she falls deeply in love with him. Kaidan blows hot and cold and she never knows how he feels about her.

Thrust into a world of angels, demons and Nephilim, Anna has to keep her wits about her if she is to survive this new reality. When she reconnects with her dad, she is strengthened by the force of his love and support. One of the things I loved most about this series was the importance of family and it was refreshing to see a strong mother and father figure.

This book sucked me in immediately and held my attention the entire time. I adored Wendy’s writing style and there are some really sweet romantic moments and some laugh out loud funny parts.

I loved Kaidan’s sharp British wit and his all round sexiness. It’s a little disturbing to learn what he has to do for ‘work’ but Wendy never glamorizes it.

All in all this was a fantastic read and I’m looking forward to continuing this series.

Footnote: In the Lux series, Kat and Daemon take on fake identities in the name of Anna Whitt and Kaidan Rowe. I was intrigued enough by this mention to check out this series. I’m so glad I did. I guess I now have something else to thank Jennifer L. Armentrout for!

Release Week Blitz: Forever With You by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Today is my stop during the release week book blitz for Forever With You by Jennifer L. Armentrout. It’s the fifht book in her amazing Wait For You series. There’s an excerpt and a giveaway.

ForeverWithYou mm cTitle: Forever with You
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Wait for You #5
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
In the irresistibly sexy series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout, two free spirits find their lives changed by a one-night stand…

Some things you just believe in, even if you’ve never experienced them. For Stephanie, that list includes love. It’s out there. Somewhere. Eventually. Meanwhile she’s got her job at the mixed martial arts training center and hot flings with gorgeous, temporary guys like Nick. Then a secret brings them closer, opening Steph’s eyes to a future she never knew she wanted—until tragedy rips it away.

Nick’s self-assured surface shields a past no one needs to know about. His mind-blowing connection with Steph changes all that. As fast as he’s knocking down the walls that have kept him commitment-free, she’s building them up again, determined to keep the hurt—and Nick—out. But he can’t walk away. Not when she’s the only one who’s ever made him wish for forever . . .

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Praise for Forever with You:
“Armentrout packs a powerful emotional punch in her fifth Wait for You new adult contemporary (after Fall with Me)… Armentrout tugs at the heartstrings while delivering an intense, gripping tale.” –Publishers Weekly

“Armentrout presents an emotional installment in her Wait for You series…[she] does it again, presenting a fast-paced tearjerker that fans will devour.” –Booklist

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Excerpt:
I spotted Roxy and her blue glasses toward the back of the busy restaurant. The walkways between the booths were crowded with racing kids covered in sticky jelly and older people trying to rein them in as I made my way toward them. Roxy’s hair was pulled up in a messy bun and her eyes squinted as she glanced up at me. “You seriously went running before you came here. You weren’t lying.”
“Nope. I try to run every day.” I sat beside Katie, who compared to Friday night was dressed down in a baby blue off-the-shoulder sweater that looked like sequins had thrown up on it. Her blond hair was pulled back in a low ponytail at the nape of her neck. “I have to work out,” I explained, placing my purse between Katie and me. “I eat like five starving guys in college. It’s actually embarrassing how much food I can consume in one sitting.”
Katie laughed. “I don’t have that problem. I can eat whatever I want and not gain a pound. Actually, I’d probably lose weight.” Her shoulders rose in a shrug. “Sucks to be you all.”
Roxy scowled at her. “You don’t need to rub it in, you know.”
“Don’t hate me because I was born this way.” Katie grinned when Roxy rolled her eyes. “Maybe it’s Maybelline. Maybe it’s Katie.”
I giggle snorted. The waitress appeared at our table, clicking the pen she’d pulled out of the pocket of her apron. She took our drink order and then dashed off to fulfill it, her white sneakers squeaking across the floor. “I’m glad you came,” Roxy said, propping her elbows on the table. “I was worried I was going to have to search you down and force you to come eat with us.”
I laughed again. “I’m pretty sure you’d have a hard time doing that.”
“I’m scrappy.” Roxy grinned. “I could take you.”
Thinking of the shiner I’d first seen her with, I decided she was probably telling the truth. “I’m glad you guys invited me.” I paused while the waitress returned with our drinks before disappearing again, then I said, “So, I know Roxy works at the bar, what about you, Katie?”
“At the club across the street from Mona’s.” Katie dumped a packet of sugar into her coffee and then picked up five more, managing to rip the tops off in one impressive swipe. “It’s a strip club.”
“Oh.” How had I not noticed a strip club across the street from Mona’s? Katie dumped the sugar in her coffee. “I strip. I don’t dance. I take my clothes off for a living and get paid damn good money for it, too.”
I blinked. “That’s cool.”
Her gaze turned shrewd. “You don’t have a problem with that?”
“Um, not if you don’t.” I glanced at Roxy, who was busy cleaning her glasses, a small smile pulling at her face. I picked up my soda and took a deep drink.
Katie tilted her head to the side, studying me. “Really?”
I lifted a shoulder. “Nope. Honestly. I think it’s pretty cool you have the lady balls to do it.”
A slow grin appeared. “You should do it. You’d make so much money. Hell, I’d pay to see you—”
“Katie,” sighed Roxy, resting her chin in her hand. “Stop trying to recruit rookie strippers. You do this every time you meet someone. No one has agreed yet.”
I grinned as I pictured the odd blonde roaming the city, looking for women who wanted to take their clothes off. “I don’t think I could do it. I’d get up there and then forget how to take my clothes off.”
“Taking your clothes off is the easiest part,” Katie replied seriously.
Roxy looked doubtful. “Those spandex running pants leave very little to the imagination. If I had your body, I’d walk around naked all day.”
“I have no problem getting naked when it’s—I don’t know, an intimate situation,” I announced, “but doing it in public is a different story.”
“That’s good to know,” the waitress said, pen in hand. “Do you guys know what you want to eat?”
“Awkward,” I murmured under my breath as my eyes widened.

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And don’t miss the previous titles in the Wait for You Series!

JLA_Author-photoAbout the Author:
# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Links:

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Review: Calling California (Hunter Hill University #1) by J.P. Grider

calling californiaTitle: Calling California
Author: J.P. Grider
Series: Hunter Hill University #1
Rating: 3 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Cali Parker is poor. She has a lot on her plate – her father is dying, she’s working to help pay the rent, and she’s two-years behind in college.

Griffin Brooks is rich. He has not a care in the world – he’s acing his engineering courses, his hobby is restoring his fifty-thousand dollar classic car, and he has a different girl on his arm every week.

When Cali sees Griffin on her first day of class, she’s immediately smitten and thinks she’s found the perfect guy. When Griffin sees Cali at the bank, he immediately forgets the blonde he was with that morning. Then they meet, and their worlds collide.

Cali doesn’t belong in Griffin’s world, and he doesn’t understand hers. But just when Griffin convinces Cali that their two different worlds can blend, a secret is revealed that tears them apart.

Is their love strong enough to bring them back together, or will their worlds drift further apart?

My Review:
Cali has had a tough life, with one knock back after another. Money has never been in great supply in her household and she’s had to defer college to save up enough money to go. Then her dad gets sick and her mom is pulling two jobs to try and meet his medical bills. Griffin has had it cushy and never wanted for anything. A major player, he’s never met any girl he felt like settling down with, until he meets Cali.

Cali has a chip the size of a planet on her shoulder over money. On one level, I could feel her pain and empathize, but on another level I wanted to give her a swift kick in the butt and tell her to get over herself. She allows it to control and ruin basically every aspect of her life. I have to say, after a while, it became tedious to read it, and by the end of the book any sympathy I had for her had been erased.

The redeeming element in this book is undoubtedly Griffen. All he does is try his best to support and please Cali, and all she does is constantly push him away. There is an inciting incident at the start, when they are kids, that brings the whole ‘soulmates’ premise into play. I loved that and it helped me believe in their love, because without that I really didn’t see what attracted Griffen to whiny Cali.

There’s a really good twist about half way through the book. I suspected there was something coming, but not that! I love when a book surprises me. Again, Griffen acts in Cali’s best interests in helping to bring the secret out into the open. Cali feels betrayed by him and her mom (which is initially a natural reaction) but then she forgives her mom for a lifetime of lies and kicks Griffen to the curb even though he only concealed it for a few days, and only to do the right thing. That was the part where I started screaming at my Kindle.

The writing is consistent with other books in this genre and we get our HEA in the end. It’s an enjoyable enough read even though I wish some of the characters ( and Cali in particular) behaved differently.

I received a review copy of this book via Lola’s Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review.


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Blog Tour: The Counting-Downers by A.J. Compton

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for The Counting-Downers by A.J. Compton! I am really excited to be part of this tour and will share my review with you. There’s also a tour wide giveaway!

Counting DownersTitle: The Counting-Downers
Author: A.J. Compton
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Fantasy/ sci-fi Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
The stunningly poignant and life-affirming debut novel by A.J. Compton

Imagine if we could see how long everyone around us had left to live. But we weren’t allowed to know our own numbers…

Trying to make sense of life after the death of her beloved father, free spirit Matilda Evans meets Tristan Isaacs and discovers a marrow-deep connection with him.

No stranger to grief himself, lonely artist Tristan is in awe of Matilda’s fun and philosophical approach to life. With every second spent in her presence, he finds his views on life and loss changing, and begins to embrace the beauty of being alive.

As their friendship turns into something deeper, lessons are learned, memories are made, and legacies are created.

But with both of them knowing how long their soulmate has left in this lifetime, important questions have to be asked and tough decisions have to be made before time runs out.

The Counting-Downers is an inspiring story about life, loss, love, and making the most of every moment.

My Review:
This is an exceptional debut novel by a very talented author. I will even go as far as saying it is one of the best books I have ever read. It has touched me on a cellular level and I’m still trying to compose myself after finishing it. It’s both hugely entertaining and deeply profound. Wow.

The Counting-Downers is a thought-provoking book about life and death, love and loss, fear and bravery. Matilda lives in a world where everyone has a ticking clock over their head confirming when they will die. They don’t know how they will die and individuals aren’t aware or allowed to be told of their own date of demise. Imagine living with the very real shadow of death always hanging over you in such a transparent way? I absolutely loved this premise and the way the author dealt with it. People often flippantly throw out comments like ‘life is too short’ and ‘live life in the moment’ without properly thinking of the meaning behind the words. This book really raised a lot of inner questions and I’ve been in such a reflective/philosophical mood since I finished reading it.

The story is also a beautiful love story and it highlights the importance of family and friendship. Matilda meets Tristan the day of her father’s funeral and they form an instant connection. Unbeknownst to them, they both have the same date of death. That was never explained, but I took it to mean they were true soulmates who would not only share the joy of life together but die together. After their initial meeting, they don’t meet again for two years, but once they do they start spending a lot of time together and very soon realize that they are meant for each other. Their relationship is quite deep and spiritual at times, but also juvenile and funny at others. The dialogue between them is snappy and witty and there were plenty of LOL moments. Matilda is a real free spirit and she helps Tristian overcome the pain of his past. It was a joy to read and I really loved both characters.

The writing in this book is OUTSTANDING. It was so poetic, eloquent and downright beautiful. Award worthy in my opinion. I cannot believe how young this author is because she writes like a seasoned professional, and with such insight. If this is what she is bringing to the table as her debut novel then she is definitely an author to follow.

In a note at the back, A.J states how she wants every page to resonate with the reader. Well, she definitely achieved that in my case. Every word was imprinted on my heart and my mind. Here are a couple of quotes I liked:

“Love is giving someone the power to destroy you and trusting that they won’t.”

“Nobody sees me like you do, and without you, I’d be invisible. I exist because you see me.”

I am highly recommending this book. It is different, original, thought-provoking, and beautifully written. I hope it’s a huge success for the author because it’s an exceptional piece of writing.

AJ Compton Author PicAbout the Author:
A.J. Compton is a 23-year-old Londoner, professional dreamer, and full-time over-thinker. She is the author of The Counting-Downers and a dozen other unfinished manuscripts which will hopefully see the light of day soon.
A University of Cambridge graduate, A.J. is currently in a polygamous relationship with an embarrassing number of fictional book boyfriends.
Those two facts are not related. Honestly.
She loves people-watching and exploring her observations in her writing.
She really hates writing about herself in the third person.

Links:

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Blog Tour: And Then Forever by Shirley Jump

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for And then Forever by Shirley Jump! I’ll share my review and there’s a tour wide giveaway!

shirleyjump_AND_THEN_FOREVER_1600Title: And Then Forever
Author: Shirley Jump
Series:
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Welcome to Fortune’s Island, where the only rule is to follow your heart.

Love is an extravagance Darcy Williams can’t afford. She prefers the simple life, which includes waitressing at The Love Shack on Fortune’s Island and avoiding temptation. But when a forbidden part of her past steps off the ferry, her safe, guarded existence is turned upside down.

Kincaid Foster has never gotten over his first love. When he sees the wild, beautiful blonde again, dancing her way around The Love Shack, the memories of Darcy’s soft skin, gentle touch, and heated kisses come rushing back. As the privileged son of a wealthy family, Kincaid was too young to stand up to his overbearing father when he and Darcy were together. Now, he’s back on the island—free of the family shackles—and the chiseled, big-time lawyer wants a second chance.

But, Darcy made a promise to keep a secret from Kincaid—a secret that is now a six-year-old girl who looks just like her daddy. If Kincaid finds out about their daughter, Darcy could lose everything. But, she can’t resist the man who stole her heart all those years ago. And it doesn’t take long before both of them realize that anything can happen at The Love Shack on a hot summer night.

My Review:
This is a well-written quick read that will appeal to fans of contemporary women’s fiction.

I absolutely loved the island setting of this book and the close-knit community. Darcy and Kincaid met and fell in love when they were just out of high school but fate (and a nasty, manipulative father) was working against them. Both came from dysfunctional family backgrounds though it was on the opposite side of the spectrum.

Kincaid’s father has always tried to control him and direct his path in life, and he took it upon himself to get rid of Darcy seven years ago. When Kincaid reappears on Fortune’s Island, it’s immediately clear that both he and Darcy never got over one another.

Kincaid is pretty relentless in his pursuit of her and the life he has always dreamed of. Darcy caves pretty quickly despite her concerns over her daughter Emma. She is a little sweetheart and Darcy is a fantastic mum.

When everything inevitably comes out into the open, big decisions have to be made. Misunderstandings threaten to tear Darcy and Kincaid apart, but it all works out in the end.

I enjoyed this book and it was very well written and well paced. I liked both Darcy and Kincaid, but Emma stole the show for me. Adorable.

While the plot isn’t overly original, and it’s pretty predictable, it’s still a decent story that is solidly built. Recommended for fans of contemp romance.

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

shirley_jump_headshotAbout the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump spends her days writing romance so she can avoid the towering stack of dirty dishes, eat copious amounts of chocolate and reward herself with trips to the mall. Look for her all-new novella in the anthology ASK ME WHY (with Marie Force, Virginia Kantra and Jodi Thomas), as well as the Sweet and Savory Romance series, including the USA Today bestselling book, THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, on Amazon, and her Sweetheart Sisters series, starting with THE SWEETHEART BARGAIN.
Visit her website at http://www.shirleyjump.com/ for author news and a booklist, and follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/shirleyjump.author for giveaways and deep discussions about important things like chocolate and shoes.

Links:

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Blog Tour: His Wicked Desire by Dawn Chartier

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I am glad to be part of the blog tour for His Wicked Desire by Dawn Charties. I’ll share my review with you and a tour wide giveaway!

His_Wicked_Desire_500_CS-FinalVersionTitle: His Wicked Desire
Author: Dawn Chartier
Series: Vieux Carré Witch Sister #2
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Links:

Blurb:
He’s found himself a wicked witch…

Brye Morgeaux is a half-witch, half-warlock who always relied on her beauty—especially when it came men. After a run-in with a particularly vicious warlock, Brye’s face is left scarred, forcing her to look to who she is on the inside. And what Brye finds is darker than anything she’d imagined…

Then she’s handed a terrible ultimatum—join the warlock clan, or watch her family die.

Josh Copeland has known the Morgeaux family for years, and has been waiting for the time when Brye would see him as something—anything—more than a friend. As she battles darkness from within and without, he realizes the woman he loves might just be her own worst, wicked enemy. Now Josh must find a way to show Brye who she really is…before she kills him.

My Review:
I received an ARC of this book from the publishers via Inkslinger PR in exchange for my honest review.

Brye is waging an inner war in the aftermath of a brutal warlock attack. Always defined by her beauty, she struggles to deal with her disfigurement and she feels lost and unsure of herself. Embarking on a road to self-discovery, she reconnects with her old friend and childhood crush, Josh. Both have harbored romantic feelings for the other though they are reluctant to admit it for fear of being hurt. Timing and circumstances have kept them apart thus far.

I must confess that I didn’t read the first book in this series because I didn’t actually realize it was a second installment. However, it wasn’t an issue in terms of the story because the author did a fantastic job of backfilling essential elements and clearly explaining key plot points and I never felt confused or that I missed out on anything important. So you could read this as a stand-alone read. That said, I may have been more invested in the characters if I had read the first book. I really liked Storm and Nate and I’ll most likely pick up a copy of the first book now to see how their relationship developed.

I liked the fantasy world that the author created and I loved all the paranormal elements – witches and warlocks, familiars, spells, special gifts etc. There was a strong good vs. evil theme and plenty of suspense and intrigue. In the main it was fast paced and there was a decent amount of action mixed in with the romance, exactly as I like it.

While I liked Brye and Josh as a couple, for me the relationship lacked depth. I find this a lot with books of a shorter length – there isn’t enough time to allow the reader to form a genuine emotional connection with the characters, and that is what I felt with this book. Brye also goes through a significant metamorphosis and it just happened too quickly to be believable. A few more chapters to flesh this out would have been beneficial in my opinion.

At times, some of the dialog felt stiff and unnatural though in the main the writing is decent.

In summary: I enjoyed this book though I wasn’t blown away by it. If you are a fan of paranormal romance you should check it out. Thank you to the author, publisher, and PR company for giving me the opportunity to read this book.

Actual rating 3.5 stars.

Dawn ChartierAbout the Author:
Dawn might occasionally have a gator parked in her front yard there on the bayou, but it’s the snakes that really scare the bejeezus out of her. So instead, she tends to hole herself up with a good romance book, chocolate by the pound, or marathon tv viewing of Game of Thrones, Hell On Wheels, Downton Abbey, various home renovation shows and Supernatural—oh Dean. *swoons*

Links:

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Blog Tour: Cowboy Valentine by Mia Hopkins

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for Cowboy Valentine by Mia Hopkins. I’ll share my review of this book with you and there’s a tour wide giveaway!

CowboyValentine_300finalTitle: Cowboy Valentine
Author: Mia Hopkins
Series: standalone
Rating: 3.75 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Forget chocolate and flowers. This homegrown honey is all the sweetness he craves.

Small-town life is nothing but a waiting room for eighteen-year-old honor student Corazón Gomez. Work and school leave little time for love, but with a full-ride Ivy League scholarship and a one-way ticket out of the boondocks, who needs it?

The answer appears on Valentine’s Day when her old cowboy crush ambles into the ice cream parlor where she works, inviting her to go on a late-night ride in his truck. For the first time she wavers between staying on the straight and narrow, and going off-road with the handsome heartbreaker.

After four years working on ranches all over the country, Caleb MacKinnon is back on the family farm helping out his mom and brothers while his father fights cancer. The one bright spot: smart, funny, and wickedly sexy Cora.

From the start, they both know this blazing-hot love affair can’t last. But when autumn comes and Cora has to leave for the East Coast, Caleb must find a solution to keep himself—and his heart—from falling apart.

Warning: Contains hard, cherry-poppin’ sex in a pickup truck and a cowboy charmer who talks dirty in two languages.

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My Review:
This was a short, sexy read and it will appeal to readers who enjoy the NA genre.

Cora is an intelligent, driven young women with a defined career path in mind. To date, she’s had no time for boys, but all that changes when her old high-school crush, Caleb, walks back into her life. Cue lots of fun, sexy times, and then inevitable heartbreak.

I didn’t realize that this was a novella-length story because, in most cases, I find stand-alone books of this size too short to feel a real emotional connection with the characters. I love novellas and shorts when they are part of a series as they usually add an extra dimension or much-needed back-story.

While I definitely enjoyed reading Cowboy Valentine, and it’s very well written, it lacked substance and depth. We don’t get to see Cora and Caleb’s relationship develop as we skip from first meeting to six months later and then six months after that. We never got to see them go out on dates, it’s just all about the sex. I would have liked more ‘story’ to the story.

I would have liked to see the cultural differences sub-plot adding some conflict to the development of their relationship. This was hinted at, but no more. Personally, I believe this to be a missed opportunity.

That said, I did like both main characters even if I couldn’t fully understand what drew them to each other. And I love this author’s writing style; her prose is beautiful, and I can definitely see myself checking out her future work. I’m wondering if Caleb’s brothers will feature in future books?

If you are looking for a fun, quick read then I would recommend Cowboy Valentine, and it easily holds its own against other similar sized NA titles.

Actual Rating: 3.75 Stars

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HEADSHOTAbout the Author:
Mia Hopkins writes lush romances starring fun, sexy characters who love to get down and dirty. She’s a sucker for working class heroes, brainy heroines and wisecracking best friends.

When she’s not lost in a story, Mia spends her time cooking, gardening, traveling, volunteering and looking for her keys. In a past life, she was a classroom teacher and still has a pretty good “teacher voice” and “teacher stare.” She lives in the heart of Los Angeles with her roguish husband and two waggish dogs.

Links:

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Blog Tour: Breakout (Dred Chronicles #3) by Ann Aguirre

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Today I am part of the release day blitz for Ann Aguirre her newest book Breakout, which is the third book in her Dred Chronicles series. There’s an excerpt and a giveaway.

BreakoutTitle: Breakout
Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Dred Chronicles #3
Genres: Adult Romantic Science Fiction
Links:

Blurb:
All hell is breaking loose in the edge-of-your-seat follow-up to Havoc and Perdition from New York Times bestselling author Ann Aguirre…

The prison ship Perdition has become a post-battle charnel house with only a handful of Dred’s soldiers still standing and now being hunted by Silence’s trained tongueless assassins. Forging an uneasy alliance with mercenary commander Vost—who is their only chance at escape—the Dread Queen will do whatever it takes to end her life sentence on Perdition and keep the survivors alive long enough to cobble together a transport capable of getting them off station.

If Dred and her crew can win the deadly game of cat and mouse, the payoff is not only life but freedom—a prize sweeter than their wildest dreams. Yet the sadistic Silence would rather destroy Perdition than let a single soul slip from her grasp…

Excerpt:
They didn’t speak until they had put a fair amount of distance behind them, then Dred signaled her desire to pause by tapping his ankle. He couldn’t turn fully because the ducts had narrowed, but he glanced over his shoulder.
“You all right?”
“Just . . . spooked.” The somber tone told him he hadn’t been alone in what he felt, watching those crazy, tongue-less bastards.
“It’s different now,” he said.
“With what she did to Queensland . . . she seems larger than life. I’ve been afraid before, but . . . not quite like this.”
The words were barely a whisper, and they roused an answering prickle of gooseflesh on his arms.
“I know. There’s run-of-the-mill evil, like Priest and Mungo. And then there’s Silence.”
“It’s like she can do worse than kill me. Rationally, I know that’s not true—”
“But it’s uncanny the way she’s last one still standing, moving through the carnage.” He didn’t say it out loud, but he thought, *Like Death itself. *
Dred nodded. “I’m still here, too, but I’m not the Dread Queen anymore.”
“If it’s any consolation, I don’t miss her.”
“Me either,” she whispered.
There was no space to touch her as he wanted to, and it wasn’t the time anyway, so Jael continued on. They slid out of the ducts near the closet, but when he opened it, there were no droids plugged in. He choked out a curse. It was impossible to predict when a bot would come back, and it was dangerous to wait out in the open. They desperately needed some intel about how many men Silence had left, how often they patrolled, and where, but with manpower as scarce as it had become on their end, recon had to wait.
“Back up?” Dred whispered.
He nodded. This time, they found a way in that gave them vantage over their target, so they’d know when a bot returned. He’d just finished fitting the vent panel in place behind them when he heard the familiar, shuffling sound of Silence’s men. From her expression, Dred registered it, too, and she practically stopped breathing. The fact that her killers were roving freely must signify that she believed herself the undisputed ruler of Perdition.

When they rounded the corner and came into sight, he stifled a surprised sound. This group was huge, compared to the usual numbers, ten this time, and horror jolted through him like lightning when he realized they were carried a human-sized bundle. They’d wrapped their captive in dark fabric, so he couldn’t tell anything about the person, but the worst part was, he or she was still moving, thrashing against his bonds.

*Who is that? And why the hell would Silence want someone taken alive? *

Praise for the Dred Chronicles:
“There’s so much action, so much adventure, and more than that, it’s great writing.” – USA Today

“Sirantha Jax fans may be intrigued to see what befell Jael after his ill-considered actions there, and new lead Dred is a strong linchpin for a promising new series.” — Publishers Weekly

“Spectacularly and spell-bindingly perfect with high octane action that keeps you on the edge of your seat and a romance that is surprisingly sweet and tender in a harsh and unforiving setting…This is honestly one of the best SF romance series I have read.” — Book Pushers

And don’t miss the previous books in the Dred Chronicles!
Perdition (Dred Chronicles #1)
Havoc (Dred Chronicles #2)

Ann AguirreAbout the Author:
Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.

Links:

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Review: Frigid (Frigid #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

FrigidTitle: Frigid
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Frigid #1
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
For twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn’t anything new. They’d been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie. Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the ‘man’ in man-whore. He’s never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn’t want to risk their friendship by declaring her love.

Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she’s perfect and she’s everything. But the feelings he has for her, he’s always hidden away or focused on any other female. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have.

But when they’re stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor’easter, there’s nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one.

My Review:
4.5 Stars.

This was quite a short read, but an enthralling one all the same. Ordinarily I don’t like contemporary romance unless there’s other key sub-plots behind it. There was a little drama/suspense in this book but primarily it centers on the relationship between Sydney (Syd) and Kyler. I’m therefore impressed that Jennifer managed to write a book like this that hooked me in quickly and kept my attention the full way through.

Kyler and Sydney have been BFF’s since they were kids. Both of them harbor romantic feelings for the other but neither has been brave enough to broach the subject, for fear of ruining their friendship. That is a very believable story line and I could completely relate to both characters as they reacted in different ways to things that happened between them.

Kyler is described as a ‘man-whore’ and it’s a very unlike-able trait. I started off hating him but he quickly won me over. At times I was reminded a little of Christian Gray. That I still loved him is down to Jennifer’s ability to create totally swoon-worthy guys that you just can’t help falling for. His sweet protectiveness of Syd also won him additional points.

All in all, another great read from JLA.

Review: Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout

CursedTitle: Cursed
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Dying sucks
…and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand.

After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things–including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden’s adopted father, a man she’s sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister’s hand again. And hell, she’d also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn’t?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not’ve been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life.

For real this time.

My Review:
Gifted or Cursed? That’s the dilemma facing our heroine Ember.

Ember awoke from death a changed person. Quickly realizing she now has a death-touch, she has lived the last two years shielding herself from coming into contact with others. Good to the core, she sacrifices a normal teenage life to care for her uniquely-talented kid sister Olivia. Her only friend is Adam, her mom treats her as if she’s invisible, and the kids at school are horrible to her. I felt for her from the get-go.

Then this hot, mysterious guy starts showing up and soon her whole world is turned on its head.

Hayden is an intriguing male lead. Clearly fond of Ember, and willing to literally put his life on the line to protect her, he’s also hiding his own dark secrets.

Cursed reminded me a little of X-Men with the school for gifted kids, but set in a more contemporary environment. There are plenty of twists and turns in this book – some predictable, some not – but plenty to propel the plot forward nicely.

I liked these characters, a little less run of the mill than JLA’s normal characters and I really enjoyed that. There were parts where I literally cringed inwardly for Ember, and could scarcely read on. I love when a book makes you feel that emotionally connected, and that’s what Cursed did for me.

Superbly written as usual, I’m surprised that this book isn’t one of her more popular ones. I’m suffering separation anxiety now though as this one looks like it won’t ever be anything more than a stand alone, and I’d love to read more of these characters.

I really loved this book. In my opinion it’s a great addition to JLA’s paranormal YA romance collection.